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The Euro

June 18, 2009

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I'm going to say up front that I'm a complete and total asshole.

I have been with my current boyfriend for about three years and we are living together. About a year ago, our relationship started to go bad when I found out I was pregnant and ended up having an abortion. Every time I look at him, all I see is this baby I didn't have and I feel horrible to the point where now I don't like him to even touch me anymore. I don't want to hurt him. I just don't see how I can carry on in this relationship anymore.

Compounding all of that, an old flame from Europe is back in my life, and I am still in love with him and I know he still loves me. This guy was my knight in shining armor in college but he had to return to the UK, so we couldn't really have anything. But now the possibility is there because our lives are at a stage where we could move and make it work. I have no idea how to deal with any of this. The old flame looks better and better all the time and I am doing so badly here, but I don't want to hurt anyone. I don't see any route at this point that won't end with at least one person in tears. Please help!

Definitely Out Of My Depth

Presumably there was a good reason why you decided against having a child with the boyfriend. Perhaps you told yourselves that it wasn't the right time, DOOMD, but it seems more than likely you realized, consciously or subconsciously, that he wasn't the right person: He wasn't the man with whom you wanted to have children. Or perhaps the boyfriend was so strongly opposed to becoming a father that you decided to have an abortion—an abortion you instantly regretted and resent him for. Either way, DOOMD, I don't see how your current relationship survives.

And we haven't even addressed the existence of the Euro. You still have feelings for your old college flame—clearly—and if you stay with the boyfriend for the rest of your life just to spare his feelings, DOOMD, your resentments will metastasize. Again, I don't see how this relationship survives.

But none of that answers your question, does it? You've asked me to identify a way out—a route out—that spares everyone's feelings. Sorry, DOOMD, but I can't help you. If you pass on the Euro because you can't stand the thought of hurting the boyfriend, you'll be miserable. And if you stay with the boyfriend, you're only postponing his misery. Your resentments will grow and spread, like so many tumors, until they ultimately kill this relationship. If the Euro has moved on by that point, then all three of you will wind up miserable and alone.


I've been married for 12 years. Six months ago, I separated from my wife, and during that time I had an affair. Ultimately, I figured out that I couldn't make it work with this "other woman," and I am now working to reconcile with my wife. But the sex with the affair partner was incredible—not just because she was new, but because we were highly compatible sexually. The sex was adventurous in ways that it never was with my wife.

I think my wife and I can rebuild all the other parts of our marriage, but I worry I'll always unfavorably be comparing my wife to this other partner. Sex for my wife and me was okay but not great before our separation, but I know we both want it to be a rewarding part of our marriage going forward. Any thoughts? Will the memories of my affair partner fade with time? Can I somehow use my affair experience to build a better sex life with my wife?

Can't Shake The Other Woman

Maybe you and the wife just aren't as sexually compatible as you and this other woman, and never will be. Maybe the only thing you can do, CSTOW, is focus on the other things the wife brings to the table, the emotional if not sexual satisfactions.

Or...

Sometimes we feel freer sexually when we're with people we care about less. When we're with someone we're never going to see again (a one-night stand) or someone we probably shouldn't see again (another woman), we're not as concerned about scaring that person off. When we're with someone who has "potential"—someone with long-term prospects—we tend to be a little more cautious. The stakes feel higher, and that can be inhibiting. We're less willing to take risks, we're less open, we're less likely to act on our fantasies.

So it's possible that your problem with the wife isn't sexual incompatibility, CSTOW, but sexual inhibition. Have you tried fucking the wife like you fucked the other woman? Have you ever risked fucking the wife like you've fucked women who you're never going to see again?


Sixteen months is way too soon to be discussing marriage? Really. Really?? How long are we supposed to drag out the courtship, Dan? While I agree with you that three months is much too soon, I'd argue my own personal case: My wife and I married almost a year to the day of our first date, and that was 26 years ago. So while your advice to Lady In A Relationship was sound, your blanket assessment of the relationship landscape overlooks those of us who have a brain. Jussayin'...

Mr. Right

Good thing I give advice for a living, MR, and don't do binding arbitration. People are free to disregard my rants if they think I got it wrong and make up their own minds. And maybe I went a little overboard: Depending on the couple, 16 months could be the right time, or a right time, to start discussing marriage. Still, a long engagement is always a good idea, regardless of how long you've been dating. If you're positive he or she is "the one" at three months—or eight months, or sixteen months—he or she will still be the one at three years.


My fiancé and I—we're a straight couple—are getting married in July. We've lived together for four years, and as such we don't need any more then we already have. We're asking friends and family to make donations to nonprofits that are dear to us in lieu of traditional gifts. We're both grade-school teachers, so the bulk of our requests are related to the needs of our students. (Shameless plug: Refugee Women's Alliance and New Futures are two amazing programs that specifically serve students where we live.) We're including Planned Parenthood on our list, and we would like to include a nonprofit that advocates for marriage equality. Which one would you suggest?

