Savage Love

Don't Fuck Nazis


PH can reach out to her father in an email, as Dan suggests. She _could_ make some gesture towards explaining why she angrily cut him from her life: 'as a teen, I couldn't see beyond your betrayal (as I understood it) of my mother'. But she needn't even do that. He should have stuck around regardless, been somehow accessible, yes? Ready in cases of emergency, or if she and her brother wanted to get in touch? (But this won't always be possible; perhaps wasn't, in this case). Whether he fought against the estrangement or connived in it guiltily or apathetically (or anything else), I'm hoping he will be pleased to hear from his daughter again. Anything honest and straightforward PH says, from his viewpoint, should be better than silence.

I think PH should be prepared for complexity and ambivalence, two steps forward and one step back, in her relations with her father. (I think she is). Maybe he was a great father, but it's also possible she's idealizing after the years has passed. He could also have been a better or just more forgivable husband, as Dan suggests, than she can grant. She won't simply be going back to an old parent-child relationship but, with difficulty, crafting a new one.
@RNSMN - get the crazy pills. Please.
LW1- I want to believe that your father always loved you and still does.
Regardless, you’re taking a huge risk and should be commanded for it. You’re also doing the right thing regardless of the outcome.
Dan is right to point to an email-first process. This will allow all parties involved to rethink, rewrite, configure, and reconfigure their moves. It is a delicate situation that requires delicate approach.
Reading your letter I suspect things will get better between you two. But just in case they don’t, it is also my impression that it’s not likely to be your fault. Accept any outcome and move on. At least now you know.
LW2- A weekly paid session with a therapist may not be enough for you. You may need a network of peers who understand where you come from. Consider sharing free of charge time with people who may have slightly different struggles, yet also compensate for life hardships with what may come across as demoralizing acts of sex, those that make them feel ashamed and further demoralized once it’s over.

I’m talking about the much Savage-maligned 12 steps, particularly SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous.)
Yes, there used to be a religious component to it. It bothered me too, and I’m still an atheist.
Regardless, it’s what YOU make of it.

I was referred to the program by a therapist in order to arrest “compulsive behavior” and save my marriage. After few years I actually learned to accept and embrace my feminine self. Folks in the program also helped me deal with my divorce, work situations, road rage, and so much more.
(You can guess what the N is for. )
Sometimes, I feel like I may be overdoing it when using the generic "Nazi" so freely when discussing persons of the alt-right, and sometimes not so alt, persuasion. Thanks, Dan!
Sanguisuga @2: Amen. The fact that RNSNM would prefer to risk her own death than take meds proves just how badly she needs to be on some sort of meds. I'm also wondering whether a different outlet -- say, a creative one, like writing or painting -- would be a good way for her to indulge these fantasies at no risk to her own life. Bonus, there may be a market for the work she creates. Though with the number of already struggling artists and writers out there, she shouldn't make that her primary goal.
@4 Don't have much to say about the letter, but yeah, I'm an atheist in a 12 step group, and it's fine. And you don't have to work the steps, either - they won't throw you out.

