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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

253

Locks, Ships, and the Sexless Non-Marriage

Do you think that for a relationship to be ultimately successful, the man has to like the woman more than she likes him? My mother (married for 36 years) swears by this rule, and I'm curious to hear a man's perspective.

Nothing against your mother — she sounds lovely! — but this just seems silly. First of all, how would you measure such a thing? With calipers? A kitchen scale? "Hey, honey, could you come over here a minute? Need to check to see if you like me more than I like you. Oh, while you're at it, I need 6 ounces of guanciale." I don't believe we have this technology yet. But I'm pretty sure Iran is working on it.

Second — and most importantly — even if you had this knowledge, how would you walk around all day with it? How do you face your partner with this knowledge? "Oh, man, I like her just 300 nanoloveprotons more than she likes me. I bet she's cheating on me." In the end, how is that knowledge supposed to HELP?

Love may be a battlefield, but relationships aren't a competition. (Parenting is!) You've got enough to worry about without constantly second-guessing the water levels of your mutual liking. As I said last time, love isn't built for this kind of over-analysis. I mean, I haven't seen anything from Nate Silver yet. You love your partner, you trust that they love you, you don't check a graduated cylinder for empirical evidence. Now that probably sounds all squishy and uncomfortable. Good, then you're doing it right.

Your mother probably swears by that rule because she thinks your father likes her more than she likes him. The reality is: he likes football even more. That's what keeps a marriage together for 36 years.

I've been having an affair with a married man for about 10 months. I know it's wrong. I'm not going to give a long backstory to try and rationalize it. I'm ending it. My question is, do I let his wife know what's been going on? We live in different states and there's very little chance that she would ever find out otherwise. I know his address and his travel schedule — one well-timed package would do it. But to be honest, the only reason I'm considering telling her is because of some destructive impulse; I can't say I'm trying to help her out in any way. I know I'm not the first person he's strayed with, and I suspect I won't be the last. Do I owe it to her to tell her? Or am I just trying to take the ship down with me?

Jesus, what's with all of the philandering? This column is called Ask a Married Dude, not Ask a Homewrecker. I'm married, and I'm barely qualified to comment on marriage, so that doesn't make me an expert on cheating. Any more than sleeping with a married guy makes you an expert on marriage.

Yeah, you owe her something. A fucking apology. But you don't get to deliver that. Only her friends or family qualify to be whistleblowers, and you are neither of those. You are just someone who fucked her husband. I'll pause here to let that sink in.

Are you so vindictive that you want to just throw the fact that you slept with her husband in her face? Did Brooke Hundley inspire you? There's nothing noble about any of what you are doing. You cannot control what happens with his marriage, and guess what? You don't get to. At least you acknowledge that a "destructive impulse" is what's guiding you, and at some level, I suppose I get that. Want what you can't have, therefore you're going to scuttle the ship? You're lashing out, maybe because you're pissed at yourself. The difference is how you act on those impulses.

The best thing you can do is walk away, do not look back, and start figuring out how you're going to participate in healthy relationships going forward. There's nothing healthy going on here.

What's your favorite memory of your own wedding?

Here's the part where I'm supposed to say that there were so many wonderful memories of my wedding that it's almost impossible to pick just one. There were! We got married in Eastern Europe (that's right, I'm a mail order groom), so it was like going on a very cool vacation where you happened to get married while sightseeing in nice clothes. We had never set foot in the church we were married in until our wedding day, which was amazing, because we'd seen every church in town up to that point. It was built in the 1600s.

So, my favorite memory? I got tattooed the day before our wedding while my wife-to-be met with the priest. Kidding, honey! That's my second-favorite memory.

One of the unique parts of getting married overseas was getting to experience local customs as a part of the wedding festivities, which were meaningful because my wife and I both have Baltic heritage. So I think my favorite memory was participating in a tradition where we affixed a padlock to the railing of a bridge in town, engraved with our names and wedding date. My wife and I refer to these as wedlocks, and weren't sure how it all started, but we'd noticed padlocks with names etched in them locked to bridge railings all over Eastern Europe.

On the way from our wedding ceremony to our reception — which was at a medieval castle, no big deal — we stopped the bus carrying the wedding party and guests to secure our lock to the bridge railing. Everyone joined us, we took pictures, and passersby shouted congratulations and honked car horns. There were other newlyweds there as well, so it felt like we were participating in something communal even as gaijin. My wife and I selected a spot, attached the lock, kissed the keys and tossed them into the river below.

Can't wait to go back and see if it's still there.

Okay, so this is sort of grim. Maybe? I don't know. And I know that it's not as if one person (you) will have the answer, or even that there IS an answer, or ... okay never mind. Just, more than looking for an answer-answer, I wanted to get this out there. So. I love my girlfriend. (I'm a guy.) We've been together for three years; I'm 31, she's 32. I know she wants to get married. But the problem is that we don't have sex. Or, we've had sex twice in the past year. One of those loving-roommate situations/problems that everyone somehow seems to have. So my question is: is this too soon to be not-having sex? The answer is to talk about it, I know, but talking about the root of why you're not having sex is so much easier said than done, especially when the answer is something along the lines of "ehhh I just don't really feel like it," "Yeah, me neither." But it's still the answer, right? I would want to have more sex, but she usually just falls right asleep. And it's kind of sad, but I'm not really that bothered. There are definitely other people I'd like to have sex with, as anyone/everyone in relationships likely feels, so it's not like I'm asexual (far from it). I guess I'm just curious on your thoughts of when it's too soon for the loving-roommate situation to set in.

Oh, dear. Yeah, this is sort of grim, but let's talk through it. Short answer: yes, it's not only "too soon for the loving-roommate situation to set in," it's unfortunate that you accept the "loving-roommate situation" as an inevitable or natural outcome of a long term relationship.

Yes, Madeline Kahn's Mrs. White in Clue claimed that life after death was as improbable as sex after marriage. That's cliche and funny, and a great comedic device. That doesn't make it reality.

Was your sex life always like this? Or has it degraded over the years? Sure, there are plenty of obstacles that can get in the way of gettin' busy once you're settled down in a nice, committed relationship: parenting, work, too much booze, stress, familiarity. But like any other obstacle — the people who slowly walk up the steps of the subway station like zombies fiddling with their phones — they have to be overcome to get where you want to go. You just need to figure out which texting zombie is getting in the way of you guys makin' bacon. Talking about it helps, even if it's kind of awkward and clinical. Spontaneity could help as well, since it breaks up traditional patterns and rekindles the spark of you guys doing it on the kitchen floor during The Amazing Race. Are you still trying, or have you already accepted some sort of self-imposed fate here? You both could be lying there in bed at night, so horny for each other that it's actually affecting the tides, but waiting for the other to bust a move. Make a move, and if you are constantly rebuffed, you may need to take matters into your own hands. No, not like that, I mean confront the issue directly, openly and honestly.

Now, your texting zombie (man, I'm really running with this metaphor, eh? Okay) might be something deeper and scarier that involves psychology or hormone imbalances or the fact that your relationship may have run its course. But you need to find out what it is. You clearly aren't content with the current state of your sex life, and that's no way to enter into marriage, much less another year of your relationship.

Previously: Bob and Eli.

A Married Dude is one of several rotating married dudes who don't claim to know everything about marriage. Do you have any questions for A Married Dude? (300-word max, please.)

Photo by Patsy Michaud, via Shutterstock

253 Comments / Post A Comment

LastMinuteLulu

My grandmother offered up the same sentiment of relationships lasting longer when the man is more into the woman. I wonder if that's just old-school advice? But she never explained how you would know this exactly.

wharrgarbl

@LastMinuteLulu It might be more of an old-school thing, like it was easier to keep the spark alive when the man-as-pursuer model extended even into the marriage, where (traditionally) the guy would have a lock on the lady and be able to stop trying. Aside from the sad fact of sexist gender roles lingering to this day, I don't know that it would be nearly as applicable to a couple now as it might have been in the '50s.

KatnotCat

@LastMinuteLulu I've mostly heard this advice from the very old or the very old-fashioned. I think it had a place in certain eras in which a woman could get really, truly fucked over by a husband in ways that are less common and often less legal now. My mother modified it to include that I should also have more money than any husband I married, which seems like easier advice to live by.

emilylou

I've also heard this advice, from Carrie's one-episode-only friend Brooke on Sex and the City. "It's always better to marry someone who loves you more than you love them."

....sorry to bring SATC references into this, guys :/

yamtoes

@wharrgarbl Also, and I know this is totally sexist of me and I can't believe I'm saying it, but I think in general a man might be more likely to be oblivious of the fact that he is the one more in love than a woman would be. If there should be a slight imbalance, it's probably better that the person on that side of it not be totally aware of it. *ducks*

Chicka Boom

@LastMinuteLulu My grandma gave me the same advice, and I always interpreted it to mean that you want to partner off with someone who appreciates you and feels lucky to be with you. Which is pretty good advice, in my opinion.

Lily Rowan

@Chicka Boom Yeah, I basically feel like both partners should enter into a marriage unsure how they got so lucky to end up with someone they barely deserve. Ah, l'amour!

Pound of Salt

@LastMinuteLulu I've heard it said that whoever loves the other less, holds the power in the relationship. Probably not a helpful way to think about it.

Bittersweet

@Lily Rowan: This, except that both partners feel lucky to enter into a marriage with someone as awesome as they are. "Deserve" and "worthy" just serve to emphasize inequality.

AniaGosia

@LastMinuteLulu Maybe that's the key to this advice and its old-fashionedness. In 'traditional' relationships where the man has more power than the woman, maybe having him love her more balances out the power. A proto-feminist way to have an equal relationship? Depressing though.

carolita

@LastMinuteLulu She's right, but she hasn't explained it well. The only time I ever had a good relationship with a man was the day I was able to believe (and make my BF believe it, too) that although I loved him deeply, if he proved to be a burden to me, I would dump him. We'd been on and off for years, and I was hopelessly in love, but one day, that was it for me. As soon as he realized this, he shaped up and pretty damn quick. It was a transformation. Then, when we were about to move in together, he got cold feet. So, I advertised for a roommate immediately, which shocked him into complete commitment, and that's the last time he ever toyed with the idea that I wouldn't dump him immediately upon disappointing me. (Of course, I have not been put to the test again, and I might soften, but who knows? I might not. It's up to him to decide if he feels lucky, or just plain not in love with me anymore, in which case he has my blessing to move on. I'm no fool, and I've lived alone for so long before shacking up with him, that I'd readjust. Of course, I'd keep the dog. Haha.) The only catch is, you have to actually mean it. Faking it is just playing games, which is just silly.

