@200: Yup; that's how I read it, too.
I don't really get the "platonic but emotionally intimate" concern fear of Erica's either. Isn't that what defines a friend?

Someone you care about dearly and enjoy sharing time with but not in a physical or romantic sense?
@195, women who discover their men have hidden a lifelong obsession with wearing women’s clothing also experience that as a violation of trust. Women who discover that their men have hidden a lifelong interest in porn also experience that as a violation of trust. I don’t see why you can’t see that.

"Hi I am new to this site and I have found that I am not alone in this nightmare. My husband is addicted to porn and after 5 years of marriage, he has just recently told me...He has lied for so many years and I don't know what to believe anymore."…

"I feel as though I’m living a nightmare and I want to wake up and believe none of it ever happened."…

The fact that you don't see porn as a terrible betrayal of trust doesn't change how the wives feel.
@196, 197, 198, 199, 200: good points. I got carried away.

I still think that if MFAC believes that (despite the betrayal of trust), he still could be a good partner to her if she didn’t expect monogamy from him, then I think there’s not much harm in giving that a try. And contrary to Dan, I would ask for openness about the other women, and ask that he try talking to a sex-positive therapist to see if the repeated infidelities are a symptom of deeper self-destructive impulses.
Not @195, EricaP?
For what it's worth, EricaP, I also disagree with Dan about whether MFAC should demand monogamy or ask for openness.

For one thing, Dan said that if the bf is supposed to be monogamous (not that he wasn't supposed to be before, or else he wouldn't have hidden is dalliances), he'll do a better job of hiding his infidelities and MFAC won't be confronted with them and be made upset. But it seems that the bf did do a pretty good job of hiding them; MFAC didn't stumble upon anything, she didn't figure anything out or catch bf in a lie. Instead, his best friend ratted him out to her.

But also, I think that the only chance these two have is if everyone's honest with each other. I just happen to believe, based on the letter and the way the majority of people feel about fidelity and sexual exclusivity, that MFAC won't be amenable to an open relationship.

Sooner or later I see this relationship ending, that MFAC will walk out. I don't know if she'll do it now, or stay with him for the help with the kids, and do it later, or stay with him because she's still in love with him, and over time, get more and more unhappy until she either leaves or becomes a miserable, bitter woman.

Actually, I see another possibility: MFAC stays with bf, out of a combo of "he's the father of my children and I can't do it alone" and "I still love him," the bf continues to lie and cheat and one day, heleaves now-middle-aged MFAC for a new, shiny young thing he's fallen for who demands it of him.
@205 see 203.

@206, I agree that she should consult a lawyer and a retirement adviser to see what steps she could take to provide for a stable future if/when their relationship ends. Maybe marriage would provide some protections for her; maybe him putting the townhouse in her name would, maybe she could ask him to cover full-time child care so she can rebuild her career (if having children has interfered with her prospects). In any case, his response to her concerns (in light of her shaken trust in him) will tell her a lot about his commitment to her.
I think EricaP was envisioning a housemate. Someone moves into their own room but they continue to coparent. For some (many?) people this works well enough.

The problem I see is that she won’t have the willpower to pull that off. He’ll be sweet, she’ll be horny, she’ll feel like an idiot.

I like Dan’s solution: she knows it’s over and she’s going to leave, the question is when. So give herself permission for the ‘when’ not to be ‘right this fucking minute.’ It’s a doable solution, one that allows her to stay for now while retaining a sense of agency in a difficult situation.
@208, I think you're referring to my advice to messynessy, not my advice to MFAC.
You’re right EricaP. Sorry.
@ EricaP, Whoopsie. God, I really need to count comments before I think I read them all.

Anyway, there's a degree in violation thay you're missing, I believe, but also a seriousness of the infraction that exists in reality and independent of what one woman or another experiences - that is, we know that your hypothetical offended women are iffended without readon. We know that cross dressing is harmless, while infidelity is not. Those who believe otherwise do so under outmoded and ignorant social mores forged in less knowledgeable times.

In short, these wives are not reasonable to feel that way, and their feelings would be different if they were more enlightened.
@171 lying to your partner about a kink or a fetish, (i.e. cross dressing) is bad, but it is nothing compare to lying about behavior and actions that are a borderline paraphilia, besides the pathological lying.

Another big problem with this SLLOTD, is that the LW is very vulnerable.. She isn't married to her partner, she has two young children and another on the way. She needs to set up a legal structure that she and her children are protected. She should consult a Family Law attorney whether she stays with her partner or not. She also has to make sure that her name is in the title of the Townhouse and other assets..

This isn't a salvageable situation, in my opinion, compare to lying about a internet porn usage or cross dressing.. It is not just about sex. It is also about the emotional and romantic relationship he had with the other women, (besides lying his ass off to him) that can be as much as of a betrayal as infidelity..

The cheating partner may need to get in some therapy for a myriad of problems, but I doubt he really wants to change his ways if he continue this for seven years with no qualms of starting a family with LW..
"Maybe marriage would provide some protections for her; "

Ooh, on top of more babies, a lonely sham marriage will surely lead to happiness and safety.
Matt @211 -- I believe, if I understand correctly, that EricaP thinks a woman who torpedoes a relationship for betrayal and lying (all other things in the relationship being wonderful) is likewise laboring under what will be tomorrow's "outmoded and ignorant social mores", as you put it, and that they likewise may not be "reasonable to feel that way, and their feelings would be different if they were more enlightened". I think that's her view. Have I understood you right, EricaP?