It's a place where you can say anything, and know that at least some of the other people there have some idea of what you're talking about, and also know that it won't go beyond that room. That's sometimes worthwhile, even if it's all you get out of it.
@conflicted lover. The guy is damaged goods along with his family and likely social circle. It never reflects well on oneself when you turn to rationalization to prop up bad behavior and judgement.
@4, @9 -- I'm an atheist in plain ol' AA. It's great! I can't speak to SAA, but for AA, the key is to find the right meeting. They are all self-organizing and vary quite a bit. Outsiders (and maybe people with a bad experience) read too much into the religious aspects of these programs; what these programs are really about is connecting to people who have similar experiences in a way that's emotionally real. It's a big help to me, and I'm glad to hear it was a big help to @4. That sounds like good advice to me.
Bdsm girl is actively rather than merely passively suicidal at this point and is looking for someone to kill her. She needs to be in the hospital, ASAP. Hospitals are just like regular hospitals, they vary in niceness but aren't anywhere near as scary as they are perceived, you can refuse meds just like you can when seeing a shrink, her fear of "being put on meds" is a dodge and is not rational, what she fears is not being "allowed" to keep trying to die (and indicates someone telling her to stop will work), no one can force you to take meds. If she will lose her job or housing by being inpatient at the level of danger she is at two or more (daily) shrink appts/week is not out of line, but this is an emergency and should be treated as such, just like a heart attack or aggressive cancer dx. Intensive outpatient is also an idea. She is extremely unsafe at the moment. Not wanting her murderer to go to jail is the usual kind of thinking you'd see from most suicidal people (don't want to be a bother to others, better that I'm dead, etc). LW - you reaching out indicates that although your thoughts and feelings make you feel like you want to die, you do not actually want to die, what you want is the despair/agony/pain to stop, this is not the same thing as being dead. Even entirely without meds there is usually significant opportunity for improvement even if you are decades into treatment with a severe diagnosis, especially as it sounds like you've been refusing treatment of any kind so far, likely out of fear and a lack of hope. You are in control of your own treatment, building up a good medical team you like and that listens to you is key and you can do it. Even if you cant access doctors due to money there are many other groups and people invested and experienced in helping, you are not alone. The bdsm aspect is a side issue. Your sexuality will still be there after you've prioritized your actual survival and mental health. I promise you you can survive this and get better. Dont fear getting help. The relief at having more options than you currently feel you do is night and day. If that doesn't get through to you consider this - if someone else kills you you may end up responsible for their life imprisonment/death, and if you suicide your family and friends are much more likely to suicide as well. Fact. The idea that you are even contemplating this is itself insane which you know, and is why you are afraid of treatment, because you know you need it. Think of what you would say to a friend who told you this, think of what you would say to them and be that friend to yourself (if you have no friends, pretend). You may be alone now that will not always be true, help exists. You are here asking for it for a reason, take it, please. Think of how you would approach getting help if this were a physical illness of life threatening magnitude. Don't self stigmatize yourself to death or let a symptom of your illness (fear, skewed thinking) prevent you from accessing treatment. The instant you take control of your own medical treatment is the instant this path changes. Once you have control of your illness and are well and you still want someone else to kill you? By all means move to Oregon and get it done legally via medical euth but until then exhaust all medical options first, you owe it to your future healthier self. And that includes shrink shopping until you find a human you can trust. I recommend shrink run group too. No one will blink an eye at what you just recounted.
@PH, Sounds like the time is right to reconnect with your dad. Make no mistake, his actions in seeking out sex workers carried a risk of precisely what happened: humiliating arrest, destruction of his marriage, and said destruction carrying over to his relationship with you and your brother.
But it also sounds like your dad is remorseful - he has respected you and your brother's desire to end contact over the debacle for years when plenty of other people would have said "screw that" and tried to work his way back into your life merely months afterwards. And while you might not have mentioned everything that fell out after your dad's bust by law enforcement, I assume that had he been spending vast sums of money that damaged your family's finances, you would have mentioned that.
Beyond giving your mom a heads up, I would recommend doing a couple of other things
1) Connect with a counselor NOW: Even under the best circumstances, reconnecting with your father after a messy divorce and loss of contact will be an emotional roller coaster, and having someone you can speak to about the issues that comes up would be good.
2) Bring your brother into the loop: Just like you should give your mother the heads up, you should also let your brother know. He might be reevaluating how he views your dad, same as you, and might be interested in joining in with you. It might also be prudent to have that meeting with a counselor be one the two of you attend together so can both be prepared for reconnecting with your dad.
Also, lw, you either have the wrong shrink if you feel you can't talk to them about what is actually going on or you are trying to spare your shrink from feeling bad, which, stop that. They signed up for this job, they can handle it, they've heard worse, and they can't give you the help you need if you are lying to them by omission. You will not lose them as a shrink or a friend by being truthful. Write it down and hand it to them if you cannot speak it. Even if you have to run out of the room after. Believe me, they've heard worse and they cannot force you to take meds, that's not a thing.
TL/DR it's not your job to coddle your shrink.
My husband had a 25 year gap where he had no contact at all with his father, when he found an email address and got in touch with him. It was one of the best things he ever did - it turns out his dad is a wonderful man, plus he reconnected with several other childhood friends of the family that he'd lost touch with as well. Things are always more complicated than it appears, and the things he knows now after talking to the "other side" give us both a much better picture of what was actually happening at the time. You may find out things about your mother that you don't really want to know, but if you're prepared for that it will be easier. You may also not find out anything, and that's cool too. Either way, get ahold of your dad, and the sooner the better. If you're having a really hard time doing it, just copy/paste the letter you sent here, it's a start!
PH, only you can determine how much the circumstances of your father's infidelity matters at this point. If you're a regular reader, you already know your father may have been a terrible husband and done something unforgivable to your mom, or he may have been in a complicated, sexless marriage, and tried to do his best under the circumstances.

Undoubtedly, you've learned over the ensuring years that navigating life and relationships is not easy, and you, or your friends, may have failed to be the person you aimed to be from time-to-time (even if not in as dramatic a way as your father). Hopefully, that insight can serve you as you try to reconnect with your father.

@1/Harriet_by_the_bulrushes: What is the basis for this comment: "He should have stuck around regardless, been somehow accessible, yes? Ready in cases of emergency, or if she and her brother wanted to get in touch?"

