Savage Love






My heartfelt condolences on the loss of your father, RIP.
@ILS, I can somewhat relate, although I have never actually formed a relationship with a much younger man; we just stayed acquaintances until he moved out of my building. He was my next door neighbor, and I had just turned 50 (Regular commenters will remember my writing in as INACTIVE = I'm Not A Cougar Though I'm Very Energetic). He had a guy friend close to his age over, and to my bemusement, the friend was eyeing me as I entered my apartment (sort of like, "Hmmm-nice legs").
Good luck, ILS. I hope everything works out for you.


RIP ~ Trash the porn. There’s plenty more where that came from, It’s not like anybody that wants porn can’t get it for free on the Internet nowdays. And why was it the porn that you have this big ethical dilemma with? If your dad’s house was anything like my parents’ there was sure to be a couple dumpsters worth of old (nearly worthless) stuff you had to get rid of... mismatched silverware, 100 empty jelly jars, income tax forms from the sixties, threadbare out of style clothing, 60-year old screwdrivers that are so worn down no screw ever need fear that they may be removed by them, etc, etc. THROW IT OUT. And, if for some bizarre reason you can’t, put a notice on Craigslist, and then, if no one springs forward to claim this dusty treasure, THROW IT OUT. (The lone exception being if you come across a pristine Issue One of “Ass Ventura Crack Detective”... THAT one is worth some money).


@RIP I've been in a similar-ish situation: I was cleaning out my new home that I'd bought on foreclosure, and found a massive stash of magazines in the master bedroom. I got rid of it without hesitation: Nobody who is trying to collect back-issues of Hustler and the like seems to be having any difficulty finding them, anybody else who wants porn has it thanks to this little thing called "The Internet", and the only effect of trying to give them away would have been embarrassment.


PS , Way to jump right on #1 Griz!


Re: ILS' letter, I'm reminded of at least a few occasions where I've met someone who I have found really attractive and who turned out to be substantially older than I ever imagined. It was as if I were blind to their age altogether. Take it as a very good sign.


You can sell anything on ebay. They even have an adults only section. It doesn't have to be valuable, the great thing about ebay is people can pay anything they want even if it's a dollar.


ILS - wow, reading your letter really touched a nerve for me. Me 52, him 22. Feelings. I wouldn't commit, he went and found himself someone else. It tortured me every single day so, for the good of me, I had to tell him that we shouldn't stay in touch. It was one of the hardest things I ever had to do because I wasn't just saying goodbye to him, but goodbye to hope.

If Dan is right and there's still a chance, you have to take it. Tell him how you feel. Tell him everything. But if there's not - if he's moved on and is in a relationship now, then I totally get why you have to sever the ties. Bottom line is, there's no way to do it that won't hurt him. Try your best to minimize it. Tell him it's you, not him. Tell him this isn't about anger and that he will always have a special place in your heart, but that's its just too damn painful for you to have him in your life. If he cares about you, he'll understand and won't want to cause you that pain.


I love somebody who is able to admit that he “cares about” me only when I extort it from him with rank, naked, undisguised need.

It’s hell, having self esteem so low I’m willing to accept that, but he and I also have compatible kinks and phobias that are hard, hard, hard to find matches for.

Where am I going with this? Do I have any good advice? Fuck if I know, and probably not. But I guess what I feel compelled to say is: Dan knows how to make a relationship last, so if I were a woman whose love for one man disabled any possible attraction to any others, I’d go with what Dan says. If you can let your love be so strong that you learn to love the one you’ve got in a slightly different way than you love him right now, you won’t have to do everybody a favor and move on. Otherwise, you will have to, because I promise you this: your love is NEVER EVER EVER going to change him, with one possible exception: he may end up cheating on you when being fenced in and disbelieved finally gets to him.


Dan was SPOT on with advice to LW #1. I wonder if they might have OCD and/or Anxiety?? (I have both, and the kind of "insecure relationship obsessing" they describe sounds very familiar.) It definitely takes work, but it IS possible to get a more secure place. And also, you're not alone if you struggle with these things! <3


Hey Griz! Can you link to your letter?? I knew you were famous in the comments, but didn't realize that fame extended to an actual published letter!! ;D


HON, you write, "because he doesn't feel the same way I do on this subject, I don't believe he loves me at all." Instead of assessing his love based on one narrow aspect of his feelings, how about judging your partner based on his actions? Is he attentive, supportive, focused on your relationship, affectionate, trustworthy, and emotionally available, among other things? Those are the important things in relationship. And be honest with yourself, if your boyfriend said he too was not attracted to anyone else, would you really believe him? What proof could he or anyone really offer to satisfy you?

RIP, are we taking about mint condition copies of Playboy back 1966? If so, there going to be people interested in collecting these magazines, so if there isn't a store in your area that sells old magazines, and you will find takers on the Internet. But it is up to you to decide whether the effort in finding a new home for these items is worth your time and effort. FWIW, getting rid of four decades of National Geographic magazines was low effort.