So, it's probably got nothing to do with being a man or a woman. It's got more to do with being the half of the relationship that misbehaves because they feel they can afford it, and anyone is capable of that. So it probably works the other way around (with the woman loving the man more), but it's less frequent simply because most women haven't realized that they don't really need men as much as they did, say, in the 50s.

DrFeelGood

I guess the modern equivalent was shown in "How I met your Mother" (ergh why am I admitting I watch this show), when Lilly and Marshall discuss who is the "reacher" and who is the "settler" in their relationship - they both think they are the settler and the other is the reacher.

redheaded&crazy

@carolita wooord.

@DrFeelGood aw but Lilly and Marshall are an adorable couple, so it's okay!

The key is to believe in your own innate awesomeness, and find somebody who meets and/or exceeds it, and feels the same way about you.

you know, as long as we're wishing on our personal genies for magical unicorns

LastMinuteLulu

@Pound of Salt Yes, knowing my grandma (aka control freak), it was all about holding the power in the relationship. I have no doubts that she meant it this way, although all of the alternate theories on this piece of advice are pretty interesting too.

GirlJourno

@LastMinuteLulu My aunt gave me this advice when I was at a really critical part of my last relationship... She said it with tears in her eyes because I think she's always used it as a reason to justify the fact she's been married to my uncle for over 30 years... who, though we love him, really isn't a man worthy of her intelligence and wit.

Just a thought.

dj pomegranate

I <3 this Married Dude and I <3 his wedding memory!

SarahP

@dj pomegranate Aw, comment twins! Can we all just go back in time and be guests at the wedding?

dj pomegranate

@SarahP It makes me want to get married on a bridge in Eastern Europe and invite all of the Hairpin to the party!

raised amongst catalogs

@dj pomegranate Best. receiving line. ever.

charizard

Yikes, A Married Dude. All that vitriol for LW2 and none for the scummy dude who's cheating on his wife.

LW2: Respect yourself and get out of there. You will gain nothing from fucking (or fucking with) a guy who's enough of a dick that he'll disrespect the woman he married.

Porn Peddler

@charizard To be fair, the cheating husband did not write in to the column, and so so so many women who have affairs with married men choose to tell the wives and act as if it's a favor, and not some format of revenge.

SarahP

@Third Wave Housewife Seconded. The Dude is not saying the husband is a faultless guy, but LW2 is the one trying to kick cheated-on wife while she's down.

thatslikeyouropinionman

@charizard I think he was absolutely right in setting her straight. I've been on the receiving end of the other woman's "help" and trust me, it just makes everything worse. It's clear that someone who does this is, as A dude mentioned, just taking the sinking ship down with her.
LW2 needs to get her life together and move on. Far away from her married ex and his messed up marriage.

paddlepickle

@charizard Yeah, I think vitriol for the husband just isn't relative to the question. But I do find it confusing that he seems to have way more vitriol for this lady than for Bob-and-Eli lady, when she comes off way worse to me. At least this lady isn't trying to justify her actions.

charizard

@thatslikeyouropinionman But it's already clear that LW2 has no empathy for her paramour's wife. So what's the point in guilting her over it, other than to call her a homewrecker? If I were AMD, I would have said that the boyfriend is clearly a scumbag and to stick one's hand into a scumbag's beehive is asking to get stung. People who cheat on their spouses are also quick to do stupid, vengeful things and stir up drama, so it's best to simply remove oneself from the situation.

thatslikeyouropinionman

@charizard It seems to me that she's looking for some sort of moral loophole in which it would be ok for her to go ahead and let the wife know just what a scumbag her husband is. It's not her place to interfere in this woman's life anymore, especially by lighting a fuse as she's walking away from the situation under the guise of being "helpful".

Porn Peddler

@paddlepickle I'm pretty sure there are different married dudes, and this is not the same dude as Bob and Eli's column was. Also, girl who wrote in about Bob and Eli might be beyond anything A Married Dude can say. I'm not sure what vitriol can do to a person like that.

@charizard I read it as just plain tough love-- it works for a lot of people and hopefully this gal is one of them.

parallel-lines

@charizard Yeah, she's pretty much straight up said this is revenge - she doesn't care about this lady's feelings. If she did, she wouldn't have slept with her husband. LW2 - you triflin'. Check yourself and step down.

wharrgarbl

@paddlepickle Reasonably sure this is not the same Married Dude, as has been mentioned.

Though I'm a little torn. I feel like the moral thing would be to tell the wife, but I doubt the LW would be able to do it in a way that wouldn't be a lot more hurtful than it had to be, which means the LW should just walk away. Is it more understandable for a woman who didn't know she was banging a cheater to clue the cheater's steady in to their extracurriculars once she finds out?

paddlepickle

@Third Wave Housewife Ohhh he linked to 'last time' in one of his responses and I thought Bob and Eli was last time but it's not, so you're right, probably different Dude. Carry on!

itmakesmewonder

@wharrgarbl This is problematic. Telling the wife is the "moral" thing to do? Why?

City_Dater

@wharrgarbl

No, the "moral thing" is to not fuck someone else's husband. The letter-writer is looking for permission to blow up her jerky-ex-lover's marriage on her way out the door, and there's no moral high ground whatsoever in saying to someone "I know your husband is a cheating sack of shit, because I slept with him." If this woman doesn't know, she doesn't need to find out like that. This Dude's response is perfect.
(Having been one of the points on such a triangle more than once in my life, I know I wouldn't have told, nor would I have wanted to be told...)

wharrgarbl

@itmakesmewonder Um...because it's rather plausible at that point that she's being deprived of her ability to make an informed decision about her own life and how she wants to live it? That the cheater is, in fact, consciously depriving her of that right?

thatslikeyouropinionman

@wharrgarbl Sorry, but no. The cheater who is ultimately responsible for depriving the wife of the right to make an informed decision is her husband. Not the other woman. The other woman, as AMD so perfectly stated, needs to GTFO and move on.

itmakesmewonder

@wharrgarbl Sleeping with a stranger's husband then approaching that stranger purporting to have useful information about her life and expecting her to trust anything about it is the least moral and most crass magic trick I can imagine.

thatslikeyouropinionman

@itmakesmewonder Precisely!

datalass

@itmakesmewonder Yes, it's so interesting that the LW's concern for the wife set in at exactly the point that the LW decided to end the affair. A real altruist, our LW.

itmakesmewonder

@thatslikeyouropinionman The truth is only as high-quality as the person you hear it from, in my opinion.

ETA @datalass I don't even have feelings about LW's original decisions -- I think telling the wife is not right, regardless.

Lulu22

@City_Dater Not saying LW2 is a model citizen, but she's not the one who made a vow of fidelity and honor. The (cheating) husband is.

City_Dater

@Lulu22

However, when anyone offers even half-hearted defense of such a person ("After all, she's not the one who promised to be faithful") I for one usually assume the defender is the kind of person who would eat the last cupcake and lie about it. The cheater sucks, the person cheating with him/her sucks. It's not about establishing that one of them is actually a slightly bigger jerk, it's about not doing possibly hurtful things to other people, whether you actually know them or not.

Gnatalby

@City_Dater Wooooooooord. If you wouldn't punch a stranger in the face, don't help their partner cheat. Hurtful is hurtful.

wharrgarbl

@Lulu22 No, LW#2 isn't the person who made a vow of fidelity and broke it. No, LW#2 can't make the cheater somehow not a cheater by personally not sleeping with him. But. LW#2 is the person who knew about the vow of fidelity the cheater was breaking and decided she didn't give a fuck about it so long as she got what she wanted. And LW#2 can definitely choose to not be the person with whom the cheater is cheating.

Just because you can't stop something from happening in the abstract doesn't mean you're off the hook if you actively decide to abet it.

carolita

@charizard exactly!! I don't like this Married Dude. He rubbed me the wrong way with that nastiness. It takes two, Married Dude.

Lulu22

@City_Dater I don't like cupcakes, and I ain't lyin'. I also have never cheated on someone, but I've been cheated on. It's easy to sit here and judge from the (dis)comfort of the comments section, but we don't have all the information.

designchic255

@carolita What nastiness? I feel like he is just calling it like it is. Sometimes people really should let things sink in. Clearly this person never let things sink in before they acted in the first place.

catsuperhero

@charizard See, I view this as the apology isn't for the wife at all--it's to make this woman feel better. She cheated, she knows it's wrong, she's ending it--whoa, high and mighty choice there; good job, lady--and her closure is to apologize. She gets to be the one to say, "Well, I screwed up, but I said I was sorry!" and have that virtuous glow.

I think what Dude is saying when he says "You don't get to be the person to apologize" is that "Honey, you don't get to feel better by apologizing. You don't get to let yourself off the emotional hook here; you're not even considering what such an admission could do to this woman. You just want to tie up all your morally reprehensible loose ends in a way that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and guess what? You made your bed, you have to lie in it. That bed includes a guilty conscience."

Porn Peddler

"I know she wants to get married. "

Oh yeah? And what about you?

You admit you have sexual urges (toward other people even) but you assume the loving room mate situation is inevitable. I hate to say it but....grow a pair, dude- talk to her (easier said than done but also Doable And Should Be With Your Girlfriend Of Three Years), get to the bottom of this, and don't just frame this as "well I know SHE wants to get married..."

"And it's kind of sad, but I'm not really that bothered." Don't let your comfort translate to a total lack of will-power and assumed powerlessness. That is not a relationship and will not be a marriage (not that sexless relationships are not relationships-- given the vast number of relationship possibilities, of course they can be; this particular incarnation just does not sound like one to me)

wharrgarbl

@Third Wave Housewife Seriously. LW#4, this is almost assuredly not spontaneously going to get better. You need to talk to your girlfriend about this. It's "kind of sad" now, but if you're still lusting after other people and wishing you were having more sex and being unhappy with your hetero bed-death, it's just going to get sadder and sadder as time goes on. The time to start sussing things out is right now.

MrComment

@Third Wave Housewife People don't choose to get married. It's just what happens when you date someone for long enough that it'll be too much of a pain in the ass to date someone else.

SarahP

This married dude is pretty great... and I wish I was at his wedding, it sounds awesome!

oh, disaster

@SarahP Me too!

Megasus

@SarahP Seriously. Greatest wedding ever.

timesnewroman

Maybe I will get pounced on for this. But. Come, come, Married Dude. You most of the time know who likes who more in a relationship. You don't need scales. You just know. Don't be silly.