Soon To Be Married

Thanks for thinking of us, STBM, which is more than President Obama is willing to do: I would recommend that you put Lambda Legal (they're lawyers, they sue) and Freedom to Marry (they're advocates, they woo) on your list. Unlike most national gay organizations, Lambda Legal and Freedom to Marry do good work and get results. Thanks and congratulations!


mail@savagelove.net

 

Comments (70) RSS

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dallie 1
great column this week! and very witty there at the end, Dan! ;)
Posted by dallie on June 16, 2009 at 8:04 PM · Report this
2
Very hetero this week. Also, while I was reading, I just kept thinking, man, so sweet. I don't know why. Anyway, Dan, thanks for all the years of advice, to heteros and homos.
Posted by Regina on June 16, 2009 at 8:05 PM · Report this
3 Comment Pulled (OffTopic) Comment Policy
4
STBM: This is incredibly touching and thoughtful, to keep LGBT Americans' equality in mind during your own commitment. And Dan, a deep thank you for putting human rights first as you always do - my own theory is that your very own Spreading Santorum campaign several years back sowed the seeds (sorry) that started eradicating extreme anti-gay bigotry in the U.S. Let's 'hope' that Obama stops being lame...
Posted by gayBoiNYC on June 16, 2009 at 8:26 PM · Report this
5
DOOMD - Your current relationship is very likely doomed, but so is any potential relationship with your old flame until you do some *serious* work getting your shit together. It's understandable to not want to hurt people's feelings, but if that fear is paralyzing you to the point where you can't make decisions, you are in no place to be in a relationship. Relationships require risk, and you need to have the self-agency to reasonably measure and weigh that risk, rather than passively falling into a relationship and then passive-aggressively making you and your partner miserable when you want out but can't say it.

I know women in our culture are strongly taught to be peacemakers and not rock the boat and not hurt people's feelings, but Dan is absolutely right - if you can't talk to your boyfriend about any of this, your resentment will metastasize and kill the relationship. Not just your current boyfriend, DOOMD, but *all* of your boyfriends until you either [a] learn to communicate with them clearly about things that trouble you or [b] find a partner clueless/abusive enough to think that his partner is supposed to be miserable.

You're an equal partner in a relationship, which means you're equally responsible for communication. Sack up and open your mouth, or (at the very least) do the men of the world a favor and don't get into any more relationships.
Posted by roseneko http://roseneko.livejournal.com on June 16, 2009 at 8:43 PM · Report this
6
Also, a little tame this week. A writer who had a short engagement? Someone whose wedding registry is a bunch of charities? YAWN!

Of course I love the column Dan, but what? Nobody who shits on couches this week? Come on! Bring on the freaks!
Posted by Clembot on June 16, 2009 at 9:05 PM · Report this
7
For the guy who "can't shake the other woman," if you even breathe the slightest hint that the sex with her was out of this world, your intended reconciliation with your wife is OVER. I'm with Dan, though, on his advice to you: try making your wife your "high risk" lover and see what happens.
Posted by Sarah in Olympia on June 16, 2009 at 9:15 PM · Report this
8
I agree and all, have even written (a real letter, on paper! snail mailed!) to Obama urging him to work for equal rights - but sheesh! Let's give the guy a minute. I mean really, he's only been in office a handful of months. Personally, I'm giving him four years. He's doing a LOT, keep writing letters, making phone calls, contributing to the right organizations... and give our president some time before we judge him as not being willing to do what needs to be done. I still think he will.
Posted by loofa on June 16, 2009 at 9:24 PM · Report this
9
Dear DOOMD. And anyone who can't stand the sight of their partner. Dump the current partner even if there is no net, no flame to light your fire. Listen to people on this list and your friends. You can hurt the partner now or later. He will thank you later for hurting him sooner.
Posted by now o later on June 16, 2009 at 9:27 PM · Report this
10
typo!
I'm grumpy, I have a head cold, and I can't sleep because I'm coughing too much--so I'm going to be an asshole. Dan, I love your column but I think you might have been too generous with the reefer this week (and I'm a big fan of that, too). In the last letter it should "than we already have" not "then we already have". Smoke up the tech savvy youth after they edit and keep up the good work!
And congrats to that very sweet couple who're getting hitched!
Posted by adriana on June 16, 2009 at 9:31 PM · Report this
11
I really dont understand why everyone insists on telling Dan this is too hetero or too homo. He's a sex advice columnist for EVERYONE. He doesnt have to "honor the community" with at least one gay advisee a week. He'll advise who he wants. Sheesh. Straight people have issues to (maybe more so than the gays....)
Posted by Cobeslice on June 16, 2009 at 9:38 PM · Report this
12
16 Months is right...about 40 years ago. My parents eloped after a 3 month courtship, their 47th anniversary arrives in Sept. They are happy and rely on each other, my brother and I were raised well. But here's the thing that simply does not exist anymore, naivete'. (Unless you live within the LDS and even that's a stretch) Mom was a virgin from a small Oregon town, Dad was going to college trying to escape the disaster of his first marriage, which he still believes none of us know about. Admitted, mom and dad were lucky, but it was not without strife. In short, I agree with Savage, if you're going to spend the rest of your lives together, why not wait a few years to be certain...you have the rest of your life to be married.
Posted by Cathy on June 16, 2009 at 9:43 PM · Report this
13
DOOMD, you're not an "asshole"! Women may have them, but they can't be them. At worst you could be a "bitch" (I don't think you are).
Posted by gottarun on June 16, 2009 at 10:40 PM · Report this
memorex 14
For couples deciding to get married, the longer the wait the better- especially if you're younger than 24 or 25. My wife and I got married a couple of months ago (I'm 32, she's 31) after living together for almost 4 years and dating for a couple of years before that. I'm glad we're finally married, but I'm also glad we waited to be sure.
Posted by memorex on June 16, 2009 at 11:13 PM · Report this
15
@gottarun - Why can't women be assholes? I've known plenty of women who are assholes. I've known plenty of men who are bitches. It always seemed pretty gender neutral to me. It seems unfair to dog (heh) women alone with the bitch tag when its unhinged, rabid, animalistic connotation seems so appropriate for some men.

