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emma's bee 1
Welcome back, SLOTTD! Great advice.
Posted by emma's bee on January 7, 2013 at 3:52 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 3
First, yay new letters!

Second, there may be ebb and flow at work here, but there is also the fact that he is only getting laid at his wife's rate, which is totally not his. But, something seems to be at play with his wife that he's either avoiding, or it hasn't been addressed in his relationship.

At the risk of sounding like a typical Seattle hippy worrywart, maybe his wife is going through a depression. She may actually know she has a low sex drive and it keeps getting lower. And, she may actually know that its far less than you need it to be. And, this knowledge makes her sure that you're getting it somewhere, fueling her insane jealousy, clinginess, and, cyclically, depression. I'm not saying this IS what is happening, but it is a possible scenario that is actually at play.

In any case, it didn't sound like this type of discussion had happened yet. It sounded like she had a severely low sex drive and that was just fine with her, and neither of them were seeking professional help with that.

Besides that, real, devastating, conversations are probably going to start happening, especially without a professional consultation. Ultimatums need to be given (Get help or I'm going to start fucking other people), etc. But, I think clinicians should be consulted if he wants to stay with the wife.

And, this isn't to disregard your flow towards men, DUMB. Discussing an open relationship (not poly, just open) is a viable discussion along with getting her help with her sex drive, if that type of help is actually needed/wanted by both you and her.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 7, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
Home run right off the first pitch. Welcome back Dan.
Posted by SeattleKim on January 7, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
'bout time. Slacker.
Posted by slainte on January 7, 2013 at 4:09 PM · Report this
schmacky 6
I am horrified by this: "she's made it clear that she generally only has sex with me to confirm that I'm still attracted to her."

Man, that sounds joyless.
Posted by schmacky on January 7, 2013 at 4:16 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 7
A new book from Mr Savage! I MUST have it. Can hardly wait.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 7, 2013 at 4:17 PM · Report this
This letter has a whiff of the "I want to dump her but I don't want to hurt her" that just drives me nuts! Good advice on your part, Dan. And thank god they don't have kids!
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on January 7, 2013 at 4:25 PM · Report this
JensR 9
God I wouldn't wanna be in that kitchen when he drops the bomb... gah
Posted by JensR on January 7, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this
sounds like complaints i hear from many of my married friends, ALL THE FUCKING TIME (Sans the bisexual bicoastal bit) i dont know why you would sign up for knowing you will be miserable for the rest of your life? no kids, no plans for kids, then don't you want a totally sexually compatible thing that you know wont make you miserable for the rest of your life? i dont have sex with you so i know you still think im pretty? what is your wife, like 13 years old? DTMFA why even bother with the years of guilt, pity sex, and whining which is going to be what you will have... seen this all before, ill tell you what i tell my peeps, you can either bitch and moan to me for the next decade about your misery, ill listen and smile and nod and make all the appropriate noises, or you can shit and get off the pot and do what you need to do to be happy. there are 2190830182739182673981723 other people in the world, chances are one of them can make you happier than the one you are with.
Posted by darlin13 on January 7, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
nocutename 11
Good advice, Dan. The back-and-forth with the letter writer really helps frame the advice, too.
He really needs to talk to his wife before she moves across the country.
Posted by nocutename on January 7, 2013 at 4:33 PM · Report this
Dan, can you please have someone figure out why clicking on a "LustLab" ad on the right side of a slog post is almost guaranteed to result in a "no such profile" error, but typing in the name of the same profile finds it? It really interrupts my flow to see cleavage and/or butts, click on them, then be forced to go back and look at the NAME attached to the cleavage and/or butts and TYPE IT IN in order to view more of said cleavage and/or butts. Note: this never seems to be a problem with LoveLab ads, but then again I hardly click on those because they generally aren't featuring cleavage and/or butts.

Posted by beef rallard on January 7, 2013 at 4:54 PM · Report this
Am I the only one who notices the the abbreviation 'SLLOTD' looks suspiciously like two small balls and a girthy weiner?

Posted by ultrasuedecushion on January 7, 2013 at 4:55 PM · Report this
@11 & Dan: EXACTLY. Don't let her uproot her life and follow you 3000 miles based on faulty information. The wife is an adult (even when she isn't acting quite adult) and deserves the ability to make fully informed, if painful, decisions about her own life. I say this as a person in a dual-career marriage who has done the long distance thing. It would be a tricky negotiation, a tough decision, and a painful separation even in a healthy relationship.