SarahP

@timesnewroman I agree there are often imbalances in relationships, but the idea that the man always has to love the woman MORE to make a relationship successful is ridiculous.

whereismyrobot

@timesnewroman If you don't see that person, you probably are that person.

Leon Tchotchke

@timesnewroman Maybe, but also maybe part of having a good relationship is doing your best not to analyze things like this (unless they're like an actual problem, in which case, different story obv.). But that's some forbidden knowledge, Necronomicon-level shit, like trying to derive down to the microjoule exactly who does more chores. Maybe there's a definitive answer, but it's not gonna make anyone happier for knowing it.

timesnewroman

@whereismyrobot Haha yes!

@everyone I'm thinkin that part of a healthy relationship is that it needs to be as close to 50/50 as you can get it. A relationship does not have to be 50/50 (that may be impossible) to be healthy, but anymore than 60/40 wonkiness may mean a problem - I think.

I am also thinking that if a man has more power in a relationship then he may end it, because men are more socialised to go after what they want. If a woman has more power in a relationship, she may be less likely to end it, even if she is not into it anymore. So there may be truth in the idea that if the woman has more power then the relationship will last longer - but that doesn't mean that the relationship is a successful or healthy one or that it even should be lasting. Just my thoughts on the subject.

(I was disappointed with the Dude's answer to that one - it wasn't a ridiculous question and should not have been dismissed. I did like his other answers, though.)

whizz_dumb

@timesnewroman It isn't silly, shit's not always so cut and dry. Attitudes change, feelings evolve, respect waxes and wanes, and so on. I personally aspire toward a relationship that seems to have, in general, equal amounts of like on both sides. This doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

parallel-lines

@timesnewroman There seems to be a flux in who likes who more during the course of relationships and sometimes the power can shift back and forth - it's a little more fluid than described above.

From what I've read in self help books/talked with therapists about, the person who has the least invested/can walk away the easiest/cares less holds the most power in the relationship and generally is the one "chased" or, I suppose, liked more.

E
E

@timesnewroman It's totally not a ridiculous question. If there's a huge adoration love gap, I think it's not going to work. It gives one partner too much power and that can lead to contempt, which isn't a good ground to stand on. All relationships have power components, but if there's a serious imbalance across all sectors...its not going to be good.

I think the modern relationship demands a reasonably equal level of adoration, and if possible you should both cultivate an attitude that you finagled the better part of the bargin ("ha ha! She's/He's such a sucker! She/He only gets to date me! but I get to date her/him!").

miwome

@E I completely agree with your entire first paragraph. This phenomenon played a huge part in the breakups of my two longest term relationships--each of these guys got so weirdly, over the top infatuated with me that I just started to hate their guts.

redheaded&crazy

@E I think it should be "She/he gets to date me! AND I get to date him/her!" as much as possible. So I guess I'm with the 50/50 crew.

I dunno I kind of feel like women are better suited for the role of "benevolent relationship dictator" but fuck that sounds so sexist! Time to go restructure my brain.

I'm Not Rufus

@timesnewroman RE: your theory that men are more likely than women to end a relationship they're dissatisfied with:

According to Experts on The Internet, about 2/3 of divorces are initiated by women. And that predates women's rights: a similar fraction of divorces in the 19th century were initiated by women. Obviously marriages are a non-random sample of relationships, and maybe that statistic just indicates that husbands generate more bullshit for their wives to deal with than visa versa. But color me skeptical. Lots of guys have a high moment of relationship inertia, or maybe just lower expectations. In the end, it seems to be more difficult to convince wives than it is to convince husbands that the marriage is worth it.

timesnewroman

@I'm Not Rufus Ahhh maybe you're right. I'm not hugely confident in what I said now, I think I was just thinking aloud.

P.S. Please don't hate me

Too much booze can get in the way of gettin' busy, you say? Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the other way around...

Porn Peddler

@P.S. Please don't hate me I get silly and flirty when I'm drunk but I have never once had sex while drunk. Ever. For the most part I am just sleepy/dizzy and that sounds unsexy to me.

paddlepickle

@P.S. Please don't hate me Booze provokes the desire, takes away the performance, says Shakespeare and also me.

Brunhilde

@P.S. Please don't hate me: My studies have shown that whiskey dick is a very real thing.

Bittersweet

@paddlepickle: Depends on the amount of booze. If you can come close to The Line without crossing over it, you can have amazing, high-performance sex while buzzed. Harder (sorry) than it sounds.

shantasybaby

@P.S. Please don't hate me I've mostly dated teetotalers but my current main squeeze isn't -by a long shot- so I assumed that this "whiskey dick" was going to be an issue but instead he stays rock hard but can't come which actually translates to more sex for me which is great! There is a nice place between sober and hammered where the best sex of my life has happened!

Inconceivable!

I adore Madeline Kahn, so thank you for making me think of her (and of Clue) on this otherwise dull Tuesday.

Gracefully and Grandly

@Inconceivable! Flames. Flames, on the side of my face!

Madeline Kahn is the best.

Party Falcon

@ferdinand the bull She is! She (dressed as Lily von Schtupp) was my costume for this past year's Dead Hollywood party! It was amazing. Pink feathers and ribbons and a lispy germanic pout!

Sadly, I won for Most Obscure.

thatslikeyouropinionman

@Party Falcon Not to wander too far off topic, but Dead Hollywood party?! That's a thing? I love this idea so much! Tell me more...

raised amongst catalogs

@Inconceivable! "I had to stop her from screaming."

leastimportantperson

@Party Falcon I'm not a wabbit. I need some west.

Party Falcon

@thatslikeyouropinionman Yeppers! We usually do it on Halloween. It's just like the name says, a costume party where the only rule is that you have to come as someone dead and famous. There are prizes. It's fun and it helps avoid the sexy-________-syndrome.

thatslikeyouropinionman

@Party Falcon love this idea so so much!

tortietabbie

Aaaaaaaaand now I need to go home and watch Blazing Saddles (again).

anachronistique

@Party Falcon More schnitzengruben?

Party Falcon

@anachronistique Fourteen's my limit.

Bittersweet

@Party Falcon: Woses. How ordinawy.

DandelionTacy

@Inconceivable! Yes! I love her. I can watch the shit out of her as Trixie Delight in Paper Moon.

Slapfight

@vanillawaif "How many husbands have you had?!"
"Mine or other women's?"
"Yours!"
"Five."
"Five?!"
"Yes, just the five. Husbands should be like Kleenex. Soft, strong and disposable."

cherrispryte

You're going to need to tell me where in Eastern Europe you got married, Married Dude.

atipofthehat

@cherrispryte

Polska, naturalnie?

cherrispryte

@atipofthehat Well that is my hope! As it is Paczki day, it seems appropriate!

wilarseny

@cherrispryte The place with Uzupis Bridge is Vilnius, Lithuania.

wilarseny

@wilarseny Wait, sorry, that sounded like I'm A Married Dude responding to this. Definitely am not! Not this married dude, and not a married dude at all.

It is the right place, though. Or at least the most famous one.

itmakesmewonder

This is an excellent selection of questions! Good choosin', whoever does the choosin'.

Dancercise

Look at them shine! Look at them shine!

melis

Will it be this one HERE, will it be that one THERE?

lue
lue

@Melis
Seeing this made me gasp with glee. We do variations on "look at them shine" to narrate our dog's activities. Look at him writhe! Look at him writhe!

Biketastrophy

"There were other newlyweds there as well, so it felt like we were participating in something communal even as gaijin."

How far East in Europe were you that you're using the Japanese word for foreigner?

I think this A Married Dude is an anime fan.

candybeans

@Biketastrophy Thanks for clearing that up. I was not grokking that whole sentence at all until I read this comment.

frigwiggin

@Biketastrophy I dunno, I think "gaijin" appropriately encompasses the outsider-ness of being anywhere where you're a foreigner.

Megoon

LW2, your letter is really depressing. The ideal time for the "loving roommates" thing to start is "never." Or I guess more realistically, "for a while when the kids are young."

Talk to her about this. Are you okay with having sex two times a year for the rest of your life? Unless something changes, that's probably the answer to your question. Also, try some nooners on the weekend if being too tired is really the problem.

whizz_dumb

@Megoon weekend nooners are the best! And now I feel extremely single.

dabbyfanny

@Megoon Agreed. Some people do have low libidos, but the letter writer doesn't sound like one of them.

IMHO, sex is relationship glue. It pulls you back together when times get tough and reminds you of why you got together in the first place. You can have a sexless relationship with everyone else in the world, but your partner, the love of your life? You guys should be having sexy times on a frequent basis - and I'd recommend weekend mornings for starters. Maybe you got into a bad habit through being tired, but it IS a bad habit, which you need to quit. If she acknowledges it's a problem, there are many self help books out there on how to rekindle desire. If she refuses to talk about it, I'd try really hard to get her to go to couples counseling with you. Or walk away.

charizard

@dabbyfanny I once heard the expression that sex is the egg in one's relationship omelet. Setting aside all the gross imagery when it comes to sex and eggs, egg whites, yolks and all other reproductive metaphors, it's a great saying :D

KatieWK

@dabbyfanny "I'd try really hard to get her to go to couples counseling with you. Or walk away." Yes!

I have a friend who could be LW#4's girlfriend. I also have male friends who have been in LW#4's shoes in the past. Just from hearing about these situations, it seems to me that sometimes women (or men! I have just not known any) go into relationships hoping they will be a haven from sex. Sex is just the necessary evil they undertake to earn the security of a relationship. In their minds, sex has never been an end goal or an enjoyable activity that justifies itself. Sometimes this is because that person has just never had a good, satisfying sexual relationship; sometimes it's deeper than that (unresolved psychological stuff or past trauma). But either way, it is often not as simple as the spark dying out a little sooner than usual, or a flame needing periodic rekindling.

For LW#4 or anyone dating a person like this: You have to be willing to have some hard conversations and maybe even start from scratch with your partner, or be ready to walk.

New Commenter Name

@dabbyfanny
Agree agree agree! You said it perfectly!

puggle

@Megoon Talk to me about some of these books you say are great.

Veronica Mars is smarter than me

@dabbyfanny uuuuugh shiiiiit fuuuuuck this could be me if you make us a few years younger and add five years to the relationship tally. Pinners, please smack some sense into me and/or validate our lacks of libidos considering we both deal with depression, weight gain, health problems (just him), and (formerly, just me) PTSD.

dabbyfanny

@Puggle err... I just said they were out there, not that they were great? But I bet you could google and find a million on amazon, with reviews.

