Savage Love

The Valentine’s Bash!


Such an insightful and good answer to ERIC, Dan.
awesome advice as usual Dan, YOU RULE!!!
He doesn't say whether her "adventures" are with men or women, which might make a difference here, but then again, for that very reason he probably would have mentioned it, so nevermind.

But there's probably more to this "imbalance" in the dynamic, if he's really more into cuckoldry than just open relationships.

But dude, just go renegotiate, and quit whining if she just out-bargains you, and enjoy what you got.
wow! not only was your response to TOP completely spot on, but I literally had to throw back my head and truly Laugh Out Loud!!
I was thinking HELLOGORGEOUS just on reading the sign name.

I agree with 2 that ERIC has a right to renegotiate.

One thing that I seem to keep reaffirming to myself is that those who observe that life isn't fair tend to be those who already have what they want or those, like Dan, who simply have no investment.

What could possibly be the reason for a wife preferring to give up her own solo adventures before granting equal treatment for her spouse?

Poor guy. It seems he is both a coward and an idiot to accept an argument like that, but I still want him to secure a truly fair arrangement.
I think Dan's response to ERIC was on the mark, but could have been a tad more detailed.

The wife is a controlling bitch, but it sounds like she's a REALLY FUN controlling bitch, and now she's a REALLY FUN controlling bitch who had his kids.

At this stage I can't see why he'd want to get out. Which leaves 'suck it up' or 'kill her fun too'. I reckon he's dumb to kill both their pleasure (remember, he gets off on her solos as well) just because he thinks it's not fair. Remember, there's still lots of people for whom 'fair' means s/he'll let him leave the light on half the time, and put out at least twice a month.
@2 and 6:

If I enjoy giving my girlfriend footrubs, due to a foot fetish, I'm deriving pleasure from giving her foot rubs. But, if I then realize I need some foot rubbing as well, is it reasonable to demand that she give me foot rubs? What if she finds the activity distasteful; she's fine with me rubbing her feet, but doesn't want to rub mine?

It's not cowardly to have the beginning arrangement (since I was deriving benefit from the action), just a simple acceptance that I enjoy doing something and (presumably) she enjoys it as well.

Equity can exist in one of two ways here: either he and his wife can both be allowed "exploration" or neither can. The wife has offered to be equal in giving up hers as well, since she's clearly uncomfortable with the thought of him fooling around.

I like, somehow, that the wife saying that she would "rather" give up her own exploration than accept his is somehow a punishment. She's willing to give him equality by denying herself exploration, but can't stomach his exploration. He needs to decide which is more important to him: equality, or having at least some of what he enjoys.

Hell, if he really is into the cuckold lifestyle, there's every possibility he had to persuade her to pick up "exploring", and this is trying to have his cake and eat it.

Imagine the behavior in the reverse. "Dear Dan, my wife agreed to allow me to explore with other people occasionally, but I'm really turned on by the idea of her sleeping around, too. What can I do?" Would we really say "well, it's unfair for her to deny him the turn-on of both partners sleeping around"? I doubt it. He's getting pleasure from what's currently happening, and he's asking for more. That's fine, but it's no more noble than any other example of a kinkster wanting more than his or her partner is willing to give.

Assume for a moment that she also enjoys her exploration. She's willing to give up something fun in order to make things more "fair" given that she can't accept him exploring. How is that controlling? How is it controlling to not be comfortable with the concept of her husband fooling around with someone else. Just because he enjoys her doing it doesn't mean she has to enjoy him doing it.

Without indication of who wanted to open the marriage, or who instituted the provision that allowed her to explore, it's difficult to parse the issue. If he was the one who offered to let her explore, he made his bed of unfairness, and now gets to sleep in it. If I offer to give my wife anal sex (and she enjoys it) I don't get to demand she reciprocate. I can ask, but if she's not interested, she's not interested.

If, on the other hand, she demanded to be allowed to explore, she really is a selfish hag.

But, given her willingness to give it up, I kind of doubt that she was the one who first offered the possibility. Which means (at best) the husband "realized" he wanted to explore, and (at worst) he's always been a manipulative cad wanting to cajole her into letting him explore by saying that it's "only fair"
Good on you Dan for withdrawing your original response to HH and admitting mea culpa to FAIL.

You answer a lot of letters, and as you say, they can't all be bullseyes.

Thanks for not being too proud to admit the occasional mistake.
@8 right on with your last paragraph. Right on.
@9: From my perspective, anyone who won't allow a little exploration is controlling. It sounds like she's an awfully fun, GGG woman, so in fairness to her, I spent most of my post pointing out how good he has it. She gives him all sorts of things plenty of guys dream about.

She just won't let him do something he wants to, that's all.
I had a situation similar to ERIC's once. I told the girl she could do anything she wanted with women, because there are obviously some needs I could never meet and I was 100% sure she would never leave me for a woman. Months after we broke up, I found out she wasn't doing anything with women. She just knew I would babysit, no questions asked, if that's what I thought she was out doing. For some reason, that experience comes to mind when in ERIC's relationship, she's allowed to and he's not, and she's so ready to give it all up.
@8: "Hell, if he really is into the cuckold lifestyle, there's every possibility he had to persuade her to pick up "exploring", and this is trying to have his cake and eat it."

That was exactly what I thought. I mean come on, is there really a person on the face of the Earth who would say "honey, let's open our relationship, and by that I mean let me fuck other people, while you stay monogamous"? Who would agree to something like that, who would marry a person like that, who would want a person like that to be the mother of their children? No woman in her right mind who can't handle the idea of her boyfriend banging other people would ask her boyfriend to allow her to bang other people. It would be somewhat different if she is having sex with other women and would be ok with her husband having sex with other men, but not other women, but since that was not mentioned in the letter I will assume he is talking about straight sex in both instances.
@11 LOL!
whoops, I meant @13--too early in the morning!
HELLOGLOBULE, I promise, on my word of honor as a true Southern Gentleman, that if one of my screenplays ever gets made and you see my rotund immensity lumbering up to accept the Best Screenplay O in my monocle and cream colored dinner jacket with black satin cuffs and shawl collar, that later that night some willing starlet will be double fucked with both the statuette and my stout six inches.
I kind of wished you had called PROS out on the transphobia. If he couldn't tell *during* sex that it wasn't 'nature's own' vagina or not and enjoyed it why the hell does it matter after the fact.

As for disclosure of course there isn't a rule. Most likely wouldn't disclose, not just for the reasons he mentioned - loss of business, insults, and the risk of physical harm - but also because they finally have the vagina that nature failed to provide and sure as hell don't want to think of it as some sort of stigma.
@ 18 -

Just goes to show that most guys will put it in just about anything for any number of reasons when it's hard and regret putting it in just about anything for any number of reasons when it's over.

Such is life...
ERIC, Dan Savage's answer is bullshit. so are most of the follow-up posts. I cannot believe Savage gave you that answer. What a fail.

Go fuck who you want, when you want. She gets to do that. And you get to do what she gets to do. THAT IS EQUAL. It is that simple.

And given her unfairness, there is no need to inform your wife. She is being absolutely unfair on this one and "cheating" (in reality, simply enjoying the same privileges as her) is fair game in this case

My guess is she knows that the kid you have together ups her leverage here, as guys with kids almost always get screwed in break-ups, and that is impacting her behavior.

