Mini-rituals, traditions, and idiosyncrasies are part of the life of couples. Occupying the same space as your partner results in these naturally.
But these things need to be mutually agreed upon or they turn from something sweet, natural, and indicative of your trust for one another into something strange, controlling, or uncomfortable.
That's what Reddit user u/THROWRAajaj28282 was experiencing with her boyfriend. So much so that she went to the popular subReddit "Relationship Advice" or "RA" in order to get some advice on how to deal with it.
Our original poster (OP) started by setting up who her boyfriend was:
"I've been with my boyfriend for ten months. He's the best boyfriend I've ever had. He's so sweet and attentive. He always puts me first and it's honestly a fresh of air compared to my past relationships. He's a chef."
This little tradition started innocently enough:
"Whenever we went out to eat, he would always love to feed me a bite of his food. I never minded and thought it was cute. When we started hanging out at each others houses, he would always offer to cook and then he would feed me my meal. I told him it's fine I can feed myself, but he would always insist. He said he loves feeding beautiful woman his food."
But suddenly it's gone beyond the OP's level of comfort:
"Now it's kinda escalating. He wants to feed me on his lap. I told him that I'm not interested in sitting on his lap and getting fed, I'd rather just watch the show and eat my chips myself instead of a whole meal he made. When I say no, he gets a bit awkward and I start to feel bad."
"But it's so weird how he loves to feed me all my meals. Why? I know there's way weirder things out there and the intention is sweet, but I'm started to think it might be a kink or something. I don't discuss the intimates of my relationships with my friends, so I'm on here. Is this weird or sweet? BTW this is a daily occurrence whenever we're together."
She asked for advice from fellow Redditors on how to handle this odd situation.
People were wondering if this went into the realm of fetish.
"I suggest you look into feederism. It's a fetish. Id also be careful of your waistline because if he gets off on feeding you, there's a chance he'll get off on fattening you up as well. I've seen a few stories on here where women have been unknowingly participating in this fetish and don't realize it until their clothes don't fit anymore."~ripecantaloupe
"I could get on board with a lot of things but having someone feed me my meals everyday? I don't know about that. What if you don't want that big of a bite? Is the feeder going to adjust the food? Do you talk during the "ceremony"? Does he jack off afterwards? I have so many questions and I want zero of the answers."~Odd_Cantaloupe_1626
"Everything was fine up until 'I told him it was fine I can feed myself, but he would always insist.' Overall, it sounds like he's not respecting boundaries that you set, which is not okay. And yes, it does seem weird. Weird is okay, but only if both parties are willing and fully aware of what's happening."~Experinent51
"Yeah, I have to say this is turning into a fetish or some form of control. Who do you feed? Children, and you have control of children. I'd shy away from this or seek to understand it more and see if it's something you wish to continue."~Blue_Consulting
The biggest red flag for Redditors is that this seems to be happening without the OP's consent.
"His behavior could also just be unhealthy,/indirect because he's ashamed of having a kink, and has possibly been rejected because of it in the past. Bottom line is that he has to respect her boundaries if they are going to have a healthy relationship and stay together."
"If it's just a fetish--just something that happens to make his dick hard--it may not be about controlling her. It's easy to look at a lot of kinky interests and speculate as to why people have them or pathologize them, but sometimes it's just a garden variety uncommon/unusual sexual interest."
"That said, people with overwhelming interest in kinky behaviors do sometimes cross the line and wear out their welcome. Much better to be above board and discuss it than to just kind of push for it as in this case, although fear of judgment probably drives many people to be indirect."
"So she should really try and get him to open up on the subject, but certainly keep an open mind and realize that fear of judgment might make it a difficult conversation (especially if he's been rejected for revealing it in the past)."~hexalm
"Talk to him about it! Maybe he's not aware it's a fetish? Talk to him about How it makes you feel. Set a limit you are comfortable with, and stick to it. Maybe one bite per meal, or a sample while cooking and a bite per meal. Or he can feed you a dessert on date nights...Whatever YOU are comfortable with. If it's nothing, then you tell him you will not! He needs to respect your boundaries."~alltoovisceral
"If it is a fetish, you need to set boundaries if you want to continue. You could say something like "I don't mind letting you feed me every once in a while but I'm not going to do that all the time" or 'well only do it as part of some foreplay' and 'we will not do it to the point where I'm unhealthily gaining weight.' That last one is probably the biggest one, you do not want to mess with your health that way. And he should be prioritizing your health over his kink/fetish."