If so, I definitely still disagree with you. There is something absolute about being lied to that I am not willing to blame on the social mores-du-jour. Maybe I'm a bit too proud, but being lied to by someone I trust shows I misjudged the level of reciprocal trust, and misjudged their character. It betrays their low opinion of my intelligence and my worth, and that to me is an expression of contempt. Depends on the lie of course, and the situation. You seem to have glossed over the part @169 where I acknowledge that the issue of lying is complicated, and that not every lie should lead to the end of a relationship. Sometimes lies are justified, sometimes one's partner has unreasonable expectations, etc, etc. This is not the case here with the LW.

Didn't mean to leave you hanging, I just had to hit the hay for an early morning shift and couldn't get back to the discussion before now. Nocute said everything I wanted to say anyway. Just better.

I could be wrong, but didn't Ubiquitous Dickery place a respectable fourth in the Kentucky Derby last year?
@211/214, I don't think someone is "ignorant" if they feel betrayed when their partner lies to them (about porn or affairs or whatever). I think they are justified in feeling betrayed.

Okay, let's leave STIs out of it, because I'm tired of that argument.

Wife A has just discovered that her husband maintained a serious emotional and sexual relationship with an ex for twenty years, talking on the phone about their feelings every week (while he was 'off golfing'), sexting and camming once a month. (She lives overseas, so they can't meet for actual sex.)

Wife B has just discovered that her husband of twenty years sneaks off with other crossdressers for weekly support group meetings; he has a suitcase in the garage with his girl clothes; he goes out drinking and dancing once a month with other crossdressers when he's supposedly at work.

To me, these two wives are equally entitled to feel betrayed and upset.

But they might both consider whether the foundation of what they've built with their husbands over twenty years is strong enough to withstand this betrayal and stay together. You can say to yourself, "the whole thing was a fraud; I never knew him" or you can say "well, he has a side I didn't know, but I can incorporate the new information without throwing out the whole relationship." Our culture doesn't really encourage that, but I think Dan does, and I think it should be an option for people.
"Wife B has just discovered that her husband of twenty years sneaks off with other crossdressers for weekly support group meetings; he has a suitcase in the garage with his girl clothes; he goes out drinking and dancing once a month with other crossdressers when he's supposedly at work.

To me, these two wives are equally entitled to feel betrayed and upset."

Fear is not a betrayal. It is a dishonesty, but still incomparable to leading several sexual/emotional relationships simultaneously while ignoring your own family, to the point of not even having time for or interest in sleeping with your girlfriend/mother of your child (from her complaints).
You're still coming across as strangely judgmental/shaming of lifestyle through sticking to transvestism as something that deserves the same amount of concern as cheating on their partner and abusing their family unit.
@216 fear of what?

And where do you see this in the letter? "the point of not even having time for or interest in sleeping with your girlfriend/mother of your child (from her complaints)."
@218, I have a friend who went through this, so I'm familiar with her feelings of betrayal and feeling like she doesn't know who her husband is since he kept this secret for years.
@ 215, that's like a parent feeling betrayed by a child hiding his or her homosexuality. So lies are justified by the stubborn ignorance of the person being lied to. There is no betrayal, other than the betrayal of the person who supposedly loves the liar but forces them unreasonably into a life of lying by their ignorance and intolerance.
@220 how did Wife B force her husband to lie about crossdressing?
By failing to accept it as the harmless kink that it is.
Who says she doesn't accept it? She can be as accepting as possible, and still feel betrayed that he didn't trust her with his secret for twenty years.
My post @219 was supposed to be addressed to undead ayn rand @217.

I'll say, further, that I have nothing against transvestism -- just against keeping one's transvestism secret from one's spouse. And, further, I'll add that I don't think the transvestite liar should be dumped; but it's a serious omission. Like not trusting your spouse about any kink that's important to you.
@ 223, you did. Your entire premise is based upon the wife's phobic regard for transvestism. It makes no sense that he would hide it and lie about it otherwise. So... you said it. Just not with straight words.
@EricaP - Re romantic lies. People do lie out of embarrassment when they can't accept a part of themselves. You could also call this closeted or shame or self hatred. People lie to protect their partner, or white lie, and some people pretend that self serving lies are white lies. But I think the troublesome lies happen when people are afraid their partner will leave them if they tell the truth. And when that lie is about a significant sex or money problem, this fear is often justified. A lack of self control in these areas is a very bad sign for a monogamous, cohabiting and parenting relationship. I also think what some other posters are saying, is that they can't be very close if he's been leading a second life he's worked to hide from her all these years. And I think that's correct. I also think the only possible way to stay with this dad (non abusively) is by enjoying non monogamy but it's very unlikely that this woman can do that. Lots of people have a kink for monogamy :) If she decides to try she'd have to game out a completely new relationship. Ack.
Although... She does sound like she still wants to sex him up. She could cohabitate and coparent without but if she has to keep sleeping with him, I think she should focus on things she can appreciate sexually that make non monogamy ok for her rather than pasta skills. Or maybe she could take a shot at boyfriend's (probably ex) bff while he's off with others, that doesn't seem to be against the rules.

