Savage Love

Guilt Ridden


Definitional question: Can you be polyamorous with someone you aren't fucking? Doesn't that just make you roommates?
"Some men in open/poly relationships present themselves as dishonest cheaters rather than honest nonmonogamists because women would rather fuck a married man who's cheating on his wife than a married man who isn't cheating on his wife."

Suddenly I have much more sympathy for some who frequented Ashley Madison whereas before I had little to none :I
I just don't want to have sex with my husband. Whenever we would have sex in the past, I would get anxious and try to avoid it.

Your husband would be better off living in a van down by the river.
I was reading SHRUGS's letter and wondering if this were a man or a woman - because if a man were relating sexual fantasies to his daughter that would be really creepy. On the other hand, if he were discussing such things with a son that would be, uh... Never mind.
Don't be married to someone you don't want to fuck. That's not poly. That's outsourcing.
a) If people followed everyone Mr Savage keeps saying "you should" follow on Twitter (something in which I have never indulged, to be clear), I doubt they'd ever have time to do anything else. It reminds me of how, if one ate everything one is told one must eat every day, one's daily caloric intake would be about 14,700, while, if one never ate anything one is told never to eat, one's daily caloric intake would be about 147.

b) I'm tempted to advise people to give up Twitter entirely out of solidarity with Stephen Fry, but am loath to suggest something that will inconvenience others while costing me nothing.
undead @2, in the early months of our open marriage, before he found his dating groove, Mr. P. sometimes told women "my wife and I have an arrangement" -- which was in fact true but also sounded like something a cheater might say. At the very least it reassured women that they wouldn't have to deal with me and my likely issues.

The line also bypassed the romance-killing speech newly open men sometimes give (in their nervousness), about how they love their wife and no one could ever take her place. To which the response is: "Yeah, yeah, but here you are with me, big boy, so can we talk about us, not her?"
sax @ 4 re SHRUG-
I’d say dad is creepy regardless of LW’s gender, though probably more so if female.

LIBIDOS related-
“My husband wanted poly, but apparently it’s easier for women to get laid and now he’s getting really frustrated ” seems to be the new trend now that the “sexless marriage, may I cheat?” fad is supposedly over.
SHRUG: Or if you want to say the same thing in less than 63 words, and bearing in mind the father-child relationship here, you could just say "Dad! TMI!" And if you're in the same room, you could put your fingers in your ears and say "I'm not listening, la la la la."

LIBIDOS: "Some men in open/poly relationships present themselves as dishonest cheaters rather than honest nonmonogamists because women would rather fuck a married man who's cheating on his wife than a married man who isn't cheating on his wife.

Go figure."

This makes absolutely zero sense to me. Can anyone shed any light?

IHSN @1: I think they are roommates too. I do know some long-term poly couples who settled into having sex with other people but not each other. If they weren't poly, they would have split up due to the lack of sex. So did poly save their relationship, or are they kidding themselves that they even have a relationship?
BDF @12 The way I understand it: if the man is cheating on his wife, the "other woman" figures she might have a chance to "steal" him from his wife. While if the man is officialy poly, the "other woman" will probably always be secondary to his wife.

Also, the "forbidden" aspect of cheating may be romantic/exciting to some.

Something like that.
@BiDanFan - Cheater Husband is carried away by passion for you (presumably) to break the rules. That passion can be very flattering, and the transgression itself can be thrilling. Poly Husband loses both the passion and the transgression. He wasn't swept away by their lust for you. He just fancied having you alongside his other options. If the wife decides to close up the relationship, then it's over, because Poly Husband is playing within the rules, unlike Cheater Husband. Cheater husband may even leave his wife for you - it does happen! - but Poly Husband never will.
DF @14: Ah, so the other woman deludes herself into thinking her boyfriend is really a faithful man who's made an exception for her, because her pussy is made of spun gold?

Hunter @15: I am saddened by the idea that the "typical" anyone thinks dishonesty is more "normal" than honesty.

Someone should point out that having extra-relationship sex with poly people is much safer, both because poly people are far likelier to use condoms, and because you're a lot less likely to be assaulted by a poly person's spouse! :)
BDF @16 I think it's exactly the "safeness" of the extra-relationship sex with poly people that is a turnoff. People want the danger and excitement that comes with "forbidden" extra-relationship sex.

Assuming your husband is mildly desirable for his age (isn't tremendously overweight, has some sort of interesting life, can talk to members of the opposite sex without creeping them out), here's how this works:

1) Standard meeting new people advice applies. Do things where he is going to meet single women.
2) When dating online, try to preemptively select for people who have generally open views on sexuality.
3) DO NOT TELL PEOPLE HE HIS MARRIED (right away). Certainly don't lie about it if asked, but he doesn't have to advertise it either (i.e., no wedding ring.) For those who know he's married, he doesn't have to tell them his marriage is open either.

At some point, he does need to share that he's married as a basic matter of respect for the other party. And he should ALWAYS be clear that he doesn't see himself as available for a long-term relationship leading to marriage. (This is absolutely important - it's one thing to gloss over the details of why you're not marriage material, but it's absolutely wrong to lead someone to believe your husband can offer a more traditional relationship than he will.) Depending on the woman, he may never want to share that you're absolutely OK with his extracurriculars. Some women prefer to feel like they're stealing than sharing, and perfectly fine to let them have that feeling.

Most importantly, your husband needs to NOT TALK ABOUT YOU with other women. The key is for the other women to feel, at least when they are together, like they are the important woman.

That's why poly men have it harder than poly women - poly women have no problem finding men who just want sex and don't care if they're otherwise the most important man in her life so long as they're getting laid. Poly men, however, are advertising UP FRONT that anyone they see is the non-primary partner, which makes it hard to create that illusion of importance.

Important enough to fuck when it could lead to the end of your marriage is way more important than important enough to fuck when your wife doesn't care who you fuck at all.
@1, I hate screen names & 12, BiDanFan: Raising kids together, sharing daily activities of life- cooking, eating, sharing art and music, making a household work- these don't qualify as having a relationship? What about love? It sounds like LIBIDOS genuinely loves her husband and wishes to keep her relationship with him. What about when one or both partners are no longer able to have sex? Does their relationship suddenly go POOF, regardless of any other connections or how strong they are? Don't the parties involved get to define what a relationship is?
SHRUG-- Use Dan's words to tell your father he's being creepy the first time.

Then, the second time, use the same words, and HANG UP THE PHONE.

There will likely be a 3rd time. Use the same words, explain that you will not talk to someone being creepy, hang up, and leave longer between then and the next phone call. Even if he calls you, say "Nope, I don't talk to creepy guys."

Give him another chance after that, but make it clear that there's a trade. If he wants to talk to you or have any sort of relationship with you, he has to do that at the expense of NOT BEING CREEPY.

