I hope this finds you better than I'm doing. I feel awful for doing what I did, but I can't take it back. My boyfriend's phone was blinking and I looked. He was responding to a m4m Craigslist ad. The ad was looking for a JO partner, STD- and HIV-free, to watch porn with. I don't know what to do with this info. We haven't slept together for a while. I thought it was just because I'm pregnant. Now I have so many thoughts filling my head. To make matters worse: There is something wrong with the baby and I have to terminate the pregnancy. I haven't felt it in a day and I think it's already gone. So here I am with his dead baby inside of me and he is looking for a hook up. I was hoping for us to sort it all out and try to have another baby, but with this new turn of events, I just don't know. Should I bring it up or just try to forget about it? I was snooping and am in the wrong. I hate this.

Distraught

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I’m so sorry—for the tragic loss of a child you wanted, and for what your boyfriend is putting you through. It’s been a few days since you wrote. How are you doing? Any developments? Again, I'm so sorry.—Dan

I'm a mess. Thanks for getting back to me. I confronted him about it. We were headed down to the city for our first appointment to start the process of terminating the pregnancy. The car ride was awful and I just couldn't keep it in. He said he has been freaking out and told me he has had sex with men before. We hadn't been having sex and he was bored and horny. It was quite a shock. With all that I'm dealing with, I just needed his support and comfort. We haven't really talked about it since and I don't know how to bring it up. He said he didn't cheat on me, but isn't the act of looking cheating? It just hurts and adds so much pain to the agony I'm already feeling. It's all so surreal. I'm extremely understanding. If he needs to be with a dude on occasion, it's something I'm willing to talk about. That is a whole new relationship that I don't even know how to even wrap my mind around. I love him, but don't want to hang around if I'm just a beard or if he is "confused." If my needs are met, and things are open and honest, I don't see a problem. I just don't know how to go about all this. Any input would be much appreciated.—D

The act of looking is not cheating. We all look. If looking is cheating, D, we’re all cheaters. And, yes, what he did went beyond looking. But people will go online to "look" because it can feel more... consequential and more exciting. I'm not saying that he wouldn't have gone through with it, or that he hasn't, but not everyone who "looks" online is cheating, has cheated, or will cheat. But there's no point in having a conversation with your boyfriend about what he did or didn't do if you regard merely looking as cheating.

Anyway...

I want to share a story with you that makes me look terrible. The day my mother was dying—the day I had to tell her she was dying—I left her hospital room for a few minutes to get my siblings on the phone so they could say their goodbyes to her. I was sobbing. I was out of my mind. I was in real pain—the worst pain of my life. And there I was, sitting on the floor at the end of a long hallway, leaving messages for my brothers, when a hot male nurse walked down the hall. He actually cut across it, right in front of me, and my brain shut down for a second. It was like a complete systems override—my brain just went, “Hey, stop whatever it is you're doing and look at him.” And I did: I stopped crying, I stopped trying to get my brothers on the phone, and for a couples of seconds I just sat there and stared at the hot nurse.

I cruised the hot nurse.

Sex is like that. Lust is like that. It taps into a reptilian part of our brain, a part that isn’t fully conscious, a part we aren't fully in control of, and it can seize us even in moments of extreme emotional pain and just... make us do stupid, embarrassing, and inappropriate shit. I’m not making excuses for what your boyfriend did. It's awful that he was thinking with his dick—or thinking about his dick, or thinking about some other dude's dick—at such a devastating moment for you both. But I was devastated the day my mother died—I was completely shattered, and somehow my horniness managed to trump my pain. For a few seconds. Not long enough to respond to a m4m ad on Craigslist, but long enough to really check a dude out. I didn’t chase the nurse down the hall, but honestly… who knows? Maybe I would’ve if the guy had given me a “come hither” look. Because reptile brain. Because sometimes we reach out in moments of grief and despair and do something... stupid and transgressive, but life- and eros-affirming. Sometimes when we're scared and devastated we want something simple and easy—and nothing is easier or simpler than dick.

I guess what I mean to say is... people process grief and fear in weird ways, sometimes in ways that don't make sense to us, sometimes in ways that don't make sense to them. I'm not making excuses. Just giving, I don’t know, context?

I would hope my mother, if she's where she thought she was going, can forgive me for checking out a boy while she lay dying in her hospital bed. Five seconds I could've spent with her I spent staring at some hot nurse. I’m sure your boyfriend hopes you can forgive him for contemplating and maybe even fantasizing about getting with a boy—or even getting with one—while your lives were in turmoil. The fact that he may be bi, and that he kept that from you, is a whole other conversation you two need to have—once you’ve come through your medical crisis.

Again, i’m so sorry.—Dan

Thanks so much for sharing your story. It even got a chuckle out of me.

You are right. It's just a lot to process. He says he wants to stay in a relationship with me and that he will never cheat on me. He knows that pain and I believe him. I think honesty and communication is key. I'm not really ready to open that can quite yet. I just want to deal with the baby and then deal with that. I actually find it kinda hot that he's bi, so there is that. What a fucking trip, this thing we call life.

Again, thanks for taking time to respond to me. I'm out here all alone and didn't have anyone to talk to about this. Big love to you.—D

You too, D.—Dan

P.S. I'm thinking your boyfriend might be telling you what he thinks you really need to hear right now—that he would never cheat on you. That he responded to that ad, at this time, during this crisis, is pretty good evidence that he could cheat on you. Not that he has or necessarily will, but that he could, that he's capable of it. Which isn't me saying, "So you gotta break up with him." People are bad at monogamy and anyone you wind up with is going to be capable of cheating on you. At some point in the future, after the crisis has passed, once you can breathe again, you two need to have a calm and rationale conversation about his actions, his desires, his sexuality and what it all means for your future. The fact that you're not turned off or threatened by his bisexuality is a good sign—if there's a way to accommodate his same-sex desires openly and honestly, he may be less likely to act on his desires in appropriate ways, or on impulse. It may even be something that winds up strengthening your bond and your sexual connection.

I just realized I may have come across wrong. I didn't mean to chuckle at your story. I'm so sorry and I can't imagine how hard that was for you. You just write in a breezy way. I hope you didn't take it wrong. Again, thanks for all you do. You really help a lot of people. Your mother is looking down and is beaming with pride.—D

You didn’t come across wrong—not at all. I chuckle at that story.

Would be it okay with you if I posted our exchange as the Savage Love letter of the day? It’s COMPLETELY FINE if you want to keep this private. I understand. It wasn’t why I reached out to you in the first place, and I didn’t expect to want to post it. But I would like to now, D, but only if it’s okay with you. I understand if this is too personal and painful.—Dan

I don't mind. Thanks for asking. Once all of the baby stuff settles, I will contact you for more advice about how to go about talking to my boyfriend about his bisexuality. I feel bad how I kinda made him come out to me. On one hand, I think he was kinda ready for it. He does seem a bit relieved and we are actually closer than we have been.—D

UPDATE: What Sarah said:

I've lost a baby mid pregnancy. 24 weeks, I don't know if that's about where the writer is. At any rate, the grief is mind numbing. The physical pain is life altering. The hormonal turmoil is unfathomable. The emotional devastation that you may be about to experience is, well, devastating. Basically, there is a good chance that nothing you do or say or think, will make sense for a few weeks (at least). There's a very good chance that things will be just as bad or worse, for your partner. Now is a really good time for you two, to love and support each other. All the other stuff about relationships with a capital R, or all the woulda shoulda coulda about your past.... let it go for now. Worry about it in a month or three, if you have the energy and the need.

Sometimes the best advice you'll find in the SLLOTD... is in the comments threads.