I was married to my husband for 4 years and all of a sudden he started seeing another lady (his mistress).he started hailing at me and he was abusive.. and he hated me , but I still loved him with all my heart . the situation made me unsettle and not to focus at work .so a friend told me about trying (prophet salifu )spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to him ? i did not listen to her and hoped that my husband will come back home . after 9 month of seperation and depression , it got out of hand and my husband came back home to break the news to me that he want a divorce that he is getting married to his mistress .Hmmm it was so shocking to me ,i felt sad and more depressed ,so i contacted my friend again and decieded to try to use spiritual means reluctantly..although I didn't believe in all those things? I never thought in a million years that i will get my husband back to me a again. but I was proved wrong.after 24 hours, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn't believe it that we are back together. I am deeply satisfied and thankful with prophet salifu work .if you also want to fix you marriage or relationship email him at or , his work is for a better life .
@225, see @226
"the troublesome lies happen when people are afraid their partner will leave them if they tell the truth."

My husband had extramarital sex first, without checking with me first to see if it would be okay. The sex would have been okay, the not trusting me enough to ask me first hurt a lot.

MFAC and her husband discussed being exclusive. She didn't force that on him. He could have spoken up for his needs. But he didn't trust her (or didn't want her to know), so he didn't tell her about his affairs, for years.

You don't believe that deceit can happen with crossdressing, when a crossdresser doesn't trust that his wife would understand, and so doesn't let her know -- even though she is liberal about such issues and might very well understand? It happens all the time. And then it's the years of lies and hiding one's true self that often tear people apart.

@225 "you said it. Just not with straight words."

Yeah right. I didn't say it, because I didn't think that she was some shrew who excoriated crossdressing. That's not my experience, that's not who my friend is. Children don't pick their parents, but crossdressers pick their wives. And if they then don't trust them enough to reveal their "harmless kink", that is NOT the wives' fault.
@ 229, so if it wasn't that, then why did he hide it from her? Are they an older couple, giving him cause to be fearful of revealing gimself? You need to tell the whole story, because if you leave gaps your audience will fill them on their own.
Yeah, all I'm getting here is some bizarre "gay panic" contributing to the wife's horror rather than deception.

Find another comparison because this one is terrible.
@230 because talking about it makes it real and he wasn't willing to admit to her (or to himself) that he had this life-long serious interest. Also because he wasn't (isn't) able to say for sure that he was "just" a crossdresser and not, perhaps, transsexual. And even though he knew she was liberal, he wasn't sure how she would view that. So it was easier to keep the crossdressing secret.
Yes, we get it, you have patience and sympathy for cheatin' dudes, but trying to minimize the scenario by shaming someone's hidden lifestyle/kinks and associated self-loathing is just not having the effect you think it should.
@undead, whatever. I've tried to show that many people hide parts of themselves from their partners, and that does have an impact on their trust if the secret parts come out later. I don't claim that all lies are the same; a six-month lie is better than a seven-year lie, for sure.

I just think that affairs (even long-term affairs) don't necessarily mean that the person having affairs is "garbage" (@4).
And we're not arguing about your personal opinion, just your poor attempt to get us to change our opinion.

Attempting to lessen the garbage-person implications of a serial cheater by trying to tear down someone else struggling with legitimate issues of self-worth and fear of being seen for who they truly are, that's tasteless.
@ 232, you can write that, and still not perceive the qualitative differences that make it much less egregious than LW's BF's lies? Neithet is excusable, but one is, or at least has the potential, to be forgiven.
@EricaP: Okay, I think in one way, both of your hypothetical wives @215 have similar grounds for being upset. (Actually, it really isn't up to me or you or anyone to decide whether someone has "grounds" for being upset with a spouse; each of us gets to decide what our own personal hot-button topics are. But you get my point.)

In the sense that the husbands in both your scenarios was keeping something fundamental about themselves having to do with sex from their wives for a long time (you don't specify how long husband B, the crossdresser, has been going to those weekly support group meetings and monthly dances nights, but I'll assume you meant it to be 20 years, for the sake of consistency), I can see both wives legitimately feeling hurt and angry.

But to me, the sources of the pain and anger are very different.

In the case of the crossdresser, I'd be hurt that my husband hid so much of his essential self from me--that he didn't trust me to be able to handle his interest. It's true that maybe the wife can't handle it in the sense that she wants no part of it, and they can either agree that he has his dress-up time with his friends and his support group meetings, which the wife knows he's going to, but she doesn't participate in, or maybe they divorce, because she finds his transvestism (not the secrecy) a deal-breaker. Or maybe she leaves him because she can't get over the fact that he hid this part of himself for so long. But at least she's making an informed decision and he's crediting her with being able to participate in a decision which affects her, too.

If I were that wife, I'd be hurt that my husband didn't trust me. I'd be angry at the lies he'd told to cover his whereabouts. But I'd be able to work through and past those things. I might not be able to embrace his cross dressing--if it was just limited to the bedroom and it was lacy, sexy baby-doll things, I could find that HOT, but if it was him going out in the world and trying to pass, I doubt I'd be interested--but as long as he told me honestly what he was doing, I'd be okay with having him go to his support group meetings and his nights out at the club, so long as they didn't take all his time and energy away from what we liked to do as a couple/family. And he could move his suitcase of women's clothing out of the garage and keep it in the house proper.

In the case of the husband who's been carrying on " a serious emotional and sexual relationship with an ex for twenty years, talking on the phone about their feelings every week (while he was 'off golfing'), sexting and camming once a month," I think the issues are different, and were I that wife, I'd react very differently. My sense of betrayal would be far, far greater.

