Savage Love

The Boyfriend Experience


@Eudaemonic #30:
Today I learned: If I like blowjobs, and my girlfriend isn't good at them, and I convince her to let me get a pro to demonstrate on me, she's not allowed to have any feelings about it.

Then you need to work on your reading comprehension. You're totally allowed to have feelings; neither Dan nor any comments before yours suggest otherwise. What you're not allowed to do is accuse your partner of "cheating" when doing something to which you agreed. Because you agreed.
@ 209 - I actually had a busy week, but sometimes I need a five or ten-minute break from my work, and Slog is a good place to spend it. (I work at home, so there aren't any coworkers to talk to.)
Hair down there..
Sorry, enhanced breasts.
@211: It's an especially poor and self-serving analogy not just for "cheating" as the LW's boyfriend was hurting her and the instruction was for her safety as well.
Futurecatlady, and? What was his reason for keeping the box of condoms?
@215 LavaGirl - I asked why he still had condoms, considering we had been monogamous for a couple years and no longer using condoms. He said they were old, predated our relationship, and he just hadn't bothered to throw them away. I accepted his explanation. My feeling was that I generally trusted him and it was enough to ask the question and receive a reasonable answer. I was not naive enough to think he might not have some secrets, but I trusted his word when he stated something directly to me. Also, I generally don't pour energy into suspicions I know can't ultimately be proven one way or another. This is one of many reasons I felt the need (many years later) to move on after learning he'd been having extramarital sex on a long-term basis. I am generally a trusting person and didn't want to change an essential part of myself in order to be with someone I could no longer trust.
I mean, granted, there are in-committed-relationship reasons to still have them. Being lazy is a poor excuse though. Sorry to hear of that :(
Futurecatlady, yeah. Like undead, sorry for your pain.
I don't understand that mind, that cheats long term and just keeps going on with life as if nothing is going on.
Lava @ 213
Porn is also changing the way people perceive body hair nowadays. All performers, male and female alike, seem to be hairless. I hear they even have their assholes waxed, sort of an "enhanced hare down dare."

"Enhanced" or "augmented" are the politically correct terms for modified breasts. Interpretations may vary.
@217 Thanks, undead. He may have been telling the truth at that time, who knows. I can see people (maybe guys especially?) being reluctant to throw condoms away. I'm not judging whether he was being truthful or lying way back then. I'm just saying that, years later, when I discovered he'd been directly and indirectly lying to me about his desire for and commitment to our monogamous relationship, the trust was broken and I knew I couldn't and wouldn't be the spouse who micromanages her partner, questions his word on everything, wonders if he is where he says he is, sits around and waits for the other shoe to drop, etc. I would never be comfortable in that role. I'd much rather be alone or free to start a more authentic relationship.
@218 Thanks, LavaGirl. I'm probably way overthinking it but my best guess is that he was feeling some ambivalence now and then which opened the door to taking some risks. When he wasn't found out, he became convinced there was very little risk and so continue doing it, regardless of the state of our relationship. What was more upsetting to me was the lying about it. My best guess is that he wanted to do what he wanted to do but he wanted me to remain faithful to him. He didn't want an open relationship, he wanted a DADT arrangement, but I'm not a DADT kind of gal.
Lava @ 218
Despite what Dan and his consortium of expert may say, I believe that kind of behavior can be diagnosed in some cases as "sex addiction." Secretive stuff of some sort, often developed in an early age to cope with harsh reality, which some may find hard to let go as adults.
CMD. I love hair on men. Sexy, sexy hair.
Underarm, chest... Pubic hair. I'm just so old fashioned, so last century.
Yes, I see it could be about secretive stuff.
Maybe like a thief or embezzler, they get away with it the first few times... It just goes on from there.
Props to Dan for working "casus belli" in there.
@219 CMD - Men are shaving all their pubic hair now? I was married so long, I feel like I've emerged from a time capsule. I have to say, I've had a couple partners who experimented with that, and I wasn't a fan. At least a little hair is good. Otherwise it's like siting on one of those plastic sofa coverings that sticks to the thighs. A bare chest however....
Ah, the old DADT. Now where have I seen that recently?
Chairman. Yes, the female so called desire pill has been approved. With so little proof it works( see Slog today),
and scary side effects, wtf is going on?
@lava - apparently it barely works at all.... but... maybe placebo is all that is needed for psychological sexual problems... men and women both! I will be releasing a new uni-sex pill called faux-agra.... Take just one and you are overcome with lust. You're welcome. ;)
No side effects.. Overcome with Lust.
I'm sure there's purfumes that say they do that. Sweaty armpits does it for me. A cheap luster am I.
haha. Well... since my special pill is just a tic-tac.... feel free to get a little sweat on it if that helps.
@222: "Despite what Dan and his consortium of expert may say, I believe that kind of behavior can be diagnosed in some cases as "sex addiction.""

Because being a lying POS isn't being a drunk and 12 stepping isn't going to solve what ails them.
Lava @ 225
Can be manifested in many ways alone and/or with partner/s. Some behaviors may be more acceptable or easier to accommodate than others, some may be illegal, some may be harmless in different geographies, and they're all not limited to one gender/orientation/age/whatever.
Think alcohol, drugs, food.
Chairman, just smelling any old sweat isn't going to do it. Has to be the sweat of one's current lover, Silly..
Hunter, a second chance when he doesn't hear and believe her.. Fine if he cuts it out and apologizes.

True CMD, secret parts of oneself.. Guess we all have those. Sneaking a fag when our partner thinks we've stopped , drinking by oneself and covering it with mints. Spending shared money in a sneaky way. Gambling, and hiding it.
I can see those much easier than I can see having affairs. Or rather, I could forgive those easier.
@236 It adds insult to injury when the secret smoker says stuff like "Would you ever want to smoke again? I sure wouldn't. Gross. I'd never want to be a secret smoker." And then somebody else tells you about all the secret smoking that's been going on.
well shit lava... you're australian... i just assumed Koala sweat would do... my mistake. Feel free to enhance faux-agra with any sweat you choose.... though it might diminish the sugary minty taste a bit.. it will only improve the lustiness.
Lava @ 236
Could you please elaborate on "Sneaking a fag?"
@239 - A cigarette, dear.
I'm always so late to these things, and 240 comments in it seems silly to reply to a comment in the first 100. I really need to up my game. I'm on the internet all the time, but apparently not sniffing around in the right corner. Sigh.

