Savage Love Sep 4, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Savage Love Letter of the Day



Is there any actual numbers for "regular" people (ie, not SLOG write-inners) about preference/acceptability of non-monogamy?

I mean, you can make a good case for non-monogamy, but for people born and raised in our culture, it's a non-starter for.... 75% of the population? 90%? 99%? How reasonable is non-monogamy as an answer for a 50th percentile American?


He sounds boring. Like a 24 year old trapped in a 38 year old's body. Who's to say those younguns at Whole Foods have any interest in him... Especially now that he's 45?


Is there really no room between live miserably as is and tell your wife you're going to start boning other women, and she can like it or lump it? Why not have an honest talk with her about how "little by little, she has become boring to me" (try for nicer wording. And don't pass out if she says you make her snore, too). Explore the details of what's wrong that aren't JUST about how you want to fuck other women. She deserves to know how he feels, so she can share her reactions to that, as well as where she is in all this after so many years and diaper changes and sitcom reruns. I had hoped Dan would offer the option of visiting a qualified marriage therapist who could help the two of them both feel heard, and see if there are ways to reconnect that don't limit options just to hubby going the monogamish route. Yes, it may turn out that she's into the idea of letting his dick off the leash, but let both spouses lay their cards on the table and see what they have before deciding that's the only option that will work.

If "I want out" is truly all he wants, then by all means walk. Tell her why, prepare what you want to say to your kids, and move on. It will suck for everyone involved, but if you have zero interest in staying, then it's best for you and your wife to know it. And like Dan said, don't assume that the streets of your new life will be lined with pussy that stays new and exciting with no shelf life.


I think your estimate is slightly off, Sportlandia. Perhaps 75-90% of the population is not willing to admit an openness to monogamy, mostly for fear of being seen as different/weird, not because they actually think it's bad. I'm willing to bet that, especially amoung married, rich people, there is something like a 50-70% incident of one or both partners cheating on the other, being aware of the other's cheating, and deciding not to silently accept it. Ethical non-monogamy is just that + using your words. And the way it becomes a mainstream thing is by people like Dan and his readers talking openly and earnestly about it and inviting others to join us in honest realityland.


I feel sorry for LW. He's narcissistic and deluded. It won't be long until his children consider hanging out with him to be a waste of their time, and I have a strong hunch that he already bores his wife at least as much as she bores him.


Ugh *openness to NON-monogamy and *deciding TO silently accept


Almost classic seven-year itch. I agree that in a perfect world a couple can make a reasonable and adult pact to individually go sniffin' around sometimes. Problem with that though is the people who get sniffed. Inevitably, it seems, one will meet up (and screw) someone who wants more from you. More time. More money/gifts. Some kind of promise or commitment. Really puts the damper on a couple when an outsider wants in. I can't think of the perfect solution for when marital (or pseudo-marital) sex gets dull. And under coulda, woulda, shoulda: I don't think a guy who really likes doggin' around with lots and lots of women should really ever consider long-term relationships that produce children.


Interesting article in Psycholgy Today ~
"Monogamy Versus Non-monogamy: Who Is More Sexually Satisfied"...


Bauhaus I @ 7 is right, I just can't imagine that this guy is going to manage to have a "discreet, mutually-agreed upon affair" with anyone. He sounds like he'd be wildly infatuated with the first person he fucks, and that this would turn into a massive mess. How do you control what happens in an affair anyway? I can't think that many people behave in predictable ways in these situations even if they go into it thinking it's going to be discreet and the boundaries are agreed.

Also, this bloke sounds like he doesn't just want that - he wants to be partying and enjoying nightlife and none of this sounds discreet. He wants out, and not just a little sexual variety.


Agree with @3 and mostly Dan, it doesn't have to be so binary. Also lolz to the dude that's all "I may LOOK traditional but I'm a real party guy!" Stop. You're probably boring.


My prediction: dude tells wife, "I want some strange", wife says, "Fine, me too", and then six months later he's back whining that wife is getting more strange than she can handle while he's getting diddly squat. It's always easier for the ladies. Plus, dude sounds like he looks in the mirror and sees a young Brad Pitt when really he looks like the orange globster in the White House.


"I am far from traditional" says the nearly 40 year old man who is having the most boring and typical midlife crisis ever. A nearly middle aged married dude with kids and a mortgage who wants to drink, party in clubs and fuck women other than his wife and who wishes to only be a part time father? OMG where are such nontraditional exciting men?


Here's some advice. You know one way to keep your relationships interesting? Become an interesting person.


Also they met ten years ago. Assuming they didn't just jump immediately into child-rearing, then they likely have small children- maybe not even yet in elementary school. Guess what folks? Raising kids is tedious and boring and exhausting a lot of the time. And if your idea of "if I only had more freedom" is that you'd spend it in night clubs, then you are going to continue to be a tedious and boring and exhausted person, only you are also going to be a shit parent if you leave.

For sure, talk with your wife about ethical non monogamy. You are unlikely to find the pussy lined up for you with that attitude, but if you could stop making it about what a wild and crazy guy you are and instead just admit that you are a boring fucking responsible grown up like all the rest of us and that when you have a family it's not all about you, then you might be able to relate to other humans in the same situation and find a woman or two who'd likewise enjoy some fun sexy times away in which you can both enjoy some non-kid adult time. Or you could stop saying your wife bores you and maybe even find some get away time with her- reconnect as a person and not a parent. And I highly recommend you get a hobby and some pursuits other than partying because in your 40s, it's going to be hard to find other non-boring partners whether or not you leave your wife if you are a boring old fart yourself. There's nothing at all interesting about a bored middle aged man who likes pussy and beer.


Its fun to her Dr. Laura Schlesinger take these types of calls. She's much harsher, but generally Dan and her are in alignment on this obliquitous selfish lament.


I would love to hear from the OP. Please write to Dan and let us know how this would-be-playa played out.


Yeesh. I think Dan was really flippant and not particularly helpful there. These conversations are never about the pros and cons of monogamy vs non-monogamy, but about the connection between sexual intimacy and self esteem. Everyone wants to feel valued, desired, special - and our intimate partners play a huge role in this. Doesn't matter if you're mono, poly, or any flavour in between. The conversation this LW wanted to have with his wife is a difficult and deeply sensitive one, and Dan gave him zero advice on how to handle it.

I'm non-monogamous and can certainly understand felling restless and craving sexual adventures with hot baristas and random chicks at the gym - in fact, I'm all for it :) But if my nesting partner came to me and said that they've "become bored" with me, and then asked for a "safety valve" in the shape of another woman's vagina, in order to preserve his or her sanity and our marriage, I'd be leaving there and then. Staying with them, especially "for the sake of the kids", would be like death by a thousand cuts. At least "I'm leaving you to go fuck a barista to be named later" (or words to that effect) can be followed up with "I think you deserve better" (and in this LW's case "I want to be a father to my kids and take care of you financially", which is no small thing). It gives the jilted lover the courtesy of a clean slate, the freedom to start over, heal, and maybe find someone who actually wants them.

I really wish Dan would stop defaulting to "try non-monogamy, what have you got to lose?" every time someone writes to complain about their crappy lukewarm monogamous relationship. Successful ethical non-monogamy requires above-average emotional maturity, time management and communication skills. It's not some last-resort quick-fix you throw at your long-suffering spouse when what you really want to do is to be free of them altogether. And no, it's not good for the kids either.


"craving for sex with other women. It doesn't matter who—the girl at the coffee shop, the checker at Whole Foods, every chick at the gym—I'm up to my eyeballs in covet."
It sounds like it does matter who: you listed strangers who are required to be nice to you because you're the customer, or who avoid interacting with you at all while they exercise.


Despite what I said, I think @17 makes some very thoughtful points.


Related conundrum: why do so many people put so much effort into building lives they don't actually want?

2011 letter: I wonder if he wound up staying and how that worked out.

I second EmmaLiz, per usual.

This was 2011, so actively opposing the orange fascist in the White House wasn't a thing, but Republicans were, and they were just as bad as ever. The planet is dying thanks to us burning through literal tens of millions of years worth of stored solar energy in a mere 150 years. We recently invented and are still experimenting with the applications of a global information network that allows one (for a price, under a capitalist market model) to almost instantly access a large proportion of surviving human cultural works, from art to scientific research. We were on the brink of developing mass-accessible VR and semi-autonomous robots. Plus this guy has (had?) a willing sex partner (as far as we know - he says he's bored by his wife, not that SHE'S no longer interested in sex with him) AND and multiple offspring he gets to help guide into being self-possessed, agentic humans. Outsiders are shaking up national politics, and were in 2011, too. Pick literally any interest that isn't "fucking twentysomethings who don't actually want to fuck me," and he almost certainly had/has the opportunity to pursue it in some way. (As Dan notes, that may actually be an opportunity he has available, as well, whether a barista or a sex worker - or a sex worker who moonlights as a barista!)

If he's bored with his life, it's because he willfully constructed a boring life (i.e. he is boring) in an era of human history and living in a dominant global empire where people of moderate or greater financial means have historically unprecedented opportunities for learning, entertainment, travel, and invention, plus we're facing the terrifying (but not boring) existential threat posed by global warming. That he's bored suggests that fucking young women is his sole interest, which is indeed pretty boring.


@18 "There are plenty of single women your age (even some moms) who's world extends beyond their boring little domiciles... Date a bunch of them, figure yourself out, and find someone cool who can be an alternative, more interesting female role model for your kids."

The fact that he's bored by his wife and kids (as he included spending time with them on his list of "mundane" activities) does not mean that they're just boring people and he deserves to be surrounded by better ones. His stated list of interests (clubbing, drinking, and boning random women at the gym) doesn't suggest an adventurous person with a fascinating inner life, they describe an emotionally stunted 22-year-old frat boy. And a lousy father who finds his children boring and views them as a burden.

I actually do agree with you that he should get a divorce, but not because he deserves better- because his family does, and the less they're forced to witness of his midlife crisis, the better.


Cosigning @17.

Dan's been sick of answering this same letter for a lot of years now, but he keeps answering it the same way.