You say he's emotionally and sexually intimate with someone else for 20 years? I'd consider that the biggest betrayal imaginable. I wouldn't care that they hadn't met for sex in person (and in your example, the only reason they hadn't was for lack of opportunity since she lives overseas, which leads me to conclude that were they to have the chance and given the circumstances you set up, they most certainly would have had actual physical, sexual contact.)--the fact that they had shared intimately sexual conversations and cammed would be the same to me.
For what it's worth, I'm not talking about two friends talking about sex; I'm talking about two people who would appear from your description to be in love or in a very intimate emotional, sexual relationship that they keep secret and go to great lengths to maintain and keep hidden. That would be bad enough. That it persisted for 20 years would be so devastating that there's no way I could move past that and forgive and stay with that man.

I could forgive a drunken one-night stand; I could maybe adapt as you have if my husband did what yours did (though the not-discussed-and agreed-upon-in-advance sex would have bothered me as much as the lying). But that level of ongoing intimacy kept hidden from me, that many years of lies and deceptions and sneakiness, that would wound me to my core.

That's just me: my responses to your scenarios were I each of the hypothetical wives in question.
lol. Are you going to get around to answering my questions @218?
@EricaP - I just think that affairs (even long-term affairs) don't necessarily mean that the person having affairs is "garbage"
I don't think that you can get more harmful than this without assault. Maybe no one is a garbage, but if anyone can be garbage without physically assaulting another, this guy's actions qualify. I think that spending your kids' tuition on gambling would be less harmful; learning how to have happy relationships is so fundamental. I have no idea why she would choose to have another kid of his.
238 was addressing undead.
@239, I'm more persuaded by your words @168:
>> Personally, I've found that the most monogamous have no problem stopping sex after being cheated on. Those who still want sex with their partners are usually open to looking elsewhere as well. >>

She's still interested in sex with him and is considering giving him another chance, despite her anger. If she were like so many posters in this thread, she would not have written the letter she wrote. Many posters think it's obvious what she should do -- but it's not obvious to her. I'm not in favor of her staying with the guy; I'm in favor of her looking at the whole picture. The fact that many of you think that looking at the whole picture is unreasonable -- I find that bizarre. I suppose that makes me a freak.

I think ongoing verbal abuse would be a lot more harmful than this. Extramarital sex was so completely normal for guys until the middle of the twentieth century -- and now it makes you garbage?:
Ack, that post @242 was for Philophile @239. Losing my marbles here.
EricaP @241:
First of all, I don't think MFAC is thinking clearly at the moment. She's just recently found out--like less than a month ago--about all this. For the past 7 years, she's been in love with a man she thought she knew; it's hard to just turn off feelings like that. She's considering staying partly because she's quite legitimately worried about how she'll cope with two toddlers and a pregnancy and then with two preschoolers/toddlers and an infant. That's a scary prospect. She's horny (possibly from pregnancy hormones) and her libido is clouding her ability to think clearly and dispassionately about this. She's profoundly confused and fearful.

Her whole world has been turned upside down and she feels the need to make a decision RIGHT NOW. In one way only, I agree with Dan: there's no need to make an immediate decision of any kind. When the dust settles, she'll still be pregnant, or have three kids; he'll still be the guy who lied and cheated every day they were together. 3 more weeks or 6 more months or 2 more years won't change that. And by then, she'll have a calmer, cooler head, hopefully. And have thought through how the logistics of separating from him will play out for herself and her kids.

I don't think it's "obvious" what she should do, but I sure as hell would support her leaving far more than I'd support her staying with him because she's horny, or as you put it "she's still interested in sex with him."
@ 242, maybe for the wealthy it was normal; but not us plebes.
@245 lol
Bristol Mercury, 7 March 1857: "The existing law supposes that a wife may condone her husband's lapses [i.e. adultery] from strict marital propriety, while it imposes no such exercise of lenity or forbearance upon the husband."

Letter to the Daily News, 25 April 1857: "A husband is humiliated if his wife 'yields to another man what belongs to her husband', whereas a wife is merely 'slighted in favour of a rival'"

I'd like to see you come up with sources suggesting that the majority of lower class men were sexually monogamous -- ever.
"Prostitution in ancient Rome was legal, public, and widespread"
"During the Middle Ages, prostitution was tolerated because it was held to prevent the greater evils of rape, sodomy, and masturbation"
"In the United States, prostitution was originally widely legal...[until] 1910"
-- you think those customers were all single men?
“The behavior of men from lower, middle and upper classes towards infidelity does not differ significantly...Men with college or graduate degrees are about 3% less likely to have had at least one extramarital affair than men with high school degrees or less than high school degree.”

“The mistake that straight people made,” [Dan] Savage told me, “was imposing the monogamous expectation on men. Men were never expected to be monogamous. Men had concubines, mistresses and access to prostitutes, until everybody decided marriage had to be egalitar­ian and fairsey.” In the feminist revolution, rather than extending to women “the same latitude and license and pressure-release valve that men had always enjoyed,” we extended to men the confines women had always endured. “And it’s been a disaster for marriage.”
@Nocute - The one immediate decision is whether to keep making baby in this new situation. If she thinks she can provide for it well as a single mother, I hope she keeps it. If it becomes an excuse to stay with the dad unhappily, then I feel horrible for that kid.

@242 Extramarital sex was so completely normal for guys until the middle of the twentieth century -- and now it makes you garbage?:
And who do you think those husbands were cheating with, only prostitutes? Nope, cheating has been present and threatening for both genders since before agriculture. In cultures where women are/were legally more second class citizens, they are often forced to accept it openly (at least with pros or slaves) lest they be legally punished up to death if they were caught disobeying the double standard. I think that's sad, and I hope Americans today don't feel like that at all. Or Australians, Lava. You could probably find more modern examples than Victorian England. Upperclass China perhaps, South Africa I bet, and parts of the Middle East.