At any rate, all of these seem forgivable if the other parties are willing to admit to being inconsiderate (to varying degrees) and are willing to try harder to be considerate and address whatever issues they have going on that impacts their ability to feel secure in their relationships. Except of course for the LW who has apparently already been dumped but thinks Dan could come up with some magical words to make herself un-dumped. HEMP's case really does seem the most dramatic, since no matter how ill-conceived her 'gift' was or what feelings her bf had, his reaction was completely inappropriate and reflects a lack of self-awareness that could be hard to overcome. Hurt feelings are not an excuse for lashing out at your partner. But whatever, everyone's an asshole sometimes, but the good ones apologize for it and try to avoid the same assholishness in the future.
Chairman[191] - I just mean i would give her a pass if the situation unexpectedly overwhelmed her.
I do see what you mean, that seeing your partner getting turned on by someone else is nearly universally threatening/upsetting, if you're inclined toward monogamy at all. And a lot of people feel strongly about sex as well. But how you deal with your emotions is what separates asshole behavior from awesome behavior. Assholes will blame and hide and run away from their bad feelings. It's awesome to act, more than react, imo. It sounds like you were tempted to run away from your bad feelings, although I doubt you would have struck at her, instead I want to believe you would have concluded that it was simply too much for you. You had the consideration to weigh the costs/benefits for you, decided to accept the bad with the good, and act thoughtfully instead of by reflex. That is a huge difference in behavior from assholery to me, although you may have felt similarly to HEMP's boyfriend. Honestly I'd expect a letter from him to illustrate how she was assholish too, just because she left out what I consider important info, about whose interest was in bondage. And because I think assholes often end up together.

CMD[222] - I believe in sex addiction, hypersexuality or compulsive sex disorder or problematically coping with stress using sex. I think of affairs as a sex and romance mode, though. Similar to bdsm culture or puppy packs, it's a sort of poly arrangement that appeals more to some people than open relationships or monogamy. I think that some people have affairs because of sex addiction, but it's uncommon and rarely long term. I'd imagine that hypersexual people would tend to select each other as well.

Future[216] - My feeling was that I generally trusted him and it was enough to ask the question and receive a reasonable answer. I trusted his word when he stated something directly to me. Also, I generally don't pour energy into suspicions I know can't ultimately be proven one way or another. This is one of many reasons I felt the need (many years later) to move on after learning he'd been having extramarital sex on a long-term basis. I am generally a trusting person and didn't want to change an essential part of myself in order to be with someone I could no longer trust.
I am more of a fan of 'trust but verify'. I hope next time you might think of looking at the expiration date. I think that humans are the most dangerous animals around, look at what we do to other species. To forget that danger exists, to blindly trust in human good nature, feels like taking people for granted, it feels unrealistic to me. I've dealt with major lies in romance, discovering them, or being told about them later, and I've delivered some myself. I absolutely agree with life being too short to micromanage. At the same time, I do not take someone's word for truth. I like to check if I can, when I feel suspicious. When I can't prove anything, I simply note the suspicious circumstances for later. I do not think it's ok to level accusations at someone without proof. Asking them for a specific proof is ok, I think. They can say 'no' or explain why they find my request unreasonable.

Xilonen03 - I generally agree with the posts of yours that I've seen. But I'm surprised that you thought HEMP was the most dramatic. Unable to drop the unprovable accusations, in the first letter, seemed extreme for me as well. And interfering with someone's sleep to get sex doesn't seem great. Requiring an exhausted partner in order to maintain a satisfactory sex life seems kinda crazy to me. The last question seems like the only one to me that could have been a completely innocent miscommunication.

Lava - I'm in my 30s.
Xilonen03- Although, I do like your point that people make mistakes, and if you can recognize your mistakes and learn from them, you're a keeper, regardless of being a flawed human. It doesn't seem like the first 3 are learning from their mistakes, though.
@philo 243 - "You had the consideration to weigh the costs/benefits for you, decided to accept the bad with the good, and act thoughtfully instead of by reflex"

I had the (minimal) self-awareness necessary to understand that the "bad" was only my current perspective and to keep my notions to myself until I understood them. I am slow to react anyway. Its my nature... and not something i ever had to work on.

This BF may well not deserve any of my empathy... i really have no idea. I am just reading it in less assholish terms i guess. (i dont think i use the term asshole in quite the same i am glad you explained your usage) Her letter is so terse that we don't have much to go on. Perhaps it is simply two assholes. (for some reason, writing that just made me think of the final monologue from Team America.... dicks ALSO fuck assholes.....) haha.
@243 Philo - I think we are actually fairly similar in how we operate in this regard. We don't micromanage but we question obvious red flags if they are of enough potential significance. We don't waste energy making accusations that can't be proven one way or another. We may differ somewhat in how much proof we are comfortable asking for, I don't know. (For instance, I wouldn't feel comfortable asking my partner if I could check his phone, other people would have no problem asking this.) And we may differ in how much we allow our overall belief about our partner to dictate how much suspicion and/or proof is warranted. In my case, my impression of the guy was that he was painfully honest, so I gave more leeway than I might otherwise. Obviously, my impression was incomplete or incorrect. Live and learn. I also expect a great deal of autonomy myself and would not feel comfortable being micromanaged, so this is probably part of why I approach this dynamic as I do.
@242 - Guilty, I suppose. I'm often too literally minded to truly enjoy what most people consider jokes...
and here's another response to Philo @ 243

You wrote: “I think of affairs as a sex and romance mode, though” in regards to sex addiction.

It is my observation that sex addiction is not limited to alone time and the exemptions you imply- human contact, hyper sexuality- are not necessarily relevant here.
We all crave love and acceptance whether one masturbates by the computer, hiring prostitutes, or compulsively fucking her girlfriends’ husbands.
It is still possible to tweak a behavior and find more suitable partner/s after working on some of the issues.
@249: Then these people need to break off contact from their current partner and move on fixing what's wrong with them.

Granted, I've dates someone who went into SLAA while I was dating them, and I know a few people who couldn't be single under pain of death and unsurprisingly find themselves dating horrid partners.