@23 We have no idea what his wife likes, if she has a career, or really anything about her except that she has young children and her husband is bored. We do know what he likes, because he told us- and while I have nothing against drinking or fucking, that's a pretty goddamn low bar for labeling anyone "interesting." And he certainly has no qualms about abdicating his parenting responsibilities to pursue all of these super interesting hobbies, so- what exactly is worth admiring about this guy, again?


@ 23 there is nowhere he describes his wife as an introvert, and there is nothing mentioned that would indicate that she is an introvert. He just wants to party, which doesn't even really mean that he's an extrovert especially - I think being an extrovert is more complicated than that.

He's just bored with parenting, working and all the drudgery that comes along with the fun (I really do think there's a lot of fun). One of the things that has got me through the drudgery is feeling that I'm going through it with a lover I'm passionately devoted to, and what happens when the kids are asleep and we're alone makes it all worthwhile. If you don't have that, I can see how it would be boring - for them both.


First and foremost, I wish you well with your recovery! I had RC surgery in May. I have had a lot of surgeries, 4 knee, appendix etc, and all I can say is take the Percocet!! Often!! This was the most painful surgery I have ever had!! And you must go to PT! Is going to be painful, but you need to get your range on motion back ASAP! Good luck!!!!

As far as the letter writer is considered, I am begging you to go for it! Leave your wife and children because you are bored! My dad did that to us and his second wife as well. You are going to die an old man who is alone because right now you are not satisfied. Well guess what? Life if full of compromises, and I agree what others have wrote in their comments, your wife probably can’t stand you either!! Get your shit together and stop acting like a 12 year old who doesn’t like their lunch asshole!!!


Oh, and PS your children will hate you too!!


I suspect there may be some baristas who are a little weary of being Dan's go-to example of youthful fuckability.


Eye roll at Daddy's bullshit. You sound like a spoiled teenager bitching about how lame their parents are for being boring people who put the roof over their heads. No one made this man settle down with this woman and have children with her. He is a grown ass man who made that choice, and now he has a family. Yes, raising children and building a home can be tedious and dull- but you sound stupid if you are criticising this woman for taking her responsibilities seriously. The absolutely only thing that you know about this woman is that she has children and that her husband - the one who chose to have a family with her- finds her boring. The only thing we know about this man is that even in his fantasies of a non-traditional life free from the hindrances of family responsibilities that he voluntarily created for himself, his wife and the children he brought into existence, he can't muster up anything more interesting than going to night clubs, drinking alcohol, and fucking strangers. He probably stumbled into parenthood with the same lack of imagination and self-delusions, and why in the world women who love traveling and adventures would be interested in him is beyond me. As for figuring himself out, yes it's true that dating a lot is one way you can learn a lot about yourself and have a lot of fun doing it, but you don't start a family to try to figure yourself out. Once you are responsible for other people's existence and well-being, you have to take a more realistic view of your options and your own role in creating them. This doesn't mean the fun times are over, but it does mean you've got to stop the bullshit about being such a nontraditional wild and crazy guy that just can't settle down his restless heart because he likes booze and pussy.

Cautionary tale for all those who think they want to have kids. Unless you have been exceptionally special and uniquely successful in most other endeavors in your life, you probably will be average as a parent as well. This is fine and ok. But you should consider what the life of an average parent is. What does it mean to make a home, day in and day out- look at other families and relationships around you. You will not be better at it than them. You do not know any secrets that they don't know. Do you want that sort of life? Americans (and I would bet my liver that this man is an American) have stupid expectations of parenting and marriage. Most of them shouldn't do it. But nothing annoys me more than these assholes who are all "I want to be a good parent, but on my own terms" or "I want to provide for my children, but just financially - I don't actually intend to be present" or "It turns out I just want to be a parent part time". I have a lot more respect for people that just admit that parenting is fucking hard and tedious and that the way we organize our current society makes people miserable and alienated and that they just can't do it anymore so fuck it all rather than these assholes who can't let go of the self-delusion that the problem is everyone else holding back their own uniquely non-traditional exciting asses. This dude's wife may or may not be every bit as boring as he is. She may or may not be focused on the domicile as Daddy makes up (nothing in the LW's words says so). She may or may not be as selfish and bored as this guy is. Who knows. We certainly don't because this guy doesn't bother saying a damn thing about her and instead talks about what a nontraditional guy he is with all that desire for sex with random people and need to sit in bars. Vomit eye roll head bashing against wall whatever.

Also there are two ways to make sex more interesting to those who feel their current sex life has become dull. (These are not mutually exclusive btw). The first is to simple find another person to fuck. Novelty is always fun and you don't have to do anything more than change out the person and you will have a novel experience. The second is to get better at sex. Use your imagination and explore some kinks, toys, positions, etc. Anything can become boring after a time- and yes it requires willing and enthusiastic partners. So I'm not saying the LW shouldn't seek sex outside his marriage- maybe he should. But he's given no indication here that he's tried the second either. Maybe his sex life is boring because he (and/or his wife) are boring in bed. Changing partners will help with that short term too. I just wonder this because the only thing he mentions is his desire to fuck a bunch of strangers- not any specific experience or type of woman or kink or adventure or anything, and really I just picture him humping a bunch of random women, how non-traditional.



Unless I've missed something, it's the LW who brought up the women at the cafe, not Dan. Dan refers to the "poor barista" in reference to the LW's "girl at the coffee shop" so I don't think it's Dan making the barista the go-to example. Rather, the LW did and Dan is sympathizing with her (hence the "poor") for having to put up with delusional boring midlife crisis horndogs like the LW.


I feel sorry for LW's kids. I hope they put him in a filthy nursing home when he's old and vulnerable.


Well EL you sure made some sense. And this tool has been with ‘ this girl’, not partner, for ten years and he lusts after some of the young ones around. Young beautiful women who haven’t yet partaken of having their bodies invaded by the growing young. Perky breasted little honeys.
Ten yrs means the kids are still young and yes the daily routines can become tedious and adults do need to take time out for themselves. If this man and his ‘girl’ have done so well financially, and good on them getting that together, they can afford a weekend away or weekly outings. Did he talk with his wife about his frustrations. Did he give her any indication he’s bored, like all of us were/are, with the daily grind of little people. Though once they get to seven or so, kids can be such fun if one bothers to notice.
My granddaughter just turned nine, her energy and chat chat chattering are such a joy to be around. Then mothering is way different.
Wonder what happened here. The kids adults now, the LW probably living in some sad apartment, alone, his ex wife taking him up on his offer to support her and the kids, till she married again. Which she hasn’t done, just has lovers. Why spoil a good thing? Kids didn’t see much of dad as they grew up, his constant changing gfs and hangovers meant he didn’t have much time for them. They see him for Xmas now, and don’t much think of him at all anymore.


Prior post is lost somewhere.
Parents who don’t put their kids first are scum. Sacrifice is the name of the game and if you’re not up to it, don’t take it on. If love really goes, and yes that happens because of the unrelenting tasks involved in nuclear family life, then make the changes where the kids are front and centre.
Kids force quick changes in parents who are quick on their feet, and who realise it’s not forever. They grow up. The rest are like this goose, panting at the girls at the gym. Missing his chance at finding the joys of family life, with young kids.
He gets to the gym ok. His life isn’t completely work and domestic.


I agree with EmmaLiz@ 30. Poor, poor hubby who's bored of being a grownup and looking after a family, and blames his wife for being too busy with the kids, AKA too busy taking up his slack in the parenting department to cater to him 24/7 like he was a kid himself.

You wanna go out an party? Hire a sitter for the kids (or drop them off with the grandparents) and go to a concert or two with your wife! You might find that "raging" all night is less fun now that you don't have a 20-year-old's ability to process alcohol without a hangover, but there's 0% reason why you can't have a few nights out. Same with the sex life - put a little effort into getting the kids and house responsibilities out of your wife's hair for a bit, and then put a lot of effort into boning.

Also, there's more to an exciting life than booze and strange. Go on some trips - get some hobbies, learn some new stuff!

TL;DR, If you're bored then you're boring; getting sloppy drunk at 40 and chasing young tail isn't going to make you interesting.


@12 EmmaLiz & @19 ankyl. Well said!

But I'd still be less hard on the LW than some responders. To me, he doesn't sound selfish; he sounds funny and self-aware ('I loved me some women'). He hasn't spoken to his wife about his restlessness.... However difficult the conversation, this has to be the place to start.

@1. Sportlandia. Excellent question. I think nonmonogamy is a subculture for most people, like homosexuality and BDSM. In other words, for the 50th percentile American, there's no chance of its being publicly acceptable, officially feasible--and a tiny chance of its answering to a problem in exceptional circumstances.


Mtn. Beaver @24 - yeah, I can sort of understand it in the case of people who write in to say "I'm miserable but I don't want to leave" (I still think most of them would probably suck at non-monogamy, but at least it's something worth considering). But this guy clearly stated "I want out" - twice. It sounds like he doesn't want to be in a romantic relationship with his wife at all. Why push him towards the emotionally and logistically demanding path of non-monogamy when the will is so clearly not there?

Dan's answer implies that he should do it for the sake of his wife and their kids, which is a completely wrong-headed approach, IMO. I'm not a big fan of Psychology Today, but I completely agree with the gist of this article:

"Divorce, in and of itself, need not be harmful to children. It is the adversarial and contentious process of divorce, if continued, that may wreak damage. Yet research indicates that most children adapt to their new circumstances within a few years. Having two parents successfully move forward with their lives teaches an invaluable lesson: that we deserve to be happy and to feel loved. Conversely, remaining in relationships that perpetuate anger, devaluation, and lack of positive interactions leaves an indelible scar on children."

