There are few things more terrifying in a relationship than the prospect of your partner cheating. The sneaking around. The infidelity. Yikes. We all pray it doesn’t happen to us.
But it isn’t always so clear cut. Say you find out your significant other has been buying used panties on the down-low. There’s no denying that it feels like cheating, but is it actually? What does it mean if your partner has secretly been buying used panties and where do you go from there?
It might not feel like it at first, but learning about your partner’s kink can actually be a positive turning point in your relationship. Read on to get a better understanding of what that means and how to decide whether to incorporate your partner’s hidden fetish into the relationship or kick them to the curb.
If you’re reading this as someone who has recently discovered their boo’s secret turn-on, know that you’re not the first to go through this. Online forums like Quora and Reddit are all full of people looking for a virtual best friend to support them while dealing with this destabilizing and confusing situation. This woman’s plea for help sounds all too familiar to anyone who’s gone through this before:
“I have found out that my man of seven years has been buying women’s panties, used panties, online. I am completely disgusted. I can’t even look at him... I feel lost and confused and like I don’t know who he is or even who I am anymore.”
Of course you’re going to feel disgusted at first. Of course it’s going to feel shitty. Like, really shitty. Your partner has been living a double life, and just like if they had been cheating, there are secrets and other people involved.
But before you start labeling your partner’s fetish “cheating,” consider why they may have been keeping this secret from you.
First of all, fetishes are often bigger than any relationship. You can’t just turn them on or off when you find yourself sidling up to someone new. That leaves just a few options: repress your fetish, tell your partner about it and hope they accept you, or keep it hidden.
For many, hiding it may sound like the best route. After all, the nature of a fetish is to be taboo and abnormal, so many people who have them are afraid to tell others, even the ones they love the most, out of fear that they will be rejected.
In fact, nearly a quarter of people surveyed by Bustle said they would probably never discuss their kink with their partner. Only 31% said they definitely would, and 32% said they would if they thought their partner would be into it too.
So, if your significant other has a used panty fetish and is buying them from other women, consider the possibility that they are insecure and scared of losing you if they tell the truth. But feeling empathy for them doesn’t mean you should let them completely off the hook. Sure, they may be acting out of fear and shame, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have been lying to you.
It’s not for us to say whether your partner’s used panty habit constitutes cheating or not. If they’ve been doing it specifically to have a connection with other people, it may very well be. However, you can also look at it as if it were porn: the other people involved aren’t physically present. It’s just another way to get off.
The key is to communicate. Talk to your partner to find out what is driving their fetish and be willing to keep an open mind. If you show your partner that you accept their kink, you may find that your relationship actually improves.
Openly talking about your partner’s used panty kink may be a challenge, especially since it involves other people, but your partner is sure to appreciate it, as it will lighten their mental load. Psychology Today warns that the consequences of keeping a fetish hidden include anxiety, the inability to perform sexually, and even rage, all of which are worse than a relationship not working out.
So, when discussing your partner’s kink, remember that their fetish is separate from you and the fact that they get off on a stranger’s used drawers doesn’t change the way they feel about you. If after discussing their preferences and reasons, you choose to accept them, your relationship is sure to profit.
Use this opportunity to share any of your hidden kinks to your partner as well. You’ll find a new level of trust bloom between you and you may even learn to indulge in each other’s kinks together.