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Friday, March 15, 2013

185

Honesty, Asexuality, and the Un-Recloseting

1. I can't talk to my friends about this, because they all think my girlfriend and I have the perfect relationship. We met through Craigslist casual encounters, and started out as fuck buddies. Which was fun! No shame there. Gradually, we fell head over heels in love with each other. She was talking marriage by the fourth month we were together, all that kind of stuff. She was an AMAZING girlfriend who went over and above (weekly cookie care packages! lovely love texts nightly! sweetest letters ever!). I was a pretty good one, given the fact that I'm a sporadically employed undergraduate student who can't afford things like surprise weekend getaways to the beach for birthdays.

And that's the problem. She's 27, I'm 21. Not a huge age gap, but significant in terms of life journey. She wants to have babies by the time she's 30. I want to have babies ... 10 years from now. She has a full-time job with benefits in a field she loves, I just interviewed for a position as a deli clerk. I live with my parents (I'm on break from college! It's temporary!), she lives on her own and pays for everything.

We recently have been having Serious Talks about our relationship. She told me that she felt under-loved, so I stepped it up with the lovey notes, treats, cuddles, planning dates. She told me that she felt like I didn't know what I wanted from my life and was changing it to suit her, so I laid it out in an email and asked her to respond either way with how she felt. It's been a week and she hasn't gotten back to me.

It might be the lack of reciprocity I'm able to give her, might be her falling out of love with me, might be the weather, but she's been really ... cool to me lately. Cool as in we haven't had sex in two months. I asked her what was up, and she said she didn't feel like I was giving enough and she was feeling hurt. She's not really a penetration kind of girl (which is fine! I like touching her!), so I stepped it up with the back rubs, which is her preferred kind of touch ... and still no sex. In our Serious Discussions, she said that she feels like I'm not giving love/affection/backrubs out of pure altruism, but that I expect something in return. I don't know if I do! I just know that I miss getting fucked.

I'm staring at a Gchat she hasn't responded to for an hour at my internship and about to cry. I don't know what to do, or even what my question is. I can't tell if we're fundamentally incompatible, she's just processing that I'm not going to be an equal partner for a while, or if I'm not loving her as she deserves.

Help. I love her terribly, and I don't know what to do.

There's a lot to tackle here. Let me start with “you initiated a serious where-is-this-relationship-going talk over email?” and slowly work my way up to “you guys should definitely break up.” 

First of all, you initiated a serious where-is-this-relationship-going talk over email? That indicates to me that you two are having pretty serious communication issues. I can kind of see the email thing if you're in an LDR, but if you live in the same city, you should be having those conversations face-to-face. The fact that you didn't feel comfortable looking your girlfriend in the eyes and saying “this is where I think my life is going, and this is where I imagine you fitting into it” suggests that you don't really feel comfortable being honest with her.

Now, yes, it's harder to come up with a spur-of-the-moment monologue about your future together than television has conditioned us to believe, and there can be some merit to writing out your thoughts before you say them. Still, sending an email in lieu of having an actual discussion is a bad sign, and your girlfriend ignoring it for a week is an even worse one. The reason it's so troubling is that communication is basically the Number One Big Thing a relationship needs, because no matter what conflicts you have, communication is how you resolve them. There's no moving past a disagreement if you can't talk about why you disagree and what you want to do about it.

You and your girlfriend have other problems, obviously. You're at very different points in your life, and your timelines don't match up well. Also, she thinks that physical affection is something you should provide (in the form of backrubs) without expecting her to return (in the form of orgasms). I am not really into “love is you doing whatever I want and not asking me to reciprocate” as a relationship model. There's nothing wrong with having a low sex drive, but accusing you of selfishness because you gave her a massage is, frankly, bizarre. And there's no way to solve any of these issues if you two can't communicate with each other.

So, yes: You guys should definitely break up. It will be painful, because you love her despite your differences, but it will be for the best. You should be dating someone you can talk to openly, someone who wants to touch you as much as you want to touch her. And your soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend should be dating a nail salon massage chair.

2. Okay so I'm a 29-year-old bi/queer/occasional lady fucker, never thought much about the label as it's not something I tell a lot of people. But let's talk about one of the people I did tell: my husband of 10 years and father of my 7-year-old child. Way back when we were laying out plans for marriage and happily ever after, I told him that while I could promise him to never ever sleep with another man, once in a while I'd want a lady friend, and if he couldn't deal with that, it was best that we didn't get married. Initially he was like OH HELL YES and then some ground rules were drawn up: He wants to know her, she had to know I'm married, she wasn't to be part of our little family unit, nothing long-term that took up a major amount of the him-and-me time. All of these were rules I could agree with, and off we went to the altar.

It was a couple years later before I stumbled into my first lady friend. I took her home for dinner so she and my husband could meet and greet, and I've fulfilled half my terms right there. About as soon as my husband figured out that he wasn't invited into the sexy times, he threw a fit of unreasonable proportions and informed me that the deal was off, I was married to him and would not be fucking anyone else. End of story. Now several times over the past 10 years I've cheated on him, always with ladies, and justified it by saying it'll only hurt him if he knows, plus he agreed, right? RIGHT? I know, I'm a bitch, a miserable cheating horrible person. Feel free to ream on me, you're not saying anything I haven't already to myself. Now, my husband is away for a year and I've found a lady that I'd really like to get to know. My guilt is creeping back in again, and I'd really like your opinion on what to do. I love my husband dearly, he's an amazing man and a great father, and I certainly don't want to leave him ... but I feel cheated, even as I'm the one doing the cheating. Thoughts, please??

This is one of those letters that makes the limits of advice columns excruciatingly clear. This is one of those letters that sits in my inbox for months and months at a time, the ones I occasionally open, look at for a while, type a few sentences, sigh, erase what I've written, and close it again, because Jesus H. Christ, I can't come up with anything useful to say. There is just nothing I can offer that will come close to extricating you from the situation you're in. Either you cheat on your husband — excuse me, continue cheating on your husband — and lie about it and feel terrible, or you tell him what's going on, running the risk that he'll leave you and you'll go through a divorce and your son will be upset and everything will be awful. Or, I guess, you stop having sex with women, but if you were going to do that you would have done it already. Basically, I am concerned that no matter what I tell you, I will be, in some small but measurable way, ruining your life.

But I feel so sad for you — I mean, you're in such a tight corner that you're requesting serious life advice from me. That's kind of heartbreaking. I can tell from your letter that you're feeling pretty alone right now, and you reached out to someone, and even though that someone is entirely unqualified to help you (honestly, I can't stress this enough), you're trying and that should count for something. So I haven't been able to answer your letter, all these months, but I haven't quite been able to delete it either. And thus, here we are.

Look, you are doing bad things, and you know you're doing bad things. Cheating is bad. Lying is bad. They lead to ulcers and wrinkles and relationships built on dishonesty and being reincarnated as something gross. We don't need to belabor this point. And you're right that your husband has done bad things too — making promises prior to marriage which, it now seems obvious, he had no intention of keeping — although his mistakes do not excuse your own. But the question here isn't “should you have cheated” or “should your husband have changed the rules without your input.” It's “how do you move forward after the bad things you've done?”

I wish you had asked me for advice years ago, back when your husband first changed his mind about you and lady-sex. I would have told you then that you should not let this drop. You shouldn't let him think he's won the argument, and secretly nurse a grudge and feel betrayed for months or years until one day — surprise! — you cheat on him with a woman and feel justified because, after all, you told him this would happen. I would have told you then that your relationship needs honesty to survive, and if you don't tell him how you're feeling now, you'll end up keeping much bigger secrets down the line.

And that's what I have to tell you now, even though I know what a scary and risky and awful thing I'm suggesting. I have to tell you that if you don't explain to your husband how you feel and what you need, it's just going to get worse. The lies will get bigger and bigger, and your resentment toward him will get bigger and bigger to justify the lies, and maybe one day you'll fall in love with one of the women you're cheating with, and the fallout from that will be so much more devastating than if you start being honest now. Being honest will be hard. Being honest may break his heart. Being honest is not guaranteed to fix your life, or your marriage. But I still think you should do it, because living honestly with your pain and your mistakes is so much more free than living under the weight of all those lies.

Stay married or don't. Fuck women or don't. But tell your husband the truth.

3. Hey uh, I am also a queer chick! However, it's been like five years since I was in a relationship with a lady, and since then I've moved cities, developed a new circle of friends, and changed my life in a bunch of ways. Very shortly after I moved I also got a Serious, Monogamous Boyfriend (SMB for short).

Not one for the Big Sit-Down Talk coming-out, and not a generally big talker about my love life, I only gradually realized I had ... accidentally recloseted myself? And it just didn't ... seem like a big deal. It was irrelevant, with SMB and all. So I accepted folks' presumption that I was hetero, started sorting myself in public that way, etc.

SO BASICALLY: errybody in my new life thought I was straight! Then I broke up with SMB, and oh wait, errybody in my new life still thought I was straight!

A couple of months ago, I was having a conversation with a couple friends, in which one friend was discussing her recent interest in ladyparts. I sort of unthinkingly started responding to stuff she was saying too ... authoritatively? ANYWAY afterward I thought I had outed myself, and went and talked to her about it, and I hadn't, but by starting the second conversation I'd called attention, so I did! I have since broached the subject with a few more people, though still a minority of my friends.

HOWEVER. Lately my heart/vagina has mostly been shootin' its Cupid-arrows out at male-identified folk. I am currently vaguely involved with a Broody Musician Guy; I told him I'd dated women, and he turned out to have vice-versa'ed, and talking was great, but the whole conversation really felt like it was about the past. I don't know how much it's a fluid-sexuality thing vs. a Socialized That Way Because I'm Straight In Public thing, though.

I guess I have two possibly contradicatory questions.

One: How do I come out? Because this isn't just, like, "oh, I've realized I'm queer, guys! No longer heterosexual!" This is, "yo, I had a fully functioning queer identity for years, but I unintentionally jumped back into the closet just in time to meet y'all! I've been implicitly lying about part of my identity/past for our entire friendship!" GAH. Do I just need to suck it up, bite the bullet, etc.? Or am I missing something key?

