Savage Love

The Stranger Beside Me


Hope I get to beTGSNTMOTA sometime.
Clear and nice? Anyway... great column and I enjoyed my belly laughs from TGSNTMOTA.
The advice to SAD is excellent. I recommend CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy); it gets you out of the habit of focusing on the past and blaming everything on your parents.
Funny! I like the presence of TGSNTMOTA, and it's nice to get plain-ole advice along with the pro. Makes it seem more down-to-earth.
SAD, have you tried sincerely and profoundly apologizing to him? Tell him you know you fucked up and that you're committed to making it up to him. Explain that your taking it out on him was caused by bad anger management, or bad childhood issues management, not as an excuse (and tell him you realize that doesn't justify or excuse your behavior), but to show him that you know what your problem is, AND THAT THE PROBLEM IS NOT HIM, and that you can focus on solving it. And then show your commitment by getting some therapy and working through your childhood issues as well as on developing your relationship skills. If he sees that you're committed to making things work, he may be willing to give you a second chance, and maybe even have understanding for you if you repeat those antics at some point, because although you're working hard on making yourself a better person, it can't be done overnight.

Also, be sweet to him, tell him all the good things you think of him, what qualities you appreciate in him and repeatedly assure him in every possible way that you don't take him for granted, which is what he was led to believe by your previous behavior.

All this said and done, maybe he has already made up his mind to say good bye to you, or the two of you are simply too young to put so much of yourselves into saving a damaged relationship. It takes serious dedication on both sides, and I can only see it working out if neither of you sees break up as an option.
Not sure SAD should just give up on the guy yet. A grovelling apology and working on some fighting rules (there are ways to do it right) are a start. Then some couples'counselling may also help. For goodness sake, if some people can forgive cheaters, then forgiving this woman should be possible.

Yes, people can say things that are unforgivable; but if it was truely unforgivable, then he wouldn't be sticking around to punish her by ignoring her. He'd be off and away.

So my advice:

Apologize, grovel, tell him you were wrong and what you did about it was wrong. Ask if he can ever forgive you. If he says no, then let him go.

If he says yes, then (I could use help from other folks here) I'd ask to set up a safe word for arguments, where if either one of you is getting too upset, either of you can say the word and you both agree to take a breather and settle down. Work on some rules: no arguing when someone is tired or hungry is a basic one in my household. If you are angry at someone else, then let your partner know you are venting at someone else, not them. And so forth.

One rule you can institute for yourself without help is to consider whether what you want to say meets a standard. Mine is that something has to meet two of the three following standards:

Is it true?
Is it kind?
Is it necessary?

And, yes, sometimes you just have to bite your tongue; at least if you are a grouchy person like me.

Advice for restarting the relationship. You must begin by using actions to show your affection. Make breakfast, rub feet, buy a good book he likes, do some job he dislikes so that he can play, take him to a good movie, just talk to him about interesting topics. Give him your attention and consideration. Offer, but do not beg or insist upon sex; either is off-putting.

And get some help for your problems, so that you learn how not to take them out on other people.
Read the letter from SAD with some interest - a few years ago, I think I was pretty similiar to SAD, and lemme tell ya, you'll fake-promise a lot to stay in a situation you're comfortable in. I totally agree with Dan's advice - experience and grieve the loss NOW. It's the only way you'll get clear for a healthy relationship -
If you've never lived on a smallish island, it probably sounds odd, but he's right. I lived on an island for a few years, and there's something about not being able to walk (sufficiently far) away from anyone that really focuses the social skills. And passive-aggressiveness, but that's another letter.
I love TGSNTMOTA! I don't know why...I just think he was a funny addition this week.
Aww, I was really hoping to hear Dan's thoughts on Senator Roy Ashburn.
the advice to the last letter was lacking. basically, this guy has the perfect girl, who only dislikes a single thing he likes. pee on her in the shower; i'm sure she won't care if it's in the shower. other than that, if this guy is so ungrateful, she should DTMFA. 18 y/o are so spoiled.
I read SAD's letter, and got no further in the column. The fuck. She's been a cunt, she knows she's been a cunt, and her primary concern is how to initiate post cunt sex? And yet, in her eyes, he's at fault because he's so resentful?

Um, SAD, fuck you.

On a side note, TGSNTMOTA should consider going back to the Big Island, it sounds like he's not done working through his shit.
I think the smell of asparagus pee is great (blame the movie "Election" if you will), I'm not sure I'd let my hubby spill it all over me in bed, but in the shower, why the hell not?! It makes me giggle...
hahaha..Dan..Thanks for the first laugh this shitty wednesday morning :)

Now if only I could find a guy to pee on me :=)
I did some things similar to SAD...and we had to take a bit of a break so i could get my head on straight and figure out what was important to me and thankfully, at the end of that time (8 months), we happily got back together. Being without him was hard enough that I'll do whatever it takes to keep my stuff straight so that I don't have to lose him again. I agree with the comment about apologizing and explaining...and then I think you should take some time away. If it is meant to be, you will come back together.
@ SpokyCats, I'm kinda grovin' on your 3 criteria there. I don't think I've ever heard it put that way but I think I agree with it.

@SAD, I think apologizing is great, but as always the proof is in the pudding (Why do we say that? I've never looked in my pudding to support a theorem... must be an British thing ;-). Anyway, it wasn't clear to me from your letter if he is still nominally your boyfriend and sulking or not. Hopefully not. I think part of acknowledging our mistakes is sometimes accepting the consequences for them. If you've lost him maybe it will make you remember next relationship what you have to give up if you let your "issues" take control. In the meantime seek help (whatever is appropriate) to get over them but I think Dan's right, move on.