Finding out my husband wanted sex outside our marriage would be devastating. Finding out that he had cheated on me for a year while we were separated, and/or finding out after I have left my job/friends/support network/home to follow him across the country... would be unthinkable. Please, DUMB, don't do that to her.
Posted by wxPDX on January 7, 2013 at 5:02 PM · Report this
nikoniko 15
Did anyone else read the title as "married banh mi"?
Posted by nikoniko on January 7, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
I think it is ESSENTIAL to recognize that the disparity between two people's sex drives is a powerful and important reason to separate. I used to think that my sex drive would ramp down as I got older, and my ex's near-zero drive would be acceptable. But guess what? More than 30 years later, mine has ramped UP. Doubled. Tripled. If everything else had been perfect, the disparity would have been enough to split us up. The people saying "Really? You're splittling up just because of not getting enough sex?" may well be the ones with the low low how-low-can-you-go sex drive.
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on January 7, 2013 at 5:11 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 18
Hey Dan, is the book fini....?

Oh. Well. Never mind, then.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on January 7, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 19

Posted by keshmeshi on January 7, 2013 at 5:49 PM · Report this
I try to remember that I am reading one person's view. I recall that my ex-wife's sex drive went down about the same time I started fantasizing about others and thinking about others while looking at porn and masturbating. Coincidence? I doubt it. I have learned that women are turned on by being wanted and when they are desired their sex drive goes up. Not magic. But sometime you loose desire for someone so work on it or move on.
Posted by JamesInLA on January 7, 2013 at 5:57 PM · Report this
Another point to make: explain to her how your interest in guys is purely about the physical. If you're going to be fucking around on her, you're *just fucking* - not creating lasting emotional commitments, not trading protestations of love, not falling for someone else. This might make it easier for her to take.
Posted by Slartibartfast on January 7, 2013 at 6:05 PM · Report this
Good advice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the myriad of ways relationships can be organized. But there is always something wrong with telling someone you will do something and then not doing it.

So either learn to control your desires or be upfront with your partner about the need to fulfill them and accept that they may leave.
Posted by giffy on January 7, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
Huh. Now I wonder if I should start ID-ing as bi. I like girls, I wanna fuck girls, I wanna date girls, I am sorta a girl (I don't necessarily ID as one all the time, but close enough), but every so often, I see a guy I wouldn't mind having sex with once or twice.
Posted by ThetaSigma on January 7, 2013 at 6:53 PM · Report this
So why not tell her the truth? Tell her you love her, tell her you don't want to call it quits on your marriage, but you can't be monogamous with her for the rest of your life.

Thank you, Dan. That's what ALL people in committed relationships should do - talk to each other. Sure, it's hard but you made a commitment - fight for it. Don't just say "it's too hard to talk" or "I don't want to hurt her" - really? I think what you are considering (and the possibility that she WILL find out) is far worse.

Work on your relationship before you truly destroy it. Make that good faith effort and you will likely part of friends and not damaged people. Who knows? You may find out she's willing to listen to what you want.

Work on the relationship first always. There's just less to be hurt or angry at later on if you do.

If you don't want to be in the relationship, then just leave.
Posted by westello on January 7, 2013 at 6:54 PM · Report this
secretagent 25
To second #20, it's totally true that a woman's sex drive can plummet when her partner loses interest, and not vice versa. Being desired is central to a woman's sexuality, and if he's "obsessed" with guys all of the sudden, she's not likely totally oblivious. Which lines up nicely with the clingy and jealous, and the "confirming I'm still attracted to her".

As much as a woman wants sex, we want the "I want you so bad I'm going to toss you over my shoulder and carry you off" sex, not the "you're a warm body and you're already in my bed" variety. I'll be an enthusiastic yes for the former and a definite no for the latter. A couple of years of that and I can't imagine the resentment built up on both sides.
Posted by secretagent on January 7, 2013 at 6:55 PM · Report this
Ah, if books only turned out the way we expected before we began...

Interesting. I'd always thought the cachet of the situation rode more on the gender of the third party instead of whether it matched that of the roamer.
Posted by vennominon on January 7, 2013 at 6:58 PM · Report this
TVDinner 27
Oh man, neither one of them has an easy road ahead. But this is what life is, I guess. You make a billion tiny decisions over the course of a few years, and the next thing you know you're in a situation that's intolerable.

It's like a lobster being slowly boiled. No way would the lobster jump into boiling water, but if you start out with tepid water and then raise the heat gradually, he sticks around until he's dead.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on January 7, 2013 at 7:44 PM · Report this
@21, my advice is to avoid making promises not to fall in love. The quickest route to falling in love is promising not to.