Two: Is coming out even a necessary part of the answer? I get that part of the reasoning behind “no” is that I don't want to deal with this, blah blah denial discomfort blah cowardice blah. But at the same time, I feel weird about broadcasting my heart/vagina's love for other heart/vaginas if I'm just going to go on shackling mine to heart/penises? Should I wait until I'm with a lady again? But then how does that ever happen? Is there any world where the part of me screaming "JUST BE STRAIGHT, YOU DID IT BY ACCIDENT, IT CAN'T BE HARD" is in any way justifiable?

I think it's perfectly understandable, in a world that is so strongly skewed in favor of heterosexuality, that you feel your life might be easier if you lived as a straight lady. And I'm not going to judge you if you decide that's how you want to play it. But I will tell you that, if you ever hope to have sex with a woman again, being straight is not your best strategy call.

Lesbians and bisexual girls en masse went through a phase about seven years ago where we were constantly getting crushes on straight girls, and it was a huge emotional roller coaster for us all. Every time they called us we would blush even if no one was around, and when they flirted in that platonic way straight girls do and played with our hair and called us pretty, we felt like we were going to catch on fire and die, and once or twice we got drunk and almost confessed our feelings but swallowed them just in time. Then one morning we all simultaneously woke up happy and clear-eyed and thought, “Wow, I'm so glad that's out of my system.” Now? If we think there's even a slight chance we might be developing an interest in a straight girl, we delete her number from our phone and avoid every place we've ever seen her, including the office where we both work. So if you want pussy to be an option any time in your future, you're gonna need to put it out there that you're queer.

Since you never really meant to be in the closet, you don't have to explicitly and dramatically “come out,” unless you want to. Just gradually re-introduce your queerness into your everyday life. Drop an anecdote about your ex-girlfriend into conversation, or mention your crush on Alison Brie, or get a tattoo of Indigo Girls lyrics. If anyone expresses surprise that you're into girls, be surprised that they're surprised: You've never tried to hide it, you've just been on a streak of dating dudes recently. Don't make a big deal out of it yourself, and in all likelihood no one else will make a big deal out of it either.

4. Since thinking about it seriously, it seems obvious to me that I am, in fact, asexual. I've never really been attracted to anyone — I fell into relationships because I was asked, and because it seemed like what I was supposed to do. I've had sex with a few different guys, and though I don't regret it — because it brought me closer to them at a time when I needed it — it doesn't do anything for me. I actually thought I might be gay in high school, until I realized that although I wasn't into guys, there weren't any girls I was interested in, either.

My problem is that I have a boyfriend, and I'm not sure how to reconcile the two things. Now that I've ascertained something about myself that sort of negates his traditional role, am I being an assholic fraud for not breaking up with him? I mean, he probably deserves someone who likes the whole sex thing instead of being secretly pissed off that we're pausing Doctor Who, or someone who likes kissing him and isn't just grossed out by all the bacteria. And even if I tell him in the interest of full disclosure and we stay together, that would put a ton of unfair pressure on him and his genitals.

The thing is, I really, really want to keep him. We live together, and I love having him around — he's awesome and helpful and warm. My family loves him, we have similar values and life goals, and I truly look forward to seeing him when I come home. It would hurt beyond belief if we broke up. He has kind of a low sex drive anyway, but that might be partly because I never initiate it (something else to feel really guilty about). He's very traditional, so suggesting he find some of his sex elsewhere wouldn't work. I kind of just want to say fuck it, it's worked so far, he doesn't need to know, but again, that would make me a terrible person. Right?

It wouldn't make you a terrible person, but it's still not a very nice thing to do to someone you love. If he figures out on his own that you've never actually been attracted to him, he's going to feel hurt and lied to — and if you're planning to be with him for a long time, which it sounds like you are, I don't think you can keep him from intuiting it sooner or later.

The better option is to tell him what's up and let him make an informed decision on whether to stay with you. There are lots of ways for couples with mismatched sex drives to make things work if they want to, but he needs to know that's what this is. Maybe he'd rather get sex on the side than break up with you; maybe he'd rather go without sex altogether. But maybe he'd rather find someone who's as compatible with his libido as she is with his goals and values, and you need to give him the opportunity to make that choice for himself.

It's scary to reveal something about yourself and risk rejection, but if you do it and the two of you stay together, your relationship will be stronger for it. And if you do it and you don't stay together, your next relationship will be stronger because you'll be honest with each other from the start.

Previously: Spectrums and Attractiveness

Lindsay King-Miller is also on Twitter. Do you have a question for her

Photo by Anna Sedneva, via Shutterstock



185 Comments / Post A Comment

gobblegirl

LW3: It's never your obligation to tell someone about what you do or have done with your genitals, unless you want them to know.
Not talking about the girls you've kissed on the lips (especially to people who don't know the girls in question) isn't hiding anything, it's just keeping your business to yourself.
Now, as the Chick says, if you want someone to want to date you it helps if they know you have compatible genitals - but if they're not on your kiss-on-the-lips radar then it's not their business.

garli

@gobblegirl I agree. There's no need to come out and make a scene but if you feel like you need to tell people anything you can be all "Oh yeah one time when I was dating this girl here's a story about it." I bet you 50 bucks no one will bat an eye.

RNL
RNL

@garli Yup, dear LW3, either you have vastly overestimated the degree to which other people are invested in your sexual identity, or your friends are vastly overinvested in your sexuality. Obviously this is a big deal to you, but it's really not to anyone else.

tussock

Sure, she has no obligation to say anything. But systematically expunging details of queer relationships is the definition of being in the closet. I think her reasons for making that choice should be taken seriously, and maybe she needs to figure out better what those are. And unfortunately plenty of people do react in all kinds of diverse and sometimes unpleasant ways to learning that their apparently-straight friends are not actually all that straight. Being in the closet, even in this LW's way, is always complicated and sucky.

Cathryn the Great

@gobblegirl That's what I do. I'm a very, very femme lady and when I'm dating a dude everyone assumes I'm straight, though I'm pretty seriously not. I don't think I've ever officially come out to anyone, just said, "Oh yeah, this girl I dated..."

No-one ever bats an eye.

gobblegirl

@tussock She should tell people when and how she wants, all I (and I think garli and RNL) meant is that she shouldn't feel guilty for not sharing information that no one has a right to demand.
It's hers to know and theirs to find out if she feels like telling them. AQC's advice of just "live life in the sexual identity you want, and let people notice or not notice but don't hide things because that's difficult(unless you want to bonezone, in which case send them a note by courier)" is very good.

RNL
RNL

@tussock True, and I was too flippant. I think she should come out if she wants to. I don't think it requires a Big Talk. I suspect her level of angst about it might be disproportionate, but understandable.

garli

@gobblegirl Exactly.

dtowngirl

@Cathryn the Great I've been with my partner for several years, but had only dated men before getting together with her. When it's relevant to the conversation, I mention an ex-boyfriend. Nobody thinks twice about it. If the LW's friends are good people, I would guess that they also wouldn't think twice about it when she drops ex-girlfriends into the conversation.

Quinn A@twitter

Nothing to add; AQC is perfect.

MandyMcAwesome

@Quinn A@twitter Agreed. Excellent advise all around.

Jill_Tata

i totally agree...@k

iceberg

Lindsay KING-Miller - congratulations are in order?

gobblegirl

@iceberg Did her checker make it all the way to the other side of the board?
#LameBoardGameJokes

SarahP

@iceberg Whoaaaaa! I'm so glad you noticed that because I wouldn't've--CONGRATS AQC/LKM!!!

Lily Rowan

@iceberg I was going to say! CONGRATS AND ALSO BEST WISHES AQC AND MRS. AQC!!!

Scandyhoovian

@iceberg OMG!!! CONGRAAATS!

Bittersweet

@iceberg Champagne all around! Sante!

Apocalypstick

@iceberg EEEEEEEEE! Congrats!

stonefruit

aww! Congratulations, AQC/LKM!

Onymous

@iceberg Thought it said Lindsay King Killer for a second. Was like "I knew she was a bad ass".

Adult Footie Pajamas

@iceberg It's true! I know AQC in the realz life, and she is totes-a-marrieds now.

femme cassidy

@iceberg @everyone Thank you, lovebirds! We actually got weddinged back in July, but our goal is to get our names legally changed this year, so I'm tryna get all my bylines in line.

@Adult Footie Pajamas, ooh, who are you? I like it when reallifefolks and Hairpinfolks overlap!

Adult Footie Pajamas

@femme cassidy
A riddle: we used to yell poems at a hot room fulla people together in Denver. It's kind of ironic/perfect that I work with plants now, considering my IRL name. I kissed all the poet boys and then wrote about them. Like TSwift but less shitty.

femme cassidy

@Adult Footie Pajamas Oh hi! How is the wedding planning going? I miss you!

Adult Footie Pajamas

@femme cassidy I miss you too! It's going There Isn't Enough Xanax In The World To Deal With My Mother. (Working title.)

Scandyhoovian

LW2: Wow, your husband is... Just wow. I agree the topic should not have been dropped and he should not have been allowed to believe that he "won" that argument. I agree that he needs to be talked to about this. So pick that topic right back up! "One of the conditions of our marrying one another in the first place is that I am able to express this part of myself with the women that I wish to express it with, and you cannot change the rules once the marriage is in place." He won't like it, obviously, based on what has already transpired, but seriously, it is not okay that he changed the rules on you like that after you got married and you should be able to stand firm on that point.

noodge

@Scandyhoovian i agree. i feel like it's another case of "dude thinks he'll get live porn shows because his lady is queer" and then when that's not the case he throws a petulant fit. I've got baggage with this, but even so, it seems like you definitely need to speak with him because changing stuff like that isn't cool, and i don't think you're as horrible as you say you are.

Scandyhoovian

@noodge I mean from the letter it's pretty obvious he expected shows and threesomes and not at all what the LW was thinking of, and when it became clear that's not what she meant for him, he reacted pretty much the way you would expect someone in the mindset "I feel entitled to a threesome or a show" to act. Which is to say, a petulant, entitled jerkwad.

Judith Slutler

@Scandyhoovian Marriage counseling with a sex-positive counselor, right? Man I feel so bad for LW2. Not that it is an excuse to cheat but it must be horrifying when the person you love turns out to be such a dishonest negotiator. So disrespectful.

SarcasticFringehead

@Scandyhoovian I don't necessarily agree that you can't change the rules once the marriage is in place - people change in ways you can't predict, and if it were happening the other way (he used to not be okay with her sleeping with women, now he is), we wouldn't be nearly as mad.