We don't know that he was not accessible, or that PH and her brother didn't have any contact information. The fact that PH can do so now suggests that getting in touch was not a result of an absence of contact information. To completely lose touch would have likely required PH and her brother to cut out her paternal grandparents and her fathers extended family. I've witnessed teenagers who've done just that, and its a hurtful thing to do, however blameworthy a parent may be.

I also have to wonder about this: "Maybe he was a great father, but it's also possible she's idealizing after the years has passed." Maybe, but even people who aren't "great" parents (however that is determined) can still unconditionally love their children and can be worthy of love in return.
@17 Another thing to consider is that her paternal grandparents, extended family and whatnot may have cut off contact with her. Or simply not bothered to reach out. That's how it was when my parents divorced. It was like that entire side of the family disappeared. Birthday and xmas presents one year, crickets chirping the next.
What a culture, that both accepts the universality and normalness of sex work as a profession ("the world's oldest profession") and even legalizes certain versions of intercourse for money, while simultaneously stating that any regular civilian who participates (on either side!) should be shunned from their family.

I can accept fidelity as a valid social value and allow anger towards actions that he must have known threatened the family structure, but not talking to him for years? That seems unnecessarily harsh.

RE: RNSMN - As Dan wrote a few months back, vorophiles seem to have ways to satisfy their deadly desire that keeps them alive and safe. What are the elements of your "death with"?

Lastly, a case not to call alt-righters Nazis:
1 - Nazis represented a specific place and time and did, literally, murder millions upon millions of people and killed, estimated, 60 million people overall. They did with nakedly, not hiding behind "disparate impacts" policies. Our current batch of white supremacist ideologues couldn't carry a Nazi's blond-pube laced jockstrap.

2 - By using the term Nazi, you're retaining "alt-right" within the realm of respectable politics. You give space for people to identify as alt-right but to denounce Naziism, white supremacy, etc.

3 - Nazi wasn't always a bad word. Neither was Fascism. It turns out when named groups do bad things, people being to associate the name of the group with the bad thing. By continuing to call them the alt-right (again, which precisely identified an early 21st-century American ideological process that exists as a response to the continuum of civil war/reconstruction/great migration/civil rights era thinking, where it belongs, rather than as an offshoot to european ethnonationalism from which there is some cross-polinations, but they're 2nd cousins, not twins) we'll taint that name and force "legitimate" politicians to retreat to the safety of "mainline conservatism" which doesn't support such a racist worldview as do the alt-right group.


I'd give your gymnastics a "10", but your landing sucks shit.
A problem with having no empathy for other people who are on 'crazy pills' is that you're setting yourself up for a world of hurt, posssibly death when you need medication yourself.
RNSMN no one can force you to take meds. (Incredibly rare exception: court ordered treatment). Prisoners can refuse their meds. Patients in a psyche hospital can refuse their meds. (Incredibly rare exception: court ordered treatment). Your Dr (not a therapist) can prescribe meds because they really think you would be better off with them, but they can't make you take them. They can refuse to see you again if you don't take meds, if they beleive that your therapy is not going to progress without them. But they can't make you do meds. I think this is a very important discussion that you need to have with your therapist. If you are dead set against meds but your therapist sees them as a tool in your therapy, then you need to find a new therapist. If your therapist knows more about meds and therapeutic outcomes than you do, maybe you should reconsider. But no matter what it is your choice.
@20 eh? I'll give your vagueness a 10 and your metaphor a 0. What's '[my] landing' mean? What do you agree with, what do you dislike?
"2 - By using the term Nazi, you're retaining "alt-right" within the realm of respectable politics."

