Savage Love Oct 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm


Joe Newton



Nah, sometimes you do "just know". I did. But all relationships have problems and crisis points and disillusionment, and that's what makes you grow.


It's not clear to me from what Dan printed that POLY's partner is DADT with his FWB.


p.s. I mention this because if they're /not/ DADT, not "telling her" something that "she would be hurt if she found out" doesn't smell as sweet.


ADULTS found writings where his dad mentioned casual encounters with men. I don't think ADULTS has any way of knowing whether Dad had implicit or explicit permission to suck cock, or whether Dad's writings were just erotica he wrote for his own masturbatory entertainment. So, yes, mind your own business. But -- if you have something on your mind (non-monogamy, bisexuality) that you'd like to discuss with Dad, you can certainly bring up your own issues, knowing that he may have more to say than you would have thought from his long and apparently monogamous marriage.

For WAH, I would recommend starting off with the sort of sexual play that adolescents start with. Touch each other's bodies above the waist, find the kind of touch that is fun (gentle? rough? a mixture?), and then start fondling each other's genitals, and going down on each other. Don't worry about orgasm if it seems elusive. And I would put off PIV until after you've had a few sexy and stimulating dates with the same woman.

Or hire a sex worker and let her teach you.


In the reply to KICK, as soon as I read the words "Just one request..." I thought to myself: 'Okay, here comes the old boyfriend's-ass-photo pitch.' The real request was so much less entertaining.


By the by, for those who read the SLLOTDs, I weighed in on the "next Thursday" issue (in the "No License to Cheat for You" comments).


@6 Thank you very much for the heads-up, EricaP, I of course would have been sad had you not pointed us towards your post at


I love Dan's Quickies! These are usually such good reads and advice. I'll comment after I've read more.
@6; Thanks, EricaP, I'll check it out.


I get confused with how you guys write date. We do the day first then month then yr.. So I’m going, from curious @7, ok, 18/10.. I’m halfway over to the daily thread when I realise, hang on, we haven’t had 18th October yet.


@LavaGirl: It makes sense to me because it matches the order of how we say it: October 9, 2018 = 10/9/18. Languages like Spanish do the same thing where it matches the word order: 9 de octubre 2018 = 9/10/18. I dunno about everybody else.


YYYY-MM-DD so Hallowe'en this year is 2018-10-31.


ADULTS: I disagree with Dan that Dad's outside flings with men meant his marriage "wasn't perfect." Not monogamous != not perfect! There's a good chance that Mom knew about these flings and was okay with them. There's a chance that she, too, enjoyed other lovers. They were happy together for 40 years. From your perspective, that's all that matters. For the sake of your own narrative, assume your parents were openly non-monogamous, so you won't have to think of your dad as a cheater, and let it go.

WAH: I'm not sure this is the best advice. He might go this route, but the number of 40-something female virgins is tiny, so he should also pursue dates in the normal ways. Tell them he is "shy" or "inexperienced." He may find an experienced woman who likes to take the reins, which I think would be better for him than a fellow novice. Good luck, WAH.

SOBA: These are your mental health issues talking. It sounds like you have a perfectly content relationship and your brain is sabotaging it for no reason. Do not hurt your girlfriend by dumping her pre-emptively because you don't think you are good enough. If you are not already talking to your therapist about anxiety, please do so immediately.

Curious2 @2: I also read Mr POLY's relationship as being DADT because "she's always known he is poly." Telling one's partner one is poly equates to telling them not to expect monogamy. That said, though, I agree it's unclear whether FWB has asked him not to tell her about other partners or whether he just wants to avoid drama for himself, which is cowardly and selfish, and presumably why POLY isn't entirely happy with this. Honesty should be the default unless a partner requests a DADT. It sounds like POLY knows the FWB, so perhaps she could discreetly chat with her about what her expectations are for the relationship. That is, if she doesn't think her partner will give her an honest answer... and if she suspects that, she may as well DTMFA anyway.

EricaP @4: Sex worker is a good suggestion.


If WAH's goal is to simply "lose his virginity"/"get it over with" so he doesn't have to wear the stigma of being a virgin over 40 then the advice to find a woman over 40 who is also a virgin seems way too much work. He must find her first (good luck), they must be attracted to each other, she must be okay with his "just get it over with" mindset as the main reason to have sex.

I doubt that an experienced woman is interested in tutoring him at his age.

Sex worker seems the best solution. Find a patient one and don't expect to magically get everything right the first time, so booking a few repeat sessions may be in order. Hopefully he can do this legally where he lives.


ADULTS, surely you know that some people are happily, consciously non-monogamous, that many of these people have stable marriages with children, and that they shield their children from the details of their sex life. And what child needs to ever know about who their parents fucked, their kinks, or sexual fantasies?

It sounds like you snooped, and in so doing, your veil of ignorance was torn away. Allow your dad to retain his privacy, forget was you now know, and do not burden your siblings or spouse with this knowledge.

WAH, I agree with the consensus that you should invest in seeing a sex worker. As long as you don’t have any toxic feelings towards women that has kept you from finding a sex partner, I think your money is better spend on a sex worker than a therapist.

Before seeing a sex worker, I would also recommend you practice putting on a condom, and stimulating yourself. You’ll be nervous, and your first time having sex isn’t the time to learn how to get on a condom. Invest in ED medication. It will help you stay physically aroused even when your nervous or excited, just take it in low doses for several days before you have sex.

You didn’t ask, but I’m now of the opinion that no one needs to know your virginal status. Lose your virginity, and then see different sex workers occasionally while you search for a girlfriend.


As for ADULTS, the new evidence doesn't really prove anything about the marriage. But Ms Erica is going in the correct direction. There are plenty of ways Pappa's presumed SS encounters could be significant that don't touch directly on the parents' marriage. ADULTS could have one's own issues (my most INsincere apology to anyone offended by my not using the singular "they"), as Ms Erica states, or this new evidence could shed further light on Pappa's expressed positions on related topics. It seems unlikely (though possible) that a LW choosing to consult Mr Savage on this question came from a family so drowning in straight privilege that SS issues never rippled the still pond of family life. It was Mr Savage's mind that jumped to the idea of confrontation.


Personally, being kept as someone's secret would be way too much potential-drama for me - especially since we only have the other guy's word that he's not lying but only DADT-ing. 10 bucks says that if he's not being up front with one partner, he's not being 100% honest with the other either.

But if you like the drama that will ensue when it turns out that your boyfriend was actually lying to his other "totally not a couple but can't know about you because she'd be hurt" girlfriend and she goes on the warpath against you both, well, have at it.


As for SOBA - if one must go in for musical entertainment, go directly to Gilbert and Sullivan; do not pass Broadway; do not collect two hundred inferiour ideas.

I will rank the probabilities of the situation as being: Ms Fan is right about the relationship (Mr Clinton); SOBA is not in sufficiently good working order for this relationship (Mr Bush pere); SOBA's feeling "not good enough" for GF is partly or largely GF's doing (Mr Perot).

As for an approach, I almost think SOBA should be told to end the relationship in something of a reverse of the drowning solution to a witch trial. Push SOBA into the lake. If the relationship ought to end, SOBA will sink. If the relationship should survive, SOBA will swim, and the swimming will do the relationship good.