Life is not always be fair. So cheat to even it out some. Screw her and her bullshit.
Why does it matter if a vagina is natural or hand-crafted? I rarely hear men complaining about breast implants or tummy tucks, both of which are artifical procedures designed to make one appear more womanly. Particularly given that you're paying these women (not "women," just women) for sex on a presumably one-off basis. If they never told you their goods were plastic, would you have ever guessed?

Stop being such a prude, PROS.
@20: no
After what feels like a long string of "anyone who doesn't cheat or who isn't open to nom-monogamy is evil" answers, I liked Dan's response to ERIC. The couple made an arrangement and she agreed to it because she found it agreeable. Now he wants to change the arrangement and she says "I just can't handle that so how about if we just call it all off" and people here cry foul. Newsflash, some people can't handle the thought of their SO off with someone else. That doesn't make them controlling or abusive or selfish. ERIC probably assured her that he was okay with her having alone time with guys, maybe even nudged her toward it himself, and now that they have kids and a whole life invested in each other, he wants to pull the old "If you can then so can I" act, to which she reasonably replied with "Then I won't, because I don't want that relationship". Sounds to me like he's trying to be controlling, and he wants Mr Non-monogamy himself (Dan Savage) on his side to help pressure the Mrs. The fact is that, just like the woman who initially agrees to an open relationship and then, after marriage and kids, pulls the plug on it, ERIC is trying to unfairly change the agreement to something his wife might not have agreed to before marriage and kids.
I'm one half of a polyamorous couple, and we're having a similar issue. It's more about logistics, but the parallels are clear.

We live together, and have an air mattress that we use when one of us has a date spend the night.... the couple on the date gets the air mattress, the non-date partner gets the bed.

I have a very hard time sleeping in general, and will prioritize sleeping in a comfortable bed over having a date spend the night. The net result of this is that my partner spends exponentially more nights on the (not-so-slowly-leaking) air mattress. He feels that it is unfair that I so rarely have to sleep on the air mattress.

For me, what it comes down to is the nature of "equality." While on the surface, yes, he does have to sleep on the uncomfortable bed way more often than I do, and this is because of something that I purposefully do. However, I feel that true equality is a balance of needs, desires and compromises. He prioritizes dating other people higher than I do. I prioritize a good night's sleep higher than he does. We each make sacrifices to accommodate those priorities.

Since it is a much larger compromise for ERIC's wife if he were to date other people without her, what looks like "equality" in theory is not equality on the ground. She is willing to make an equivalent sacrifice (though, that would up the sacrifice ERIC is making, since he also benefits from her dating other people). It still sounds as if she is making a good faith effort to offer a balance.

The most important thing here is that they are negotiating and looking for a compromise that truly balances all of the variables.
@21 said "Why does it matter if a vagina is natural or hand-crafted? I rarely hear men complaining about breast implants or tummy tucks..."

Eww. I complain about breast implants. I think they're weird and rubbery and really mess up divinely deliciously beautiful natural breasts.

On the other hand, I fully support people who want to have their penis removed and a new happy vagina crafted. That's beautiful, and kudos to them. HOWEVER, that's not who I would ever want to fuck. I want to be with someone who is XX, not XY. Call it latent homophobia if you want, but the idea of making it with someone who is MTF grosses me out. They should disclose I feel.
PS I think if a woman wants to get boob implants, that's her choice, too. I mean, in a broader sense I feel like it's a travesty that a lot of women get implants to live up to some un-natural ideal. But at the end of the day it's their choice. Again, it's just not what I want to rub up against.
I'm calling bullshit on the answer to PROS. The guy wants an actual woman, not a surgically-constructed woman, to fuck, and thought that was what he was paying for. If he wanted to fuck a TS, there are plenty of those with the *integrity* and *honesty* to disclose that fact.

Good sex workers have integrity and honesty. Bad sex workers don't. He was ripped off twice, and is only asking for an up-front disclosure. Some men are pissed off when they're fooled in this way, whether by pickups in bars or by sex workers who are trying to have it both ways: being TS for those who want *that*, and born women for those who want *that*.

There IS a difference -- at least to those men.
I'd like to know just how much of a non-girl-boner Eric's wife gets. There is a big big difference between not turned on and turned off. If its the former, I think they could work out some sort of ratio (She gets to fool around once a week, him once a month, or whatever) just like any GGG couple should do with non shared fantasies. If she is actually OFF by the idea of him cheating, then yes, Dan's advice all the way.
I won an Oscar for sound editing in the latter third of the 20th century. I'm an engineer, so I keep count of things:

3 Butts,
6 Pussies,
4 Mouths (3 of them immediately following one of the above).

As for awards made to be played with-check out the Hugo, Science Fiction's biggie. It's a Rocketship-just the perfect shape. :)
#20, you're so dead wrong and apparently in need of a little shroomage. Sounds like you've maybe been burned before. Like a dog that's been beaten, you don't want to trust or give. The result is a selfish, untrusting approach to relationships. You gotta get yours first, you gotta stay on the defensive, let no one get more than you, let no one get over on you. People are, underneath it all, just selfish consumers of sex, playing a game where we pretend to actually like/care about/love one another; our true hearts we keep secret. Kids, in this view, are "leverage" (your word) that can be used against you.

That's just an ugly way to go through life, IMHO.
I must echo and amplify #25's reply to #21. No one's complaining about breast implants? Huh? There's a significant amount of men that despise them, including me. I hate them not just for the physical oddity, the falseness itself, the way they throw the "composition" of the "artwork" out of whack, so to speak, but for what they say about the person that possesses them. I know the reasons for getting implants are diverse - some do it as a way to make money, some do it because they had mastectomies or suffered other trauma. But simply taking the set of otherwise normal, healthy women that just think they'll be hotter with big tits - these are women who - with exceptions, but to a statistically predictable degree - value themselves primarily as sex objects. A sizable portion of their self-esteem is wrapped up in how much sexual power they can wield, what kind of man they can attract. They have made a choice to spend thousands of dollars and risk death in order to soothe an insecurity about physical appearance. Again, not to make an absolute generalization, b/c there is certainly going to be a "bell curve" in this set of people like in any set of people, but in playing the relationship odds, I and many men like me avoid women with cosmetic implants entirely.
ERIC here. I just want to say that, after some thought, I agree with Dan. I should also add that, despite being called a coward, an idiot, and all the other stuff flinged at my wife, I have enjoyed the comments as well.

To clear the air... 1) my wife and I both enjoy our choice of lifestyle, and we regularly explore together. Meaning, yes, I get to sleep with other women on a regular basis. 2) It's not a cuckold thing. 3) We both wanted it from the very beginning. 4) Yes, I encouraged her to explore on her own. 5) I wasn't fishing for support from Dan. I really just wanted his perspective.

In the end, I really do have what most guys would kill for: a hot GGG wife, and the opportunity to play with other people in her presence. So maybe I should count my blessings. Thanks Dan!

p.s. Yes, this really is ERIC.
Can't agree with #32 - he seems to have a lot of disdain towards a group of people that he does not know directly - but I don't personally like implants. They look great until the clothes come off, then they just look odd and unnatural. They don't feel right and they don;t hang right. Give me small real ones over big fake ones any day.