THAT SAID: if you want to change the rules, you sit down and you have a discussion like grownups, where you acknowledge that you used to feel one thing, and now you feel another thing, and you know that it might change your marriage but you respect your partner enough to try to work through it together. You don't "throw a fit of unreasonable proportions" and decide unilaterally that there are new rules.

hallelujah

@noodge I mean, it's complicated, obviously, but that dude is an ASSHOLE. He basically tricked her into marrying him, right? And now she's stuck. How terrible.

mysterygirl

@Scandyhoovian : I like the sentiment behind your post a lot, and agree that the matter isn't closed just because he wants it to be closed, but I think that the "rules" of relationships change all the time as people change and as hypothetical situations become actual. Something that sounds good in theory can feel completely different once it's about to be practiced. I think that they need to talk about the issue again and reassess honestly what they can live with as a couple, what they're willing to sacrifice for the relationship, and what their point of "dealbreaker" is, and then be willing to act based on what they come up with, whether that means splitting, or staying together, or agreeing to x, y, or z conditions.

ETA: And I'm so slow, @SarcasticFringehead not only beat me to my points but made them better!

Scandyhoovian

@mysterygirl @SarcasticFringehead Oh, I understand fully that things like this can change in the course of a relationship, but LW2's husband hardly sounds like he was willing to sit down and have a serious conversation about it. Obviously the fantasy version in his head was OK with him, but the reality was not -- he shouldn't have just stomped his foot and said "this is the end of this discussion, you don't get to do this after all," and that's where my big problem is. You're a couple, you're supposed to be able to hash things out together. When it comes down to "I'm laying down the law and you're following it," that's when it raises my alarms really fast. That's what I'm getting at.

Edited to add: It's just really pinging my radar for that awful "You're my wife so you have to do what I say/it's your wifely duty" mentality that I reeeeally cannot handle.

SarcasticFringehead

@Scandyhoovian Oh, for sure. And it really does sound like he thought it would be all Hottt Lesbian Action, and once he realized that the other women were actually people with whom his wife would be having actual sex, he shut it down in a gross, immature way.

fondue with cheddar

@Scandyhoovian @noodge Agreed, with one caveat. Sometimes people change their minds. Nobody is the same person with the same thoughts, feelings, and desires throughout their entire life. People change, or they learn things about themselves that they didn't realize. This is normal and okay.

HOWEVER.

It is not LW's fault that her husband changed his mind* so it's unfair of him to impose new rules other than the ones agreed upon. The right course of action is to say, "I know I said I would be okay with this but it turns out it bothers me more than I thought it would. Let's figure out a way to work through this together."

*If he did, in fact, change his mind and wasn't just creepily trying to get in on some hot FMF action.

katiemcgillicuddy

@Scandyhoovian Ugh, wifely duty. You're right though, this juicebox is acting like he owns her because they're married. Gross.

teaandcakeordeath

@Scandyhoovian
I dont agree with his behaviour but he was 19 when he agreed to that condition and i think he only realized once he was married what it means for your wife to have permission to have sex with someone else - particularly if youre not involved. I feel so bad for the LW - her choices sound really difficult. No advice, but internet hugs!

mysterygirl

@Scandyhoovian : I totally agree with this.

supernintendochalmers

@teaandcakeordeath Oof. Definitely didn't pick up that they got married at 19. That makes everything harder. This is like a pair of headphones at the bottom of a purse.

packedsuitcase

@Scandyhoovian Exactly. Having different feelings when faced with the reality of a situation vs. talking about it from a safe distance is understandable. Flipping out because this isn't going the way it did in your fantasy and making a unilateral decision that does not take his partner's needs and wants into consideration is 100% Not Cool.

mostly harmless

@SarcasticFringehead Now if LW2 is being completely honest about the initial conversation and ground rules, then her husband is a colossal prick and she should just get her lady thing on and not worry about him. But letter writers sometimes aren't honest with themselves, or the advice-givers to whom they write. Sometimes they present themselves in a more positive light, or make things sound more certain than they actually are. These types of conversations are HARD and I can imagine a world in which the two of them came away with two entirely different understandings of their conversation.

Wife says "So, I'm also into girls, and will be needing occasional sapphic adventure if we're going to do this "marriage" thing."
Hubby thinks, "MFF threesomes! I've won the lottery!" and says, "Sure honey, let's just set some ground rules, okay?"

***later***

Wife says,"hey, me and my girlfriend here are going to get busy... at her place. See ya later."
Hubby says, "wait, wha? but, wait, but ... oh hell no! This is NOT what I bargained for!"
Wife says, "WTF? We totally talked about this, you laid down the rules, I followed them, and now you're throwing a tantrum?"
Hubby says, "look, either I get to fuck her or no one gets to fuck her!"

So, is this asshole reneging on an agreement, or did he simply realize they didn't have the agreement he thought they had? In either case, instead of using it as an opportunity to reopen negotiations for better clarity, he threw a tantrum instead which is what makes him an ass clear and simple. That said, does it matter what degree of asshole someone is?

sophia_h

Man, I kind of related a little to this LW, because while I was never as upfront about it my husband knew I was sad I didn't get a chance to date girls in college before I met him at 18, but right after we got married at 23 we were at a party where things were getting kind of sexy and I asked if he minded if I made out with another girl, and he said he did mind because we hadn't been married all that long. So I drunkenly proceeded to go right outside and make out with a girl, and continued to do that for like four years before I told him. Like an ass. The thing is, we did end up finding some workable ground, he was eventually ok with it being a specific person under specific circumstances, and we even took a flying leap at trying for a sort of open relationship last year before life stuff intervened and we scaled back on that -- my point is that I was really surprised how much his opinions had changed over eight years, and mad at myself for not talking through this stuff with him instead of just sneaking around and doing (very minor) stuff that made me feel guilty all the time.

dtowngirl

@mostly harmless Yeah, I could definitely see that it could have gone down like that. My heart goes out to the LW, because she's in a really tough spot right now. I think AQC's advice is correct--she needs to start telling the truth. Maybe it will blow up her marriage, but these kinds of lies will almost always be revealed sooner or later. If she wants to save her marriage, she needs to come clean so he doesn't find out about it some other way.

smartastic

@hallelujah Wait, but ... doesn't it also seem like this lady let him believe he'd get the sexy times? I mean she did say he was all 'Hell Yes' which seems to me to imply he was clearly interested in three ways, right? So I think she knew. And therefore I think the tricking into marrying, if you want to put it that way, which seems to ignore how prone to wishful thinking we humans are if we are not careful, goes both ways.

skyslang

In regards to LW #1: I have to disagree about communication via email. I think it's just fine, especially if you've been talking about these things--as LW1 and her girlfriend have been-- and want to elaborate on a point or expand the discussion. Maybe you shouldn't email all the time, but it can help move the discussion. Ultimately, communication is communication.
Not sure why the bulk of the advice focused on sending an email, and not on how the girlfriend is constantly accusing the LW of not giving enough...which seems (to me) to be the root of their problems.

misskaz

@skyslang I logged in to say the same thing. Talking in person can be hard to get your full thoughts across because of crying and derails and tangents and stuff... I think it's perfectly ok to put things down in writing as a way to get your own head on straight and make sure you're saying everything that needs to be said. Especially if in-person talking is also happening.

Of course, after a week of an ignored email, some in-person follow up is clearly necessary. But giving LW1 a complex about being Bad at Communicating didn't really seem helpful here.

Lily Rowan

@misskaz I dunno -- I think sending the email and letting it sit there is Bad at Communicating. Or at least, immature -- which is fine for a 21 year old! There is plenty of time to learn!

Saying, "I need to get all of this clearly laid out here in this email, but I'll call you in an hour to talk about it/I want to talk about it when we see each other on Saturday" seems fine to me.

skyslang

@Lily Rowan You are absolutely right, she should have followed up. That's true. But I find the girlfriend's lack of response, of any kind, email or in person, to be a lot more problematic. How could she not respond? That's just an asshole move.

fabel

@skyslang I agree. E-mail communication is fine, sometimes even BETTER than in-person talks if both people are verbal in a write-it-down kind of way. As long as the topic was initiated in person, it's fine.

Everything else in that letter is not though, & they should definitely break up. Totally different places in life, incompatible...yeah. I think the only think gluing them is the sense from the LW that she should want to date this girl because she's such a nice person who gives her cookies & appears to love her in a way that's smiled-upon by onlookers?

Lily Rowan

@skyslang Oh yeah, the girlfriend's an asshole for not responding, definitely.

misskaz

@Lily Rowan I hear you. I once wrote my thoughts down in a letter and then read it out loud to him, heh.

RNL
RNL

@Lily Rowan Yeah, right? Of all this girl's asshole moves, that one seems the worst. I find someone not responding to an expression of emotion basically torture.

Apocalypstick

@RNL Yeah -an email means she has taken time to craft it, to lay on the line what she really means and how she really feels, and it's important enough to her to spend time agonising about how best to express herself.

Taking time to process the email & avoid any kneejerk defensive reactions (another bonus to written forms of communication) is one thing, but to ignore it? That's basicly saying she doesn't want to hear how LW feels and the issues that have been bothering her. That's checking out of relationship maintenance duties.

whateverlolawants

@skyslang Thank you! Emails make perfect sense to me. In fact, I wish my relationship had more emailing.

Judith Slutler

For LW1: I just wanted to reiterate that it's so not ok for your girlfriend to be accusing you of "ulterior motives" for touching her. This speaks to such a weird transactional view of sex that I always kind of thought was the specific purview of us hetero types. It isn't fair for her to act like you are putting in massage tokens and expecting a sex chocolate bar to pop out of the snack machine that she is, in this analogy that is a bad analogy. I think when physical intimacy starts to be seen as a favor or an obligation, it's a pretty bad sign... like, that whole "the more love you give, the more you have" thing is missing from her mentality here, and that probably isn't something you can talk her out of. I'm sorry things are going this way.

SarcasticFringehead

@Emmanuelle Cunt Especially when you say to someone, "I feel bad when you don't do [x]," and then they start doing [x]. Like, maybe their ulterior motive is that they love you and don't want you to feel bad?