You think anyone cares about your framing. We're not the media, we have zero power here.
LW1, that is so wrong, your father getting busted like that. It's also wrong he did it at all, then, that's between him and your mother. The bloody police, why does it concern them. Ffs United States, what is this with such hypocrisy around sex work.
Marriage and parenthood, that's a hard slog LW, and Im sure your dad has paid his emotional dues by now, having lost contact with you and your brother. Till now. Email him, reopen the channel between the two of you.
Perhaps don't mention the issue which saw him disappear from your life, first up. Over time, once you have reestablished intimacy, the thorny issues will be easier to deal with.
Dan and Joe---Congrats for slamming it out of the park!! Could you PLEASE print t-shirts with this week's kickass-as-usual graphic art? I'd buy one and wear it proudly! Do you still have ITMFA merchandise? Is there a phone line I can contact? I am unable to go online for some reason and really want a US flag pin, especially, as well as a cap.
I think Trumpzilla and its filthy, putrid Cabinet of Swamp Creatures should all be chained to chairs in a dark, smoky room under glaring light and forced to watch Judgment at Nuremberg (directed by Stanley Kramer, c.1961), and for as long as it takes to finally get through to them that white supremacy is WRONG and not the message the United States of America--the world's great melting pot that all started with immigrants settling on Native American soil.
Serioiusly, Dan--PLEASE email me about an order for ITMFA and a "Sorry, Closed to Nazis" t-shirt.
There is still a problem with women in gay bars?
Do people get arrested for hiring an escort online?
@29 they make the deal online and get arrested when they show up in person
How about putting together a “readers’ recommended things to do" list for LW2, aka “Rather Not Say My Name?”
This is the current consensus as I see it. Correct me if otherwise and feel free to add to the list:
Take your medications. Still your choice, says a late entry, yet highly advised.
Continue seeing a therapist, and change one if need be.
Find a group of some sort where you feel comfortable talking about your issues.
While not mentioned yet I assume no one will object to the idea of having the numbers of a helpline or two in your phone.

Now on to “risky sex.” Will it be wise to advise her to refrain from certain sex/play acts, which may potentially put her and others at risk?
Does she need to abstain from all sub-related activities, at least for now, while figuring things out?

CMD @31: Not sure she needs to 100% put a stop to her masochism, but I'd recommend she not engage in it with random guys off hookup sites whom she has no idea whether or not she can trust. If she has no Dom she knows she can trust, perhaps she should play only at organised play parties where a dungeon monitor can ensure her safety.
@22 LW knows that she can't be forced to take meds. She's worried the shrink will tell her to stop shopping for murderers, a thing she does not wish to hear specifically from her shrink because it changes that relationship from, oh, you're depressed, to oh, you are actually sick and you need actual medical care. She's suicidal enough that she'd rather die than be told she has a mental illness issue she needs to seriously address - this is in part a function of stigma but more a function of the illness. She knows she should stop but it's comforting when you're suicidal to play games w/ death and so she can't/won't stop by herself. The problem with this specific situation is that whether or not she crosses that line is not in her control, which is the appeal, of course, but also pretty shitty from a practical point of view if it turns out she finds every time she gets close to getting murdered (and daters of men, we all know how easy it is to find these situations, you don't even have to go looking) she wants to live, which is probably the current point of the exercise (this can change any time, there will likely be no warning, and she'll go, badly, likely in terror and horrendous pain, possibly after hours, days or weeks of torture, which sounds appealing when you want to die and feel worthless but I bet gets old pretty quick. It's nice to have verification that no, indeed you don't actually want to die today. Terrible way to get it. On the other hand, fishing for murderers and only finding batterers and rapists is a positive result of sorts, no? Almost restores your faith in humanity.
re@33 NB - I know depression is an actual disease, it's just the most permissible mental illness to have, gets thrown around like nothing, least stigma, etc. It's ok to be depressed, it's been watered down so much. Being on meds is pretty non-threatening too at this point. Suicidal is a different ballgame because it actually means something needs to be done to help. Regardless the fact that her shrink apparently hasn't made a suicidality plan/hospitalization plan w/ this patient is a lapse that should be remedied - usually you work w/ your shrink pretty early on to figure out the exact series of actions you'll take to go inpatient (lacking this, just go to your local ER, have someone else drive if possible, bring some books, gets slow in there).

Fear of meds is justified, but I'd argue LW, if you were in a healthier frame of mind, a reversible relatively mild medical treatment that you can stop or change if you don't like it is a lot less scary than being carved up alive by someone w/ a penchant for gruesome DIY Christmas ornaments. As a general rule, I wouldn't trust the nice man who promises to gently strangle you.
Also, LW - you made the hurdle from not going to a shrink to going to one, from thinking you were sad to knowing you were depressed, getting a med shrink just to talk options is a next step that is a lot less scary, there are non-med options they can help you w/ too. You try CBT/DBT?
(1/10 people in the US are on mood meds, why the fear?).
@31/CMD: Does RNSMN need to refrain from exploring her masochistic kinks? I think that depends in large part on her thoughts while in subspace and in the hours thereafter. Is RNSMN in a good place mentally while submissive (i.e., relaxed, centered, and calm or pensive, anxious, and with suicidal thoughts)? Is she getting the necessary aftercare? And what are her thoughts like in the hours and days following her scenes (do scenes help her function or do they promote more suicidal thoughts)?