I think advice to ERIC was spot on. Shit or get off the pot. If she is doing it for herself, cut her off and maybe she will renegotiate. If she is doing it for you, well then maybe you will reconsider once the party stops.
the female equivalent of a boner is a moisty.
so, non-moisty?
#20 here. thunda71, you braying fool.

No, actually. My life is great. Near-perfect health. Lots of good, long-time friends. Good career. Been many places in the world and met many interesting people. Graduate degrees. A spouse I love. Great kids. I am really happy, although I don't think much about it. Thanks for reminding me to be thankful for all the good things in life I have. Seriously.

But after this many years of life, I have no illusions that most people can expect outcomes similar to mine. (And mine too will eventually end in some life-shattering way.) So I say, if this guy is getting this sort of Mine! Mine! Mine! stuff from his wife, that is, in my experience, a big flashing sign of "oh, shit...."

(BTW, mushrooms: I already had some as a younger person. If you think that stuff makes you deeper or better-adjusted, grow up. It just makes you giggly and stupid for a while.)

Something here bothers me. People assume that he is into some sort of cuckold thing about her nailing others without him around. He doesn't say that. He says he enjoys the fact that she enjoys her solo time. So Dan et al, should, I think, stop putting the cuck thing on him, unless Dan knows something we don't. The writer only expresses satisfaction at her enjoyment. He could be talking about her pedicures or career advancement the same way, and we would not instantly leap to assuming he is a foot or boss-lady fetishist. Moreover, most cucks seems to fetishize their failure to obtain similar extracurricular fun. But he wants NSA action too.

Put simply, I think people are misdiagnosing what is going on in regard to the openness.

Second, some here are doing a "not one inch" Stalingrad defense on her right to either enjoy solo dick and keep him out of circulation (which people assume he agreed to previously, but the letter suggests he has wanted solo puss for a while) or unilaterally take solo action off the table for both of them. Huh? Since when is that okay? And in taking this stance, the wife's defenders avoid this statement: "But it is clear to me now that I require a little safe, NSA exploration on my own every once in a while."

Note he says "I require." He has a need not being met. She apparently gets her needs met in the current deal, but only gives him the binary choice of either accepting the current state of no solo NSA for him solo NSA for him and her. How is that respectful of his current needs?

Rather than accomodate him, she will give up something she apparently does not require (solo dick), in order to "fairly" deny him something he really wants (solo puss).

So the current score card is, she has her needs met currently, he doesn't. Now he wants a change, which amounts to equal treatment, in order to get his needs met. But her response is to give up something she does *not* require, it seems, in order to more fairly insist upon him continuing to not get what he requires.

She will opt to limit *her* sexual freedom not to match his preference of similarly-limited options, but rather in order to more justifiably remove his otion for equal sexual freedom. But a more limited menu for both of them is *not* what he wants, that is what she wants. He is okay with her freedom, and only wants similar freedom.

Not really much equality in her behavior. And in other contexts, people would be jumping all over a guy who tried this stunt. Rightly so. Nowhere does Dan or the Greek (heh) Chorus meditate on how people would react if, instead of sex, you put in money, travel or any other form of independence.

She spends her money on herself sometimes, but he must spend his money only on the two of them, never without her? She can vacation as she will, with him or without, but he can only go with her? Etc. Take away the sex-angle hang-ups, and it starts to look like, well, bullshit that she has agency, he doesn't, and when he wants agency too, her answer is "oh, well I give up my agency to more justifiably end yours".

Finally, who thinks she will *really* end her solo extracurriculars? Not me.
@24: Here's a thought - Buy a new frickin's air mattress!
@ 36
Say you and I were friends who went out for lunch once or twice every week. We always have steak and fries. After a while, I notice you never eat your fries and I ask why. You say they do nothing for you. I ask or you offer, at this point it doesn't matter who makes the first step, but anyway I start eating your fries. I enjoy my double fries, and you're happy that your friend enjoys this arrangement. But after a while, your appetite increases and you're still hungry when you finish your steak. So you ask me to let you have my steak, because u have been letting me have your fries. I do love fries, but I can positively say that I love steak more, so I say wow, I'm sorry but I really can't let you have my steak, how about I don't take your fries anymore? And you're like, no, fries don't do anything for me, they would just sit in my plate and I wouldn't eat them, so it's better you have them so then we both have something out of it, you enjoy the fries and I enjoy your enjoying them. So I get something I could live without - extra fries - and if I let you keep your fries it doesn't do anything for you. But in exchange for the thing I could live without, you want something I really can't give up, something I want much more than I want fries - my steak. How is that fair? Especially since when you first let me have your fries, you never mentioned that you would ask for my steak?
With regards to the ERIC letter, there seems to be a lot we don't know about those two people and their arrangement, but we can guess.

My guess is that in the details of their arrangement, she is allowed to have sex with others without her husband around, but he is not. However, it seems that threesomes (or foresomes, or moresomes) are part of the arrangement, which he would benefit from. My guess is that he wanted threesomes, and she agreed with the stipulation that she be allowed to explore with other men, and he jumped at it without fully thinking it through, and is now regretting it. Since she is willing to give up other men to prevent him sleeping with other women without her, I would guess she has some serious control issues. In that case, I would also guess that she has no intentions of giving up solo adventures, just being more discreet so he doesn't know.

My advice would be to call her bluff, enjoy the threesomes in the meantime, and watch her closely for the next while. If she is unable to sneak away for solo adventure, she may cave to allowing him to explore to get what she wants. Otherwise, it will be a test of wills, how long she can go without getting any extra, and how long you can go without hearing about it, stick to it, the potential rewards will be worth it. Regardless, if he is unhappy, it is time to renegotiate. However, try not to use the term "it's not fair", you are not 10 years old, and this is not the playground.

As for the other letters, Dan, your advice to TOP was bang on, your advice for PROS was unfortunately true, and kudos for admitting when you were wrong to FAIL. Oh, and HELLOGORGEOUS was hilarious.
So as a gay guy I'm supposed to understand the HELLOGORGEOUS reference? I do not. Sigh, another movie/diva/cultural touchstone I am supposed to be aware of and am not.

My goodness, that was brilliant. I can't add anything to your statement, it was as good an analogy as I've ever come up with.


"Second, some here are doing a "not one inch" Stalingrad defense on her right to either enjoy solo dick and keep him out of circulation"

No! That's not what people are saying. Don't misinterpret. We're defending her right to keep him out of circulation, but only insofar as she's willing to keep herself out of circulation as well. At no point have I (nor any of my compatriots on this issue) said "nope, she gets the dick, and he has to wait". We've said "he can choose between the current system or neither of them getting solo action", which is fair under the very definition of fairness.

"Note he says "I require." He has a need not being met. She apparently gets her needs met in the current deal, but only gives him the binary choice of either accepting the current state of no solo NSA for him solo NSA for him and her. How is that respectful of his current needs?"

It's not respectful to his current needs, but the wife has needs as well. The wife has said (without nearly as much fanfare) "I need my husband to not sleep with other men or women without me". That's a need she has, and a need she's willing to give up her solo adventuring for. That need of the wife's is no more nor less important than the husband's. Period. That's how relationships work. One side doesn't get to just said "I have a need, meet it". Her needs are just as important.