Judith Slutler

@SarcasticFringehead "Ulterior motive" is just not a phrase that belongs anywhere near my sex life, I think. Sex isn't the "ulterior motive" of being in a relationship!!!

skyslang

@SarcasticFringehead Exactly. The girlfriend seems intent on making the LW feel guilty. No matter what she does, it's not enough.

purefog

@Emmanuelle Cunt All excellent points, and I think that's a pretty good analogy too (except maybe for the phallic-ness of the chocolate bar image).

Judith Slutler

@purefog Maybe it's a... strap-on chocolate bar...? I DON'T KNOW.

But that is pretty hilariously Freudian

MoxyCrimeFighter

Yeah, the girlfriend needs to go. The "ulterior motive" of the LW is that she wants her relationship to go back to the way it was when they both seemed to enjoy it, and she's trying to help her girlfriend get into that mindset by attending to her needs. But if her girlfriend has a transactional idea of sex, or is using that as an excuse to avoid intimacy or assuage her own guilt about not wanting to reciprocate, then there's nothing the LW can do - she's going to be accused of being either neglectful or manipulative.

purefog

@Emmanuelle Cunt
But sometimes a chocolate bar is only [munches thoughtfully] a chocolate bar.

RNL
RNL

@Emmanuelle Cunt This is why I would never date someone who sent me weekly cookie care packages.

thebestjasmine

@Emmanuelle Cunt Everything that you said, and also: so what if the LW was stepping up her backrubs etc. to hopefully get more sex from her girlfriend? There's nothing wrong with that! People like different things in relationships, and if one person likes backrubs more and one person likes oral sex more, then yay, we can each step it up a little and everybody wins!

sintaxis

I kind of get really bored/annoyed about women who at one point had sex or relationships with other women and who now are all about men and have been for years but still want to claim the "queer" title. I know this is not the most popular opinion, but sometimes if your sexuality changes and you center your life around men, then it's kind of not fair to those of us who are lesbian/more woman-centered to have mostly straight ladies claiming our identities. Being visibly a lesbian or visibly unavailable to men has a profound impact on your life and if you are benefiting from being in hetero relationships, maybe, just maybe, it's a bit of self-involved narcissism to insist that other people know about/validate your not-perfectly-straight-but-mostly-hetero special snowflake identity.

melis

@sintaxis Oh, dear.

Megasus

@sintaxis :/

hallelujah

@sintaxis But...queer encompasses a huge range of identities at this point, not just gay or lesbian. Or are there new by-laws? I missed the last Meeting.

Pariah Carey

@sintaxis Is a femme person not "visibly a lesbian" enough? What about someone who wears a wedding ring? Sorry/not sorry you're bored/annoyed, but if anyone's a narcissist it's the person saying someone else isn't ______ enough to identify themselves the way you do.

Springtime for Voldemort

@sintaxis Huh, and here I thought it was a bit of self-involved, special-snowflake narcissism to insist that other people's labels and identities be based on paying homage to the Real Queers (TM) instead of what's actually going on with their personal sexuality.

sintaxis

@hallelujah True! I mean, being queer can be a range of things, but what I am trying to articulate is that if you are benefiting from heterosexual relationships, then it's not really the most important thing in the world that every single person you know is aware of your sexual past. It comes across as really self-involved and insensitive.

Theda Baranowski

@sintaxis Damn, I didn't know I got kicked out of the queer/bisexual club for daring to date the male of the species. Do I need to turn in my flare, or is my membership card enough? Is there a ritual burning I haven't been told about?

Springtime for Voldemort

@sintaxis Whereas, when you do not benefit from hetero relationships, it's obviously not at all self-involved and insensitive to make sure every single person is aware of your sexual past? Or are you not letting people know of your sexual past when you talk about that Le Tigre concert you went to?

kickupdust

@sintaxis oh now you're just making it sound like she's about to pull everyone she knows aside to give them a big speech - BY THE WAY DID YOU KNOW I LIKE LADIES-style - when that really is not the case. she's going to casually throw out a few references to something that is an important part of her past and current identity... it's not a big thing.

noodge

@melis i was wondering if i smelled popcorn... mind if i sit in?

sintaxis

Also, I understand everyone's gut "OMG NO" reaction to what I am saying; please give me a chance to respond :)

Here is what I mean: There is a thing called passing, and when you don't pass, you suffer from it. This letter writer is not going to experience intense violent homophobia while she continues to date men. Erasure of non-straightness within hetero relationships is also a problem, sure, but when it is not safe to even exist as a homosexual, a currently mostly-straight or currently all-straight person demanding that homosexuals acknowledge her past does come off as self-involved. Which is to say, basic rights are being denied to homosexuals, and it is political erasure to insist that we are all on equal footing when it is so painfully obvious that people in straight relationships benefit from that straightness.

hallelujah

@sintaxis But don't you see how it could feel like going back into the closet for her? Why would you want that for someone? There's plenty of people who would say that she's betraying the queer sisterhood for pretending she's straight, too. The LW has her heart in the right place - she's not reveling in straight privilege then wielding the Queer card when it benefits her. I'd say let's give her a bit of a break.

sarah girl

@sintaxis I totally understand what you're saying about passing and hetero relationship privilege, but I still don't understand why that means bi/queer people can't talk about their pasts with other queer people. As someone said, I don't think the letter writer is doing it in a braggy way; she just wants the people in her life to know about her identity, to see her in context of her entire life. How is that narcissistic or insensitive?

sintaxis

@Springtime for Voldemort Your comment comes across as homopobic and stands out to me among the rest. Going to a Le Tigre concert is not a staple of homosexuality, and to imply that saying if you like a certain type of music then that equals telling everyone your are homosexual or queer is super fucked up.

Moff

@sintaxis: Don't you think, though, that it might be a good thing if more people who pass begin to openly identify as queer? I mean, above and beyond what everyone else has been rightfully saying about the LW identifying based on what's true and accurate for her, it seems to me like one way of further "normalizing" queerness and reducing homophobia is if more vanilla-seeming, quote-unquote straight-acting dudes and ladies of the world who love themselves some same-sex action just start saying, "Yep, I'm queer, and it should not be a big deal."

RNL
RNL

@sintaxis I wonder if those who are "passing" being sure that the world is aware that they are queer is a powerful act of solidarity. To disrupt the complacent safeness of homophobes by letting them know that queers are everywhere, and even the ones with long hair who are dating men are not safe, seems to me to be important.

Springtime for Voldemort

@sintaxis I've found people assume I'm hetero based more on my femmeness, not whom I'm fucking. I refuse to believe that it's totally ok for me to claim the queer label when I'm just alone, but once I start getting sex and that sex happens to be with a dude, now I have to constantly be checking my passing privilege.

Ellie

@sintaxis I'm straight, so I don't have a multi-faceted perspective on this issue, but I can definitely see your point as well as the other side of it. I think that the idea of not passing and suffering for it is very legitimate and that it's reasonable to be frustrated by someone who seems like she wants to assume an identity only when it's convenient and comfortable for her to do so.
However, I think that if the general public realizes that the spectrum of non-straight people is a lot broader than what they might think of (i.e. it includes people like the LW, not just "all one thing or all the other" people) then that would probably be good to increase tolerance, understanding etc. all around. So they're both good points.

sintaxis

@Moff That would break this down into a discussion of postmodernism and it's effects on social norms of sexuality... which, while interesting, is not something that I would heartly engage in on this thread because I politically disagree with "queerness". But I do agree that normalizing non-hetronormative ways of being is important. :D

gobblegirl

@all For a site that pretends to be so welcoming and friendly and open to all, I sure have been noticing a lot of pile-ons lately.
I'm not saying I agree with sintaxis's comment (I'm not a big fan of name-calling strangers, and I'm also hetero so can't fully share her perspective anyway), but can we have this discussion more constructively?
It sounds to me that what she was trying to express (inelegantly) was frustration at having someone claim her struggles and challenges as their own, inauthentically. And I think that's a common thing among groups/identities that have traditionally had to fight oppression.
Should anyone turn that frustration into trying to be the "queer police" (or the "working class police" or the "patriarchy police")? No. I think we should make our movements open and inclusive, but we need to balance that with an acceptance of different experiences within those movements.
And we should be a little more respectful to fellow 'pinners, perhaps. Unless they insult Robyn, of course. We're not saints.

Apocalypstick

@sintaxis Ok. Passing privilege is real and an important issue. But I don't think it's the issue most relevant to the LW's situation -in fact, I'm sure people without passing privilege can sympathise even more with the discomfort of staying in the closet and representing yourself dishonestly. She's not trying to say anything about anyone else's experiences or identity, just be honest about her own.

Also, I was under the impression that one of the bonuses of using the word "queer" was that it encompasses fluidity and flexibility -that no-one can make assumptions about your life or practices based on that word. Does it mean something stricter among your peer group?

aphrabean

@sintaxis I definitely understand what you're saying, and why you feel that way. As a sort-of femmey bi-lady who has dated mostly men for the past few years, I have absolutely benefited from the assumptions of others in ways that aren't always under my control. But also like. . . I was subjected to conversion therapy as a teenager, I went through a lot of the same things my more visibly queer friends have gone through, and there is a LOT in straight culture that I find deeply alienating and destructive. Identifying as queer, for me, is an attempt to temper the assumptions made about me, to say, "Hey, my relationships with women are an important part of my experience and identity." But I try to be aware of my privilege and not, like, center myself too much (this comment notwithstanding) in discussions with people who's current, lived experience renders them highly visible and vulnerable because of that visibility.

dracula's ghost

@sintaxis if normalizing non-heteronormative ways of being is important, then it should be important that this LW be honest about her non-heteronormative past and tendencies. Not sure what the problem is here.

sintaxis

I knew I would probably get to experience a lot of bi/queer-wrath based on my comment (funny how that seems to happen everywhere that homosexual women don't automatically accept male-oriented sexualities or when homosexuals don't automatically agree that non-homosexuals live the same experience...) but I think it's important to realize that while YES, this woman is not going to be recognized as "queer" while walking down the street with her boyfriends, but she also is not going to be assaulted, experience corrective rape or bashed for being homosexual either. @aphrabean has got the right idea. There are places and experiences where our lives and social classes overlap and those are important. I am not saying this is not true.

Just because you're read as heterosexual (whether it's perceived or real or both) does not mean you're necessarily heteronormative, but sometimes people will assume that, and that's life. It's erasive that people who are practicing heterosexual relationships are in a majority and still cry about not being identified as a minority. Some of us aren't actually "queer", some of us are homosexuals. It marginalizes me when "queer" is seen as something that I have to accept without question for the sake of *inclusiveness* as something equally oppressed as homosexuality, when it is not.

stonefruit

@sintaxis How modern of you.