But while comorbid with other addictions, I don't find the self-destructive need for affection the same as being a lying, cheating, sack of crap. I also don't find it comparable to traditional addictions. I can see it as pathological, but it is something they need to deal with their therapist on, and they have to want to change. Staying with the same partner is an invitation to go through the sin and redemption cycle and distract from what ails them.
@250 At the very least, someone with even minimal self-awareness should be upfront with the partner and decide together whether it's a mutually satisfying or at least tolerable arrangement. For me, what was most damaging was to discover the actions and words had been completely contradictory on a long-term basis. This led to concern that I would be unable to reestablish trust, regardless of the possibility of modified behavior.
@251: Of course. For the minimal self-awareness you need a large dose of self-honesty.
Otherwise you're still the same selfish, jerk whether you're alternatingly chasing your romantic conquests or "beating yourself up" about it, both sides rely on a myopic narcissism.
@243/244 Philo

240 comments in, it had also been a while since reading the original letters (aside from HEMP's, since it was conveniently posted again), so my views may be a little tainted by all the discussion after. I still feel that agreeing to a scenario, watching it play out, and then, knowing exactly what happened, misdirecting your feelings at your partner to accuse them of cheating because you agreed to something you weren't comfortable with (or became uncomfortable with during) is a bit worse than having an overactive imagination and being unable to drop it. I don't know. I can certainly see the flip side of that as well.

Regardless, condom-finding bf hasn't ended the relationship yet, and I feel like that relationship (being longer, more committed, and less already ended) is more salvageable if he comes around to realizing that the jealousy is his problem, not hers.

As for the sex-fiend bf, at least there we know the history, as LW admitted that in the past she had not made the effort to compromise. If this was seriously a one-time hissy fit about not having sex because he's afraid the compromise has ended, fine. But if he can deal with a serious talk about how compromise has to work both ways, and that sometimes you have to be a little more aware of your partner's feelings before asking them to do you a favor, then great.

Pee joker definitely seems like a likely miscommunication - he thinks he's helping, and will likely feel awful when he finds out his jokes have had the opposite effect.

But in all instances, assuming otherwise good relationships that are worth saving and a real effort to be more considerate to their partners, none of these seem all that bad. They're on a scale from "I'm sorry I joked about your pee" to "I need mature a little so as not to assume that others are always responsible for my bad feelings," which (for a first time offender) is maybe a 3 on the BAD THINGS relationship scale.
@253 Excellent point, undead. And as I mentioned in relation to LW WHAT, sometimes this dynamic is not limited to the sexual part of the relationship. Sometimes it's more pervasive or indicative of a pattern. Sometimes such things only become obvious in retrospect. Or sometimes it's something a partner is aware of and willing to live with until it collides with a deal breaker.
@256: Stay trashy, Hunter.
If you don't see the difference between not privately taking a liar at their word and directly challenging someone's sexual orientation in person to feed your own smug ego, you're garbage.
Undead and Future Cat-
You are throwing the usual honest communication and shaming slogans while ignoring the harsh realities of people who grow up with/develope shameful secrets. In fact so shameful they believe it is the most horrible thing on earth, and no one will ever accept this.
They try to stop it but can’t, and once they are done with their specific activity feel ashamed and demoralized. Yet they do it again despite knowing they are likely to end up feeling horrible afterwards.
They think those urges will go away once they start dating, but it doesn’t. They’re getting married, they make a sincere vow- yes, SINCERE- but they are powerless. They feel even worse once they have kids.

But sex is such a taboo and will always be related to other people- connection, belonging, trust, and all that. Your partner had just smoked a cigarette secretly, sniffed a line, wasted money on gambling, or ate the whole damn cheesecake. All of it!!!
But we can easily forgive them since there was no sex involved.

Just another “same selfish jerk, chasing romantic conquests narcissist.”
@259: "You are throwing the usual honest communication and shaming slogans while ignoring the harsh realities of people who grow up with/develope shameful secrets."

The reality is hard for them and their loved ones, but it's up to them and them alone to seek help through therapy and possible medication for the other issues at work. Being an addict is not an excuse for how they treat themselves and others. And I refuse to enable their behaviors if they refuse to help themselves. I do not say thee things to them, I just move on and feel for those who can't get past their own sself-destructive behaviors. I just don't couch my sadness and their actions in a cloud of romanticism. The issue is less "secrets" than patterns of willful deception.
@259 CMD - I did refer to open communication, and I take your point on that topic. I also referred to direct lying, which causes an additional set of problems for me (I am speaking only for myself right now). If someone has a sex addiction but voluntarily tells you they would not be interested in an open relationship, would never want to cheat, etc., and it is not in response to any type of coercion but instead seems like sincere and spontaneous pronouncements, all while have secret sex partners on the side, it undermines trust in that person's word, not just their actions. That's what I was trying and failing to say, I think.
"They try to stop it but can’t, and once they are done with their specific activity feel ashamed and demoralized. Yet they do it again despite knowing they are likely to end up feeling horrible afterwards."

The romantic fatalism of self-hatred is not the only possible option, and as fellow humans I hope for the best, but I refuse to enable them and encounter the consequences into my own life. If they can't take themselves seriously and continue living solely though their own personal narrative , there is nothing I can do.
@260 undead - I appreciate much of what you said here. I think part of why I was so confident in my decision to move on from my marriage was because I had once (long ago) been involved in a relationship with the type of sin-redemption cycle you referenced (though not sex related) and I stayed in that relationship too long. In that relationship, as you said, I had to reach a point of disregarding the "why" of how he was behaving and simply move on. I learned a lot from that experience.
@263: " I had to reach a point of disregarding the "why" of how he was behaving and simply move on."

Exactly. It doesn't matter. Wish them the best and let them deal with it on their own, as they must. Ala quantum physics, an audience necessarily changes their interactions with self.
Undead Future
It looks like the two of you are talking about specific partners that have hurt you, and for your credit it seems like you indeed gave them a chance or two, while I’m being more general as to the whole phenomenon of sex and other addictions.
And yes, you should “refuse to enable their behaviors if they refuse to help themselves,” nor accepting “romantic fatalism of self-hatred [as] the only possible option.”

Now back to addictions… Would it be easier if their “issue” was eating or smoking and not sex?
And speaking of sex… would it be easier or even possible to accommodate if their sexual acts did not involve physical contact with others, such as masturbation?
And speaking of masturbation… Would it be easier if there were no images or other props required for the act?

