the problem with Dan's advice, as I see it, is that the problem isn't that monogamy is/isn't for you, it's that your discipline and self-esteem is in the fucking gutter (I know the feeling). You can't keep promises, which will come back to haunt you regardless of how comfortable and affirmed you are in fucking and sucking your way through the entire team. I get the sense you'll find new lies to tell, new commitments to break, and new ways to alienate those who are close to you. This really doesn't feel too different than someone who cuts, or has an eating disorder, or takes excessive "extreme" risks. You use sex to feel powerful and in control, but ultimately you feel so powerless that you need to construct a rickety scaffold of lies around basically everything. I'm amazed you made it to age 30 without it crumbling around you.

So anyways, Duh Therapy. That you thought you might hurt yourself over losing a romantic partner is particularly troubling, I would lean much more strongly towards "Psychiatrist" over LCSW as your therapist of choice.
Yeah, the problem here is the letter-writer's inability to be honest with herself about her needs. I suspect that this is the source of a LOT of cheating. After all, in the short term, it's a lot
"Rationalizations . . . are more important than sex." - Michael (Jeff Goldblum), The Big Chill.

You know those LWs, ". . .and suddenly, out of nowhere, the doberman was licking my pussy! - It just happened."

While she acknowledges her willingness and stupidity in all of these egregious missteps, many of them are also presented as things that just happened to her:

"He was into rope and I had always wanted to try it"
"Mr. Ashley Madison texted to let me know that he was working late and wanted to know if he could come by"
"rope boy reached out to let me know that he was going to be in the area the next day. "

The amount of dick (and rope) that land in her lap without her having much agency in the process is amazing.

Yeah, @1, a really heavy hitter should be at the other end of the couch - she sure ticks off a lot of boxes under Cluster B Personal Disorders.
This woman sounds very fucking immature and irresponsible. She is thoughtless of the feelings for the people she claims to care about. She doesn't deserve her "love."
arg ... that comment got away from me there

AS I WAS SAYING, in the short term, it's a lot easier to lose yourself in that rush of hormones and illicit fun than do a deep dive into your own psyche and 1) figure out your emotional and sexual needs then 2) be up front with your partners about what those needs are. But when you can't be straight with yourself, that dishonesty tends to spill over into your relationships with other people. And when you lie to people who love you over and over again, they may not stop loving you but they will stop trusting you.
Holy fuck lady. Here's what you do -- give up on all the endless dick you crave and go pay attention to your FOUR children. How do you have times for all of these sex adventures with kids at home? How do you possibly have the time to be a parent with all your selfish fucking around?
I stopped reading when I got to "fairy tail." I just love that.
Peacock feathers?
Soft and silky like mink?
Super long and prehensile?
Maybe nubby and smells like amaretto.
@7 - Lolz
How could anyone have a job, four children and a husband (even if he knows) and carry on that level of sexual activity? I call bullshit.
She's a bored stay at home mom with a vivid imagination, who watches porn while the kids are at school.
It smells super fake to me. I don't care.
What about the children!
Dear Penthouse,

I have a lot of sex and I hate myself. Aren’t I lucky? I need help.

Seriously? How do you have four children if your love life with your husband was near non existent? And why weren’t you on birth control? What the hell kind of fantasy is this?
Zero about LW’s husband, except to note he once had an affair earlier in their marriage? And nothing about the state of the relationship prior to husband’s cheating? There wasn’t a stream of men prior to that event? Only epic numbers thereafter?

As for the supposed love of her life, why would this guy want to be with someone so apparently out of control?

LW get a divorce, get therapy.
Mad time management skills if you can juggle all that
I think that for some people, the cheating is the thrill. I think this woman might be one of those people. She's pathologically incapable of telling this dude about her other guys, because if she was open about it, it would ruin the fun.

I think this is why people I know in open relationships still manage to "cheat" by breaking whatever rules are set up. If the rule is that you should only fool around with people that are single or also in open relationships, they find someone who's married and lying to their partner. If the rule is "you just have to tell me," they lie.