I'm lucky in that my partner has a great attitude about keeping things hot (he's divorced, and has learned from his mistakes). He likened keeping sex going long term to pushing out a boat (seriously). One person pushes out the boat, the other person jumps in, next thing you know, you're having a great time. We pretty much decided early on that if one of us was interested, they'd get things started and the other one would do their best to get into it. Turns out, it wasn't a chore.

Actually, given all the great advice people are throwing out about making the bedroom a roamtic place etc, I think the 'pinners should write their own book. I'd buy it.

dabbyfanny

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me Man, I'm so sorry. You are having tough times, and each one of the problems you list has it's own set of challenges. I've had many of those problems (just not the PTSD) and I have to say it does make you totally uninclined to have nooky.

A thought though, sex is affirming, and it can be comforting... Which helps with the depression and poor body image. I don't know, I was depressed recently (not majorly, I could basically still function) and steered away from sex b/c of it. But I noticed that for the first time ever, I began wondering if I even loved my partner, which made me even more depressed. In desperation, I pretty much made myself seduce him (he'd been trying to give me some space because he knew I was having a tough time), and I'm not going to say it was fireworks, but I did feel better, closer to him, not so alone. Then the next couple of times were great, and I'm back to knowing why I love him and why we are together.That's what I meant about it being a glue. It's a self perpetuating cycle, too, you don't have sex because of weight gain, you feel undesirable, which makes you miserable, so you don't have sex.... The opposite is true, too. Good luck and, hugs.

EpWs

@Veronica Mars is smarter than me Party Falcon has some good ideas downthread!

PistolPackinMama

Thanks for sharing that lovely wedding memory. It melted my icy cold heart just a little bit. *love*

werewolfbarmitzvah

For LW1, I guess it depends how you define a "successful" relationship. If by "successful," you mean that the guy will be hopelessly devoted to you and will never want to cheat on you or leave you, then sure, it would be solid advice to say that he should like you more than you like him. But if your definition of "successful" involves being joyously over-the-moon in love, then it ain't good advice. Yes, if he likes you more than you like him, he'll probably treat you great, but you also run the risk of getting bored with him, frequently annoyed and frustrated by him, feeling smothered by him, yearning to break free from him, etc. But if your #1 goal is that he is your eternally devoted servant, then go for it, I guess...?

KatnotCat

@werewolfbarmitzvah It's true. Longevity isn't the only marker of success in a relationship. If the relationship isn't successful otherwise, longevity can actually become a nightmare.

fabel

I think this dude was way harsh on LW2-- I mean, come on, most everyone knows that these actions are wrong, so when somebody's "other woman" writes in for advice, the finger-wagging is pretty unnecessary.

With that said-- don't fucking tell the wife, jesus. If you yourself can recognize that it's a destructive impulse propelling you to do this, then please don't. Those 10 months of your life don't need a giant explosion in order for you to believe that time is over...you just need to move on. He'll probably fuck himself over eventually.

mjneum

@fabel I have to say, as a wife who was cheated on, that I could not disagree more with this. This guy is a serial cheater, and either their friends and family don't know or aren't telling her. How is the wife going to feel if she ends up with Hep C or some other STD? If he has a kid outside? When ten years from now she could have gotten out if someone had just fucking told her?
Saying it's not LW2's responsibility to tell her is a cop out. She knew she was doing the lady wrong, and telling her doesn't have to be self-destructive. She doesn't have to send a "package" - just a note with a single photo would do. Then it's the wife's decision; and as a fucking adult, it should be her decision to make.

Party Falcon

Last LW - Any chronic illnesses? Maybe undiagnosed? It's really, really hard to feel sexaaay when you don't feel good.

Also, it's like super cheesy, but set up a sex date. Like, a real date with ties and high heels. Plan it. Plan that you're going to have sex when it's over. Actually say those words out loud. Even if you have to be all giggly and jokey about it at first. TALK ABOUT IT. Then, go out. Get tipsy, eat yummy food, talk about the sex you're gonna have while you're eating, make out just a little while you're waiting for the taxi/valet/subway, go home and have the sex. And then have sex the next morning. And try to keep having the sex AND TALKING ABOUT IT in the weeks to follow.

As weird and awful as it is, try to make it a habit. A thing you do. Maybe not as often as teeth-brushing, but maybe as often as ... changing the sheets or running the dishwasher. Whatever works for y'all. The important thing is to make it a thing you can talk about and then actually implement.

(Advice from a Falcon that married into a loving-roomate situation and now has finally figured out the sex thing. It's better with the sex! And the talking! And the sex!)

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Party Falcon I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Katie Aaberg@facebook

@Party Falcon, Great advice, I would just like to add that sex begets more sex, so push yourself to do it more often and then you will be doing it more often. Signed, married for 12 years with three kids under age 6, and still getting busy at least twice a week!

Judith Slutler

@Party Falcon Yes. Another thing that might work even if it sounds super kitschy, is to go on vacation or even just remodel / rearrange the bedroom. If your brain is not used to your bedroom being Sex Town, it can be kinda hard to get sexy in there!

Party Falcon

@Emmanuelle Cunt WORD! Get it on in the guest bedroom, if you've got one. Or the couch. Whatever. (Ask a Clean Person is there for any post-coital issues!)

It can be super hard to associate the bed in which you apply hand lotion, drink tea and watch Colbert nightly with nakedness and sexing.

Judith Slutler

@Party Falcon Yeah, I try to keep my bed for sleeping and sexing only (she typed guiltily from her bed) which is also good advice for the insomniacs among us.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Party Falcon Got it, bedroom remodel or at least revamp scheduled for this evening. Must break roommate syndrome. I can only blame going off hormonal BC for so long.

Judith Slutler

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Think soft, indirect light, a lack of clutter, all sexcessories close at hand, pleasant fresh smells and crisp sheets. And go get you some.

Party Falcon

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) And say it out loud. Seriously. It sounds sooooo awful and uncomfortable, but dude, if you say it, it is so much more likely to happen.

"Let's plan for sex after dinner, shall we? Meet you at the couch at 8 for some teenage-style necking and then on to bed?"

Say it. Even if it's a joke. "So I was reading this CRAAAAZY Falcon's comments on the Hairpin today..."

heyladies

@Party Falcon You are clearly doing something very right. Might I add that it seems trickier when the lady has to do all the prodding--feels like I so rarely hear that side of the story. sigh.

Party Falcon

@heyladies It is. We discovered that was part of our problem. He didn't want to ask, I didn't really want to have to BE asked. Like it was just going to happen without effort. So we just didn't. And our relationship was good enough and happy enough to get married. But it wasn't enough, you know?

So, I did that stuff. The sex dates and the talking and the asking and the joking. It took the pressure off of him and it kind of made us equals in the needing of the sex.

Also, it feels like prodding, but it's not. It's just finding a way to get something you need. And then finding out how to "automate" that process so you can stop prodding.

dj pomegranate

@Party Falcon This is the truth. I have a strict ONLY BED ACTIVITES IN THE BEDROOM policy. Beds are for sleeping and sexytimes, and also I guess for being sick if you must be sick. This means no TV and no doing like, crafts on the bed or whatever. It turns the bedroom into this isolated haven of calm and nakedness, which of course lead to regular sexytimes and also very sound sleep (on account of the calm and the sexytimes.)

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Party Falcon You see, we used to talk about it. I used to go all rah rah cheerleader. But when the time came (heh) I would be too tired or distracted and it just went...phut. After a while of this, Fig 2 would get upset, because he'd been, uh, boning up all day and you know, phut. So now he prefers that I don't promise or talk about it because it makes the letdown worse. And I don't talk about it because, fig. 1 low libido. So. Phut, indeed.

fabel

@Party Falcon This is definitely true, & I do it all the time. So much so that I kind of don't understand how people end up in "we just lie side by side in bed...never touching..." situations. I feel like it's so easy to be like "Sooo, let's fuck" but, of course, sometimes... it isn't?

Party Falcon

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Phut! Well then, no talking but surprise sexy bedroom?

Judith Slutler

@dj pomegranate Sigh, this is why I really need to get Project: Bedloft going. I live all in one room in a shared place, and my bed is currently the comfiest spot for so much crafting, typing, TV and other bullshit. Must build ladder to bed so that I only ascend to it for sleeping and sex.

puggle

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Oh man. I feel you, Fig. 1. And, I'm so encouraged to hear someone speak first-hand of emerging from Sexless Roommate Syndrome, Party Falcon. This is a hard one, no matter how much you're talking about it.

Party Falcon

@fabel It's really really not easy. It's my advice and I know it works for me, but sometimes I STILL have to psych myself up to do it. I think it's a personality thing?

Judith Slutler

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Aaaahhh I know what you're saying here, it is so tough to build up expectations and then not fall prey to performance anxiety sometimes. This is one of those feedback loop things that gets worse the rarer sex is, isn't it. I am in an LDR (argh) and I was having the same issue sometimes on weekends when we visited each other - it is just so tough to rev up my libido for a specific time slot, you know?

My tentative solution is to make sure that I have a sex life of my own even when I don't get to see him, I bought a vibe for the first time ever and try to do sensual things like taking regular baths, doing yoga and idk, being nice to my body in general. That's seemed to help so far because it doesn't feel like I have to go from 0 to 100 when he's here.

EDIT: Plus to be honest, I really had to work on learning how to initiate things more often and more aggressively.

Bittersweet

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy): Have you checked whether the low libido is linked to the hormonal BC? Because that is A Real Thing.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Party Falcon I would just like to say that Fig 2 has been asking more - we had a discussion about it because he was getting frustrated about frequency, and I was feeling terrible because I knew he was frustrated but at the same time I felt like I couldn't force myself to do it more, you know?

Anyways, he has started initiating a lot more (I used to initiate since he was very Gentlemanly about these sorts of things and isn't a prodder) and so far it's going Better, if not Well. I just...I just want to feel horny again? I mean, we enjoy doing it and generally we do it quite well, when we do it, and I'm not thinking about doing it with other people...it's just that I don't think about doing it very often. I guess this is where I go to my doctor and start discussing things. I'm otherwise healthy and happy.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Bittersweet I stopped taking it in 2009 because I was Not Myself At All. Since then I've had a little spike, but overall it's been a flatlining chart. I am not sure how long it can fuck up your hormones? Oh god is it for life?