He will try to engineer a relationship with you that you can't get out of that easily. Like he'll want to meet with you at a restaurant and start getting creepy when you're in the middle of a meal.
Be aware, and only have anything to do with him when you can shut things down immediately mid-creep. Definitely don't arrange anything where you visit him and stay at his place or he visits you same. Too hard to walk out or throw him out.

Reframe the scenario to the point of realizing that his creepy comments, while small on the scale of sexual crimes, is still a sexual crime. Some part of him somewhere is getting off on making you uncomfortable or in seeing how far he can go before you'll call him on it.

Be dispassionate when you use the same words, broken record style, when calling him out. You don't want him getting off on seeing an emotional display-- which in his mind is feeding his need to make you uncomfortable.

Wait, wait, you say. What if I've got it wrong, and he just doesn't know, what if he's not getting off, he's just 70 years old and that's the way 70 year old men talk? In that case, he'd stop after the first warning, and you don't have to proceed to the hanging up on his phase.
My late dad did that sort of thing all the time, bragging to me on the phone about his raunchy fantasies. I just sort of rolled my eyes & changed the subject. In hindsight, I never came out to him, so maybe he knew or suspected I was gay and this was his way of using some passive-aggressive angle in an effort to pass down his heterosexism to me. Nice try, Dad; sorry it didn't take!
I'm curious about these creepy comments. There's a certain aura of entitlement that many men of a certain generation seems to have when it comes to women. I can't remember how many times I've heard men aged 60 and up comment on a woman's attractiveness to me in a way that seems, if not creepy, and not completely inappropriate, just not appreciated. Dude, I don't care how beautiful or sexy you find a woman. My father, who turns 80 next month, feels the need to keep a running commentary about how cute or pretty women he sees or knows are and he's always got to throw in a comment about an actress' looks. Recently, we were listening to a song by Linda Ronstadt and he commented--again--that she's "gotten really heavy." She's almost 70, for fuck's sake. I said, "well, Dad, sometimes that happens to the best of us. Did you know she has Parkinson's and now she can't sing anymore because she can't control the muscles in her throat? I think that's probably a bigger tragedy than the fact that you don't think she's cute anymore." He seemed abashed, but I don't expect him to not say something like that again; it's too entrenched.

Anyway, those kind of comments could be construed as "creepy," but they don't fall into the "creepy enough to hang up" category to me. Is SHRUG's dad saying something like "I'd really like to bang her," or "nice tits" or what?
@71: "Wait, wait, you say. What if I've got it wrong, and he just doesn't know, what if he's not getting off, he's just 70 years old and that's the way 70 year old men talk?"

I mean, but it's not the case for all of them.

That said...

@23: There's always Trump praising his teenage daughter's breasts and saying that if he wasn't married to her mom that he'd "date" her.
Oops, @21.
LW1-SPANK...Maybe you could take a nice penis-shaped cake down to the old porn actors retirement home...

LW2-SHRUG...Your dad sounds like my friend who has, and never has had, any social filter whatsoever. I'll often say, "Fuck, Tom, that's totally inappropriate!" Goes in one ear and out the other. You'd think he might get a clue sooner or later, but "these people" are totally oblivious, so don't hold out too much hope for change. Still, he is your dad...he might listen if you repeat it enough times. Dan had the right, put on your big girl (or big boy) pants and tell him over and over if necessary. "Don't want hear that shit, pops! It creeps me out!" and "Don't wanna hear that shit, either!" if he goes into his Sorry! So Sorry! routine.

LW3-LIBIDOS...No experience in the "finding people for my spouse to fuck" department, and being a guy, no real-world idea (plenty of fantasy-world ideas) about how the average woman would react if another woman approached her with a "Pardon me, but I'd like you to consider fucking Bob" proposal. Guess you gotta try it to find out. Personally, I'd think long and hard about staying in a marriage where I was thinking, "Bob's OK, but the thought of fucking him makes me shudder! Maybe I can pawn him off on someone who has a stronger gag reflex than me!"

"If you're really sorry, you'll stop apologizing, and you simply won't do it again."
As we age, some things about our brains work less well than they used to. Some people become disinhibited. If they used to think creepy things and keep them to themselves and trusted intimates, now they think creepy things and blurt them out. It can be an issue for people providing elder care.

I think in the previous thread about women preferring cheaters to people in open relationships, the summary was: If they're cheating, that means I'm worth the risk. Hee! If they're in an open relationship... their spouse, who knows them best, doesn't want them. Eeew!

(In neither this thread nor the previous thread has any evidence beyond assertion been produced. While personally I like to see data that a proposed phenomenon is real before trying to explain it, my own experience is always so weird that I don't feel very bad volunteering the data point that I like to know what my status is with someone. 'Mistress' is easy to understand. 'Screwing a poly person who loves at least one other person' is not.)

*** *** ***
In polyamory [many loves], as opposed to other forms of open sexual relationship, yes, one is available for love and 'primary' relationships and even marriage. Poly people do marry more than one person simultaneously (though only one marriage can be legally registered with the state). They might call five people 'partner' and eschew any distinction between primary and secondary. They might live with no, one or two or more partners and metamours [partners of partners].
Gonzo @20: This is why I, too, phrased my comment in the form of a question. I am not saying one way or the other whether such couples can be said to be "in a relationship"; only they can say that.

I will say that the people I know in sexless poly relationships don't have children. For couples who do, staying together platonically does make a lot more sense.

And I agree that love can bind a couple together who aren't interested in sex (with each other) anymore. But I disagree that "it sounds like LIBIDOS genuinely loves her husband." I don't get a sense of love at all; the best she can say is that they are a "good fit otherwise" and that they don't want a divorce, presumably because they know how horrible divorces can be for couples and their kids. "Inertia will keep us together," is it any wonder that song has not cracked the top 40? :)

Aside, I wonder if SHRUG's dad is DRUGS's proudly drug-free-boner-wielding date?
Perhaps the creepy comments are only coming now that SHRUG has reached adulthood, and is his creepy way of attempting to adult-bond with him/her. Doesn't make it right and SHRUG should tell him off.
Alison @28: I must have missed the previous thread about people (I'll assume there are weirdos of both genders who are like this) preferring to cheat than to openly be poly, do you have a link?
@20: One of my aunts became a widow in her late 20s, with three children under 4. Her sister moved in with her to help raise the kids, and never moved out-- not even after the last kid left home. So my two aunts joined participated in "raising kids together, sharing daily activities of life- cooking, eating, sharing art and music, making a household work." And they even loved each other, in a familial way. But they aren't "in a relationship" in the manner we're talking about here.

