The Golden Rule is good advice, but neither LIAR, Brad, or Tim should mistake LIAR's sex with Brad as all that bloody serious. Ex-sex is a standard part of breaking up.


The LW's relationship with Tim, the new guy, is happy because it isn't burdened by cohabitation, childcare responsibilities, managing blended families, co-managing finances--it's a relief from these things. While she started her new relationship, this was all stuff she was still dealing with in partnership with Brad, her ex. The challenging issue here isn't what LIAR supposes. It's rather making the transition from a relationship that's about one-on-personal compatibility, having the same kind of temperament, being sexually on the wavelength, to a life partnership that's about more than just two people.

Her backsliding and having sex with her ex is no huge matter. She had a guilty and appropriately moral response in breaking up with Tim--which had a good effect, quite possibly, for the long term, though not necessarily the one she anticipated. I wouldn't think she's under the obligation to disclose, though she must of course try to abide by any current monogamous commitment. As for thinking that she's not worthy of Tim ... please. You have to be good enough for each other because that's what each of you have got. You know that your new partner's a good person--be prepared to excuse his flaws as they reveal themselves.


"if Tim slept with his soon-to-be-ex-wife when he was home . . . "

News flash: He did. So if the LW doesn't want to hear about it, should they have an explicit DADT agreement about anything prior to their re-connection / their divorces being finalized / their wedding? Or would not knowing exactly why each partner was so eager for a DADT just sandpaper their anxieties?


How convenient that Tim acted like everything was normal with his family throughout his relationship with LW, then only divorced his wife once LW dumped him. I think LW is so wrapped up in her own guilt she can't see the reality of what's been going on. Tim was planning on staying with his family and keeping his online affair(s) alive as long as he could keep up the jig. "We're still legally married, for the children of course, but I'm working on getting out" is the oldest lie in the book married people tell their unwitting affair partners. What isn't clear here is exactly why Tim finally did file for divorce. Did his wife find out what he was up to? Do we know for sure that he actually did file for divorce? Or did he realize when LW dumped him that this was his only chance, and actually make a clean break from his wife? We can't be sure, and LW probably can't be sure either. I would caution LW to be careful, ask the advice of some close friends, and give it some time before getting too official with Tim. At the same time she was totally sure Tim was the one for her, she was also regrettably fucking her ex. No judgment, we've all been there, but those are not the actions of a cool cucumber with their head screwed on tight. Being on the rebound from a failed long term relationship is a dangerous situation that leaves people vulnerable to all kinds of manipulative stuff.


@5 I'd put that down to author elision rather than anything else. I don't think she was dating a man who was still actively with his family.

Anyways, her problem is that, by her own metrics, she cheated. She considers herself to have cheated. DADT will not absolve her guilt. She needs to come clean. If they're restarting after a little break, this is a good time to tell. It's not like she went and fucked Jimmy from Subway, she slept with her husband. She's on fine footing (not that that matters, really) and if he flips out, maybe he isn't the guy she thought he was.


I agree with @3 and @5. Boyfriend definitely banged his wife a time or two, and this whole relationship is a rebound based on not having all of their respective real-life responsibilities.


Yup. Breakups are hard. Cut yourself some slack on this one. Did your boyfriend sleep with his wife? Certainly maybe. Cut him some slack too. And both of you should never talk or ask about it ever. Just start that new life. Good luck, L-dub!


@5 visualworry - yeah, when I read the line about everything totally being over with the wife except for living together and acting normal and not even having filed the divorce papers I was like: did the wife know it was over? The whole "we knew within minutes" thing kind of raised a big alarm, too. They both need to slow down and figure out what an actual, non-affair relationship between the two of them is even gonna be like.

@6 Sportlandia - I definitely agree she needs to tell him, if for no other reason than her guilt is blinding her to his faults. Starting a relationship with secrets and lies is no way to make things work. I always kind of think the "hide your cheating for their sake" is bs, though. Each person has a right to make their own decision about what they want to know and if they want to continue in a relationship. Our partners aren't kids we have to protect (especially from our own bad actions). Maybe she really wouldn't want to know, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't. If he's a jerk about it rather than just talking and moving on: she knows he's a jealous hypocrite.