"Rather than accommodate him, she will give up something she apparently does not require (solo dick), in order to "fairly" deny him something he really wants (solo puss)."

Either having them engaged in the same behavior is fair, or it isn't. To say the current system is unfair (since she gets solo, and he doesn't), and then turn around and say it's unfair for her to offer to give up her solo, it's hypocritical to the extreme. If it's a matter of whether one "needs" something, once again, obviously she needs his dick out of circulation. Sorry, I don't have as much empathy for the desire to have your dick be free-range as I do for the desire not to have your husband fooling around. If the only "fair" scenario is that they have the same right to solo adventuring, then her giving it up is just as fair. Otherwise you're trying to have your cake and eat it, too.

I also like the word "fairly" in quotation marks, as though she's being sly. Nope, she's being literally fair. Disproportionate harm does not render something unfair. If neither you nor I can eat steak, but you really like steak, and I'm a vegetarian, it's still fair and equal. If I can have my favorite meal, and you can't have steak, it's fair for me to say "I'd rather give up my favorite meal than have you eat steak".

"She spends her money on herself sometimes, but he must spend his money only on the two of them, never without her? She can vacation as she will, with him or without, but he can only go with her? Etc. Take away the sex-angle hang-ups, and it starts to look like, well, bullshit that she has agency, he doesn't, and when he wants agency too, her answer is "oh, well I give up my agency to more justifiably end yours"."

Okay, look at vacations. "My wife and I go on vacations together, and sometimes she goes by herself. I want to vacation by myself, but she's said that she would rather only vacation together than allow me to vacation by myself". I don't see anything unreasonable there.

"So the current score card is, she has her needs met currently, he doesn't. Now he wants a change, which amounts to equal treatment, in order to get his needs met. But her response is to give up something she does *not* require, it seems, in order to more fairly insist upon him continuing to not get what he requires."

But, if they change, then here's the new score card:

He's getting what he requires (solo exploration) by denying her what she needs (his dick not being free-range), and in exchange she gets something she clearly doesn't need. You'd call bullshit on that just as fast. This is an incompatibility, and I have much less sympathy for the person trying to get more from their partner than the partner can reasonably give. News flash, my need for my partner not to sleep around without me is just as much a valid need as any other.

Also, why do you assume the wife would continue to adventure on her own? If she's willing to give it up to keep him from doing it, I'd wager she'd be willing to have a completely non-solo-adventuring agreement.


"My guess is that he wanted threesomes, and she agreed with the stipulation that she be allowed to explore with other men, and he jumped at it without fully thinking it through, and is now regretting it. Since she is willing to give up other men to prevent him sleeping with other women without her, I would guess she has some serious control issues. In that case, I would also guess that she has no intentions of giving up solo adventures, just being more discreet so he doesn't know."

Why is that your guess? My guess is that he offered to let her explore, and she accepted, while stipulating that he couldn't. Given her willingness to give it up, I'm not persuaded that she really wanted to explore on her own. Since when is it controlling to say "I don't want you fooling around on your own"? If she's willing to give up her own solo exploration to be fair to him, that's not controlling, that's reasonable. She'd rather *not* be allowed to explore than allow him to, which tells me that solo exploration isn't as high on her list of priorities.

There's hope for Dan yet! Now all he has to do is retract his incredibly stupid statement that "less than .00002% of folks who advertise on craiglist are actually interested in meeting other folks."
Hey ERIC: You're Hot. I'm interested.
If a relationship is "nonmonogamous" then both parties should be free to explore with separate partners. When one partner is allowed and the other isn't there is an imbalance that will eventually cause problems.

Sure, every couple has to decide their own ground rules, but saying one partner can have extramarital partners while the other can't sounds an awful lot like the kind of stinking thinking that leads to...oh, say denying gays and lesbians the same marriage rights as straights.

Sorry, but it's the WIFE in this equation that has to "suck up". She's been given a free pass for however long and can surrender her privileges if she wants to -- BUT that is NOT what her husband is asking for! She is not bargaining in good faith and sounds like a controlling bitch to me. I think the husband has his answer from her already and is beginning to realize it doesn't even begin to take HIM into consideration.

That kids are involved in these peoples' lives makes me a bit mad, too. If the wife, for example, threatens to end the relationship when the husband expects his fair share of philandering, was there any real commitment there to begin with? It sure sounds from his missive that he has to watch his step with this woman. She calls all the shots. This is wrong and unhealthy, unless he enjoys being a cuckold.

Because he wrote in and expressed his unhappiness with this woman, I believe this guy is deluding himself if he thinks he can ever be truly happy with this woman AND find true sexual satisfaction -- particularly if he's got "the itch" so bad right now. He's going to have to make a serious choice. Keep the status quo and let her continue to control him; break ties; or cheat and hope he doesn't get caught. Again, her giving up her extramarital affairs should not even be on the table. But she knows he gets off on that and is using it to manipulate him. FOUL!

I believe this guy will continue to resent being "trapped" and this stress will take its toll on the relationship and, as the emotional fall-out increases, on the children. That pisses me off because, imho, kids deserve better role models than these two people.

If the wife seriously wants a "nonmonogamous" relationship, both parties should expect infidelity on both sides or they are kidding themselves. Perhaps she doesn't want to hear about his affairs; fine, he can do that on his own without bothering her about any of it. But they should table this once and for all. He should be as free as she is to act out sexually -- as she has already has been doing.

I would not be surprised if this guy gets caught cheating, either. Because right now his wife is cheating HIM.
What's with all the bitterness? ERIC doesn't sound bitterly angry, like various completely uninvolved in the actual situation commenters. Relationships, monogamous or non, involve real human beings with actual feelings and thoughts and are, generally, not particularly like the negotiations to purchase a car, nor are they based on adversarial competition. If they were, one would assume, fewer people would wish to engage in them.

If your relationship/s are generally adversarial and competitive, maybe work on that, or be single and hook up with folks NSA to meet your sexual needs. Unless you're happy with your adversarial, competitive, relationship. But in the mean time, ERIC and his wife, who we can presume actually care about each other and are not caught up in a competition, but rather in complicated emotions, got some decent advice from Dan.
It drives me nuts how people think "equal" is synonymous with "identical". If one partner in a relationship needs to play with others from time to time, and the other doesn't but has no problem with his partner doing so (or possibly is even turned on by it), then they can make an arrangement where one person sees others and the other does not. Both parties are getting what they want, neither party is being hurt--it's EQUAL.

What happened to ERIC is that his needs changed over time and now he wants to renegotiate their arrangment. Simple as that. His wife's needs have NOT changed; she didn't want ERIC to play on his own, and she still doesn't. So, she offers to give up her own solo explorations; in this way, both parties are left a bit unfulfilled, but the arrangement is once again equal: they both want something they can't have.

In what way does this make her a bitch?

"We're defending her right to keep him out of circulation, but only insofar as she's willing to keep herself out of circulation as well."

But. that. wasn't. his. request. He WANTS her to keep at it with other guys. HE ENJOYS THAT! Keep that in mind: He enjoys her freedom to fuck third parties solo.

He then said to her, I want some of that too. Her response? No, and if I have to give up my free penis pass to keep you from having a free pussy pass, I will. Note how she willingly will end something *he* enjoys. (What a saint.)