DOOMD does not seem like a bitch or an asshole. She's just dreading the inevitable. My sympathies, but drop the hammer. Get it over with. You're not helping anyone.

And, STBM, I bet you two are totally adorable. No sarcasm. Just mild envy.
Posted by nothingtoseehere on June 17, 2009 at 2:43 AM · Report this
16
Yeah, I should be more patient--other than comparing gay relationships to incestuous ones, Obama is doing a lot for equal rights.
Posted by gayBoiNYC on June 17, 2009 at 5:02 AM · Report this
Donut 17
As much as I don't like defending Obama or his DOJ's decision on equal rights, I do feel we need to consider something.

First of all, we all got majorly upset when Bush decided to ignore the Legislative Branch and legislate from the Executive. Obama has said that DOMA is something Congress needs to do, and he's right. On the other hand, he could lean on them some more to get moving. He has done a few positive things, such as extending benefits to same-sex partners of Federal employees, and I do think he will work for equal rights. Maybe I am wrong.

Also, for what it's worth, I think the comparison to incest was only done as a legal precedent, not to equate the two things. Some states have different marriage laws for straight people, but only when it comes to things like age and relationship status, so those were among the only comparisons to be made, sadly.

Again, I do think it's unfortunate because to many on both sides, it did sound like he was equating them, but I saw it more as a legal precedent issue of how one state reacted to a marriage which was legal in a different state but not legal in the new state.

Did that make sense? I need more coffee.
Posted by Donut on June 17, 2009 at 6:19 AM · Report this
18
DOOMD has the classic symptoms of looking outside herself to make her life feel complete. She is staying with one man, fully acknowledging they have major issues. She is talking about leaving him for a man she was with in college, presumably at least 3 years ago. She is looking for men to make her happy, and I pity the poor men she comes involved with. SHe needs to spend some time with herself, find out what makes her happy, before she can share her life with anyone else.
Posted by MDinNJ on June 17, 2009 at 6:20 AM · Report this
19
From the tone of the letter, I'm not sure Doomd's BF even knew she was pregnant. She still needs to get out of that relationship NOW, because it will only implode under the weight of guilt and stress she's piling on it.
But there is no growth with some pain-so she just has to realized that people will have their feelings hurt and she can deal with that.
Posted by BakerB on June 17, 2009 at 8:26 AM · Report this
20
To STBM --

How about donations/memberships to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. That would really piss off Aunt Claude, that crochety bible-thumping old crone! How do you like that, old woman: I made a donation in your name!
Posted by ctmcmull on June 17, 2009 at 8:27 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 21
For the wedding couple: Donating to charities that support equal rights & education is a great idea. Might I suggest also that the groom direct the best man to make some mention of "we support all forms of love" in his ceremonial toast? Giving money is great and certainly helpful, but putting yourself publicly on record as supporting marriage equality can go a long way to show others engaged in the fight that the Majority is not Silent.

(I've done the best man thing before, and taking a request like this from the groom is more than welcome.)
Posted by Sir Vic on June 17, 2009 at 9:27 AM · Report this
22
As far as waiting to marry goes -- I'm a pretty big advocate of waiting at least two years to marry, and living together for at least a few months during that time.

Early in a relationship (with early being anywhere from six months to two years, depending on the person), the body's hormone levels are basically going nuts. The effect is basically like being on a drug all the time. A lot of relationships go through a rough patch as partners come down off that high -- especially if one or both of them were conditioned to interpret those inevitably temporary feelings as "true love." Sometimes folks come down off the high and discover incompatibilities that they were blind to before. Sometimes they question their feelings and don't know how to cope outside that "new relationship" phase (especially true for people who have never been in a relationship for more than two years before). And sometimes things work out really well; the couple weathers the transition and finds that their love is still there.

If you find yourself in that third category, then marriage might be in the cards. But marrying before the relationship reaches that stage is, in my opinion, foolish. It's not that it can't work -- it absolutely can -- it's just like making any important decision while missing a major piece of information. Sometimes you get lucky and it works out, but sometimes it doesn't.
Posted by notallbad on June 17, 2009 at 9:35 AM · Report this
23
What a great idea stbm! It's really touching that you would use your day to think of those who deserve the same rights as you have. I'm kind of selfish and I've been dreaming of my beautiful ring, color scheme, cake, dress, husband, marriage, wedding and baby since I was 12 and started picking out baby names, so I was thinking I would just take the cash and gifts and spend my honeymoon fucking on top of my piles of cash in an attempt to put a bun in the oven as quickly as possible (I'm 32 and my biological clock is tick, tick, tick, ticking away)...but after hearing about stbm, I feel rather inspired to be a little less selfish. I think it's a beautiful idea to include a marriage equity charity. What a wonderful way to share your love and celebrate your commitment. My parents would be horrified if I did this, because they are conservative Christians, but maybe that would be a potential bonus in reward for me being less selfish.
Posted by GGG grrrrrrrl on June 17, 2009 at 9:37 AM · Report this
24
@memorex -- First off, congrats on your recent marriage! Secondly, while I don't disagree with you, per se, I do think that waiting a long time is not necessarily a predictor of success.