@7 Traffic Spiral - agreed on the rebound and lack of responsibilities. If lw really does want this to last, being honest will help them with starting out honestly when they both came out of cheating. It will also help see how they communicate and problem solve and will put them both in the mindset of being in a real relationship. So far it's been all excitement and fun. Being honest will help admit mistakes will be made and this isn't a perfect, fairytale, love-at-first-sight situation lw seems to be romanticizing it as.


LIAR, you can be sure that Tim's frequent out-of-state visits back home to his wife included sex, and that one reason Tim was slow to serve the divorce papers on his wife was that he did not want the sex (and perhaps the marriage) with her to end so quickly. Having sex with Brad provided you with closure. Perhaps after many years together, Brad also knows your body really well, and can fuck you in a way that Tim cannot yet, Perhaps sex with Brad was always one part of your relationship that worked well, and so it feels natural to continue that activity when you are together. Tim and his soon-to-be ex-wife probably had all those same reasons to continue having sex together, so it is really unlikely that during his many visits they were not having sex. Given that, there is no reason for you to feel guilty about the sex you wanted to have with Brad.

There is one reason that you may need to come clean about the last time you had sex with Brad. In some states, Virginia comes to mind, you may not have had sex with your spouse within the past year in order to finalize the divorce.

Lastly, once you and Tim are both divorced, go slow with your relationship. One obvious point about all this sex you and Tim were having with your former spouses, is that neither of you had put these relationship behind you, and until you do you will not truly be able to judge your feelings for each other.


Being so quick to hop into bed with various men may deliver short-term pleasure but also creates emotional complications. And casual hot sex charged with 'new relationship energy' is not a sound foundation for a stable long term relationship, and in fact will obscure your judgement if/as you try to rationally assess the viability and advisability of the relationship.
Slow down, sister.


Did you use a condom with Brad? Are you using them with Tim? In other words, did you expose Tim to STI risk he should know about? If yes, sorry but you have to tell.


Commie? @11: I don't know, NRE has been the basis of many a long-term relationship. Of course physical connections create emotional "complications," duh. That's why humans have the ability to communicate. If we could not survive broken hearts, the human race would have died out millennia ago.


Yeah, today I'm with Sporty @6: it's fine and to your advantage to tell him, because if he freaks out here he's unreasonable and that's good to know now.

Sometimes telling is to assuage your own feelings while hurting the other person. But here it's a win all around really.


If you think you can know within a few minutes of meeting someone that “this is it”, you’re emotionally a 12 year old. And possibly a moron. “We felt an instant attraction” toward each other will do just fine, without superimposing some mystic destiny romanticized bullshit on top of it.


@LIAR "We both knew within a few minutes that this was it." Until it wasn't. Isn't. Will-be-wasn't. (Is there a future past tense in English?)

You are 1 year in. New Relationship Energy usually changes in 18 months, plus or minus a year, in our socially monogamous sexually not-very-monogamous species.

If you and Tim are to make it longer term, you will have feelings for others and so will he, and maybe act on them even if you both want monogamy.

People who believe love = monogamy often mistake NRE / passion / infatuation for "this is it" or "this is the ONE" and usually are hurt and break up if "the one" had sex with someone else, or ashamed at the "awful" secret if they were the ones to have sex with someone else.

I think couples that can speak about all this stuff have a much easier life. No need for shameful secrets because (a) there's no shame in being human, and (b) no need to keep as many secrets. I believe non-monogamy requires more emotional complexity (maturity), because you have to set aside simplistic Hollywood rom-com ideas of The One True Love.