100% agree with @13. Seems like getting over the whole "I'm a virgin" thing is worthwhile. A sex worker is the way to go, but still, please take Dan's advice and "treat her with kindness, gentleness, and patience—the same way you would like to be treated."


@12 BiDanFan

"ADULTS: I disagree with Dan that Dad's outside flings with men meant his marriage "wasn't perfect." Not monogamous != not perfect! There's a good chance that Mom knew..."

Ditto, that got to me too.

"WAH...Tell them he is "shy" or "inexperienced."

Excellent advice. IIRC Dan himself has answered that way in the past.


@1 I knew too. And that didn't make the relationship any easier or mean that it hasn't almost ended many times (and could in the future). Even knowing is only half the battle.


Re: ADULTS I did not feel like "I just knew" or "we were perfect together" . I just felt like my Miss N was honest with me and wanted me to be honest with her;..both of us accepting the other as imperfect samples of humanity.
RE: role models
I watched my own parents stay together dealing with loss, mental illness, being poor, us kids embarrassing them, separation, drinking, and lots of fighting, but they always stuck it out and bumped along, coping as best they could. After my mother died, there were things I wanted to ask my dad about but he refused. I was his son;.. not his friend or confidant;...he always felt like there were solid fixed roles for each of us and he did not want to change any of that late in his life. I was going to have to settle for what I knew about him as a husband and a man and be happy with that. My advice is be glad you have your Dad and enjoy him as he is do not require him to meet some arbitrary standard of your value system.
The time is coming when you will wish you could just have a beer with him and watch Monday night football for an hour,...but he will be gone.


Dan, it seems that making a blanket statement that people don't EVER "just know" would mean you have some way of being qualified to know what every other person knows. I appreciate the sentiment that "just knowing" is by no means a requirement for a healthy relationship, but it's one of those things that becomes so clearly obvious once it happens. I used to have a similar view to yours, and then once I experienced "just knowing" it became abundantly clear that my prior view was 100% based on having concluded about something based on being completely unable to relate to it or observe it conclusively in others (which would be near impossible for anyone) and therefore naturally (and understandably) skeptical about it. It doesn't even mean I couldnt have or haven't had happy relationships with other people. Further, I think that to "just know" may even require such specifics as certain shared personality tendencies, such as the role that a fulfilling relationship plays in the happiness and satisfaction of both members of a couple individually, etc., so it might not be possible for those without specific mixes of personality components to ever "just know." There are many such reasons why most people would be unlikely to ever "just know" and still have happy fulfilling relationships, but to broadly discount even the possibility of this as a real phenomenon is likely to make those who actually do "just know" simply think, alright, so he hasn't experienced that and therefore naturally thinks this way - far from the first time that had happened. A read through the comments section of any article on this topic typically goes like "ok, so this person clearly has never just known, this one clearly has, etc. (Of course some presenting that way actually may not, but that doesn't mean others don't either.) An alternative comment could have been to ask what evidence do you have that suggests nobody just knows. It seems you are extrapolating the experience of perhaps yourself and most people onto the entire population. I.e., why be so dogmatic and closed minded on that point?


I've "just known" about people before. I was wrong, though.


@22 Spf85
Maybe Dan knows people "just know" but was just targeting his statement to the LW, to reassure the LW (quoting you) " that "just knowing" is by no means a requirement for a healthy relationship". I think good advice can be like that: more about what the one person needs to hear than about whether it's globally true.

On a personal note, I've never "just known" (unless you count the number of times the feeling wasn't reciprocated!).


@24 - agreed that in the context of this response it was helpful to focus on dispelling the myth that one NEEDS to just know for a healthy relationship.


@ WAH, so long as you don't have a hangup about your first PIV intercourse with a sex worker I would recommend seeking one out. I guarantee that once you enter a partner (sex worker or no) the normalcy of it will shock you. There is no sudden surge of emotion, no "this sensation is unlike anything else I have ever experienced," no mental lightning strike for "this is a major event," or anything like that, just "oh, so this is what a vagina feels like." Getting past that mental hump will make sex with a woman you are dating feel much less daunting.
Go through a site like the TNA board and find someone in your area that passes the "not trafficked" test (profile states they have been a member of the site for year, lives locally, no mention of having moved / arrived / leaving soon, at least late 20's, etc.) and set up a meeting. Furthermore, if you live in a reasonably sized city, there will be a number of sex workers in their 40's who are all but certain to have a sizable portion of their clients be men exactly like you; little to no experience, more comfortable with a woman near their age showing them the ropes.


@26 unknown_entity
I didn't think sites like that could survive SESTA.


Katezee @23: Best comment. I "just knew" about my ex-husband. Note, I said EX-husband. We crashed and burned spectacularly, so really, "just knowing" is "just feeling" and feelings can be misleading. Are you two happy together? Y/N. No couple is ever happy 100% of the time -- perhaps that's what Dan meant by "nobody 'just knows'" -- but SOBA, you describe this relationship as the best you've ever had and think you ever will have. Does she feel the same? There is your answer.


I have "just known" twice. Both turned out to be huge mistakes. My current relationship I now expect to last "til death do us part" - and we can't even remember meeting, though we can figure out the approximate date and circumstances (college). If you "just know" and it works out, great. But "just knowing" is neither necessary nor sufficient.


I cry foul on the advice for losing virginity question. Whether it's asked by a man or woman, the question suggests that if I could just do it this once, then everything that's been keeping me from having sex before would fall into place and cease being a problem. We can recommend a sex worker for a man, but if the problem was that he's pathologically too shy to look a woman in the eye, then he's still a man who's pathologically too shy to ask a woman out. Only now he's like that and he's lost his virginity to a sex worker. If it's a woman who thought she had a vocation for the Catholic clergy and has spent the last 20 years living in a convent, then she can go to a bar, get black out drunk, get raped there, and technically she's not a virgin, but I rather doubt that was all she wanted.

Bottom line is that the advice for 40 year old virgins is the same for 20 year old virgins. You have to go out, meet people, make bumbling mistakes, say stupid things, be vulnerable, get your heart broken, try to be kind, get it all wrong, and start again. Eventually you find someone who's okay with who you are the way you are, and an awkward sexual experience that's nothing like what you see in the movies ensues.


Could it possibly be that there are 2 categories: 1) those who "just feel" and interpret it as "just knowing," and also 2) those who actually "just know," and those in the former category, when their relationships eventually end, conclude that just knowing is actually just feeling, which is essentially concluding that actually just knowing doesn't exist, and that the people in category 2 actually know that those in category 1 simply didn't actually just know? I am quite aware this makes me look like I simply currently just feel I know; however, that is the very nature of "just knowing" - it's contains intangible components and may therefore appear irrational, nonsensical, or delusional to those who have not truly experienced it. I hate how that makes me sound (as someone without kids it sounds to me like "until you have kids of your own someday you'll never understand!!!"), but while it may read as egotistical or misguided, that alone wouldn't make it untrue.