Take this example: My husband married to his first wife after more than four years together (most of them living together), and their marriage didn't last 18 months. A few years later, he met me, we got married after not quite 3 years (not having lived together) and have been happily married for 7 years and going strong.

I think age, maturity, stability, a strong grasp of reality and being sure of what you want in life are much stronger indicators of marital success than merely the amount of time you have known each other.
Posted by Gina CP on June 17, 2009 at 9:51 AM · Report this
25
DOOMD, you had the abortion for a reason. I bet if you had the baby you'd have been resenting the whole world for that too. You are going to ruin relationships and be incredibly emotionally immature for life if you don't learn to embrace your decisions. What on earth are you resenting anyone for?
Posted by Karey on June 17, 2009 at 10:03 AM · Report this
26
DOOMD said: "I don't see any route at this point that won't end with at least one person in tears."

Congratualations. You have just discovered something we refer to as "reality". I suggest becoming more acquainted with it.

Posted by truthspeaker on June 17, 2009 at 10:55 AM · Report this
27
Wow, what a mellow column this week. There for a minute I thought I was reading Dear Abby.
Posted by cMarks on June 17, 2009 at 11:17 AM · Report this
28
@23: Turkey basters!
Posted by Gloria on June 17, 2009 at 11:36 AM · Report this
29
Does anyone remember when this was a sex advice column instead of a relationship counseling column? It seems like I remember something like that, but it was a long time ago...
Posted by jabuhrer on June 17, 2009 at 11:52 AM · Report this
robt vesco, jr. 30
Dear DOOMD,

Break up with the current boyfriend this instant, forget about the EuroKnight, and start dating yourself. When you're happy with yourself, living alone, you'll magically find the right person, I promise.

Why? Because not only will you be in the right frame of mind to make good choices, but you'll be far more attractive mentally to someone who is also in the right frame of mind to make good choices.

And you're not an asshole. You made a decision you regret. This happens all the time to adults. One thing to do is to avoid making the same mistake twice. If you have a pattern of abortions, or a pattern of resenting people and treating them badly, THEN you're an asshole.

And sorry, but the other thing to do is to stop thinking that you're so important that you should control the futures of the past and current boyfriend. Trust me, they'll both get over you just fine. It may not seem like you're self-centered, because people generally associate that with those people who think they're making the right decisions, but what you're doing is self-centered all the same.

Posted by robt vesco, jr. on June 17, 2009 at 12:07 PM · Report this
31
As alwasy Dan, I love you!!!! But i wish i had some of these peoples problems...for example being married for 12 years and trying to reconcile. :) You dont really appreciate what you have until you dont have it or never have had it!!!
Posted by joshua123 on June 17, 2009 at 1:07 PM · Report this
32
And by the way DOOMD, you're already hurting people. You've put your current boyfriend through a year of fucking bullshit. I wouldn't be surprised if he's waiting and hoping for the day you finally want to call it quits, but doesn't do it himself because you had an abortion and you're so fragile and he's just got to let you do everything.
Posted by Karey on June 17, 2009 at 1:49 PM · Report this
threnody 33
The husband who cheated is going to have a tough time suddenly being more adventurous in bed. His wife may or may not want to be more adventurous herself, but either way, if she knows he had an affair, being "different" in bed from how he was pre-affair is going to be a rather unpleasant reminder! I can't really see a way out of it...this is why I'm not an advice columnist...but don't you think fucking her like he fucked the mistress might be a little obvious???
Posted by threnody on June 17, 2009 at 3:54 PM · Report this
34
Generally, the younger you are, the longer your courtship should be. Perhaps a couple who met at 30 can decide they want to marry at 31, but a couple who met at 20 shouldn't make that same decision at 21.
Posted by MichelleZB on June 17, 2009 at 4:25 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 35
I don't understand why people like DOOMD think they're doing anyone any favors. I've dated guys who ultimately made it clear they were settling for me, and the kicker was that they acted like they were doing me some sort of favor, like it's not just as painful (or more painful) being with someone who doesn't love you as being dumped. Do the boyfriend a favor, DOOMD, get the fuck out now.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 17, 2009 at 4:43 PM · Report this
36
Wait three years to get married? Why?? Maybe if you're in your early twenties or something that makes sense. I'm 33 and I'll be damned if I'll put off my marriage till I'm pushing 40. I think if you have that kind of doubt about the person, you probably shouldn't be contemplating marriage to them at all.
Posted by Anne_B on June 17, 2009 at 10:19 PM · Report this
37
Doomd should know that her b/f will be relieved about the breakup. If they haven't had sex for over a year, he probably wants out too. He just probably feels guilty over her ongoing pouting about the abortion and doesn't want to hurt her any further. Do yourselves a favor and break up. As for the guy who reconciled with the wife, if she doesn't know about the affair, don't tell her because the new sex will be an ugly reminder of it. Simply be more open in a discussion that you want to explore new sexual experiences with her. More than likely, she has been holding back too and will be happy to share some unknown adventures with you. Nothing worse than being in the same o, same o routine. Good luck.
Posted by mb on June 18, 2009 at 3:39 AM · Report this
urleen 38
To DOOMD, you are dooming yourself if you choose to stay in an uncomfortable relationship because you don't want to hurt the guy's feelings. He's probably aware of your "lack of enthusiasm", is unhappy himself & might be relieved if you called it quits.