Re: TGSNTMOTA, I don't think he added that much to the conversation, and Dan's right, it's rude! I think people are loosing their social skills. Whether it's a result of reduced privacy in the age of the internet and cellphone or just a lack of parents teaching social graces I don't know. Either way it's disturbing. I would think we would want to offer each other more privacy in this age of Google but I don't think the evidence bears me out. On the other hand, it was information going on an advice column so these people have put themselves out there to be commented on. Still, what if the information on Dan's computer contained personal information? Real names, email addresses, phone numbers or physical addresses? What if it wasn't Dan he was sitting next to but someone in the military with troop deployment information? I still think the rule of thumb is to butt out unless you're invited in. "Hey, watcha workin' on?", is a decent opener. I would try that approach first before looking over someone's shoulder.
Tiare @7-
You can't apologize or ever make up the trust that's destroyed when you rip into someone like I'm sure this gal did. I know this from personal experience.
I tore through two long-term partnerships doing exactly what she did- terrorizing my mates with my own rage, frustration and anger for things they had nothing to do with. You can't make that up.
Dan's advice is spot on- apologize if you must, but do it on your way out the door. Leave this poor man to lick his wounds and recover in peace. Then never forget that your rage destroyed something that could have been good, and get some help, be it counseling or anti-depressants.
Until pretty recently, I sounded a lot like SAD. Despite going to therapy, participating in communication workshops, and meditating, I wasn't making a ton of progress in managing my rage.

I didn't want to face the truth for me, which was that alcohol was having a huge effect on my ability to manage my behavior. I don't know if this is at all your situation SAD, but many times when people grow up in abusive households and continue to abuse others, alcohol is a big factor. I was beginning to think that I had behaved so badly that my boyfriend would never forgive me, however when I got sober, got my ass into AA meetings and starting working the steps, he saw that I was really committed to changing my behavior. Really really committed. Not holding anything back. Now we do have a really wonderful passionate relationship in which I'm able to actually consider his feelings, not just how they impact me (I don't think this was really true before.)
SAD: Dan's right. It took me years to understand that it was ME who threw the pots and pans, who screamed, who almost crashed the car to make a point. It wasn't my "mood swings" that did it. It wasn't my crazy father's fault. Just lil' old me, and that's why the boyfriend left forever.

Take heart. It sucks now, but you can - and will - become a whole person. Stay in talk therapy. Your happiness is a seedling. Nurture it and give it time to grow.
@4 Oh yeah, CBT is all about ignoring the past and blaming yourself, sure.
@6 - Not "a big island," "the Big Island." It's the island in the state of Hawaii officially named "Hawaii" (the other islands have different names, and yes, how redundant is it that it's both the name of the entire state as well as one of its parts?), so locals call it the Big Island because nobody living in Hawaii is going to say, hey, I'm taking a trip over to Hawaii for the weekend.
@SAD: the caliber of future boyfriends (the "fucked-up quotient?") is generally related to how batshit crazy you are when you meet them and they decide you're worth dating. Maybe you were still relatively sane when you met this one and he's wondering what the hell happened - but more likely, he's got a hefty fucked-up quotient too.

So go get yourself some help - the psychiatric kind, not the "liquid courage" kind - and try the whole dating thing again. The saner you are, the more likely you are to attract a guy who will be "something magical" and not resentful about his batshit crazy girlfriend.
I agree with the advice to SAD, although I'd have thrown in a side-note that breaking up with this guy now to get your head together doesn't necessarily mean getting rid of him forever. If he's capable of forgiveness at all, you may be in a position to ask for it after a bit of therapy.
Maybe SAD should work out her own shit before trying to jump right into fucking around. you know, work on her emotional stability before deciding that sex is the ONLY way to be in a relationship.
"Being on an island can really help you work through your shit."

In my head, TGSNTMOTA is Ken Tanaka from "Glee."
As someone who imploded her own relationship about a year ago, largely over baggage left over from my parents' marriage, I still take some issue with SAD. 1) Brilliant red flags go up for me when anyone applies the word "magical" to a relationship. Just sayin'. 2) Why is the main concern here about initiating sex? That has, actually, very little to do with the health of the relationship and just having sex is not going to improve the situation between you. It may, in fact, even make it worse (as it can distort expectations of nonsexual encounters within the relationship). 3) As some previous posters have noted, dysfunctional people rarely hook up with functional people. So this guy is likely not in the best mental health situation himself.

I would not say that having issues means that the relationship must be ended, but the fact that they are not speaking is another red flag. Assuming this has been going on for more than a week or two, I'd say, yeah, it's time to move on...
@4 I absolutely love how you had to define the acronym CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) so as to distinguish it from the other obvious meaning of CBT in a column about kink. ;)

TGSNTMOTA was awesome.
S.A.D. Resentful? As a guy who's been on the receiving end of all the shit a child-abused woman could possibly dish out, yes I bet the guy is resentful. Catching all sorts of hell for something you didn't do and can't fix is pretty damned annoying, especially when it's driving you away from someone you love and when you so desperately want to help or do the right thing. And, of course, that's impossible because you, S.A.D., have to do it.

Consider for a minute, too: you're asking to initiate sex with someone you've hurt, who's so emotionally cut off from you that he wants to avoid physical contact. And what do you offer in return? 110%. You know that's a joke, right? That people make fun of that sort of B.S. because it is SUCH B.S.. You can't do the impossible. Consider that you want something right now that you can't have right now. And maybe shouldn't have if you actually care about this dude.