Of course, we all bring our own personal experiences and biases to these discussions. Maybe there are people who can make this level of self-sacrifice work for them and their families. Personally, I haven't seen much evidence of that. My own mother stayed married to my father for 10 miserable years, under the misguided assumption that this was a "responsible" thing for parents to do. Boy, was I happy when she finally left him. By contrast, I now have an amazing extended family, which includes my stepdad's daughter, his ex-wife, her new husband, and his kids from first marriage. It's not always been plain sailing (all the 'kids' are adults now, and some have children of their own), but I'm so glad our parents once made the ultimately selfish decision to leave the marriages that weren't working and pursue their own happiness. I honestly think that our family structure, cobbled together from three "broken homes", works way better than many "biological" nuclear families, with years of accumulated bitterness and resentment. When we spend time together, it's because we want to, not because we have to.

So, to the LW and anyone else in a similar situation, I'd say: if your partner and kids are not making you happy, leave. It's obviously not a decision to be taken lightly, but you only have one life. Don't stay "for the sake of the kids", they won't thank you for it. Be kind and considerate to your (former) spouse and (forever) kids, and aim for a "good divorce" and amicable co-parenting instead. Then find a relationship that works for you and do you best to make it work for everyone else, too.


People who have been exceptionally successful or uniquely good at some non-parenting activity will struggle with parenting ... because they will find it hard to have the patience for the tedium, for repetitive mundane tasks, or for kids learning at their own pace. Long stretches of parenting are washed-out dull; and there's a possibility here, verging on a likelihood, that the LW's wife sticks with it, looks after the kids, and that the LW takes up fewer of his responsibilities.

We don't know--at all--what Too-Young's wife feels about their marriage. We know what he feels. But let's suppose he wants out, just as he said, and her attitude is more 'I'm absolutely committed to my children and committed in principle to my marriage, but I'm ambivalent about some of the compromises I have to make'. In such a context, I think both have problems. Genuine problems--even if they're virtually everyone's problems. Both people deserve to be listened to, not castigated. Even though one is more 'realistic', emotionally mature. I like Dan's answer, however generic. We know there's a societal problem here.


Beautifully said Lost Margarita @37. Marriages which are dead have to be ended. Did this man though even try to get some of what he wanted with his partner. I wanted out a million times while rearing small kids, and it’s easy to blame the other. This man sounds like a boy, hope something happened to kick him into adulthood.


Dan does this response so well.

"a little tinkle for you"
You mean a little 'tinker'? Or were you peeing on the LW?

"while you two head out for a weekend away"

...either together or separately.

@15 raindrop
Dr. (of physiology, which has nothing to do with human interpersonal relations) Laura entertained me for a New York minute decades ago, do she really to that tired old narrow repetitive routine still?

@20 Dougsf
True, "@17 [Lost Margarita] makes some very thoughtful points." Given them, Dan could use a more nuanced response in the future; unfortunately a mass audience might not enjoy it as much.


Harriet, everyone finds parenting difficult because it is. My point is only that the majority of us are average so it seems a little weird to me all these starry eyed people who think they will be wonderful at parenting when they've been average at everyone else their whole lives. You hear a lot of people without kids talking about things like "those people let their kids sit in front of screens" like THEY are the first people to notice and like they are so special and smart that they will be perfect parents, unlike all the slobs around them. Or how other parents don't let children explore their individual creativity or whatever the big thing is now (eating only organic snacks)- there's a lot of silly expectations of what parenting will be like among people who don't have kids, lots of judgement on how others do it. The reality of child-rearing is much more just trying to get out the door on time when and putting out little fires all day long- all the castles you build in the sky disappear when you just can't get junior to stop crying over dropping his chicken mcnugget long enough to put on his jacket so you can walk outside, meanwhile juniors sister suddenly has to go the bathroom again. I didn't mean to say that a person who has been exceptional at other things will necessarily be better at parenting, but now I see that the logic does skew that way and I take it back. I was trying to bring some measure of self-reflection and self-assessment to the conversation. If you think that YOU will be different than the majority of parents around you and that YOU have some insight/willpower/arrangement that will make your parenting experience different than that of your peers, sit down for a moment and ask yourself if you really are exceptionally different or if you are just talking shit about something you don't know anything about. Then look at your peers- your experience will skew somewhere on the spectrum of good to bad of people in your demographics, and it's most likely it will be around the average. So look at all of that and see if any of it is really a life you want. I feel like an honest assessment of what family life is really like would prevent a lot of shit like this letter. And I don't see how you could say this dude seems aware. The man is dripping in self-delusion.

I agree with everything Lost Margarita and Lava say here too.


Oh thanks Daddy because until just this very moment I thought that women were in fact entitled to a husband. Oh and yes it hits close to home because I was in fact about to go down to the Ministry of Husband Distribution and Regulation to see what is to be done about my own husband who wants to chase random ass and drink in clubs and because he thinks I'm boring since we've had kids. Please tell me how I make him stay in this hell that we have created for ourselves?

Because there is no possible way I could have strong opinions about something that I have not personally experienced right? Sounds like my friend's husband last night telling me I have no reason to be concerned about all the US citizens in Texas having their passports denied to them because no one is coming after my own passport.


Lava & Lost Maragarita, I think a lot of children are interesting, some are not- just like adults. It can be fun doing things with children, you don't need your own to do that but of course there are rewards that only parents will experience. I'm not anti-having kids. I'm anti-having kids flippantly and with stupid expectations. Like most things in life, doing something well is a lot of work and the foundation of that work is almost always drudgery. Very few things that are rewarding and exciting and challenging don't rest upon a lot of mundane tedious work- it's usually the framework for anything. Unless you live in a culture that sets aside people to do this maintenance for you (servants, members of the family who stay home to do it) then you're going to have to learn to juggle all the boring shit with the exciting shit- this applies to everything in life.

I am sympathetic to people who get lost in this and just succumb to it and yes there are plenty of people who fall into a rut and can't get out or just don't want to expend the effort to do so, and this could be the wife's situation. She might really have become a boring person- it happens in marriages. But we know for a fact that the husband is boring as he describes himself in the letter. So the reason I think people are suggesting that he stay and work it out is that if he could be a little more realistic about who he is and what their situation is, maybe they could be kinder to each other and help each other out of their ruts. This might include some non-monogamy, but they might want to start with rekindling their own desires and sex life. If this is a lost cause, by all means the husband should leave- I agree that unhappy marriages are no place to raise children. But he doesn't say anything is particularly bad, just that he's restless and wants to fuck and drink and that he's delusional enough to think this makes him nontraditional instead of absolutely ordinary. Sometimes when people feel trapped they want to blame others- they have a different view of themselves than what is real. This is pretty normal in middle age- people who think that if they didn't have the hindrance of a marriage or a job or a mortgage or whatever that they'd be able to pursue the thing they are truly meant to do (be a rock star, travel the world) and it's not to dismiss their discontent that a good friend or therapist would hold a mirror up to them. Pretending that you are unhappy in your life because you really should be sitting in a bar flirting is not going to solve your problem. So maybe the dude should leave or maybe he should just really reflect on who he is and why he's unhappy, and since there are kids, I think it's important to do this work rather than if there were no kids he could just leave without any real consequences. He might still better leave- divorce sometimes fixes families not breaks them- but doing it because he thinks he's exceptionally and nontraditionally into bars and strange is a bunch of bullshit.


Dadddy@41: I don't know if you're a troll or not, but just because people have the right to divorce doesn't mean that they escape all judgment for being douches if they divorce for douche reasons. Also "he's not divorcing his kids?" "He'll be a better father?" Are you high? He wants to divorce so he can go out drinking all night and chase strange!

Exactly which bit of being a drunk poonhound in his 40's will make him a better father? The mornings he can't look after his kids because of the hangover? The nights he's not with them because he's out? The times he wakes them up stumbling home drunk at 3am? The money he doesn't spend feeding, clothing and educating his children because he's spending it buying bottle service in the club trying to score with someone young enough to be his daughter, before giving up and heading to the strip club? The sort of women he'll bring home to his kids as a drunk 40-year-old looking for a wild time (hookers, old lushes, and crazy young women with daddy issues)? The time he can't be at their big game cause he got arrested for solicitation?

This guy's problem is not "I fell out of love with my wife," his problem is "I'm sick of adult responsibility, and instead of working on that in a mature way, I wanna dump my wife, leave all the parenting to her, and be a drunk fratboy." That's why people are judging him.


Some decent insite in the comments. A few things were missed though:

Step 1: Watch more porn. Seriously, barista, club girl and gym girl are pure fantasies. May as well get used to pleasuring yourself alone, because if a 35+ YO dude bro thinks these girls are lining up for an older married/divorced man with kids but nothing to talk about... well, he's going to be spending a lot of time with his hand anyway, may as well start now. BTW, people have walked around this, but you sound like a creeper. Don't hit on the nice barista. Please.

Step 2: get snipped. You sound like you didn't really want to be a dad. Don't dilute what time and money you have for your kids by winding up with a laundry list of alimony payments to women who returned your 'only sexual' interest in them with 'only financial' interest in you. If you live in WA, be aware of the 'any man will do' law that will have you owing alimony for just being around long enough.

Step 3: Give your wife a week off. Maybe go with or maybe don't, but it sounds like your wife does a lot of work with very little recognition. She deserves a break, especially if you are planning on dropping a bombshell like 'I'm unhappy with monogamy' on her (or however you plan to phrase it. And also, even if she is unhappy too, don't expect her to thank you for it as some commenters almost imply. Even if it really would give her freedom, you want to change the terms of your relationship and don't seem to have the insight that this is all about how you need a/to change and not about how life just hasn't handed you everything you wanted. Life is probably already rough for your wife given your seeming level of emotional maturity and insight and this is going to be a terrifying and judgmental discussion no matter what. As others have mentioned, a marriage counselor would not be out of line. Watching some sex therapy videos together might not hurt either, and it's free (on YouTube) and a lot less emotionally distressing than the other options if it happens to work, and if it doesn't work, then maybe you can both up your game for the next person. It's at least a way you can make your wife aware that something is wrong without leveling accusations or serving divorce papers as step one.