I think it's fair to say LW isn't just roommates with her husband, if they're jointly raising children and whatnot. But "in a relationship" implies fucking, or at least romantic attachment for the aces out there. If that's not present, then you aren't in a relationship. And being in relationships with other people does not change this fact.
@24: Undead, it is worse than that. He once speculated about how big his then-infant daughter's breasts would be:…

biggie @18, yes, people in open marriages often have a hard time getting the right tone to make a new romantic partner feel appreciated and important, and not just a sexual outlet.

Figuring all that out -- and figuring out what one's own strengths are, in the dating pool -- that's all part of finding one's groove after years without dating.

Re libidos
Thinking about her hubby as he seeks women. I married in my teens. One big reason was that my new wife was hot and the sex was great. Prior to meeting her I was basically invisible to females (amazing! like I am now!) . However, Once I began wearing that gold ring on my left hand I began to be flirted with like, every couple months. This totally messed up my mind, and made me question the whole male-female dynamic. I can only speak for my experience faithful readers know that I "do not make this stuff up".
Re: shrug
I would invoke the "3 strikes rule"
The next time it happens interrupt him and say "OK Dad, that's the 3rd time, it is disgusting and I am hanging up"
Side note here: My 40 year old married-with-children son used the expression "It objectifies women" referring to a TV show the last time I saw him.
I did not respond, but I intend to pay very close attention to any comments I make as regarding the fair sex. I don't want him writing to Dan about his old man.
oh, and Wheeee
I Hate Screen Names: I have more than one set of friends who are married and have sex infrequently enough to qualify for having a sexless marriage (see Wikipedia, which says: A sexless marriage is a marriage in which little or no sexual activity occurs between the two spouses. The US National Health and Social Life Survey in 1994 (Laumann et al. 1994) found that 2% of the married respondents reported no sexual intimacy in the past year. The definition of a non-sexual marriage is often broadened to include those where sexual intimacy occurs fewer than ten times per year, in which case 20 percent of the couples in the National Health and Social Life Survey would be in the category. Newsweek magazine estimates that 15 to 20 percent of couples are in a sexless relationship.[1] Studies show that 10% or less of the married population below age 50 have not had sex in the past year. In addition less than 20% report having sex a few times per year, or even monthly, under the age 40.[2]).

These couples love each other and unless both members of the various couples are lying (which is of course always a possibility), they aren't being unfaithful.

I think they would be rather upset with your characterization of them as not being in a relationship; and just as you don't have to love someone in order to fuck them, you don't need to fuck someone in order to love them. If any of these couples decided to open their marriages, I know for a fact that they and I would describe themselves as polyamorous.

And really, what's it to you how a couple perceives their relationship?
SHRUG: He makes creepy comments

My take - this dysfunction is the direct result of the expectation in American families that everyone pretend they are asexual. When you live in a sexual repressive familial atmosphere like that, you end up with kids who are bizarrely uncomfortable with the fact that their parents are sexual beings. Sometimes you also end up with a dad who overshares and make inappropriate remarks, partly because he can't keep it bottled up and partly as a rebellion against being misclassified as asexual.

Once my 14 year-old daughter got her first serious boyfriend, my wife and I made a point of following the Dutch model in our household where people are allowed/encouraged to talk about sex in an open, honest, and mature way instead of acting like a bunch of developmentally stunted, idiotic, repressed protestants (i.e., the standard dumb-dumb American approach).

And in order to keep the lines of communication open with your kids about sex, they have to accept you as a sexual being, otherwise they'll just get embarrassed and shut down or they'll assume you don't have anything interesting to say beyond what they can find in a text book. Having established our "street credibility", our kids actually ask us questions, many of them personal and explicit, and they actually want to hear the answers. As the father of a teen, I can't tell you what a relief it is to have all this stuff out in the open, to know what your teen is up to, and to know that she's savvy about certain things.
I really have to question why LIBIDOS and her husband are staying together. She has no desire to have sex any longer (although he apparently would continue this aspect of their relationship) and if they can successfully navigate all the practical and emotional steps necessary to make this relationship function (which seems doubtful), they can surely navigate a divorce in which they can remain committed co-parents.

As LIBIDOS letter makes clear, watching his wife participate in an active sex life which has ceased to include him, while he is not having sex is extraordinarily demoralizing. And while men happily have sex with a married women (no questions asked), the same is not true of married men. I think LIBIDOS husband needs out of this marriage so he can work on finding a new romantic partner outside the constraints of his marriage.
@BiDanFan: I must have missed the previous thread about people ...preferring to cheat than to openly be poly

There have been a lot of discussions about this ("this" being that women generally prefer male cheaters over males in open relationships). The idea started with a letter a few years ago from a man in an open relationship who couldn't get laid telling women he was poly but could if he told them he was cheating, and he wondered whether telling this particular lie was unethical.

Lots of commenters have offered anecdotal corroboration of his experience, although like @Alison, I'd love to see some actual data.
@36: The daughter growing up "repressed" might have something to do with the fathers creepiness, but exactly the opposite of what you're implying here. The dad who plays some weird virgin/whore complex upon her is more likely to say creepy things to women in general than someone with healthy attitudes towards sex and love.
"partly because he can't keep it bottled up and partly as a rebellion against being misclassified as asexual."

Lol, yes, of course, all creeps are "rebelling" against their lack of concern for expressing being a sexual being with family, that must be it. Seriously, do you think about these things before saying them, sean?

Part of having a healthy American attitude towards sex also involves boundaries which need to be set and respected. Creepy dudes oversharing is the dominant culture, not a reaction to the dominant culture.
It surprises me that people don't understand why a woman would rather be with a cheating man than to be with a man who is in an open relationship. I feel this way myself, so I will explain why.hoice.

It is not because I think I can steal the man from his partner. In fact one reason I have enjoyed being "the other woman" is that the lack of commitment is attractive to me. What's nice is that a man who is cheating with me has a secret. He will not be discussing me with his partner, and hopefully not with others.

The idea that I would be known to, and discussed with, my lover's partner would bother me. The idea that I might be entertainment for them is insulting to me. Also the possibility that I might be expected to meet the primary partner, or know anything about her, is annoying.

In short, open relationships suggest complexity and drama to me, where cheating is simple and private.
@ 42: Where would you place honesty and respect?
BiDanFan @29, I Hate Screen Names @31 & SublimeAfterglow @37, Did we all read the same letter? From her letter, LIBIDOS states:

"Before I go on, let me say that I adore my husband in all ways except sex."
@44/gonzo: Yes, that her position. Everything is great, I'm just never going to have sex with my husband again (unless I really, really, really have to), but I'm going to have a very active sex life with other men.

We haven't heard from LIBIDOS' husband, but LIBIDOS does make it sound like he is unhappy with that arrangement because (1) it is easy for a heterosexual woman to get sex, (2) being married isn't an impediment to getting sex for women outside her marriage (because men don't care), (3) it's harder for a heterosexual man to get sex, (4) being married makes getting sex (outside his marriage) even more difficult.

