Savage Love Letter of the Day: Life and Death

Comments

1
Thanks for such tenderness. Tomorrow, I'm attending the wake of a 21-year-old, who passed due to complications from his severe physical disabilities. Last time I saw him, I caught him looking down my blouse. He laughed, I mock admonished him, and we went our separate ways. That was a week and a half ago. I hope he got a decent eyeful.
Sex and death and life and lust...
2
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.
3
I am so sorry for your loss, D. I agree with Sarah@2, be in your grief at this time. You are both experiencing a loss, so hold and love and grieve together.
Later, when time has passed, talk.
4
What a constructive and compassionate conversation! I'm glad the LW reached out to Dan. And LW, if you're reading these comments, I think the way you're handling this is admirable and hella impressive, given the circumstances. As much as you hurt right now, your words give me the impression that you definitely have the strength and skills to make it through this.
5
Such a sweet, supportive response, Dan. And telling her about the hot nurse was great. Yeah the body just does its own reptilian thing sometimes and there's nothing to feel guilty about.

"People are bad at monogamy and anyone you wind up with is going to be capable of cheating on you." is good for people to keep in mind. I was glad the LW said she'd be OK with her boyfriend getting some cock as long as he met her needs. That seems quite rational.

Braynie, I'm glad you could provide one last nice experience for your dying friend.

Sarah, I'm sorry about your baby. What an awful time you went thru. And that's excellent advice: you're a physical & emotional wreck right now and this is no time to work on relationship problems. Work in a few months when you're no longer crazed with pain and grief.
6
Side note, were not in control of the vast majority of our brains.

The term "reptilian" to describe the parts of our brain that generate feelings of lust/power/sex is potentially damaging to the ongoing dialogue, implying there is something unhuman, unnatural about those feelings, when in fact everyone has them on a near constant basis
7
What a relief it is to her some human understanding. life is hard at times....we have to stick together.
8
I feel you are being way too hard on yourself, Dan. You really believe you would have forgotten your mother, your grief, your need to call your siblings.. If that guy had given you a come hither look?
It was just a moment, and I'm sure your mom, who sounds like she was a loving, caring woman.. would not have begrudged you your life responses.

9
nothing is easier or simpler than dick.

I'm making bumper stickers.
10
@6 The term "reptilian brain" is pretty commonly used in non-neuroscience circles to talk about the parts of our brain that are so primitive (controlling fear, lust, anger) that we share them with our very distant and unevolved common ancestors. Dan didn't make it up. It's only really insulting if you believe that evolution as a concept is insulting to humans.
11
My miscarriage did all kinds of weird things to my then relationship. I fell in love with the father all over again after how he did everything perfectly, AND let me be most imperfect. Not long after, I found sex to be a great comfort to my grief.
For Heaven's sake!: deal with his bisexuality and internet horniness LATER.
12
@10, "Reptilian brain" is used pretty commonly in neuroscience circles as well. Which I'm sure you implied (and knew), but maybe others should be aware of too. Although we, as a species, are more advanced in language and mathematics (cortical primate brain), we shouldn't presume to think we're that sophisticated emotionally (reptilian brain) compared to our animal cousins.
13
What a touching exchange, and what a great story about the hot nurse! Thank you, Dan, for taking the time to console this person and thank you, D, for letting Dan share it with us.

Coupla things:

"I actually find it kinda hot that he's bi" -- Hurrah! A happy ending, and possibly some encouragement to other bi guys to come out to their girlfriends, before they discover it via their smartphones.

"That he responded to that ad, at this time, during this crisis, is pretty good evidence that he could cheat on you." -- Won't argue with the point, but he responded to the ad before D knew she was going to lose her baby. The pregnancy in and of itself is not a "crisis."

I hope D and her boyfriend can come to terms with his bisexuality and work out a relationship arrangement that suits them both before they bring a new life into this world. Sounds like they may possible have some very sexy times in their future!
14
"Reptilian brain" is the term used for that part of our brains which evolved first, which is similar to the full brains that reptiles have. Hence the term. Our higher cognitive functions evolved later, but the primitive part is the one that's responsible for reproduction and survival, so it's no wonder that these core impulses often overrule our rational thoughts.
15
BiDanFan @13: “He responded to the ad before D knew she was going to lose her baby.”

I don’t think so.

D: “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.”