"We've said 'he can choose between the current system or neither of them getting solo action', which is fair under the very definition of fairness."

Okay, Mr. Rand McNally, let's get away from such assuming of your conclusion. Instead, think of a decision box matrix. Two variables, four outcomes. She gets a penis pass. He gets a pussy pass. But she has forbidden outcomes where he gets a pass. So the decision box is down to only one variable: whether she gets a penis pass.

Now the "choice" you claim he has, in her fucked up "I rule the world" vision of sexuality, is he allegedly gets to choose if SHE still sleeps solo with other people. But remember, he claims to like giving her that freedom. Something she undoubtedly knows.

So in sum, his ONLY real choice is either (1) denying himself the enjoyment of allowing her to sleep with others or (2) granting himself the enjoyment of her sleeping solo with others. He would take option (1), I presume, only out of some sort of peevish vindictiveness, hoping to hurt her for refusing to be GGG for him and granting him equal treatment.

I am amazed people are not seeing how she is essentially threatening to "give up" (i.e., take away) something he finds enjoyable (her freedom) in order to argue that he had a "choice" here. He never had a choice, except to terminate the enjoyment *he* finds in *her* freedom.

His pussy pass was never an option, regardless of what "choice" regarding her behavior she offered.

She totally took the other variable off the table, knowing he would likely accede to letting her still see others, because he enjoys that and doesn't come across as a peevish dude.

So you see, he only "wins"--maximizes his enjoyment--in her bullshit binary false choice world, by letting her sleep with others, because in neither case will he get what he really wants. A pussy pass.

Fair? Are you seriously calling that fair?

That is about the harshest negotiating strategy out there, and I would recommend it only if your other party has no leverage. But then, that takes us back to my earlier point about kids...
@ 44
"She's been given a free pass for however long and can surrender her privileges if she wants to -- BUT that is NOT what her husband is asking for!"

Well I'm sorry, but he can't expect her to return the favor when he led her to believe she wouldn't have to return it. I assume when they were setting the ground rules the possibility of his solo adventures was discussed and he said that he was OK with her getting some on the side while he doesn't get to do the same thing. You can't give your partner a pass to do something and demand something in return years later, when they wouldn't have accepted your offer in the first place had they known what you would demand from them.
ERIC (#33): Look at it this way, you've had sex this millennium! Not all of us can say the same. Enjoy those blessings as you count 'em!
Hey Dan,

Thanks for the onsite invitation to this year's 13th Annual Valentine's Day Bash at Neumo's!
I agree: Valentine's Day is truly a day to be bashed!

Honestly, I prefer Mr. Strunk and White, but that's neither here nor there.

Again, you're ignoring the wife's feelings on the matter. Take your very same matrix. And let's assume (as I believe is true) that she would be profoundly unhappy if her husband were to go around with other women without her present. She has two choices; 1. Keep exploring, but knowing that she's being selfish, or 2. Give up her exploration, and attempt to be equitable.

I don't get how she can be demonized first for being unfair (in that she can explore, and he can't) and then for trying to be more equitable (in that she's willing to not explore to keep him from it). Is the only way for her to do "right" in your schema really that she has to let him explore on his own, even at the expense of her own happiness? Does the fact that he enjoys her exploration, and she would not enjoy his, count for nothing with you?

Yes, he only has the choice to either give up his enjoyment of her exploration, or to keep that enjoyment, and give up on trying for equity. But, I don't accept the idea that he should get everything he wants. She's offering to make things equal in the only direction she can accept, that's all any of us can do.

Think of it this way:

Assume I enjoy receiving anal, and my girlfriend does as well. I enjoy giving anal, and my girlfriend doesn't. We're going along great, but I decide I can't live without some pegging. I demand that she do that for me, and she says "no, and I'll stop receiving anal before I'll give it to you". She's completely against the idea of giving me anal, and can't be GGG enough to do it. It's my choice (and mine alone) whether I want to burn a bridge I enjoy in order to gain equity. She's not at fault for being unable to accede to my desires

"So you see, he only "wins"--maximizes his enjoyment--in her bullshit binary false choice world, by letting her sleep with others, because in neither case will he get what he really wants. A pussy pass."

It's not bullshit, or a false choice. It's a binary real choice, which makes perfect sense. If you don't enjoy exhibitionism, but do enjoy voyeurism, and I enjoy both, it's not unreasonable for me to strip while you watch, and not have the reverse. Your needs are just as important as mine.


"He should be as free as she is to act out sexually -- as she has already has been doing."

He is as free. Here's the shocker, he can go just as far as she can: as far as his partner is comfortable allowing. The fact that he has less compunction against his partner cheating than she has against hers shouldn't result in punishing her.

She's willing to institute the same standard for both of them, namely: "we'll both be as limited as the more limiting of the two of us", which is no less reasonable than "we'll both be as limited as the less limiting of the two of us".

Stop seeing this as being "it's only fair if he gets to do the same things he allows her to do". It's about what makes your partner comfortable.

Precisely. If he had presented it originally as "you can explore, but I get to, as well", I've no doubt she would have said "then neither of us explore". He never presented the options fairly to her, and is now trying to pull off a sort of guilt trip about it.
Wow, lots of over-analysis. Are people projecting? Because you can't know nearly enough detail about HIS life to come to all these conclusions.

@ERIC: When I said "controlling" I didn't mean "heinously evil", like some people seem to be implying that controlling means. She's limiting your choices, but it sounds like she's more than worth it. I see your options as:

1. Cheat and lie about it. Not worth the risk: you have it damn good now.
2. Insist she stop the solo too. Makes both of you less happy.
3. Enjoy what you've got, 'cause it's pretty damn good!

Not really a choice, is it? But you get that. Good on you for the attitude you've taken.
Sgar@40: I believe "Hello Gorgeous!" is what Barbra Streisand said to her first Oscar, which she won for the movie Funny Girl.
No, really not a Hugo. That sucker's POINTY at the end and heavy enough to do some serious damage.

I've gone out with two guys with Hugos and gave them both the same advice: don't keep it in the bedroom. It inspires unflattering size comparisons.
Oscars and Hugos are for amateurs.

Try taking an Emmy up the ass if you're really adventurous.
I have to agree that PROS has some transphobia going on. If there was nothing about the vaginas that made him realize they weren't "nature made," the only reason he'd have to object would be because he didn't think the sex worker was a "real" woman.

I dislike fake breasts. They look and feel wrong, and women tend to get them due to unfortunate social standards for appearance. I don't think that's a similar enough comparison to trans pussy, since the result is good enough to fool experienced vag afficienados.
We'll see how perfect I can be...
Hey everybody! ERIC followed up (#33), so maybe read his post before you start commenting?
@30: I'd LOVE to know who those Hugo Award winners are...and your phone number...8-)

@40: Hey don't get down on yourself like that..."Hello gorgeous" refers back to what Barbra Streisand said after her Best Actress Oscar was handed to her onstage...

What about a Conn Smythe?
Whoops, forgot to link... I figure most sloggers don't know hockey awards
@ 45 la dida

That's true.

"...who we can presume actually care about each other and are not caught up in a competition, but rather in complicated emotions, got some decent advice from..."