Step 4: when you have done steps 1-3, if/when you still need out, DO NOT HIT ON THE POOR WOMEN who are just doing their job or minding their own business! And please don't be the 40 YO hanging around in a club with the only personal space bubble in the place. People other than you are going to want drinks and they are not going to want to squeeze next to you to get those drinks (you will be at the bar, you don't have the moves you think and after enough young men offer to cut in you'll inevitably end up the only place you are sort of welcome). Go online, get a hobby, learn a new skill, or something where you actually have a reason to chat people up either knowing they are looking for something quick and casual or having reason to get to know people well enough to establish they aren't simply humoring you because they are more or less required to. This is the point that you talk with your wife, by the way, and using your words, find the solution that fits you both. I suggest trying a hobby before you have the talk as you might find that affirmation and time with other like minded adults is really what you crave, and not intercourse, which could save you some trouble... and if not, you'll have gained a social group so you don't leave your wife and find yourself drinking alone with no friends after facing constant rejection from women you should have known better than to ask in the first place.


@Dadddy: if his wife is spending all her time being a mom, that means he's not spending any time being a dad - he really doesn't get to blame her for that.


Pick and choose away, Daddy. He said their days run together with those mundane activities. He did not say this is what his wife does or likes but rather how their days run together. Also "nightlife, crazy friends, and good drink" is a pretty silly thing to say in juxtaposition to sitting at home watching tv (because if these are what you see as choices in life, you are a little silly) but they you skipped the part that makes it ridiculous which is that he thinks his interest in all this drinking with crazy friends makes him not as traditional or conservative as he appears. As if anyone is clutching pearls at the rare man who likes to drink with crazy friends- how rare and wild!

The person who is projecting is you. There is nothing here about what his wife likes or does, and nothing here that says she has become whatever you are considering a mommy. The ONLY THING we know about this woman is that she has children and that he finds her boring. He says their sex life has cooled and that he wants to fuck random strangers. He does not say that she has lost interest in sex, but he does say he finds her boring. You are making up all this stuff about a mommy who has given up her identity. This is not in the letter. It's not even in the stuff you quoted. You had to add the "she likes" part to the quote that was about THEM- making something he said about their boring life to be about her preferences- he never says this. If he's bored, maybe he should try doing more than watching TV in his free time. Does he indicate that he desires anything more than that or has any other interests? Yes. He explains clearly that he wants to drink with his crazy friends. How exciting.


Oh actually we do know one more thing about this woman. We know that she too used to go out drinking with friends.

I suspect this is a case of two rather boring people stuck in their boring life, and again, I'd be sympathetic if they were interested in pulling themselves out of this rut. But instead, the LW just assumes the problem is that his wife is boring- not that there is anything about him or his choices. Just dump the wife and he can go back to partying. This is just a classic midlife crisis- responsibility sucks for some people. People respond in different ways. These people are responding by sitting around at home and watching TV. Since all we know about them is that their pre-children interests were drinking with crazy friends, my guess is that they are just boring people who used to party which is the only way boring people know how to have fun.

Nothing against partying btw, but it's the second easiest form of diversion, right after sitting in front of a television.


Emma, Daddy, Etc:

It doesn't take a genius to see there's a pretty strong anti-male bias in the SLOG Commenterati. When women right in that they're unsatisfied with their sex lives, they're stone-cold NEVER told it's because they're boring, because they're scum, etc. These assumptions about LW are pure projection (if there's one way in which SLOG is sex-equitable, it's that we're all projecting). The amount of negative insights we've seen about this LW are not even close to being supported by his letter. It's part of the same system that we all participate in wherein men are responsible, active people where as women are weak and passive. Why is this LW's home/sex life boring? Because he's boring. Why is a generic women LW who writes in find her sex life boring? Because her husband is failing her. It's a pretty basic pattern which, if someone had the tools, could be easily quantified.


@42. EmmaLiz. I was agreeing with you, in essence. Many parenting tasks are rote. A lot of the stuff that's interesting, that requires reflection and listening on a parent's part, has a tendency to get submerged under the dailiness. I like your description of putting out a succession of little fires. (I should say--full disclaimer--that I'm not a biological parent, and have never had parenting or caregiving duties towards a pre-adolescent/tween).

Where do you find Too-Young lacking in self-awareness? Perhaps it's enough for his wife to watch Will & Grace re-runs and wipe off the snot--she would say her partying days are over, and thank goodness--while it's not enough for him...? If this is his sense about their respective attitudes towards parenting, and their own personal pleasure, perhaps he's perfectly correct?


@48. Traffic. This comment is perfectly correct, and an entirely legitimate inference.

At the same time, it would be the consensus of the SL commentariat that a negotiated, monogamish relationship is better than suffering sexlessness, or incompatibility with a monogamous partner, or the sacrifice of what a person genuinely finds interesting, vibrant, worth discovering and developing in themselves. Can't this latitude be extended to the near-40yo het-married wannabe poonhound, too? Let's answer the narrow question. Would one night a week of drinking'n'partying and one 'date night' with a secondary, FWB or gf incapacitate Too-Young from being a responsible parent?

@51. Sportlandia. Actually I disagree with your first sentence.


Where I find him lacking in self-awareness is, as I said, in his description of himself as nontraditional and with unconservative interests which he then describes as a desire to drink in bars and have random sex because of boredom with watching TV with the kids. This is about as traditional and conservative as married with kids and mortgage gets. Also my guess is that his wife is just as boring (and bored) as him, but the fact is, we don't know. He doesn't say she is happy sitting around watching TV with her partying days behind her. He says that THEIR days are full of mundane things like errands and TV. What is stopping him from turning off the TV and doing something more interesting if he is bored with it? Even if she is happy to do this (which we don't know- he didn't say she is), what is to stop him from doing it? So boring people will be bored.

I'm not a biological parent either. I never wanted kids. I have helped raise kids in my family who were left without parents and I'm currently providing caregiving to an elder which is very tedious and boring- it's the worst sort where you are busy enough that you can't really get involved in anything but not busy enough to not be bored. Watching small children is a lot like that too- you never get a sustained period of time when you can get involved in something else because they require your attention off and on frequently. So I understand why people turn to television- it's a lot of work to get kids out to do something else. I'm not judging him for that, I'm judging him for lacking the self-awareness to see how he helped create this situation. Likewise with his sex life. He doesn't say that his wife has lost interest in sex or that he has tried this or that thing but she just wants to sit around being a homemaker. He says their sex life has cooled and he wants to fuck random strangers. He's bored with his life and wants a change of scene because that's easier than thinking through what it is about himself that makes his life boring. It could also be that his wife is a boring person too, we don't know. Letters along these lines usually include something like "my wife no longer has a libido" or "when I suggest an evening out, she says she's too tired" or "I asked for this experience but she has no interest" in which case you could see that one person is trying but the other is holding back. This dude is just like "I want to drink and fuck random women and my wife bores me. I'm not traditional enough to be happy in a family." Well no one made you have a family, bud, and no one is stopping you from putting the work in to do more with your family than sit around and watch TV. Novelty is the easiest way to prevent boredom because you don't have to actually do anything interesting.


BTW Harriet, absolutely I think the the LW should ask for or arrange to have some time to himself and if he wants to spend that time partying, good for him. As for ethical non monogamy, in theory that is great, but in practice that is usually more successful as an addition to a good sex life or as a replacement for sex in a marriage where the sex is finished. It's not a good way to fix a marriage that is just boring overall with a cooled sex life. Though I'm with Dan that he should ask for it- maybe it will get the ball rolling towards an honest conversation about the rut they are stuck in. But he's delusional if he thinks the only reason he's bored and unhappy is because he doesn't get to party like he did in his 20s.


No woman is entitled to a husband (and there are plenty enough who just don't want one, tyvm), but no man is entitled to fuck every chick his eye happens to catch, either.

Sure - if you're unhappy, get a divorce. The wife will undoubtedly be better off, especially if he keeps up with his financial responsibilities towards the kids. But how likely is that, really? Chances are, he'll find himself in another relationship, sire another couple of spawn, and will blame his new boredom on the new woman.

He needs to take responsibility for himself and stop blaming his wife for HIS internal disquiet.


Dadddy/Sportlandia: why do you assume the comments would be different for a woman? I mean, I can't speak for the others, but if some 40-year-old wife with young kids was like "boohoo, I'm so bored, my husband spends all his time earning money and watching the kids, I wanna jump every young dick I see," my answer would be exactly the same. "Bitch, the problem for your boredom is to get a babysitter and some grandparent sleepovers, and go spend a few date nights with your husband! Ain't no one wanna see some sad 40-ass-ho getting trashed at the club and trying to climb all the dick! And you can't go bringing that trash home to your kids, neither! What're you gonna do, spend the kids' college fund on some gigolo boytoy, or drag home the local trailer trash barfly that yells at your son and leers at your daughter? Now go join a wine and cheese club (WITH your husband) then watch your favorite cover band at a bar while you two get drunk on natty light and rail vodka (when kids are at Grand-y's).

You two are so invested in your meninist philosophy that everything has to be a conspiracy against Teh Manz. If people are telling a man not to leave his wife and small kids just because he got a small wild hair up his ass, it's really because of Man Slavery and Misandry - and if he gets some warnings about what his life will be like if he goes down that path, it's really Feminazi ballcrushing, because Fuck You Penis-Haver.

The truth is that man or woman, queer or straight, the answer to domestic boredom at 40 is to first work on fixing what you have - not throw it all away to act like a 20-year-old. It's not wrong that he's a little antsy, but he needs a cold hard slap of reality to warn him away from the dumb-ass move he's contemplating.


@51 Sportlandia: that is bullshit. You got a family with small children in it? It can get boring because it’s so constrained unless you have relatives to help give the parents time out or you can afford live in help etc. and obviously you don’t read the comments very closely at all if you think there is a bias in all the responses.
Maybe read the letter a little closer too. This man talks with no respect for his partner, calling a grown arse woman who is a mother, ‘girl’.
Maybe you’re just not a very perceptive reader of letters because this guy by his attitude to his family, young women in the world.. assuming just because he lusts after them they will be available to him, arrogant prick.. this man tells us he is a child. I’m bored, like a kid says. I want new toys/ young girls to fuck/ just like a child. He is a father, and he has a job to do. He shows nowhere he understands his responsibility to his children past saying he’ll continue to support them financially. Children under ten need present parents not a checkbook one and with need such parents for another good ten plus yrs.