EDIT: I should also note, the longest dry spell we've had is maybe a month. So definitely not the twice-a-year situation here. It's just that Fig 2 could do it two or three times a day easily. I was only that way at the beginning of the relationship.

dj pomegranate

@Emmanuelle Cunt I have a bedloft. It is basically the best--it's like having a grown-up clubhouse for nekkidness and sexytimes. Seriously, do it.

fuck fuck fuck

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) blah i know exactly how you feel. it is so frustrating for me to remember how horny i used to get ALL THE TIME, before i met my boyfriend, and to not just be able to think myself back there. and all rejecting my boyfriend kills me, but i seriously feel so stuck when i really, just really do not want to. basically i am hoping that when i get off the pill, things will just go back to normal. but at the same time a huge part of me is so scared that something has just changed, and i will never be horny again, and I WILL END UP ALONE JESUS.

Lily Rowan

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Going off hormonal birth control really increased my libido and whatnot. While making PIV sex less convenient. How wonderful.

Prostitute Robot From The Future

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) It took a while before my libido returned after quitting BC, so, don't worry just yet? Although part of the return of the libido (should be the title of a porn version of Star Wars, no?) had to do with a change of relationships.

Unfortunately, I am now the one who wants more sex than my boyfriend :S A talk needs to be had, but I am really, really bad at talking about my needs. (It appears quitting BC turned me into a guy?)

fabel

@Party Falcon oh yeah, I mean, it definitely varies by personality--
both personalities, I'd say. Because 90% of the time, I have no problem being all "let's fuck!" but there's been occassions when the dude I'm with just doesn't give off a vibe that lets me think it'll work out well if I do that (working out well= him being like "okay, let's!")

Party Falcon

@lighter fluid
@Fig. 1

Some of that's maybe just getting older? Yay for Dr. visiting and getting good solid medical advice! And the hormonal BC effects are definitely real!

But maybe, just maybe, your level of wanting to do it has just changed? Maybe it's not so useful to look back at how you used to be, but accept your reality now. This is how my body works now, do I want to fix it? Fix the situation? Work with what I've got?

I mean, my sex life is a hell of a lot better, but I am NOT the same person, sexually, that I was at 18. Or even 24.

fuck fuck fuck

@Party Falcon i am 21 so let's hope that's not it yet! but in general, i have been working on trying to just accept my sex drive for what it is right now because i can't get off the pill until i can afford paraguard (since i can't even make sex happen with condoms since i also have vaginismus! because i have everything wrong with me!). but that is not so easy when you already have a giant list of emotional problems to work on.

Slapfight

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) At one time I was on an awesome health kick, eating super healthy, running and taking 6 omega 3/6/9 fatty acid pills a day and I was cuh-rayzee horny. They're good for your brains and circulation, so you may want to try them? If you're vegetarian you can find ones made of flax seed oil.

Judith Slutler

@lighter fluid Girl, do not stress. At 21 I had a laundry list of sexual and emotional problems, 5 years later I am uh... still working on the emotional stuff, but I aggressively tackled the sexual stuff and have pretty much got it figured out at least for now. Plus, don't forget that many of us don't hit our sexual peak until mid-20s to early 30s. I used to have to work sooooo hard at even getting turned on, now orgasms have gotten super easy, I am pretty sure it's mostly just hormones and practice.

you will be OK, you'll get to know and accept yourself so much better.

Porn Peddler

I get really jealous whenever women talk about how their male partners have ridiculously high libidos that they can't keep up with- Mister's is lower than mine and he also does not like to be the initiator. I would be DTF like, several times a day if he were receptive to it.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Slapfight I bike to work for 3 seasons, do a fairly intense 2 hr weight workout at the gym 2x a week, walk often and eat a disgusting amount of flax, beans and legumes as a mostly-vegetarian (meat maybe 3x week.) Normally I would suggest a lifestyle check as you do, but I'm reasonably certain it's not the case.

However, I should add that I also work with Fig 2, we carpool together, and usually spend the weekends together. He doesn't have many other friends and his social life is usually us hanging out with my brothers. I have a fairly active social life, but spending 2 hours out of 24 apart is not very much, now that I think of it. Oh god I hate updating my CV.

Slapfight

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) Well, I guess that's not the case! Also, way to kickass with your lifestyle.
That IS a lot of dude-time.
@third wave housewife I hear you. Le sigh.

Party Falcon

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) DUDE!! No wonder. There's no time for the slow build, the burn, for the anticipation.

Get thee some space! For the sake of the sexy-time!

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Party Falcon Ugh but do you know how convenient it is to carpool??? In retrospect, my issues are pretty small. I need to do some more research, at any rate.

Anyways, thanks for the feedback guys! I wish, sometimes, that there was a way you could do actual Ask A columns as a back-and-forth; a lot of information can come up that gets overlooked or left out in the initial submission.

Bittersweet

@Lily Rowan: Ditto. It does make having condoms on hand a total necessity, though.

SarcasticFringehead

@Party Falcon This Party Falcon is the best Party Falcon!

No, but seriously, thanks for bringing this perspective. I feel like not having enough sex (for reasons other than being too busy, having kids, etc.) is one of the hardest relationship-related problems to talk about, although that might just be because it's always easier to talk about other people's problems than your own?

Party Falcon

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) omg. Ask a (Live) Party Falcon and Friends! It could be real-time like the Dear Prudence on WaPo. And others would weigh in! So excellent. We MUST do it.

Lily Rowan

@Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy) I've wondered (in my head) if there isn't some way to set up commenting accounts for LW1, LW2, A Lady, A Dude, etc., so they could participate in the comments while maintaining anonymity.

@Bittersweet Note that condoms don't work as well on hands! (ba dum bump!)

ada fuckface

@Emmanuelle Cunt "I used to have to work sooooo hard at even getting turned on, now orgasms have gotten super easy, I am pretty sure it's mostly just hormones and practice."

Thank you so much for saying this! I'm a 22-year-old lady with what feels like a very long sexual learning curve, so I'm always looking for reassurance that it's possible to figure this stuff out with time.

redheaded&crazy

@Party Falcon hoooooo boy that advice is NSFW *fans self*

redheaded&crazy

Also, birth control killed my sex drive in a way that it still feels like it hasn't recovered from. Although I still significantly more DTF than any guy I've been with. I think I need to expand my sample group some more though.

heyladies

@Party Falcon I am with you. It is not always simply a matter of initiating. Frustrating to be the one with the bigger libido, particularly when it's clearly (based on numerous studies of blog comments!) so abnormal. My Mr. tends to get tired in a very consuming way. It's possible he's been fighting some sort of chronic sleep issue his whole life, but just sort of works around it. Also, add a young child and timing difficulties to the mix. Still, I am a firm believer in where there's a will there's a way.

TheHotRock

@Party Falcon Ok so I hate to be the one to hijack this thread with IUD issues, but mine seems pretty relevant. I've been dating my bf for 6 months and at about the 2-month mark I was so excited to bone him all the time that I got a copper IUD. Fast forward a month and I was totally over having sex with him (and just all around uninterested in sex), and our relationship is now teetering on the edge of a loving roommates sitch. Does anyone have any experience/knowledge of a copper IUD affecting libido? I know the obvious answer is no, since it doesn't interfere with your hormones. But I can't pinpoint any other reason my sex drive would give out like this (the excitement of our still newish relationship hasn't really diminished in any other ways).

paddlepickle

So, regarding LW2. . .is it general consensus that it's never the right thing to let someone know they've been cheated on, if you were the partner-in-cheating?

I struggled with this when I'd had a one night stand with a guy who had a girlfriend, and found out later they'd gotten engaged. Fortunately the engagement imploded on it's own before I had to make a decision, but. . .I kind of think it might have been the right thing to tell her? It wouldn't have had anything to do with revenge on my part, I don't care about the guy, it just felt shitty to let this girl get married to a guy who wasn't going to be faithful to her. Am I to gather from Married Dude's response and general commenter reactions that the right thing would have been to keep my mouth shut?

Party Falcon

@paddlepickle Yes. Sorry! But yes.

We're all really good at deluding ourselves to the reasons we do things. Your intentions may have truly been pure, but maybe someone else's in your situation would not have been. So to simplify it, the answer is always going to be... keep your mouth shut.

parallel-lines

@paddlepickle Honestly, I've been in that situation and I said something and you know what came of it? Nothing good. Just stupid drama. No one will ever think you kind for ruining their relationship.

On the other hand, I occasionally see a girl who's boyfriend I hooked up with and later found out about her existence after the fact. I was tempted to say sorry but I figured why would I? I'm not the one who cheated on her, I never tried to rub her face in it, and after I found out about her I stayed far away from him (and she kept dating him knowing about what transpired). Whatever happened in that relationship is not my business, my business is taking care of myself and staying out of bad situations.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@parallel-lines I just want to repeat your last line again because it is SO IMPORTANT and often we forget about it: "my business is taking care of myself and staying out of bad situations"

wharrgarbl

@paddlepickle Personally, I'd feel fucking terrible if I was in that situation and didn't figure out some way to forewarn the fiancee. The stakes might be a little different since in this case they were already married, but...dude could still bring home a disease, drain the bank account, etc. It feels wrong to know a game-changer like that and not let the wronged party start making her decisions fully-informed. Of course, if you're trying to ruin him rather than help her...there are ways to tell, and there are ways to tell, y'know?

purefog

@paddlepickle I think AMD was perhaps right when he said, "Only her friends or family qualify to be whistleblowers, and you are neither of those." And that does not mean that if you WERE, whistleblowing would be mandatory; only that if you were, you would have a more nuanced understanding of whether it would be a good idea, AND you would be privileged to act on that understanding.

paddlepickle

@Party Falcon Well no need to apologize, that's certainly an easier answer! I was definitely not looking forward to telling her. I still dunno if that sits 100% right with me, though. Because clearly the guy had cheated and was going to continue to cheat, and finding out it about it from me while they were engaged would have stopped her from finding this out once she'd gotten MARRIED to him, you know? I sort of felt like I did a horribly shitty thing by sleeping with him, but it would make it slightly less shitty if I let her find out he's an asshole before she signs any papers. I think that's what I might have preferred to happen in that situation if it were me, although obviously I wouldn't have any respect or thanks for the girl who cheated and told me about it.

Party Falcon

@wharrgarbl You've already inserted yourself into their relationship, don't do it again.

If and/or (more likely) when the cheated-on finds out, the last thing that's going to be important is that you didn't tell them about the cheating.