That was sad to think about I need a break.
@ 246-250if you mean cheating is normal, that's what you should have said. You said that nonmanogamy was normal. That word connotes social acceptance, and you're link doesn't demonstrate that.

I'm starting to wonder if you're a dishonest person.
@252. Nope, nonmonogamy isn't the same as "ethical nonmonogamy."
Besides, @242 I said "extramarital sex" used to be normal for guys, not non-monogamy.
@ 253, yes it does. There's already a word for UNethical nonmanogamy. It's "cheating."
@241 I'm not in favor of her staying with the guy; I'm in favor of her looking at the whole picture.
I agree that the whole sexual picture is important. I don't agree that non sexual things can make dissatisfaction with one's sex life ok. I think sexual dissatisfaction erodes romantic attachment, and it's important to model good attachments when you raise kids.

You raised a lot of other good points but I think this is mostly where we disagree about what MFAC should do. And I think she may be able to work with non monogamy since she doesn't seem so revolted as horny.. might as well throw the possibility out there to chew on..
@ 254, if extramarital sex is NOT synonymous with nonmomogamy to you, you've just contradicted yourself @ 253 in a big way.
@251: Philophile, I feel for all three kids assuming this one gets born. It's going to be a messy childhood.
@257, nonsense. You were the one saying non-monogamy meant social acceptance. I'm saying male extramarital sex, male non-monogamy and male cheating (which are related but not identical terms) were all normal, until around the 1970s.
@251 EricaP - In the feminist revolution, rather than extending to women “the same latitude and license and pressure-release valve that men had always enjoyed,” we extended to men the confines women had always endured.
Yeah I think Dan oversimplifies quite often. Well he's not a novelist or researcher, it's his job to be brief. Honestly I think it is like a kink for many people. Possibly the most sought after kink. And a lot of people will settle for one partner as long as that partner is monogamous. How else do you explain why one would agree to say "no" if an attractive person starts sniffing around their goods? I did it to get guys for awhile but it can be a real pain in the ass. And some people try and fail, and some people try to get good at discreet cheating, and some people allow for some comfortable degree of openness.

Yeah, things have changed. Divorce and single parenthood (and birth control) are not so stigmatized now, and paternity id is easy. But husbands and wives still tend to dislike their partner's sexual energy spent elsewhere, sexual attractions they find hard to accommodate (especially to other specific people which is impossible to accommodate monogamously), and even the children from those previous attachments. I think that's reasonable for the monogamous minded, except children suffer from the last and that's not cool at all.

Non monogamy is much less demanding. And has more inherent risks... STIs, being replaced as a primary partner, extramarital children, social embarrassment, dramatic other partners.

I don't think British Puritan colonists had prostitutes running around. American colonial history started when cheating was abnormal. In the revolutionary war, I think it was still abnormal, except with slaves, and I don't think it was respectable or even normal to visit prostitutes. I think the norms in the north and south were different but as cheating became more normal, women became viewed as fluffy delicate stupid things, hysteria became a medical condition, mid-late 1800s, that's what triggered the women's movements. So I think it depends on what part of American history you're talking about. I don't think most Native American tribes had a norm of male cheating until Westernized.

Matt - Do you have a kink for monogamy? Or do you just think it's a good idea for other people, or suffer through it to be fair?

Nocute - No way! She's gonna figure out the perfect solution. And it will work for oblong humans at atmospheric pressure! Seriously I'd like to hope she'll rise to the challenge and those kids will grow up to fall happily in love with great people.
"it will work for oblong humans at atmospheric pressure"--I don't remember the joke, but I DO remember that this is some sort of joke about impossible solutions.

So I tip my metaphorical hat to you!

I hope, too, that things get better for all involved (even the cheating, lying boyfriend).
@261 Nocute - Too geeky I guess sorry. Meant I hope she finds a solution that is more realistically workable than an idealist's solution. (original joke is spherical cow in a vacuum: ideal, unrealistic conditions).

You are kind to include pity for the bf. I can't muster much, his actions were pretty shit.

@242 EricaP - Thanks for joining in the "most assholish" debate! Hmm, would kids be more hurt by seeing constant verbal abuse or growing up with very unhappy cheated/cheating parents. I think the major effect, growing up unable to form healthy attachments, would be the same in either case, so I think they are on par. I'd rather deal with a verbal abuser than a pathological liar, the latter would be more crazy making for me. This is also a kind of sexual abuse for the wife, that hurts your ability to form romantic attachments. However, a guy who abuses his kids verbally/sexually/physically directly would be more of an asshole. Can not think of one that tops that. Maybe organizing genocide. Pushing for bigoted laws is pretty damn harmful too.
@250Erica. Dan said that? What a corker. And I think it's bullshit.
Some men, obviously do not stick to monogamy . Yet a lot of men do. And they choose to. It's what they want in their lives.
Doesn't mean both sexes don't find others' sexually attractive. That doesn't stop till one's dead.
Dan should be real careful projecting his homosexual masculinity onto heterosexual relationships.
LW. Totally misread first bit of your letter. I thought this guy had come clean himself.
I think you two need to go see someone ASAP, to find some resolution for yourselves, in the short term.
Of course, if you have family support, you could manage the kids , on your own. Is this man committed to his children?
I don't see you as weak to keep loving this guy still. I do think though, you need to plan your life in the future without him.
Give him another chance, just in your own head put a time frame on it. Just don't tell him. Get thru the pregnancy , maybe first yr of the baby's life- then leave.
If by some miracle, this man suddenly comes good. Suddenly sees his family and decides that is where he'll put his energies. Then you of course, decide if you can go forward. To come back from such deceit, though. Don't like the chances.
Hopefully, this guys commitment to his
Children will mean he'll do his share from a distance. Go see a lawyer. Find out your rights. Set up your exit plan.
And then, let that stuff with other women go. He's not a good man. You don't need to waste time on bad men. Focus on the baby and your other children. Insist he do his share, if he isn't.
Fuck him if you want. Just see it though, as a guy you're fucking. Stop looking at this man as a good man. Cause he isn't one. And slowly plan your exit.
@262 "would kids be more hurt by seeing constant verbal abuse or growing up with very unhappy cheated/cheating parents."