It is clear to those of us in category 2 that those who "just knew" about exes actually "just felt" and interpreted it as "just knowing." The most tangible way I can think of to explain "just knowing" (which is still an insufficient explanation because again by it's nature it's intangible) is to connect it to acceptance - you both accept each other so completely that part of what you just know is that nothing whatsoever would remove that acceptance. If people who had at one time felt they just knew eventually broke up, someone didn't accept some component of the relationship as something they wanted in a relationship. That inherently means they did not actually "just know" - they were category 1 and just felt they knew. The foundational acceptance and commitment to that acceptance had holes in it somewhere. One could not possibly be certain that my wife and I would not actually accept literally anything the other did (we would); therefore one could not possibly accurately state that we don't actually, truly, just know.

But again, this is not by any means necessary, nor is it some superior way of having a relationship. That feels to me very important to note and repeat. I'm not trying to brag about what a great relationship I have, despite how it may inadvertently sound. It's just a factor that simply exists for me, and to observe it denied by some so matter-of-factly probably reads to me something like how it would read to Dan if someone told him he couldn't possibly really naturally be gay. (I'm not equating the two in terms of how inherent vs circumstantial/choice-based they are; the analogy is just on how they would read.)

Ultimately the reason I, as a longtime reader/comment lurker, finally made an account to comment, is because I saw the inaccurate denial of the existence of something real. Unfortunately, "just knowing" is hard to put into words because some of its properties are intangible, but not all are. If "just knowing" leads to truly unconditional acceptance, it is more than just a feeling; along with all the intangibles that can be simply traced back to the human brain and possibly therefore labeled "feelings," there is something tangible associated with it.


"Just knowing".......I wish my head had been screwed on straight when I foolishly got married, despite all kinds of glaring red flags and danger signs. I thought I knew something about my abusive ex-spouse way back when that nobody else could see. I guess I "just know" better from experience.


@31 Spf85
Very interesting.

When you mention people who, "when their relationships eventually end, conclude that just knowing is actually just feeling", I'm reminded of people retroactively downgrading "in love" to something else when relationships end. That seems nuts to me. (In other words, I think love is a feeling, and that it is/was what it is/was.)

I've never personally experienced "just know", but more generally...

I find that the path to deep knowing \IS\ feeling. (So I can't relate to your opening distinction.) When I say the path to deep knowing is feeling, I mean for example, that for anything important, in the end I get out of my head, and turn my attention to what feels right deep within. Feels.

I'm guessing we agree though, that when you say you "know" you mean you're properly being guided by something within. And maybe for you that forms as a thought? Whereas it comes to me as a feeling.


@Lava #9: Year-Month-Day (YYYY-MM-DD) is the preferred format for technical applications, and it's an ISO standard (8601 to be precise). This is becasue using that format in systems that can/will automatically sort alphanumerically in Latin script (i.e. read left-to-right) sorts the date codes into the proper temporal order (same for time codes HH:MM:SS). That's why the URLs for dated posts are all in the format /YYYY/MM/DD/. I think most local conventions follow linguistic rules for ordering, as Ankylosaurus suggests.


Thanks John, though I have no idea what you’re talking about thru most of your comment. ISO standard means nothing to me.
All I know is in Australia we go d/m/y and I got caught above. It was funny.
It seems strange to put the year first, then lots the US does seems strange to me.


All of us techies use YYYY-MM-DD on computers because it sorts.

Outside computers, I wish we did d/m/y in the US, just because then I wouldn't have to type the comma we need but d/m/y doesn't.


Also curious, the year stays the same for twelve months. The day ticks over. So why put the yr first.


You mean outside of computer sorting, for just human speech?

I dunno. I'll guess maybe because often when humans speak of the eleventh day of October they don't need to say/they just mean the current year?


Yes curious. For humans not computers.
It’s all good. Let’s just chalk it down to an as it is moment.


If you did mean computer sorting, that's illustrated in the 3rd photo in the article here:


Your response to SOBA is the worst advice I've ever heard. You should have told him to download the Original LONDON cast of "A Little Night Music." It's far superior to the Broadway version.
Also, "Follies in Concert" (1985) is better than the original ONLY because the original recording was so truncated.


Are you EmmLiz in disguise?

As for “knowing,” the only person I’ve met who insists this is real also told me that it was in a party, and that themselves and their still-spouse were on acid and could “see through” each other.


I will note that it is entirely probable that a deranged, racist billionaire has never won a US presidential election. A deranged, racist, four time bankrupt maybe millionaire, on the other hand...


CDPROPS - It is really disturbing when parents don't have bright neon red boundaries between their own sexual preferences and their children. Sure they have to be mentally prepared to provide info like how to get vibes, birth control maybe condoms, but their children will probably not ask. Otherwise, HIDE YOUR SEX FROM YOUR KIDS! I think you need to retire public exhibitionism and protect your sex life once you have kids ymmv. And double yuck to the lack of boundaries with their property.

ADULTS - You don't know they lied to each other. You do know you were lied to. I don't think it's cool if parents or kids think that much about each others' sex lives. Kudos to them for sparing you the details!

WAH - Lead with your interests, include your inexperience as a perk (other virgins may feel more at ease with you, but others might assume you have a really open mind and you might get some offers for weird sex). Or sex worker.

POLY - "She has always insisted they're not a couple"
So you hang out with her? Is your objection to how your partner handles his other relationships (her)? Or do you object to talking to this woman while hiding the sex (being secretive yourself)? If it's just the latter, you can quit hanging out with her! I'd ask him if she'd be upset if she found out about the sex. If he seems to think so, he might have a habit of inviting drama. Depends if that's your thing or not.

SOBA - It depends on whether you think you can grow in this relationship or not. You probably know it will be tough but you will carve out your life on your own if you choose to leave. You might even find someone you love just as much or more. If you find yourself unable to talk to her or unable to do what you want enough to make yourself happy, you should let her go. Or at least make changes to your relationship. For yourself not for her. Don't make her decisions for her and assume she'll be grateful. She won't. She could be thinking the same way but you'll never know until you talk.


John @34: I'm struggling to come up with a scenario where URLs themselves would commonly need to be sorted into "proper temporal order". Perhaps a better example would be the directory structure for content on a web server.


@45 fubar
This was years ago so perhaps not relevant currently, but for the few websites I've administered, each webpage first existed as a file in a folder on my drive. The webpage filename reflects the last part of it's URL. When the webpage filenames contain groups of dates, I want the dates within the filenames to sort.

As for dates in the URLs themselves, I guess you're right, outside of those maps some sites contain of their pages.