This is a Star in Your Own Story Situation. You are only the lead actor in your own story, not anyone else's. You made a guest appearance on their show, no need to go scene-stealing after the fact.

paddlepickle

@parallel-lines I definitely wouldn't expect it to do anything good for me, or to be thanked, I was just thinking it might be the Right Thing to warn her before she gets married to the guy, even if it caused drama in my life. But maybe not! Gee I'm glad they broke up and I don't actually have to think really hard about this. It's like one "get-out-of-the-consequences-of-acting-like-a-selfish-asshole-when-you're-drunk-and-horny-free card". And boy have I learned my lesson!

thebestjasmine

@paddlepickle Yeah, I think keeping your mouth shut is the best thing when you're in that situation. For one, she doesn't know who the hell you are, so the odds that she'll believe you (and not her boyfriend/fiance/husband who she loves and tells her that you're crazy and/or lying) are slim. And it just makes you look vengeful, even if that's not the motivation. I think it's different if you're a friend of the girlfriend and you find out about cheating, because neither of those above issues are in play.

parallel-lines

@thebestjasmine Yes, this! In the situation I told the person, she didn't believe me, they stayed together and got married and I got sucked into years of drama from it. She told everyone that I was a crazy liar who stalked her husband (um, not true), spread rumors about me, the amount of lying that came out of telling the truth hurt me more than them. Part of me wanted to be like, "Oh hey, you married a cheating liar and I thought you should know beforehand, you're welcome!" but trust me, I'm never gonna get a thank you for that. Wish I had just not bothered.

paddlepickle

@thebestjasmine Hmmm that makes sense. But in this case the girl knows who I am (in a very casual acquaintances sort of way, we're not friends), AND is closer friends with a mutual friend who was there the night we hooked up and could confirm it's truth. Would that change your answer at all?

thebestjasmine

@paddlepickle Nope. None of that is going to make her not think that you're crazy and/or lying. If it's anyone's job, it's the mutual friend who knows but didn't tell her (and that the mutual friend didn't tell her might be all of the info you need).

Judith Slutler

@paddlepickle Uh that situation just sounds like it would be even more of a dramabomb than if you didn't know her at all. Don't do that to yourself.

I think this impulse is sometimes out of a misaimed type of sisterhood or something, like "ooh she should know her man is a cheater!" but by being the partner in cheating (unwittingly or not) I think you would just be too complicit to tell her.

rudedog@twitter

@paddlepickle as a dude that was cheated on, I can say with absolute, 100% certainty that the last person I would have wanted telling me is the guy that was schtupping my wife. It's much better to find out the old-fashioned way like mis-directed emails and unexpected phone bills.

Katie Aaberg@facebook

@paddlepickle, I think mostly the rule is "keep your mouth shut!", but there is one exception: if you know you have VD. Then, I'm sorry, new rules. If you know your partner is potentially spreading your VD to an unsuspecting partner, I think you have to say something.

NeverOddOrEven

@paddlepickle Count me as part of the minority. Intent matters and I think in this case makes all the difference.

Looking to get back at cheater? NO! Shut up.
Looking to help prevent others from being taken advantage of? I honestly don't see what's wrong with that. The chances that they wont get hurt much worse down the road seem slim.

I've been cheated on and was told by the other woman and I was grateful. I was also 16 at the time, so obviously the stakes were much lower, but I'd argue the pain proportionate.

Porn Peddler

@rudedog@twitter Mis-directed emails are old-fashioned now.

I wish I could find a philosophy column tackling this with the tools of ethical theory, because my instinct is to agree that most people in the LW's situation should not tell, but I want some painfully academic, cerebral explanation of the moral reasoning behind it. Esp with respect to the VD thing.

wharrgarbl

@NeverOddOrEven I don't know that gratitude for being told (in a post-high school relationship) is ever really going to be on the table. Maybe, conceivably, if the cheatee has been struggling with their suspicions but feeling like they can't do anything "drastic" without proof for a while, getting proof might be a relief, but...gratitude is a reach. I feel like it's kind of like being told by a doctor that you're a carrier for something serious. It's better to know, but you're rarely going to be all "Oh, thank you so much for giving me this terrible fucking news."

Full-disclosure, though: My mom's hep+ because of a cheater (she's okay, but this being A Thing for her because of him still makes me really fucking stabby), so it's entirely possible that I'm too emotionally invested in the catastrophic worst-case scenarios that can, but often objectively do not, come with this sort of thing to be as thoughtful and level-headed as the rest of the commentariat.

miwome

@Third Wave Housewife "My instinct is ______, but I want some painfully academic, cerebral explanation of the moral reasoning behind it."

ARE YOU ME?!

yamtoes

The only thing worse than finding out that my husband had been cheating on me would be hearing about it from the stranger he'd been cheating with. Sheesh.

atipofthehat

SEX IN MARRIAGE

“The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday—but never jam today.”

~The White Queen

*
Of course, rules are meant to be broken. Jam on!

Chicka Boom

LW1 - My grandmother gave me the same advice. I think that there's something to it, but you shouldn't take it too literally. A better (but less punchy) piece of advice is to to marry (or whatever) someone who APPRECIATES you; that is to say, someone who values you and feels lucky to be with you. Ideally, I think, both people in the relationship would feel that way.

tortietabbie

So, one time, I got cheated on by this horrible terrible manchild. He cheated with a girl who I had always been kind of insecure about, and apparently (so his story goes) she didn't know about me or thought we had broken up or whatever, and thought that she and my then-boyfriend were dating. So after I found out about the cheating I insisted that he tell her everything - that he was dating me, and cheating on me, and she was the other woman. I think I did it partially because I wanted to hurt her, because I wanted somebody else's "happy" relationships to fall apart, and also because in my twisted mind if he told her he was ending things because she'd been the other woman, somehow that meant that I was the better girl in the end and the manchild and I could move on.

For all I know it was all a ruse and they had a good long laugh at my expense and continued carrying on with each other behind my back (he was awful, we broke up for serious a few months later). But maybe not. Anyway it's one of those things that's still stuck under my skin years and years and years later.

Which is a long way of saying: LW2, don't do it.

redheaded&crazy

@tortietabbie hooooooly shit is this a familiar story, right down to "if she was the other woman, somehow that meant i was the better girl"

i also agree, don't do it. walk away. write an angry letter and then SET IT ON FIRE.

Slapfight

Who wants to start a band called Nanoloveprotons?!!

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

@Slapfight Nanoloveprotons and the Infinite Sadness!

parallel-lines

@Slapfight Who's the frontman, Bob or Eli?

Party Falcon

@parallel-lines Bob. And Eli's the Infinite Sadness. PS Don't Hate Me is on drums.

Slapfight

@Party Falcon LW2 is on cowbell.

mabellegueule

This is definitely not the first letter I have seen about sexless relationships and I do NOT understand any of them! Am I just a huge horndog? Does nobody read Savage Love?? If sex is important to you, your sexual needs should be satisfied by your relationship. If they are not, you talk to your partner because this is a totally valid cause for concern.

HUGE CAVEAT: I'm not saying anybody "owes" anybody sex. I am saying that a relationship is expected to fulfill the sexual needs of both parties. This does involve compromise and communication and mutual understanding, which should be in place anyway. The solution could be more sex, other forms of fooling around, or polyamory, or discreet cheating (which I get but don't necessarily agree with) or leaving the relationship.

paddlepickle

@mabellegueule Yeah I don't quite get it either. It seems to me like sex is such a HUGE deal in the relationship, and it's really odd if you're not talking about it at all. Like, how are you having important conversations such as "I want to marry you" but not having conversations about how you never have sex? And why would you think that you're ready to marry someone if you're not ready to start a conversation about a Huge Honking Issue in your relationship?

skyslang

@paddlepickle Except maybe in this relationship? Like maybe they both don't really care/have low libidos? There's a lot of ambiguity in this guy's letter.
The key is to talk! Maybe they are in the right place.

WaityKatie

@mabellegueule Yeah, I don't really get how people can be "in love with" someone and not want to/not care about boning that person. I get that you can "love" all sorts of people, platonically, but "in love"? Means you want to bone. Unless you're 80 or whatnot. (but maybe even then?) Yet it seems pretty common that couples don't have sex with each other.

wharrgarbl

@WaityKatie Some people do have very low libidos or are asexual but still interested in romantic partnerships. And if they find each other, and fall in love, hi5s all around. But I'm guessing those people pretty much only write letters to advice columnists to say "Hey, we're one of those unicorn couples, it happens, tell everyone else in our boat to keep hope alive!" By the time you're asking a stranger for an outside opinion, there's something you view as a problem.

Lily Rowan

Yeah, I think the key phrase is "fulfill the sexual needs of both parties." If that's twice a year for both parties, well, carry on! If not, talk about it, for crying out loud.

fabel

@mabellegueule I'm with you on the whole not-getting-it thing. If my dude & I manage to go a few days without having sex, he'll hear about it. And not even just that, but...do these people (who go so long without sex) never talk about sex at all, in any capacity? Sex comprises like, 70% of my casual conversation, I feel like. It would be impossible for it to become some kind of elephant in the room.

estraven

@wharrgarbl yay, while I was busy creating a new profile so I could talk about sexytimes without being linked to my official internet identity, people showed up to say a romantic relationship without a lot of sex can be a thing. it can! it can be a really good thing! as long as both people are happy with it, of course. and differential desire is always a hard thing, no matter what the specific desire levels are.

moose

@mabellegueule Because while yes, a sex life of some kind is important, and is glue in a relationship, it is not THE most important thing. The most important thing? It's each other. "love isn't about finding someone you can live with ,it's finding someone you can't live without." If my dude was in some tragic accident and became a paraplegic and sexy times would never happen again, I would still stay with him absolutely without question.

chickaboom

@mabellegueule Arrgh I actually feel guilty when I am too tired to have sex because I have been conditioned to think It Is So Important and should be had All of The Time. Except two glasses of wine with dinner leave me sleepy and catlike at the end of the night, and work makes me grumpy and not in the mood, and etc etc etc. Sometimes life gets in the way of libido like 4 rlz, and when you live with someone, it's hard because it's just LIFE. I may still be attracted to the person I'm living with, but sometimes I'm just SO TIRED, yknow?