@46 Dadddy.. nowhere does he say the wife likes being home and watching TV.. it’s what they do together. I know you have a daughter so tell us how did you arrange evenings when she was little? You go out at night and leave her alone in the house.. bet you didn’t. These children could be five and six.. school homework baths dinner bed etc.. that’s the evening activities. And after they in bed the parents collapse on the lounge for a bit of mind dumbing tv.
If his partner has got stuck and they don’t go out and do adult activities, then he needs to talk with her. His issue is he wants to fuck young babes.. nothing his partner can do with help there eh. Unless she says, of course honey, I’ll stay home with the kids while you go satisfy yourself.
Fan was right. You and Sportlandia are sexist men and frankly I’m not sure why you both even bother being on here. Because yes, the women here will call your bull out ever time.


I love the smell of a midlife crisis in the morning.


Sorry, Carl, but Nora already wrote a book about you. Stop writing in to Dan Savage.


Aren’t you the son of an absent father Sportlandia. Did your mother complain all
thru your childhood about how bored she was.. while she was working and looking after you.. doing all the work herself. Or did she look after her boy so he could grow to be a man.
Parents have a job to do, yrs long, day in and day out. Who gives s fuck if this guy or your mom or me wanted out of the tasks., too fucking late once the child is here.


EmmaLiz @44, in principle, I don't disagree with any of that, but personally I don't feel that I have enough information to say either way. FWIW I think that the commentators on both sides of this argument seem to be projecting quite a lot into TYTF's rather short letter. Maybe he is an immature and clueless jackass, and should just get a grip, or maybe he was trying to be self-depreciating and facetious in some of his wording, like Harriet said. In the absense of any better info, I'm prepared to take his "I want out" declaration at face value, and assume - perhaps wrongly - that he's considered his other options and still wants out of this marriage.

But really, my comments @17 and @37 were directed more at what Dan said in his reply, than what the LW said (or didn't say) in his letter. And Dan said (and quoted) a whole bunch of problematic stuff, IMO:

"break up a marriage"
"disrupt your children's lives maybe forever"
"destroy the only home your kids have known"
"put yourself and the wife through the hell of divorce"
"put your second wife and your new kids through the pain of a divorce"

All of this is highly loaded, emotive language, and it comes straight out of the "family values" conservative playbook.

If I haven't made it obvious by now, I'm pro-divorce. No, I don't think that people should get divorced at the drop of a hat, or that it's gonna be a fun ride for all the family. But "the pain of a divorce" is really not a good reason to stay in a shitty loveless marriage. And things don't need to be "particularly bad" for someone to realise they just don't love their partner like they used to and can't see themselves spending the rest of their life living with them. There's no evidence to suggest that divorce itself is damaging for children, and will "disrupt their lives forever". Yes, divorce proceedings and custody battle can be "hell" - but usually because the wrangling spouses hate each others' guts at that point; it won't be any less "hell" for anyone if they stayed together. My parents divorced when I was 10 and it was dreadful, because my father chose to be particularly horrible throughout the whole process - but then he was out of our lives forever, so there was definitely a siver lining. My stepdad and his first wife had a fairly amicable divorce when their daughter was 6, and maintained a good relationship with her (and with each other) to this day. I have close friends who are divorced and have joint custody of their kid: not only do they seem to co-parent better than many of the cohabiting couples I know, but also manage to have a decent personal life in their alternate "child-free" weeks. It can work.

And I don't think anyone needs to sign off on "discreet affairs" to "do something" about the high divorce rate. Higher divorce rate is a natural consequence of living in a liberal society with more choice and more personal and financial freedom. Which is a good thing.


I hope these two did divorce. Long as he did his half of parenting and kept his boozing and womanising for his child free nights. Hopefully she found herself a family man who was happy to be with her and her children and they also have time alone.
Seriously what self aware woman wants a guy like this LW underfoot. I’m bored mummy is put up with from the real kids, not any adults.


@54. EmmaLiz. I've never really lived in Heterosexual America ('Nice America', let's call it, in contradistinction to the straight porn I watched two or three times, in horror). I don't know whether all 38yo fathers of two crave themselves them strange. Many--probably, but all? In the gay world, many 38yos do, leaving the fathers bit aside, and you can easily go somewhere it isn't frowned upon and where you have a chance of pulling. You have to have the sort of relationship that makes it work for you; and you know, at 38, that there are some sorts of romantic relationship you're saying 'no' to if you want to go on doing that. Maybe things would be better if there were straight 'Clubs 35-55' for those purposes in every major city. I don't know what the sex ratio would be....

TYTF's letter is funny and well-written, two things you're not taking into account. These things suggest to me he's thought about his situation.


@55. EmmaLiz. Interesting remark about when 'ethical nonmonogamy' works.

I would think that, if he approaches his wife saying the sex they have has gone cool or stale, or is too infrequent, she will either 1) stonewall him; or 2) ask him what can he expect, given how he's shirking his share of the parenting duties, or neglecting her in romantic or human terms. His way of getting a better sex life (that is, his easiest way) is probably to see her in the same rounded terms he did when he was 23.


Tone, tone, again, TONE. What some are seeing as humor in this writing, I see as entitlement.

I know this happened almost 10 years ago, but I'm going to address it as if it is in the present, because sadly, I think this letter is being written frequently. I have known several women whose now-ex-husbands could have written it.

I have a news flash for the lw: his wife would probably like to go out and party at least occasionally, too. Maybe she likes "mundane activities like watching TV, going to the store, and hanging out with our kids," more than he does, or maybe this is all she ever wanted, or MAYBE she understands that the years when you have young children are not going to be filled with "nightlife, crazy friends, and good drink," not matter how much one "loves" them. At the time of his writing, TYTF had only known his "present girl 10 years ago," and assuming they didn't have kids the very moment they met, their kids are pretty young.

But back to tone. His "present girl?" As opposed to the future one he hopes to pick up from the "chick[s] at the gym?" This woman is his partner, his wife, the mother of his children. He "loved [himself] some women," did he? Well, how unusual. From high school through college and beyond? And he liked to party? Wow--I understand now: he's a rare creature and you can't expect someone like that to actually look after his children and stay home at night.

This is a classic mid-life crisis. Everyone goes through it; people respond to it differently. I don't think there is a "right" way to respond, but the solution to his problem is pretty easy: If he wants "out," as he says twice, he should get the fuck out. No one wants to be married to someone who literally views their spouse and children as a ball and chain. Spare your wife and your poor children your entitled resentment. He says he "I want to be a father to my kids and take care of my wife financially. . . What is the best course of action?" The "best course of action" is to see a divorce attorney, pay the most generous spousal and child support he can afford," and let these people get on with their lives.



I'm guess you don't have a lot of experience yourself or through friends who are women that have having husbands who do this when mid life hits.

Unfortunately, I do. As do many of the posters here. I think men like OP really, really need to listen to women here. Why? Even if we aren't correct in our analysis, it will show them what women will think of them when they drop their wife to go seek some strange.

"I want strange, so I'm leaving my wife and kids" is such an entitled, typical midlife crisis script. He's not special. He's the opposite of it. He's so pedestrian and bougie my eyes hurt.

I can bet you he left the wife, went out seeking to relive his youth....and found himself alone and not getting any. I've seen it happen again and again and again among my friend group and in my practice as a family law attorney.

His real issue isn't his wife or his life. It's that he thinks he's a special person who deserves all the sex/money/candy he wants, but he's not willing to invest anything in himself to make himself interesting to his wife or to potential sex partners.

How do I know this? How can tell you he has nothing to offer a woman looking for casual sex? If he did, he would have been getting offers EVEN THOUGH HE WAS MARRIED. He would mention that in his letter.

It wasn't "all these women hit on me and I'm tempted." It was "I want all the women I see and I'm obsessed with strange."

My husband and my male friends who are interesting, good looking, or simply good lovers get offers all the time. The wedding ring makes no difference. Of course, these were men who were getting offers before they married.

Last week, I had a woman in a bar tell me that if I didn't mind, she'd like to have my husband for a night. That is what happens to quality men that women want as casual sex partners. That does not happen to middle class, mediocre white dudes in cardigans who want to relive their youth and get a "do-over."

This dude wants, but he's not willing to work. That is the attitude of a toddler.

As for casual sex after a night of thing that is missing from all this discussion is that he's not very likely to pick up any women under 35 in a club or when he's out drinking. That's not how it works anymore. Those 20 year olds he's coveting aren't going to be interested in him b/c they can get younger and hotter on Tinder or they can get older and better (better lovers, better looking, smarter, more money). Those women he covets, if they are out looking for sex, they have their Tinder open. So he's not competing with the dude next to her on the barstool. He's competing with every man on Tinder in a 10 mile radius.

He doesn't realize the young women he wants have sooo maaany options. And they aren't generally hooking up in clubs anymore. They weren't in 2011 when he was thinking about this. I have a lot of younger female friends who do casual sex. The way they go about it is totally different than how I did when I was their age. He was out of touch in 2011. I wonder how much more so he isn ow.

All those babes have to do now is get on Tinder and they get bombarded with potential ONS partners. They have a lot of choice.

If they do go to a club for sex, it's not going to be one that the bouncer will let him into. He's too old and used up. Yes, men, you have an expiration date as well. Unless you drive up in a really great car or look like you have $$$, you aren't getting in as a dude unless you are young and hot or important. Is he?

If he goes on Tinder, what is this dude going to do to stand out in that literal sea of potential men?

He's very out of touch with his own market value and with the way in which women under 35 find casual sex partners.

Gay men may still go out to clubs to find casual flings or ONS. Het or bi women don't do that. It's not just a safety issue, it's a return-on-investment-of-time issue. Why go out into that environment when they can simply swipe? Or call their male friend with benefits?

If they do go out seeking sex, it's to the sort of clubs your average dude is not going to get into.

Grant you, het and bi women may find casual sex partners when they are out drinking with friends. But that's not the stated purpose. So if he's going to get women that way, he's going to have to have an A+++ game. And it won't be as frequent as he thinks. And it will be work. Much more work than fixing himself or his marriage.