It's a bit of a catch-22, isn't it? If you are sure they won't mind, like LIAR, then there is no need to tell, because they wouldn't be bothered anyway. If you believe they would mind, then you do need to tell, so they have the information they need to decide whether to continue the relationship. So it seems like before you tell, you already know all you need to know to decide whether to tell. And if you feel you shouldn't tell because of the consequences, you should instead end the relationship, because they deserve the opportunity to dump your ass and you deserve less judgment.


divorces don’t just happen, they take time. My ex & I went through several mediation meetings to get our ducks in a row, had to schedule the hearing and wade through the paperwork, and it all took about a year. Since it was amicable and mutual, we weren’t in any particular rush to get it done overnight. Sounds like this situation is similar, so while “...Tim immediately went back up to his ex and served her divorce papers...” might be true, most likely it was in the works, and that is partly what all the trips home were about. Doesn’t matter. Dipsengaging from long-term relationships can be messy and protracted and emotionally charged. Feelings don’t just automatically shut off, as you can testify to, but you both seem to have worked through it.

Meeting “Mr. Right” as your very first relationship out the door from your ex would be extraordinarily lucky...not saying it can’t happen, but realize that there is a lot of “OMG! This is SO great finally not to be in the “bad” relationship!” going on. Take it slow, take off the Rose-colored glasses and see Tim for who he really is, not who you desperately want him to be. It might be he really IS “the one” but don’t move in or get married for a LONG while. Give yourself time to re-become your singular self and you’ll be in a better position mentally when it’s time to seriously commit again.

Some people really want and need to be in a “relationship” to be happy and will do anything, overlook anything, to make that happen. Try to recognize it if this is you and base your future relationships on reality, not wishful thinking.

As for “Telling Tim”, let it go. Start fresh. We all have a “past” work to make your “present” the one you want and deserve.


The best foundation for a successful LTR is to get to know someone before you jump into the hot sex.
When the relationship starts out with sex it is easy for the NRE to cloud one's judgement and lead to regrettable and regretted relationship activity and decisions.
If one spends some non-sexual quality time (and we are talking months/years) to the point of recognizing a new partner is 'the one' and then jumps into the hot sex the prognosis of the relationship is much better.


@21/Lea Soratto: Who would waste months, let alone years, of their life getting to know someone only to find out they are terrible sex partners? Even before the era of casual sex, I doubt many couples were willingly waiting years. And high school sweethearts doesn’t count.


Sex is really not that hard.
Two emotionally mature giving people who are 'in' to each other can usually make it work just fine.
If the human relationship is properly tended to the sexual relationship will follow.

The trouble with Dan's advices and his fans is they have the priorities reversed, letting the sex run the relationship. If the human relationship is not healthy no amount of 'hot sex' will sustain the relationship on an adult level for long.

A few months/years is a very small price to set the foundation for a healthy giving rewarding life-long relationship (and a lifetime of hot/hot enough sex...).


Also, the word/concept "love" is grossly misused in our society.
What many claim as 'love' is no more than infatuation and/or lust.
Love is something one builds, over time; not falls into by happenstance or fate.
However it takes emotionally mature adults to create and sustain True Love;
sadly many people are not even playing that game to begin with.


@Lea Soratto (Commie, of course):
Nice ideals and you're free to practice them yourself.
But what works for you is not for everyone. Sometimes you try to use the threat of disease to scare people away from the sex you judge is morally wrong; sometimes, when the people involved are straight, you fall back on True Love and how it waits. Great. For you. (Not so much for any children you might have who can be shamed and brow-beaten, but whatever. You do you, Commie.)

@Everyone else: I fell in love with my best friend. We had/have so much in common: shared sense of humor, values, attitudes, ideas. We are compatible in almost every way--except sexually. Sometimes love is not enough to overcome sexual incompatibilities. We married, and later divorced, and are still best friends. I later fell in love with someone with whom I had a ton in common--except he wasn't attracted (enough) to me and the constant sexual rejection took too great a toll. We broke up, but remained friends. I've had relationships where the sex was scorching hot, but not much else worked, so we broke up and since the foundation wasn't strong and so much of the relationship was based on sex, there was no point in staying friends, and therefore no risk that we'd be in a position to have sex again.