ILS, honesty is a good policy here for you and your friend, one way or another you need this relationship to either move forward in a romantic direction or end, but you should be prepared to learn that he has moved on, whatever his feelings for you. While you have great clarity around your feelings, remember that your friend may not have any clue about the depth of your emotions, and may find what you have to say to be very overwhelming. Throw in the fact of your age difference and that he is currently in a relationship, don't expect him to provide you with a lot of clarity about his feeling for you so quickly. Be prepared for him to feel very conflicted and offer you mix messages before he sorts out whether or not he want to be your romantic partner.

@2/auntie grizelda: "I have never actually formed a relationship with a much younger man." Any particular reason this didn't happen or wasn't of interest?


@5 DonnyKlicious: Thanks---I try. But because I scored first post I declare you and others as having dibs on the Lucky @69 Award and Big Hunsky. Will you do it again?
@12 KindnessisKey: Many thanks! I'm sorry I don't have a link to the actual online letter to Dan (it was from 2014). But If you check Dan's Savage Love website and archives, you might find the original letter there.
Dan the Man? Do you still have my original letter from 2014?
I hope you're feeling better (you must have had a really kickass birthday!) and, as Donny would say, back in the saddle again.


@13 Sublime Afterglow: He was cute, but half my age, like dating one of my nephews. But we did go out for pizza once.


Congrats, Griz!

HON, break up. You can't be poly. You know it -- when you fall in love, you don't want anyone else. That means you are monogamous. (It doesn't mean she's unique, Dan! Ugh. Finding people attractive and -being attracted to people- are different things.)

Don't date poly people. For their sakes. Speaking as a poly person, we CAN love more than one person, or love one and be attracted to others. He doesn't not love you, but if you don't believe that, you are making his life hell, making him prove his love over and over again, and he deserves better. Move on. Contrary to Dan's advice, there ARE people out there like you, who find monogamy easy with people they love, who can think "she's pretty/he's handsome" and have no desire to bang them, which is probably what HON is describing, or close enough to it that she won't feel unloved. Dan is right that very few people indeed will never see anyone else and think "she's pretty/he's handsome." But since I don't think that's what you mean, I think your chances are better than Dan thinks that you'll find someone compatible. It's just not this guy.

RIP, I think even Greta Thunberg would forgive dumping this used porn (eww) into a landfill. Sorry about your dad.

Dan, did you miss that ILS's young friend is now in a relationship? ILS should not try to break that up. He should resume contact as scheduled, be a friend, and if and when ILS's relationship ends, THEN he should say he was wrong and wants to give dating a try regardless of the age difference. But in the meantime, he should date too, since perhaps ILS has met his lifelong partner. Unlikely, but who knows.


Donny @3, bwahahaha! Thanks again for your always entertaining comments.

Peascues @10, I thought you were heading in the direction of recommending Dr Xavier, Spell Caster! Sorry.

Kindness @12, I too would like to see Griz's letter! Hmm, let's see if Google can help...
Wow, that was easy.

I'll join Griz in wishing Dan a speedy recovery from his ills.


Gonna agree with BDF@16 here. Break up with the poly guy. Next time, don't date a poly person if you know you're gonna want to be monogamous - it's a recipe for grief.


HON might also want to talk to a therapist, because she is being irrational here. "Because he doesn't feel the same way I do on this subject, I don't believe he loves me at all." Irrational and dangerous to any relationship. "I don't think I can make him love me." Even considering this possibility is a red flag. "I know he's still attracted to other people, and it makes me feel like ending the relationship." I do agree with Dan: pretty much everyone is going to find some other people attractive, and you can't go ending relationships because of this. You should also never, ever press partners, "Do you think she's pretty?", as an ex of mine used to do, forcing me to lie since the truth would send him into an insecure sulk-fest. Accept that yes, there are other attractive people in the world, and they will not escape your partners' eyeballs, but that doesn't mean they don't love you or that they will cheat. If you can't accept this, don't date until you've had enough therapy that you can.


@1 congratz Griz!


Griz, what happened vis a vis your letter and Dan's advice on younger guy hookups, if you don't mind sharing / hope you don't mind my asking?


@8. Ordinary Joe. Why would you say 'goodbye to hope'? A different question: why isn't hope embodied for you, potentially, in a relationship with someone who isn't much younger?

@9. Dadddy. Quite. There were so many strange responses, I thought, upthread that I wondered whether I had lost my sense of what was truly important (understanding the mindsets with which people go into relationships, rather than throwing out porn).

HON's letter shows it's easier to see what's right for someone else than for yourself. Is her bf monogamous with her? If so, he has paid her price of admission. He should decently shut up about wanting to bang other people (if he talks about it), and she should accept he loves her.