Do the guy a favor and let him go, cut him loose. I've no doubt you're a good, well-intentioned person, but you should focus on getting yourself in the right place before you hit the dating scene again. Heal a little, as they say.
TGSNTMOTA speaks the truth.

Life at home drove me batshit crazy. I lived with my friend in a tropical island for a month, and it put me back together. Life is slower, clearer. You get your priorities straight. Living for a short time on a tropical island is not the same as getting shitfaced on the beach in Miami, it's a whole different thing. I highly recommend it for people who are going crazy.
It would have been interesting if TGSNTMOTA were, say, a member of Fred Phelps' church. He & Dan would probably have been arrested for trying to kill each other.
I write erotic novellas, meaning stories between 15-25K words. My editor was on a short flight the other day, and didn't want to get started on a full length manuscript. She figured she could do the dev edits on one of mine start to finish, so she opened the file.

The publisher who bought this story puts out a lot of traditional romance as well, so I think my editor is used to being able to work anywhere without second thoughts. When she realized her seatmate was paying waaaaaay too much attention to her screen, she shut it down.

Now I wish she'd let the dude make a few margin notes, because this column cracked me up.
I'm a girl FROM the Big Island, this made me laugh.
@ 19

You might be right. I was speaking from my experience as the saboteur, which may be a little different from SAD's - I would show my worst face early in the relationship, initiating long fights and arguments about the least important things ever. I realized what I was doing only after I found someone who decided to stay with me despite those fits, and then the fits subsided. I was testing their interest, because if I do my worst and he stays around, then there's not much else I could do that would drive him away later, and that gave me a sense of security. Although he didn't leave he was, of course, still hurt by all that craziness and abuse (men are more fragile than we think) so it took a lot of time to assure him that I think the world of him and that I won't hurt him. But that just fixed our relationship, it won't make someone stay although he had decided to leave, it only worked because we both thought we had found the one, and that our relationship is worth saving.

Also, I agree with SpookyCats' rules - if you're fighting, don't let your goal be to hurt the other person. No need to say hurtful and insulting things, I always steered away from that, even at my craziest.
SAD could still save the relationship, she probably just needs to turn down the drama for a couple of months.

Apologize rationally once and then do your own thing. Stop focusing on him. You want sex and validation of love, but the BF is gun shy and more demands or drama are a turn off and probably make him feel like a failure because his GF is unstable. Focus on making everything stable and work on self-confidence for a bit, rather than looking to the BF to provide it.

Keep up the therapy, and when things are calm and you are confident and fun again for at least a month or maybe even two he will either come around or he won't. But he definitely won't when there's pressure for everything to be "okay" again.
Regarding TGSNTMOTA, while I thought his additions were interesting, check out Penn & Teller's book How To Play In Traffic. Penn Gillette has a chapter on dealing with people who insist on looking at what's on your laptop.
What I don't get, at all, about this piss thing, is that if you're a dude, you can't sport a hard-on and simultaneously get the pee flowing at the same time.

So, having zero interest in doing something like this but simply wondering how this would work, I'm seeing it like this: you're in the shower/wherever and you are doing foreplay and shit, and perhaps you're 22 like me and are already RAGING, then you have to like, pause, say 'Baby, I'm so turned on (you cunt) (if you're swearing like this guy says he enjoys), let me pee on you, JUST GIVE ME 3 MINUTES TO GO FLACCID.'

Then the jeopardy music starts to play and, for once, you're literally standing there with your dick in your hands, waiting.

I mean, is that hot for anyone?

This topic totally goes beyond me. I guess I'm into the traditional THRASHING OF THE VAGINE with tongue, penis, and inanimate objects.

Maybe I need to find a fetish. Like having my dog watch or something. That's kinky, right?
I think TGSNTMOTA is onto something with this island suggestion. I'm just back from an island and there seemed to be a large proportion of people there who had come to work out their issues.
I've spent a fair amount of time in the US Virgin Islands, and I completely disagree with TGSNTMOTA.

Yes, people with serious baggage gravitate there, but it tends to be a scene full of hard drinking, passive agression and gossip.

It's a beautiful place to live, but not a great place to work things out, IME!
Dan, don't send fucked up straight girls out here to Hawai'i, send lesbos. We're short on lesbians.
Dan is on (or is coming back) from vacation in HI! Man it pays to be working for a free newspaper --SCHWEEET.
@42 do you really want so fucked up lesbos? I'm sure we could find some. I believe there is a group in Utah that might be willing to find you some, lol.
Thanks for the advice to SAD, Dan. It's spot on. I had an ex just like her and it's not fair the sort of abuse that gets heaped on while the S.O. is "working through issues." My ex flipped wildly between "Don't you dare touch me! I can't handle it!" to, "Why won't you fuck me? You think something is wrong with me, don't you?", and at least once a week she either starting crying and cursing me out in public or sat me down to have a five-hour talk about how I'm not being receptive enough to her needs. No one is obligated to stick around for that kind of treatment, no matter how sorry you are.
I'm a thirty-something guy from Lubbock, TX. I wonder if I know TGSNTMOTA...
DAN! WTF? That's weak advice to SAD. How about she start off by APOLOGIZING to her boyfriend. It sounds like from the letter that they are still together, if strained. If it was great at one point, it can probably be great again.