...the likes of me in that Mr./Dr. MultiPseudonyms and the like: F*** You for hurting me. Take some with you, you spineless bastard.

Oh, and all your pseudonyms Dr. Phuccup: my irritated faith and intolerance for you and your gutlessness is the reason why I will tell you for all that you cannot to me, never will and now everyone can see: you: and the manipulative, unrealistic asshole you really are (That's Right! YOU...BR.)

Thanks one and all for your time.
Go f*** yourself BR.
If you happen to get a strange, disturbing itch or problems with your T cell count after some stray encounters with friends you know who blow you and give you ass on this upcoming Valentine's Day weekend...I'll try not to act too satisfied and/or pleased at your unfortunate, burgeoning, medical plight. Anywhere is better than where you are right now...BR.
Hey, I read all the posts... and no one has asked ERIC's wife doesn't want him to play solo. My guess would be worry about an emotional entanglement threatening their relationship (that's what I would worry about). If that is the case, they could negotiate for him to have solo adventures with women she considers "safe." Which could include complete stranger out-of-town one-night stands, or professionals, for example.
I've read all the way through, and no one has asked WHY ERIC's wife doesn't want him to play solo.

My guess is that it's fear of an emotional entanglement threatening their marriage.

If that's the case, they could negotiate that he only plays with women she approves as safe. Which could be people they know, or complete strangers out of town in one-night-stands, or professionals.
Why. The Why disappeared.
Payback's a bitch, and so are you at the end of the day BR. We've had this squareness of an issue forever, and it's always me who bends, you do not, so F*** YOU!~! I bet I can guess the number of alt. names you've employed on this rather than wasting my time stopping to count.. Use your affluence and get your head examined. You may be able to salvage that much seeing how your heart is consumed with vacuously-misguided image-consciousness and impossible-to-attain ideals.. You're probably so beyond f***ed in the head that it'd be too much of a mission to backpedal your way back towards common courtesies.. Who needs that when people can be bought off and bullshitted with good looks and connections? I hate you right now, and I'm glad I'm saying that. Now, stay silent like the shithead you are and continue to be unavailable and lame. Forgetting is always harder than wanting to find the good in you to forgive your lameness enough to maintain interest with regards to my own self-respect and dignity i.e./ a/k/a fuck off and go away Bob. I'm every bit your knarly karma as you are my own, and I don't care anymore. You don't, so why should I? Suck a wart-ridden dick and piss off, you heartless, spineless twat.
ERIC here again. I had no idea my little letter would spark such debate! But in hindsight, it really does expose an interesting aspect of trust and equality.

As for my wife, she feels like our marriage is "too good to be true" (her words) and doesn't want to take any chances with emotional entanglement. We communicate extremely well and have talked about the fact that she trusts herself enough to have these experiences and that she should trust me to the same degree, especially considering that she rightly considers me a good guy (trustworthy, supportive, good with the kids). And as I said in my letter, the health of my family life comes first, I won't cheat (I implied this), and I want only safe, NSA experiences. The romance is strictly reserved for my wife :) But alas, this seems like too much of a stretch for her. I give her points for honesty, and for admitting that her feelings represent a double standard of sorts. As I said, she is a great woman, and we have a very good relationship.

As for some sort of renegotiation, I think it is reasonable to ask her to give it a chance just once, with someone she has chosen, knows, and trusts. Maybe someone I have already been with when she was around. Then she will see that it is no big deal. I think it might be a good measure to put some other constraints around the renegotiation as well, such as limiting the solo stuff to every couple of months. Seems reasonable.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the thread. Thanks all.


Nice of you to step outside of your closet for yet another self-congratulating statement from you displaying your ego-driven idiocy and shallowness ERIC12345f***offanddie.

Love with quotes to maximize the ironic,

Eric. Give it a rest. You really need to stop pressuring your wife into doing something she is not comfortable with. She has spoken and she was clear. Let go.
@58: So there's a thEroadrunner out there?
Too funny!
God, I love how the posters read the term "solo experiences" and immediately assumed that the wife was off banging guys left and right while her sexually neglected husband stayed at home and played with his "inadequate" cock and balls. OTOH (even before reading his response) I just assumed that ERIC had a wife who'd happily have threeways/fourways with her husband but "requested" to have some alone time with women on a semi-regular basis. I mean, that's a normal relationship in the swinging lifestyle if the wife is bisexual. And his further admission that his wife has no problem with him sleeping with as many women as he is able to charm (as long as she is there to witness) is the reason why I'd say that he should stop looking a gift horse in the mouth. ERIC, you've won at the game of LIFE, you don't *need* to have the ultimate high score. And trying to get the high score will not only destabilize your current relationship, it's going to make you look incredibly bad in the eyes of the other players (some of whom put their quarters in the machine and met the final boss in the first minute. And with a bossy "No, you insensitive pig!" and a flash of cheap flannel, all of their night put together don't equal one night with you, your wife and a willing female accomplice.)

PROS, you "date" prostitutes. If you're lucky enough to avoid diseases, criminal charges and outright theft, you should be glad for any pussy (artificial or real) that you get.

And finally, for TOP, the past is dead for a reason. Unless you're able to beat it back into the grave with supremely swivellable hips, extraordinarily talented hands or a massive cock, why the fuck would you want to see video proof of your wife's former lifestyle? Either you're looking for a challenge, or you're a cuck in waiting. Any other excuse that you seek to find is flawed.
Male erection: woody.
Female arousal: wettie.
Why are you being so sensitive and understanding this week? Where's the real Dan Savage who compares ladybits to canned ham and claims bisexuals don't exist?
I would love to go there... the only thing is I am from Chicago and damn plane tickets are too damn expensive... blame the Olympics since Seattle is only 3 hours from Vancouver LOL... well perhaps next time :)
#69 you need to take a pill and calm the fuck down.
Hey 76: at least you possess something integral: self-recognition. Thank you for admitting that you yourself are 'The Biggest Douchebag You've Ever Known'. Calm the fuck down? Try growing some balls, or, better yet, Buy Some. Then Try pathetic cunt. Take another pill for your personality disorder...Bob. You're dead to me. As good as dead, so be gone, like a Jewish funeral and cremation. Genie that you fuckhead.
Maybe Eric's wife gets off on the unfairness of the situation. Anyway all this quibbling is obiter. What will decide things here is what always decides things in any relationship: how unhappy are both parties and what are either one willing to do to become happy. Maybe Eric will "cheat" maybe he will re-negotiate. Maybe he will divorce her.

IF you think that's drastic well, it only takes a few minutes to write a comment on Savage Love, it takes the rest of you life to stay in a relationship where you aren't happy sexually.
#30 et all

I know a girl who claims to have fucked herself with a Hugo, and she says she enjoyed every minute of it.
Eric's wife should have no qualms whatsoever about what he does to pleasure himself on his own. If she can have pieces of strange on the side, but he cannot, then it is *her* that has the problem. I think Eric is being cuckolded by the situation itself. I almost wouldn't blame him if he strayed. She doesn't seem to appreciate him.. I hope you find what will make you happy and please you Eric. I'm really enjoying your dialogue in here. It's inspiring stuff.
Thanks, A
If Eric's wife wants -and gets- her cake and eat it too, than Eric can enjoy a banana split on his own time by his own hand. Why should she get everything and he cannot? This is an interesting dialogue going..