(I get bored/annoyed with people policing my sexuality.)

bellekaren

@sintaxis
Just thought I'd mention that I always appreciate your comments! Like always, I sorta agree with this one as well (I am wishy washy)!

dtowngirl

@sintaxis I do get what you're saying, and I agree with you and @aphrabean that many gay people are not privy to straight privilege, and many suffer terribly for it.

However, I also think it's problematic to want everyone to fit in a perfect gay/straight binary. If you're not currently having homosexual sex, you must label yourself straight? If you're gay, but you look like you could pass as straight while you're walking down the street, it's not mandatory that you tell every passing stranger you are gay, lest they allow you to continue with your perceived-straight privilege.

I do think you provided a lot to think about. But I also take a bit of an issue with your first comment, where you talk about "being visibly a lesbian..." When the conversation veers into straight-privilege based on how a person looks (which is how I read this particular phrase), it makes me nervous, because people look the way they look. I don't think everyone needs to fit into a mold, and I think we're better off that way as a gay community and as a society at large. Don't we want a wide array of experiences? Doesn't it benefit us gays/queers/bisexuals to have all sorts of people on our side, bending the rules of heteronormativity and perception?

roadtrips

@all Speaking as a cis/white/straight person, I can observe this conversation without having my personal identity involved and I could respond by saying "sintaxis's tone was a little brusque and maybe a tiny patronizing," or "everyone who snapped back over-reacted unfairly." I could (and I guess I just did) say those things, but honestly, when one has been fighting for a safe space (mental/physical etc) for years and has to actively worry about personal safety, then, yeah, it makes sense to be a little irritated by the gripes of those who are generally safe because of others' perceptions of them as normative. Likewise, constantly having to defend and explain an identity to those who make assumptions grounded in hetero-normative culture means that it is totally valid to feel frustrated when you're told that your experience isn't equal to someone else's. Everyone's experience is real and valid and deserves to be talked about.

But the reality is that everyone's experience isn't culturally and socially perceived as equally valid, and that's where it becomes so incredibly important to recognize the invisible privilege that has nothing to do with anyone's right to experience something and feel the way it makes them feel. AQC does a really good job of presenting a wide variety of experiences from those who identify (or don't identify) with a number of labels. But the reality is that representation isn't always going to be perfectly equal, and the vast majority of advice seeking letters addressing love/relationships will be about hetero-normative issues (although I am not necessarily grouping this letter under that rubric). There's an inherent failure in culture to equally address the experiences of everyone who participates in that culture. That's why AQC is so great and important, and why it's so great that so many additional experiences are represented (and, the vast majority of the time, respected) in the comments.

roadtrips

@roadtrips Just a note - I meant the vast majority of advice seeking letters published on the internet and other media, not on AQC

Springtime for Voldemort

@sintaxis You're right, going to a Le Tigre concert doesn't automatically mean you're homosexual or queer or bi. But it does tend to be part of the larger identity, and you seem to have trouble recognizing her sexual orientation based on her desires.

I also notice that you did not accuse AQC's comment about getting an Indigo Girls line tattooed on her as "homophobic".

Urwelt

@sintaxis Wait, I think I get it. While she was dating women women she was vulnerable to homophobia, so in return she got the privilege of having an externally validated identity as a Genuine Queer™™. Now that she's dated dudes for a few years, her membership has simply expired! How many dates exactly would you say she has to go on with women before she can apply for a renewal?

Anyway, really rough that intersectionality marginalizes you so. Having to keep clawing your way to the top of the Most Oppressed must be exhausting :(

Antonius Block

@sintaxis In response to this in particular: "It's erasive that people who are practicing heterosexual relationships are in a majority and still cry about not being identified as a minority.... It marginalizes me when 'queer' is seen as something that I have to accept without question for the sake of *inclusiveness* as something equally oppressed as homosexuality, when it is not."

You're right - when I walk down the street holding hands with a man that I'm seeing, I do not face the kind of nastiness and risk that I do when I'm holding hands with a woman. And because I am not only interested in women, I do not experience particular kinds of oppression EVERY time I am in a relationship. You're absolutely right. But there is a huge difference between these two statements:

1) I am a queer person, therefore you must acknowledge my *oppressed minority* status and agree that I experience an equal amount of oppression as a homosexual person."

2) "I am a queer person. That is an important part of my identity, regardless of who I am dating, and I would like you to know about it."

The first statement is comparative and erasive. The second statement (the kind of thing it sounds like LW3 would like to say) is not - it's personal.

I'm a polysexual cis woman, fwiw. Do I benefit from passing privilege sometimes? Fuck yes. Does that mean that it's erasive, self-involved, or insensitive for me to want people in my life to know that I am queer? Fuck no. I have a right to my own identity - and to the hurt and estrangement that have come from it. I'm not asking anyone to agree that my (non-homosexual) experiences have been the same as your (homosexual) ones. It's not a contest where the winner has the right to speak and the loser should shut up because she doesn't have it so bad.

I don't want this to come across as another instance of "bi/queer wrath." I agree that the problems you're talking about are serious ones. I just don't agree with the contention that my wanting to discuss my sexuality, or LW3 wanting to discuss hers, is an oppressive act of narcissism because sometimes we have relationships with men.

kickupdust

@Antonius Block this is perfect, thank you.

Minx

@sintaxis I get why you feel this way. But I just really don't like when we start equating labels with things they weren't meant to describe. "Queer" is supposed to describe that your sexual attractions are variable, not that you are an outsider of society carrying the baggage of horrible prejudicial treatment. OF COURSE the latter often comes with the label, but that is not what the label MEANS. I just don't see any reason why this lady shouldn't be able to describe who she is on the basis that she hasn't suffered enough to be that person.

pnwfemme

I experienced a subtle annoyance when reading LW 3’s letter, and I couldn’t really put my finger on it until I read @sintaxis’ comment and the replies. Here’s what I think bugs me, as a lesbian, about her dilemma: There is a thing that happens sometimes where people will use my our orientation as a way to make visible their own liberal politics or open-mindedness or hipness. As an example, I was a nanny for a family for years and eventually started noticing that the mother would often tell people who didn’t really need to know that I was gay, whether through casual mention of my girlfriend or by suggesting to other parents that their kids could ask me about my relationship if they had questions about the gays (which I think is great – I happily do it and think it’s a great way to normalize the issue in the minds of little ones who often find it confusing). The thing is, I got the feeling she did this in a “my nanny is gay, aren’t we so progressive” kinda way, especially when she outed me to her super-waspy parents as a kind of jab at them. This happens in the media when high-profile people who say something homophobic claim that their having a gay friend/brother/maid/whatevs means their bigotry is innocuous. My experience as a gay person does not mean that your relationship to me automatically grants you a progressive/liberal/hip ID. Similarly, the lamenting of a person who is now living as straight, over the fact that she doesn’t get recognition for her past queerness, rings of insincerity because ‘lesbian chic’ is a thing, and has been for almost a hundred years (Lilian Faderman examines it’s 1920’s inception beautifully in ‘Odd Girls and Twighlight Lovers’). LW moved to a city where, by her account, new friendships developed before her heterosexual relationship, yet at no point did her queer past (recent at the time of her relocation) come up with these friends and she just slid back into the closet unawares. But now that the fight for marriage equality has brought the issue to a place where identifying as LGBTQ makes you privy in some part to the attention received by gay and lez individuals who have been fighting for the cause, now she really needs people to know. If the topic presents itself, she should feel free to mention the lady loves of her past, because it won’t be earth shattering to her friends unless she hangs with homophobes. But, this “I thought I outed myself so I had a sit-down, then I intentionally outed myself to a couple more people, even though I am currently living as a straight person” thing is indicative of a need for attention more than a desire to help normalize the issue – normalizing the issue would involve admitting to it casually when it naturally occurs in conversation, as though it is a NORMAL thing, rather than some deep dark secret. I agree with AQC that if LW’s fluid sexuality starts to bring her back to a place where she desires the ladies, she should try and re-queer her life by talking more about it, etc…so as to make herself available to potential partners. However, since LW made it clear that right now her predilection is for the males, her anguish over the topic seems disingenuous and exploitive of the queer experience. I also think LW’s lingering on the subject of choosing straightness because of societal pressures indicates that she should maybe just take some time off from both the P and the V and do a little soul-searching. Maybe attend a Le Tigre concert? If she finds that she has been suppressing this part of her identity because she can’t deal with the consequences, then I actually take back most of that exploitive stuff, and feel sympathy for her. But, I don’t think that’s what’s going on here.

Springtime for Voldemort

@pnwfemme I think the way she phrases it doesn't make it sound like she's only desiring of men in general, so much as the specific people she's found herself interested in have been men. General desires often don't translate to specific people. And the idea that wanting her friends to know who she is is about being chic is... not awesome. That's not telling every Tom, Dick, and Harry her nanny is gay. That's telling the people closest to her about a large part of herself. If she can't tell her friends about a part of herself, they maybe aren't so close.

sintaxis

@bellekaren Thank you. It truly means a lot that my comments are valuable to some, even when disagreeable.

sintaxis

@pnwfemme Thanks for your comment! The Hairpin has long been only slightly-friendly to lesbians, in that hip-liberal-feminist way you describe in your comment, and I often feel very alone as a lesbian here. The annoyance I felt probably also has to do with the fact that almost every single Ask A Queer Lady has some letter from a mostly straight lady in a het relationship having existential crises about not being read as queer, or who has never had sex with a lady and is going to get married and never have sex with a lady but is "totally for real bi". But the second you claim lesbianism (or being a bi woman) as an actual thing with words and definitions and eating pussy and set some boundaries, then you are "policing sexualities". It gets tiring to do all the hand holding all the time, you know?

Urwelt

@sintaxis Yes, words have definitions. For example, the definition of "policing sexuality" would pretty clearly include reducing the identities of bisexual women in monogamous relationships with men to sarcastic scare quotes. Again, I'm curious to learn exactly how long you think a woman needs to go without eating pussy before her queerness elapses. Real rough that having to respect other people's identities is so tiring for you though!