Also, as a heterosexual woman, if the sex has tapered off when it was good before, there's a reason. Maybe he ought to try and figure out what that is....It could be anything from his selfishness to his wife's hormones. (As there's nothing in the letter that indicates a bait-and-switch wrt sex). Doesn't matter if it's his "fault" or not. What matters is that is what you should try to fix first.

If, and only if, he really makes an effort to fix his marriage and it doesn't work, is it worth it FOR HIM to go out on a market where he's not sure he's going to pull.

Finally, much of the letter reads like he's using the potential to pull strange women to validate his self-image. He really needs to spend some time with a sex-positive counsellor to figure out if what he wants is better sex, sex with other women, or if he's using that potential to make him feel like he's something other than a normal, average, mediocre person. Like the rest of us.



Given that a lot of the women here are responding to his letter with such universal revulsion AND that most of the women on here are sex-positive, you can bet if he goes out and tries and hook up with actual, live women, he's not getting any.

His attitude in his letter is off-putting. What's he going to be like after a divorce when he must split half "his" stuff?

I think one of the thing the men on here are missing is how women who have sex with men are going to perceive this dude. It's not going to be kind. He's not going to go out and get the sex he's expecting.

A young woman looking for a ONS or a casual hook-up is not going to go for a divorced middle-aged dude unless he has something spectacular to offer. Does he? I think not or he wouldn't be in this situation. He'd be in the "women want to have affairs with me" situation.

So many middle-aged men think Tinder and online dating mean they can divorce and start swimming in multiple sex partners. Even though the technology is there now and you get direct connection, there is exponentially more competition now than 20 years ago.

20 years ago, it was you v. the dudes in the bar with you. It's not now.

There's a lot more casual sex happening, but it's not evenly distributed to all dudes.


Also, for all you men out there who think scores of women want to be stay-at-home moms, watch tv with the kids on Saturday night, and never have sex. HA!

It happens because so many of us get slotted in that position and don't have a choice.

It's pretty darn hard to stay a slim sex-Goddess when you work 40 hours a week and then come home to a messy house and kids who need attention. It's even hard when you can stay at home.

The ONLY women I know who manage to stay fit, adventurous, and fully sexually satisfied are either (1) rich enough to afford staff/help, (2) have husbands/partners who are really, really committed to sharing the household work as evenly as possible and sharing a the life adventure with their wives, or (3) are lesbian.

It's not that we don't want to go out adventuring and have wild sex. It's that we can't sustain that type of life and have kids. Someone has to take care of the kids. Either you pay someone to do that or one or both parents have to do it. It is not a choice once they are there.

Most women I know who work and have kids are exhausted all the damn time. It's pretty hard to maintain adventures and sexy fun times when you are bone tired.


@12, EmmaLiz, sorta hits the nail on the head. I, as a 40ish married man with kids, had and have the same experience as LW (although I was much less wild and crazy as he in his younger years), and it is stunningly depressing to find that this experience is not unique, and that I was nothing more than a run-of-the-mill stereotype of middle aged American male. That doesn't change the existential dread of finding tangible evidence that neither life nor you is what you thought it might be, nor does it do anything for the pain of discovering your lack of creativity and impotence at making it better without irreparably damaging lives around you, but for fuck sake it's as common as dirt.


Lost Margarita, I'm working today so no time, but just a quick note to say that I agree with what you say about not staying in broken marriages for the sake of the children, and I agree also that Dan often paints a stable home with a wider brush- there are plenty of healthy ways to parent. However I believe they all involve parents who have a decently accurate view of who they are and what they can expect out of family life, etc. I'm not pushing back against divorce, and in fact I believe we are in the process of changing what marriage and family are anyway. I'm pushing back against his self-perception of being too non-traditional for family life and therefore needing to leave for this reason.


slowpokey@69 ~ First of all, congrats on the lucky number. Second, although one might tend to think "if he goes out and tries and hook up with actual, live women, he's not getting any" would be true, it all depends on how low you want to go. There are plenty of "desperate" Trump-voting women out there with equally low standards as this guy, you just gotta turn a blind eye to the oozing sores and missing teeth.


Hmmm, MAY have crossed over the line on that one. Apologies to the Commentariat.


@71 if it helps, I have a few famous friends who swam in p*$$y when they were young. They still get the mid life doldrums.

Humans are programmed to be discontented. It takes a lot of work to break out of that.

Even objectively special people don’t ever feel like they have had or done enough.

Every single accomplished or famous or gorgeous person I’ve know feels just like Joe the car salesman at 40.

One has to learn the difference between contentment and happiness. I’m content. I don’t need to be happy all the time. Chasing that is exhausting.

I also don’t look to others for validation. Not even my husband.

Further, my special conquests and the number of notches in my lipstick case don’t make me any better or worse than anyone else. Who I have or haven’t sexed doesn’t define me in any way.

What makes me special is application of my talents and my passions and what I’ve done for others. And the fact I’m constantly improving myself for my own self. Trying actively to bridge the unbridgeable gap between who I am and who I’d be if I had a magic wand. The effort is more important than the result. People who try and fail are happier than those who don’t try. The unhappiest of all are those like LW. They blame others or externalities.

I don’t even really care about my job as a source of validation. Accomplished enough I don’t care.

I’m convinced people don’t become truly adult till they hit that crisis and realize they are chasing phantoms that can never be grasped.


@Harriet 65- I never said that all het men go through a midlife crisis or that they all get bored with family life and desire drinking and fucking random young women. I said it's incredibly common- the most typical kind of midlife crisis. Also perfectly natural to find all the young hot things attractive and perfectly normal to miss carefree partying when you are older with more responsibility. There is nothing non-traditional or non-conservative about this- it's incredibly commonplace and typical. I agree entirely with NoCute's post above. The reason this is different in the gay world is because of childbirth and childrearing of course, among other things I'm sure. Also I think it's possible that the fact that family life isn't a default and that gay people are already living in an actually nontraditional way means they have reflected more upon their lifestyle and choices?

I generally agree with SlowPokey above but I think they are overstating the difficulty in finding women to sleep with in ones middle age. They are correct that a man like this is unlikely to suddenly get a lot of young hot pussy, and yes he's going to be a creep if he's out hitting on all these random women in public who are just trying to work out and do their jobs, but he'll find women to sleep with. If he works on himself and becomes an interesting person he could find interesting women. If he doesn't, he'll find women like himself. Because middle aged people who are bored with their lives and tired of the responsibility of family is not something that happens exclusively to men- there are plenty of women in the same situation. The difference is that women are less likely to believe that they can actually leave their family or just be a parent part time or just provide financially and go out and live their youth or start a new more exciting family with a younger man (though I'm sure it does happen, it's less likely)- they usually realize that parenting is not something they can get out of. That doesn't mean they don't also go in for the excitement of an affair or hit the bars, etc. But let's not pretend that women aren't just as freaked out by the drudgery and responsibility of childrearing and that they also find all of this boring or that it does not match their expectations. Unhappy women likewise respond in ways that are selfish to their families, it just manifests differently.

@71 semicrepuscular- I think this is a Western thing. Or a capitalist thing. Or both? We have this focus on the individual- you raise a child telling it how special it is, and tell it that it must do its best in school, reward it for this or that thing, tell it to be creative and smart, then set it up to go out and blaze a new path, build a role for itself in life- the majority of us are average people who do not have any spectacular talents or interests. Most of human history, people were just born into some community and some role. That can be restrictive and oppressive, but the alternative is that we are a bunch of hyper-individualistic average people who think we are special and then go through all sorts of neuroses and harmful and selfish behaviors as we come to grips with the fact that we are not. I don't really know where the middle ground is- it's something I think a lot about. But that's a bigger topic- I do think that one thing that is very important for Americans is to have a more realistic expectation about what it means to have a family and raise children. You really do have to curb your expectations and individual desires to a certain extent, at least for a few years- it's not all about you and you are not that special anyway. When I see successful families, it's usually when two people both understand this and then decide to be kind to each other. And I know it seems minor, but I really think that having some hobbies really helps, as well as good friends and a healthy libido. Who manages to pull all of that off? As for all this being common as dirt, I agree. I don't think it has to be dreadful though. Once you learn to set that ego and me me me stuff aside a bit and realize you are just a slob like all the rest of us, I feel like a lot of of life's struggles fall away. Loads of people look at their relationships as a conflict, it's sad.


Donny don't apologize you're on fire lately and keep cracking me up.




@71, yes.. it is normalish, because of how the west has evolved re (nuclear) family life. It’s an insane structure by which to raise children. When we lived as communities, and in many countries still, the older people tend the kids while the parents work, and the children have lots of adults to protect and guide them. And surviving the nuclear family does take a lot of creative solutions and also acceptance. They do grow up and then you don’t hear from them for weeks.


@68. slowpokey. You have a strange attitude to cardigans! Where I come from, they are worn by guys in their 20s and 30s, then again by guys in their 60s+. Many are very nice.

You say guys like the LW have to listen to women, because women can tell him how his female peers respond to his going through a midlife crisis. Well, OK. I don't know if TYTF would have a line on how a goodly number of women--women who have been attached to a guy, like him, thinking the grass is greener--characteristically view his predicament. Quite possibly he doesn't. As of 2011, he hadn't broached to his wife his desire to recapture his youth. If he should listen to you lot, part of me feels you should listen to him. Housebound monogamy and parenting isn't working for him.

(Incidentally, please don't think I identify with him--I identify with his wife. 'Once you were sexy and easy; now you are easy (perhaps) and boring'. People have said that to me often enough).

Everything you say about his needing to work on himself, and to gain some self-awareness, in order to be more attractive to women is true. Anyone who said that the way to reconnect with his wife sexually would be, first, to make sure he was living up to his household and fatherly responsibilities would, probably, be on the money too.