@10. peascues. Does he retain power over you by withholding any declaration of love?

This week's column, for me, was two pseudo-questions and a genuine question--the genuine question being ILS's. It seems to me he faces a choice. He either makes a go of it, or he is absolutely, grievously honest--telling his ex that the age difference is too great and that their love is impossible.


Re: leftover porn. Clearing out my late brother’s stuff, I saw a likely looking box at the bottom of his closet, and I gave it all to my brother-in-law telling him I was sure it was porn, but I didn’t want to know anything about my brother’s taste in such things so I didn’t want to look. Told him to dispose of anything that didn’t interest him. The stack of old Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, I sold on eBay, got $20! Still have the old Farrah Fawcett poster.
As for me, I have a mutual arrangement with an old friend and lover that we will come and clear out each other’s kink collections when we die, before our kids have to do it. Adult kids have been told we have this arrangement to dispose of “personal items” but not the particulars of the items. If he goes first, I’ll have to make that arrangement with someone else or do my own Swedish death cleansing in a more timely way.


@19. Bi. Yes--it was right you said that HON was being irrational, rather than just standard-issue monogamous in her feelings.

She talks about her emotions in a very self-involved way: she's in love; she experiences no attraction for others; she has trouble believing that her bf loves her, because his eye wanders. Relationships involve more than the rising or falling barometer of one's own emotions; they're a matter of interaction between partners' expectations, give-and-take. It sounds as if her cycle could be--'she falls in love; all attraction to others drops; she falls out of love; she finds others attractive; she breaks up' (I don't know whether this is her characteristic cycle or not; she sounds young). But if something like this happened, it would suggest narcissism on her part. There would have been no interaction, no mutuality or growth, with her bf at all. She may feel the way she does out of anxiety or deep-seated self-doubt, as other commenters have thought. Whatever the causes, it's very much (I'd feel) something she should try to get to the bottom of, maybe see a therapist for.


Harriet @22, HON says that they started out poly but decided to be monogamous. This indeed leaves open the question of whether her boyfriend is naturally non-monogamous, or was situationally poly -- did they "start out poly" because he was seeing someone else, who had other partners, and he paid -their- price of admission of being non-monogamous though that wasn't his preference? There is also the open question, as I initially alluded, of whether BF finds other people attractive versus being attracted to other people. A fine distinction but a very important one. Has he told her, "yes, that girl is pretty," or has he told her he wants to pursue sex/relationships with other people? If he's assured her he is happy to be monogamous, that he isn't interested in other people even if he objectively finds them attractive, she needs to get over herself and get some therapy so that she can trust him. If he does want to pursue other partners, they need to break up, they're not compatible. If he is talking about other people he's attracted to, he's being rude; if she's pressing him, she's being insecure.


@22. By 'makes a go of it', I mean is upfront about his feelings, not asking for any commitment from his younger ex now. (His ex may have moved on. A fair number of 20yo s need to be held and listened to and cared for and offered intimacy--shown a love and respect they weren't necessarily shown in their families, especially if they're queer--before, in a relatively short space of time for a 50yo, they move on with greater confidence. ILS may have an acute sense, that is, of how long a partnership with his ex would be likely to last).


@25. Bi. My impression (and it's only that) was that they're young people not working on the presumption that two-person relationships are monogamous (and so Savage-influenced to this extent). When they started out, it was in the air that each might hook up with others, or her bf said he wanted to reserve that option. She let it go (maybe) because she wasn't in love with him yet. Then she fell in love and their relationship became monogamous.

Shouldn't HON make exclusiveness a condition from the get-go? (Well, of course she should; this is your point). Before she even falls in love with a lover? Yes--when they decide they're going to be in a relationship. This--monogamy--then becomes her POA. How can she have read so much Savage Love and not understood that?


Harriet @27: Agreed that another, possibly likelier, explanation is that these young people had formed the impression in their minds that poly relationships are more evolved and therefore better. Or, by "we started out poly," she may simply mean that they were each dating around and then decided to become exclusive, which is how dating generally works! Indeed, HON has now learned, or we all hope she has, that she will only date people who are also looking for monogamous relationships.


Dan, naturally, knocked HON's letter out of the park. IJWTS I think the reason she is "incapable of loving him" is insecurity.

So yes, per BiDanFan@19 "talk to a therapist". And BiDanFan@16 is also probably right that they should break up (because HON's growth is probably gonna take enough time that it'll need to benefit her /next/ boyfriend).

@16 BiDanFan
"(It doesn't mean she's unique, Dan! Ugh."

By the end of the letter I think we discovered Dan didn't /really/ think she was unique, he just said that to set up his subsequent point about her being "incapable of loving".