CMD, any addiction in extreme is off putting. Overeating, over smoking, overdrinking..
Sex as addiction.
If people really are into multiple partners, then they should live alone.
Sex is too intimate an area of sharing in a relationship for it to be mistreated. Hence, so much negotiation around opening them up.
These other problems, if not extreme.. As long as the person is making the effort to change these destructive behaviours, for themself..
Just people's imperfections constantly being worked on.
Sex is different.
@266 CMD (if you can get through this ramble) - If you're speaking more generally, I think the answers will vary based on who you ask.

I think addictions are partially defined by the inability of the addict to curb behavior regardless of consequences to themselves and others, and often addictions are identified based on how many facets of life are affected or placed at risk.

The scenarios you've mentioned are too vague for me to be able to meaningfully comment. For instance, in general, I think masturbation does not carry risk to monogamous relationships, while sex with other humans does, but if someone had a masturbation *addiction* there could certainly be consequences to the relationship and other aspects of the couple's shared lives. It's really hard for me to answer this question because, in addition to being vague, the bigger issue for *me* is the pattern of lying, not the acts, though I don't mean to minimize the acts themselves. Both things are problematic. I would not just accept any type of behavior simply because it was shared openly with me.

I'll try to clarify here, referencing my own personal experience only. My partner was not the type to share details about his day. Sort of the quiet type. So while I generally trusted him, I always knew it was possible there were aspects of his life I just didn't know about. I didn't find that thought difficult to live with as I generally trusted him and I prefer relationships that allow a fair amount of autonomy. As Philo said, there were times when sort of weird things happened that raised my antennae a bit and I filed those minor suspicions away for future reference rather than going into P.I. mode over things I couldn't prove one way or another. However, I never, ever thought he would verbally lie to me directly about anything more important than a white lie. He was frequently very blunt against his own best interests, so I just didn't see that happening and never prepared myself emotionally for that. I felt blindsided when I discovered I'd been very wrong about that part of him. Maybe if he'd lied and then confessed a week later, I'd have felt differently, wouldn't have completely changed my perception of him, but it didn't happen that way. He lied and embellished the lies and told me later that he was never going to tell me the truth.

I've thought about how I might have reacted if he had only withheld the information from me rather than lying and misleading me. I can't know for sure, but my best guess is that my willingness to try to repair the relationship would have been dependent on the circumstances surrounding the infidelity (how long had it been going on, was it a pattern or a blip, was he having sex with anyone in our friend circle, was he willing to try opening the relationship on both sides or only one, was our relationship in turmoil at the time these acts occurred, did he feel any remorse, did he have any desire to change his behavior, etc.) The answers to those questions would've dictated whether I was open to trying to rebuild trust as a monogamous couple or remain married but in an open relationship.

Sorry for rambling again. I know I'm personalizing too much and TL;DRing to a ridiculous degree and this is probably not the most appropriate place to do those things. Am I addicted to SLOG? I appreciate all who've been patient with me. :)

future @268
Thanks for your elaborate response and also for sharing your own experience.
You had lots of valid points and as you rightfully pointed out while using different words, "It all depends."
Futurecatlady, addicted to slog?
Join the club. It's a great place to be addicted to. And don't worry re rambling on about your story, nice you can trust with your personal stories.
I didn't read thru the thread over on the daily thread, your husband sounds very disturbed in his intimacy behaviours.
Philo@243, thanks, re your age. Sure you've mentioned it before, the memory.. It goes.
my husband was damaged in other ways, he wasn't unfaithful. Whichever, it's work of some sort or another, managing a relationship. Having children and managing a relationship.

CMD@259. Yeah well, it's the shame that does it here. Lying to oneself about oneself.
Depending on the activity, always best to face oneself fully and own it. Then look around, see if it is such a shameful
Secret or just the culture has deemed it so. That's why Dan's sites are so liberating for so many people. They can see their stuff is not that shameful, others also have their ways.
The damage done to oneself and others by non self acceptance, can be avoided by self reflection and living in one's truth.
Easy to say at my age, it's young people who suffer the most.
Lava @ 272
Yes, shame is a key element that keeps growing over time.
As for "it's young people who suffer the most"- the way I see it from where I live things are actually getting better as the youngsters are very accommodating of each other. Their parents’ are committed and engaged enough to at least partially follow, and the neighbors are sooo delighted it's somebody else's child.

Things are not always that rosy. During pride parade in Jerusalem last month an ultra religious Jew stabbed few people, killing at least one of them. He did the same thing ten years ago and was just released from jail.
Rest of the Middle East, as Her Lavaness herself has noted here in the not-so-distant past, is indeed in a far worse shape.
Re HEMP's situation, I'd like to add a unique perspective to the conversation about whether the instructional session was sexually stimulating. First of all, I'll admit I've been on both sides of the ... rope. Neither dominating nor submitting is inherently sexual. It all depends on the context and on what the relationship between the two is meant to be.

For the conversation, let's pretend I'm a sentient cello! I've been played badly by a student who's not even sure whether he wants to play a cello at all, whether he's doing it out of obligation or because he thinks he's a know-it-all who can ace it by the seat of his pants. He held me roughly, his palm clenched tightly around my neck, while his bow hand sawed haphazardly across my torso. His touch both hurt me and made me nervous. Definitely not enjoyable. And, then, Yo Yo Ma came in and took over. His touch was firm, decisive, and held the promise of producing exquisite music (aka orgasm). I couldn't help it. I shuddered. It wasn't an orgasm, but just the thrill of being in the hands of someone who knew exactly what he was doing. That shudder was involuntary.

Whether the session was a way for HEMP to help teach her equally interested though clueless bf or whether he agreed just to be GGG, his allegation of "cheating" is way OTT. And does lead me to believe that he's just not very observant ... or teachable about more than mere rope tying.
Chairman - I'm interested in sussing out the differences between us. Are you in general slow to react? You don't have reflexive reactions to anything? I build reflexes or habits quite easily. I've learned the hard way to look closely at the ones that might not work great early on, as I find breaking habits difficult. I envy the difference I see hints of. Also how do you use the term asshole, if it's not describing behaviors that unreasonably cause misery, or the tendency toward them? In other words, being inconsiderate?

Future - We may differ somewhat in how much proof we are comfortable asking for, I don't know. (For instance, I wouldn't feel comfortable asking my partner if I could check his phone, other people would have no problem asking this.)
I'm sure my partner wouldn't leave texts on his phone for me to catch. I wouldn't be that dumb. When I discovered a lie of his, others did comment that they found my methods extreme, so we may well be different here. I've also noticed that if I can think of a proof that seems significant, ask for it, and my suspicions are proven unfounded, I (re)gain trust faster. Really the only thing that limits my behavior here is that I not disrespect others. I wouldn't level accusations without proof, but own (or explain if requested) my insecurity.