It would be my view that many commentators take the line, 'buckle down! suck it up! be an adult, be a 40yo, not a callow youth!' and urge self-denial when the subject-matter is a heterosexual marriage with kids, while being much more tolerant of experiment, negotiation, open relationships and non-traditional relationship-forms when the people involved are gay, gender-dissident or just not married. It's as if, in their minds, OS marriage forecloses on the right (?) everyone has to open a negotiation on how they'd like their sex-lives to be conducted.

I have no skin in the game with het marriages. (Have had skin in the past with relationships based on sex dying on the vine). Of course I know women and men whose marriages have not survived seven years, or the man's (usually) midlife crisis. But I think Dan is right. There's a societal problem. Call the problem men's midlife crises if you like--but it's also more broadly a relationship norm felt as constricting just at a point when the parents need to be committed as that, as parents. Saying to the guy with itchy feet, 'you are selfish and immature', 'you're so entitled', 'can't you see how selfishly entitled you are?' etc. won't address the societal problem, nor be of help to either partner or families in individual cases.


@81. ...And I am SEMI by nature! The reason for this is that I have a very short cock, almost a micropenis, that is perpetually demi-aroused.

Furthermore this demicock is a magic wand with which I can cast a spell to spirit you away with me to my castle in Bavaria. HA HA HA HA


I am very late, but I will say this.

Obviously a whole lotta people here don't remember getting up, hung over, with the kids at the crack of dawn. I did that a few times. Ug. LW seems really, really, really childish.



Right. Dead. On.



F-k ya.


Just buy a sports car, that's what every other midlife crisis dude on the planet seems to do. And wank about the other women. That's what every human being on the planet does. Next!


@77. EmmaLiz. From this guy's perspective, the middle-aged men happy with their marriages, without wanderlust, are 'conservative'. Possibly from your perspective, certainly from mine and that of many voices on the thread, these men are just more mature.

Imv, the letter has offered a few women--mostly straight women who have been with husbands going through a midlife crisis, or who can readily imagine being in that position--an occasion for moral grandstanding. But it would be better, for me, if they instead answered the hard question of whether men like TYTF would render themselves unfit for parenting if they were granted one night off a week to spend as they wished.


“But it would be better, for me, if they instead answered the hard question of whether men like TYTF would render themselves unfit for parenting if they were granted one night off a week to spend as they wished.”

We aren’t moral grandstanding. We’ve been in these relationships so we’re trying to be realistic. You seem to think that all he needs is one night off. We’ve seen so many men in this situation who don’t need a night off because they’re not doing a damn thing to take a night off from.

If he were indeed spending every night caring for the kids equally with the wife just wanted a night off, we all be on his side.

You seem to say you are taking the wife’s side on this, But you’re still centering him and everything even when it is to his detriment.

He need a night off? From what?

What really needs to happen if the wife is boring is that she needs time off or both need time off.

This isn’t just about him. Fixing it requires both of them to be able to get away from the kids.

Him getting a night off alone will be at her detriment. It will make him a worse parent IF it means shoving yet more of the burden one her.

It really comes down to how much parenting he’s actually doing. Given the tone of the letter, most of the women here - women with real, lived experience in het marriages, oils justifiably think he’s not doing his share or that he doesn’t care if he pushes it all onto and into her.

There a huge difference between two people who are parenting equally allowing each other to blow of steam and a partner who lets the other do most of the work asking for some time to be selfish.

Also, he isn’t asking for anything to help his wife. She’s not a person he cares about, she’s an obstacle.

You are writing about a situation that isn’t indicated by this letter. If this were a man who respected his wife and was putting in equal or more effort, then I’d be all for him having a night off. That’s how my marriage works, so why would I object?

That is not what is happening though, so the question you want answered isn’t the one presented in the letter.

Two scenarios -

both bored and working equally and respect each other = take tome off both together and individually
Him bored and not caring if he puts in equal work and nit respecting her = he needs self-reflection

So, yes, that makes him a worse parent.

I think you identify with him far more than you realize.


Yes Harriet, when someone has a perspective of their place in the world that is wholly inaccurate, that is a lack of self-awareness, nearly by definition. And I don't think I said anything about maturity. It struck me as odd that you explained to me my perspective about the maturity of different men as it doesn't sound like my perspective at all, so I did a search on this page of "maturity" and "mature" and I see several times that you have used these words but no times that I did. So yet again, it seems like you are taking your own words and putting them in my mouth to explain myself back at me.

I'm not going to get into a conversation with you again about why you can't apply gay sexual norms directly to straight couples. As for whether or not the guy should be "granted" one night off a week or what the fuck ever, I have already discussed that as have others. The problem with this man is not his desire for non-monogamy. None of the women here have claimed that or said he should be monogamous. I'm not going to rehash and re-explain what you have not understood as experience has taught me that this is futile. Instead I will respond to your implication here that the women who are responding are morally grandstanding (what a crock of shit, especially coming from you) and that we must personally have either experienced or have identified with being in this position- don't be so daft. People are capable of understanding, empathizing with, and seeing patterns in situations that they will never personally experience.


@88: "moral grandstanding," Harriet? Moral fucking grandstanding? Fuck you, seriously.
On behalf of every woman that thought she married a man, but married a child who resented her for thinking she was with a partner instead of a free spirit who couldn't be tamed, fuck you.


Also, the societal problem that needs addressed ain’t just how we construct marriage. It’s also about gender roles and parenting and the cultural definition of cishet masculinity.

Leaving the marriage isn’t going to solve anything if he, like many cishet American men, have bought into the idea that their worth is based their sexual conquests.

It will make it worse if he views parenting and women’s work. Even a lot of feminist men in cishet relationships don’t see the extent to which they do this.

Finally, as an attorney who has seen many, many cases like this, he’s likely going to become a worse parent bc he’s going to be obsessed w his chasing women. You cannot have equal custodial time and be drinking Friday night.

The most likely outcome is mom has custody during the week and he gets weekends.

He’s not going to be able to parent and chase tail at the same time.

Unless his view of being a good dad is mom has the kids all the time and he just gives $$$ and takes the kids in vacation.


Harriet, I've known so many men like TYTF. Thank god I've been spared the misery of being married to one of them, but many of my friends have and many of my friends have been the children of men like him.

A night off once in a while or even once a week isn't going make this man a responsible partner and father who is happy to be with his family the rest of the week. He doesn't want a night off; he wants "out"--his own word, which he uses twice.

He wants out of responsibility; he wants out of adulthood. He wants out of being a father in any way except that of taking the kids to Disneyland once in a while. He wants out of staying in at night (because kids/work/money). He wants out of being married. None of that will change if he gets to go out on Tuesday nights, whether by himself or with the boys, or with some woman he meets.


Oh, and Harriet, I think the moral grandstanding is waaay over the line.

Both my husband and I have independent lives and hobbies. He’s out with others at least once every week. We make a point of spending time alone developing personal interests.

He gets to do whatever he wants once the household work is complete Saturday morning. With me. Alone. With mates of his. All I care is that he gets time to recharge after we’ve both finished our work for the week.

I’d feel very, very different if he were out w friends or out chasing tail while I was going work that should be both of ours.

So, I’m pretty damn far from what you seem to think.


LW: I have the flu. Therefore, I'm going to buy a sailboat.

Posters: Buying a sailboat is not going to cure your flu.

Other Posters: What do you have against the LW buying a sailboat?

Posters: Nothing, if he can afford it and has the time to sail and can maintain it, etc. Sailing can be a lot of fun.

Other Posters: Let's discuss how the LW can buy a sailboat.

Posters: But that doesn't address the LW's problem. The LW's problem is that he has the flu. Sailing has nothing to do with the flu.

Other Posters: But the LW believes that sailing will cure his flu. That is his perspective. Why can't we talk about how he should buy a sail boat?

(rinse, repeat)



I still see a lot of latenr and over sexism in the courtroom. Women who don’t want the burden if rearing children they bring into the world are horrible, but men should be given an out and allowed to distill their responsibility into simply giving money.

If both of these parents wanted out, there would be a child neglect or abuse case. Because he wants out, she’s just supposed to suck it up.

I do child dependecy, abuse, and neglect cases every week. About 60% of the single moms brought involve a daddy who off and left her with the kids. Even in cases where there was a divorce decree stating he’d pay and share custody,

So, yes, men wanting to abdicate their parenting does hurt children.

I think outsiders to the system would be surprised how many single moms were middle class and doing well until the natural father decidied he didn’t want to parent anymore. Then she had all the burden in a society that doesn’t pay most women enough to deal with parenting alone.

It’s not about whether or not monogamy works. It’s about a man who doesn’t want to be a husband, parent. Or adult.

If there were no kids, my POV would be very different. I’d tell him to leave and do whatever he wanted.


Wet to undermanning I’d you aren’t a cishet woman...I think it’s that some gay men can’t see beyond their world and it’s norms. Our best couple friends are gay men. They get it. They have sympathy for women in this society and for how cishet masculine norms also hurt men. They don’t want to gauge cishet relationships by gay norms. They want cishet relationships to be free of the toxic bullshit we’ve culturally inherited. There is a difference.

Also, they would not dare to ever tell me or my husband that they know more about cishet relationships than we do. Because they have no loved experience.

Well, one would bc he was married to a woman for a while and shamefully admits to some sexist behavior he had to evaluate when he realized he was gay. He’s consciously deprogrammed himself. His ex wife is happier now that he married to a man than when they were together. He parents more and more equally.

So gay men can get it, but they have to realize they are programmed w sexism and paternalism just like everyone else. Rejecting heterosexuality doesn’t automatically mean one gets gender roles or any other social bullshit


I just wanna say that a lot of us aren't straight women in their 40's with kids - this sort of behavior is just universally frowned on by decent people. I knew a case like this in real life (wasn't too bad, but not good either) and I can tell you it wasn't just the middle-aged wives that didn't approve. Honestly some of them were saying that she'd probably be better off in the long run without that unhelpful babyman in the house.

The guy's uncle (in his 70's) said, as well as I can remember it: "I tell ya, when I heard about it I was ready to pick a switch and head over there. [Guy's Dad] may be gone now, but I'm not too old to give that boy a hiding."