Which is why I am always so unable to relate to these stories of sex with the ex or to hearing about people who are jealous about their partners getting together with their exes. Because in my own cases, sex was the thing that that broke up otherwise great relationship, so it is the last thing I would be doing with those exes.


She's only been separated from her husband a year. THis is the first guy she's dated since then. And already she is talking about marriage. Serial monogamy makes sense - being with one person at a time, etc. But serial marriage is really fucking weird to me.

Rebound relationships are intense. It's nice to be in a relationship with someone with whom you have no shared responsibilities, especially after years of being in a marriage with children etc. Why rush things? Just chill out and enjoy dating this man while being on your own for a while.

As for the cheating, dont tell unless asked or unless he admits to doing the same. If you'd been fucking some third guy, my advice would be different, but you were fucking your husband from whom you are separating- that happens, I'm sure he fucked his wife too. So what. Let it go.

Sometimes I've noticed with my single and newly divorced friends that when the new relationship energy dulls a little, they find ways to spice it up- often by cheating, sometimes by creating some drama (like conversations about pushing things to the next level or rushes to bigger commitments) and honestly I wonder if a lot of it is just a way to compensate for the loss of intensity of rebound relationships as they carry on- create some new situation to get all intense about, to build up all that energy, etc.

I wonder if that's a bit of what is happening here. The new relationship has been going on long enough that a lot of the initial spark is probably dulling. So what to do? Break up with him and see what sort of response you get- he immediately serves his wife papers and commits to the LW. They get the renewed rush, stirs up all that intensity again- he is completely and utterly devoted to her, how exciting.

She slept with her husband on several occasions. It's not a new or recent thing. But now she has this nagging sense of guilt, she must tell her boyfriend about it. Imagine the surge in emotions that will cause- the heart to hearts, the confessions, the promises for the future, the explorations of their inner most feelings, some sense of vulnerabilities, some jealousy even, eventually forgiveness, etc.

When I was 16, I picked a fight with my boyfriend over something stupid. Then I sulked about it. I wanted him to come to me, begging forgiveness, etc. One of my aunties told me "there are lots of people who find reasons to fight and break up just so they can enjoy the sweetness of getting back together."


Cocky, it's because it's easy, accessible, and - if you had a good sex life - dependably pleasurable. Meanwhile you are going through something emotional and stressful- natural to want sex, and there it is right in front of you.

Just generally to all commenters- have any of you ever had any luck advising someone to slow down in a rebound relationship or even just to generally see that they are in a rebound relationship? I can't figure out if rebound emotions is really such a mindaltering drug that even reasonable people lose their senses or if people who have a tendency to lose their senses in the first place are just more likely to be serially married and divorced.



We are sorry for your relationship disappointments.
Even when we 'follow the rules' there are a lot of variables, lots outside our control...

Actually, and fortunately, what works does work for 'everybody'; which means we can accumulate wisdom and learn from everyone who went before us and avoid a lot of heartache; if we are willing to tap into the collective wisdom.
We don't use the threat of disease to scare; we share well known public health wisdom (Science!) to help folks avoid easily avoided painful costly mistakes. AIDS was very traumatic for a lot of folks, and exacted a terrible toll; more tragic because we knew before it ever arose how to avoid it, contain it. Now that there is A Pill sadly we can expect folks to engage in the same behaviors that always bite us on the collective butt; not because of Jerry Falwell or Jesus but plain old science.


@25: Thanks--I don't want your "sorry" and your subsequent lecture. You, and all the voices that live in your head. I'm fine. I don't live in my mom's basement, I don't wank furiously to the thoughts of sex I won't allow myself to have and then harangue others for having, and I don't troll people who are trying to have a real conversation.

But as I said earlier, Commie, you do you.


@27: Emma Liz, I've tried with no success to suggest rebounders slow down. Seems like it's a mistake everyone needs to make for him/her/their self.


The world sure has gone topsy turvey when one has to justify sleeping with one’s legal spouse. Relax LW, sort your divorces, and start anew.


"We both knew within a few minutes that this was it."