So knowing what we know, I think divorce is a better option for them both because their aggregate happiness will go up.
@44: Did you stop reading after that sentence? Let's look at the next one as well:
Before I go on, let me say that I adore my husband in all ways except sex. We are raising a child together and are a good fit otherwise.
Not that her husband is charming, smart, romantic, or any of the other things people cite when they gush about those they "adore." Instead, she says "we are raising a child together and are a good fit otherwise." As BiDanFan pointed out @29, that does not look like a romantic relationship. It's a listing of practical reasons to stay in a business-like partnership.

However, I confess I'm viewing LIBIDOS' "adore" claim with some suspicion. I can understand not wanting to fuck at all, or not being able to fuck at all. What I don't understand is wanting to fuck other people while simultaneously not wanting to fuck the person you supposedly love. Maybe if the guy has completely let himself go, or if he's deteriorated to the point where she's become his caregiver. But I don't see any indication of those special cases.

They're both sexually active, and sexually attractive enough to pick up outside partners. She just has zero desire to fuck him. I can't see any way to reconcile that with her assertion that she "adores" her husband.
The guy LIBIDO lives with should be long gone. He doesn't have a wife he has a room mate. One who despite her protestations is using him.
LIBIDOS husband should be long gone. He doesn't have a wife he has a room mate. One who despite her protestations is using him.
@undead: all creeps are "rebelling"

Feel free to disagree with me - I'm just spit-balling here - but this isn't even what I said. Not even close.

Seriously, do you think about these things before saying them, sean?

Do you actually read what I write, or do you just use my posts as an excuse to start banging out your contempt for me, predictable and boring as it is?

Creepy dudes oversharing is the dominant culture

Parents discussing their sexuality with their kids is certainly NOT the dominant culture in this country. This isn't even controversial.

As for men more generally oversharing their sexuality, that's tangential to my point. However, when I compare your factory-made, store-bought opinion with, say, our legal system's harsh civil penalties for sexual harassment and even harsher criminal penalties for sex offenses, I have to conclude that the dominant culture has a more complicated relationship with male sexuality than could be fathomed by your cold, dark mind.

Finally, for what it's worth, I do believe that male sexual deviancy and aggression are positively correlated with sexually repressive cultural forces. The male libido is a powerful motivator, and when you mix it with shame and self-loathing and then lock it in a closet to sit by itself and fester, it's unlikely results are going to be positive. The fact that rape has gone down while access to porn has gone up, for example, provides some support for this idea.
@Chase: Where would you place honesty and respect

From what I've seen, most women will only sleep with honest and respectful cheaters.
I see large quantities of seniors, and see much of the same thing that Ms Cute reports. In my case, it's probably more concentrated in a few people, but they are really horrible, and require correcting on a regular basis.
@49. I'm pretty sure there are cultural groups around the world where rape isn't prevalent or porn watched. So be careful with your cause and effect statements.
Talking about sex with one's children, rather being available to talk of it, is beneficial. If they take up the opportunity. Overall, mine didn't.
The LW is talking of her/ his father, when the LW is a full adult. Not a child or young adolescent.
When you talk of male shame, what does that mean for you.

@46 It is easy to reconcile. Sexual chemistry fades long before love does in a long term relationship. In some relationships, it fades to nothing. Without sexual chemistry, sex becomes boring. That's why sex in the beginning of a relationship is always more exciting than several years in.
SHRUG: A lack of impulse control can be a symptom of dementia, stroke or other illness affecting the brain. If your dad's over-sharing is something new, his doctor should be notified and he should get a full neurological work up.
Well, I guess I'm a bit of a Poly Anna (get it?), as I've clearly underestimated humans' propensity to behave unethically even when an ethical option is available.

Ella @42: Thanks for chiming in. I sort of see it, but do you have any sense of morality at all? Have you attempted to put yourself into the place of the wife? I'm asking this as a serious question, not as an attack on you. Do you realise that there is not necessarily any "commitment" in being a poly secondary? You can still walk away whenever you want. You don't have to meet the metamour. And I can't imagine much more "complexity and drama" than having to weave a web of lies just to spend time with your lover. Does the idea of what happens if/when you get caught enter your mind? Also, having read this thread, consider the possibility that your lover is lying to you rather than lying to his wife, and is in fact discussing your every move together with her. Does that give you pause?

Gonzo @44: Fair, I did miss that sentence. The tone of the rest of the letter was very dispassionate and matter-of-fact. IHSN has covered it well @46.

Sean @49: "your factory-made, store-bought opinion"
That's a low blow, Sean. I share that opinion. Maybe within families is the exception, but society is teeming with men forcing their sexuality onto women (note: there is no indication that SHRUG is a woman) in myriad ways, from street harassment to rape to lewd comments in boardrooms to ubiquitous female flesh in advertising. Arguing that (straight) men's sexuality is repressed in society is pretty laughable.

Sean @50: "From what I've seen, most women will only sleep with honest and respectful cheaters." Haha. And I only eat halal pork.
"He's moody and grey; she's mean and she's restless..."

Ms Fan - Were you among the assembled company when the question arose of how to verify that a married person claiming to have a DADT marriage was being truthful without violating the DADT agreement? I recall several participants' expressions of disdain for DADT agreements, and a bit of a triumph for Dr Sean, but I can't recall whether you were among those present or not.
Sean@49. ' the male libido is a powerful motivator'; this I agree with. Though I call it the male principle, of which the libido is a big part. I have watched the male Tibetan Buddhist Teachers, men who have taken vows of celibacy. Their ability to sublimate their male charge has made many of them exceptionally wise and powerful men.
Sublimation is what keeps a culture going. Otherwise we'd all be off in the alleys fucking each other all the time.
Venn @56: I did a search of Sean's posts looking for DADT. I didn't find the discussion you referenced, but I did find an earlier reference to some women preferring affairs to being a secondary, a discussion which I did in fact miss:…

I do think there is a moral difference between getting involved with someone who professes to be in a DADT relationship -- though they could well be lying and how would you know? -- and someone who you KNOW is not meant to be having sex with anyone else. "I didn't know jaywalking was illegal in this country" is not the same as knowing jaywalking is illegal and doing it anyway. If the person says they are in a DADT relationship and aren't, they're the only one who's lied. To both parties. If you know they're cheating, you have a larger share of the blame.
@53: Quoting again from the letter:
Whenever we would have sex in the past, I would get anxious and try to avoid it. We each have our issues. He feels insecure and has trouble maintaining erections. I always felt desexualized—not by him, but when I was younger.
She didn't start out madly into fucking her husband. She never liked fucking him. Before they were poly she probably did so out of obligation, and/or her own sexual needs. That kid came from somewhere! But now that she can fuck other people, she sees no need to ever fuck her husband ever again. I'm just not seeing the love here.
@42: Ella May, you say this: "What's nice is that a man who is cheating with me has a secret. He will not be discussing me with his partner, and hopefully not with others.
The idea that I would be known to, and discussed with, my lover's partner would bother me. The idea that I might be entertainment for them is insulting to me. Also the possibility that I might be expected to meet the primary partner, or know anything about her, is annoying."