That's not the choice I'm presenting. Take away "very unhappy " and swap in "tolerant."

If she stays angry and unhappy, she should leave. I believe most people have a happiness set-point, and so in a year she would be back to the levels of happiness she was used to. If not, leave.
EricaP, thanks for your comments. I like your approach and it makes me think differently, but only up to a point. You seem far more forgiving than I am. I would have to stretch my tolerance so far it would snap before I could come up with a workable solution with a prize like LW's bf.

Or, as the Romans used to say, "Ubi quitous, dick ery."
Late Bloomer: Thanks for all the ubiquitous Dickery jokes--this thread needed a little levity.
@ 259, you make a distinction without a difference, and also without support from all you posted in 245-250.
@Matt - So.. you're not monogamous then?

@EricaP - We were talking about the most garbage actions. His actions are abusive, arguably some of the most abusive. You asked if these actions really make you garbage. Yeah, they do. Better to argue that no one is garbage than this kind of harm is ok.

What worries me is that you argue that it's a guy thing. I think a lot of guys are naturally monogamous and don't actually want to cheat. And I've met women like that too. It's been a historic guy thing because it's historic to have harsher laws for women. Where it's a cultural norm, like Victorian England, both sexes seemed to suffer. Only bad women liked sex at that time, so poor doctors had to invent dildos for all the women who were turned off of sex. And hysteria became the medical term for sexual deprivation. I'm unsure what the appeal of that time could be for you. Doctor kink?

@Lava - If she wants to end the romance with him I think she should stop having sex with him and use a vibe. And like Dan I don't think that this man is capable of monogamy.
@142: ""Ubiquitous dickery" is the name of my new hipster neo-punk two-man band. I am going to have a beard and a kilt and play lead oboe."

I hope it's also listed under "Hobbies" on the guy's online dating profile.
A lot of people here are assuming that the father does not help with childcare, saying he could not possibly have enough energy to cheat this much and parent too. That's a false assumption--this guy could have been one of those people with boundless energy. My mom could have written this letter when she was pregnant with me. They stayed together. My dad continued to screw everything that moved, while also getting three kids to school every morning with lunches packed and hair combed and homework in place, allowing my mom space for writing. He was a great dad, and I worshiped him, and couldn't understand why my mom and older sisters (who were aware of what was going on) didn't like him very much. Being with my dad let my mom have an artistic career and a family without going insane. On the other hand, she didn't get to have the love she deserved. To add insult to injury, when I was in my twenties, my father finally left my mother for a woman my age, causing us all to cut him out of our lives for almost a decade, and my mom was heartbroken. I wish she had taken the advice of one commenter here and found herself a boyfriend when I was a little kid. It might have made her happier, or changed her relationship with my dad. I say this because when my mom--at the age of 70--finally wised up and found that she was happier without my dad, he became jealous. Now he is a great friend to her and loves her deeply.
@268 -- Thanks. Glad someone appreciates my beating a joke to death. It keeps me amused. There's actully a great chapter on that in the definitive guide to running gags by the well-known Harvard historian U. Biquitous-Dickery.
@273: "couldn't understand why my mom and older sisters (who were aware of what was going on) didn't like him very much. "

From that description, it sounds as if he let them down and did them wrong, while you weren't conscious enough to understand where and when he was absent.

Aside from financial matters for your mom, do your siblings believe that it would've been healthier for that situation to end far earlier than it did?
I don't think it's a situation here where I think he's gone 24/7 to juggle all these side relationships, i just think it's a distraction that hurts the main family, prevents him from being a good/great dad even if her remembers the soccer games and packs the lunches.
@ 271, not that it has anything to do with this, but yes, I am. Why do you ask?
@185 What about the risk to her babies through unknowing STI exposure while pregnant?
@271 "Better to argue that no one is garbage than this kind of harm is ok."

There's a lot of room between 'garbage' and 'ok'. I can say -- "he's a thoughtless jerk, but not garbage." I can say "he screwed up badly and hurt people, but he shouldn't be prevented from seeing his children."

If "his actions are abusive, arguably some of the most abusive," then do you think it should be considered a crime to have a long-term affair? Felony or misdemeanor? How many years in prison should he spend?

Nobody is suggesting it either be illegal to be a jerk nor that he should be banned from seeing his children, so a moot point.
undead@280, have you figured out yet what gave you the impression (back @216) that MFAC's partner didn't "even having time for or interest in sleeping with [his] girlfriend/mother of [his] child (from her complaints)." I don't see that in the letter. She mentions no complaints except for him hiding his affairs.
"he found a 26-year-old woman and started fucking her every week. Meanwhile, we've been trying to have another baby and now I'm two months pregnant.
And I still love this fucking lying asshole who has been cheating on me and fucking around on me the entire time we've been together.
I feel so fucked, I feel so angry. I feel like my life with him has been a farce. But I need help with my kids. I can't imagine being single with two toddlers and another baby on the way. I am so horny lately because of raging hormones as well."