@33 - I can see why my initial distinction of feeling vs knowledge might not adequately distinguish the two when broken down further. The language does not capture the full sentiment I'd hoped to convey. For me it does involve a feeling for sure, but it goes beyond that, to something that essentially involuntarily translates to the conscious certainty that nothing could possibly change my acceptance of this other person, nor hers of me. It almost does not have much of an element of choice at all. Maybe technically this could still be described as a feeling - though it "feels" like more (ha) - as a "feeling" to me implies some sort of hunch or intuition, which is how I infer a lot of people who say things like "I just knew about my ex" or "I just knew despite the red flags I should have seen" etc. experienced their supposed "just knowing." Of course those situations were not actually just knowing, because there was eventually something that someone didn't accept in the other in context of a relationship. But people who have never experienced actual just knowing tend to interpret those kind of intuitive feelings as just knowing, and intuition is not an equally solid foundation: as we see from examples their acceptance had its limits. There's nothing wrong with that; it's just not "just knowing" and never was. The awareness that I could do anything or that she could do anything and it would not change our acceptance of one another because we are connected on such a deep level is the kind of intimacy that wouldn't allow room for anything to be a red flag or to "crash and burn." It is, fundamentally, so wildly different from merely that kind of intuitive sense that I was trying to get at in my prior "category 1."

My assessment now is that the nature of actually just knowing may be too largely intangible to put into words. There are tangible components such as truly unconditional acceptance, and there are feelings that one could attempt to describe, and there is another intangible level of certainty that would transcend anything else. I should have just known that going in this would be a futile effort to articulate it, but I tried!


@42 cmdwannabe - I am nobody in disguise. Also in case anything I said was misleading, I haven't been talking about just knowing "at first sight."


@46 p.s.
Oh, and for example in THIS webpage's URL, all the slashes ("/") would separate subdirectories which I'd also want to sort, just so I could find shit. (Hopefully nowadays this stuff is automated!)


@42 that's not to say I necessarily dismiss the claim made by your point of reference either!


Apologies for such a lousy "welcome!" and rest assured, nor do I dismiss any of your points.
The EmmaLiz speculation is nothing but a conceptual continuity leftover from last week.
Welcome again.


@53 appreciated but no apologies necessary - your comment was a genuinely interesting example and went pleasantly beyond the "nobody else can just know because I once thought I did and was wrong" that I'm far more accustomed to.


@30/Fichu: I think you may have misunderstood the basis, purpose, and perspective of people advocating that WAH seek out a sex worker. This advice isn’t about fixing whatever kept him from finding a sex partner at a much younger age. Just like the 30 year-old woman who wrote in a few months ago, often times they don’t even have an explanation as to how they failed to connect with someone and have sex.

But for people like WAH, the mere fact that they are virgins at such an advanced age itself becomes a psychological stumbling block to finding a sex partner. Have sex with a sex worker or three removes that psychological hurdle.

Technically speaking, most positions for vaginal sex require a man to take the lead, and women expect that they will do so. It’s one thing to feel awkward or self-conscious doing so at 17 or 20, but it’s another thing at WAH’s age. Fucking a sex worker will give him the practice and confidence he needs to start having sex with a lover.

As to your advice, it’s one thing to tell a 20 year-old to keep at it and they will find someone to fuck even if it takes a year or two. At age 20, everyone is young and single and meeting people in school or out socializing is easier. But at WAH’s age waiting another year or two is a long time, and his pool of sex partners is a lot smaller for him than it was 27 years ago.

I don’t always agree with the advice to seeking out the services of a sex worker. It’s often fished out to people who I think are capable of find sex with willing partners. But for a man who is has past 30 and most certainly for one approaching 50, I see scheduling an appointment for sex to be in order.


Congrats in advance to this week's Lucky @69 Award winner. I propose a tie for last week's Lucky @69: Dan the Man---and Hunter by default.


An adult male virgin, where? Over here.


@47, makes the acceptable to me, age range, I’ve given myself. LW, I’m sure women would be honoured to go with a man who is a virgin. Train him up.


Fichu @39: What SA @50 said. Also, I find the comparison of "losing one's virginity with a sex worker" with "losing one's virginity by getting raped" pretty weird.


Spf @31: I suspect the difference between "just knowing" and "just thinking one knew" can only be determined through the lens of 20/20 hindsight. "We just knew," crow a happy couple who've been together for 30 years. What they've forgotten is that what they felt for their now spouse when they first met, they had felt for other people they dated or wanted to date who didn't return their feelings, so they fizzled out. Or that the person at the next table "just knew" that their college sweetheart would also be their partner for life, but whoops! Five years later that couple has divorced. It is impossible to "know" what will happen in the future, which is essentially what the "we just knew" crowd is claiming. Sure, sometimes you have a very strong feeling about someone straight away. Sometimes this feeling lasts decades, sometimes it lasts weeks. Sometimes you don't have a strong feeling at first, but a connection builds until you can't imagine life without this person. In short, I agree that the "just knew" feeling is "neither necessary nor sufficient," as Mad Scientist says so well @29.


I just knew he was the wrong man for me, I still stayed. We stay in relationships for different reasons. I think I was attracted to his genes, unconsciously, so I could breed well, it’s the smell of a person that can get you.


Wanting&Hoping; that is a sweet signoff, encouraging.
I disagree with you SA@14, I think the LW shouldn’t hide his virginity. Especially if he’s seeing a sex worker. If he decides to employ a SW, then I suggest he spend up big. Choose an escort well and tell her he is a virgin.
Whatever the reason LW, see your state as an asset. You don’t have all the learned grovves and moves most men have, it’s an open and clean slate for you.


55-Sublime and 59 Registered-- Yes, I see your point. I just wish people would tell us more when they ask the question-- and that they'd get back to us with what worked and what didn't afterwards. If a man says that seeing a sex worker gave him the confidence boost he needed, then yes, I'm for it. It's just that I sometimes see evidence that confidence doing one thing in one area does help with doing another thing in another area. I also see evidence that it doesn't. You're saying that getting experience with a sex worker is like getting a tutorial in algebra before going on to calculus. I'm saying it's like practicing enough basketball to win a scholarship and thinking the practice there will help with creative writing.

I hope no one took my mention of rape as a serious suggestion! I was trying to make a point with an absurd exaggeration, spinning on what it is technically to lose one's virginity.


Philo @44: Agree re CDPROPS. This guy struck me as similar to the husband who insisted on molesting his wife while she was on the phone to her sister. Some kink about involving family members without their knowledge. Ick.
Re POLY: "you can quit hanging out with her!" Perhaps easier said than done, if they are part of the same social group. Also, if POLY suddenly started avoiding FWB she might wonder why.


To Soba: Do you want to be with your girlfriend or not? If the answer's 'yes", stop worrying that you don't love her as she deserves to be loved. Just be the best partner you can to her.

@14. Sublime. I'm not sure that saying 'just find a sex worker' will do the trick here. WAH is in his forties. He didn't do this at 24, at 30, at 35. The prospect is likely to shame him--maybe obscurely, whatever his overt views about sex work. Someone still a virgin at that age will have a particular backstory. Maybe they followed a religious proscription they no longer believe is necessary. Maybe they had an aversive experience in their past. Maybe they were unrequitedly attached to just one person. Any of these things would be major features of WAH's person and character. And anyone capable of caring for him, even taking a romantic interest in him, would be able to take them on board. He should just look to meet women--I think that's the right mindset; of the kind he would have as colleagues and friends--and not second-guess himself when something closer than friendship (in one sense) looks set to develop. Perhaps, as you say, he should moderate or soft-pedal the actually-being-a-virgin; but he needn't be embarrassed about confessing to inexperience. And he shouldn't rush himself. Holding hands first--seriously--then lying in the same bed together, then erotic touch. I actually prefer Dan's suggestion of someone equally shy to a sex worker.