I'm not sure what you think will happen if your lover's partner knows about you. I don't think that any conversations they would have about you would be too personal or revelatory. If you're having a thing with X, say, who is married to Y, who knows that you and X are dating, this might be the extent of the conversations they have about you:
X: "Hey, I'm going out tonight."
Y: "Who with?"
X: "Ella May. I shouldn't be out too late. Probably back around 10:30."
Y: "Okay. Did you remember to pick up the dry cleaning yesterday? I need my ivory blouse."

Maybe occasionally, X will say something like "Ella May says we have to try the new Bulgarian restaurant on 65th street."

This conversation is likely:
Y: "What movie do you want to see?"
X: "Ella May just saw the Jim Jarmusch retrospective. She really liked Dead Man with early Johnny Depp"
Y: "Nah, I want to see something first-run. What about the new Jungle Book?"
X: "Okay."

Sometimes the following conversation might take place:
Y: "Are we going to the movies?"
X: "Yeah. Hey, I thought Ella May might want to join us."
Y: "Sure; why don't you ask her."
X to Ella May: "Y and I are going to see The Jungle Book tomorrow. Want to join us?"
Ella May: "You know, I really don't want to meet your primary partner. I want our relationship to be between just us."
X: "Okay."
X to Y: "I asked Ella May if she wanted to to come to the movies with us and she said no."
Y: "Oh. Okay."
X: "In fact, she said she didn't want to meet you."
Y: "Okay, I understand. But she doesn't think that you and I are going to split up, does she? Have you been clear with her?"
X: "Yeah."
Y: "Alright then."

I have three FWBs who are ethically non-monogamous and married. One of their wives doesn't want to know anything about her husband's other partners other than the fact that they exist and that that's where he is when is isn't home. She wants no details, no re-telling of funny stories, no possible interaction herself with the women. One man's wife knows who we are by name and has either seen us or photos of us (us being the other women), and I don't know if she knows anything more. I am not aware of a prohibition against talking about us, but I don't ever hear about her, and don't know what she knows or wants to know. One of my friends tells me non-sexual stories about his wife from time to time. He often tells me he thinks we'd be great friends, that we have so much in common. He's not trying to get us into a threesome, which I am not interested in. We once had a lunch date together, the three of us, and it was a bit awkward, but not at all unpleasant. I just loaned her a book through him as a courier.

But just as none of them ever tells me any details at all about the sex lives they have with their wives or other partners, I'm pretty sure that they aren't coming home and saying, "Guess what Nocute and I did?" I'm confident that if a wife makes a disparaging comment about herself ("I hate my ugly cellulite") none of them reveals anything about me in response ("Don't worry; you look fine--you should see Nocute's cellulite: it's much worse than yours").

You say you would be insulted at the idea that you "might be entertainment for them." I don't think they're having a laugh at my expense. If by "entertainment," you mean that some sexy references to me are used as fodder for a hot time had by them, well, I look on that as a compliment.

Lastly, you said: "In short, open relationships suggest complexity and drama to me, where cheating is simple and private." I've been in secret affairs and the non-primary partner in open relationships, and in my experience, there is nothing simple about the emotional drama and the necessity for secrecy and painstaking attention to detail to avoid getting caught, not to mention the complicating factors of stress and guilt. I find, from my side as the non-primary partner, anyway, no drama at all in my FWBs with ethical non-monogamists, and the only "complexity" is the usual logistical stuff of putting dates on the calendar.
nocute @ 60
"Ella May just saw the Jim Jarmusch retrospective. She really liked Dead Man with early Johnny Depp"

She should also watch “Down by Law” with then-nobody Roberto Benigni. He made me laugh for a week when I first saw it many years ago. Co-workers really wondered…
In other news: gender-bathroom laws and phobia are hurting mostly cis women:
Female born who may look masculine to others report a rise in bathroom harassments (which may or may not explain why the piece appears in the “beauty” section):…
@CMD: "I-Scream-a-You-Scream-a-We-All-Scream-a-For-I-Screma-a . . . "
Nocute @60: Word. The word "entertainment" also jumped out at me. What sort of "entertainment" does she envision she might be? That they'll be laughing at her behind her back? That he'll replay their sexual interludes for his wife's titillation? Trust me, we really don't want to know the details.
Ms Cute - I suppose we could say there's something simple in that cheating comes with a ready-made script, but that seems a bit of a stretch.