"I wouldn't expect my partner to engage in my kink or fetish every time they're around. That's just weird, not every interaction needs to be sexual. He needs to realize that there is going to be times where 'we're just having a nice meal' and 'we're having fun and exploring our sex life.'"
"It's also important to tell him your limits, if you don't want to sit on his lap even when you're indulging him, he needs to respect that. That said, as long as this is something you do in moderation and he respects that, I don't see this being the weirdest kink. I've done some things that were out of my comfort zone but wanted to see my partner happy."~triggerhappy899
"This is weird. Like my husband will feed me a bite of the food he's cooking to gauge flavor. But that's about as far as it goes. He enjoys cooking for me so he wants to ensure that it's exactly to my taste. Your boyfriend is taking it too far. Do a reverse. Cook for him one night. Show him that you also enjoy seeing him eat your food. Do not feed it to him. That may just reinforce the behavior."~Throwrefaway19111986
And whether or not this is a fetish, there is a conversation that needs to happen.
"Just set boundaries about what makes you uncomfortable. Its not on the same scale but every once in a while my girlfriend wants to feed me a desert or something and I think its super adorable. If she wanted to feed me all the time I would be uncomfortable and I would have a conversation with her setting clear boundaries. If she reacted really badly to me setting boundaries on what I'm comfortable with then there'd be a bigger problem in our relationship."~ExtremelyVulgarName
"Have a damn talk with him and don't listen to reddit. Just have an open conversation and make your feelings known and ask why he likes this so much. Reddit automatically goes to the worst possible outcome. Just have a open and honest talk and go from that. He just may think it's something that is sweet you don't know so ask!!!"~jayce1087
"Jesus, everyone is ragging on this guy, but honestly as kinks go handfeeding is pretty chill. It can be an aspect of other things like feeder or D/s or age play but there's really no need to dig that deep with the information given. Also kinks aren't always or even primarily about sexual gratification -- plenty of asexual people participate in the kink community -- they can also be about an emotional desire. Do it if you're comfortable and don't if you don't, place limits if you find doing this literally every day tiresome."
"The primary thing I find concerning is the lack of communication on his part. It's not necessarily sinister, especially if you otherwise feel safe and comfortable around him, but the ability to communicate boundaries in a healthy and respectful way is an issue that does need to be addressed. And if this IS a kink thing, he might not even be aware that that is the case; as is evidenced by this thread, nonjudgmental, mainstream knowledge of BDSM practices and philosophies is sorely lacking and hand feeding isn't as flashy and dramatic as, say, feeders or Daddy Dom/little girl (both of which are kind of a reach imo, especially the latter)."
"Have an open and -- and I cannot stress this enough -- nonjudgmental conversation about this with him. Ask what he gets out of this, let him know that his reaction to you pushing back in the past wasn't great and that you expect for all of your boundaries to be respected, even "minor" ones that don't necessarily apply to the bedroom. Be honest about your feelings about continuing this practice. If AND ONLY IF you are comfortable, maybe keep an open mind."
"TL;DR: Weird is relative, and lots of things you wouldn't expect can be sweet depending on the context and people involved. If my partner asked to do this type of thing with me I would personally think its sweet, but the key thing here is that they would ASK, and they wouldn't sulk if I said no."~MapOfProblematique
"This is fine unless you enjoy it but now you started feeling uncomfortable with it and he should see it and needs to stop this as there is no other way to deal with this. He must be having a fetish and you know that but he has no right to make you feel this way. Communicate your feelings to him and let him know how you feel and if he loves you then he will stop otherwise you need to consider this as a red flag in the relationship."~8530683641
Hopefully the OP and her boyfriend can have the conversation that desperately needs to be had here. All best wishes to both parties going forward.