@30. Fichu. I broadly agree, but WAH can make it easier for himself and dispense with some bumbling by being plainly who he is, upfront about his shyness and his lack of sexual experience.

@31. spf85. I hope your partnership suffers no major and tangible change in circumstances that puts your 'just-knowing' to the test. You know that your belief is the antithesis of what Dan Savage tends to say ... yes? That one can't assume, can't suppose one's feelings are shared, that Disney and Hollywood are misleading, that one must 'use one's words' to find out what other people actually feel and care about?

@55. Sublime. You're overstating it. A woman can tell an inexperienced guy, 'now you put it in'. And he puts it in. I'm grateful for a woman to tell me when to put it in, even though I have the basic straight house-training (the woman being wet, sufficient physical contact beforehand, usually some talking (?!) before). There's a sense any female partner knows I'm queer/GQ/gay, and our sex won't have 'consummate dominant man choreographs it' dynamics.


@60 - it's clear from your examples that none capture anything like what I have tried (and admittedly failed - I think it just may be impossible) to describe. "What they've forgotten is that what they felt for their now spouse when they first met, they had felt for other people they dated or wanted to date who didn't return their feelings, so they fizzled out" especially shows me that you're speaking one language in one universe and I'm speaking another in another. If you ever just know, one of the most obvious aspects will be how thoroughly incomparable it is to any past feelings. I've been infatuated plenty of times. I was also married to someone else before. At the time, though I expected that to last a lifetime, I would have been completely unable to conceptualize what just knowing is actually like - even hypothetically - because I had not experienced it. It's clear that anyone pushing back on this has not experienced it and that is the explanation for the pushback. It feels comparable to someone who has never had anxiety telling someone with anxiety that it's "all in their head" and feeling so confident in that. The explanation is they have not experienced it so don't get it (which is fine), but then they're going a step further to presume they have the ability to KNOW what someone else's brain knows or doesn't know about their own relationship, without knowing what each member of the relationship has shared or discussed or experienced with the other. It's fascinating from my perspective. Do you KNOW that I don't just know? If your answer is yes, just know that to me you sound like a Christian telling a gay person "I KNOW that you weren't born gay!!!" (Again, the equivalency is just in how it reads, not in the underlying properties contributing to each.)

@66 - There is plenty of communication behind it. Disney or Hollywood have nothing to do with it, nor are they remotely relatable in this context. If my partnership suffers a change in circumstances, I will accept my partner unconditionally. We will communicate on how to adapt to those circumstances, but unconditional acceptance is part of the foundation and will certainly remain there no matter what those circumstances are.

I would be curious if anyone who just knows that just knowing just must be impossible is a parent, and if so, whether they just know they will always love their child. This is just out of curiosity; I don't have kids and I realize the answer could very well be no. So it's not necessarily to prove a point; I just realize in trying to respond to this topic how hard it is to actually articulate anything that resonates with those who have not experienced it, so I'm curious if that is a potential analogy or not.


SPF85 @67: It sounds to me like you're describing something similar to "the difference between 'love' and 'being in love'."

"Do you KNOW that I don't just know?" I know that you are -certain-. But I know that it's possible to be 100% certain about something and still be wrong. It is possible to fall deeply, madly, completely and mutually in love -- to me that sounds equivalent to "you just know" -- and for that relationship to still end. So it may be, not a difference between two groups of people, like you describe -- people who have never had that "just know" feeling and people who have -- but three: people who have never had that "just know" feeling; people who have had that "just know" feeling and are still with the person they feel it for; and people who have had that "just know" feeling but circumstances and their feelings later changed. And it sounds like you're in the second group, conflating people in the third group with people in the first. You seem to be arguing that it's only people who have never had a "just know" feeling who believe that one cannot know. I have had a "just know" feeling -- on more than one occasion -- and yes, part of me still loves those exes, and will always love them on some level, so it is in fact comparable to your children analogy (caveat that I don't have kids either). To me that's "the difference between 'love' and 'being in love'"; to you it may be "the difference between knowing you know and thinking you know." So perhaps it's not that the only people who say "you can't just know" have never just known; perhaps it's only people who've never been proven wrong who think you CAN "just know."

Interesting discussion.


@68 - If I grant you the 3 categories you describe, I'd say a difference between 2 ("people who have had that "just know" feeling and are still with the person they feel it for") and 3 ("people who have had that "just know" feeling but circumstances and their feelings later changed") is whether mutually unconditional acceptance (in the context of the relationships - not just accepting them as people), was present. Those in category 3 did not have that; there were eventually conditions. Likely also some who would identify themselves as #2 (who I'd say have not experienced what I am saying I have) don't have the mutually unconditional acceptance either, but based on their feelings would still say they just know. I would say that what they call just knowing is not actually just knowing because it lacks the foundation that they would accept their partner, always still as their partner, no matter what. So I'd propose a category 4, a subset of #2: those who have that "just know" feeling (for lack of better words), are still with their partners, and share a true mutually unconditional acceptance of their partners. If that doesn't actually exist, they don't, by my definition, "just know." If that does exist, their "just knowing" falls into the category I've been trying to convey.

I still think this is possibly oversimplifying, as I think there's more underlying it than the mutual acceptance alone, but I'm using that as a differentiator to try to bring it back to something tangible.



didn't realize using hashtags for silliness wasn't allowed here, so consider that 69 my signoff, I guess


@67 Spf85
I can't know it's impossible, but the more you talk about it the more skeptical I become.

@49 Spf85 "nothing could possibly change my acceptance of this other person, nor hers of me"

I believe the future is not fixed and thus not knowable. Everything and everyone changes. People grow apart.

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -Heraclitus

In other words your "knowing" is about someone who won't even exist in the future. (A tangent that some people relate to is that this is even true physically: most every cell in the human body is replaced every number of years.)

Your example of a parents love for their child is a strong one, but I think the above applies there too, no matter who the two are at the time.

(And, another tangent, when I googled "parent always love child?" I discovered there's no shortage of parents who don't and of pages going into this like and )

The ineffable is tough to describe at best, but also for whatever reason your experiential descriptions haven't resonated with me. Perhaps conveying the experience is utterly impossible for anyone.


Yes, but if feels so good.


F @63 I have no idea what WAH hopes to accomplish, if anything, with losing his virginity. Maybe there is no ultimate goal, maybe his only motive is that he wants to have sex at least once in his life.

His question was not "What advice can you give me on becoming more confident when talking to women" or whatever, it was just "What advice can you give me on losing my virginity", nothing more.


@72 - "The ineffable is tough to describe at best, but also for whatever reason your experiential descriptions haven't resonated with me. Perhaps conveying the experience is utterly impossible for anyone."

