My girlfriend and I have been dating for about ten months now, and we’re hitting our first rough patch. She tells me I don’t show her I love her enough, I’m a bit annoyed that she keeps in contact with many of her exes, and she recently took a job that’s really making me question things.
She was having a hard time finding work, so she took a job as a “bikini barista.” Basically she works in a tiny, drive up coffee shop, and wears next to nothing as she takes orders and makes coffee for the customers at the window. I told her I wasn’t thrilled with this idea, but since she was having a hard time finding work, I went along with it, just as long as pictures weren’t posted on the internet of her on the job.
Well that has happened; pictures of her wearing nothing but pasties and a bikini bottom were posted both on the business’s website as well as on her personal Instagram. Now I have to hear comments from my friends as they are all privy to what my girlfriend looks like with all but no clothes on.
What should I do?
Wow, sounds like there’s a lot going on here. Let’s quickly discuss the first two issues you bring up: your girlfriend doesn’t feel loved, and she’s also kept in touch with her exes. Either of these could be (and have been) topics for posts on their own, but the more pressing issue is the job situation so we’ll just touch on them briefly.
Open communication is key. What, specifically, does your girlfriend want you to do to show that you love her? More affection? Love notes? Surprise dates? It’s different for everyone so ask her straight out to tell you. As long as her requests are reasonable (i.e., not gifts of diamonds, designer handbags, or other material items that have nothing to do with love), try to fulfill them. As for the exes, it depends on what you mean by “keeps in contact.” Is this the occasional chaste, catch-up text? Or actually meeting up with them on a regular basis? An occasional email with an ex is somewhat reasonable; weekly lunches with everyone she ever dated is not. Without knowing you or her or the situation, I say, follow your gut on this one. If it seems sketchy…it probably is. Ask her to stop.
You got a job as a barista? That’s great, honey…(credit)
Okay, on to the job issue. The bikini barista gig is a bummer for you, I get that. I actually think it’s more complicated than just the fact that she’s scantily clad. I mean, some of your friends have probably seen your girlfriend with a swimsuit on, right? You’ve all gone to the beach or the pool together? Not much of a difference. So it’s not strictly the fact that people you know will see her half-naked. Or let’s say your girlfriend had a different job that required her to wear hardly any clothing as well, for instance if she was a lifeguard or taught swimming lessons for a living. That probably wouldn’t bother you much, I mean, it’s hard to save lives in the water if you’re wearing long pants and a cardigan, right?
What you really object to is that her job requires her to basically sell a look at her body. The people driving up to this coffee shop could get coffee at Starbucks for the same price, but they choose to come to this particular coffee shop because they’re going to see, forgive me, T & A. Just to validate your feelings, there aren’t many men who would feel comfortable with their girlfriend being in such a line of work.
...wait a minute, that’s what you’re wearing? (credit)
As for what you should do–you have to figure out if you can accept that she has this job. I know nothing about your girlfriend, what her previous work experience or education is, but it seems like if she can get a job as a barista, she can likely get a job as a waitress or bartender. However, if she is choosing to continue to work at a place that requires her to bare her body, that’s her choice to make. And it’s also your choice to 1) communicate to her how that makes you feel, in an honest, direct, and non-shaming manner, and then 2) respond to her decision in the way that is best for you. If you want to stick it out, I think it’s reasonable to do so. Your friends will likely keep ragging you about seeing your girlfriend in pasties, but that’s sort of to be expected, right? Be a good sport about it and laugh it off. If you feel you can’t deal with her job, I also think it’s reasonable to end the relationship. Best of luck to you.
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