The guy's male friends and same-age relations were a little sympathetic at first, but that faded after once or twice of getting dragged out to some nightspot with him, and the skin-crawling embarrassment of being dragged into wingmanning this guy as he tried to hit on younger women. And they were sorta horrified at how he was ditching more and more of his parental duties in order to chase his party dreams.

And if you've ever been around young people, I'm sure you know the utter disdain that they have for older people who are trying to be young again by hitting on them. "Dirty old man" is an expression for a reason.


I wasn't weighing in on whether TYTF should leave or not; I was trying to tell Harriet (who by the way, consistently tells cis straight women how they feel and consistently weighs in on straight relationships by applying his gay male perspective) that TYTF has said what he wants, and it's not a weekly night off to renew his dedication and commitment to parenting.

I don't have a hard-and-fast opinion about divorce; I think that kids don't give a hoot whether their parents feel personally or sexually fulfilled and the happiness of the parents doesn't really matter to the kids, unless it spills over into violence or verbal abuse and a feeling of unsafety or fear. I also think that kids are more adaptable than a lot of people give them credit for. I agree that when a straight couple divorces, the woman usually takes the brunt of it financially, even if the man pays spousal support, and more so if there are kids. I have also never--and I mean NEVER--seen a 50/50 custody agreement really work out to 50/50%. With two exceptions I can think of, every mother I know works harder than the fathers, whether married or not, whether they have full or shared custody.

So yes, it's a problem. I don't know what the solution is. I don't think that insisting a man who obviously doesn't want to be a husband and parent stay in the marriage is a great idea, but on the other hand, I know the (passing) feeling of just wanting to get in the car and drive away from all the responsibilities. Every adult feels that from time to time, and parenthood exacerbates it, for both men and women. So if this lw was just blowing off steam, if he wrote this letter in the throes of a moment of existential crisis and despair that passed by the next day or week, he should be given a space to vent and that is the end of it. It's impossible to know how much he meant his desire to want "out." This letter is 7 years old, and it would be interesting to know what happened. Based on my experience, I would put money on the fact that the couple divorced and he's been a mostly absent father who occasionally makes a grand and expensive gesture; I hope that the (now ex-) wife hasn't suffered as you have seen many do in court.


Thanks No Cute. Exactly.

To be clear, there is nothing immature or uncommon or abnormal about finding the responsibilities of adulthood and parenting very difficult and wishing for a time when things were easier or wishing you could get out of it. This is absolutely normal, and this is why I would never say that "mature" men (or women) are those that are either happy in their family lives or else keep their heads down and just struggle through the misery. This sort of worldview is what's fucked in the first place. What is so terrible about this dude isn't that he's unhappy or that he's fantasizing about a life free from responsibility of the family he and his wife created. It's that he's delusional enough to think his feelings are unique- that it's different for him- and that his wife is boring but he's a wild and crazy guy. And while a desire to fuck other people is normal and I even agree that it is probably healthier for all of us if we throw away the strict traditional marriage norms including the expectation of monogamy, that is not going to solve his problem here for the reasons No Cute named- it's not what he's asking for and he doesn't have the self-awareness to realize that his feelings are totally typical. If he could realistically consider his situation, then he would be more likely to find a solution that works for everyone- this would require his wife to likewise have some self-awareness and we know nothing about her. But going out for a shag once a week is not going to cut it. And even if it would, he's not going to find it so easily because he's not trying to have sex with men. He wants to have sex with random hot women, and giving him an evening a week to do that isn't going to be very fruitful unless he wants to pay for it. And paying a sex worker to fuck him once a week is not what he's asking for here- he's asking for a life of partying.

Again, I'm very sympathetic to people who look at this situation honestly and try to think of what can be done about it. I'm not at all sympathetic to people who look at this situation and blame others or continue in their delusion that they can shirk responsibility because they are somehow uniquely incapable of handling adulthood - how convenient that there is someone else to do it for them. It's OK to have a crisis. It's not OK to dump it on others.

As to what can be done about it in this individual case or in the cases like it- it requires people to learn to see themselves which is a hard thing to do. Then two people have to be willing to see each other and work together. It's easier to just fight and blame. I agree that it does tend to fall on women more than men. MRA types like to talk about how family courts favor women, but if you look at the percentage of cases in which the men actually bother fighting for custody, it's split pretty evenly. Most of the time, they don't. That's not to say that there aren't actually cases in which the women are the baddies- obviously that happens too. And women shirk their responsibilities at time also, it just tends to manifest differently. That's why I stop short of entirely embracing everything Slowpokey has said. My own experience and opinions fall much more in line with Traffic Spiral and No Cute.

As to what can be done about this societally, well I think on an individual level, Americans need to be much more realistic about what childrearing is in our society, and also Americans generally need to learn to see how special and unique they are NOT- most of these relationship issues are battles with people blaming one another because of ego. Everything is individualistic and everything is competitive and Americans are really self-centered. If you are going to have kids, it's just true that life is going to have to stop being about you for a while, and you will not have all your desires met for a few years. If you can't accept this, you shouldn't have kids, and I think the biggest thing we should change is the idea that everyone should have children. We need to start talking about it more honestly- what it entails, whether or not we should do it. It's OK to choose not to have kids. But of course this isn't just an American problem and you can't fix culture bottom up, so second off I honestly don't understand why we don't have widespread free taxpayer provided childcare from birth as a norm here- we can afford to have military all around the world, we are going to have a space force, etc, but we can't afford health care and child care. We have to have investment in social structures that help community and family building- now that we have destroyed the more traditional community and most of us live atomized far away from natural support systems. It's easy to say people should just find their tribe and build it for themselves, but the majority of us can't do that. So here we are. It sucks and there is no solution- and recognizing this about ourselves doesn't mean we are immature. On the contrary. But pretending that actually we'd be perfectly happy if our own unique desire to do X were just fulfilled at whatever cost to others is a bunch of destructive self-serving bullshit ego protection.


I admit that I haven't read all the comments thoroughly, so if I'm repeating ground, I apologize.

The thing that burns me about letters like this is that after making a mutual decision to raise kids, the guy can leave at any time and the woman is stuck with the kids. (I thought about rephrasing that, but I decided not to.) She may well be as bored and unhappy as he is, but he gets to take off and she doesn’t. He may be required to pay some money—which often doesn’t happen, “required” or not—but to pretend that’s anything like the commitment of living with and raising children is ridiculous. And not only does he now not have to do it, she has to do it alone. Great.

I can count the number of times I’ve known a woman to get bored, pack up, and leave her husband with the kids on one—no wait, I’ve NEVER known that to happen. I would have much more sympathy if letters like this contained a line like “I’d love/be happy/be willing to have full custody of the children, but I need out of this marriage.” But they never do, because it’s not just that the sex is boring, it’s that raising kids is hard, and the guy doesn’t want to do it anymore. And somehow in this society we think that’s okay.

So to the men here bitching that women come down hard on guys like this, and would respond differently to a female: yes, you’re right. Most female commenters here are going to call this guy a POS; boo hoo, being a man means you get yelled at in the comments. But hey, at least you don’t have to raise your kids if you don’t want to.


Thank you, ciods.


I'm going to put in my advice from my perspective, which happens to agree with Dan and be opposite to what most people said in the thread.

I do agree with Phyzzi @47 -- “Step 2: get snipped”

But I have a lot of sympathy for the LW, and I think that an evening out each week might very well address his boredom and reboot the couple's sex life, particularly if he encourages her to have a night out a week as well.

Unlike TheZoo @3, I would NOT go this route:

Why not have an honest talk with her about how "little by little, she has become boring to me" (try for nicer wording. >>

Instead, I would follow my own husband's approach, which was (more or less): "Honey, I love you and I love our sexlife. But I am craving some variety. Maybe you are too? Can we talk about this?"

(Now, I say "more or less" because there was a one-night-stand which he had to confess in the process, but, still, he managed to convey that he found me sexy after more than decade together, even though he also wanted to try having sex with other women.)

We've now been non-monogamous for almost a decade (and more recently polyamorous), and it's working out well for us.

So, yes, it works for some, and asking for that doesn't seem likely to make the guy's situation any worse, so I don't know why he wouldn't raise the possibility.


From my post @102, this part was supposed to be a quote from TheZoo @3: "Why not have an honest talk with her about how 'little by little, she has become boring to me' (try for nicer wording."


I should add to my rant @100 that I think Dan's advice is good here; it's the only way I can see to allow the LW (and his wife) to break out of their boredom and get to have novel things happen, without forcing all the child-rearing on one of them. Perhaps they'll even start to like each other again, if they aren't feeling trapped. Ethical non-monogamy for the win here.


@EricaP and ciods (#s 102, 103, 104):
I don't think this problem is going to get fixed with non-monogamy, ethical or not. Unlike Erica's husband, who assured her that he still found her sexy and exciting, but he just wanted novelty and variety, this lw finds his wife "boring."

I have always thought that opening up a marriage only works when the partners still find each other desirable and the sex is still good between them. I think it needs to be a "yes/and" rather than a "no/instead of," to take a page from the advice given to ad-libbers. Otherwise, you are left with roommates and coparents who might get jealous, who are likely to form emotional attachments to the outsiders they fuck (I mean, that can happen no matter what, and I'm not talking about polyamory, wherein people are expected to have emotional attachments to their non-spouses).

Yes, sure he could lie and say something like EricaP's husband said to her, but I don't think he wants any of the life he has--not his wife, not to be married, not to stay home in the evenings, not to have to be responsible for the children he's fathered. While I agree that opening relationships can be better than ending marriages if there are children involved, I think both parties have to want to save the marriage; I don't think he does.

Divorce is a shame, but it's not the end of the world. I wish our society didn't default to the expectation of lifelong monogamy, but I think the change has to start at some earlier point than when the guy's saying "I want out."


I think, yes, it's possible he's completely checked out and divorce is the only option.

But I think it's equally possible that some variety and sexy adventures would reboot their marriage and help them see each other as sexual, desirable beings rather than just as co-parents.

I really don't see the downside to having this conversation rather than going straight to divorce.

He still loves her, they apparently don't have screaming arguments; I say -- give it a shot!

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