I think they knew she was going to have to terminate the pregnancy already. They already knew they were going to lose the baby. That the baby had died before the pregnancy was terminated was an additional horrifying detail — she had a corpse inside her body while she was checking the phone. The boyfriend may or may not have known that she hadn’t felt the baby in a while when he responded to the ad, but he did know that they were not looking forward to a live birth.
16
That's rough, but it sounds like she's basically handling it, and handling it fine. A lot better than a person could be expected to. That's reassuring, and is a very good sign.
17
I am sorry to hear of your loss Sandiai@12 and Sarah@2. I have lost a child, when he was an adult. The loss of any child , either during gestation or after birth, is as you'd both know.. And as D knows, a deep grief.
18
A quick note about the "is ___ cheating?" question. We call it "cheating" because that's precisely what it is -- breaking the rules, not playing fair, etc. There's no way to answer that question without first understanding what the rules are, and because humans are wonderful and terrible and complicated, there's no way to understand the rules without making the rules, or at least picking a set of rules from existing options.

Whether or not "he saw my cards" is cheating depends very much on whether you're playing hold 'em or stud or draw. And that's not to mention your house rules.
19
This just sucks. I'm blown away by her apparent calm. Between the pregnancy hormones, the grief, the shock & awe... I can't believe she isn't a complete nutcase right now. She seems like a real gem of a person to be so understanding to her boyfriend at this time. She will be one hell of a mom, some day.

I do agree with everyone that she needs to deal with her medical situation and the associated aftermath, before worrying about this boyfriend is bi situation. But, personally, it would be hard for me to take solace in his comfort and grieve with him, etc if I felt really up in the air about our relationship. She seems really sure about the stability of the relationship despite all this turmoil. I would not have that degree of unflappability.
20
The New York Times runs a column from contributors about death and grief. In a recent column, the writer discussed how as her father was dying in a hospital bed in her parent's bedroom, her mother was on the computer emailing family and friends. When she looked in on her mother, she saw that her mother had taken a moment to shop online for a dress. When caught, her mother was embarrassed to be seen shopping for clothing while her husband of many decades lay dying a few feet away. As this, and Dan's, story illustrates, such scenes are common during prolonged periods of grief.

I also note that LW's boyfriend was responding to an ad for a JO buddy with whom to watch porn. Perhaps that is an open invitation for more, or perhaps that would have been a first step of LW's boyfriend seeking out same-sex partners. But he may have seen this as a way to burn off sexual energy, without "cheating," at a time when he knew that his sexual relationship with LW was temporarily suspended.
21
When caught, her mother was embarrassed to be seen shopping for clothing while her husband of many decades lay dying a few feet away. As this, and Dan's, story illustrates, such scenes are common during prolonged periods of grief.


I think it's wrong to expect people to remain at peak emotional output at all times....it's healthy to get tired of grief and move back towards everyday life.

I am incredibly impressed by how calm and open minded the LW is about her discovery, never mind the awful circumstances.
22
@20: "I also note that LW's boyfriend was responding to an ad for a JO buddy with whom to watch porn. Perhaps that is an open invitation for more"

In what universe is it not an open invitation for more?
23
@20 great point

thanks for the condolences from many here
24
i think dan was too easy on him, but very sweet in his response, and who doesn't love a hot nurse?!

i was about 20 weeks pregnant when i went in for a normal check up by myself and found the heartbeat had stopped. the doctor advised me that it would be healthier physically to "wait for nature to take it's course" rather than have a d&c to remove the baby. so i walked around almost two weeks, went to work where everyone knew i had lost the baby because i had been so excited, writing in my dumb baby journal every day (im not normally like that), just stupid excited. a week later my husband had left his IM open with some chick from work. a quick scope of our phone bill showed all of the early morning/late night calls and texts. all while i was devastated emotionally and hurting physically.

some people are just assholes. that's a shit move. i don't care what the excuse is. you just don't do that to someone. i've lost a brother and my dad, and NOTHING comes close to how bad that hurt. and yeah, i had sex probably too soon in a weird primordial way after their deaths, but not my PARTNER who is hurting so much. it's cruel and selfish.

i am so sorry for your loss. im so sorry you were betrayed. i hope that you can find peace with all of this and find happiness again. be careful. that was a LOW move. take care of yourself, grieve, cry, pray or whatever feels right. but take care of you right now, and don't worry about his dick.
25
D and Sarah
I am sorry for your losses but I am happy that you have been able to share those experiences here today. While I cannot speak to experiencing the same loss. I can understand how painful and traumatic it must be.