I think a 'don't ask don't tell' situation with the occasional fake "confrontation" is the only answer for some people.
My advice for SADDEN, for TLOML, and for Husband:
Get therapy. While in therapy, concentrate on making choices that are good for you over the long run, not just current happiness but happiness forever. Make choices that are good for the children so that they live in stable and loving circumstances. Make self sacrifices for the children's long term good. Everything else is a red herring.
If this letter is really real, I’m not sure myself, then LW should seek a treatment with Dr. Ley who will assure her there is no such thing as sex and love addictions.
@14 "I think this is why people I know in open relationships still manage to "cheat" by breaking whatever rules are set up. If the rule is that you should only fool around with people that are single or also in open relationships, they find someone who's married and lying to their partner. If the rule is "you just have to tell me," they lie. "

Don't you think, for straight men in general and those w/o game, it's more because finding married people who want to cheat is like shooting fish in a barrel vs actually trying to date with all the work that entails? And then they don't want to seem like assholes/get cut off, so they lie?
That said, the LW if real needs a shrink stat. None of the problems she is creating are because of high sex drive or inherent non-monogamousness, because those are not problems. Unless she's a masochist dating other masochists, in which case, go to?

LW has built a life of lies, but neglects to admit the biggest lie of all, namely this entire letter. OK, OK. There's always a snowball's chance it might be true, or partially true, or like the ending of St. Elsewhere, all the figment of an autistic boy's imagination. Like all SLLOTD's we're left to suss out what we believe to be the truth, but this one smells worse than a fisherman's outhouse. If true, the first best thing I can hope for is that LW's husband is a good dad to these four poor kids, 'cause pathological lying and emotional fucked up-edness of this calibre has got to carry over to every other aspect of her life and in fourteen years or so these little Mansons-in-training are going to be unleashed on the world. The second thing would be to hope that everyone else around her accepts their own responsibility for sticking their dick in crazy. LW, if this letter is true, 1) GET SOME PROFESSIONAL HELP. Fucking other people isn't your problem, your tenuous relationship with truth is.
So I'm going to go with a different tack.

If you spend your whole adult life in relationships with people who absolutely positively will be upset if you sleep with someone else, it can be very very difficult to believe someone when they say they don't mind if you fuck someone else as long as you tell them about it.

As for the 4 kids, doing the math it seems like the youngest is 12 or so, and the husband may just be over LW (thus why she doesn't talk about him, no attention) and perfectly happy to stay home and watch the kids as long as it gets LW out of the house, and either he doesn't care about her activities or is cloaking everything in willful ignorance.

End of the story, if LW is for real, she should just show this letter to TLOHL, explain that she will try and be more honest going forward but it's going to take some work, and maybe just let the guy have access to her phone / emails /get life profile in the meantime. Or if she can't handle that, negotiate that she's not going to tell him e she particulars but that she might be sleeping with other people, because she's just a cock slut like that.
I add my +1 @12. This person, if not fake, is a blithering mess of self-wrought, selfish drama. I'm no fan of ankle biters, but Jesus lady - you cannot be taking good care of your kids when you're allocating this level of time and emotional/mental bandwidth *away* from them.

Her selfish indulgence and drama-wallowing is actually neatly (if not succinctly) embodied in that unnecessarily over-detailed tome she vomited onto the keyboard.

Get a grip and pare your life down to its essentials for a bit. Act AS IF you were an upstanding person and see what it feels like [to not be a lyin' CPOS]. You need to try the elimination diet for your hot mess life: trim down to kids, work, self-care (husband, if that's even still on the possibility meter?) Add back spicier elements sloooowly, one at a time. See what you can handle healthily and what spirals you into a CPOS that bemoans everything while taking no steps to curtail the very actions causing you woe. And therapy to support this process. Egad.
@17 I don't think it has anything to do with availability of partners. Based on the people I am referring to, both are attractive, confident women who had no trouble finding partners that fit the rules of their open relationships. But those people were always boring to them. It had to be someone who broke the rules. The illicitness of the affair was the fun part.
Folks, you're missing the joke: this is actually a sexual metaphor for the Trump election/administration.
Reading through this letter, I was thinking for the LW stop calling TLOMF, your TLOMF. He isn't the love of your life. You had a sexual connection, you may get along, but both of your commitment to each other is kind of weak, whether you lived in different places, trying to get out of failed marriages, raising kids, etc..

The LW needs to talk to a therapist, not because she has some big problems. I feel her anxiety and self esteem needs to be address, but mainly, she needs to feel more comfortable in how she wants to manage her life. She has plenty of suitors, she wants to enjoy the company of men, she likes to have strong friendships with benefits with men. However, I think she has this premonition of finding Mr. Right.. She should find the right cadence, of balancing everything.