Don't make it personal (or mention the abortion in this case since it's a done deal), but say something like, "you're a terrific guy, but not a good match for me". That may still feel hurtful, but it's better to hurt someone at this point than wait until it's so painful to everyone that you've both wasted years which could have been spent more happily.

Finally, you give yourself away signing yourself Doomd. That means you think of yourself as a victim of fate. You need to get out of the victim role and take action. Perhaps you're just afraid to. Bite the bullet & do it in the nicest way you can - Today!
Posted by urleen on June 18, 2009 at 7:26 AM · Report this
urleen 39
To DOOMD, you are dooming yourself if you choose to stay in an uncomfortable relationship because you don't want to hurt the guy's feelings. He's probably aware of your "lack of enthusiasm", is unhappy himself & might be relieved if you called it quits.

Don't make it personal (or mention the abortion in this case since it's a done deal), but say something like, "you're a terrific guy, but not a good match for me". That may still feel hurtful, but it's better to hurt someone at this point than wait until it's so painful to everyone that you've both wasted years which could have been spent more happily.

Finally, you give yourself away signing yourself Doomd. That means you think of yourself as a victim of fate. You need to get out of the victim role and take action. Perhaps you're just afraid to. Bite the bullet & do it in the nicest way you can - Today!
Posted by urleen on June 18, 2009 at 7:26 AM · Report this
urleen 40
DOOMD, you're not an asshole, you're a coward for not having the guts to break up with this guy in the kindest way you can. Leave out the abortion issue. The current situation is simply that you're incompatible. That's all that needs to be said.

BTW, you think he isn't aware of your change in attitude & feelings toward him? Yes, guys can be pretty dense about these things, but he has to sense this dramatic change at some level of consciousness. YOu're not doing him a favor by staying in an unhappy relationship.
Posted by urleen on June 18, 2009 at 7:31 AM · Report this
41
Notallbad is right - psychologically speaking, people who are "in love" are doped up on the hormone oxytocin. Relationship-induced oxytocin can last for up to three years, but no longer than that. During that time, you might be having a great time, but you're not fully in your right mind. Making a decision to marry around then can be disasterous. That's not to say that everyone who waited longer before getting married will have success - there are other factors involved - but it certainly helps, and being willing to wait that long for the gratification of marriage can also indicate another huge factor in whether or not your relationship will be successful: maturity level. Leave the declarations of "I know I just started dating you, but you're my true love and I want to be with you forever" for the teenagers, please. Everyone who is offended because their three-months-in-marriage lasted simply lucked out that their decision to commit happened to be with someone that they really were compatable with. Date for a while before committing, live together for at least months if not years before committing to marriage, and make sure that everyone has laid out all their expectations for marriage on the table beforehand to avoid unwelcomed surprises, because even if you've lived together for years, marriage can change the dynamic of a relationship in unexpected ways.

As for DOOMD, Dan's right, there is no way to spare everyone's feelings. The best you can do is take care of yourself and your own needs right now, and be kind but honest when you dump your current boyfriend. If you're having problems with your choice of an abortion, you might want to see a therapist so that you can learn to feel comfortable with your decisions. I have the feeling that you would have mentioned it if your bf had held a gun to your head to get you to have an abortion, and being that you did not, the decision rests squarely on your shoulders. It sounds like you're transferring your guilt to your boyfriend. This doesn't make you bad, just a person who needs to learn to be comfortable with your choices. Since an abortion is a big decision, I doubt you didn't make it for a good reason. Learn to give up the guilt and know you did the right thing - if you had gone through with the pregnancy, you'd probably be finding yourself in the same situation you're in now, tempted by your European lover and unhappy with your current bf, only with the added chain of a child serving as a heavy bond to the person you are not happy with.
More...
Posted by DrReality on June 18, 2009 at 7:53 AM · Report this
urleen 42
CSTOW, Hey, Schmuck, let me get this straight. YOu betrayed your wife repeatedly with an ongoing affair. She is willing to consider taking you back despite YOUR enormous breach of trust and your primary consideration is your cock - which got you in trouble in the first place?

How about thinking of your wife for a change? (Dan, you dropped the ball here.) You owe her bigtime!

YOu claim you are "now working to reconcile with [your] wife". Oh, really? YOur JOb #1 is to rebuild that trust in all areas of your relationship and that takes time. A little white lie is one thing, an ongoing affair is quite another. It's major! If you can't rebuild that trust, everything else is for naught.

I agree that perhaps you can eventually improve your sex life at home, but WAIT AT LEAST 6 MONTHS before gradually introducing changes. YOur wife is still smarting from the affair and the last thing she needs now is any reminder of that affair and its sexual implications.

YOU screwed up bigtime & you need to make amends. You had your quota of instant gratification. Time to think of your partner. If you don't get that, you don't deserve her.
Posted by urleen on June 18, 2009 at 8:09 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 43
DOOMD, you're not an asshole. You're a coward.