SAD - APOLOGIZE!!! Tell your BF that you have been acting like a total bitch and it's not his fault, it's your fault and you're sorry. And that you're going to go to counseling and does he think he has the patience to bear with you for a while longer while you try to improve?

Yeah, it sucks, but man-up and admit it and you might be surprised at what he's willing to stick through.
I was with a SAD for 9 years. It was hell. SAD, don't listen to #47, get some alone time and heal from your bullshit. You deserve it, and so does your poor schmuck of a boyfriend.
@47 -- I'm sure SAD has apologized to this guy many times. It's part of the pattern -- act out on the guy, emasculate him, apologize and promise it won't happen again, rinse and repeat. I think Dan would rather not give advice to do something that the girl has obviously already done numerous times.

@24 -- What on earth are you on about? If you've ever been on the receiving end of SAD's story, it's often human nature to never want to see this person again and be resentful. Not everyone is required to be a saint after being hurt so badly. We all have psycological issues, but the problem in this particular case is obviously the girl, and not everyone who dates a girl like SAD knows she's like that until being deeper in the relationship. Why shift the focus on the man when all he wants to do is not get hurt again? If he's past the point of forgiveness, then that's that.
Michael Jr. is right about the first thing SAD needs to do. APOLOGIZE!

BUT, the comment:
"And that you're going to go to counseling and does he think he has the patience to bear with you for a while longer while you try to improve?"
is not quite right - while the offer for him to keep communication open if HE really wants to is OK, if he does, then there needs to be some joint counseling.

I had a long term relationship that had serious problems and we stayed in touch after the breakup. The most important thing is that she dealt with some personal problems and shared it with me. It was similar to counseling without a therapist. It helped me understand what happened and also helped me deal with some of my own issues that contributed to the relationship friction.

WBAGI should totally tell the kid to move on. Since the kid is probably into things that could cause bleeding or bruising and is doing it behind his boyfriend's back, the police report has practically written itself.

All it takes is one false move, like getting flogged at a party one night and having your bruises discovered the next day, then having your boyfriend put two and two together. Fight ensues, police remark on bruises, the whole thing snowballs.
As a guy who's been on the receiving end of SAD (well, not this particular instance of it, but very similar person), breaking up with him is the biggest favor SAD can do for him. Because much as he is trying to help her, he can't.

And he needs to recognize that the relationship is toast as well. That he hasn't is a testament to his loyalty, but not his judgment.
What, SAD sucks up all the oxygen and no one chimes in on WBAGI?

Dude, if you're a daddy, start acting like one. Set boundaries for your boy. Make your displeasure with the LYING (and that's what the boy is doing) clear. Indicate that you expect him to correct what is a serious flaw in his character. That's what leather daddies are supposed to do for leather boys, doubly so boys who are just discovering their kinky selves.

What you're describing indicates that sooner or later (probably sooner), his relationship is doomed (not 100% certain, but the odds are seriously stacked against it if the BF doesn't grok that the kink isn't a 'stage' the other's going to grow out of and he needs to accommodate or break it off). Once that happens, where's the boy left? With no BF and a bad reputation, not for the kink but for being dishonest in his relationships. Do you know ANY long-term kinky relationships that work with that problem? I've never seen one. Can you not name the 3 sketchiest subs and doms in your local scene off the top of your head--the ones you have nothing to do with if you can avoid it? Don't let him turn into that boy. You have no greater responsibility to him at this moment, and you appear to be the only person in a position to intervene before he has to learn the lesson the really hard way.
What, SAD sucks up all the oxygen and no one chimes in on WBAGI?

Dude, if you're a daddy, start acting like one. Set boundaries for your boy. Make your displeasure with the LYING (and that's what the boy is doing) clear. Indicate that you expect him to correct what is a serious flaw in his character. That's what leather daddies are supposed to do for leather boys, doubly so boys who are just discovering their kinky selves.

What you're describing indicates that sooner or later (probably sooner), his relationship is doomed (not 100% certain, but the odds are seriously stacked against it if the BF doesn't grok that the kink isn't a 'stage' the other's going to grow out of and he needs to accommodate or break it off). Once that happens, where's the boy left? With no BF and a bad reputation, not for the kink but for being dishonest in his relationships. Do you know ANY long-term kinky relationships that work with that problem? I've never seen one. Can you not name the 3 sketchiest subs and doms in your local scene off the top of your head--the ones you have nothing to do with if you can avoid it? Don't let him turn into that boy. You have no greater responsibility to him at this moment, and you appear to be the only person in a position to intervene before he has to learn the lesson the really hard way.
@SAD, if your stomach was strong enough to make it down here, please listen:

There are guys who, consciously or not, target women with certain types of issues because it's easiest to blame their "psycho-ex" when the relationship fails. Usually, these guys have their own baggage: high school social trauma, nasty breakups they never recovered from because they haven't let themselves be single for more than three months since they were 14, inadequacy/failure fear and a terribly predictable litany of Mommy Issues, besides. They're usually co-dependent relationship addicts who are terrified of being alone.

So long as a guy like this keeps up the influx of soon-to-be psycho-exes, he doesn't have to face his own problems. It's way the hell easier to subtly guilt-trip your "psycho-girlfriend", telling her SHE'S the emotionally stunted saboteur, SHE has too many issues to ever find happiness, SHE needs to be punished for her shortcomings. Every problem he has with himself, he's reflecting that onto his girlfriend. A telling sign that you are in a situation like this is someone who continues the relationship even after it's obviously over; someone who is giving you the silent treatment and refusing to have sex with you but still demanding you remain a presence in his life, working to make amends. Because a guy like this gets a hard on from keeping you on the hook, and, anyway, he hasn't met anyone better yet.