I think she wanted to believe that TLOMF was Mr. Right, but he really was not. She also didn't want to give up her lifestyle and her freedom, which to me was the true love of her life. She likes male attention, and she can't settle down with just one person..

Also most of the time, what pisses off someone who is cuckold, it isn't the sex, it is the lying. Lying destroys the trust, but from I got from A recherché du temps perdu letter, there really wasn't much of a foundation between the LW and TLOMF.. just dynamite sex, and the after glow being in a new relationship..
I know women are good at multi-tasking and compartmentalizing things, but this is ridiculous. If real, this woman is well and truly fucked up. She needs serious therapy. She is also toxic. It seems that she is incapable of not lying to, deceiving and betraying people she says she loved/loves (including her children). I know I'm being judgmental, but this is the stuff of nightmare. I have the greatest sympathy for her children. I can't even begin to imagine the psychological damage she has done to them.
I apologize for my visceral response to such chaos. Definitely TMI. Like watching a train wreck.
She's a bored stay at home mom with a vivid imagination, who watches porn while the kids are at school.

Well, actually, this letter reminds me of a pale imitation of this letter.
@19 Donny, I can see a bunch of freshman, college is just started there right, sitting round one of their rooms. Boys I'm guessing, and they threw everything into the letter.
Jilted husband. Neglected children. Fetlife and kink. Prince fucking Charming. Lying female etc.
Biggie @20: get life for fetlife, that's funny.
She's just a cock slut like that, great line.
As a metaphor for trump as @23 Uncle Joe suggested. A total fuck up.
Where do people find this kind of time? They must not need much sleep. All in all, I really don’t care enough about this woman and her issues. I’m just quite glad I have such a relatively vanilla sex life. Oh, and btw - husband definitely is also cheating. I feel bad for the kids though, they must be living with some pretty fucked up dynamics.
What a loathesome LW. I feel sorry for TLOMF.
Lava@28 ~ Been there, done that.
25-Skeptic-- One way to imagine the psychological damage SADDEN is doing to her children is to imagine the psychological damage SADDEN's parents invariably did to her. That's not to say I don't hold her responsible. I believe the buck stops with each of us to take what we were given and do something better with it. It generally takes therapy to turn that around for us. But I do think she gets some sympathy even as I'm telling her to get her act together and stop inflicting so much harm.
I feel like the inability to sum up specific problems and desire to tell these sprawling, occasionally nonsensical stories and irrelevant tangents to dan are strongly correlated to the level of drama contained within.

I feel like Dan must create those crime/drug pushpin maps in order to piece together all the parties, offenses, and timelines for letters like this.

Good god.
@24: “The LW needs to talk to a therapist, not because she has some big problems. I feel her anxiety and self esteem needs to be address, but mainly, she needs to feel more comfortable in how she wants to manage her life. She has plenty of suitors, she wants to enjoy the company of men, she likes to have strong friendships with benefits with men. However, I think she has this premonition of finding Mr. Right.. She should find the right cadence, of balancing everything.”

That she believes in fairy tales is the “big problem”. Everything is a distorted rush-seeking and she’s got an image of perfection in her head that’s always going to be just out of reach and unglued from the people and situations present.

Agreed with all parties that she needs therapy, but who even knows what her priorities and wants will be without these “mister right” soulmate narratives? (Hopefully at least prioritizing her kids on some level.)

My sister also wanted a “soulmate” so she crafted one and decided he was so to our horror, he turned out to be to be a drunk and abusive piece of excreta.

People should want for a stable relationship, but the first step is carefully selecting a stable partner, not declaring someone a Prince Charming and rationalizing the decision over the extent of the (short) relationship.

Obvious non-“advice” but I really wish people wouldn’t sell themselves this self-sabotaging from the start bullshit :(
@David @3: One of the best movie lines of all time. ("You ever gone a week without a rationalization?") And so often applicable.

Letters like this just make me want to go give my partner a great big thank-you hug.
@23/uncle joe: If someone took the time to write this sprawling mess as a metaphor for the president, I stand by my comment, they need therapy. And like abnormal thinking when viewing a Rorschach print, your interpretation of this letter suggests you might find value in speaking to someone too.
People like this are why the saying "don't stick your dick in crazy" exists.