I'm unclear on what makes The Hairpin "only slightly-friendly to lesbians". Your only concrete example seems to be the existence of letters from bi or otherwise not lesbian women in AaQC (not their favorable treatment or overwhelming dominance, just their... existence). I've got nothing better to do, so I went back through the last ten posts and you should be pleased to know that letters from lesbians outnumber letters from bisexuals. #1!

And to be totally and completely unambiguous: the less than favorable reception you're currently receiving is because of your biphobia, not your sexual orientation. Biphobia isn't an aspect of lesbianism, it's just a personal flaw.

Moff

LW2's husband and I are just hanging out over here, waiting for you ladies to get down to business and settle this with an old-fashioned oil-wrestling match.

lucy snowe

@kickupdust Yes, it is. This line particularly:
//It's not a contest where the winner has the right to speak and the loser should shut up because she doesn't have it so bad.//

lucy snowe

@sintaxis Regarding this bit:
//the fact that almost every single Ask A Queer Lady has some letter from a mostly straight lady in a het relationship having existential crises about not being read as queer, or who has never had sex with a lady and is going to get married and never have sex with a lady but is "totally for real bi".//
But aren't people who are in the vague in-between likely to need guidance? Maybe they're writing in for advice because their boundary lines are hard to articulate and draw. And maybe they're also writing in for advice because they need hand-holding.

lucy snowe

@lucy snowe Just as a by-the-by for sintaxis-- Regardless of where I come down on the specific points you've raised, I think your comments are particularly valuable to this thread. Conversations tend to be more useful and interesting when people disagree (respectfully.)

sintaxis

@lucy snowe Thanks lucy. While there were points I would have liked to engage in more, I had both work and a funeral to go to yesterday. Anyhow, the funny thing is that back when I was passing in a het relationship and believed that every time a lesbian was mean to me was a perfect example of biphobia*, I knew of a few lesbians who were driven away from the Hairpin because of the increasing erasure of homosexuality and the increasing importance placed on heterosexuality/male-oriented bisexuality and men as central to women's lives. Haha, taste of my own medicine, I suppose. But in any case, I do appreciate your comment. I will be taking a leave of absence from the hairpin.

*tongue in cheek and not directed at anyone in particular.

Megasus

I actually don't qualify it as cheating when you have an agreement before you get married to be allowed to occasionally see women, and then he freaks out when he realizes he won't be getting a free sex show. But I also would have divorced him the second he did that.

piekin

@Megasus hear, hear

@Megasus Seriously.

highjump

@Megasus They had an agreement that she could see other women as long as he had met them and they don't become a part of the family unit. Sure, he acted like an immature asshole, but now that he called off the rules she's just making up new ones as she goes along. (I also would have pulled the emergency break once that tantrum happened tbh)

Megasus

@highjump Um but is it really when he was basically like "PSYCHE YOU'RE TRAPPED NOW!!" Yes she should have talked to him about it but it does not sound like he would have been receptive to it anyway.

highjump

@Megasus Yeah he probably wouldn't have, but then she should have ended the relationship. Just because he broke it first doesn't mean she should get to smash the pieces smaller. I don't think this guy sounds like a prize but I'm a little sad for him that he's being lied to.

hallelujah

@highjump I mean, they have kids. Just ending the relationship I'm sure is not so simple. I just can't find one little iota of sympathy for that guy. He got her to marry him under false pretenses, so his feelings are pretty much a non-issue here, IMO. I wish that she could DTMFA, but that's probably not feasible, so she's doing the best she can by fulfilling her needs and preserving his feelings. Good for her.

iceberg

@Megasus OK, but here's the bit that bothers me:"About as soon as my husband figured out that he wasn't invited into the sexy times"

LW, why did your husband have to "figure it out"? Is it because you let him believe that that's how it was going to be, in order to get him to agree to your conditions? Maybe if it was such an important thing you could have, I don't know, been really really clear about that part too?

Megasus

@iceberg True. There are a lot of dudes who automatically make this assumption though.

tales

@iceberg I kind of feel like one of the ground rules being "has to know she's married" and another being "has to meet him" kind of implies that they both understood it at the beginning as not including him. Otherwise you really wouldn't need either of those ground rules (kind of hard to have a threesome with someone you've never met!).

iceberg

@tales oh! that is a good point.

fabel

The husband in letter 2...wow. I know cheating is bad, but part of me is like, "welp, that's what you get when you ignore your wife's clearly stated desire to occasionally have a lady-friend in favor of your cock's desire for threesomes? And then assume that just because you 'called off the deal' the part of your wife that wants vagina will turn itself off?"

When I first dated my boyfriend, I also expressed a desire to occasionally sleep with women, & he was--at first--all, "Oh YEAH, that's totally fine, psh, I'm cool with that for sure" but as we got more serious, I questioned him on it again. And guess what? He'd changed his mind. "Oh, um." ::looks ashamed:: "I don't think I'd be cool with that anymore."

Now, I'm not saying my relationship is perfect, buuuut. LW, your husband should not have thrown a fit of "epic proportions." That is assholish.

Springtime for Voldemort

LW3: Lindsay, as usual, is dead on. Just start casually dropping it into conversation that you watch Lost Girl for the boobs, or that your favorite queer band is coming to town and you're dying to go, or that you just read this one thought-provoking article on Autostraddle and want your friends' input on the issue. This is my preferred way to let people know, 100% of the time.

Also, just remember that if you weren't dating anyone, people wouldn't assume that you were asexual (though, it'd be nice if it did occur to people that asexuality is a possibility), so if people act like being with a dude somehow erases the other parts of your sexuality, remember that they're wrong.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

@Springtime for Voldemort
My thoughts were similar! What is it with LW3's friends that she worries how they'll respond to this information about her past? I'm not sure what to make of her characterizing telling her friends about this part of herself as "biting the bullet."

But the reality is probably just that I live in a gay-friendly bubble.

erindubitably

@Springtime for Voldemort But what if you watch Lost Girl for the scintillating dialogue and thoughtful exploration of--ahahahahahaha.

Sorry. Oh show. Never change.

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll And in some ways, the issue is the same as "I'm gaaaaaay!" coming out, in that people might be dicks. There's no way around it. Drop it in casually. I mean, really -- we all talk about our exes, right? Bad dating stories of times past? Good dating stories of college? Awkward early 20s weird stuff? Right?

thinksmall

@Springtime for Voldemort I don't think the issue is that she's afraid they'll have a negative reaction (though that is always a possibility). It seems to me that the issue is that these people are her friends and she thinks they'll feel bad that she wasn't open with them about this part of her for so long.
Or at least, that's what I felt when I was in the same position... (Not quite to the same degree--it was only a couple of months of me awkwardly unable to come out to my new friends--but it still felt terrible).

Springtime for Voldemort

@thinksmall True! But I also think if she's hoping that they'll respond with "hey, you never said you *weren't* queer", she has to give them a chance to respond that way.

thinksmall

@Springtime for Voldemort That's true--though honestly I think it's a little disingenuous. For the couple of months that I was in this situation, I had so many opportunities to come out. Conversations about dating, or exes, or hot movie stars, or gay rights. I could have just slipped it in--but I've always been bad at coming out, and so I didn't, and the longer it went on, the harder it became for me to act like it just hadn't come up yet. They were my friends, and the truth was that it had come up, and I just hadn't said anything. And we had only been friends for a couple months! LW3 has been friends with these people for years, right? She can act surprised that they don't know already, and her friends might roll with it, but I doubt anyone's really going to believe it.
But the happy end to my story is that I eventually came out to all of my friends, with varying degrees of casualness; and they were surprised, but no one reacted poorly, and now we laugh about it. So you can do it, LW3!

whateverlolawants

@thinksmall I'd like to hear more about that. I thought coming out as bi to two people in my friend group (people I've known for 10+ years) meant everyone would hear about it, but it seems these people are way more tight-lipped than I needed them to be. So then I had the awkward situation of my roommate saying "Almost all the queer people are in the other room," to that group, and everyone looking around and saying, "Which of us is gay?"

And my roommate was like, "Oh, they don't know?" I was like, "Uh..." I guess they don't? So awkward, and I still don't know exactly what to say, but I've just sort of buried it. I feel weird telling people I've known for so long that "Oh yeah, during that time we didn't hang out, I dated two girls, and if I was single again, I might again." Sigh. I don't like big revelations about myself. How did it go for you?

thinksmall

@whateverlolawants Like I said, I did it with varying degrees of casualness, because I, too, don't like big revelations--but sometimes it can't be helped.
So I had moved to a new city to do a month long teacher-training program, and I made a bunch of friends there, and I stayed in the city after the program was over. But the whole time, I didn't come out to anyone--I was coming from an environment (women's college) where all my friends were queer and everyone pretty much operated on a queer-until-proven-otherwise basis, so I wasn't used to coming out in "the real world."
The first person I came out to in this new group of friends was my roommate. We were having an intense discussion about the politics of marriage and patriarchy and I said something to the effect of "I want to get married, but I don't think I would ever marry a *man*," followed by a meaningful stare. To which she said, "oh!" and then moved on. After that I considered it done and just started talking about queer shit like I normally do.
The next person I came out to was a friend, A, who had moved away after the program was over. So we were chatting on Skype. He mentioned something to me about some guy he'd met who'd spent the night at his place, and he didn't know how he felt about him, etc. And I said, "Wait a minute, are you gay?? Me too!" And then we spent the next half hour talking about how bad we are at coming out to people, and how much fun we could've had if only we'd known when we were still living in the same city. (This is now basically my favorite coming out story).
Then finally I came out to another friend from this group by mentioning how I had talked to A and he told me he was gay. And this friend said, "Oh, you didn't know?" And I said, "No... which is funny, because I'm gay, too..." And she was surprised, but we laughed, cause really, it was just a funny story.
So that was it. I had only known these people for a couple of months, so I think they were a little confused about why I hadn't said anything before (with the exception of A, who had done the exact same thing, and understood completely...), but no one was really hurt.
I kind of think the best strategy is just to be upfront about it. Like, "I know it's weird that I haven't said anything about this before, but coming out is hard and awkward, so... I'm queer! Just so you know."

fondue with cheddar

Wow. I just have to say that this is the first advice column in which I identify with most of the LWs (and to LW1's partner but in a nicer way). I'm going to have to restrain myself from spending the next couple hours reading and commenting.

iceberg

@fondue with cheddar don't! I love your comments!