Those of us recovering from abuse, especially sexual abuse, we ABSOLUTELY TAKE IT because these men are experts at programing us to believe they are wonderful perfect magical white knights with whom we are in wonderful perfect magical relationships that we are NOTHING WITH OUT... because yeah, we're pretty screwed up. We need help. I've been screwed up myself, probably at least as much as you are now. What I'm concerned about is that it really sounds like you're having words put into your mouth. So yes, take Dan's advice and get your butt into counseling. Learn to be single, really understand that you can be happy without a relationship, and start to get a foothold on your trauma--that's going to be a long journey. And yes, admit to yourself that your relationship with your boyfriend is over and mourn it. Release each other. Whether or not he's the type I describe here, you need to move on.

Good luck.
I totally agree with dakoneko. Maybe Dan assumed he had tried that, but if he hasn't, I think asking about the shower is a great idea! The idea of getting urinated on doesn't thrill me AT all, but to indulge my bf's kink, I would be ok with it if we were in the shower. Maybe other girls are the same?
@56/ 57

Really? Still subjecting us to your annoying cryptic messages yet again?
If the gender roles were reversed in SAD's letter, I think it would read as quite creepy and we'd be more quick to label her an emotional abuser and tell her boyfriend to run for the hills. As it stands, I'm a little put off that she's asking how to "initiate sex" and "improve communication (but HE is the one blocking it!" rather than asking "how the hell can I save/fix this relationship." Asking an advice columnist how to initiate sex with someone you have deeply hurt and who is avoiding you is just, um, CREEPY. No, you're not going to win him back by bribing him with your lady wiles. The answer is pretty damn obvious: Apologise and tell him what you told Dan (that you're willing to do anything to make it better). That's all you *can* do. After that, the ball is entirely in his court.

But if he gives you a chance, you better be true to your word and not let yourself relapse. Therapy is a great idea.
@22 -- Yes, the past rules the future. Read up on CB Therapy to see how it applies to SAD's situation.…
I've read SAD's letter several times and I am left with the sense of an abrupt, extreme reaction by the boyfriend, not a gradual loss of intimacy. However, I may well be wrong about this. There are many ways to sabotage a relationship. (Duh, you think) So I'm left wondering how exactly did she sabotage her relationship? Did she do or say something that mortally offended her boyfriend? It is good that she acknowledges her underlying problems and gets professional help in addressing them. However, the HOW/WHAT is more important (short term) in trying to fix her relationship with her boyfriend. It would also be useful to know how old are they, how long have they've been together, what the boyfriend knows about her childhood trauma and if he believes her, if they are living together or have separate places.
Would have been interesting to know how old SAD was.
I feel like I'm in a similar position to her bf. Besides 2nd chances and feeling run down by the cycle, why on earth would I stick around for it?
Is it my own self esteem that limits my view?
Deeper than that, where is the line between feeling like you're judging someone vs just not wanting to put up with shit like that? I want compassion to be one of my core values, but at what point do I just say "life's too short" and walk?
RE: IWTPOS. Careful, folks. There's a find line between "talking" a girl into watersports and coercing her into it. consent is sexy.
#39 said:"What I don't get, at all, about this piss thing, is that if you're a dude, you can't sport a hard-on and simultaneously get the pee flowing at the same time."

I only have anecdotal personal experience to speak of, but I personally have no problem urinating while erect (hitting the toilet without adopting a weird posture, not so much) I've gotten up in the middle of sex, urinated, and then returned to finish up. The only thing that might be problematic is that it is hard to keep an erection after I've finished urinating. But with proper arousal I bounce back... Not that everyone wanted me to share such things...
Wow, Dan, you conversing with a snoopy neighbor on a plane-!? That must have been some flight.
#63, if it'd be more compassionate to YOURSELF to move on, then it's time to move on. If you're waiting to feel sure you're doing the right thing by leaving, that's the wrong criterion on which to base your decision.
Thanks again, Dan, for another excellent column!!
Right on advice. Dan----one question: do you have a book out titled Things I've Learned From Bad Relationships? I'd love a signed copy!
Great advice, too, TGSNTMOTA, about living on an island (Hawaii does sound good!!) to properly work out your personal shit.

Life is good!
@4 -- oh, THAT's what CBT stands for.
@52 - Your advice is absolutely correct and I agree wholeheartedly. SAD, please do your boyfriend a favor and let him go. Only then will you both heal.
SAD, from one on the other side, your boyfriend may have forgiven or will forgive you, but he will never forgive himself for subjecting himself to your abuse. He looks at you and he hates himself,and he'll continue to push you away. He may feel, as I did, that now that you are in a place of healing and recovery, it's not fair to leave you right now. He pities you, even as he's still victimized and being manipulated by you. Eventually he'll snap out of it and leave you, or you could do what he's hoping you'll do, and leave him.
SAD, I've been in that situation. Actually, in fact we were both horrible to each other. I was insecure and unhappy with myself. He had anger issues. We both never appreciated each other, and didn't try to work our problems, thus led to the destruction of our relationship. It took losing him to realize what I need to work on. I miss him so much... I miss what we had, but I know I need to find myself before I can love again. I'm currently seeing a therapist to work on some issues.