Of course no one should play with strangers, but in RNSMN's case, given her kinks and her suicidal thoughts, connecting with sadists who are not known to her or her close friends, is a particularly bad idea.
@31 Meds are a choice, yes highly advised, good percentage of people do respond and it is absolutely an incredible help, saves lives every day, saves quality of lives every day. A good percentage of people w/ just a depression diagnosis don't respond to meds, hence the optional element of it. If you are mentally ill and the meds, which depending on each individual can have side effects, actively make you worse you are not obligated to continue on those meds out of a sense of duty. There is a lot of stigma about non-med-compliant patients - this isn't always lack of med compliance but treatment resistant illness which can be exacerbated by medication side effects. The LW's issue is that she's afraid to tell her shrink she's suicidal because she doesn't want meds suggested to her. Reinforcing the idea that whether she medicates or not is under her control is useful in this case (and has the benefit of being true 100% of the time) because she needs to tell the person in charge of her mental health team that she is actively suicidal. That takes priority.
LW - I don't know where you got the idea that you can be forcibly medicated bc you are suicidal but that is not the case. Homicidal? Eh, maybe? Probably not then either. Actively attacking people and clearly psychotic/delusional, sure. But only until they get you sane enough to talk to again, after that it's up to you again unless you are just going around biting people in the throat like a rabid wolf or something.
@31 - that said it often takes months or years to find a good med combo, so patience is advised.
@36 Any thoughts on whether or not the top should be clued in? Because if it were me and I was doing something that had the potential to grease the wheels toward suicide for this lady if I weren't 100% on the ball re: her state of mind before/during/after I'd like to know.
@33 I totally agree and I won't say anything except that the LW can start by admitting to her self that 1- she has shitty logic, and 2- she can have as much agency in her self care, as she has in her self destruction. Hence my "just the facts" post.
@39/no: Before engaging in certain physical kinks, like bondage, it is customary to ask a sub whether they have any physical issues about which the dominant should be aware. I think the same applies for mental health issues. That knowledge would definitely be important concerning the kind of aftercare the dominant would provide, and the length of that care.

In practice, however, I would think many dominants would be reluctant to engage in D/s with someone in RNSMN's situation (certainly not without getting a lot of information), and those who would without hesitation are probably people that she should avoid.
@39: "Any thoughts on whether or not the top should be clued in?"

Why should they not be informed of her mental state?

@41: "In practice, however, I would think many dominants would be reluctant to engage in D/s with someone in RNSMN's situation (certainly not without getting a lot of information), and those who would without hesitation are probably people that she should avoid."

Yup, the people who could do these things safely and healthily are going to be screened out by her passively to actively :/
@17. SublimeAfterglow. It was my reading of the expression 'he obliged'. Distressed at their father's wrecking of their parents' marriage, as they may have seen it, the teenage children ask their father not to seek custody (maybe joint custody) and 'he obliged'. He would seem--it's my inference that he seems, but it's plausible--to respond to their request by dropping out of their life altogether. This wouldn't be a proportionate response--though it might seem to a teen that it is. I'm not getting any sense the father said anything like, 'I understand you're angry at me right now, and I feel a lot of remorse for how things turned out. And I certainly don't want to set you at loggerheads with your mother. But when you do want to see me, it's right you should have my contact number--even if it's just to go for a movie or a trip to the city'. (Perhaps, though, he did say this; and it was PH's decision to give him the cold shoulder).

And what we know from PH is just that she didn't want her father to apply for custody. Maybe she would have been pleased to see him on some limited basis, but he absconded?
Harriet @ 43
You should also take into consideration the likely father’s state of mind at the time: humiliated in public, feeling terribly guilty, and a public defense lawyer who may have told him he has no chance of getting any custody nor visitation rights.
“For the sake of everyone, just let it go.”
It is also possible that the soon to be ex-wife demanded he has no contact with his children
Back to LW 2
Is there a consensus to add the following?
“Till further notice all of RNSMN’s BDSM activities will only be conducted with people she already knows and trusts. She will also discuss her current physical and mental state before each session.
@43/Harriet_by_the_bulrushes: You're weaving an entire story out of whole cloth. That story may not be entirely implausible, but it is simply not supported by anything we know. Moreover, once he lost custody to his children, his legal rights to them were cutoff.