"who find monogamy easy with people they love"

I'm not even sure that when she gets over her insecurity she will be a monogamist. But probably, yes, at least statistically. Anyway, I don't think her issue is just poly. Even in a monogamous relationship in her current state she'll need her partner to pretend not to find anyone else attractive. Yes, I know that's common, but it's also not healthy.

I think it's actually possible that many people one would think to categorize as 'naturally monogamous' might not actually be if they grew beyond their insecurities. (Yes I said it, in many cases poly might actually be more evolved.)

@7 TheLastComment
And you could even mail it "Media Mail" inexpensively. (OTOH, if it turns out the deceased had kiddie porn, you could land yourself in jail.)

Or just put it in a box on a well-travelled curb. I got my first porn riding my bike scanning curb materials on weekly pickup day in my neighborhood.


@29 p.s.
I should expand a bit on how insecurity can make someone "incapable of loving". Insecurity can put in place attachment/clinging/need one can't even see past to genuinely love.


p.p.s. Sadly this is true of /most/ people.


@31 p.p.p.s.
Please note that @31 is directed only at the last sentence of my @30.


HON~ “... he doesn't feel the same way I do on this subject, I don't believe he loves me at all. I don't feel like I can bring it up with him...”
1) spoken like a love sick 12-year-old. Have you not yet realized that people will NEVER feel or believe EXACTLY the same things that you do? If you cling to this unreasonable standard you will never have a successful relationship. Taking in all or nothing, my way or the highway stance is a sure ticket to Splitsville. I once had an ex-girlfriend who flipped out and started a major fight because I commented that I liked the way a woman’s nipples looked on an episode of “Dexter”. Notice I said “EX” girlfriend.
2) If you can’t communicate with your partner and work out the work-outable differences (as opposed to the truly deal-breaking stuff) you will never have a successful relationship.


I found Griz's letter! (Unless there was another "I'm Not A Cougar Though I'm Very Energized" INACTIVE.)


It's the second letter.


Sheesh! Every week there seems to be another 'HON' letter:
'I want X! I'm not getting Y! How do I get them without having to think about what I want or actually communicate it to my partner'
I have to remind myself that plenty of the (always male/het) partners might be TERRIBLE listeners.


To me, there's not enough information in HON's letter to warrent the lack of sympathy here. If bf is regularly talking about how he's attracted to other people then I can see why she finds that hurtful and disrespectful. She make it clear that monogamy is a price of admission for her. Now if it's just the knowledge that he was happy in an open relationship before that's bothering her then I agree she's being insecure bordering on irrational, but that's not clear from the letter. The immediate jump to her needing therapy reminds me of the old sexist trope of the hysterical woman.

Dan's poly goggles are showing in his response. Some people do stop wanting to have sex with other people even if they think they're hot because they're naturally monogamous. Some people can easily choose to be monogamous or in an open relationship. Some people are naturally poly. I'm in that middle group while my partner is in the former and it works just fine for us. It sounds to me that HON's bf might be in the middle group too, which means the relationship isn't nearly as doomed as some people think here.


Hon could potentially find somebody similar to her. She probably wants to look for people who are both monogamous AND demisexual (only experience sexual attraction with deep feelings).

It will be a small pool, though. And a lot of people I meet who self identify as demisexual don't seem to fit the original definition. The demisexual people I know are quick to point out attractive strangers or celebrities. (Not that I'm policing their identity or saying they're wrong, but it's just not what HON is looking for.) So finding somebody just like her is going to be like finding a needle in a haystack. She's going to have to decide whether a long search is what she wants. There's nothing exactly wrong with having a very specific desire. But you have to be willing to pay the price of giving up the love you have and making peace with long periods of singleness.


@37 BabyRae
" The immediate jump to her needing therapy reminds me of the old sexist trope of the hysterical woman."

I'm hyper-aware of that damaging trope (and recently implied it in a thread discussing male privilege)... but I personally think nearly everyone would be more healthy with therapy.


Didn’t find any porn in my late mother’s belongings. Love letters she kept from a US serviceman, after WW2. He must have been special to her.
I’d suggest LW, that you burn the magazines. And as you are doing it, remind yourself your dad had his fun, and that’s a good thing to remember.


Letter writer one sounds very young and very naive, and I hope she (I think it’s a she) develops a bit more of a realistic and mature idea about love soon. But she isn’t unique. Although Dan doesn’t believe in us, there are lots and lots of people who feel sexual attraction exclusively or almost exclusively for our partner. I may be wrong but isn’t there even a word for us? Is it “Demi-sexual?” I don’t like that word because it seems to imply that there’s something lesser (Demi means “half”) about our sexuality. I’ve been married twenty years now and can count on one hand the number of people I’ve felt a strong attraction to other than my husband, but my desire for him is not “Demi” at all; we have frequent and exciting sex. Other people sometimes turn my head with their striking beauty, which I appreciate, but I don’t want to fuck them. The problem the writer has isn’t with her sexuality, it’s with accepting the fact that her partner does sometimes want to fuck other people. I’m sure my husband does too. But we’ve managed to come to an agreement that spares my feelings while acknowledging his - he doesn’t tell me about all the people he’d like to fuck and I don’t worry about it. It’s no skin off my nose if sometimes, during our frequent and exciting sex, he’s imagining a hot chick he saw on the bus. Or whatever. It sounds like this couple has a lot of negotiating to do - not only about if they intend to be monogamous but about how to be thoughtful, kind, and accepting of each other’s realities.