If he's willing to give it one more shot, wonderful. He's a keeper! If not, don't think that he's necessarily that horrible asshole. It might be the hardest thing to do, but sometimes breaking up with him might be the best thing for you. Inside, you might be a wonderful person waiting to break out, but until you learn to face your problems, you won't be able to own yourself. Find a good therapist who'll help you through it. Find some good friends who'll support you.
SAD, there's abuse in this relationship -> leave the guy, then get yourself into therapy.

Your head is not clear enough, right ? So for all that you know, *he could be the one abusing you*, and making you think that *you* are ruining the relationship.

Survivors of abuse often fall prey to further abuse. If it's psychological abuse, they may often endure years of it without realizing they're being abused, because they can be made into thinking they are the abuser though they really are the victim.

Why ? Simple : they have no guidelines for a normal relationship, and they have a low self esteem, and a tendency to blame themselves for whatever happens around them.

There's no sex, there's no talk, and he's still hanging around : *why* ? It's highly suspicious !

Maybe he digs watching you torturing yourself over the state of the relationship.

Take a look at the resource below about psychological abusers and victims - you'll know for sure whether you're abusing him or he's abusing you :

Hope you'll be in a better place soon. You've survived, so you can also survive this relationship. Be courageous - and respect and love yourself, before you try to love someone else.
@55 (burgundy) : I so agree with you ! I hope SAD reads your reply. As a survivor, I've wasted 10 years living with the kind of guy that you're describing.

At some point, I was ready to commit suicide, because he had persuaded me that there was a real chance that I would, on an unconscious level, "unknowingly" start to commit incest on our kids, because it had been committed on me. And I'd rather die that become an abuser. A good star was watching over me, because I resumed cutting myself but thankfully it didn't go any further.

I'm so happy he cheated on me and made me sit though an entire new years' eve with his mistress in front of my mother ! I knew he was with her, he had told me, and I had accepted it ; but the fact that he had the nerve to invite her, her husband and her kids, on a family occasion, while my mother was helplessly watching, it took *that* to wake me up.

Hey, we're survivors, we're tough stuff ! Good luck to you in your recovery, burgundy !
He resents her, doesn't want to even talk to her, but yet sounds like he refuses to try to repair the relationship.
One of them need to "man up" and move on.

Sometimes it isn't worth the time and effort to attempt to fix something that is likely past the point of being able to be repaired. Especially since playing the "CHILDHOOD ISSUES" card is something SAD does frequently by the sounds of it.

I also don't think writing in basically asking "How can I get someone who resents me to sleep with me" is the right first step in fixing their relationship if that is what she is trying to do. If my boyfriend refused to speak to me, I think that would be my top concern, instead of trying to use some sort of quick fix band-aid by having sex
@76- *eyes rolling*. Stop. Please?
@55, 74, 75

Speaking as the other side of that possible equation, the guilt of it can be enough to keep a guy (especially a decent one) in a sort of limbo. We don't want to walk away, because then we're a bastard. We can't stay, because we're not saintly enough to actually forgive it. I agree it's possible that he's a manipulator, but the fact that he's still around isn't necessarily evidence of it.

To reach into the "personal anecdote" file, I dated a girl who claimed to have been abused (attempted/partial rape when she was younger). She never treated me the way one would expect of a girlfriend. She blew me off, alternated between pushing me away, and telling me how much she needed me around. She didn't "trust" me, because she'd been "hurt" before, except when she needed me to hear some bad thing she'd done so I could (essentially) forgive her sins.

We couldn't date openly (bearing in mind we were both 21 at the time) because her mother didn't want her spending time with strange boys, and she couldn't introduce my to her mother, because her mother would sense we wanted to sleep together. This, despite the fact that she brought a professor whom she'd slept with, and multiple friends of hers whom she'd hooked up with, to meet her mother with no problems. She never had time for me, but had plenty of time for parties and her other friends.

And I never broke it off, because I didn't want to be the bastard. For all of my reason and intellect, I didn't want to be one of "those guys", and I didn't want her thinking I was just in it for the sex. I legitimately wanted to do what was right by her, so I couldn't bring myself to man up and say "no, this isn't working". I couldn't tell her that I didn't want a half-relationship, to never be able to spend significant amounts of time together. I couldn't tell her that she had never really been fair to me.

And the kicker? The really funny part? When she finally said she didn't have enough time to be in "a relationship" and offered to be friends; when I finally snapped and said that she wasn't really offering friendship, since friends actually spend time together, and don't blow each other off, she still declared me an evil bastard. She spouted off that I was just in it for sex, that I never really liked her, and that I was using her.

I guess this entire rambling story is by way of saying: even if both sides are trying to do the right thing, both sides can get hurt. The guy doesn't have to be a manipulative bastard for the girl to feel like he took advantage of her. The girl doesn't have to be a heinous bitch for the guy to feel like she led him on.

If she had been using him as a sort of confidant/makeshift psychologist, and he was there for her, her interpretation of the relationship might have been "this is great, I can work this stuff out with him, and he doesn't mind", while his may have been "I can be here for her, and she'll be appreciative of my efforts". But, eventually, he'll feel like she's taking advantage of him (always venting, always needing, always draining his emotional energy), and he'll snap back. He'll tell her that he can't deal with it, that he's her boyfriend, not her punching bag.

Is he at fault for convincing her it was her fault? For not being honest upfront that it's a drain, that it's not something he enjoys long-term, that he doesn't want to be her shrink? Is she at fault for not understanding? For not being able to be a girlfriend, rather than a patient?