I wish this weren't a source of guilt. I actually weirdly feel like it's only OK to want to have sex all the time, in all ways, with everybody, always. Goes to show that even alternative cultures can be oppressive.

paddlepickle

@estraven Just wanted to chime back in and say I didn't intend my comment to sound like I don't think asexual or low-libidoed folks don't exist and can't have happy awesome relationships. It just sounds to me like this guy wants to be having more sex (although maybe not so much with his partner which is clearly a problem). If his letter had been more like "My girlfriend and I only have sex twice a year and we're totally happy that way and we discussed how that makes us happy, but I'm worried that something's wrong with us because we don't like to have sex that much", my reaction would be way different.

@chickaboom I know what you mean, but try not to give into the guilt! If you and your partner are happy with your sex life, you've got no problems whatsoever. And even if your libidoes are mismatched, there are ways to deal with it. Just communicate! COMMUNICATE, PEOPLE, is the moral of this thread.

estraven

@paddlepickle oh no, I agree with your comment completely! People should always talk to their partners! Falling into a no-sex pattern just because and then never talking about it is not good at all. All the worst, most hurtful mistakes I've made about sex were because I wasn't being honest enough about the right things. also it wasn't even posted when my "but I'm here too!" reaction went off.

Mostly it was the mention of Dan Savage that did it. No one here has said anything remotely like he has about asexual people, but basically he thinks I'm probably a lying manipulative bitch and I have never forgiven him for that.

frigwiggin

@estraven Yes! I'm sitting here feeling weird that so many people think that low-sex relationships aren't legit, or something? I'm at a low-libido place in my life right now, and I'm trying to work out exactly what's causing it (BC, other issues, etc.), but honestly, most of the reason I'm working on it is because of the differential desire thing, and the low-sex times of our relationship are no less loving than the high-sex times! Like, it's really not the worst, people.

paddlepickle

@estraven Oh, good :) Yeah, Savage gets really misguided by his assumption that Sex Is The Most Important Thing In Everyone's Lives Ever. It also really pisses me off when he refuses to consider any solution that involves not doing something you have a sexual urge to do. If I have a perfect marriage in every way, I'm not going to end it because my partner doesn't feel comfortable dressing in a Snoopy costume and spanking me while singing the National Anthem (or hiring a dominatrix to do it)*. . .and he completely does not understand that perspective. So it makes sense that he doesn't understand asexuality, either.

*not an actual kink I have

AniaGosia

@paddlepickle I totally agree with you. I like sex, my dude & I have sex that is great and very sexy. I love him and want to be with him forever. So Im ok with giving up a particular thing I want to do in bed because he's not into it. Sex is not everything.

mabellegueule

@paddlepickle I'm totally not trying to say sex is everything! I'm just surprised at the letters from people who _are_ upset about not getting enough sex and are worried that they shouldn't feel that way. Hence my stating "if sex is important to you". Sex is important to ME and not having enough sex would trouble me. Bottom line, communicate wants and needs to your partner!

redheaded&crazy

@wharrgarbl I also feel like people with low libidos are a very likely demographic that wouldn't really say anything about it. not seeing it as a big deal, and possibly not even realizing the grief it's causing their higher libido partner, especially if that person isn't capable of communicating their frustration.

or am i projecting too much?

etoile

@mabellegueule
@paddlepickle

As a lady with a high sex drive, I never imagined a guy could have as low a sex drive as my ex. And the not talking about it happened because at first I wanted to be sensitive to his comfort level... maybe he'd needed to get to know me better to trust me and be able to let go. I didn't want to put performance pressure on him! I thought maybe this is what an "adult" non-dramatic-y relationship was like. But when a year went by and I still had to use euphemisms to move from making-out to p-in-v so I wouldn't make him uncomfortable (once every couple of weeks at that)...well I began to really desire others. But I initiated conversations about it and didn't want to make him feel like there was something wrong with him (again...nothing wrong with low libido and I also have two female friends who said they'd be happy to only make-out and never have p-in-v) started with the "what makes you feel good? wouldn't you like to do this more often?" which he answered with "anything you do feels good" and "when we're past [stressful time] it will get better." Which, based on similar responses to other issues in the relationship I tried to bring up, kinda began to seem like a passive-aggressive way of ignoring anything that might be a problem. But he was considerate and caring in other ways, so there again, I thought if you love someone you accept where they're at, give them time and space, because he's going through a difficult time.

But...3 years was a long time to go through a difficult time. It was way more than the libido difference that led me to end it, but even though he rarely initiated sex, he must have felt some kind of deep love, because I broke his heart. From what I gather from the guys who have the higher libido but want to be considerate of their partner's feelings, I guess this is why the not so much sex thing is as common as it is.

And while it's not everything, it is important, but we don't exactly live in a society that encourages us to talk about sexual needs up front. I do like the fact that Dan Savage is trying to change this! It doesn't matter if your libido is high or low or if sex is important to you or not, but it's a good thing to know where a potential long-term partner stands before too much long-term lack of fulfilling relationship happens..

shantasybaby

@paddlepickle All this Dan Savage talk (and various threads where people talk about falling asleep before doing it or planning to do it after dinner...FUCK FIRST! Not just Valentine's Day but always! (Unless you have kids, then I think you usually have to be involved in their feeding and it wouldn't be practical. But if you are childless and using sleepiness/fullness as an excuse, just do it before! If you get off work at 6 come home, have a glass of wine, chill out for an hour or 2, bone, make dinner and go to bed...voila!

frigwiggin

@shantasybaby Close those parentheses! You're letting all the tangent out.

rocknrollunicorn

I really like this married dude, but these letters are SO FUCKING DEPRESSING (with the exception of favorite wedding memory, which was cute). Maybe it's the place I'm in right now re: romance, but these 3 letters make me want to buy a fuckload of cats (despite allergies) and just give up.

SarahP

"Dear A Married Dude,
My husband is waking up early to take the cat to the vet tomorrow morning. This means he'll have to skip our normal morning run. Do I get to sleep in, or should I go on 'our' run by myself? HELP ME DECIDE."

SarahP

"Dear A Married Dude,
My mother-in-law (who lives down the street) asked me for suggestions for nearby pilates and zumba classes. I asked if she's considered hot yoga, because I want to try it but maybe not alone, and it'd be awesome to go together. She hasn't answered yet--can I email her about it nonchalantly? Should I text her? Or should I just play it cool?"

SarahP

"Dear A Married Dude,
Sometimes after ROCKIN' marital relations in the morning, the husband is too tired to make brunch, so I have to do it. How can I change him?"

SarahP

@rocknrollunicorn Better?

wharrgarbl

"Dear A Married Dude,

I will sometimes let the dog lick up spilled food before cleaning up more thoroughly. My husband thinks this is exploiting her. I'm firmly of the opinion that she needs to get a damn job, so this is the least she can do. Is there a way to actually monetize this?"

rocknrollunicorn

@SarahP Thank you, thank you. I'm in a bit of a funk and everything seems kind of awful, but hot yoga with a MIL sounds so fun.

EpWs

"Dear A Married Dude,
For our anniversary, my dude and I got each other mutually awesome presents, but then he surprised me a week later with ANOTHER gift that he 'just saw somewhere and thought of me and had to buy it.'" I have his Christmas present already, can I go ahead and give it to him now and then buy him something else later?"

EpWs

"Dear A Clean Married Dude,
My dude keeps leaving me love notes taped to our bathroom mirror, the walls, doorways, etc. Do you have any tips on removing the scotch tape residue from these various surfaces?"

MrComment

@rocknrollunicorn Try eating a salad.

dj pomegranate

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Dear A Married Dude, Sometimes my Dude compliments our cat and talks to him in baby-cat voice. While I find this endearing, sometimes it's also pretty annoying, especially around houseguests. Should I suck it up or ask him to tone it down once in a while? Maybe I should also talk in baby-cat voice to show that I love him? I just don't know what to do.

Fig. 1 (formerly myfanwy)

"Dear A Married Dude:
Sometimes we can't decide whether to eat cashews and chocolate after supper or crackers with a nice cheese. Please help."

lue
lue

Dear A Married Dude,
Sometimes all of our pets want to snuggle in bed with us, but we can't snuggle them all at once. Can you suggest a suitable snuggling rotation?

Porn Peddler

Dear A Married Dude,
Sometimes I am too exhausted after sex to walk all the way to the kitchen for post-coital snacks. Do you think we should put a minifridge next to the bed?

Mingus_Thurber

@rocknrollunicorn Dear A Married Queer Clean Chick or Dude Who Lives In a Coiled Rope: I have the best dog ever. And the best cats. One of my cats comes over and hops up on the kitchen counter when I'm making lunch for work for the next day, and he crawls up on my shoulder and purrs. The other one does this cute thing where, when the dog comes in, he holds his face up to be licked. The dog is 107 lbs, the cat is 6 lbs. And the dog's never bitten anything but a biscuit.

I have no question; I just wanted you to know this. Because my critters are THAT good."

redheaded&crazy

@all Well, I laughed.

insouciantlover

Ohhhh, LW2, I have been in your shoes. You just want to twist that knife, don't you? Yeah, husbo is a piece of grade A shit for all his philandering, but in case you can't tell, you won't get much sympathy from much of anyone. I can empathize, but only with the help of years of therapy and medication and hindsight and therapy and self-forgiveness and really let's just mention the therapy again for good measure.

Your former flame or your own delightfully destructive inner monologue may have created a false competition between you and his wife, but that's not real. For me, several years later I'm free, so absolutely gratefully free of that whole situation. The two of them are still married, and I know that he eventually told her about me (even while making me swear to not tell anyone, of course) and she stayed with him and now they have two children and I'd really like to believe that she's forgiven him and that they've gone on with their lives. But regardless, I'm glad I didn't interject myself anymore than I did. These things will work themselves out, and you really need to find peace with yourself and let it go.

WaityKatie

@insouciantlover Yeah, I really do think that cheaters' urges to "tell" the other person stem more from ego and competition than any selfless urge to let the partner "know the truth." Their relationship isn't your business; stop trying to insert yourself into it. Get your own relationship! You have already done enough damage.

