Follow Dan

Facebook    Twitter    Instagram    YouTube
Savage Lovecast
Dan Savage's Hump
It Gets Better Project

Savage Love Podcast

Got a question for Dan Savage?
Call the Savage Love Podcast at 206-201-2720
or email Dan at mail@savagelove.net.

Savage Love Archives

More in the Archives »

More from Dan Savage

More in the Archives »

Books by Dan Savage

Want a Second Opinion?

Contact Dan Savage

Savage on YouTube

Loading...

Primary Partners

September 14, 2006

  • comments
  • Print
Joe Newton

I'm a divorced man and have been dating a married woman in an open/poly relationship for six months. Her husband has been occupied with his new girlfriend. As a result, his wife has been spending a lot more time with me. She's feeling abandoned by her husband, and I'm picking up that slack. While I find her general GGG-ness refreshing, the truth is that I find her boring. I've made it clear that she could never be my primary partner, even if she didn't have one already. She assures me that she is fine with that, so long as I don't dump her for a monogamous primary partner. I have no experience with this. If this were a monogamous relationship, I would break up with her so that I could look elsewhere. Instead, I can keep this piece of cake and look for another slice, too. Does it matter that I don't see any long-term potential between us? By what do I measure the success of our relationship?

Too Many Slices Of Cake

I slipped your letter to my buddy Matisse, a professional dom who happens to be the only person I know in a successful long-term polyamorous relationship. (Matisse blogs at mistressmatisse.blogspot.com.)

"The success of a polyamorous relationship is measured by whether or not it makes the people in it happy," Matisse says. "By that yardstick, Cake Boy, you're coming up zero. You're getting nookie off a woman you find boring while you recover from your divorce and look for better options. I don't call this polyamory, I call this opportunism."

Matisse has called you on your bullshit, TMSOC, and I'd like to call Mr. Poly Husband on his. Poly relationships simply don't work/aren't ethical if a primary partner feels abandoned. Healthy poly relationships require clear primary/secondary roles, with primary partners always coming first (so to speak), and any secondary attachments or partners coming in somewhere from a close to a distant second. Mr. Poly Husband's failure to make sure his primary partner feels like she comes first (primary does mean "ranked as most important") leads me to question not just his ability to be poly but his motives as well. As for your motives...

"You're painting it with a thin veneer of compassion, but come on, guy," Matisse says. "If you want to be a pal to a woman whose husband is temporarily insane with New Relationship Energy, and who is thus feeling abandoned—take her to the movies, don't take her to bed. Her husband may be sprung on someone else at the moment, but at least he's not dumping her for the new shiny thing, whereas you will."

My boyfriend refuses to give up coke for reasons I can't explain. I don't make a stink if he smokes a reefer, I don't make a stink about the tranny sex he's had or the his-and-her butt plugs he bought us. He's well-read, witty, and sweet—but I'm seriously anti-drug for my own reasons and he knows my stand. We're reaching month six and in spite of all his skeletons, I love him. But this coke-hating sister can't get serious about a man that can't commit to not doing coke. I need a swift and brutal opinion: What the fuck? Is this butt-plugging asshole trying to sabotage our relationship by holding on to some libertarian conviction that was started in ancient Rome?

Coke-Hating Sister

I'm not sure how the Romans factor into this, CHS, but here's the swift and brutal: If a coke-hating sister can't get serious about a man who uses coke, then why is this coke-hating sister wasting her time on this trifling, tranny-banging, coke-snorting brother? Either coke is a deal breaker for you, CHS, or it isn't. If it is, then don't date him. But if this butt-plugging asshole merits an exception—if the lift tickets are balanced out by well-read, witty, and sweet—then date him, girl, and stop bitching about it.

You suggested that Doing My Best, the good-looking Ivy Leaguer who can't land a girl, find a gay friend. Homos, you implied, make the best wingmen, directing women your way in bars and forcing you to talk to them. In return, you should go to gay bars, dance shirtless, etc. I disagree. My brother and I have had separate bad experiences with gay friends. Both of us have no problems with queers—our sister is a lesbian. We've found that it's impossible to have a gay friend of the same sex—especially if alcohol is involved. Eventually a pass is made and the friendship ends.

Burned Straight Boy

Feigning friendship to get into someone's pants? Surely no straight man has ever stooped so low! Surely no woman—straight or queer, single or married—has ever had the moves put on her by a straight male friend! Surely!

Not, as the kids once said.

I'm sorry you and your brother had bad experiences with fag friends, BSB, but it happens. And let's make an effort to keep it in perspective: Hitting on a friend is an asshole move that's been used and abused by gay men, straight men, and the odd woman. But not all gay men hit on their straight male friends. I have four very close straight male friends, BSB, and I've never hit on any of them. Why? Because I'm not generally attracted to straight boys, for starters, and not one of them is my type, for enders. As far as my libido is concerned, my straight male friends might as well have vaginas. And when I meet a straight guy who is my type (hey there, Sal!), a friendship is out of the question. Together gay men don't want to be friends with men they find attractive for the same reason together straight men don't want to be friends with women they find attractive. Why torture yourself?

So my advice to straight boys seeking a gay wingman is this: If your prospective wingman only dates, say, muscular Asian dudes, and you're a muscular Asian dude, he's going to hit on you someday. But if your gay wingman only dates, say, hairy muscle daddies, and you're a skinny hairless rocker, your gay wingman is unlikely to ever hit on you.

Your advice to get a gay friend is dead-on. I'm an outgoing guy until I see a girl I'm interested in. My gay best friend has helped me meet a lot of women. But a straight guy that goes to gay clubs does get hit on. If you can get over that hang-up, guys, it's a confidence booster. You also forgot to mention that if the straight guy introduces his gay friend to the man he marries, civil unions, or partners with, the two of them have to keep helping the straight guy meet women. The straight mafia is strict about that one.

Not Shy Anymore

Thanks for sharing, NSA.

I would take your advice and get a gay best friend, Dan, but where the hell do I find a gay man to be my buddy?

Lonely Hot Dude

The hottest gay men—wingmen, et al.—can be found at www.dlist.com.

mail@savagelove.net

Share via

 

Commenting was not available when this article was originally published.

Comments (1) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
Awesome column this week, Dan. As always, I'm riveted!
LPV
Posted by LPV on September 18, 2008 at 7:58 AM · Report this

Add a comment