I do want to offer my experience with outing the bi boyfriend. I have been seeing someone and it is still a new relationship, only few months. But I am beyond attracted to this man. From the very first moment he spoke to me, I was already conquered. But I am older and wasn't sure if it were mutual etc. he is few years younger. It wasn't long before that changed.
I had sex with him and it was perfect. I can only say that if I had been able to ask for someone to be so perfectly matched for me sexually I could not have made him anymore perfect. I love every bit of this man.

I am older remember so not my first rodeo.

But absolutely the best sex I have ever had in my entire life. I never have had an someone so well suited for me, that I didn't even know I was missing anything in previous relationships. I thought my in previous relationship of 13 years I had a good sex life.

Now to the point, I recently learned from a friend that we have in common that when they were out one night together he got the feeling that my guy was hitting on someone and it bothered him. We are close friends and he did not want me to get hurt. He was so angered by it he couldn't stay to see how it turned out. He told me immediately the next day.

My guy was cruising another guy.

My reaction puzzled him. I asked do you know if they were together?
He said no.

It didn't bother me. But I wanted to know.
I asked my guy one evening over dinner. Have you ever had sex with a man before?

He looked and asked "why would you ask me that?"
And I said "because I think we are getting closer and I want to know and I am curious and I think we should be honest."
And he said "yes I have had sex with a man before"
Me "do you prefer men to women"
Him "I prefer you to a man" "but I also prefer men but less frequently than women"
Him "men are easier to have sex with than women (smiling)"
Me "yes so true"
Me "okay will you tell me about it when it happens"
Him "yes"

And so far that is the end of the story it has only been about a month or so that I have known. I never told him how I found out. But for a time period there, I think he worried or at least I had the feeling that he did that I wasn't as comfortable with is as I really was. I did come to regret a bit that I maybe asked before he wanted to tell me. But also wondered if maybe in someway he didn't out himself intentionally in front of my friend to get it out in the open.
Either way I am happy I know. And it does not bother or threaten me in anyway. I like men I understand the attraction to them. I cannot be one. And am like you that I realized it made me more attracted to him. Not only because of the honesty but he isn't ashamed of it either. And that is very very sexy to me.
26
I had to giggle at Dan's and @1's stories, because I can definitely empathise. Death does funny things to our brains, and social conventions often fall by the wayside for a while. Maybe as well as being a reaction to the stress and pain, it's also a preaction (is that a word?) to the demanding social niceties that we know we'll have to deal with soon.

I let a dying teenager grope my boobs once. I was around twenty and volunteering at a hospice. He was above the age of consent in much of Northern Europe, below the age of consent in the U.S., and a horny little monster with an active sex life inside his head which he'd sadly never had a chance to transfer into reality before he got sick. He used to joke around a lot with me, make lewd remarks that would be called sexual harassment nowadays, but back then was just considered banter. So one day I called his bluff...and he called mine right back. I don't regret it.

I also got kissed a couple times by a step-family member (no blood relation, but close enough that we wouldn't have considered it at any other time) right after my dad's funeral last year. It happens. Grief can do funny things to you.

Much love and sympathy to you, D (and to commenters who've shared their painful experiences). I hope that you return and we get to hear how your life is going in a few months.
27
So much turmoil and sadness in that letter, I'm at a loss for words, Distraught. This isn't the time where you should have to be dealing with relationship turmoil on top of everything else. I'm hoping your boyfriend realizes he's being an asshole of enormous proportions if he insists on pursuing his little fantasy while you are both (and it should be both of you) feeling the pain of this loss.
28
"Sometimes the best advice you'll find in the SLLOTD... is in the comments threads."

I find this to be especially true when the comment is followed by "Lavagirl."
29
Love to D, Sarah, and Dan.
30
"I feel bad how I kinda made him come out to me."

You shouldn't. He should feel pretty awful about not having already come out to you. It was really his responsibility to be honest with you at some time between the third date, and--I don't know--getting you fucking pregnant.

As a bisexual male I have a special disdain for others of my ilk that make us all look like spineless, cheating liars. Especially since you are the type of person that is capable of accepting--perhaps even embracing--his sexuality even under the worst circumstance.