She implies being lonely and unfulfilled here.
But that's my possibly inaccurate take.
@LateBloomer: Holy cow! No way: I once heard Dr. Biquitous-Dickery give a lecture, back in the early 2000s on how to signal the sound of a rim shot in html.
I'll never forget it. The experience of hearing him, that is--I've long since forgotten how to indicate the rim shot in html and have to resort to writing things like (ba-dum-bah).
@282/283 - Thanks. I read it to mean that she has cut him off since finding out, and that's why she's horny. I agree with you that if he has been neglecting her and/or their children, then that adds a lot of weight to the dump-him side of the scales.
@Matt - I asked about your interest in 260, whether monogamy was like a kink or like a responsibility for you. Or if not getting caught is the responsibility I guess. I don't think EricaP quite believes in male monogamy from this thread so maybe you can help.

@EricaP - There are all kind of legal abuses in dating, they ruin the relationship and possibly threaten parental rights, and some people just like yelling at each other. Lovers and parents are rarely jailed as punishment. What are you gonna do, CPS doesn't have a great alternative to an abusive home. If Elma has found a way to create stable happy romantic relationships she is extremely lucky and capable, or had another happy relationship as a model. It doesn't mean she was raised without abuse. Kids can tell when their parents are unhappy with each other. If you want to cheat on your husband for years and pretend that's not abuse you're allowed, but I don't agree and I doubt your kids would. They may try to find friends who won't call their mom garbage, who think some types of abuse are ok. If you talk to them enough maybe they'll accept that dad deserved it. How could they decide, they don't know what a happy relationship looks like.
And LW, when you have carefully planned your life sans arsehole( without that dick of a man ), and you need a few extra boots to kick him to the curb. Count me in.
I am with EricaP on this one I think. There is distinction between someone who is a liar and someone who is a cheater (and lies about that one thing). Although cheating often involves lying, I don't think it is fair to say that someone who consistently fails at monogamy (and lies to cover that failing up) is necessarily a "liar" who can't be trusted about anything. I suspect a fair percentage of cheaters are otherwise pretty honest and trustworthy. Saying that a cheater is a liar who can't be trusted is sort of akin to saying that an addict is a liar who can't be trusted. Both lie to cover up their failings, but that doesn't mean they are liars who can't be trusted about anything. She has been with him for a long time, she probably has a good feeling about whether he is an otherwise honest person.
@286 Some men find monogamy easy. Others don't. Some women find monogamy easy. Others don't. As for the historical sources (re male cheating having long been seen as normal) ... Well, wife beating was also considered normal, so I admit it's not great evidence for what people should tolerate today. Granted.

Re this: "Kids can tell when their parents are unhappy with each other" -- as I said @265: If she stays unhappy, she should leave.

I understand that you can't imagine being happy staying with a man who cheated on you. Nevertheless:…
edit @289: "not great evidence for what people might want to consider tolerating today"
@288: "She has been with him for a long time, she probably has a good feeling about whether he is an otherwise honest person."

I think the problem here is her very bad feelings about his character, all considered and taken into account.
@291 - It would indeed be troubling if she said she had bad feelings about his character other than his cheating. But, unless I missed something, she didn't say that. She said she still loves him, but nowhere did I see where she said she had other reservations about his character.
Well, "asshole who has been cheating on me and fucking around on me the entire time we've been together.
I feel so fucked, I feel so angry. I feel like my life with him has been a farce."

Is that not enough?
@289 I understand that you can't imagine being happy staying with a man who cheated on you.
Not sure how you get this from "affairs while in a marriage make you garbage". Guess you think that I'm not garbage but my nose is not squeaky clean. Plus I prefer non monogamy. Just not being lied to about it. Informed consent means too much to me. But if I were to find out I've been cheated on like this tomorrow... it would suck. I've been through worse life shit though so... I'd probably deal with it creatively, lots of thinking about what could make me happy if I stayed. But I really wouldn't feel cheated out of that much as I already have leeway to sleep around if I need to. This woman kinda reminds me of the people I know who have a thing for monogamy, like it's a pride or skill or makes them happy or something. Except if she still wants to fuck him, maybe she can get behind the idea that they both have other lovers, or he's a good enough fuck to share this way... something to feel happy with him despite the unsatisfying non monogamy.

But unless something changes, she won't. Even if he's awesome in every way except sex. Cause she can cohabitate and coparent without having to sleep with him or pretend they are monogamous, so why settle for a crap sex life?
@ 289, maybe that's the problem. Male cheating HAS long been seen as "normal," yet it has long been regarded as bad, too. Something that "good husbands" don't do. No, the consequences weren't as bad as they were for women (hello, double standard), because men are supposedly helpless in the face of our ever-erect dicks. That's why you girls aren't supposed to go around looking sexy. Or feminine.

So while there's less condemnation for male cheating, it was still grounds for divorce and awarding custody of the children and hefty aliminy to wronged wives. It wasn't regarded as acceptable behavior. This isn't a recent development.

So maybe we were getting our wires crossed, if you weren't speaking of cheating as a socially acceptable activity, but rather the notion that "men cheat."
@295 So you're monogamous, but think it's normal that men cheat. Sure that's believable :) It is usually cheating men or their lovers who believe it's normal for men to cheat. Cheating women and their lovers tend to talk more about the scandalous norms of women.
Perhaps EricaP doesn't believe in male monogamy because she's been reading this column for so long. Guys on here have already been inundated with the "cheating is normal (for guys at least), and can save a marriage if you're not getting laid at home" viewpoint that I try to complain about when it comes up. Goddamn it Dan.