As for "entertainment", that makes me think of The Nice and the Good.
@53: "always"? I beg to differ.
@60, @64: Some ethically non-monogamous people do enjoy hearing about their partner's extracurricular sexual escapades. That's one of the reasons to do it.
@67 - but if it's ethical, then it's only with the knowledge and consent of the outside person, so Ella May @42 could just say, "I'd rather you didn't share our sexual life with your spouse."
@59 IHSN: she acknowledges that she and her husband had sexual issues, is not saying there is no love there. It's saying their mutual sexual problems existed from the start.
@68; agree Erica. I'd hate to know my private sexual encounter with a man becoming gossip fodder he'd share with anyone. Except maybe his therapist.
@68: Sure - just as someone about to engage in a one-night-stand is free to say "I'd rather you didn't tell any of your friends about this."
Sean; I do commend you on talking with your 14 yr old daughter. That is an important guide for a girl, her father's advice.
My dad of course never mentioned it to me. Even after I started school across the other side of Sydney, where each morning and afternoon getting to school, I had to walk thru King's Cross, the notorious, at the time, red
light/ clubs/ drugs suburb of Sydney.
Thanks dad for the heads up.
@ 67 (Chase): Sure they do. But I don't think they're making fun of anyone. Personally, I wouldn't mind a bit if someone told their spouse a funny story I'd told or said something complimentary about me, or used one of our sexual encounters as narration to get off with later.
I can always say, "I'd rather you didn't tell your spouse any of this." How would I whether that request was honored, if I didn't want to have any contact with the spouse? I would assume that it is. Or if I thought that my partner--my ongoing partner--was going to disregard my explicit preference in terms of telling someone something, I don't think I would trust him enough to continue the relationship.
LIBIDOS husband seems to have very low self esteem & issues - has he seen a therapist? Their marriage seems completely Fawked Up. Also, how about a sex pro for a few sessions with him to help take his edge off ?
nocutename @73: No, I wouldn't think they'd make fun of the third party. If anything shared sexy stories would be flattering, I would imagine. I don't understand why anyone would date or sleep with someone they felt might make fun of them with another partner, but then I also don't understand why anyone would be foolish enough to trust a partner who is already cheating on their spouse. Cheating is only simple and private as long as there's no chance of anyone ever finding out.
(There is, I suppose, such a thing as "disclosure monogamy" (just as there is such a thing as body-fluid monogamy), where the married person tells their spouse about their adventures but doesn't tell anyone else about what happens between them and their spouse. I can see someone who was not comfortable as a secondary partner being uncomfortable with that.)
Many people (some of whom are regular contributors to this thread) find themselves in long term, committed relationships in which the sex part no longer works or doesn't work so well. The reasons are legion, but one common one is getting married before having a good understanding of what makes you light up sexually. This seems to be the case for LIBIDOS. Right now the wife is getting some hot sex. The husband is not and things sexual in the relationship are unequal and unfair. That doesn't make her a bad person. Personally, I have the deepest sympathy for people in such circumstances. When she says she adores her husband, I take it at face value. When she says her relationship works well in other ways and she wants to maintain it, I take that at face value also. We can theorize endlessly about what the husband thinks or how he feels, but the fact is he didn't write in, and any conclusions on that front are speculation. LIBIDOS is troubled by the situation, so she writes for advice- some new perspective, some new ideas, some way to make things better. She's trying to figure it out. Good for her, I say.
@77: Thank you, gonzo. My sentiments exactly.
So the first situation isn't really "poly", it's really an open marriage, right? Cause they aren't banging each other. You have to be a pretty confident man to get play when you're married. Many, many women want their own man (perhaps it's nature?) so they're not really in to being the side piece. If I were husband, I'd just call a divorce attorney and move on.
@74: I'd have self esteem issues if my wife were out getting laid on the reg and wasn't so much as blowing me on occassion. It would be humiliating.
@80 I mean the self-esteem issue is that he's still in that situation and hasn't moved on. It sounds miserable. And surely their kids notice the frustration/weirdness. Also very curious as to what happened to his previous lover
@12 Duh, if you are cheating, you are validating that the woman you are cheating with is so much hotter/more awesome/more desirable than your present person. Never underestimate how much it turns a woman on to feel like they're superior to some other woman.
Ms(?) Gonzo - Agreed; what you say doesn't make her a bad person doesn't make her a bad person. And it is to her credit that she doesn't just want her husband to "get with the program". She more or less has it all for her own life at the moment, but at least partly recognizes that she won't have it all indefinitely if her husband doesn't feel he has enough.

What I wonder is whether, if there were a pill that would make her husband happy with the current situation as a permanency, she would give it to him without his knowledge.
What a turn of mind you have, Venn.
I'm going to buck the trend here and say... tough fella, thems the breaks.
With provisos; has the LW owned to her husband she no longer wants to have sex with him.
Do they sleep in seperate rooms.
I'm not saying the LW shouldn't feel concerned for her housemate/ ex sex mate, I just don't think she should feel responsible. And quit calling yourselves poly or any variation of a sexual relationship. Co parents and housemates are the relationships I'm hearing.
Maybe it's not sustainable, maybe his resentment will grow to be too much. This could be the looming problem here, unless he finds a new beau. I don't see he needs to say he's in any romantic relationship to new women. I'd suggest he say he's free to pursue a romance, it's just he lives with his child and that child's mother.
Mr. Ven, I just got my first Iris Murdoch: The Bell. I'm looking forward to starting it.
Fetish @82: No condescending "duh" was necessary. And no, actually, if you are cheating you are only validating that you are a person with a very low sense of ethics. It's really not about the cheatee. The cheatee could be anybody. (Yes, I do get that this takes time and mistake-making to learn.)

I guess having good self-esteem, I never felt the need to prove I was "superior to some other woman" by being used by someone who loved her enough to marry her. Oh wait.
Ms Lava - With many LWs, I get a firm sense they *would* give a partner of whom they complain such a pill. Many letters are basically the question, "How can I get my partner to do what I want?" This letter isn't clearly in that category.

I want a deeper look at two things. One is the difference between negative desire and the lack of positive desire; could LW get herself to a point at which Taking One For The Marriage would basically be something she could view as just part of being GGG, or would she rather have a root canal with insufficient anaesthesia? The second is her statement that, when he had a girlfriend, their sex life was *less of* an issue.
Ms Cute - You'll likely enjoy the sense of social history, given the novel's examination of the SS condition; there are one or two things one doesn't see often, which I shan't spoil for you.

Aside from the rude "duh," I think that is why (some) men like to nail a married woman. It's not just sex, it's about being better than the husband.
@82 In one of the outside relationships I had, the other woman was also married. WE met during a sales call. We had extensive discussions about why we were attracted to each other and the realities of our lives. We both agreed that we wished to stay with our spouses, but wanted to explore intimacy between the two of us. The second time we met after we initiated intimacy she asked me a million questions about my wife. At first I went along with it, and answered honestly, but then became uncomfortable. She even intimated that she wanted to meet her. I asked her straight out, "I don't see what my wife has to do with you and me?"
Her answer shocked me:.."I want to know who I am competing with" .
I immediately went back to our very early discussion about how we were not going to leave our spouses. "You and I are apart from our spouses;.... remember?. There is no competition. We are not going to include her OR your husband in this".
This devolved into an argument that was never resolved, and I avoided all future intimacy and slowly backed away from the relationship. It eventually ended without our spouses ever meeting.
Looking back from a perspective of a couple decades, I think she would have agreed to just about any conditions to start a relationship with me, and her real motivation was not necessarily to sleep with me, but rather to begin a relationship with the 4 of us, and do so without telling me beforehand. I feel very lucky to have exited that situation more-or-less intact.
I've had secret affairs and I've dated men who are in open marriages, and for me there are many differences between the two.

I would say that in my experience, the secret affair lends itself to a sense of urgency, of emotional intensity that dating someone in an open marriage doesn't. It's forbidden love (or at least forbidden sex), which is a very powerful agent at pulling people in together; they share a secret, they share a bond that can't be stopped, that would have real and possibly disastrous consequences were it to become known. It's powerful, that relationship: it has the power to break up a marriage, should it be found out. It was easy to feel swept away by it. There's an excitement to the the clandestine nature of it. The sex feels--and to an extent is--dangerous, even if all you're doing is PIV in the missionary position in a cheap motel.

And yes, there is a sense of competition (for both parties, if both are married or otherwise partnered) and of validation--after all, you are the preferred partner to the official one--but that's not all it is. It's also the sense that you are so special that someone would risk everything for you. It is compelling. In my case, no lover ever left his wife for me, and I think that's usually how it goes. Ultimately, I was left bereft. My heart got involved more than once.