My condolences, and best of luck.
31
I terminated a pregnancy at 18 weeks because the fetus had no kidneys ( not the same thing, I know) but the loss was profound and my partner told everyone not to talk to me about it, which I needed to do. When my dad died his brother, who loved him deeply, came over and laughed and made jokes with other family members while dad was dying in the living room. People definitely cope in different ways. You are doing great and definitely give yourself time to grieve.
32
Condolences to the LW. I had a bf that liked to have sex with men, but that is about the extent of what he told me he likes with men. We were monogamous in our relationship for about 5 of the 8 months we were together. I discovered he would talk dirty to men online consistently during the time we were monogamous. A few things bothered me about this because i asked him directly if he was talking to anyone else (we met online, so that's kinda what i was implying by asking, if he was still 'looking' basically). He told me no to my face and about 2 months later found out he had been talking to men to get off the whole time. I was mostly mad he lied to me. I would consider what he did cheating imo. I also questioned him multiple times and had insecurities about how gay he actually was. He said he would never tell his parents about it because i think he thought in his mind it's just sex so why say anything, which i fully understand. But a few things made me feel like he's more bi than he's willing to let on. He rarely seemed to ever watch MF porn and he was kinda selfish in bed. Not saying this is consistent with gay men, but he seemed to not like or have experience orally pleasing me. I enjoyed watching gay porn with him and he told me multiple times he would rather have sex with me than a man. But i still encouraged him to live his life And really consider other options with dating (men) despite what his father would say since he told me before he couldn't care less sbout his crappy relationship with his father. Anways, just wanted to give a little story on my experience with a 'bi' man. It turned me on knowing he liked men and we talked about it a lot. I'm sure this could be a positive thing for the LW and her bf in the long run if they can just be honest and open.
*my bf was younger than me, in his late 20s and only had one serious relationship that lasted about 1.5 years (with a girl). So he could have just been inexperienced since he told me over and over he's not full gay. I just want him to be happy with whatever he is most comfortable and wants.
33
Dan--I disagree that your story makes you look terrible. What you did was totally human--a need to re-connect with life while it seems like your life is falling.
I had a friend who was in that gray area so many of gay relationships are in. More than friends but not lovers; if we were both going to be alone for Xmas we stayed over so that we wouldn't get up with no one there--that kind of thing. I get a phone message" I'm at the hospital. I need you." Rush over and this was back in the days when Ward 8A was the AIDS ward. But OK he's in 8B--let's get this sorted out. Denial. FInd him--he's asleep. GO to the nurse station and ask what's happening. Cryptococcal meningitis. OK-- so how long is he going to be here? That's when the nurse tells me he may not leave and breaks it all down.
And I literally feel my life falling through the floor. SO back to the room--deal with my friend and tears and just wanting to break something. I left him to rest and went out and hooked up with a stranger because I needed that connection to life; because it's a swing at death for daring to intrude on our world; because I needed to feel someone's warm skin.
34
Dan, you are fucking terrific. Every time I read what you have to say you are direct, practical and present. With this person you also showed such compassion and what you wrote was both helpful and comforting.
35
What a sweet conversation. Thanks for sharing. Grief, love, lust, and humans - such odd and interesting travellers together. When we can be gentle and direct and accept the unexpected ways emotions can bump into each other, at the very least it's not boring!
36
D : in any major crisis, I give myself and my relationships, if any, at least 3 months of living day to day before taking any decision. Then I re-examine everything and I listen to my feelings and to my mind, and if I'm sufficiently cooled off to know if I need deep change or none. It can take more than 3 months, it took 18 months for my divorce. I encourage you not to try to get pregnant until your inner turmoil has really settled.

My deepest condoleances on the passing of your child.

You might like to have some remembrance of your child later in your life, for example to show your future children, who will sense you tensing up on occasions and could mistakenly think they are responsible. Children feel their parents' sadness. So, keep anything you can in order to show it to them so that they know they have an older sibling who died, and who is remembered. Don't keep this a secret from your future children and friends, it's the healthiest thing to do.

My cousin lost a child at 9 months of pregnancy, came close to losing her own life, and didn't want to see him -- and then regretted it. Fortunately my aunt dressed him and took a picture, so my cousin has something left to remember him by.
37
@Ophian

I totally agree. Babymaking while still in the closet about who they actually are, is really the shitty move. I don't remember anybody I've known who pulled that move and who has not been, further down the road, even a shittier person. Women and men alike.
38
Dear Distraught, If you want to try and have another kid, you might want to get yourself checked out for any STIs. They can cause fetal damage. If your boyfriend is hooking up on Craigslist with "clean" guys, then probably he's not using protections with them.

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/…
39
Thanks for all the kind words. It's still all a blur. I'm still not ready to approach the subject with the boyfriend. We are making it through this tragedy together. We will need to talk about his desires at some point soon, but I'm just not ready. I see a few glasses of wine needed for that one. Just wanted to express my gratitude for your insight and kind words. Much love.

~Distraught