PS reading through the thread I learned a little more about terminology. I guess I fit the profile of “naturally monogamous” better than “Demi-sexual.” Because before I was married and when I am not in love, I have been a huge slut who wanted to fuck just about everybody. But when I catch feelings (to quote the youth) I just..... lose interest in other people. I get monogamy blinders. I know I’m not alone, because I’ve talked about this with lots of women. Have a sneaking suspicion that natural monogamy is a lot rarer in cis-men than it is in cis-women, though. Which is part of why it burns me up to hear Dan discount it: in my opinion he has a long history of centering typically-male sexuality and pathologizing or disparaging typically-female sexuality.


Twenty one and fifty, that’s a big gap. Why didn’t you answer the man’s question, Dan?
LW. I agree you should ring him, meet if you can, or tell him on the phone. The truth. Tell him the truth.
He’s found someone else, he’s moved away.. what is even possible now for you and him.
Maybe in the gay world, age is a little arbitrary.
If you two have such a strong connection, why can’t you keep that going, without upending his new life? Love needs feeding, the intensity will fade, and you two could still find a way to be in each other’s lives.


@39 absolutely everyone can benefit from therapy.

Assuming she isn't delusionally insecure, this issue could be solved with a serious heart to heart that doesn't involve shaming her for being naturally monogamous. She just has to push through her resistance to talking about this.


ILS asked "How do I let him know I don't want any further contact without hurting him?"

My advice - in a week, by agreement you're allowed to say hi if you want to. Assuming you still don't, then just... don't. If he writes you, answer him politely but not warmly. Don't agree to get together. Let more time go by.

It sounds like you wanted three months of no-contact and he pushed for only one month. But you're entitled to your boundaries. He doesn't get to see you just because he thinks three months is "extreme." Don't spend time with him (in person, texting, or on the phone) until you feel more recovered from your intense feelings.

Finally -- let go of worrying about whether your boundaries hurt him. Your choice not to see him until you feel ready is what's right for you, and it won't harm him. He may be unhappy and miss your friendship, but that's okay.


LW1, being monogamous doesn’t mean partners don’t find others sexually attractive. As Dylan sang “ I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul..”
This man has said he wants to be monogamous with you, at this time, yes. Then Trust his word and butt your nose out of what other humans in the world he responds to. Unless he’s being super obvious about it, then ask him if he’s still happy to be monogamous with you. We don’t own others, they choose to relate to us in certain ways, as we do them. One can always walk if conditions don’t suit. Especially when no babies are involved.


@Griz~ I second wanting follow-up on your letter (IF you're comfortable sharing) :) And/or email Dan, and perhaps you'll get published in a reader's roundup! ( think we can all agree that it's SO nice hearing back from former LWs!)


Mr Curious - I can't be certain how strongly you intend to tie monogamy to insecurity; you could have meant that you view monogamy as a subset of insecurity, or just that monogamy that happens to be based on insecurity can be "cured". Can you clarify?


It would be highly entertaining if Ms Grizelda's letter were blindly selected for a rerun by someone unaware.


As for the third letter, I can report that my PLB and I both though the age gap to be about 40%-45% smaller than it actually was.

The only cosmic vibration I got from this letter (maybe it was how they met that makes this feel so different from anything that would fit neatly into my mechanism of Miss Marplish analogies) was that jumping the gun would spare LW the devastation I suspected he'd feel if the deadline came and went and Mr 21 didn't want to talk. Somewhere between LW's right to set what boundaries he needs and his right to neglect self-care for what he may see as a greater good there may well be a right position, but I readily admit I can't see it.


Dan didn’t even mention the camping rule.
Two men together, yes the dynamic is different to a man and a woman together, because two patriarchs together. Age difference is still an issue because of life experience.
I get there’s a big uptake on older men by younger men, in the gay community, age difference still matters, and can’t be glossed over. I get you’re talking as an older man Dan, what does this age difference do to the younger man, long term. At least if he’s cis, he can’t get pregnant.


