Dear Loveawake My new husband's niece is getting married and his brother and his wife talked freely about hiring a stripper for her party. I find the idea of bachelor & bachelorette parties disturbing, degrading and undermining the marriage commitment rather than innocent fun. I feel that expressing my opinion would invite other people to judge me as prudish, which I am not. I know that I could simply make excuses and not attend for myself but my husband will attend and it is upsetting to me. I have written a letter and would like your opinion. I'm hoping to convey the depth of my feelings, without being offensive. - Natasia
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Dear Jake: I need to talk with you about the upcoming bachelor parties. As you might expect from knowing me, I have very strong feelings about this. I don't feel it is a simple matter of a night out, but rather one of serious issues of respect, morals and values, and of the sanctity of marriage. It is hard for me to put into words what it means to me if you feel a need to attend these, to entertain yourself in this way.
I suspect you probably did not have this problem with your ex-wife. I know women who deal with these feelings by acting as badly as they can at their own parties, but that is just as degrading to all concerned.
You probably wonder about my ex-husband. He did not attend any after his own. I almost didn't go through with our wedding because I felt we had a lack of shared values. I consulted my friend's husband who was an adult psychiatrist about my feelings at that time and he told me I was right to be concerned. Well, I just had to make you aware of my feelings. I love you. - Natasia
Dear Natasia: You cannot change the way you feel. All you can do is voice your opinion and hope that your husband acknowledges your feelings and respects them. You definitely should be true to yourself and if someone judges you, so be it. You are not alone. Many women have written to me and told me how upset they were about their future husband having a bachelor party that included a stripper. The best you can hope for is that your husband will only be an observer and not a participant out of respect for his marriage.
I really believe that if you send your letter to your husband you will not get the reaction you are looking for and he will be very upset. First of all, men become very defensive when being compared to other men. So, explaining what your ex did is not going to do anything but get him annoyed. Then, when he finds out that you were talking about him behind his back, the fact that your friend's husband sided with you and validated your feelings, will drive a further wedge between the two of you.
In my program I deal with the differences between men and women and explain that men are X-rated and women are PG rated. Therefore, many women would agree with you but I also feel that many men would agree with your husband. They simply don't see anything wrong with it. Most men who has a bachelor party today have a stripper or they all go to a strip club. The truth is that your husband would attend this party whether there was a stripper or not. He is going there to support his friend. I really think if you insist that he not go, he'll resent you and may go anyway.
I think a great relationship is built on caring, commitment, communication, and COMPROMISE, COMPROMISE and COMPROMISE! One of the things you have to do is to set up the conditions that will lead to a compromise. So, your letter needs to be about YOUR feelings and not the fact that your ex only went to his own party. Your husband will say, "Oh, I see, he's better than me - maybe you should have stayed with him!" Next, you are telling him that an expert thinks you're right and he's wrong. That's great, but all that proves is that you discuss your personal issues with other people instead of first talking about it with your husband. That will make him feel awful and his reaction might be, "You talked about me and what I was doing, to an expert behind my back?"
So, here's my suggestion: "We have a problem that we need to solve and I want us to come up with a solution that we can both live with." You are letting your husband know that you want this to be win-win for both of you rather than "I win and you lose." Stick to the problem you are trying to solve. Let him know exactly how you feel and maybe the compromise is that he will go, but promises not to touch or be touched. He definitely should provide you with that assurance and stick to it. I hope trust is not an issue between the two of you. When you write him this letter, ask yourself this question, "Keeping in mind that my mate is the most important person in my life, how can I solve this conflict and still validate my mate's feelings without discounting my own?"
I know that compromising isn't the perfect solution. Both of you will have to settle for less than what you want but it's still better than a brilliant solution where one person wins and the other feels cheated or dominated. - Loveawake