I admire you Eric for trying to stick it out and have a go at it. I think, if anything, you just need to tell her flat-out that she's being unreasonable and that that is that. She needs to be told, as the saying goes. There's been some interesting feedback in here.. I hope you find happiness and satisfaction Eric. You seem like a really good guy.. Thanks.
And I'll never look at an Oscar the same way ever AGIAN! lmfaoo niice.
I'm lost on the DTMFA thing. Can someone fill me in?
Dump The MotherFucker Already...

Although I prefer dump the motherfucking asshole.
@40, I also inferred that Savage thinks that only gay men are supposed to get the HELLOGORGEOUS reference. I'm a straight woman and I totally got it. Barbra Streisand says "Hello, Gorgeous" to Omar Sharif the first time she meets him in Funny Girl. Then, when she won the Oscar for that role and was handed the statuette, she said "Hello, Gorgeous" to it.
There are two things that ERIC has to consider: 1) What ERIC is entitled to, and 2) what will happen if ERIC actually takes what he is entitled to.

So, the first consideration, as a message to ERIC's wife: ERIC is entitled to go explore privately, because YOU were free to go explore privately. Repeat: he is entitled to this. Even if you say, "Fine, call the whole deal off, then, nobody goes solo," you owe him a free pass for as many interludes as you took up to that point. You don't get to deny your partner the same liberties that you yourself have enjoyed. Period, end of story.

Frankly, I don't care whether you feel more insecure about the prospect than he does. If feeling more squicked out by the situation was a valid reason for denying somebody equal rights, then gays would have to sit down and shut up about getting married, because their marriages clearly freak the hell out of a bunch of people who happen to enjoy marriage as a fundamental right. But it doesn't work that way: you don't get to deny others the same liberties that you yourself have enjoyed.

Just so we are all clear: You, ERIC's wife, may be a dream woman in all other respects, but you are being a huge hypocrite about this. It isn't "a double standard of sorts." It's a fucking enormous hypocritical piece of shit double standard. When you can look ERIC in the eye and admit how grossly unfair you are being on this, _then_ maybe you are ready to discuss this honestly.

Now, the second consideration, as a message to ERIC: If you insist on taking what you are entitled to, your wife may freak out, and leave you over it. Granted, she will be being even more of a hypocritical piece of shit if she takes that option. But you have to consider which you want more: the freedom to explore, or a stable relationship with your wife. Either accept her terms (if the unfairness bothers you too much, take her up on the offer to shut off the side trips entirely, and write off the past), or demand your fair share, roll the dice and risk losing her.
I've listened to Dan on This American Life for several years. This is my first week listening to this show.

I just wanna say, Dan, you are so kewl .... so smart, and caring, funny and lovely. I once had a fantasy of having a sex advice column, but now I see what a good one can really be! You see the whole person, from many angles, but also the social context of sexuality, and opportunities to point to things we can all learn from -- especially when it comes to busting many of the prejudices, assumptions and tendancies to judge we're all capable of discovering we have.

Thank you from me, thank you for the world. Bless ya, Dan!

We've all heard ERIC's take on the situation, multiple times. Now I want to hear the situation described from ERIC's wife, in her own words.

Did ERIC "encourage" you into sleeping with other men just so he could get off on it, and so he could then get a free pussy pass? Or did you enjoy and want that yourself from the outset, when discussions were first opened?

IF (emphasis on IF) it was the former, you had no business agreeing to ERIC's "encouragement," knowing how unequal that would make the arrangements. If you had no interest in sleeping around, you simply should have said "No, thank you," from the beginning. However, he had no business pressuring you into accepting an arrangement where you had little or no interest in your half and an active dislike of his half. In that case, both of you were wrong, but they are offsetting fouls, and it is fine to want to reset the agreement. In other words you would be right to say, "Fine, call the whole thing off -- I never wanted this in the first place."

IF (emphasis on IF) it was the latter, and you are actually fine with sleeping with other people solo, then you are simply being insecure and hypocritical. You are also saying you don't trust your husband with something that you trust yourself on. There had better be a good reason for that.


I don't know, I think this would be asking for trouble. Good luck...
Thank you Dan for not using foul language indescriminately. Your recent columns don't have the same zing, but that's a good thing.

TOPS- So you got a hot porno chick and having live action isn't good enough for you? You're weird. Make your own porn with her. Why do you want to see another guy do her? That's a bit queer to say the least. If he does have a bigger winkie than you, I wouldn't be so concerned about you offing yourself as much as you wanting to grab it and suck it. It's okay, but that's gay.

ERIC-I say go solo and show her what's fair. If she breaks it all off and throws you the kids so be it. She's already gone solo plenty as far as I can gage, so you've got some catching up to do.

Something tells me she can handle it and might even wet herself over it. I think a little relational distress (eg lying and deceit) is good here, you're pussy whipped, dude.

She reminds me of a partner I once had that told me in all honesty that I could be monogamous, but she didn't have to. That if monogamy was so important to me then be monogamous. She said, "I don't mind if you are, but I'm not going to be monogamous."

So if I am guilty of being scarred by this and it shows in my advice to you, yes, I admit, unilateral monogamy, or any other restriction, is like a little pebble in your shoe and not hers. Whatever happens between you two, this pebble is going to rub you raw for a long time to come. Either get the pebble out, or be sadistic enough to put a pepple in her shoe too.

PROS- What gives with Johns thinking they can pay a $100 and get Paris Hilton, much less Angelina Jolie?

When I get a massage with a happy ending, I don't go to see if they know all the acupressure points, I go, and go back, if they can get me to jism to my forehead.

I don't know why you would want a real bleeding one anyway. From my experience it is a superior fit, even if "artificial" (whatever that means) and you never get the cottage cheese and fishy discharge.

Besides, transgendered sex workers are the kindest, hottest, amazingly beautiful, souls out there. Since when did you have one that had a huge ass, not tits, and stringy hair?

The "real" thing is overrated. I love pussy, but the more hybrid and less funky the better.

If that doesn't fly for you PRO, cough up a grand every six months instead of $200/month for a couple of visits, and get some classy puta for a change. I'm sure TOPS up there, can share his porn pile with you in the meantime.

Real squeaky hot fleshy labias and vulvas ain't cheap. It's too bad you aren't a hot guy and instead you have to lift your tummy to put your little dinky in just any old thing. Beggars can't be choosers.

Why don't you get in shape, trot off to Mexico for some surgical addage yourself and land some chick that you don't have to pay cash for every session? There are plenty of hot babes to be had, if only you had the right equipment and accessories yourself.
Couldn't agree more on the ERIC thing: if she's willing to stop her solo stuff to even the scales you have to accept that.
I call bullshit on 91! Accepting her just keeping your nuts in a vise?!? NOT! ERIC, get what you need, fuck asking her to stop something you both want. Your wife is selfish, and controlling. She doesn't care about your needs, only hers! If she said no to renegotiating, I'd cheat, then tell her about it, while I was fucking her lights out. I'd get her to talk dirty about her last adventure, then I'd spill it! Literally, and figuratively=D
@24: This is ridiculous. Buy a goddamn futon. Why commit to a hobby and then not get the proper equipment?
I think people are getting themselves emotionally worked up over ERIC's situation, without really listening to how he feels about the situation. Reading his messages, I don't get the impression of a soul in torment, but someone who enjoys his life and his marriage, but would like to negotiate a little more freedom for himself into the arrangment he and his wife have.