My advice to the boyfriend would be the advice I give to anyone else who has to deal with a dysfunctionally mentally ill person. You have to kind of treat them like a child, and set firm limits. That's what he's already doing, he ruled her out as a "life partner" and he should stick to that decision until this woman genuinely changes.
@38: I would love to read the fling-but-never-serious partner’s accounting of their perfect love and where it diverges from her likely more unique take on reality. I’m sure we all have our individual takes already in mind.
What the actual fuck did I just read?
Oh honey. Why would anyone report such a beautiful work of performance art?
"I dodged a bullet when my kid got sick."

You are a piece of shit on a very rare level.
If the letter isn't real, that what does that say about the person making it up? OMG
Everybody is having more sex than me.
Yah, no. I don't f@king buy it, but then I thought Trump was a fever dream of my deeply diseased subconscious. Then I woke up.
@44: This. Sure a lot of letters can be “fake” but the weird, nonsensical and malicious ones definitely come from people are not quite... whole.
@41: Eeeeeek ~flags~.
Where are her husband and her four (FOUR!) kids in all of this? I have no kids and I struggle to find the time for multiple partners.

Perhaps she just needs a job or a hobby or something.

Sounds like she has a fetish for lying and cheating. I pity anyone who's unfortunate enough to get involved with her.
@45 Tremendous Slouch - Same here. I am wondering why a woman like this is getting vastly more sex than me. I am a cute US size 6 in my 30s, yet haven't managed to get a man to fuck me since 2010. All I can think is, she has much lower standards than us.
45, 50, Slouch and Roseanne-- Tell us what you're looking for in a man, what you're looking for in a sexual relationship, what you're looking for in a romantic relationship. In other words, what are your standards?
LW’s “standards” appear to be how the guys make her feel, less based on actual qualities of the individuals. I wonder if she could as easily project how she wants to feel onto anyone.

Jane says, "I've never been in love"
No, she don't know what it is
She only knows if someone wants her
"I want 'em if they want me
I only know they want me"
Roseanne @50: You could easily get a random dude to fuck you. I suspect you don't want some random dude to fuck you. I suspect you want a quality dude who's going to fuck you on a regular basis, and be nice to you, and be someone you respect and who respects you. If even for just that night. I doubt our letter writer's standards are anything more than "must have a penis."

Undead @52: Jane's Addiction <3
52, 53, Undead and BiDan-- Your responses are why I asked Slouch and Roseanne what they're looking for in a man/fuck. The original LW, SADDEN, frankly bores me. I wish her well, but as hot messes go, she seems a lot like every other hot mess out there. The interesting part as far as I'm concerned is if/when she starts to get her act together. (I doubt she will, but I am pulling for her enough to hope she does.) The interesting part is what less messed up women want. I could never have articulated it, but in my messed up days (never anywhere near as bad as SADDEN but close enough to recognize the story) I wanted more of that high feeling that came from being in love. I think of it now as an addiction. I wanted that insane level of intimacy and rebellion. I wanted a man whom I adored to adore me back and be romantic. I wanted a man exactly like the one who dumped me minus the dumping part. I think there's a part of me that still wants that. As you note, BiDan, there was no shortage of men who were willing to fuck me, but none of them provided that in-love high. In retrospect, they helped me learn faster that I wasn't going to find my drug that way.
@20. Biggie. Showing the letter to the love-of-her-life and pledging greater honesty from now on would be good advice--is something she would profit by doing--but I'm not sure she's capable of going through with all of it.

Is the letter fake or not? There's very little in it about her husband and, more importantly, children, which inclines me to think it may be fake. But anything else I'll say is premissed on its being genuine, because ... 'what if it is genuine?'; and that way my comments have a small chance, at least, of being helpful.

SADDEN uses the expression 'reach out' four times in her letter. The first time it means 'asking for sex' and the second 'asking someone to lie for me'. Then it means 'apologising for having been talked into doing something I didn’t want to do'. No. To 'reach out' is usually to 'volunteer help' (I guess it can mean 'to ask for help'). And 'reaching out' is something SADDEN can't do, because it requires you to be in possession of some resource she doesn't command--money, almost certainly, and peace of mind, but most crucially self-respect. She doesn't have the self-respect to say 'no' to sexual attention she feels is bad for her--or the self-love to accept she needs, or wants, a variety of forms of sex with different men, and to take that want or need as a starting-point in working out healthy forms of her relationships.