@16 & @17 BiDanFan: Many thanks! :)
@20 & @21 delta35: Dan I think pretty much encouraged me to go for it back in 2014, as my former next door neighbor and I were both over 21. But I think it was just curiosity on his part (I.e.: maybe some past girlfriends his age were immature, whereas here I was, older, and more experienced, yada-yada-yada). I'm not much into dating, really. Online dating scares me.
@34 CalliopeMuse: Whoops! Thanks for the correction. I thought I had initially typed "I'm Not A Cougar Though I'm Very Energetic"---not Energized--when writing to Dan.
@50 KindnessisKey: B-but.....seriously, my situation with my twenty-something former next door neighbor never went beyond a night out for pizza, Dutch treat, and the local eatery in my neighborhood that once thrived is now sadly defunct (why pizza joints are dying out in Bellingham is a big mystery). I guess I could still write Dan again with another burning sex-related issue whenever one comes up, however. :)
@52 vennominon: I guess it would be pretty cool to see my original letter to Dan reprinted as a SLLOTD or in the reader roundup...

Okay--who's up for that Lucky @69 Award? Tick...tick...tick...


Donny @33, and you never commented on other women's nipples again, right? :)

Calliope @34, congratulations, though I already linked it @17.

Poly @36, I dunno, in this case I think it's a good thing that HON isn't using her words to say to her partner "I don't believe you really love me because I know you still find other people attractive!" That is HER issue to work through, and hers alone. At most she should say, "I'm sorry I've been so insecure lately. You've done nothing wrong, it's me and I'm working on it. Thanks for being patient with me." Or possibly, "Please refrain from commenting on other women's nipples, it makes me feel insecure."

Baby @37, point of order, I didn't jump immediately to her needing therapy. I jumped immediately to her being perfectly normal, just incompatible with a poly man. Then on further reading the ambiguities in the letter which you cite and the red flags in her own words, I suggested therapy, if indeed the issue is her insecurities, which indeed is unclear. (And I've advised therapy for numerous male LWs, so my sexism conscience is clear.)
I agree that Dan is addressing this from his biased viewpoint of everyone is monogamish by nature, which is why he chose the interpretation of "attracted to other people" that he did.

Gueralinda @43, excellent comment. Hope HON reads it. Agree with your comment @44 as well, though I have (intimately) known some naturally monogamous straight men, they are out there. I do agree HON is better off finding a man who won't discuss his attractions with her than restricting her search to men who don't have any.

Lava @45, good point. ILS has already decided on his course of action here. The answer is that there is no way to tell him you need to cut off contact for your own emotional health without hurting him. Be as kind as you can be, assure him it's not him, it's you, wish him luck with his new relationship, and remind yourself that he is only 21 and he'll get over it. Time does heal all wounds -- and it will heal yours, too.


@37. BabyRae. HON feels like she wants to break up her relationship because her bf still feels an attraction to others. That's extreme. There's nothing in her letter that reports him commenting on how attractive he finds other chicks (presumably); her saying she 'knows' he harbors these urges rather implies he's saying nothing. (She just remembers how he talked about attraction at the start of the relationship).

What's extreme isn't only being sexually attracted to your life-partner. It's thinking that a mutual closeness--both people not desiring anyone else--is a requirement for a serious relationship.


Very good question. I don't want to tie "to tie monogamy to insecurity". I think in the great majority of cases it's a coincidence that most people are both.

I do think that both are more often influenced by culture and upbringing than (mental health issues aside) by genetics.

"Ms Grizelda's letter"

That reminds me, reading that old column's Comments was very interesting (I think it's the first time I made time for that). It was nice to see nocutename more active than usually now; it was a surprise to see Hunter more substantive, such that nocute could write "Maybe Hunter has a point" (whereas now Hunter seems the least troublesome of trolls, effectively cartoonish). But I missed that most of today's regulars weren't there; I don't want a Comments thread without BiDanFan.


Dan's advice to HON is coming perilously close to shaming demi/grey-ace people.

There are people out there who don't meet the norm he describes of "always fancying other people while they're in a relationship." It may be most common, but the description in HON's letter sounds fairly like a demi/grey-ace person for whom other people fade out somewhat while they're in a serious relationship because it's about intimacy for them, and they just don't have that connection with people they pass on the street.

So it sounds to me that HON may be somewhat like that, and find it relatively hard to understand the other person isn't. Dan may be right that HON needs work done because the vast majority of partners aren't going to be the same way (rather sadly, "lesbian bed death" and the even more frequent straight equivalent suggests that there's often one person in a marriage who's more sexual anyway), but I'm not persuaded that there's "something wrong" with HON.


@60 Woofb
I admit it didn't occur to me that HON (neglected to tell us that she) might be "demi/grey-ace". Maybe she doesn't even know if she is, and that most aren't. If she has no clue of such details and their pertinence, and tells us...

"I don't think I can make him love me"

...then there is at least quite a bit it would be very helpful for her to become aware of. And the right therapist might help with that.