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg DAWWW SHUCKS. <3

I have to be careful though, because I took a lot of time off this week after some oral surgery so I have a LOT of work to do! I'm wasting a lot of time as it is reading all about this event which is unfortunately relevant to me.

But I will say this: my ex husband had a lot in common with the partners of LW1 and LW2.

fondue with cheddar

@iceberg Oh, and I love your comments too, of course. But who wouldn't? Nobody I'd ever want to meet, that's for sure.

alannaofdoom

LW1 - UGH, the whole "I want you to do these things that I want you to do, but not for me, *for you*; no, you're still doing things for me" routine is such bullshit. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I mean, okay, the LW could be an unreliable narrator in this case. But it's obvious the relationship has found its end.

Slapfight

@alannaofdoom The only thing LW1's gf is ready for is a self-involved, passive-aggressive, manipulative shitstorm. Run gurl! RUUUUUNNNN!

Moff

I'm intensely curious about how LW2 and her husband, back when they laid out their plans, never managed to communicate that she was only interested in sexing women one-on-one. Just speaking from experience, every bi or bicurious woman I've dated has said to me either, "I think a three-way would be hot" or (more often) "If I were going to be with a woman, I would want to be with just her; I'm not interested in putting on a show for you." And these conversations would happen pretty effortlessly, just as a matter of discussing our sexualities and likes and dislikes. It was more or less assumed that, as a guy who digs women, I would want to see two women having sex and be a part of it (that being, like, what, the most common straight-dude fantasy out there?).

I guess I just don't understand how, if "he was like OH HELL YES and then some ground rules were drawn up," neither of them thought to clarify his level of involvement. I understand where all the commenters going, "God, what an ASS he is!" are coming from. But if I thought my wife-to-be wanted some fun group action and then learned she was actually going to be off having sex on her own while I sat at home, I'd have a strong negative reaction, too. And not because of possessiveness, but simply because there's a big difference between "This is something we're doing together" and "This is something you're not a part of, person who's supposed to be my life partner."

If LW2 did clarify that beforehand, then, yes, hey, he's being an ass (although she should still have taken other steps before cheating, because jealousy is a pretty powerful feeling and can make otherwise great people act like asses, and it's not something you can just shake off without some work and communication). But unless I'm missing something, she elides what is a really important factor here.

vunder

@Moff Yeah, it's a good point, especially because he thought about it enough to set ground rules. Even though the LW says specifically that he was upset that he wasn't invited, it sounds a little more (to me) like 19 year old him was like "Oh yeah, I'm cool with sex between ladies, that's really hot" and then married him found that jealousy and a sense of feeling excluded jumped up and bit him.

Moff

@vunder Yeah, I think that's very likely. I mean, even when it is a three-way and they're participating, it's pretty common for one half of a couple to be taken by surprise by intense feelings of jealousy.

But I'm also curious about the way LW2 phrases it: "About as soon as my husband figured out that he wasn't invited..." That suggests it was never clarified in the first place. And I have a lot of trouble believing that even a 19-year-old (at the time) "bi/queer/occasional lady fucker" had no conception that her pussy-loving husband might want to be in on the action too, especially since she knew he was all "OH HELL YES."

leylusha

@Moff I don't want to be the cynical juicebox, but I can totally imagine either vunder's imagined situation being the reality, OR the much worse case in which the guy was pretty sure his fiancee was not talking about threesomes, but hoped that if he kept his mouth shut and tried to pressure her into it once they'd tied the knot, she'd have to acquiesce to his fantasy eventually... which explains his going ballistic when she didn't.
ETA: If I'm honest, I also resent your assertion that just because "it's the most common male fantasy" (in which country? Don't mean to nitpick but that's not always true depending on where you are and the circles you run with), the woman should ASSUME something about the guy's fantasies and expectations rather than the onus being on him to be open about them.

Moff

@leylusha Yeah, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, because she seems to be pretty positive about him other than on this issue. Mostly I'm just curious because this is the central issue whenever a woman's bisexuality comes up in discussion with her straight partner, and because her phrasing goes out of it way to avoid suggesting that it was ever talked about. It's very possible that he was hoping she'd come around to a threesome; it's also possible that she alluded to the possibility of one without intending to follow through. I just don't see how you manage to set a bunch of other ground rules but aren't crystal clear on that one.

leylusha

@Moff Yeah it is pretty surprising, to be sure. All I can say is I feel sorry for her and the kid and her partners who are forced to be "The Other Woman" and that I'm glad I'm not in any of those positions at all!

iceberg

@Moff Yes, this (that's what I get for not scrolling through before commenting!)

Moff

@leylusha Well, it wasn't an assertion, really; it was a rhetorical question, signaling that even if it isn't, statistically speaking, the most common male fantasy, it's still pretty frickin' common. I wouldn't say the onus was on her, by any means. But I would say that if you are 19 years old in this culture, bi, and sexually literate, and you don't think it's highly possible that your husband-to-be would want to be with two women -- well, that would be surprising.

RebeccaKW

@Moff Yes, I would like to know exactly what they discussed when they set these rules. When she said she wanted to occasionally hook up with ladies and his reaction was "Oh, hell yes!" did she think he seems a bit too enthusiastic? Did she decide well, he agreed, so too bad whatever he thought I meant, or did she say well, to clarify, I mean me have sex with women but without you being there? Although, from the rules, it does sound like he understood-she had to know the LW was married, etc.

Moff

@RebeccaKW: That's true -- the fact that the other woman had to know the LW was married implies that there was an understanding that he wouldn't be present. The phrasing just feels so evasive; makes me think they both secretly knew they had different expectations but didn't want to spell it out for fear of not getting what they each wanted.

leylusha

@RebeccaKW I really have to echo your last sentence. That kind of rule makes very little sense to put on the table if he's expecting to be present and active in the... err... action.

RebeccaKW

@Moff I agree with you there. They each wanted something, but didn't want to get too detailed for fear of it not happening.

RebeccaKW

@leylusha I've never had any sort of open relationship, but I had a friend who did. The rules she had with her husband was, they each had to know in advance, it couldn't interfere with married life, and it couldn't be like a date, just sex. She started meeting guys and he failed to ever entice another young lady. So, then he began getting jealous, and it caused all kinds of problems. So, it's possible, too, that LW's husband knew it meant her only, but hoped he could work it in his favor, and when that didn't work, he got mad and changed his mind.

runner in the garden

@RebeccaKW @Moff - totally. One of the immature habits I've had to confront in myself is this idea that if you keep things vague, you can believe what you want and the other person can believe what they want and this will never lead to any problems! It's obviously bullshit but it's so much easier than actually putting your cards on the table :(

leylusha

"And your soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend should be dating a nail salon massage chair."
BAM! AQC is on it like always. So much love for this column.

supernintendochalmers

I really feel for LW#1. I don't think the problem is really the age gap, I think it's that your gf is being a jerk. And I say this as gently as possible, but it seems like your relationship is already ending. I mean, she hasn't spoken to you in a week. OF COURSE you sent an email, what other option did you have with this person?

It also really angers me when people can't be fair/empathetic about the different financial situations their partners are in. I think that speaks poorly to her character in general.

alannaofdoom

@supernintendochalmers - You're dead right and the more I think about it, the angrier I get. GF tells LW that she feels under-loved, so LW makes changes to show her that he loves her, but he's still in the wrong because he's doing it for the wrong reasons? Newsflash: people make changes for their loved ones - like making sure to bring their ladyfriend to dinner to meet hubby before retiring to the bedroom, just as an example off the top of my head. This is called compromise! Your partner should want to make you happy! You should want to make your partner happy! This policing of motivations betrays an unrealistic fantasy of relationships: that they don't take work, that somewhere out there is the one person who will magically and seamlessly fit into your life and complete you and you will never argue or fight or even disagree about what wine to have with dinner, let alone something like having kids.

It seems to be that GF has been checked out of this relationship for 2+ months but doesn't have the spine to end it, so she blames any problems on LW, and then when he addresses the problems she faults him for doing so. It's incredibly childish. Dear LW, please break up with your girlfriend and find someone more mature.

Lu2
Lu2

@alannaofdoom I was pretty sure LW#1 is a woman, no? Wha'd I miss?

edited: Wow, I think I may be wrong. I just reread the letter with an eye to "LW is a man," and I think I originally read everything in it, including marriage and penetration, as a woman-oriented version because this is Ask a Queer Chick. Huh!

packedsuitcase

@Lu2 Okay, this threw me and I just re-read, too, but this line makes me think LW1 is a woman: "She was an AMAZING girlfriend who went over and above (weekly cookie care packages! lovely love texts nightly! sweetest letters ever!). I was a pretty good one, given the fact that I'm a sporadically employed undergraduate student who can't afford things like surprise weekend getaways to the beach for birthdays."

ponymalta

Ugh LW#1 it gives me bad feelings when you talk about how your girlfriend was more of a perfect partner than you because she did all this stuff (weekly cookie care packages! lovely love texts nightly! sweetest letters ever!) but then later accuses you of not trying enough, not having the right intentions (altruistic, sexless) when you touch her, not being committed in the right way but not being able to explain what she is asking of you. That's manipulation! She has set a vague, impossible bar and is holding it against you that you can't meet it. You deserve someone who values you and respects your needs and doesn't pull this kind of shit.

RebeccaKW

@ponymalta And to me, sending me weekly cookie care packages and whatever all else doesn't seem romantic. It seems contrived. I would much rather get a surprise card in the mail for no reason than "well, it's Monday, I'll be getting cookies today." Just b/c you don't send a "love you" text at 10:02 a.m. every day doesn't mean you aren't a great partner and it also pisses me off when the other acts like it does.

ponymalta

@RebeccaKW Yeah, it seems contrived and also a way to say, "Well, I sent you weekly cookie care packages and you couldn't even give me a backrub without SEXUAL INTENTIONS LURKING IN YOUR MIND, so obviously you are a bad partner." Ugh.

RebeccaKW

@ponymalta Exactly. And why are you mad that I'm thinking sexy thoughts? First of all, if I didn't desire you, you'd be pissed. Second, who cares if I'm thinking them and hoping for it to happen? As long I'm not attacking your for not giving it up, it's fine. I gave you a back rub, just enjoy the back rub.

keristars

LW4: I think you're in a tough spot. So many people have a very difficult time grasping that asexuality is a very low or nonexistent sex drive, rather than a complete non-attraction (ie: romantic attraction/closeness is possible, though doesn't always occur). Does your boyfriend have any idea of that? because I think that's going to be a big hurdle.