In any event, I'm not sure why you're pressing this angle. LW herself is seeking to get back in touch with her father, he's not a threat to her, and she doesn't seem to harbor your feelings about his role in the cessation of their relationship.
CMD @44: That's the most plausible scenario from my reading, too. He was the one who fucked up (or at least his fuckups were the obvious ones), his kids and wife were understandably mad at him and exiled him from the family, and he didn't add asshole to injury by disrespecting their wishes that he stay away. I think staying away when you've been asked to stay away is absolutely a "proportionate" response when you've messed things up so badly. If he was "a wonderful father," I also think he'd probably be thrilled if one or both of his kids came round in their own time and approached him to forgive him. This has only been "a few years," remember. But I'll refrain, unlike Harriet, from embellishing the story with facts that have not been stated or even implied by the LW.
@20 LMAO.
I have nothing more to add in this week's Savage Love; everyone's comments are pretty spot on and cover what I would have said. Plus, I already said what I was going to say in comments @26-@28.
Griz update for those interested: Logic Pro X online studies remain a humbling challenge. My local tech pal and phone / internet provider have assured me that all is well for me & my 2015 Mac in Cyberland. However, I'm still having weird mishaps when trying to submit assignments and send messages to my online instructor and classmates. In any event, Griz is going to have to log off for now and get back to iBooks. I'll try to make it back later towards the magic number.
Speaking of magic numbers, how would anyone here on SL like to be the single mom and ex-hospital worker from Massachusetts with two kids who just won $758,700,000.00, Powerball's second highest jackpot?
PH- sending you so many hugs- something similar happened in my family when i was 13, and tho my parents stayed married, i did stop talking to my dad (as much as possible while living in the same house) within a year. when i was 20-ish, i tried to reconcile with him for the same reasons you have and ultimately it did not go well, but that's because he is not actually a great dad- your dad sounds different. here are some things i wish i had known during that period of trying to reconcile with him: really think about your boundaries and make sure he respects them. for my dad, female family members were a proxy for the society that he felt humiliated and rejected him, and his feelings about needing absolution and forgiveness were constantly present and overshadowed my attempts to connect with him as a daughter. you can't fix this for him, or absolve him of what happened to your family or your mom, and he shouldn't ask you to. your relationship to him as a daughter should be foregrounded, not his feelings about his own mistakes. apologies are important, but if things start being all about him and what he needs from you, have boundaries ready for that, and have a plan for re-directing the conversation or leaving it.
like dan said, it's been a lot of years, and while now you have a positive impression of your dad, think about whether you are ready for reality to not match your memory. our dads inform our romantic life to some extent, and for me, my changing perceptions of my dad affected what i tolerated or was confused by in my dating life. you are still young and your understanding of yourself and men is still changing, and how this reconciliation goes could be a formative experience, either for better or for worse. if you have a good impression now, hold onto that even if the reconciliation goes poorly. remember you felt loved for a lot of your life, even if your dad can't do that now. if he can still be that dad, then that's great, but hold on to that feeling of being loved no matter what happens. it is not a lie.
think about how much you want to know about what really happened in your parents marriage. personally, the truth was important to me but too much detail was not good. do you want to hear what happened between him and your mom or do you just want to focus on your relationship with him, right now? if you do want to hear, think about how much and be prepared to stop him if he goes beyond what you're comfortable hearing, or be prepared to honor the fact that he doesn't want to talk about it at all. you might have to make your peace with never knowing.
finally, this reconciliation might not work, and if it doesn't, it's not your fault. you can't fix your family, you can't fix your dad, you can't right this wrong. what you can do is see how it feels to talk to your dad again, and if things are good, get to know each again. you are a young woman now and that will be an adjustment for both of you, don't rush it. the reconciliation process will probably be emotional but if it starts to make you crazy, slow it down and regroup- as your parent, he owes it to you to take this at your own pace, and he owes it to you to be there for you and not ghost. if he repeatedly pushes you or leaves you hanging, that is a bad sign and you need to protect yourself.
good luck and so much love
@46. SublimeAfterglow. You're right in that we don't know quite what happened in the father-daughter relationship. There's an element of speculation in my suggestion that the LW's father accepted his dismissal too easily, as there is in yours that, as a teen, she drastically and hurtfully excised his entire extended family from her life.

I have no investment either in divorced fathers' tending to negligence and irresponsibility in their parenting, nor to their being present and solicitous. (My parents divorced and I was brought up 50% by my father ). PH's letter is thoughtful and self-aware. Now, it could be that she was not emotionally temperate as a teen in the way she is now--and who can blame her?--but as a professional lawyerly and academic reader of texts, my natural response was to suppose that much of the cause of her continuing estrangement from her father could be laid at his door.
@47. BiDanFan. As to 'embellishing the facts', what happened would have had the breadth and complexity of ordinary life, yes? PH's father didn't just on a whim call up some escorts, then got busted, was summarily exiled by his immediate family and meekly bowed his head before their verdict? He had need of the sex workers because of his feelings about his partnership, on account of what he thought he wasn't getting and how he needed to express and assert himself. And, likewise, the teenage PH will have had conversations about her father's public shaming with her mother--about whether it was just a betrayal of her or some sort of desecration of the whole family. It’s difficult to me to imagine what's gone on in the minds of both the two people centrally involved here without being a little novelistic.