I am starting (continuing, but increasingly?) to think this quote of yours is the case. If I try to step back out of my own experience and read this conversation from a purely outside intellectual point of view - 100% devoid of influence from my own experience - I can see how it would be possible that I haven't said anything so conclusively compelling as to dispel even the slightest possibility of the future changing so dramatically that it could upend what I "know." Yet I still just know. And I realize that in the context of formal logic or debate the onus would be on me to conclusively demonstrate that, so I can't fault anyone for not being convinced. Yet I still just know. And I can't say I expect anyone to believe me, except those who also just know, in the same way / with a similar basis to mine. Because I have stepped outside my own experience and intentionally read this conversation as an outsider, I feel I get how saying that makes me look. Yet I still just know. It's been an interesting experience to attempt to engage intellectually on something so experiential. It's a fascinating highlight of the human brain and how we are shaped by experiences.

While some parents do not have unconditional love and acceptance for their children in the context of a relationship with their children that nothing could break, I wonder if it could be true to make the claim that NONE actually do. That feels more to me like the analogy I was testing. The claim that none do would perhaps be analogous to the claim that nobody can just know, if the analogy were to hold. (Again I'm not sure whether it fits, but still speculate that it could.)


SPF @69: Congrats on the magic number!
I would agree with your use of "unconditional acceptance" as the difference between love and being in love. It's the reason why there are so many obvious-DTMFA letters from people who won't DTMFsA. They have fallen in love. They accept their partner unconditionally, no matter how shitty the person is (inadvertently or on purpose) behaving towards them. I "just knew" about my ex-husband, and it took him literally bankrupting me before I could drag myself away.

One question that we, the participants in this conversation, should clarify is WHAT we are arguing it is or is not possible to "just know." You seem to be arguing that it is possible to just know that you have fallen in love. With that I completely agree. And I agree that someone who hasn't been in love doesn't understand what it's like to be in love. And that being in love means accepting someone unconditionally, regardless of how badly they behave. (Cue Percy Sledge's "When A Man Loves A Woman.") Can you "just know" you're in love? Absolutely.

But can you "just know" that your relationship will last forever, that you've fallen in love with the "right" person? Of course not. You can -believe- it. You can be certain, absolutely certain, so certain that there is no doubt whatsoever in your mind when you say those words "I do." Obviously, roughly half of the people who say these words, no matter how much they mean them, discover their feelings of unconditional acceptance had some conditions after all. And it seems just as dismissive to say to these people, "well you obviously DIDN'T 'just know' then," as you're describing feeling when you hear folks say it's impossible to just know. Those feelings are real at the time; they can't be cancelled retroactively when things don't work out, when the future changes, as Curious2 describes.


@76 - sure, I would operationally define "just knowing" as just knowing that my relationship will continue to exist as long as we are both alive in the context of sustained love and acceptance for/of one another. So the version you don't agree with :)

I would not retroactively dismiss the feelings of those in your example, but I would say their claims to mutual unconditional acceptance were false. It almost seems to come down to whether one can truly make a real claim to mutual unconditional acceptance going forward. Beyond just being in love, I propose that people have the power to genuinely commit to mutual unconditional acceptance and communicate and demonstrate this to each other thoroughly enough that each can be sure the other has truly committed to it without conditions.


Spf85 @77: Well, I think that if a person "just knows" that they will stick with their partner even if the partner abuses them, cheats repeatedly and unrepentantly, becomes a Nazi, gambles away the family savings, or murders somebody, then I'm happy I've never "just known" and hope I never will. Because that's the opposite of romantic to me. That's self-destructive, and if that's (general) you, you should probably seek therapy. I certainly hope that almost everyone's feelings of unconditional commitment aren't genuine, that we all have some DTMFA dealbreakers, some sense of self preservation. But yeah, I guess there probably are people who don't, and that's scary to me. I've certainly felt that way and I'm glad I found the inner strength to prove my feelings of "knowing" wrong.


CDPROPS they're inanimate objects. It's fine. If a crossdresser wearing a backpack makes that backpack icky... I mean I don't see a problem at all. He's not using the kids themselves in his photos. Is "eww that's my backpack" and different from "ewww that's my backyard"? Dan you're 100% wrong on this one.

ADULTS why would you let him know? Who benefits? No one is harmed. Let it be.

WAH - I'll assume you want heteronormative sex and relationship. You'll have to open up to people and find a way to get out of your shell. You could pay for a pro, but I don't think what you really desire is the feeling of your dick sliding in and out of someone, but the emotional attachments that allow you to have sex with someone you like and who likes you back. You'll be as fine as you allow yourself to be (which can take a ton of work!)

POLY - it's not your job to police other people's FWB relationships. Keep your own relationship on the up, ethically speaking, police your other partners behavior with/around/relating to you, but I'd let the chips fall where they fall on the other relationship.

SOBA - place the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others. Figure out what you want out of the relationship and proceed accordingly - no need to psychicly intue what's best for your partner. Your partner is an adult (presumably), she can make the same calculation and decide if she wants to be with you.


@78 - I think it's also possible - albeit maybe even rare, but possible - to know someone well enough that if they were to do certain things, it could straightforwardly and doubtlessly be attributable to a mental health issue. To be clear, this would not apply to everyone who thinks they just know, but I feel in cases where this is defined as I define it, this is true: I think one can know someone deeply and intimately enough to know that's the only way certain things could happen. Many people probably think they know their partners well enough to know that and eventually find out they didn't. Yet, I believe some actually do.

If such a mental health issue ever did arise, I would intend to do my best to proactively and lovingly address it as such, and provide my partner with unconditional acceptance nonetheless, while simultaneously proactively working to maintain my own ongoing self-care. Further, I ensure she knows that that's exactly the way that I love her.

I also want to reiterate something I said much earlier in the discussion yesterday, and that is that I do not view this as some sort of superior version of a relationship. I do not recommend to anyone that they do as I would do because this is my reality, or that they view their relationships as I do mine. This just simply exists for me. I would never encourage anyone to stay in an abusive situation. Personally, for me as an individual, not meant to be extrapolated to anyone and not viewed as superior to anyone's approach, I believe with 100% certainty that the only way my wife would ever become abusive toward me would be if she were the victim of a mental health issue beyond her control, and I love her in such a way that my approach would be to seek to do my best to get her back to a healthy place. I know that she inherently embodies the opposite of such toxic qualities.


@78 BiDanFan perfectly articulares what I've been thinking. Since after all SPF85 is apparently wearing very robust sunblock, I'll go ahead and say that it's occurred to me too that a highly plausible condition for this "just knowing" might be a couple who are (as is very common, actually) more both individually in NEED than in love, who are in a state of mutual dependence upon/addiction to each other. And yes maybe they each then would at least subconsciously recognize that neither appear currently capable of going anywhere no matter f-ing WHAT, "just knowing"!

Whereas more healthy people who are strong enough to move on in such nightmare scenarios, wouldn't "just know" that they wouldn't.

The healthiest love is by someone who is secure enough in themself to not NEED more. Lacking that, yes, "seek therapy".


@80 Spf85
How long did you know your now-wife before you "just knew"?

Now, was that REALLY long enough for you to get "to know [her] well enough that" no matter what f-ing nightmare scenario occurred it would be mental illness and not you having then had imperfect knowledge of her psychologically/personality-wise?

Honestly, I don't think anyone knows anyone that well.