Some of you are even suggesting that he break up his happy family and leave the woman he loves, when he clearly has no desire to do so. He will try to negotiate this freedom, and it sounds like they have excellent communication as a couple, but issuing ultimatums and or/sneaking around is unneccesary and counter-productive.

I have no doubt that if they keep discussing this matter openly, they will find a balance that works for them. And in the meantime, how many people have an arrangement that works half as well as this couple?

Take a deep breath people. ERIC will get his pass eventually, but I respect him for listening to his wife's concerns, and being willing to bend to her needs. That is the way that he will convince her that his heart belongs to her, andwhen she is ready to let him off the leash, I think they will both benefit from this period of consideration.

The negotiation is fairly simple; he can either agree with her unbalanced claims, negotiate some kind of new agreement, or break up the relationship.

That said, any words said from the perspective of ignorance and insecurity must ultimately hold no absolute weight. More to the point, your appeals to him to consider his other's needs will give him no help; by considering his significant other's placement on the issue as prima facie deserving consideration, he is nevertheless giving her position credence. Negotiation is the place in which one admits one is just as wrong or just as right as one's negotiating partner. When one is right and the other is wrong, it is time to beat the drums and signal the attack; by considering her invalid claims he is nevertheless providing them validation. She will never respect him unless he chooses not to negotiate but to render for himself; many sober men, I think, need to learn again the swaggering, drunken, devil-may-care of the rest of us.

That said, I would never become involved with such a woman; but I am crazy, and value the security of the life I have found for myself, and would destroy anyone who would violate that barely secured peace of mind. Leave such a woman to the winds, with the other birds, where she belongs; I after all, am a maundering, heavily-burdened land-bound beast much more given to the guttural and soul-filled "roar" than the petty squacking of bickering-birds.
This has been an interesting week for the dialogue.. You too make a lot of sense @ 95. Well said. Thanks. Have a good one.
Nope, sorry. She never said she was comfortable allowing him to sleep around, he said he was comfortable with her exploring. His giving her the right to do something doesn't inherently draw reciprocity. We don't know who did what when, and who wanted what, but it doesn't seem very likely that she would be so willing to give it up if she was hot-to-trot about the idea in the first place.

It's not a double standard, you only perceive it that way because of your biases. The standard in any relationship is never (repeat: never) "do we get to do the exact same things", it's "what is my partner comfortable allowing me to do". Allow me to demonstrate: I love the idea of my girlfriend swallowing my cum. If she likes the idea of me swallowing my cum, do I have to give that to her based on the number of times she's swallowed? Of course not! She enjoys the act of swallowing, I find it repulsive. In a good relationship, you do everything you can to make your partner happy up to the point when you find something truly distasteful. Anything else makes the partner demanding "equality" exceptionally selfish.

Unless it was pre-negotiated, he's waived the right to demand reciprocity from her solo exploration. It's not a fair share when he negotiated under false pretenses. He made a deal, he doesn't get to change it on a whim and demand something in the interest of "fairness". I agree he can renegotiate, but all that should happen is that the slate be cleaned, and they approach it from the current standpoint of "do we want to both be able to explore, or not". Period, end of story.


Bullshit, plain and simple. Him going solo isn't fair. He basically said to her "you can go solo, but I don't need to", and she did. She abided by his limits on her behavior. If he didn't negotiate in good faith in the first place, he's at fault. If he "realized" he "needs" to explore, then he needs to negotiate from a clean slate (which he tried to do).

Ignore, for a moment, the previous exploration (as that was governed by the previous agreement, and he would be estopped from attempting to seek compensation). Focus solely on the question "would you be okay with me exploring?" He answers "yes", she answers "no", thus she suggests that neither of them explore. That's kind of how relationships work.

You went out with an honest, non-monogamous, gal. She was upfront about the fact that she wouldn't be monogamous. I agree unilateral monogamy (or, in this case, unilateral exploration) can be bad, but if you agree to it, live with it. Or, renegotiate, and accept that "no exploration" is just as valid as "we both can explore". And, you know what, the ERIC's wife already offered to remove the pebble of unilateral exploration, by having a bilateral non-exploration agreement


I'm curious why her claim is inherently invalid. She desires to not have him explore on his own, and is more than willing to relinquish her own ability to do so in the interest of preventing his. Her position is not "I want to be able to explore on my own without you being able to" it's "I don't want you to explore".

Her position is reasonable, insofar as she desires her partner to be monogamous (at least in the sense of only being non-monogamous together). ERIC wants his partner to be non-monogamous, and actually enjoys that. She has said what she's comfortable with, he has said what he's comfortable with. But, fairness and equality aren't the same thing. You want equality, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, but that's not reasonable. Especially because "equality" in this sense can just as easily be termed "adhering to the comforts of your partner" rather than "being able to do everything your partner does". To put it another way:

I'm monogamous. Completely, as have been all of my girlfriends. I have the ability to perform oral sex on women, and they have the ability to receive oral sex from a man. This does not give any credence to the "right" of my girlfriends to perform oral sex on women, or for me to receive oral sex from a man. Any relationship involves compromising your needs to the comforts of your partner, that's simply life. If I like the temperature at 65 degrees, and she likes it at 75, we compromise. But, if I like either 65 or 75, and she can only stand it to be 75, we keep the temperature at 75.

@everyone demonizing the wife

I'm curious what the solution for her is. Clearly she can't accept her husband sleeping with other women (or men) without her. But, that's true of a lot of people. So, she has four possible options:

1. No one explores
2. She explores by herself
3. He explores by himself
4. Both explore.

# 3 and 4 she can't do, number 2 is "selfish" because it's unfair and unequal, and number 1 is selfish because not only can he not explore, but she "removes something he enjoys". Give me a way she isn't a selfish bitch that doesn't involve doing something she finds distasteful.

By the way, the husband has never had to accept her doing something he didn't like, wouldn't it be selfish of him to demand that she allow him to do something she doesn't like?
@24: Buy a new mattress already.
95, there is no subjective right or wrong when dealing with emotions.
You might say 'it's wrong for ERIC's wife to feel as she does', she might even agree that she shouldn't feel like she does, but she cannot then simply decide not to feel that way.
ERIC's goal seems to be to obtain her consent for outside contact for himself, WITHOUT causing her excessive distress. Therefore he is taking time to renegotiate, rather than just deciding that she is wrong and he can go and do as he likes.
What would you have him do?
It doesn't work that way. If you can't accept your partner playing you shouldn't play yourself, regardless of whether your partner says it's cool.

But I guess that's my male perspective. Because if the genders were reversed people would assume the husband was an abusive monster.

I get to fuck around but you don't? There are things that consent doesn't make OK.

By that logic my boyfriend is denying me my rights because we have threesomes with girls, but not guys. Even though we agreed to that before we set out like they did. Yes, I would like the opportunity to experience another guy, but he is very uncomfortable with it and so we don't. BOTH people have to agree to changes in the arrangement; it's not like she's trying to limit what they already have.