Also, even if you're willing to participate in sexual activities in order to meet his needs as a sexual person, I understand that folks don't always see that as an expression of love rather than an "ugh, she's only doing it out of obligation" sort of way.

This might, sadly, mean that you'll break up with him. But it's not unpossible to meet someone who understands and is willing to be with you. Just keep in mind that if you're willing to let monogamy fly out the window, sex and emotions get tangled pretty easily, and it's going to take a lot of work/maintenance to keep your relationship.

I'm sure you've already done so, but AVEN has a forum with discussions that might be useful. Also the old asexuality community on LJ (if it's still there? when I was figuring out my asexuality, that's where I learned about all the different ways of being asexual and there was tons of advice for people trying to handle relationships.)

FWIW, most of this comment is based on advice and questions I've seen over the years rather than anything first-hand, as I am so frigging asexual and aromantic that I've never dated anyone, never so much as kissed another person, though I do have a fairly latent attraction towards women (mostly theoretical, as I have only met one person in my 29 years who inspired a crush, and it turned out to be more of a friend-crush than a sexy-crush, especially once I learned that she's monogamous long-term with a guy).

inkblot

@keristars: Yes, to basically all of this.
However, asexuality is defined as a lack of sexual attraction, not a low/non-existent sex drive. I'm an ace with a high sex drive, and this misconception often works to invalidate my sexual orientation!

keristars

@inkblot
Whoops, looks like I'm mixing it up! It seems to me like it's pretty fuzzy and could be either/or at times? Because you can be hetero-romantic and asexual?

Anyway, I'm neither, so it's pretty easy for me to wave it off as "whatever", even if it is important to other people!

inkblot

@keristars
Well, romantic attraction and sexual attraction are different things (which, obviously, you wouldn't know.) The definition is strictly "no attraction" to include aces such as myself, I believe.

ponymalta

@inkblot Please explain! So you have a high sex drive but it's not directed at anyone? (It's fair if you want to just tell me to do my own research, but I'm interested and I know almost nothing about this subject).

inkblot

@ponymalta Precisely. People seem incredibly confused about it. Usually I explain like this: So, say you're a heterosexual woman-identified person and you're on a desert island populated only by other women. You would still have a sex drive, but you wouldn't be attracted to anyone on your island. So, it's like that for me, but with everyone.

keristars

@inkblot

Wow... So, yeah, I think it's even more complicated than I thought. I can't really bring my head around what you've said with the romantic and sexual attraction. Like... I can understand having a sex drive and no attraction (I get a very low one that is easily ignored exactly once a month, thanks to hormones). And also being romantically interested but no sex drive. But I'm not sure I really understand sexual attraction but no sex drive?

Human sexuality is super complex to try and describe, that's probably the best answer. :D

inkblot

@keristars Ha, true!

Yeah, technically if one has sexual attraction but no sex drive, they're not ace? But I would never deny someone an identity they find useful, of course.

The one you're missing is romantic attraction, no sexual attraction, and a sex drive (me!). (And this doesn't include others on the ace spectrum like demisexuals and grey a's!)

Linette

I'm also feeling so much sympathy for LW3 here, because while yes, cheating and lying are wrong and need to be stopped, sometimes you come to these places because the other person is also doing Wrong Things, and while it exonerates neither, I just can't be mad at either of them. Seems like one of those situations where you really want to hold on to the good, and the logistics of the situation mean that you and your husband both cannot reconcile what you really want.

I know several people whose marriages have gotten to this place - one that's very, very similar indeed - and it's so sad, because neither intended it to happen. Both wanted the marriage to work, and thought they could do what they had agreed to do, and then they were wrong. And then tried to fix being wrong by lying, because they didn't want to lose the relationship.

So, so sad. I don't have any good advice, because it does sound like the only way to go is honesty and hope, as AQC says. But just putting out there that this seems like a sucky situation, and while maybe Bad Choices have been made, I have so much sympathy for the reasons they were made.

Mila

So, it seems like the popular consensus is that the husband was a jerk, and it is likely true, but I wonder what his perspective on this story is. I mean, it seems that maybe they didn't communicate as clearly in the beginning as one might hope (if he thought he was going to get in on the action), and there is just something about the "fit of unreasonable proportions" phrasing that irks me. Like, again, quite possible he did have an abusive freak-out that intimidated her into never broaching the subject again. But I can imagine some people I have been involved with who are extremely conflict averse describing me trying to have an intense discussion of our relationship and its ground rules as having a "fit of unreasonable proportions." It just feels like language that isn't very respectful of someone's emotional reality. What is unreasonable? And then to just stop talking about it and go out and do it anyway? I don't know, I have never been in a situation like this one about whether I get outside sex, but I have known people to avoid conflict and then just go do what they want anyway without figuring it out together as a couple, and it really, really sucks. Like I said, it is probably 90% likely this guy is just a jerk, but maybe this lady should be working on her lack of communication skills and conflict avoidance a bit.

@Mila Unreasonable is having a fit that you don't get live lesbian porn.

ellebean

LW2, come sit next to me for a minute,
Now, I agree with AQC and commenters above that you need to talk to your husband and that he shouldn't have assumed he was invited/changed the rules/etc. I don't want to repeat everything and they said it much better than I could have.
BUT a few things:
1. If it was not perfectly clear to your husband that he would not be involved, you did not talk about this enough.
2. Try reframing how you think about this. You basically asked for a one-sided open relationship. Would you be ok with your husband sleeping with another person? Maybe you are and an open relationship would work for you guys.
3. There seems to be an underlying idea (which I don't think you meant) that this is ok because it is sex with another lady and somehow gay-sex does not mean as much as hetero-sex. This is not ok AT ALL. Sex is sex and cheating is cheating whether it is with a lady, a dude or someone who does not identify as either.

None of this is to excuse your husband's behavior though. I just needed to put it out there.

smartastic

@ellebean Thank you, agree on all points.

Flies in my eyes

All great advice as usual! But #3, drop more hints than just a crush on Alison Brie. Some straight girls have a crush on her too. So that won't out you ;)

Apocalypstick

@Flies in my eyes It kinda bugs me when straight girls talk about having gay crushes. Would they put their face on her vag? No? Then they just think she's super cool, which is fine, but not actually an Omigod Massive Lesbian Crush. Idk I know sexuality is more complicated than that & maybe this discomfort is erasing genuine hetroflexible people, but it seems a decent litmus test.

Flies in my eyes

@Apocalypstick Fair enough. I would fail that litmus test. I usually call it a "girl crush" or a "lady crush" for exactly this reason. But sexuality for me is on a gradient and my "crush" on Alison Brie is closer to the "gay" end of the scale than my "crush" on other super cool lady celebrities. To put it in context, I would say my crush on Alison Brie is equivalent to my crush on Donald Glover. Let's say it would be equivalent to a grade school crush. Where I would totally die if the bottle landed on them during spin the bottle. But before the concept of face on genitalia was really on the table, so to speak. And my desire to comment was along that adolescent mindset. "OMG Alison Brie! I love her too!".

But I think being bothered by that isn't erasing heteroflexible people. It could easily be a genuine annoyance very worthy of expression. Even in the response to #3 it was included about having crushes on Straight girls at some point, then getting over that. So if #3 wanted to get some lady action she should put some vibes out. I think it completely makes sense to be irritated by straight girls talking about crushes on other girls, when they would not have any interest in sex with that person.

I know I sit a little closer to the gay end of the scale than a lot of my straight friends, but not as close to that end of the scale as my bi or gay friends. So expressing annoyance isn't in any way erasing my heterflexibility, it is just giving me opportunity to clarify it. I don't have cruses on girls that are "Omigod Massive Lesbian Crush" but this straight lady has crushes on girls that include a certain degree of sexual attraction and I'm cool with that. But if I had a crush like that on a real person who was gay, I wouldn't play around with it. Because I know I would fail your litmus test, and in that context it wouldn't be cool.

Sorry, apparently I decided to write an essay about my straight girl crushes...

Anabella

LW1: I totally disagree with Queer Chick's analysis, though not the conclusion. I don't think it shows huge relationship problems to have a serious conversation over email: 1. sometimes people need the space to think independently from one another, especially on a sensitive topic, and you might want the option to thoughtfully think about exactly how and what you want to say 2. sometimes you just need to talk about something - or finish a conversation that started last night - and it happens to be 10:32am on a monday and you can't see your SO until wednesday, or until monday at 5:01pm and you just. can't. wait. 3. that being said, whats up with her not responding? that is a bad sign - follow up via whatever communication method you're using

re: sex - i do NOT think that her girlfriend feeling unloved/troubled/sad/feelings right now and so not wanting to have sex makes them incompatible in the long term (very un-dan savagey of me). maybe it's jsut a phase. LW1 didn't say this was always an issue; this is an issue now because it's indicative of the other problems they're having.

that being said, LW1 is right, 21 and 27 isn't a huge numerical difference, but it is a huge life difference. (ironically, 21 with a 41 year old sugar momma probably would do better; rather than with a 27 year old where they feel like they *should* be on the same page, but 21 yr old is unsettled in life, not even in "real"ly real life, etc). so yes, i think they should break up - the girlfriend isn't getting the partner she wants, and is asking more than dearest 21 yr old can give, and so making her feel like shit for simply having been born after 1985.

peace out!

beezy

@Anabella Agree. LW1, quit stressing. Your girl is obviously extremely emotional right now and needs distance for whatever reason. She will either grant you and your relationship that enlightening conversation or she won't. Make SOME effort to talk but don't be makin' all of it. In the meantime, RELAX and focus on yourself as a partner and as a person. I bet she'd be able to appreciate that. If you end up breaking up, it will be for the best. STAY UP LW1!! Don't forget to keep your own needs in mind, too (very dan-savagey)

383740544@twitter

that being said, LW1 is right, 21 and 27 isn't a huge numerical difference, but it is a huge life difference. (ironically, 21 with a 41 year old sugar momma probably would do better; rather than with a 27 year old where they feel like they *should* be on the same page, but 21 yr old is unsettled in life, not even in "real"ly real life, etc). so yes, i think they should break up - the girlfriend isn't getting the partner she wants, and is asking more than dearest 21 yr old can give, and so making her feel like shit for simply having been born after 1985. sbothai

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