And we may differ in how much we allow our overall belief about our partner to dictate how much suspicion and/or proof is warranted.
I'm sure we have different ideas of what is normal, or normal variation, if that's what you mean. I'm not sure what you mean. I listen to my feelings when dealing with other people. I sort of just blare them in my relationship, to help him figure out what's going on with me, and he usually works out what I'm missing. Or he's missing. When I'm suspicious, I try to keep them to myself until I can figure out a way to be proven right or wrong. I've started blaring those feelings sometimes, too, though, because he can think of a good way to prove it better than I can, sometimes.

In my case, my impression of the guy was that he was painfully honest, so I gave more leeway than I might otherwise
Painfully honest seems suspicious to me, actually. Lying can work better when you throw in extra details to distract from suspicion. I was suspicious of CRASH's story because the old dildo seemed the perfect way to change the subject to her masturbation habits instead of his train of thought. I recommend anyone unfamiliar with lying to practice it. Not in order to lie habitually but to identify the signs. It's also a skill that can be useful, it's not always hurtful, even though inaccuracy may seem objectively hurtful to some people :)

@249 CMD - I take your point, if it is that there is more to be addicted to in the sex/romance realm, than just the feelings of sex/horniness/release. I can see how OKCupid could be addictive. I can see how PUA lifestyle might be difficult to grow out of, but that again is more of a lifestyle change, belief style change, than an addiction imo. I think you can only be addicted to a discrete drug or single behavior, at least that's what the studies I've seen have focused on. A lifestyle might be a set of addictions/discrete bad habits, if a person is generally unhappy, perhaps. Interesting train of thought. I've tended to think of general unhappiness as bad priorities. I suppose priorities can be learned, but there are some called preferences that seem to be built in. There seems to be an important difference between preferences and habits to me, but perhaps I've just heard it asserted often. Even the strongest preferences seem to be somewhat trainable by torture/brainwashing. I don't even know if I should post this, about the darkest parts of human influence, slavery is worse than murder to me. But it happens.

Xilonen03 - But in all instances, assuming otherwise good relationships that are worth saving and a real effort to be more considerate to their partners, none of these seem all that bad.
Emphasis mine. The first 3 letters seem to be illustrating a bf who is unreasonably resistant to being considerate of the LW's feelings. Insisting that inconsiderate should be accepted not corrected (the 3rd case at least she fessed to inconsideration in both directions).

And what ends relationships other than tragedy or inconsideration? I regard a habit of inconsideration to be nearly a tragic illness anyway.

Hun - Did you miss the part about not accusing or communicating doubt in someone's self description until I have reasonable proof? I would be very surprised if you could find a quote of mine that implied that I think that liars and cheaters and slavers don't exist. I just don't like it. I want to decrease it.
@278 Philo Painfully honest seems suspicious to me, actually. Lying can work better when you throw in extra details to distract from suspicion.

What I meant here is that I had observed a clear pattern of my partner's willingness to be honest, regardless of whether his message might be hurtful or cause complications. He was not the type to appease people, nor was he the type to embellish. He was quite blunt. What I didn't factor in was the possibility that he might be perfectly capable of lying and embellishing if the stakes were high enough. I mistakenly saw something as an overall character trait that turned out to be situational.
@278 Philo - On second thought, in thinking about this more, I recall that the discovery of the first big lie uncovered many other lies, the underlying stakes of which varied. So it would probably be more accurate to say that I mistakenly perceived a pattern when the incidents of honesty and lies were actually more random.
@269 Thanks, CMD.

Generally speaking, I'm okay with your "it depends" summarization because relationships are complex, different people have different value systems, and each case is unique. Of course, some behaviors are more commonly upsetting to a large proportion of people than other behaviors.

Individually speaking, for me it comes down whether it is realistic to believe trust can be regained and sustained at some point in the future. All of the "it depends" factors I listed fall into the category of assessing whether I can reasonably take a leap of faith that trust can be regained. If not, it's the end of the line for me.
Philo @278

Yes... in general i am slow to react emotionally speaking. I take in the words... i let them swim around in my head... i think about their impact (both immediate and long term)... i think about how it makes me feel... viscerally and logically both. I have a very measured approach to it. Its just how i am wired. I simply don't have a temper. I don't project my anger or sadness onto other people very easily...even if they deserve it. My blood never just simmers from time to time. However... i expect the people around me to hold up their end of the bargain... so i perhaps jettison "friends" quicker than most. And i can carry self-loathing longer than i should. I like to think i am very empathetic... in that even when someone is expressing something shitty to me that is ABOUT me... i have no problem listening all the way through.... without getting defensive. I have a low tolerance when people don't give me the same treatment. i.e. if i am expressing something about them that i need to express... and their reaction is to tell me my shortcomings... i am less than thrilled. I almost never take things personally. Sometimes i should. haha.
@278 CotB - I also really appreciate your insights. I was particularly appreciative of your recent comments differentiating personal consequences of long-term and short-term compromise or sacrifice. The comments were in relation to low and high libido mismatches but could be applied to other situations, as well. I really appreciated how you were able to empathize with both partners.
more of 282 - i have also been told i am very difficult to read.... because emotionally speaking, i am pretty introverted. But i am certainly TRYING to express my needs more clearly. I have a bit of a self-defeating mentality in that regard. Sometimes the need to EXPRESS something vocally that i feel my partner should already be able to pick up on if they were paying attention undermines me. It isnt fair to my partner. They can't read my mind. Trouble is... i have always been so good at reading other people that i get frustrated when people can't read me. A work in progress.
@283 - thank you FCL. You may not realize it, but your presence on the board lately has lowered the temperature in a positive way. You never take the bait when being opposed by some of the more linear and argumentative people on SL. I find myself having to skip entire sections of the board less and less. ;)
HEMP doesn't have a boyfriend, "unreasonably resistant to being considerate of the LW's feelings" or otherwise. She has an ex who said something hurtful and untrue to her in the heat of the moment when dumping her.

If he is a bondage enthusiast, then he's irrationally screwing himself out of a good thing. If he's discovered he's not into bondage, then he's dumping someone who he's discovered is sexually incompatible with him and who has been treating him shitty for some time.