I say "claimed to have been", because my own experiences with her have told me that she has a tendency to exaggerate the severity of men being bastards.

Without objective evidence, it's impossible to tell whether the abuse was as severe as the implications she made. The fact that I now am part of her litany of men who've done her wrong makes me blanch a bit.

But, please don't take my statement as doubting that women can be abused, or that she must have been asking for it.
Ha ha ha! Dan you bust my gut :)nice touch.
Bring Airplane dude back!
TGSNTMOTA started out being amusing and frank, and ended being hilarious and creepy with TMI. I love it!
It's pretty much my dream to sit next to Dan on a plane sometime..
Burgundy...your reply sounds of SAD. BLAME, BEING A VICTIM, POINTING THE FINGER...RESENTFUL FEELINGS WILL OWN YOU IN WAYS THAT ONLY CASUSE PAIN. I hear you bout the BF's behavior could be full of resentful don't know are just guessing. you do sound pissed that Dan followed w/ what he did. SAD raised her hand..SAD the GF wrote the letter..not the BF. Dan's advice is spot on. SAD should move on..if the BF was interacting in a healthy manner, then why not try to keep it together as long as there was healthy behavior from each person. Letting go, may motivate both to behave in healthier ways...
I have been in a similar relationship, we went to couples counseling & independently. My GF openly admitted she avoided conflict @ all costs. She RARELY had any closure on anything. Bottom line, when the relationship isn't moving FWD in a healthy way...recognize those unhealthy traits, be respectful, openly communicate, if it doesn't improve then there needs to be a parting of ways & do it.
Viscous Cycles are broken by removing yourself from them..don't remove yourself by point the finger.

Unsolicited Advice of the Day... If your GF isn't getting along w/ her family...odds are in favor of the GF not getting along w/ anyone that will maker her feel vulnerable. That could mean just about anyone.. :)

Dan the got it right.
Burgundy..AKA SAD before she wrote to got it wrong.

@ 55/Burgundy.
Just re-read your response...

you really sound like a victim. there are terrible people out there in this don't let them victimize you.

you could be SAD
WHOA!! DAN UR IN FACT TELEPATHIC DUDE!!! The YEARS AND LAYERS OF PURE CRAP I've just removed from my poor body/soul to love THE ONLY BEAUTIFUL MAN EVER WORTH LOVING - to me, of course. I am not yelling - SINGING!!! THANK THE TRUE UNIVERSAL CONSCIOUSNESS FOR SENDING HIM MY WAY AND DEDICATING HIS DISABILITIES TO BETTERING THE STATE OF WASHINGTON FOR THE GREENER PASTURES IN THIS GREAT EMERALD CITY. For the Emerald City Wizard Himself - Martin Martinez of LifeVine Collective I built (I do cum thanx :)) and am now rebuilding da! ugly old - look for an awesome new site in a coupla weeks! Thanks for support.

In fact, I would truly appreciate the help of all the freethinking Savage Love readers to join ME, DA! new Russian Red turning Capitol Hill into The Lullaby of Broadway. Dudes/Dudettes and EVERYONE in-between!!! Please Suport Sensible Washington in passing I-1068. IT IS DA! ONLY WAY TO BREATHE! Just ask old mother Russia dying of alcohol and depression.

I would also like to participate in selecting THE BEST FUCKING POSSIBLE NAME FOR CANADIAN SENATOR TAVES SA(u?)CKS!!! Read my blog entry please http://writingtimelesscontent.blogspot.c… !! You won't regret it...UNLESS UR DUMB! Now I finally know I'm just Way Too Smart for Most People to Understand!!! But there is always One - born ON THE SAME DAY OF THE SPACE VOYAGER AS BOTH I AND YURI GAGARIN... (look it up! Not Dan hopefully :)). Yes! March Nine - we just had a Very Green Birthday. Thank you.
hey, i'm not into pee, but if it was my boyfriend's fantasy - sure. you'll find a girl
I think there are things said and done that really destroy relationships, libidos and lives. If that's your case, SAD, just admit it, get out of there and clean your heart before you try again. As they say: One must strive to be impeccable with words because they are binding and powerful. Love and attraction are so fragile that they can be damaged irreparably in a single discussion.
HA, I love the guy sitting next to you on the airplane. He seems like a nice guy. Wouldn't it have been terrible if you'd been sitting next to a Mormon?
stuck in sad's world, not sure how long i can hold up

but as always the proof is in the pudding (Why do we say that? I've never looked in my pudding to support a theorem... must be an British thing ;-

I can't speak for why you say it :-) but in Britain we say " the proof of the pudding is in the eating" which is perhaps slightly clearer..
I don't have anything to add to other comments as I'm having too much fun with my own kinks to worry about anyone else's.

@79 Good to see that you've taken the time of giving another possible side of the situation of SAD in a meaningful and balanced way.

I guess living with someone who's been almost destroyed is no walk in the park if she/he is not yet on the path to recovery - and further abuse could, in theory, come from both partners. That's why I've linked to a website giving a description of both the victim and the abuser...

I totally agree with you that making a partner into a makeshift psychologist is a very bad idea. It's not what partnering is about. In a relationship, whoever comes up with this idea should be dumped STAT.