@81 - I feel like perhaps this conversation has gone too far into the .001% possibility of anything mentioned in #78 to happen - a percentage I place so low because of what I've tried to explain in #80. The fact that this has gone to a place of strength to move on in such a situation vs. dependency feels actually quite removed from reality for me, and I'd try to pull it back to the proposition that one can know someone so deeply and intimately enough that it can be known that barring such an unlikely mental health issue, these things simply wouldn't happen. That's part of it to me. Knowing who someone fundamentally is. And, knowing the types of things that are beyond the capacity of who they are.

But, were such a mental health issue to occur, would it necessarily, positively, doubtlessly be a matter of dependency on my part or insecurity or something like that, rather than possibly an unconditional love that, as I mentioned in #80, could possibly be addressed while also addressing my own self-care/preservation? I think it could, despite how far removed from what I see as the essence of just knowing this has gotten. (I understand why on paper it would go here, so makes sense to me nonetheless.)

I know, I know, robust sunblock. But I've been enjoying the conversation, including the resultant introspection, and even as one who appreciates the spirit and content of several of the counterpoints still feel entirely intellectually honest about all of this! When I introspectively look at whether any form of insecurity plays a role, that just really falls flat and doesn't resonate with me at all. I've been divorced and know what it feels like to have everything I expected to be sustained for life suddenly removed from me. And I've observed how it was possible for me to move on and have enjoyable relationships with multiple others after that. I know that "life can go on" after the end of a relationship and wouldn't doubt my ability to find someone that would on paper work for me. But now, after experiencing truly "just knowing," that direction of conversation just feels ludicrous and undoubtedly hypothetical.


@82 - I knew her as a coworker for 1.5 years, and not even extremely well during that time. I had a few occasions to spend time with her outside of work, mostly in group settings. The first time we went out one-on-one, we spent 9 hours at a bar until it closed and then spent the night together. I knew at that point I was all in with her, with the only questions about where she was with me. I "just knew" (pertaining to all of the above) within a week after that, once all the follow up conversation ensued. I know this makes everything I said above probably seem absurd, but the intangible component was part of my experience - perhaps the most central part of it. (I'd say that even more so now after seeing how my words have failed me with seemingly reasonable people.) I connected deeply with who she was very early on, and would have spoken with the same level of certainty back around that time. My human essence knows hers. My mind has expanded to include possibilities (such as this) that I would have dismissed even more readily than either of you have before that. Our brains are susceptible to interesting forces. (I found the LSD example someone cited earlier interesting, in that regard.) I'm learning more and more about what they are capable of, and it's made me - a natural skeptic believe it or not - far more open minded about how they can vary.


@83 Spf85
Good for you for introspecting, man! May your knowing turn out to be well-founded.


@85 - thank you, much appreciated!


Re feelings,
I think, deep inside, that we all want to be better, as awesome as we can be. And we could all be happily part of the matrix, drugged out doing nothing but VR. I think am attracted to growth with my deep feelings, although I can be incidentally lazy or ineffective. I have some confidence that I know what is good for me, what makes me happy with myself. I use the same language as BiDanFan, when I love someone, that care for their happiness never really disappears. When I'm in love with someone I also have at least hope, if not confidence or surety about the long term prospects romantically.

I think of knowledge as something we can only approach, through repeated evidence, when thousands of repetitions produce the same result.. (often) that results in knowing to a high degree of certainty. Then there is the feeling of certainty, rounding things up to fact, or defining.. the sun to rise in the east.. Sorta..

I assume that sbf is describing a sort of being in love, after many tests of that commitment, to feel prepared to weather the worst health issues, from mental illness like a brain tumor makes her donate their savings to charity, or dismemberment coma or maybe even after her death, she will be the person he cares the most about, he cannot change that she is his primary partner. It reminds me of how EricaP has described feeling.


Sporty @ 79
There’s a huge difference in the way kids’ props and clothes are being used. Nothing wrong with asking an offspring to use a bandana for a certain look, having matching father-daughter pants or even dresses.
Yet in our case, at least the way I read it, LW implied to a fetishized dressing up manner, which makes using own kids’ belongings fairly ewwy, not to mention posting pics all over without their knowledge nor consent.


Unconditional love is for one’s children not one’s partner. Heavens. How much work do people think should go into sustaining relationships.
Accepting differences and minor annoyances without making noise about it, fine. And if they don’t cook as often as one does. Ok. They cover something else. To say one just sits back and accepts the other totally, forever, unconditionally, to me that’s deluded and somewhat controlling because people have to be able to change. Marriage is not a prison.


I’m not suggesting people don’t find a solid partner and life is easy because of this compatibility.. it can change though, just like in any relationship. One falls out of love so where is the ‘one’ then? Leaves half the couple devo /devastated/, because after all the other was ‘ the one.’


I strongly support spf85’s message here. Dan’s matter-of-fact claim that “nobody just knows” is too conclusive of a statement to leave room for the possibility that some people may in fact actually just know, even though it’s probably not the case for the majority of people. While I certainly agree that there are millions of healthy, great relationships that last a lifetime that lack the “just knowing” element, and feel that just knowing certainly isn’t needed in order to find fulfillment in a relationship, that doesn’t mean that the concept of being able to just know isn’t possible.

I find it interesting that some are so quick to conclude that just knowing “doesn’t exist”, while simultaneously disregarding an alternative view that someone who is speaking from their own direct experience is sharing. It feels similar to telling someone that they aren’t experiencing what they say they are, and that just doesn’t make much sense to me. Maybe it’s because, by nature, it’s simply easier to support a belief that we can personally relate to, but difficult to fully conceptualize anything that we can’t. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does have a way of limiting our minds.

My stance is that it’s all too easy for humans to conclude that something doesn’t exist if it’s something that is currently unmeasurable, under-researched, or lacks conclusive evidence according to our current set of collective human knowledge. Just knowing is so remarkable because it goes beyond the measurable. It’s simply unexplainable - such as trying to explain what the color green looks like to somebody who can’t see. We simply don’t have the language, resources, or technology to communicate it.

It feels truly impossible to do the concept of just knowing justice when attempting to explain it to others - I’ve tried with people in my life, but it’s never seemed to fully resonate. With that in mind, from my own experience just knowing goes beyond both “thinking” and “feeling” as we know those words; it’s a deeper interaction between our human senses that I assume to be rare, mixed with a limited ability to cognitively process it. It’s having the sense that your entire world has somehow shifted in a way; everything feels slightly different and there’s a subtle anticipatory feeling that is persistent, but you don’t fully know why or in what ways yet. It’s what some may categorize as science fiction, and others may call delusional - but what I’d consider a largely undiscovered human ability - and while I’ve never tripped on acid, I’m not surprised to hear on this thread that others who “just know” described the concept as “seeing through each other”. I can hear my husband’s heart, I can sense and feel his thoughts, I can see his soul and intentions.

Just knowing is being able to truly, honestly say after searching the deepest depths of my own mind, that I have never once wondered or questioned whether my husband is the right person for me. Not for a fraction of a second in my most private moments. There is no fear for the future - uncertainty simply doesn’t exist in this paradigm. It’s not needing to know what the future holds because you know enough about your person to be able to know for certain that you’ll be able to work through anything that comes up in the future, whatever it may be. You just know that you can trust the “super sense” within yourself without fully understanding why. Yes, life is unpredictable, but I’m as untuned to who my husband is as I am to myself, and that’s all that’s needed.