Sure, the shudder was involuntary, and sure, she didn't "cheat" on him per se. So what? There are lots of physical reactions that are, in and of themselves, involuntary, but which we have conscious control over the circumstances that trigger them. Ejaculation is involuntary, too, but... it would be pretty bizarre for me to hire a sex worker to give me a blow job and then claim I wasn't cheating because the ejaculation was involuntary. She knew that she was a bondage fetishist and that being tied up by a professional would be erotic fun for her. Given that, it was at best extremely tacky for her to pay for herself to be tied up by a professional and then frame that as a "gift" to HIM. (It's tacky to buy things for yourself and then frame them as gifts for other people whether you get anything erotic out of the gift or not.) It would also be hard for him not to subconsciously interpret the session with the professional as "let a man who is competent at lovemaking show you how, loser". And if you accept Dan's definition of sex that includes e.g. mutual masturbation as sex, than I certainly think having a professional indulge your sexual fetish counts as sex. Under the circumstances, I am not surprised he is making much more of the shudder than her defence lawyer would.

If she didn't want to get dumped, she shouldn't have framed the session as a gift for him, and she should have paid for a model, to be tied up (and for her then-boyfriend to practice on under the supervision of the bondage pro).

If I were to treat a girlfriend as rudely as HEMP did her ex-boyfriend, I would expect that she would dump me rather than accepting the first "gift".
oh Philo - i use the term asshole more as a character definition. i.e. When i say someone IS an asshole... i am defining them. Occasionally... i might say someone is BEING an asshole... and that would be a temporary state. But i never say someone IS an asshole and have it be about a temporary response.
@284: "A work in progress."

As are we all!

@286: "If she didn't want to get dumped, she shouldn't have framed the session as a gift for him, and she should have paid for a model, to be tied up (and for her then-boyfriend to practice on under the supervision of the bondage pro)."

As far as these things go, the teacher was demonstrating on her first, but usually once the proper pose, knots, safety etc are demonstrated, they'd have the boyfriend replicating the same.

He sidestepped the instructional part and went straight to the pouting.
"Ejaculation is involuntary, too, but... it would be pretty bizarre for me to hire a sex worker to give me a blow job"

What the fuck is with the shitty blowjob analogy people keep bringing into this? I love how having a teacher demonstrate knotwork is analogous to oral-genital contact to some people.
@278 Philo

The unwritten part of that highlighted sentence is "...more considerate [going forward than they had been during the events leading up to these letters]..." Sorry if the hanging more wasn't clear in what it was referencing. The point of all of the letters is to give the LW some direction in how to proceed. In my mind, given the comparatively minor transgressions of their partners, if their partners, when confronted with their inconsiderateness, make a real effort to be more considerate, then they are not beyond redemption and an otherwise good relationship can be saved.

I agree that a pattern of poor behavior negates all of that, but none of the LWs indicated a pattern of inconsiderate behavior. The behaviors are seemingly isolated to the events leading up to the letters. Maybe I'm just feeling particularly generous, but I'll give all of them a pass for isolated, out of character bad behavior paired with remorse.
@286 Old Crow -

I keep wavering on this in my mind, since I don't think we have the information available to know how the gift was offered and received. Gift can range from entirely selfless (getting someone something that will provide no enjoyment for you, perhaps even something you dislike strongly, for the enjoyment of the recipient), and completely selfish (you bought it for yourself, you knew they would hate it and you would get the entire benefit while the recipient would be hurt: Marge's bowling ball). But most gifts are somewhere in between.

Consider concert tickets:

Selfless - getting your kid tickets to a super annoying kid's band you hate because the kid is 5 and has no taste in music

Selfish and thoughtful - getting your friend tickets to a band you both enjoy so you can go together

Selfish - getting your friend tickets to a show they hate or you know they can't attend because you want to go and bring someone else

If you look at it like this, you can have a gift that is selfish and have it still be a wonderful gift, so long as you are thoughtful about it. The problems come when the giver starts prioritizing their enjoyment over that of the recipient. I really don't know that we can judge her intention in this matter. All we know is that she got him a gift that was for their mutual enjoyment. Something they could do together. Without mention of how excited or reluctant he was, my best assumption is that he wasn't on either extreme or it would be notable information. It seems far more likely that he was at least a little interested in the gift, but then found the actual experience to be overwhelming. His reaction wasn't great; perhaps she failed to notice (or even disregarded) his discomfort because she was enjoying herself. But you're right, he said some misdirected things in the course of breaking up with her, so coming back from that seems unlikely, even if she gave a very thoughtful gift for their mutual enjoyment.
Chairman, and.. You gonna tell the folks your good news? Some here don't venture out in the open sea, more smart them on some occasions. The amount of times I've been thrown overboard without a life jacket, you'd think people would like to see me drown.
Undead @289. Some Boys and their one eyed, one track minds.

Bondage girl does sound a little thoughtless. "We tried some bondage and I got no pleasure from it, so I got a teacher for the boyfriend to learn. "
Something about the way she wrote it seems emasculating. Then the shudder may have just topped it off for the bf, as in he may have felt a low level uncomfortableness with how the sessions came about ( got no joy from you, so I'll give you a present of a couple of lessons from a real pro).
If she was/ is so insensitive to the boy's.. And I'm assuming these guys are young.. Sense of sexual skill, her other areas of communication may have been just as disregarding of his sense of self.
@294: She said he was doing it in a way that hurt her. Life isn't all porno-"natural", sometimes people need a little instruction along the way.
Yes undead, still.. In dealing with a male's sense of sexual skill, a female needs a little subtlety. If she so off hand describing how it all came about with Dan, her language to bf may have been much more insensitive.
Philo @ 279
“more of a lifestyle change, belief style change, than an addiction”
I’m afraid the “lifestyle” analogy doesn’t always fit. Some examples:
-compulsive masturbation to images on the computer
- Illegal stuff- like exhibitionism, or under age in any shape or form.