As for "claims of abuse", childhood abuse is not something one claims without being seriously fucked up - as in, as fucked up as one would be if one had suffered childhood abuse. If your girlfriend has wrongly put you into her bad guy's list, it would go towards proving that she has indeed been abused, big time.
S.A.D.: You f***ked up. You treated your boyfriend like garbage, he's let you know his resentments to you and now you wanna get back in his pants giving it 110%? You're out of your mind and if your ex has any bit of dignity left, he'll remain broken up with you as you continue to f*** your own life up along with anyone else you put your destructive, abusive hooks into.. Get help, sorry you're such a shallow mess (you wanna f*** him but you don't seem to want much more than that). Good luck to you toots: looks like you're a-gonna need it.
S.A.D.: It is commendable that you seem sincere with your remorse. I wish you well. Good luck with your reconciliation. Looks like you may need a good cheering on;) . Peace. Other Sad;) .
Great advice on SAD. I was in love with a woman like SAD but I don't think she had any idea that she was damaged. I only figured it out after she dumped me hard. I'm still scarred from it. So, by all means, SAD needs to deal with it before screwing over another guy like she did the current one and like my gf did to me.

The difficulty, I think, is that both sides of the debate (SADs detractors and supporters) feel the need to blame someone. And from the perspective of the other side, that's blaming the victim. Those who can more easily put themselves in SADs shoes are more likely to see possible ill-intent in the boyfriend's actions; it's legitimate, since he could be yanking her chain and getting his jollies making her apologize and throw herself at him. Those who can more easily put themselves in the boyfriends shoes are more likely to see her apologies as half-measures, and his continued presence as being a sign that she's emotionally abused *him*.

And the need to have someone to blame, I think, is completely healthy. I blame my ex for being unreasonable in her expectations for a relationship, and for needing something from me which no sane human being would be willing to give (support without companionship, friendship without reciprocation). She blames me (consciously or unconsciously) for changing the rules; setting up a system she enjoyed, and without significant forewarning lashing back at the concept.

What I blanched at was, mostly, the implication that the boyfriend is emotionally abusive in his own right. There are always two truths to this kind of story. Both sides are guilty, because both sides have to be innocent.
Very True @94. @7 tiare: you make a lot of sense. If the effort and intent is genuine, it can work. As Seldon2639 just said: it takes two truths and there's always plenty of guilt and innocent claims and the whole thing.. It DOES take dedication, and commitment-and as @7 tiare says: let them know your appreciation and be sincere and casual about it. It goes a long way.. It takes two committed people to make anything like that work: trust, intimacy and vulnerability just take so, so, so long to cultivate ordinarily anyways.. That's why I dig monogamy :) . I'd rather have one :) of the best than going all over the place not listening to what I know is right for at least me anyway. It's only when one person is doing all of the talking and the other isn't-for whatever reasons-that's why stuff goes awry and where the trouble starts. A good thing is a good thing: why muck it up for any reason;)? Good discussions going on here everyone. Have a good day and Peace.
@94: Blame is only acquired when one person is doing the doing and the other is taking what has been done without their reciprocated involvement. I abhor blaming people; I do a fine enough job blaming myself. My point is, is that everyone is accountable for their own lot in life: parents, the 1st grade teacher who whacked your knuckles with a ruler; whoever and whatever it is and/or all was: none of it matters squat if you can't CHOOSE to take yourself back from a wrong thing and somehow find a way to move on and grow in a healthy way as you should anyway.. When someone else isn't as forthcoming to you for whatever reasons, then the inequities and imbalances are created and the sturdiness of commitment begins to be threatened. Blame schame. It takes two people who want the same thing and are willing to put in the effort and recognize the other's effort, and, again, appreciating it genuinely without sounding hack or something lol;) . Have a good one everyone. Cheers.
@ 88: Write your Congressman;) lol.
@ 94 again: It's only when one of the two people involved aren't putting back in the same 50%: no matter what is going on outside of the relationship that seems to threaten to impede the livelihood or strength of what you share.. S.A.D. seems sincere, but she also needs to make sure the BF is even willing or sincere enough to want to work it out. S.A.D., don't go back under the premise of initiating nookie. No go. You have to win back your BF's trust and faith in you again. One can *never assume* that the other partner knows what you're thinking. It's a slippery slope to assume understanding if you never speak up to ask if you are being misunderstood. Assumptions account for nothing in a real relationship. Sooner or later, the other more-giving partner will resent their investment and the ice can turn to bricks, and that's even sadder. S.A.D. needs to consider not only counseling, but *she needs to listen to her heart, and know the difference;)*. End of sermon, thank you and goodnight:) T.
Ahhhh, I laughed oh so much.

You gotta just shut down anyone from Lubbock, especially anyone from Lubbock under 35. I did my 21 years of penance there and then got the hell out.

Nice to know that there are a few more happy perverts there now than when I left, I'll say that much. I did what I did to corrupt the place (and as many closeted Republicans as I could get my dick into or blow), psychically provoked Natalie Maines to slander it in song, and haven't looked back.
@102.. good advice, thanks for posting.

Thanks for posting SAD. there is some harsh stuff on here, but also some good stuff too. You are on the way to HEALING, since you are raising your hand to say you messed up, then continue to FOLLOW THRU and make some healthy decisions & actions for your future.

I hope for your sake that regardless of the outcome of the current relationship w/ your BF, that some good has come from this relationship w/ you recognizing your issues.

Good luck
Wow, I can't believe Dan just mentioned Lubbock, TX in a column. I grew up there and got the hell out. Happily there are a number of awesome people who did the same. Shelby Knox, for example. :)
this article was friggin' hilarious!!!

i havent laughed so much at an advice column in all my life!

TGSNTMOTA was absolutely should use that techniue more in the future!

I just hand to write and tell you!!