Does losing custody mean losing visitation rights? If she's said, straight up, that she doesn't want to see him, perhaps it's 'proportionate' to disappear. But the relationship in which he fucked up was with PH's mother; it wasn't primarily as a parent. Without opening any 'families need fathers' rhetoric, I'd think an adult caregiver permanently there as part of a teen's life can't disappear without psychic disruption. At any rate, to my mind, he should not have 'complied' (if he did) so unresistingly to a request he abandon any part in his children's upbringing altogether.
@41 I could in fact see playing w/ someone in that headspace - I would also ask to go to shrink appts w/ them to talk about healthy ways to do it, so that would require more of a relationship than finding randos online/apps, but at this point the LW should not be interacting w/ randos, she cannot trust herself to either remain safe or trust her danger radar as it's likely it's very unreliable at the moment, far more than she can currently tell. Very unlikely LW would tell anyone though bc her block seems to be an inability to tell anyone else she's ill. Everyone has a right to personal privacy re medical issues, but when you are putting someone else on the hook emotionally you have a responsibility to inform. If she can't find a dom who is ok w/ that (who is a safe dom), she's probably so palpably and obviously in a dangerous state that she should be taking a break until she doesn't scare the crap out of responsible tops (I understand how cathartic this particular dance is but don't make other people do it for you, not fair to them). I don't think it would be hard to find someone who has experienced suicidal ideation/depression and who is a dom and who would not be frightened by playing someone who was suicidal but in adequate treatment, severe depression isn't rare.
For all the people saying you can't be forced to take meds:

You are completely wrong. One hundred percent wrong.

Suicidal Ideation with plan will absolutely get you on an involuntary psych hold. Which takes away your right to refuse meds.

This is literally what I do for a living. No court order is needed. Just one form filled out by a cop, doctor, or anyone authorized by your county's mental health authority.

Now, if you lie and say you don't want to die anymore, you'll be out quick, and can stop taking meds. If you hide the plan, you can get into a voluntary inpatient program. But you know what? They'll kick you out if you don't take all your prescribed meds.
@54: At some point they're going to be in outpatient and better enough to avoid being forced to take their medication, which is the point.
Harriet @51: "There's an element of speculation in my suggestion that the LW's father accepted his dismissal too easily"

Yeah, like there's an element of iron in iron. ;)

"what happened would have had the breadth and complexity of ordinary life, yes?"

Yes. And that complexity could be anything. We simply don't know. We can't know. As much as you seem to believe you can draw conclusions from things that weren't said, you can't. That's my point here. You -- or Dan, or I, or anyone -- can make up whatever other facts are sure to exist in some form to come to a conclusion that may be accurate or may be complete bollocks, because your conclusion is just as likely to be completely wrong as it is to be even partially accurate. We don't know what motivated LW's father to contact the sex workers, so at minimum, anything we say on the topic should be prefaced by a big fat "if." We have no idea whether the father was enjoying sex three times a week with his wife, and wanted it seven times a week. We have no idea whether the father was unable to get his kinks met by his wife, or indeed, if he had any. In other words, there is zero support for your "He had need of the sex workers because of his feelings about his partnership, on account of what he thought he wasn't getting and how he needed to express and assert himself," aside from your own feelings about why you, or why most people, might hire a sex worker. It is possible or even probable that these feelings were shared by LW's father, but speaking as if you know what the feelings of a complete stranger were is ridiculous.

"It’s difficult to me to imagine what's gone on in the minds of both the two people centrally involved here without being a little novelistic."

If I felt novelistic, I'd write a novel.
@56. But of course I can't draw conclusions from the stray bits of fact we get from the letters. I'm not claiming to. Every hypothesis that I entertained to begin with I said was just a hypothesis, and that an alternative, almost opposed scenario might have obtained. For instance, I suggested that the father who disgraced his family (as they understood it) by being caught with prostitutes should have stayed around for his children, and then immediately mitigated that by following up with 'but that won't always be possible'. I said that I couldn't tell whether the father 'fought against' his estrangement from his daughter or 'connived in it'.

As for the 'he had need of the sex workers' sentence I think it's pretty general, and was framed to cover many eventualities--so much so that to think the opposite would be ungenerous. The opposite would be that the now-estranged father had _no_ psychic need to hire the sex workers, did not feel compelled to, did not want to make a point, did not feel entitled, was not frustrated in his sex life. If this were the case, it might--MIGHT--be irresponsible to hire them when there was a chance of being caught. It might also be thoughtless and stupid if his needs were otherwise and in every way getting met. I don't need to say, fortunately, when 'there might have been a chance of his getting caught' because he was caught. Whether he courted the possibility of exposure or did everything he could to avoid it, _I don't know_.