HON right now - probably due to youth - lacks introspection and that is something that a therapist who asks leading questions might be able to help her find. What doesn't help, either, is that she is having these mental conversations all by herself. SHE declares what her partner is or isn't and then SHE concludes that he doesn't love her for which there is only ONE consequence, that she break up with him. But-but-but she's unwilling to speak to him about it (and he certainly didn't get a chance for a rebuttal in her mental conversation)!

She probably thinks that unilateral decisions are her ONLY option but she won't know until she takes a chance and actually, like, uses her words out loud.


So, I just read INACTIVE's letter and the first 100 comments. I was most troubled by this one:
"... heavier)..out of shape and slovenly is unattractive at whatever age."

I've always loathed the conflation that being heavy and out of shape assumes being slovenly automatically. People can be and are slovenly at any size/shape. It;s just that younger and thinner people can get away with it.

I believe people (can't decide whether it's some or many) have become immune to a wide range of physiques and features, then feel that such lesser beings couldn't possibly be found attractive or gain mates/be in relationships/have sex. If they would only remove their Hollywood-tinted rose glasses, they'd see it's not the case.

I still remember a TV commercial a few years ago for an electric fireplace that featured two heavier people in a romantic situation. From the many outraged reactions, you'd think something truly disgusting had been shown. Sadly, the complainers were convinced it had.


RE Porn
If I am not mistaken,...isn't this is an episode from Friends where they must pledge to clean out the porn in one another's apartments when they die?


I really don't understand this view that porn can't be throw away. I mean are all issues of Playboy made with Plutonium and need some sort of special team to get rid of them?

Donny is right. Porn can be gotten by ways that aren't going through someone's trash. Let it go.


sb53 @ 64- welcome back
Your comment reminds me one of the very first times I was introduced to an acceptable form of crossdressing/nonbinarism, a talk sponsored by a local sex stores chain that also featured a video of OS couples. Some of them mentioned the arrangements they made to clear all female-related attire and props in case they die, ensuring the kids will never find out the hard way.
I was worried for years that my own kids will find my stash, inadvertently trigger their parents’ divorce and feel guilty for the rest of their lives.
As it turned out the ex found but didn’t tell them. I came out to them few years after I moved out, with her approval, while the kids in college and beyond, and also met them en femme few times after that.
During my initial conversation with one of them they said, “Oh I heard about people like you, I listen to the Savage Love podcast every week.”
I should place this in that daily letter from last week. Now I can die peacefully, at least in part thanks to Savage Love.
No more secrets nor shame.


@65 msanonymous
"this view that porn can't be throw away. I mean are all issues of Playboy made with Plutonium and need some sort of special team to get rid of them?"

Some soiled porn might need a special team.


Good comments Helenka @62&3. It is going on in her head, and we all know how loopy those conversations can get. I see the issue is her self love, her self esteem. The bf loves the LW enough to commit to a monogamous relationship, why is that not enough.
Body shapes, one only has to look around.
Differently shaped humans are loved by others, and found sexually attractive. Conventionally attractive people are often the least developed, because they have got attention thru their looks alone.


@56 c'est moi!


BiDanFan @57 Oops! Didn't see that.


@69 C'est tres magnifique! WA-HOOOOO!!!! Congrats, delta35, for scoring tis week's Lucky @69 Award! Bask in your glorious riches. :)


@64 sb53: Welcome back! You have been greatly missed. I hope all is well your way.
I am unfamiliar with the porn episode from Friends, but am dying to see the one episode (2001?) in which Brad Pitt guest stars, as Will. There is a dispute, and Phoebe exclaims to Will, "Oh, take off your shirt and tell us!"


Curious @59, thank you! I feel certain I was reading Savage Love in 2013; perhaps I was away that week. Amazing and a bit scary that someone was able to identify Griz! If I ever need to write to Dan, I will have to disguise myself well.

CMD @66, I've got something in my eye. Thank you so much, Dan -- I hope you know how much you've given the world with your eye-opening columns and podcast.


Mr Curious - Thank you for clarifying.

Ms Fan - I thought of a few probable disguises to recommend, and then it occurred to me that Mr Savage might receive the disguised letter, think it gave you away, and (re-)disguise it by changing your faked details into what would turn out to be close to the truth. Someone should write a story along such a line.

I largely agree with Ms Helenka in principle, though I suspect that what's called slovenly in some is given another adjective and seen as cute in others. The advertisement with the heavier couple reminds me of a passage in Notes on a Scandal (only the novel, not the film). After her first supper at Sheba's home (lunch in the film), Barbara stopped at her dingy local supermarket for bread and milk, placing her order behind that of a man buying instant coffee, tuna, a slightly smudged Kaiser roll and two boxes of Kleenex. When the cashier took her items as part of his purchase, he slammed down the divider and claimed indignantly that those weren't his items, causing Barbara to pretend to be looking for something in her handbag until he was out of the store. Visualizing his grim meal and the possible uses for his bounteous supply of Kleenex, she wanted to taunt him that she had friends and had just come from a delightful family supper in Highgate. She ruminated on what snobs lonely people were, recalling how once, going abroad with a friend, she'd seen an airline employee asking a fat couple if they were going somewhere nice. The two, who were traveling separately, had jumped apart with indignant cries of, "We're not together!" as if it were insulting to each to have been assumed to be associating with the other.