Tulletilsynet

I don't get LW2 and I don't think she's credible. If she was that morally obtuse, she wouldn't have written in to ask the question, she would have just mailed her truth bomb. She's not remotely consistent: First she's all Medea baring her teeth with that "The only reason I'm considering telling her is because of some destructive impulse," and then two seconds later, earnestly, "Do I owe it to her to tell her?"

insouciantlover

@Tulletilsynet That she's an inconsistent mess sounds fairly credible to me, having been in her shoes. Ten months of being the other woman in an affair can really skew a person's perspective.

estraven

Being an asexual person in a long-term relationship with someone who does identify as sexual, I would really like to respond to the last letter! First, non-sexual roommates is totally not an inevitable relationship stage, even with someone with extremely low libido like me. On the other hand, I am definitely not of the opinion that a romantic relationship HAS to involve sex or else it doesn't count as a relationship. I mean, I have a lot more sex than you do, letter-writer, but depending on what we mean by sex, I could easily be happy and close and very much in a relationship with my partner without it. But there is absolutely no way I could go 6 months without meaningful physical intimacy with my partner. Now that we're co-habitating I probably couldn't go more than a couple of days without pulling him away from the computer and demanding immediate naked makeouts. That's what sex means to me, someone who hardly ever feels a desire for it on a physical level - an expression of intimacy, and those I desire very much. (obviously my partner sees sex as part of an expression of intimacy too, but it's a specific *form* of expression that he would be extremely unhappy without, and that's not true for me)

I want our physical relationship to mirror our emotional relationship. We share things with each other that we share with no one else, we pay attention to each other's needs and we take delight in making each other happy. Because I'm in a relationship with someone who's sexual, doing those things means we have sex. But because I am asexual, it also means my partner has had to adjust his expectations for what sex means, and for what my role and response will be like (he'd love to give me oral all the time, but it just doesn't do much for me, and I can't get aroused enough for PIV intercourse to be comfortable very often). We have other kinds of sex, always mutually enjoyed, and we communicate fairly explicitly when either one of us initiates so we both know what to expect. It's taken time and a whole lot of talking and self-examination and patience, and some hurt on both sides, but we have ways to share physical intimacy that satisfy both of us. And every hard conversation is a major demonstration of our love and commitment to each other, and so utterly worth it.

If there are things you want from your relationship that you're not getting, you really need to talk to your partner about it. But be ready to think hard about what you really want, and why, and the different possible forms it might take, and then talk about all those things with her. And find out her answers to those questions!

I'd also like to recommend Emily Nagoski's Real Pink Viagra series. The link is to the last post, but it's got links to the first two. And then go ahead and read all the rest of the blog, it is a great blog.

Porn Peddler

@estraven This was super, super interesting and I'm glad you posted- as much as I wanted to make note of how sexless relationships (or very low sex relationships) are valid, it seemed like my bringing it up wasn't...appropriate. Thank you for this, I would totally love to have a talk show about relationships and sex and to interview you over brunch. (I don't have that talk show, though)

Judith Slutler

@estraven WORD, this is such an important perspective.

EpWs

@estraven This is SUCH a good perspective, and a really well-written comment!

SarcasticFringehead

@estraven I love your comment, but possibly even more I love your name/avatar. Genly + Estraven 4VR!

estraven

@SarcasticFringehead I was hoping someone would recognize it :)

Bambi

@estraven That's a great comment. I'm in a similar situation, except that I'm not asexual, my libido just isn't that high. My husband wants sex 6 times a week, I'd be good with 2. After a lot of discussions about it and some experimenting, we've come up with a solution. For him, sex = intimacy. He feels closer to me when we're having sex, which is why it's so important to him. So, I do my best to step up, even if I don't feel like, and if it doesn't happen to be p-in-v, he still gets a happy ending, we're good with that. And he's chilled out on the need to have sex 6 times a week. Instead, we just need to have intimate time, which sometimes equates to massages for each other and sometimes leads to sex. But, the bottom line is that if it's important to your partner, you really need to come up with a solution that both of you are happy with (which it sounds like you have).

antilamentation

LW1's question reminded me of a Tony Hoagland poem (http://writersalmanac.publicradio.org/index.php?date=2009/12/21), particularly this line: "This is the loneliest job in the world: / to be an accountant of the heart." I like that poem because it reminds me not to over-analyse matters of my own heart.

As for LW2, something which stands out to me is her being honest with herself in recognising the desire to act on a destructive impulse. I tend to think that if someone acts on a destructive impulse, the way they carry out that action will reflect their intention, and so may not be kind - on anyone, including themself. I think there's a difference, for instance, between acting with genuine contrition and regret that your actions have caused and are causing another woman real pain, or lashing out with the urge to destroy someone else, or someone else's marriage. I think that difference will affect how you carry out the action, and so how you impact this guy's wife, and also how you yourself are impacted by your choices.

In ending this relationship, do you (for instance) want to be a person who lashes out and inflicts yet more pain on someone else, knowing that you did this just to satisfy your own impulse to be destructive? Or do you want to create another sort of ending here, where you cut your losses as cleanly as possible, and try to act with kindness towards yourself and others? If you are able to be honest with yourself about your impulses, I think you have a choice here about how to treat others, how to treat yourself, and the kind of person you would like to be next. You have to live with yourself, long after you've left this relationship, so what kind of self do you want to be living with?

laurel

LW4: It may be unwise to marry someone you can't bring yourself to have difficult conversations with.

lue
lue

@laurel My thoughts exactly!

gidgetjones

Interrupting my reading to announce: guanciale is the shit. All right. Carry on.

mmwm

LW1: My mother told me the same thing, and yes, it is true.

miwome

@Third Wave Housewife "My instinct is ______, but I want some painfully academic, cerebral explanation of the moral reasoning behind it."

ARE YOU ME?!

thenewbrunette

Ooooh. I found out last month that my dad has been having an affair for the past two years, and I am currently finding it really, really hard to keep my Objectivity Hat on when it comes to these philandering questions.
A Married Dude's response was great. Mine would have been "die in a fire".

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@thechouxbrunette I'm sorry you're going through that. It's super sucky.

I still vividly remember the day that my dad told me he'd cheated on my mom the last three years of their (super crappy) marriage and felt justified because she'd "let herself go." Because we were sitting in the middle of a crowded coffee shop on a Sunday afternoon and I had to keep biting the inside of my lip to keep from bursting into tears.

To be honest I sort of wish my mom had found out because no one deserves being cheated on over a period of years.

lizaboots

@EddieMcCandry Oh my God. I am so, so sorry. I want to cry just reading that.

(I'm sorry about your situation too, chouxbrunette. I wouldn't fret about your Objectivity Hat, which I don't think you could wear without your Repression Hat Pin...metaphors are hard.)

kayjay

@thechouxbrunette and @EddieMcCandry: Sort of off-topic, but do you kind of wish your dad had never told you any of this? My father, whom I see once every four or five years, decided to take me on a drive the last time I came to visit them in Alaska and laid on me how he had been cheating on my mom for a long time and had to resign from his job because of it (political shit, long story). Anyway, I kept asking him over and over, "Why are you telling me this?" and his only explanation was that because God wanted him to come clean to everyone about his affair. It made me feel awful and nauseous for so, so long, and I wished and still wish he'd never told me.

Super Nintendo Chalmers

@kayjay I am also sorry that happened to you! Also I am left wondering: is this a Thing? Why on earth is this a Thing? It is so inappropriate. Like inappropriate with some sort of horribly bitter fudge topping. Are they trying to reenact that scene from "The Philadelphia Story" where Katherine Hepburn's juicebox father tells her that fathers cheat because their daughters don't pay enough attention to them? Because ew. I wish I could have asked the "Why are you telling me this?" question. At that point in my life I was still terrified that he would yank my college funding, which, in retrospect, might have been better, mental health wise, than biting my tongue really hard?

For me it was another aspect of the "EddieMcCandry's Dad Has No Fucking Boundaries" show that I'd had a front row seat for since forever. But yes I do wish he'd never told me. My parents had been divorced for over five years at that point so, if he'd been thinking of anyone but himself, I think he would have realized that it was Over and Done and that such a reveal was going to do nothing but cause a bunch of hurt. Also he swore me to secrecy because my brother didn't know. So that was also very shitty.

I don't know if you are still in contact with your dad. I see mine on a regular basis and I think he thinks we have a pretty good relationship, but I feel like there is always this part of me that won't ever trust him.

lizaboots

And LW2, If my husband's mistress mailed me a reveal, I wouldn't feel like she was coming clean or allying herself with me. I'd feel like the woman who was privy to my heartbreaking betrayal went out her way to humiliate me personally and directly. And I think I'd be right.

Thisflamingo

@Carolita I'm so with you on this.
I am totally appalled by AMD's response to LW2. She had the sense and class (yes, shocker!) not to try explain, justify or defend her actions, even though there is an excellent chance that the situation was complicated, guilt-ridden, borne of all the hundreds of little factors that create any scenario this unfortunate and messy and ugly. And just presented the bare bones of it with herself in that brutally honest unflattering light. And he just goes directly for the jugular. Everyone's leaping to the defense of his innocent wife and saying to not kick someone when they are down, but clearly the LW herself is feeling like the worst kind of shit already? You don't even have to be a bowl of hummus to identify that. It makes me very uncomfortable to live in a world of basic heros and villains. She wrote in about it, didn't she? Shouldn't there be any kind of gentleness afforded a 'Pinner who writes in for advice? AMD chose instead to use the opportunity to make sure she knew exactly how invalid her feelings were and exactly how much more shame and loathing she should have for herself. And basically mobilized the town to assemble outside her front door with pitch forks and torches. How did this immature AMD manage to slink in there among all the lovely and circumspect ones?

catsuperhero

@Thisflamingo I think--and I said this waaaay up on the thread, perhaps (I dunno, the Xanax is setting in) that AMD's idea is that this LW doesn't deserve the rosy glow that comes from being the apologizer. Yeah, it's hard to say you're sorry. But afterward, you're the right one. You Did the Right Thing. You acknowledged that you were wrong, rose above it, promised not to make the mistake again, and get to walk away with all loose ends tied up. You may still be dealing with pangs, but you get to comfort yourself in the fact that you apologized.

And I think his point is that maybe she doesn't deserve that. That while it's brutally unfair that she cheated with a married man (and yeah, it takes two, and that guy sucks), it's even worse for her to apologize and leave the wife's life in shambles. I don't think he's looking at it as "Leave his wife in the dark; it's more merciful!" but rather as "You don't get to apologize and walk away feeling like you straightened your life out while this woman picks up what you helped break. You don't get the satisfaction of closure. You need to live with your guilty conscience."

The only way I could see telling the wife working is to do it anonymously. If this LW genuinely cares that hey, this husband's been around, and the wife deserves to know--and it has NOTHING to do with easing her feelings of guilt--then mail an anonymous letter. It's a little unclear from the letter as to whether this was the LW's intent all along, but I think the difference here is whether she's signing her name or no.

Zeki Yol@facebook

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