HA HA HA HA! thank you for that laugh! so funny!

You can't know in a few minutes that "this was it". Not possible. You can know that it's worth pursuing. But there is so much more to relationships.

ha ha ha ha!


@26, if LIAR and Tim have been apart for 9 months, is it really still a rebound though? And the letter doesn't actually say how long LIAR and Tim were together in the first place before the cheating began. Could have been a year for all we know.


Mizz Liz - I did manage to convince my best friend she was stalking the object of her new intentions shortly after her divorce. It was hard work. The assembled company can doubtless recall many examples of men who wouldn't accept or believe that a woman was genuinely and intentionally refusing them. Had their been such a competition, my friend would have been a strong favourite for gold medalist. After hearing a telephone message in which he was pleading with her not to keep calling him and her blithely telling me how he was just trying to encourage her, I had to re-enact the chapter of Mr Collins' persistently renewed proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, and tell her that was how she was sounding. Gradually, she came to her senses.


I hope you used protection with both of them and that you have been given actual proof of those divorce papers being filed. You sound like you’re in a vulnerable place and I’m a little worried you could be taken advantage of.


Lea/Commie~ “...they have the priorities reversed, letting the sex run the relationship...”

Ok, IF you are “letting the sex run the relationship” that’s unbalanced and not good, but I’m a grownup and can have sex (immediately sometimes) without losing sight of everything else it takes to have a successful relationship. In fact, for me, I love getting lost in the moment and savoring the excitement that comes with fucking someone for the first time. Later, if the situation changes to “Well, THAT was fun for a while, but this will never work long-term” you can still be thankful for those exciting first-fucks and part friends like adults. Wait YEARS to find out?! I usually had at least a hint of things to come after a couple dates, and certainly knew pretty much for sure after the “three-month trial period”. Sometimes took longer for the straw that broke the camel’s back to break up if the sex was good, but realistically, I knew it wasn’t going to work out before that.


@19 Donny & @31 Lava. Perfect responses.


Cocky @20: Presumably you find the ex physically attractive, which is one of the reasons you dated them in the first place. Breaking up doesn't change that. Add hormones, lingering affection and proximity and it seems quite obvious how it can happen. (Yes, I fell into bed with my last live-in ex a couple of times after we broke up but before he moved out, and after the second time I had to make a major effort to stop giving into the temptation because then we wouldn't really be broken up, would we? Today we are friends and there is no sexual tension, though I still do find him physically attractive, and if I were going through a dry spell it would be a lot harder to not initiate sex, which was always good for us. I don't last long in a relationship without good sex.)


Cocky @40: Buying a home with this person was not pretty casual dating! It all depends on the circumstances and reasons for the breakup. I'm not suggesting it as a recommended course of action. You were just incredulous as to how it could happen, and if that person is still in your space and still attractive and the breakup was reasonably amicable, "very easily" is how it could happen. Not saying it didn't involve any agony! :) Of course there were the mixed feelings of, I still love this person, which is why I put a stop to it, as natural and comforting as it felt. There are some exes that I'd shag again if we ran into each other and were both available and horny, some exes who moved away and whom I try to booty call if we're both in the same town, and some exes whom I never want to see again, let alone bang. Again it all depends on why I was with them in the first place and why they are now an ex.


LIAR, I've said it before and I'll say it again, confession is Not good for the soul. It's an act of selfishness whose sole purpose is to make you, the confessor, feel better while simultaneously decimating your partner. If you're really sorry about what you've done, keep your big mouth shut and make a pledge to yourself to never commit that offense again!


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@20 I think that a major reason for ex sex is to try to make sure they look back on you fondly. If your relationship fizzled out at the end, you might worry that your partner will remember you as you were at the end of the relationship: routine, boring, unenthusiastic, etc. So you have some farewell sex with them and bring your a-game in the hope that they think back on you fondly, and then you "win" the breakup. Essentially, it's an effort to maintain control over a partner, because you want to move on to someone new but don't like the idea of your ex no longer being "yours."


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