@25, while "I want you so bad" sex definitely beats "you're a warm body in my bed" sex, I also think that relationships don't last twenty years if the people involved refuse to enjoy the latter on occasion.

I like waking up to my husband's hard-on and climbing on, but I don't delude myself that his passion for me caused the erection. The sex is fun anyway. But bread-and-butter sex would stop being satisfying pretty quickly, if that was all I got.

Posted by EricaP on January 7, 2013 at 8:08 PM · Report this
Oh, and thank you for all you do, Dan!
Posted by EricaP on January 7, 2013 at 8:11 PM · Report this
Brooklyn Reader 30
His interest in dudes might not be an ebb and flow thing. It might just be a built-up starvation exerting itself at last. I don't know much about bisexuality, but I do know that denying yourself something you need sexually doesn't make it go away. Quite the opposite. And he's been doing just that, suppressing his extramarital desires for a bunch of years now. So, now he's obsessing. Once he gets to scratch that itch, it'll probably subside again.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on January 7, 2013 at 8:33 PM · Report this
long-time reader 31
Haven't even read the letter yet; just wanted to say: Thank you, Dan! For everything you do! You owe us nothing but you give so much.
Posted by long-time reader on January 7, 2013 at 8:45 PM · Report this
I work in an industry that's male dominated, where those men spend much of their time away from home, alone, much like DUMB. I actually have had more than one opportunity to engage in sex ranging from the low key stuff under discussion to all out fucking with married bi guys.

I've never taken then up on the offer because (1) I always ask if their wife/girlfriend knows what they're doing on the road and the answer's usually "no," and (2) I'm HIV positive and do not want to introduce any chance of that into a scenario where one partner is not just assuming monogamy and being deceived, but also could be unwittingly exposed to HIV. I just will not go there.

So DUMB, I know you just want low key stuff right now, but these things might well start growing on you. It behooves you to educate yourself about HIV right now. About the various risk factors and how they can be mitigated reliably. And you need to think about what kind of risks you'd be prepared to accept.

And all of this needs to be part of your discussion with your wife. Because if, Dog forbid, you catch something, you may very well end up bringing it home to her without either of you knowing it. So you need some solid boundaries set.

I'll say this: in general, bi guys often seem much less well educated about STD transmission and HIV in particular. Don't be one of those guys.
Posted by Corydon on January 7, 2013 at 8:49 PM · Report this
sanguisuga 33
@20, I just wanted to commend you on your revelation. I'm going through something similar in my relationship and so far he just doesn't get what my issue is, no matter how I try to explain. He just keeps saying that it's not me, that it's his lack of desire in general that is the problem. Oh no, I'm amazingly sexy and hot, he just doesn't want to fuck anyone. And I'm supposed to accept that somehow... Instead, my libido is the lowest it's ever been.
Posted by sanguisuga on January 7, 2013 at 9:04 PM · Report this
It is so refreshing to see a LW say "And I have talked to my partner about it."

Mr. Savage seems to jump to "open relationship" rather quickly. DUMB's wife is willing to have sex with him even when she's not feeling it, so it's likely that she'd be willing to help him meet his needs more than she currently is.

Still, the fact that his desire for male sexual partners is a big deal for him right now is something that she needs to know.
Posted by DRF on January 7, 2013 at 9:14 PM · Report this
Registered European 35
. I'm relieved at the year of freedom ahead of me.

says it all. I don't think DUMB actually wants to be married to his wife.
Posted by Registered European on January 7, 2013 at 9:54 PM · Report this
This is sooooo beside the point, but the fact that Dan always asks if people have small children before advising them to either divorce or cheat always bugs me, as someone whose parents divorced when she was young. Based on my experiences and those of my friends and acquaintances, most of us whose parents divorced when we were young dealt with it pretty well, largely because we don't have a lot of memories of our parents being loving with each other (either because we were too young to remember, or by the time we could remember the marriage was already on the fritz). It's the people I know whose parents divorced when they were in their teens and '20s where it completely destroyed their world.

Granted, my parents' problems went beyond just not loving or having sex with one another, but I think my life was improved by them divorcing. Having my mom living apart from my jackass dad and married to someone else (my wonderful stepdad) made it a lot easier for me to distance myself from him as much as possible early in life.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on January 7, 2013 at 11:15 PM · Report this
Anyway, I meant to say that I'm not saying people shouldn't divorce if their kids are already older, but I think we should re-evaluate the notion that it's the "right thing" to wait until the young kids grow up to divorce. Little kids are happier in two happy homes than one unhappy one, and plus, going between houses is mostly fun when you're a little kid - two birthdays! two Christmases/Hanukkahs! two rooms to decorate! etc.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on January 7, 2013 at 11:17 PM · Report this
I think that every relationship - particularly long term - has one partner that isn't getting enough sex. Apropos of nothing, it's not me in my situation.