I'm very much in agreement that we're not in possession of all the details of the stories here we need to form a judgment (even one that reflects our own values). So I think it's important to read closely for tone and implication, as if we were practicing psychoanalysts or literary critics (I'm neither, but more the second). If someone said to me, 'there's no basis for your inferences' with regard to any letter, I'd point out what I based my inference on--always being prepared that this other person might just think I was mis-or over-reading. But I think the alternative to reading or listening closely like a psychoanalyst is moralism--imposing one's own previous views, or in some cases superimposing features of one's own life and experience on the case at hand.

Sorry to be so late in the Savage Love game this week. I've been reading some of the comment threads and can't think of anything to add. I'll try again in the upcoming SL.
No lucky magic number winner his week?
@58: Oh, brother, not again! Make that...."No magic lucky number winner this week?"
But you all knew that. It never ceases to amaze me that while I can play a mean flute and chord progressions on my piano I still can't type worth shit.
LW1 says this occurred while she was in her mid teens, a few years ago. She and her brother said they didn't want dad to go for any custody so why would he ask for any visitation rights. The kids pissed him off, they didn't want to see him. And he obliged by getting out of their lives, hurt and embarrassed perhaps.
Harriet @59: I admit there's a progression from your comment @1, which clearly identifies your theory as such, to your follow-up @43, when you used literal quotation marks (I got in trouble for that) to envision a conversation you are assuming didn't happen. That is a big leap from the two tiny words "he obliged." Your desire to read those two words as "he happily obliged" directly contradicts LW's own later statement that "he was a wonderful father," and I therefore am unable to conclude that "he happily obliged" is somehow more likely than "he broken-heartedly obliged."

Yes, we all overlay our own experiences onto letters where information is missing. But where information in the letter itself directly contradicts our experiences, we should defer to the words the LWs have written.
I know I'm once again veering off SL topic discussions, but will we ever again get our U.S. democracy back (and be able to finally take the crazy OUT)? Is there still time to save the Earth? This is why I turn to music, spend a lot of time meditating in my beloved little VW, and am currently in PTSD therapy.
Dan and everyone? I am fighting depression regarding the current insanity of the White Trash House and its environmentally destructive fossil fuel gluttony, and would appreciate your thoughts. I have been protesting, writing my senators, congress members, governor, signing petitions, doorbelling, canvassing, attending town meetings, participating in marches, etc., etc., and am now left feeling like my efforts since the age of 6 (when Nixon was president) don't mean shit.
I feel for the woman at the I Support Planned Parenthood March in D.C. holding the sign reading "I shouldn't have to keep doing this"----43 fucking years later.
@61. BiDanFan. Well, I'm with you 100% on your last paragraph, especially the last sentence.

I don't think I have any 'desire' to read 'he obliged' as 'he happily obliged' or 'he readily obliged'. It’s what I thought likely, given both the story as it was presented and my more general (and maybe inevitably prejudicial) sense of what tends to happen when fathers' actions painfully expose their families. My motivation for launching the hypothesis was partly to offer the advice that re-establishing a good relationship with her father won't necessarily be plain sailing for the LW. There's the danger that she may swing from thoroughly blaming her father on her teenage years to retrospectively bathing him in too flattering a light now, as an unequivocally 'wonderful father'. So I would have wanted to give the sense that if her efforts to get on a good footing with her again foundered in any way, it might not be her fault.

Probably my desire, if we come to it, is that everyone is happy, everyone behaves well and maturely, and with a finely honed sense of moral reciprocity; everyone is GGG and honours their lovers' kinks; we all listen to other people and put ourselves in their shoes. But it doesn't seem very likely. I don't always do these things myself. That's the bland version. The moralistic version is that the nuclear family is disbanded and children raised in common; ethical non-monogamy and state-sponsored ('socialised') grouping become the norm; straight cis women are socialised into currently male-gendered norms of initiative and individualism, and as a result give up heteronormative preconceptions of romance, instead looking forward to being rogered on at least a weekly basis in said socialised gangbangs. That everyone accepts being genderqueer, embraces their primary bisexuality and lives on a negotiated basis without prejudice. As I said, moralistic, and equally unlikely to happen.
Sounds like the hooker loving dad liked 'em young. If they weren't legal or barely legal, I would give a relationship with him a pass. Sure sex work should be legal for consenting adults but most prostitutes aren't actually consenting adults. So maybe "good dad/bad husband" isn't a very nice guy if he's willing to exploit kids to get his rocks off.

Also, why the fuck is a "liberal" dating an obviously racist, anti-Semetic Trump guy? I don't think one would. Sounds like its really just a tree hugging racist is dating a climate denying racist.