This is an especially difficult case, because the problem is deeper and more apparently intractable, at least to begin with, than the LW thinks it is. The problem isn't to help her out of the fix she's got herself in with the LOHL, or to work out why she self-sabotages with this wonderful person. It has to do more broadly with why she thinks this man, who principally wants sex and companionship from her, _is_ the love of her life. And why she's compelled to lie about sexting and sucking men off. Perhaps with why she craves any form of male form of sexual attention or validation, but she seems to know that anyways; she's insecure and it's like sunlight to her. So why doesn't she accept that for now? Why does she fall in behind being exclusively dommed by her great love? What does she want for herself? What can she do for herself? How can she be a mother to her children?
@55. Fichu. I think messed-up-ness is a scale. Maybe you're expressing a similar opinion in harking back to your 'messed-up' days. I agree that SADDEN is very messed-up. But I don't think I am now, or was ever in the past, categorically different in kind. I'd like to say, more than or unlike you, that very confused cases can illuminate the more everyday, less wildly hot or inflamed problems of the rest of us. Beyond expressing compassion, and passing on basic maxims concerning responsibility and self-respect, it does seem there's little we can say to SADDEN. But personally I don't find her problems dull.
@54: Yes! I was riffing off of your point.

@56: “But personally I don't find her problems dull.”

Many of Dan’s letters can only serve as a lesson to others, there is far too much for the LW to unpack without a decade of therapy and likely some form of mood stabilization. But even beyond some personal stability, hobbies, interests and some wholeness. I’m sure some real posts sound like this (assuming for the point of argument that it’s real) because of the sort of cartoonish Mary Sue/Gary Stu narratives that they use to define themselves.
@57. Undead Ayn. I found the reference to 'porn-star caliber' sex sad. Now I'm sure that there are some porn stars who love sex, and who are sensational zipless fucks, but I would guess more (and thinking more of the men, who need to get it up at the right moment and on demand) that it's a grueling profession for them; that they enjoy sex at work similarly to how elite professional marathoners enjoy running. So maybe the sex that regular people have is happier...? SADDEN is not happy nor confident. Yes, therapy would be good. I hope she can begin to negotiate her choices more. I'd double down on my proposition that we are different from people as messed-up as that by degree, not in kind.
I don't quite understand all this "how'd she have time for so much sex? / think about the children!" posts.

If she'd had one affair no one would have wondered (much) about the time or the kids; of course, she had a number of affairs... but it's not like she was stacking them on top of each other. From a scheduling standpoint, it's no more strenuous to have 20 affairs than 1. Same goes for time devoted to child rearing. If she added an hour to her work day 4 or 5 times a month, no one's the wiser - what's it matter if she keeps it up for 10 months or 10 years?
@58: When you don’t know what a stable happiness is like, I supposed you recreate it from the odd and occasionally grotesque ideals portrayed in popular media? I want to be happy like the characters in this movie! I want to fuck like a porn star! I want to live life “happily ever after”!

@59: ”From a scheduling standpoint, it's no more strenuous to have 20 affairs than 1. Same goes for time devoted to child rearing”

The point is how many fulltime jobs she has the time for in a day, all performed poorly.

I put a lot of time and energy into a single relationship and constantly reassess if I’m doing it “right”.

The idea of someone windmilling nonstop through a series of partners while ostensibly doing anything decent for raising her child(ren?) seems like all of her life suffers.

I don’t know what labor you’re failing to imagine here but it appears to have nothing to do with our concerns.
Do you have some sort of experience towards juggling multiple affairs while raising kids that gives you special insight?
FICHU @ 33 I would suspect LW is more likely a pathological liar or has some form of personality disorder than someone who has been damaged by their parents. She does not reference her parents. There is no way for any one here to determine the root causes of her atypical behavior. This woman is out of control.
Roseanne @ 50 Seriously? If not what BDF postulates at 53, I have a very hard time understanding how a presumably very attractive woman would have any difficulty finding someone to fuck her (if all you want is to be fucked). Lack of opportunity (i.e. you live in the middle of nowhere)?
Fichu @ 54 Have you considered the possibility that you are an adrenaline junky? If so, have you considered extreme sports?
@62: I don’t think they’re exclusive, the Borderline partner I had for some years had both factors at play. Some damage from parents and certainly a personality disorder at work. It’s hard to isolate the two, certainly. And you don’t have to reference it for it to follow you everywhere.

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