I still don't know how you handle that.
Posted by JJinAus on January 7, 2013 at 11:23 PM · Report this
seandr 39
she's made it clear that she generally only has sex with me to confirm that I'm still attracted to her

Your wife doesn't have a low libido, she's insecure. Maybe that stems from something in her, maybe it's a reaction to something she's registering from you. If you can figure that out and address it, she'll be more sexually generous. If she feels really connected to you, she'll blow your mind.

However, asking someone who feels insecure to open the relationship up is only going to make the problem worse, and you're definitely not going to fix it living across the country.

Given the circumstances, I think you're going to cheat on her regardless of what anyone says, so my advice is to do it as if your life depended on not getting caught. Get another cell phone, use a cheating only email address, don't tell your dates your real name, pay cash, clean out your pockets, always have an alibi, wear a fake fucking mustache, and never ever tell her, even if you break up.

If you still want your wife after scratching your itch, maybe even more than before, you'll know what to do, and you'll have the strength and resolve that you currently lack. If you don't, you'll also know what to do.
Posted by seandr on January 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM · Report this
seandr 40
@Whoop Di Doo:
Yes - if a couple simply can't make it work, they should divorce, regardless of whether they have kids.

However, if there are 3, 4, 5, or more people with a huge stake in the relationship, as opposed to only 2, the couple has more of an obligation to try harder and make sacrifices to ride out the bad times as long as there's any hope of things getting good again.
Posted by seandr on January 8, 2013 at 12:29 AM · Report this
I have to agree #35. I think DUMB needs to ask himself if he still loves his wife and wants to be in this relationship or if he's sucking it up because he's afraid of the fallout. I get the feeling that once he gets away from the relationship he's not going to want to come back.

And I agree #36. I never understood Dan's attitude that if you have kids you can't get divorced ever, not matter how miserable or unhealthy the relationship is.
Posted by msanonymous on January 8, 2013 at 12:32 AM · Report this
@36: it's more about figuring out what is motivating him to stay with his wife, not about staying together for the kids. He no longer wants to be with her and can't wait to get away from her. So is he tied to her because of kids and has their relationship changed because of kids? No and no. So he should divorce her and move on. That's my understanding of Dan's question.
Posted by Funky Monkey on January 8, 2013 at 1:21 AM · Report this
So if he didn't want to have sex with other men, but rather other women, would the advice change? Is there something about the attraction to men that suggests this is less salvageable? Because unfortunately, this comes across as a huge selfish shit-sandwich for his wife. I can't help but think if it was other women he wanted to bang that there would be more consideration of a third major option: "see if we can fix/save this without opening it up". Kudos to him for talking to her, but to me it sounds like they wore out the argument without ever trying to figure out why her libido is down and what they could do to rev it up again (or at least get her committed to helping to resolve it some other acceptable way). The way he describes her response sounds like a like spin. Another possible way to look at that would be "I don't usually feel like having sex because I generally don't feel attractive/sexy at all. When I do have sex it's because I feel like if I don't at all then you ACTUALLY aren't attracted to me" I don't think that's unusual at all, and I think married couples do find ways to work through that without assuming a permanent mantle of misery or opening up the marriage.

To put it another way the choices stack up as:
(1) We work together to see if there's a way I can live up to the promise of monogamy that I made without knowing if it will work despite our best efforts.
(2) We throw out the old promise and make a new one of monogamish without knowing if either of us will still want to stay together as we start trying it out.
(3) We break up.

All suck for her. But #1 at least aims at living up to the commitment/promise he originally made. Otherwise it's a 'take it or leave it' conversation with no compromise from him in her favor. If he could rule out the feasibility of #1 there wouldn't be a point. But he hasn't.

Posted by TheBigRagu on January 8, 2013 at 3:22 AM · Report this
I like Ms Erica's maxim and there's a sound point, but would not want to discourage any bisexual person so inclined from making what could be considered a bug into a feature.

It might be helpful to be able to go back to the early conversations about this and go into the particulars of her being "fine" with his revelation. What did he think; what did she think; what's changed for her since (given that we're told what's changed for him)?

As for post #43, I suppose it doesn't hurt to pose the question, but there are some circumstances that highlight the difference between a considerate partner developing a genuine need and a selfish fill-in-the-blank trying to take advantage, and circumstances that blur the difference. Some needs are going to be more obviously genuine (even when it's more a case of Both than a choice between A and B) and more limiting in the number of paths by which a couple can get around the problem.