By contrast, dating a man in an open relationship is . . . well, it's more open. It's less intense. There may be more genuine friendship, but there is less need or urgency, and less a feeling of being consumed by the relationship. Without the secrecy, without the risk, the stakes are lower and that translates into much less an emotional involvement, for me. When you are having a secret affair, there is the presumption that there is a chink in the bond between spouses--after all, if they were satisfied, they wouldn't be cheating. There's space for you in that chink as a wedge. Sometimes that wedge make the chink wider and finally the bond cracks in half. That might be what some women go in consciously hoping for, or it might just be a feeling, a feeling rooted in reality. When you are dating someone who's in an open marriage, you know that the bond between the spouses is still tight, it's tight enough to allow for you to not be a threat, it's tight enough for the spouse to know about you and your relationship. In my case, all the married men I have dated are still having lots of very satisfying sex with their wives, as well as having other partners besides me. Everything about our relationship seems casual and low-emotional investment and good natured.

It's fun. It provides me some great conversations and the occasional movie or whatnot, and great, imaginative, no-strings sex. But weeks might go by between any contact at all, because we are not super important in each others lives (this is just my experience--I'm not saying all are like this). Based on my former experiences of secret affairs, I was concerned that I would become too emotionally involved with a man who is unavailable, but that turned out to to be the case, even though I genuinely like these guys a lot. It's like the way I get when I know there is absolutely no possibility of masturbating: something in me just shuts itself off and there's no conflict or tension. I was very happily surprised: there is less the emotional high of clandestine, it-was-meant-to-be, forbidden love, and more a nice warm feeling of friendship with truly fun benefits.

And for me, there is also the sense that I am living with integrity and that my actions aren't causing pain to anyone else and that my own heart is protected. I like those things.
@91 She kept up insisting that she should meet my wife, and I should meet her husband.
Her position was that the 4 of us could be friends and neither spouse need know that she and I had become intimate. Years after we broke up, I changed careers, and opened a small business. She brought her hubby into my shop and he became a customer of mine, but all the while I kept worrying that she was going to "out" our past affair. AFAIK she never did, but I deeply regretted ever getting into a relationship with her.
@83: Yes, I think she'd slip the husband such a pill in a hot minute.
@BiDanFan: Can you give me some examples where the expression of male sexuality is reinforced or welcomed by the "dominant culture". As someone who puts some effort into trying to be a sexy man, I'm genuinely interested.

I've found that there are very few (straight) venues where this kind of expression is welcome. The dance floor is one of them. Parties attended by the kind of freaks who go to burning man are another. These are very much subcultures, however.

If you look at mainstream male fashion, it's all suits, prep, and bland dad clothes. No slits to show off a little leg. No cutoff shirts to show off one's abs. I've got some wife-beater tanks to show off my arms, but I'd be socially shunned if I wore them anywhere besides burning man - unlike women, I'm expected to have my shoulders covered if I'm going anywhere nice. I do have some pants that show off bulge, but I bought them at a gay clothing store. Americans are generally squicked out by men in speedo swimsuits.

Outside of certain subcultures, any explicit reference to my sexuality is going to be quite unwelcome. Straight men certainly aren't interested. Straight women aren't either, for the most part. Sure, if I were an asshole, I could ignore the rules and impose my sexuality on people anyway. But I'd ignoring the rules, not following them, and I'd be risking (potentially) severe social consequences.
@77/Gonzo: While I don't think LIBIDOS is evil, I do think she is a bit selfish, and we don't have to speculate that LIBIDOS husband is unhappy. LIBIDOS wrote about his frustrations with the circumstances of their marriage, and LIBIDOS wouldn't be writing in about whether she should have sex with her husband if he was still not expressing a desire to continue their sexual relationship. In this regard, @87/vennominon highlights and important point. Even when LIBIDOS husband had a girlfriend, being in a sexless marriage was still an issue for LIBIDOS husband.

As to whether LIBIDOS has made the necessary disclosures that @41/marilynsue and @84/LavaGirl allude needed to be made when LIBIDOS decided to change the terms of their marriage, I think the odds are remote that LIBIDOS husband has knowingly agreed to continue in sexless marriage in which his wife had an active sex life with other men.
I also have to wonder what LIBIDOS anticipates for the marriage in a few years when the child they are raising leaves home for college. Absent the constraint imposed by child rearing, will LIBIDOS be telling her husband on a regular basis, "Hey, X and I are going away for the week. See you when I get back, and try to get out and have fun."
@96 My Miss N has a theory that people stay in a marriage that has become unhappy or unfulfilling until they meet someone with whom they regain what they had when they started out with their first marriage. WE have had at least 3 acquaintances who split up after 30 + years when one partner found that person, and decided to bolt.
When these breakups occur, it affects my standing in my own marriage. Sometimes Miss N. suddenly sees me as a more valuable mate, sometimes she sees me as untrustworthy, and unreliable. My position is that I am solid, dependable, and nothing if not predictable.
@92 @nocutename - I tend to think most married men engaged in affairs are not doing risk management in that way (willing to risk their marriage only because the affair partner is their preferred partner). I could be wrong, but I think usually there is an assumption that one will not be caught. So sometimes the desire for the affair partner exceeds the desire for the spouse and other times it's just opportunistic extramarital fucking with a belief that nobody will ever find out. And I'm sure there are many more reasons, like the intoxicating feeling of being desired by another person, especially if one doesn't feel desired by their spouse. And of course some people really like the risk aspect and get off on that element alone.
Ms Cute - That is a valuable expert opinion. You've been the 40-something woman with an empowering sex life, and I have not.


Dr Sean - I'm sure there are others more expert than I, but my guess is that you'll be told Society caters to the (Straight) Male Gaze, which explains the limited options in menswear.
I had an extremely dysfunctional relationship with my mother. She seemed to find sadistic glee in making me upset/uncomfortable by talking about her sex life and other TMI subjects. I eventually got myself worked up to having the strength to shout over her (she never allowed space for me to talk, because she knew I would ask her to stop) "I'm not discussing this, gotta go!" After I'd hang up, she would call back, laughing, and try to continue. After repeating my statement, I'd turn off my phone. All messages were listened to by my husband so I wouldn't have to hear them, and then deleted. She never truly got the message, but she's now fully out of my life and I have never been happier or healthier.
@101, we are siblings then. 40 years of trying to get her to shut up about her sex life (starting long before puberty) made me a mess. You can be sexually harassed by anyone more powerful than you, including a parent.

Hermit sweetie, I'm very sorry. You don't deserve this. Did you know this falls under the kind of emotional abuse that a judge will grant a restraining order over?