Your current relationship is over. When relationships end, it hurts. That's real life. There is no possibility of moving forward without someone getting hurt. If you stay in this doomed relationship, both you and your boyfriend will be miserable for as long as you stay together. If you end it, you'll probably both be miserable for a while. But then you'll both move on, and with luck you'll both be happier in the long run.

Staying in an unhappy relationship in an effort not to hurt someone is a lousy reason to stay. It just prolongs the inevitable.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on June 18, 2009 at 9:41 AM · Report this
44
Re: DOOMD, let's not discount the strong likelihood that we're dealing with revisionist history. The minute an old flame comes back into your life and you are strongly tempted, the idiot glasses go on, and suddenly look! you see a long laundry list of what sucks in your current relationship. It's not that much of a stretch to wonder if "can't stand to look at him since I aborted his baby" isn't at least *partly* code for "can't stand to look at him because I want to be fucking someone else."

The best thing she can do for herself at this point, assuming she values Current Guy as a human at all, is drop all contact with Old Flame for the time being, put her heart into her current relationship, and see where they are in a season or so. Then if she still wants to bail, at least she'll know she's ending it with a clear (hopefully) mind.

Of course, the best thing for Current Guy might be getting dumped now, rather than later. But I sure hope she's honest about her reasons, if so. As it stands, Old Flame is a not-inconsiderable-part of those reasons, and I hope she doesn't soft-pedal that fact to save her own face.
Posted by WornTheIdiotGlassesMyself on June 18, 2009 at 9:56 AM · Report this
45
Did you really write this column Dan? Were you on drugs? Doesn't sound like you at all. I'm calling your bluff. You're on a beach in Tahiti and some flunky is writing your column for you.

Posted by kalaphia on June 18, 2009 at 10:03 AM · Report this
46
@42: Urleen, learn how to read! "Six months ago, I separated from my wife, and during that time I had an affair." He was not betraying his wife repeatedly with an ongoing affair. They were apart, he slept with someone else, as many do. Now they are trying to work it out. Reread, breathe, rethink.
Posted by durh on June 18, 2009 at 11:52 AM · Report this
47
Yeah I really don't think he's going to be brokenhearted by a girl who won't even touch him, breaking it off with him.
Posted by Karey on June 18, 2009 at 11:58 AM · Report this
48
Odds are, if CSTOW tries to jazz things up in the bedroom, the wife is going to feel like it's this imposition. Like, not only did you cheat, but now you want me to make sex more exciting for you?!

So wait on the whole 'fucking the wife like you fucked the other woman' thing. That's a good goal, but you don't start there. Start with your wife's emotional needs, trust, romance, etc. Then make it a goal to make sure she's more sexually satisfied than she's ever been in the marriage. If you thought the sex was mediocre, she probably did too. May not have bugged her as much as it did you, but her sexual dissatisfaction is there, if buried deep. (We women tend to resign ourselves to so-so sex easier than men do; probably conditioning to make other people happy, see also DOOMD)

So you focus on her, fulfilling her fantasies, making sure she's having the best sex of her life. This is not because you cheated and you owe her (although you kind of do). This is because if you focus on your own sexual fulfillment, and trying to recreate the uninhibited, spontaneous, transgressive sex you had with the other woman, you'll fail. You'll be so focused on the recreation that you loose all the spontaneity. You'll be unsatisfied and your wife will feel used. If you focus on her, odds are you'll end up having the best sex of your life too. And if you get several months into this and she's really happy, but there are still a few things you'd like to do for you, but aren't already doing for her, you can introduce them then.
Posted by geekgirl on June 18, 2009 at 12:29 PM · Report this
49
Obama is totally screwing over the gays, yet you're all still kissing his ass and worshiping at his feet. You have every right to be upset and demand action. There is no need to be patient. What does it take to repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell? A proclamation from the Commander-in-Chief that the soldier's code of conduct be amended. How long do you think that should take? Give me the authority, a phone, and five minutes = Done!
Posted by Macgician on June 18, 2009 at 7:12 PM · Report this
50
DOOMD - having been in a similar situation (unhappy with longtime boyfriend, old boyfriend reappears) I can tell you what I learned. Someone will get hurt, and you'll probably cry and feel awful. Unless you are callous and heartless, inflicting pain on another being is difficult. But staying with someone you despise/resent/dislike will slowly destroy you. This is far worse than the temporary pain of a break up. My wake up call came when I realized that if I stayed with my boyfriend, I would be waiting for him to die so that I could live again. That thought made me despise myself. It was cowardly to not end things. Unfortunately, the old boyfriend had grown tired of waiting and moved on, leaving me to wonder if things could have worked. But more important, I left a relationship that wasn't working so that now I am open to something that can work without any guilt or conflict.
Posted by tgirl on June 18, 2009 at 7:45 PM · Report this
51
Perhaps someone has already said this (too impatient to comment) but DOOMD should not be seeing her dead fetus/baby/pregnancy when she looks at her man but her own inadequacies in picking the right guy to get her pregnant and more importantly in allowing herself to get pregnant in the first place. Since when is it the guy who is at fault for knocking us up, when all we have to do is to not get pregnant (barring rape, of course)?
Posted by idaho on June 18, 2009 at 10:32 PM · Report this
52
@28: AAAAAAGGGGGG!!!
Gloria, bychance are you "Lezzie-gonna-be-mommie" on page 290 of Dan's Savage Love collection?!?
If you are, I agree with Dan: I hope that you and your sister's idiot boyfriend are both sterile.