I'm starting to think that, whatever she may have said or felt to the contrary, what would balance this out neatly would be the wife's sudden decision that she NEEDS to have at least one child.
Posted by vennominon on January 8, 2013 at 7:41 AM · Report this
@36: It's great that your anecdotal evidence indicates that small children take divorce better, but ACTUAL data, ie longitudinal studies in which children of divorce were followed over years or even decades of their lives indicates otherwise. Generally, young children DO NOT do well in response to their parents divorcing. Generally older children do MUCH BETTER. So, I'm pretty supportive of Dan asking if someone has small children before suggesting splitting up.
Posted by DarthKelly on January 8, 2013 at 8:08 AM · Report this
Alanmt 46

1. Things will not return to how they were in the past. Sorry. But you need to accept this.

2. Stop lying to yourself and us. You don't just want things to return to how they were in the past. What you want - with a wild, dangerous obsessive desire - is to have sex with dudes.

3. Stop with the pathetic "she'll be devastated" handwringing. Yes, people get hurt when relationships end. It's okay to hurt your wife by divorcing her if you have good grounds, and you do, as long as you are respectful and kind. It is not okay to hurt her (or damage whatever internal moral compass you have) by cheating on her, whether or not she finds out/gets a std, etc.

4. You should divorce her. If you think the relationship is worth saving, ask her if she would like a complete one year legal separation during your time away, which includes sexual separation and freedom. Then you can test your attraction and theory with integrity.

5. If you think there any real chance to shift your marriage into the paradigm you want and think you need, you can level with her and ask her if she can accept your nonmonogamy. But I think you know that is a nonstarter. I also think you know that she will try to maintain the status quo or that her only attempt to resolve it will be a promise of and effort to have more sex which will fade back into the current state of affairs over not too long a time with an extra layer of bitterness and recrimination built in.

6. And yeah, your "I am only into men physically" bullshit is simply a self-imposed residual anti-gay cultural construct by which, as accepting as you think you are, you degay your attraction and enjoy same-sex experiences while guaranteeing limiting yourself to a more universally socially acceptible opposite-sex long term relationship. Dude, get over it.
Posted by Alanmt on January 8, 2013 at 8:17 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 47
@46 To be fair to LW, I have a couple out and out gay friends who are completely sexually into men but have said they're mostly emotionally connected with women.

It is fair to separate your emotional attachments and your physical attachments.

Whether LW's attestments is bullshit or not is up for debate, but this has happened. Just as some straight dudes are more emotionally attached to other dudes than their wife (without being willing to admit it).
Posted by TheMisanthrope on January 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM · Report this
Re Dan's "Do you have small children?" question -- another aspect is that women often lose interest in sex when the kids are young: They are getting a lot of physical stimulation & affection from the little ones, and they're missing sleep. For many people, that problem gets better once the child gets older -- especially if the sex life was solid after they married and before they started trying to get pregnant.

And yet another aspect is that one person is usually not working full-time if there are young children in the marriage, which makes divorce more difficult financially than it is otherwise.

I'm with those who find that DUMB has his foot halfway out of the marriage already. Guys who want to fix things say: "I miss sex with my wife and wish there were some way to get her libido back" rather than "I'm relieved at the year of freedom ahead of me."
Posted by EricaP on January 8, 2013 at 11:22 AM · Report this
@20, 25: It's not just women who work that way.
Posted by avast2006 on January 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM · Report this
secretagent 50
@EricaP. Yes, for sure, not every encounter needs to be an HBO-worthy sexfest. I'm pretty much down for whatever kind of sex my partner offers, whenever. 20's comment just struck a chord with me, as I definitely get resentful and lose interest a bit when there's none of that excitement ever. It had never occurred to me that an otherwise high-libido person would turn down sex because of the lack of passion offered, and I felt like some of the "she never fucks me" set might need to hear that.
Posted by secretagent on January 8, 2013 at 5:36 PM · Report this
sissoucat 51
@20 Yep, women are turned on by being wanted. And turned off by not being wanted enough.

Aren't men ?
Posted by sissoucat on January 10, 2013 at 1:40 AM · Report this
@45: What data are you using? Not that I'm saying you're wrong, I'm just curious. Because for me, it's more than just a few anecdotes, but that this pattern seems to play out with just about everybody I know who is a child of divorce. People whose parents did it when they were young, are fine or at least used to it; people whose parents split up when they were teens or later, have major mental health issues or personal problems for at least a few years as a result.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on January 25, 2013 at 9:07 AM · Report this

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