Fichu had some good ideas about how to handle certain kinds of recalcitrant harassment. But, honestly, the people who do this for sport usually can't be reasoned with. And I know, Allison, that older people lose inhibitory brain cells first, but it sounds like this has been going on for a while.

@73 nocutename - Sometime last year I met a guy who gets off on knowing the details of my sex with others. Sometimes it feels fun, sometimes it feels intrusive, but it got me in the habit of specifically asking my sex partners if I could share intimate details of our sex. Every single guy said yes without hesitation. And I'll admit that through this process, I've come to really enjoy hearing about other women, as well.
@95sean dr - your example of social acceptability of male flesh vs female flesh IS an example of how straight male sexuality is reinforced.

The acceptability of female flesh is not in its display for her sexual self expression and sexual agency. It's acceptable as an object of male sexual desire. "Hot" women are allowed much more leeway in dress. Fat and older women are often discouraged from being seen much at all, let alone displayed sexually.
@99: Future, I only had two affairs with married men (or perhaps I should say that only had affairs with two married men). I'm not sure what you meant when you said you didn't think that most married men are doing risk assessment that way. What way did you mean? Both times, the men went to great lengths to keep the affair hidden, as in both cases they were sure that the discovery of their infidelity would end the marriage (I'm sure in one of the cases that was the case; less so in the other--I suspect that ultimately the wife would have stayed, but it would have been a tough time).

I think both men were absolutely ready to have un-emotionally-involved sex, but they did very careful risk-assessment to everything. They were not impulsive about how they conducted their affairs, even if those affairs were instigated by a reckless feeling. Nothing was spontaneous; everything was carefully planned.

In one case, the man and I fell in love, which neither of us expected or was seeking. But we fell in love after we had started the affair, not beforehand. The affairs were both begun deliberately and fairly cold-bloodedly.
I wasn't trying to steal anyone from his wife (and ultimately, I never did). I wasn't thinking that I wanted to feel superior to any woman (and I never did, either).

But there was so much involved in keeping things secret and still communicating. It all led to a very Romeo-and-Julietish feeling, for both of us.
@106 nocutename - I don't think we're too far off in what we're saying. Initially I thought you were either saying that men engaged in affairs always have a sexual and/or romantic preference for their affair partner, otherwise they wouldn't take the risk, or perhaps you were saying that's what many women wish to believe, I'm not sure. I was just saying I think that is sometimes true, sometimes not, and would be a pretty poor assumption for a woman to make in many cases.
@101 Hermit: I am really sorry to read about what you had to endure with your mother. That's awful. You didn't deserve that. I hope everything works out well for you.

Dan and a lot of regulars already know about my dysfunctional upbringing, so for those of you who know and wish to skip over my docu-novel, feel free to do so. I have to admit, though, it's nice to be able to vent one's frustrations and get (preferably positive) feedback and encouragement once in a blue moon.
Long: My situation is different (neither of my parents said much about sex--in my presence, anyway) , but has some similarities in that my family members have used, abused, and taken me, the course of my life and belongings shamefully for granted. The role-playing is pathetic from within my remaining family circus. As the youngest in my immediate family, my three much older sibs see me as the baby and an outsider of which my two controlling, manipulative sisters feel they have a bill of sale on me, and that I owe them my life. In order to maintain my own self preservation from unwanted or unneeded meddling, repression, or exhaustively drawn out melodramas (particularly from my oldest sister, convinced she's really my mother--! Yeah, I know) I have put my equally dysfunctional siblings--by blood and family name only---on call block. Luckily they don't write, email, or call anymore. Hopefully when public schools dismiss for summer vacation, I won't have any further problems with forced upon "visits". These are nothing more than thinly disguised, unwanted impositions in which both my sisters can come over to disrupt my daily routine to suit their own selfish needs and agendas. Since neither one can call to harass me anymore, and I have wised up about not calling them (my oldest sis's idea of calling to "talk" really means she's dying to start and prolong a fight in her desperate attempt to reorganize my life).
Basically, I'm doing the only healthy and sane thing I can do: cut the ties that gag me and completely let go of three fully grown, selfish, unappreciative, ungrateful and irresponsible brats. They're in their late fifties and early sixties, and with very little more than middle school mentalities remain the same ones had once lobbied hard for a big, shaggy, rambunctious dog whose company they often preferred over mine. 'Out of my way / room you dumb kid.. leave us alone, yadda yadda yadda' and / or 'ohhh, you just don't love dogs' when our family pooch knocked me, as a toddler, over for the upteenth time and everyone thought that was SO funny. This could explain why, while I don't necessarily hate canines--I do like most dogs--the friendly non-aggressive ones, anyway--I'm considerably more of a cat person, myself. I swear, I was the lone Garfield in a room full of slobbering Odies who were in junior and senior high school when I started kindergarten. That was way back when.

Fast forward to 2016: Now that both our parents have passed away---oh, God!--we're the adults now (one would think). Suddenly my only brother, a world dodge ball champion since the 1970's, and whose only family obligation was serving as our late parents' executor of their estate, and despite his doing a quietly efficient job years after avoiding the rest of us, Mom and Dad included--whether from 1,200 or 12,000 miles away, Peter Pan is shocked and angered at my cutting ties with our sisters. So be it; I have now cut ties with him too, sadly. But it's all for the best, especially if my brother has elected to take the safe, chickenshit way out and side with our overbearing sisters. He says he won't argue, but can't--or won't---admit to seeing this from his comfortable distance: 'What if they tried to reach you in an emergency?!'---okay, well, oldest sis's idea of an 'emergency' is letting her laundry pile up until she has no clean clothes, towels or bedding, and then she's out of detergent, aaaand..her dog just pooped on the kitchen floor...and....'. I wish no ill will, but to just peacefully live my life and go the infinitely much healthier direction I choose. Meanwhile my brother divorced his wife of many years for someone else, won't say any more (okay, that's none of my business, but so why is big bro all Uncle Fester in Addams Family Values?), and I find out that his ex was the one pretty much dragging him by his ear to his folks and sisters--and now has what limited ties he still has via Facebook, email, etc. His life, and I have mine. A little weird after all this time of their casting the one much younger sib aside to suddenly preach about honoring some precious family values ('Mom and Dad would want [our sisters] to stay in touch [with me; preferably not so much with him]').
I honestly do not see how my borrowing a page from my successfully elusive, absentee brother's Silver Linings Playbook---living my own life and minding my own business---could so objectionable or problematic. None of them wanted me around, anyway. At family gatherings, I was considered the black sheep if not a public embarrassment.

Short: my only option at this point in my life is to choose my battles, cut short leashes, choke chains, muzzles, apron strings and leg sheckles, and run. They can't harass me if they can't reach me.