To me, just knowing was living my life the same way that I always had, and then suddenly learning that there’s an entirely different paradigm of connection and intimacy that can exist with another person that I was fully unaware of until that point. It’s certainly a paradigm that I wouldn’t have been able to conceptualize or understand before experiencing it for myself.

While it may sound cliche, I didn’t choose my relationship - it chose me. Using Dan’s words, it was actually quite similar to a feeling of being on “autopilot”. It was an involuntary internal mechanism that took over. I didn’t choose or decide to follow my instincts, I was simply drawn to. I didn’t ever decide whether I wanted to commit to my husband, the commitment and pure unconditional, unbreakable love overcame me - almost as if it were beyond my control.

I’m somebody who was in a long term relationship before my marriage, living life as an individual who happened to be in what I called a great relationship. That relationship could have lasted awhile I’m sure, but when my path crossed with my now husband’s, I “just knew” that everything was about to change in an incredible way, and that we were about to experience something that was completely new and unprecedented together. We both simply “just know” that this is something truly unique.

I’m not usually one for discussing controversial topics, but the statement “nobody just knows” was unsettling enough to not speak up about something so real and powerful. Why limit our ideas and schemas of the world we live in to only things that are directly observable or relatable.


@69 spf85: Congrats on hitting the magic number and scoring this week's coveted Lucky @69 Award!! May an abundance of riches shower upon you like you've never seen before!
@92: I am neither a virgin, nor hypergamous and clearly am happy to be asexual at 50+. Guys like you need us more than we need you. Get over it.


Who's up for a HUnksy Award?


Philophile @87 -- I know that I'm committed to not leaving Mr.P. But I don't feel the same confidence that he would never leave me (even though he has given me no reason to worry about that).

If he did leave, I would still feel very emotionally connected to him, but I wouldn't stalk him. I'd trust that he knew what he needed.

My overall view on this debate is that one can "just know" one will always love the other person, but one can't know that the two of you will remain compatible in any particular way.

If one is sent to life in prison, the two are obviously no longer compatible to live together, for instance. Two people might likewise develop incompatibilities around discussing politics, fluid-bonding, skiing together, being married, or a million other issues.

Love isn't the same as compatibility. You can feel confident in your love, but none of us can predict how compatibility might shift over time.


The "just know" people sound more like religious mystics than anything else.


@97 RE: While I certainly do trust my gut, I'm not so sure I "just know".


@93 AWS, don’t get too carried away. It’s great you feel so deeply connected to your husband. Nobody is suggesting to deny such recognition of the other exists. Whatever you wanna call it. My point was and is people change. Suddenly one of you meets a person who now feels like ‘the one.’
More power to you guys who have found such a love.


SPF: I still think that you are just fortunate to have had that "just know" feeling that many of us feel -- what you describe is very familiar to me -- but not (yet) had the misfortune and heartbreak of someone you trusted implicitly letting you down. Or you them! You can't guarantee that YOU won't develop a mental illness or ever do something terrible to someone you love. If you really think you can predict the future with such certainty, please e-mail me next week's lottery numbers. For your sake I will hope that you don't have to learn that a "just know" feeling can turn out to be painfully wrong, but please accept that it can. People fall, and fall hard, for the wrong person ALL THE TIME. For a feeling of certainty to last decades isn't the only proof of "just knowing," it's good luck.

Hashtag hunsky!


SPF @84: Also, "just 'knowing' someone would never do anything bad" isn't sunblock, it's rose-coloured glasses. Most people in the flush of new love would swear their partner would never do anything to hurt them. A high percentage of those people end up getting hurt. For every experience like yours, there are dozens of us who spent a magical nine hours (estimated) getting to know someone, feeling "all in," "knowing" they were The One, and later finding out they weren't. Don't get me wrong; sometimes couples DO end up matched for life. But often they don't. You did not "know" after nine hours. You felt. You felt more strongly than you ever had before, and I would say that you fell in love, rather than being infatuated or growing to love. Yes, it's powerful. No, it's not a crystal ball.

On to other topics...

Sporty @79: You'd really be happy to play with a toy horse after seeing your dad's dick in its mouth? Okay then.

Dadddy @92: LOL, that's hilarious. Surely if "human females tend toward hypergamy," that means women want to fuck many men (projecting much), so every dude will get a "turn"? Because there is an inherent ranking of men that all "human females" magically agree on. Strange, Dadddy, I never pegged you as an incel. "Free sexual market" indeed. Personally, I think the most likely explanation for a 47-year-old virgin is that he is painfully shy.

AWS @99: Not to repeat my comments to SPF, but I too have experienced exactly what you describe in two relationships that are now over. I'm not minimising knowing as "just a feeling" because it is indeed an incredibly powerful one. It helps good relationships last lifetimes, and keeps unfortunate people miserable in bad ones for years longer than is good for them. It is something that some people seem to experience but not others, and it is indeed difficult to describe to people who haven't felt it. But again, it is not "knowing" in the way SPF describes, a knowledge of the future, which is in fact impossible. And if you are thinking of it as "finding 'the one'," as Lava says, that's pretty limiting. I thought that after my "the one"-feeling relationship ended when I was quite young, that was it for me, but voila, I experienced another one. And may again. Though I rather hope not; there aren't many more painful feelings than knowing a relationship has gone bad but loving the person so much you don't want to hurt them, and yourself, by ending it. EricaP @96 has it.


Dadddy's comment @92 is even more hilarious in light of his recent claim that I'm merely parroting other feminists on Twitter (which I'm not on) instead of coming to similar conclusions because they just make sense. Again, projecting much?

I guess it just seems easier to explain the fact that women keep dumping you by citing some "scientific" observation that women aren't naturally monogamous -- despite evopsych clearly indicating that women want one committed partner to raise their children with while it's men who want to spread their DNA far and wide -- rather than accept that maybe women don't want to date misogynists. Hmm.


@67. spf85. Maybe you're describing something like what I'd think of as 'commitment'. That someone is in a situation where they are resolved that, whatever happens, they will find a way of making the essentials work. But, to me, the implications of the expressions 'just knowing' and 'being committed' point in different directions. The first are subjective. They say nothing about what a partner feels, or may be ready to do. The second acknowledge that things may not go well but that you, the person involved, will make an effort to make the best of them.

I've been in a committed relationship where I was some form of co-parent. That did not go well--and wasn't perfect, was evidently flawed--when I made my commitment, but I'm living this out (living my commitment out) in relation to the now adult child for life, and, in practical terms, substantially parented until she went to college. One of the things that fell by the wayside was the romantic relationship with her father.


@69. It's foolish to have an 'unconditional acceptance' for anyone? What if they rape you? Turn into a rabid MRO Trumpian? At some level, by 'just knowing' you'd have to be talking about having 'good instincts'.


Spf @85 is describing a great love, just not in the terms I would describe it.

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