I have met guys who are happier being with women who know that their dick works. Men sometimes don't want to risk the embarrassment of what new sex can do to their performance, especially if they're happy with the sex they are getting already. I mean, cheating guys going limp is a stereotype. Some single men even refuse sex with a woman if she's supposed to be monogamous.

Male monogamy is ridiculed by the men who have a vested interest in cheating being regarded as normal. Women don't seem to ridicule monogamy. Matt really may be monogamous and embarrassed to talk about how monogamy works for him in front of other guys, this "cheating is normal" could be coming from peer pressure. Or he could think it's normal because it's how he works, either makes sense to me.
BrentB@288. Really?
A lie of this magnitude, is not some little thing. Don't think a Heroin addict is a real good example to prove your point, either.
Often liars and thieves. This guy has lied thru their relationship. Thru two children being born. And another one growing. This guy is not to be trusted with this woman's heart.
He may be a good dad. He may bring in the money to keep things going. Great. He'll be able to do his half share of rearing his children. Once she gets it sorted and leaves.
No. Enough of HER time wasted on a piece of work male. Yet, she's stuck dealing with him .. Still. That can be managed.
@296, no. I think cheating is regarded as more normal for men than for women, just as it's regarded as normal for men to have lots if sex partners and women few. These are stereotypes.
Philophile @296: "Perhaps EricaP doesn't believe in male monogamy because..."

See 289 and I'd appreciate it if you'd stop speaking for me in these vast, inaccurate generalities.
@298 Yes. It's obvious that you're not quoting statistics when you say cheating is normal for men. It's not normal in the US, but men do appear to cheat more.:…
@EricaP - Sorry. I meant unrealistic about it, not that you didn't believe in it. I understand you think it can happen now. But it also sounds like you think most men cheat. This recent study puts the figures at 19% for women and 23% for men who cheated in their current monogamous relationship. It's common but not normal. Most people don't cheat.

And I thought this was relevant and I'm wasting too much time on this so I'll copy it and be done:
American Sexual Behavior: Trends, Socio-Demographic Differences and Risk Behavior, Tom W. Smith, National Opinion Research Council, University of Chicago, 2006

Extra-marital Relations (pages 8-9)
There are probably more scientifically worthless "facts" on
extra-marital relations than on any other facet of human behavior.
Popular magazines (e.g.Redbook, Psychology Today, Cosmopolitan),
advice columnists (Dear Abby and Dr. Joyce Brothers), pop-
sexologists (e.g. Morton Hunt and Shere Hite) have all conducted or
reported on "studies" of extra-marital relations. These studies
typically find extremely high level of extra-marital activity
(Reinisch, Sanders, Ziemba-Davis, 1988; Smith, 1989; Smith, 1991b;
and Gibbs, Hamil, and Magruder-Habib, 1991). Hite for example
reported that 70% of women married five or more years "are having
sex outside of their marriage (Smith, 1988)." They also often claim
that extra-marital relations have become much more common over
time. Dr. Brothers (1990), for example, claims that 50% of married
women now have sex outside of marriage, double the level of a
generation ago.
But representative, scientific surveys (Choi, Catania, and
Dolcini, 1994; Forste and Tanfer, 1996; Greeley, 1994; Greeley,
Michael, and Smith, 1990; Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, and Michaels,
1994; Leigh, Temple, and Trocki, 1993; Tanfer, 1994; Treas and
Giesen, 1996; 2000) indicate that extramarital relations are less
prevalent than pop and pseudo-scientific accounts contend (Table
6). The best estimates are that about 3-4% of currently married
people have a sexual partner besides their spouse in a given year
and about 15-18% of ever-married people have had a sexual partner
other than their spouse while married (Michael, Laumann, and
Gagnon, 1993).
There is little direct and reliable trend information on
extra-marital relations before 1988. Since then, levels have not
changed much. Prior to then there is indirect evidence that extra-
marital relations may have increased across recent generations. The
figure of ever having extra-marital relations rises from 13% among
those 18-29 to 20% among those 40-49 (Table 7). It then falls to
9.5% among those 70 and older. Since these are lifetime rates, one
would normally expect them either to increase across age groups or
to increase until a plateau is reached (this would be the case if
few first-time, extra-marital relations were started among older
adults). The leveling-off and then drop among those 50 and older
suggests that members of birth cohorts before about 1940 were less
likely to engage in extra-marital relations than were spouses from
more recent generations (Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, and Michaels,
1994; Greeley, 1994).
In terms of current extra-marital relations, Table 7 indicates
that they are more common among younger adults. This is largely a
function of younger adults having been married a shorter period of
time. Some recently married people have difficulty adjusting from a
premarital pattern of multiple sexual partners to a monogamous
partnership and in general recent marriages are more likely to end
in divorce than long-term marriages. The rates of extra-marital
relations are about twice as high among husbands as among wives
(Table 7). Extra-marital relations are also more common among
Blacks, those with lower incomes, those who attend church less
frequently, those who have been separated or divorced (including
those who have remarried), and those who are unhappy with their
marriage. It also may be more frequent among residents of large
cities, but the overall relationship with community type is fairly
small and somewhat irregular. Finally, extramarital relations do
not vary much for the last year by education and the lifetime
pattern with education is mixed and unclear.

    Please wait...

    Comments are closed.

    Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

    Add a comment

    By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.