Posted by baba yaga on June 19, 2009 at 4:08 AM · Report this
53
Guess I don't understand the whole wait to get married thing. Odds are pretty good it's not going to last anyway so I say do it, undo it and move on - NEXT! So much for the scantily of marriage bullshit the fundies keep talking about - whatever that it.
Posted by cMarks on June 19, 2009 at 4:48 AM · Report this
hartiepie 54
@53 -- Your lack of integrity is telling and uninspiring.

I hope you never get married.
Posted by hartiepie on June 19, 2009 at 5:40 AM · Report this
55
@52: No. I have two brothers, but no sister (as far as I know!) -- and I'm straight. I actually have no idea what you're talking about, but now ... I want to know.
Posted by Gloria on June 19, 2009 at 12:33 PM · Report this
56
@52: Oh, I think I almost remember that letter ... but anyway, my "basters" comment was making fun of the belief that a giant wedding and honeymoon is required in order to have a kid. Nope! It's a biological process, turns out (surprise).

Of course, two present parents is always the ideal situation, but it didn't sound like @23 was prioritizing that idea.
Posted by Gloria on June 19, 2009 at 12:39 PM · Report this
57
@49: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a federal law, so it would not be that easy. Obama has always been pretty noncommittal on gay issues, so his inaction does not surprise me in the least.
Posted by chichaca on June 19, 2009 at 2:47 PM · Report this
58
How long should a couple wait before marrying? I think it depends a lot on their age. If 19-year-olds have been dating a year, I'd advise them to not to think yet about marrying. They are at a stage of life where they should be growing emotionally and changing ("discovering themselves") - and they should wait to see whether they grow and change in ways that are compatible.

If a couple of 30-year-olds have been dating for a year or even less, it'd be fine for them to discuss marriage - assuming they are of normal emotional maturity. Most 30-year-olds know themselves fairly well. Plus they've had past relationships that have led them to know what they do and don't want in a partner.
Posted by An Observer on June 19, 2009 at 3:35 PM · Report this
59
I think Obama is remembering Clinton and the early gay activism that shot that Administration's "Honeymoon Period" off the frickin' map. It pretty much put paid to Clinton getting any major reforms thru and gave the Conservative anti-Clinton movement its legs. So Obama is showing he's learned from history.

Obama is the quintessential pragmatist. His other agenda right now is more vital to the country as a whole. He sees the continued advance in social acceptance of gays; knows time is on that side. So why kill his larger agenda for something that is going to happen anyway?

Plus, given the rise of Extremist Wing Nuts feeling threatened by too much liberal change and a black man as President, why throw a match on that gasoline only a few months along? How about we let Obama get some wins under his belt for the Repugnicans to choke on before we hand them gay marriage as a Limbaugh and O'Reilly rallying point?

I never had a marriage license and that never bothered me a bit during 20 years with my late mate. As a straight woman, I personally support gay rights and gay marriage and let my state reps know it. I'm sorry gays won't have the full benefits they deserve right away or even in their lifetimes. But as many responders mentioned above, welcome to reality.
Posted by Xweetie on June 19, 2009 at 9:20 PM · Report this
60
You know, just because issues involving homosexuals are at the top of your agenda doesn't mean they are or for that matter should be at the top of Obama's. What percentage of the population do they affect? I'm pro equal rights for all, pro gay marriage etc., but there a LOT going on in the world right now and I do not expect him to tackle it straight out of the box, just as I don't expect "women's issues" to be at the top of his agenda even though I'm a woman. He's a political pragmatist as well; homosexual advocates are unlikely to vote Republican no matter what he does, whereas if he starts focusing on "gay issues" to the exclusion of the concerns of the majority of the voters he may very well lose some of the swing voters he coaxed over to win the election in the first place and then we'll be stuck with more sucking Republicans and we'll all be screwed. Lay off of it for a while! I'm sorry, but the economy, the instablility and terrorist threat in Pakistan/Afghanistan, universal healthcare, education and whatever the hell is suddenly happening in Iran are more important than gay marriage.
Posted by GG1000 on June 19, 2009 at 11:39 PM · Report this
Richard 61
Hey Soon To Be Married, I absolutely hate it when folks "suggest" I donate to non-profits instead of giving them a gift - such implies a gift is expected. Gifts are not, actually. However, your thinking of Marriage Equality is so wonderful that I am going to make a donation in honor of your wedded bliss - whoever you are! Have a wonderful and long marriage full of love and joy!
Posted by Richard http://ravenhurst-ravenhurst.blogspot.com/ on June 20, 2009 at 8:45 AM · Report this
62
thanks for the freedom to marry link, dan. i just signed up for recurring monthly donations!!
Posted by heather531 on June 20, 2009 at 2:00 PM · Report this
63
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say: I think DOOMD is probably an asshole.

Perhaps, not in a maliious, purposeful way... but a sort of "I'm confused and don't know what I want from life" and a "I need a man to validate me" way that still ends up with people getting fucked over.

DOOMD needs therapy to get over the hurt of her abortion, assuming this is a one time unlucky 1 out a 1000 chance. Otherwise I'd say she needs reliable birth control (and possibly a lobotomy) with therapy to follow. I'm surprised Dan didn't suggest this.