Another way to sort out “lifestyle” vs. “addiction” is how you feel once the act is over. If it’s something along the line of, “Oh wow, I once again fulfilled my fantasy and it is really like so very awesome” then it’s really like so very awesome. But if it’s, “Oh no, how could I possibly do this shit again” then there may be a problem.
Illegal stuff, like the use minors and non consenting adults, is always a problem and should be addressed as such.
Lying wouldnot be easy for me. For a start, I'm forgetting things.. So, I'd have to write the lies down somewhere and keep checking what they are, and what I told to whom.
And I'd have no energy or interest for lies, splitting oneself off from other bits to keep going. Maybe because I've been such a breeder and reader, a B@R,
My animal self has been in my face since I was 20 yrs old. An animal who can read. And keeping up pretences went out with that first labour.
I have no idea what life is like as a childless woman in her 20s/30s/40s,
Because during those three decades, I had babies. And that animal part of me, was dominant.
Dumb Catholic Chick ( dcc).
@298 LavaGirl, if you're suggesting porn with a plot based on the movie Memento, I would totally watch that, especially if it starred Guy Pearce.
Future - regardless of whether his message might be hurtful or cause complications
Inconsideration about being honest may be a sign of either extra motivation to be honest, or a lack of motivation to be considerate. I respect being honest about your own flaws, but I believe it can be done with consideration for others' perspective and feelings. Some willingness to address or compromise about those flaws. Admitting them is the first step toward growth though, right CMD?

Self interest is good for survival. But consideration of others' feelings is also good for stable interpersonal interaction, which is also good for survival. Relationships, team work etc. We're all just human, we all have feelings, and all but hermits try to work with other people. I guess hermits don't need to be considerate.

Old Crow - who has been treating him shitty for some time.
I didn't see any way that she had mistreated him in the letter. He mistreated her by calling her a cheater although it seems she hadn't violated any obvious agreements, and by calling her a liar about her lack of orgasm. I'm not sure why that's a "so what?" in your book, but your imagined inconsideration of him is enough to speak about at length.

She knew that she was a bondage fetishist
That info is not in the letter. A story that makes more sense to me might be that the boyfriend had always loved the thoughts and porn related to binding someone. In his first somewhat long relationship, he asked his girlfriend of 5 months to try it with him. She had never tried it before either but decided it sounded interesting enough, or his glaring woody was interesting enough to give it a shot. Although he had a great time and orgasmed, she disliked it and was further not turned on at all. He had gotten carried away by his excitement and hadn't thought to look into safety considerations first, or thought about what may interest her about being bound. Unwilling to call it a failure and give up, but unable to teach him how to do it in a sexy way because she didn't understand what that might look like yet, she decided to consult an expert, who recommended lessons. There he could learn the ropes, but she could also experience how a session with good trust and some sensuality could work, to see how it fit her. Unfortunately, bf was too fragile to handle it, even after agreeing to give it a shot. His way of dealing with his unexpected jealousy was to attack her, although she had been completely healthy and understandable, even generous, the entire time. This explanation would make the most sense to me if I did not believe that both sides of the couple are usually assholish.
Future, a lot of people take to Guy Pearce. He is a sweetie. Not sure if he'd be up for doing porn. If I ever run into him, I'll ask.
He did TV based on the Peter Temple series of books about Jack Irish. Some kissing involved, that do you?
Hermits take different forms, Philo.
A trandition of many Eastern spiritual paths, involve long periods on retreat.
Some stay on retreat for years. This involves spiritual practices, or they could go a bit mad.
My take on dealing with relationships, is to have enough time in solitude, that when I'm interacting with people maintaining my relationships, the dysfunctional aspects are more obvious.
We all are so imperfect.
I feel that the solitude helps me restore my equalibrium, so I can go back out there and mingle.
Philo @ 300
Right. Just be aware that brutal honesty is indeed brutal. Keep initial confessions in proportion.
Holy FUCK what a weird week (for me). Everybody please send positrons and pray for me.
Just when I thought all in my life was Mercury in retrograde or something? All hell has broken loose, and since Wednesday I've been left not knowing until tomorrow just how bad my situation is. Have you ever had two parties you're supposed to rely on--one tells you everything's just fine, while suddenly the other one informs you with deep concern, 'Ohhhh, dear'--so now you've stepped in a bottomless shit hole and now you've got hell to pay?
I guess if I'm about to pay through my ass, I've at least covered my next month's rent and bills first.
Auntie Griz, I'm sorry things are so hellish. For what it's worth, I'm in the perfect position to join you there in the pit. I would like to crawl under the covers and never come out, but that's not an option.
Hang in.

ChairmanOfTheBored: congratulations! I hope all goes well!
Thank you nocute. I wish I knew you IRL. Things will get better! such is the nature of existence. :)
Why cant we send direct messages on this board anyway? Would it kill the stranger to allow that?
Grezilda, oh dear. Sounds worrying. Money issues I'm guessing, sending you love and good luck.
Nocute, sorry you in pain as well.
Chairman, i think you can organize an email
Address thru SL. Erica shared one a while back.
How pregnant are you guys? You know the first three months can be a bit hairy for some women, morning sickness etc. the middle three bit easier. It's an intense experience Eh? Once the baby shows up on the scan, that cute little person about to join the family, it can be such a buzz.
Sorry Grizelda, the phone just changes spelling, I was not watching.
@CotB - They really should allow direct messaging. So many people on here seem like awesome people to know in general, but this format doesn't lend itself to just chatting. I kinda feel like just posting my fb link here and seeing if anyone bites. Not like I'm hard to find anyway. Googling Xilonen03 yields pretty much my entire online presence (and a billion pics of my dogs).
@304,305. Don't know about Mercury, but something must be in retrograde. Maybe it's The Stranger cancelling Rob Brezsny's column that's at fault. At any rate, the last week has seemed a festival of Murphy's Law!
@239 CMD. Just got that you were having a lend. Sneaking/ Pinching a fag, legitimate statements still, here in Oz.
Can I pinch a fag. Sorry, it was innocently done.
Chairman - Thanks for your answer. There does seem to be something in the way of temper that is different with us. I consider myself impatient. Re: not taking things personally, I don't understand how someone can be not-personally offended by a personal attack, verbal or physical. And a thought or two for your self-defeating dilemma... perhaps your mate's strength is not in identifying how you feel, but in understanding what to do with your feelings once she knows them. People have different strengths and weaknesses. I don't want to be with someone who has the same strengths and weaknesses as I do, we'd be redundant as a couple. I want a set that complements mine. So, maybe if you start blaring your feelings about yourself, like I blare my feelings about other people, your mate might be able to work with that to spectacular results too, it might be one of her strengths that you can discover, that compensates for the weakness of not reading your mind :)

Also, I'm not sure we are understanding each other about "assholes" and "asshole behaviors/assholery". I call people who have a marked tendency toward inconsiderate behavior, assholes. Sometimes. I don't really like using the word asshole to describe a whole person, but sometimes it's all I can manage to express, usually if I think the explanation would be too long but sometimes if I doubt one's capacity for reason. I prefer to speak about individual polite or inconsiderate behaviors. Also, I think that self destruction is a sign of bad character, as well as inconsiderate behaviors; that about sums up 'bad character' in my brain. I usually call the latter assholish, not often the former. My comment on the related tendencies of assholes might better be summed up as "too distracted by their own feelings to care for others well" or "unable to manage their feelings well". Do you mean something very different by bad character?

Xilonen03 - It seems that the LWs in the first 3 letters had communicated their displeasure. And the response was "So what? I'm going to keep (refusing to believe you, calling you a cheater nonsensically, keeping you awake for sex) despite your pain." If they can't see a reason to save their mate pain, for what other reason might they feel remorse? IME people need to see that their mate's pain will cause them to leave the relationship before they possibly realize the self- interest in treating others' feelings as important as their own, unless they were raised to consider others' feelings by reflex. Maybe I'm missing something.

Sometimes I might wrongly assume that only the LW is seeking advice and is open to change, the only one who feels they have a problem or that something is wrong. But I am confused as to why you think the partners will have a change of heart and start to feel remorse, if they don't already. Because some gay guy in Seattle told them to?

CMD - I was trying to draw a distinction between addictions to specific drugs/behaviors, (which result in mixed feelings) and a belief system or lifestyle that doesn't work well (which also results in mixed feelings). I said before that I believe an affair can fit either category:

Lifestyle: A woman might feel that women should take care of their own sex needs in whatever way possible, as you can't just go to the doctor for an orgasm anymore. She might believe that men can take care of themselves but women need sex with other people, so having affairs are the natural order of things for women. She might feel bad that her husband would dislike her affairs, perhaps she considers him to be unrealistic about women and unable to understand. So she's discreet about them, but sees no alternative means to be happy, she can't seem to convince potential mates that her ideas about the differences between men and women are correct, they all refuse to be realistic; the best she can hope for is that her husband doesn't find out and divorce her. She has one inaccurate belief that would cause her lots of problems if she were caught.

Addiction: A woman might feel unable to cope with life if she's not able to pick up strangers at her favorite club on weekends. She realizes that her quirk is going to be deal breaker for a lot of people. She might try to break the habit and decide the effects are intolerable, even changing the venue feels bad, even the thought of cold turkey makes her panic. She might look for a poly partner, fail for a year or two, and decide to lie about this habit to a vanilla partner instead. Similar situation at first glance, but she has one habit that is causing her lots of problems.

In practice, both situations would be difficult for the partner involved to influence, I think I'd have more hope for the former.

The most traditional yet accurate definition of addiction imo is "sensitization, tolerance and withdrawal" related to a specific consumable or activity. I don't think you can apply this to most affairs but I could be wrong.
Bondage chick's boyfriend seems like the male equivalent of that one woman who wrote in that she contemplated calling the cops because several years ago a teenage boy dry-humped her and jizzed his pants.
(1) It's a clearly sexual act, what the heck did they expect?
(2) They agreed to it initially but then freaked the fuck out over an alleged orgasm.
(3) Their reaction is absurdly over the top.

Eudaimonic, the BJ demonstration analogy just emphasizes to me how ridiculous this guy is being. If I agreed in advance to watch some other woman suck my boyfriend's dick, I most certainly would not be in a position to pitch a hissy fit when the obviously predictable result of what I agreed to happened. I might justifiably say I felt jealous or hurt unexpectedly, but blaming or accusing him for enjoying it is a dick move.
Philo - "it might be one of her strengths that you can discover, that compensates for the weakness of not reading your mind :) " I already know the answer to this... it IS one of her amazing strengths. My partner is incredibly flexible with the way she takes in new information. I admire her for it.

As to asshole usage.... haha.... I actually think we use the exact same definition. I have noticed at times that you will say that someone "is an asshole". I was simply pointing out that i don't do that. Instead i say someone is "being an asshole". Obviously... not a particularly important distinction. I guess i just hadnt realized that your way of using it wasn't necessarily meant to define the person so much as the potentially temporary behavior itself.

"I don't understand how someone can be not-personally offended by a personal attack, verbal or physical." This would probably provoke a long and interesting conversation here on the board if we weren't already 300+ comments deep this week. In short, i don't FEEL personally attacked by much of anything. And when someone is trying to rile me up by getting personal... they pretty much never succeed. I don't know if its an over-developed ego.... or high self-esteem... but i am simply not defensive by nature. I have other ways of responding than to feel bad. Smirking is probably the most common. lol
@305 nocutename: Ouch---sorry you have money concerns, too. Big hugs and hang in there. I was just about contemplating a Thelma & Louise-like run-for-my-life scenario this weekend. Luckily, I did get a call back from my local tax filing office further explaining the situation, and it isn't nearly as bad as I had thought. But shit--there really can't be anything worse than hearing two completely opposite sides of one's current financial story and being left in the dark for five days without any further explanations until the following Monday morning. Okay. For me, on to the next step: pass on what I have now learned today to make sure that all those handling my finances are on the same page. I think one of my upstairs neighbors is probably right: I need a xanax. At least I have red wine in good supply for the time being.
@308 LavaGirl: Thank you and nocutename for the love and hugs. Thankfully, with new information on what to look for, and relieving news from my local tax accountant, it's not as bad as I had thought. Wow---one can't help but worry, though, sometimes with all the current global unrest economically.
@311 Cynara: I noticed the absence of Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology column from The Stranger, too. Luckily I can still read my FWA horoscopes in the Cascadia Weekly. I agree: as of last week, something weird is definitely in the air. The malingering stench of Donald Trump as a main contribution is my guess.
Sending good vibes to auntie grizelda and nocutename...

And also a note that anyone can announce that they've set up a gmail account through which other posters can contact them. Mine is, which does not mean that it is authorized by the Stranger in any way. It's merely a convenient address to give out. And for those who are curious, since creating it I've heard from about a dozen polite people off SL, and haven't had any hassles at all.
Thanks all. You're all very kind and the nice wishes are appreciated.

I've corresponded from time to time with a few people at a private email address, too, always politely.
If you're inclined, my non-Slog-but-Slog-related address is

I get a lot of spam there, so if you are a Savageland resident, just identify yourself as such in the subject line.