If she ever really loved her boyfriend, then she should try and work on her relationship, while getting therapy and give it a "season" (as someone else put it). The Euro guy is probably not going to work... she referred to him as "her white knight" and the fairy tale mentality rarily makes for good relationships.

If she never Really loved her boyfriend, or if she didn't tell him about the abortion... she needs to dump him for his own good.

To me: DOOMD seems immature... so there's a fair chance nothing will go well.
Posted by cccouch on June 20, 2009 at 2:05 PM · Report this
tjc 64
Don't forget about GLAD: http://www.glad.org Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, New England's crack GLBT/HIV rights team based in Boston. They got us marriage rights in VT (from which the legislature crafted Civil Unions), marriage in MA and CT, and a whole host of other advancements. They have the "6 by '12" plan for all of New England to have marriage equality by 2012 -- and accomplished most of it by 2009! Just RI being weird and a possible referendum in ME. They're also fighting DOMA on a case that has a serious shot at winning (it's the federal benefits portion).

GLAD: excellent lawyers. Go Mary Bonauto! Here's a link to her statement on the DNC fundraiser fiasco:
http://www.glad.org/current/news-detail/…

glad.org
http://www.glad.org
Posted by tjc on June 20, 2009 at 8:58 PM · Report this
65
@55 and 56, a.k.a. Gloria:

Okay. No sweat----I was just wondering.

Crazy letter to Dan though, huh?
Here's seriously hoping that the letter writer and her breeder sister's idiot boyfriend really are sterile.

Although, in retrospect, I'm even wondering if the subject contents of that letter were made up deliberately to get a knee-jerk reaction. The very idea of self-insemination with a turkey baster---EEEEEEWWWWWW!!!!!!!
How desperate is somebody to have a kid?
Posted by baba yaga on June 21, 2009 at 4:41 AM · Report this
66
As usual love your responses Dan...but just one side note...I recently read a study that concluded the further couples deviate from marriage after 2 years of dating, the higher the divorce rate. And that applied to either too soon or too long after the 2 year point. So in this case, 16 months is pretty ideal in terms of the wedding talk.
Posted by kimber on June 22, 2009 at 3:05 PM · Report this
67
I think people underestimate the impact of abortion on a relationship. We confuse the importance of the freedom to have abortions with the idea that abortions don't have an explosive personal impact.

I've known relationships to survive an abortion, but not many. There are few actions that say more clearly and profoundly than an abortion, "You're not the man/woman for me." I know, I know, it's not supposed to be that way, it's reactionary, it's not enlightened. I don't care. We're not talking about a rational process. We're talking about an event that strikes right at the heart of our deepest and most primitive drives: sex, procreation, and survival.

It doesn't seem to matter how good an idea it was to terminate the pregnancy. It almost doesn't even matter whether DOOMD or her boyfriend bitterly regrets the abortion; it's a very deep wound to the bond between the couple either way. If they do regret it -- or even worse if one does and the other doesn't -- well, that's like setting off a bomb. It doesn't surprise me that DOOMD can barely stand to touch her boyfriend anymore. The bond would have to be a very strong one to survive that experience.
Posted by Texan99 on June 23, 2009 at 8:55 AM · Report this
68
Thank you for highlighting the amazing work of Lambda Legal Defense. These attorneys volunteer huge amounts of their time and expertise, and have the fortitude to slog through cases that take years to achieve their success.
Posted by grateful2lldef on July 20, 2009 at 11:49 PM · Report this
69
CSTOW

I agree with Dan. You may not have the same sexual compatibility with your wife and you never will. Chemistry between two people cannot just be duplicated. If sex with the other woman was so incredible, then why aren't you with her? There has to be a reason there. The greatest is when you have the sexual and the emotional compatibility. I think a marriage needs both to really survive. Otherwise, you will just be spinning your wheels(never completely fulfilled). I am a woman and just realizing that myself. It is not always just men that find themselves feeling that way.
Posted by Wishingformore on August 22, 2009 at 12:59 PM · Report this
70
CSTOW

I agree with Dan. It is possible that you and your wife will not have the same sexual compatibility that you do with this other woman. However, you aren't with this other woman, why? There has to be a reason there. It is not wrong to want a satisfying sex life. I am a woman, and I too want that. The best possible combination is having sexual and emotional compatibility with someone. Chemistry is hard to duplicate.

I don't know what has gone on in your marriage or what caused you to split in the first place, but look at yourself very hard to see if you can really mend these things. As a woman, I would not want to be with someone sexually that did not want to be with me or was thinking of someone else. You will end up making both of you miserable in the long run. It may not appear that way now, but it is possible. I would want to know now if my husband felt that sex with me was just okay. Your wife may not feel that sex with you is all that great either. If you can't be completely happy together, then give her the opportunity to make herself happy somewhere else. You aren't being honest in that respect either. I wish my husband would have done so at 12 years in for me. He lacked the courage to change and although he kept trying, it is just not the same. Although I would have been devastated at that point in time, I have come to realize that I could have had a better life either with someone else or alone, not with someone who doesn't really have a passion for me. I only wish that I had known this earlier. Don't lack the courage to make your life what you want. I can identify with what you are feeling(from both your view and your wife's view). And, don't let those that want to bash you make you feel guilty for having the feelings you do. No one can help what they feel.
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Posted by Wishingformore on August 22, 2009 at 2:12 PM · Report this

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