@63 Helenka (also a Canuck): re: my original INACTIVE letter: Wow---how little that vituperative commenter knows of Griz! He / she obviously never saw me in a pair of yogas (and I live in mine). I'm still careful about my weight and must continue to avoid gluten and refined sugar, but am still height / weight proportionate. The commenter sounds like someone who automatically mistook my anagram for that of one with a sedentary lifestyle on a diet of carbs and fast food, and didn't bother to read my letter to Dan. There's one in every crowd.


@77: Further clarification: for those who can load up on carbs, eat BigMacs, donuts, and ice cream sundaes, never exercise, and remain rail thin, more power to you. I commend your high metabolism. To me, Helenka's commenter in answer to my letter, INACTIVE (@63) sounds like a shallow minded lookist troll who insists that women and girls should be anemic and 30 lbs. underweight to be considered socially acceptable (Angelina Jolie, I love ya, but Jesus--gain some fucking weight! Nobody should be able to cut cake with one's own cheekbones). Meanwhile, men and boys should proudly boast six chins like The Family Guy, the beer belly Budweiser built, and sport butt cracks deeper than the Grand Canyon. Small wonder such buffoons are so often themselves dateless and unattractive.


@78: Not to mention that The Family Guy is obviously a cheap ripoff of The Simpsons.

Griz says a mouthful when her back is up.


A bit off-topic (my apologies), but--does anyone have a favorite Halloween costume for this year's annual macabre festivities? I will be dressing as a cat. Maybe that explains my currently feisty mood. That and a (iMac) mouse that wants to act up at times.


@80 auntie grizelda
Numerous times we've IIRC seen Dan rhapsodize about the 'straight pride' Halloween is, and the license it gives to dress sexier than people would normally dare, for example the classic 'sexy __' costume I never tire of seeing women go as.
p.s. 'Pictures or it didn't happen'
p.p.s. Alternatively there's a guy who'd like to see you in knee socks.


@82 curious2: Knee socks? How about yogas and a leopard print "Josie" sweater instead?


Ms Lava - You might enjoy a story on the WTA site about Ms Barty's recently joining Ms Goolagong in visiting an indigenous tennis camp. The only sad thing was that, judging from the pictures, Ms Goolagong didn't have a hit. (That makes me think of the opening in late 2016 of Sr Nadal's academy, attended by Hr Federer, when they both lamented that neither of them was in good enough shape to open things properly on the court.) I recall from a while back Ms Evert's recounting that she still hits with the students at her academy and her lament that they were beating her at younger ages.


Okay, folks. Now, in this day of state-of-the-art high tech, please help this dinosaur out.
I cannot find my original letter to Dan the Man signed INACTIVE from 2014 with the details of my turning a youthful 50 and attracting the attention of a (now former) next door neighbor half my age.
@17 BiDanFan and @34 CalliopeMuse, please help! My curiosity of what I originally wrote to Dan in 2014 has now reached the explosion stage. I do remember that my letter got a lot of responses.


@85: BiDanFan and CalliopeMuse, thank you for the link, but I still could not find my letter, even while Google-searching---and with a brand new iMac. Dan, any chance of reprinting it for the inquiring minds who wanna know?


ag @86 How can you not find it? If you follow the link provided by BDF and CM it's the second letter. "Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version: I'm a sexually inactive (by my own choice) heterosexual female in my late 40s [...]" etc.


@86 auntie grizelda
I also find it perplexing why
might not work for you. I don't think it could be a DNS issue since you obviously can reach

Perhaps has created a program to block your username from your column? I'm just kidding, but that's the only thing I can think of; but the webmaster might have an actually reasonable theory.

The only troubleshooting step I can think of is logging out of your user account on this site then trying it again.

(If it was possible for it to be a DNS issue you could flush the DNS caches on your OS and browsers, but again, I don't see how it could be that.)

I'll paste your letter into the next comment, perhaps searching for a line in quote marks might pull up a URL you can resolve.

Oh, do try the force-reload command for your browser. (On a few that's Shift-Ctrl-R instead of just Ctrl-R.)


"Here's the Reader's Digest Condensed version: I'm a sexually inactive (by my own choice) heterosexual female in my late 40s who, up until recently, used to be much heavier and in rapidly declining health. Since my type 2 diabetes diagnosis, I have achieved substantial weight loss, a much-improved diet, and a little Clairol Nice 'n' Easy. I now look and feel infinitely better than I ever did in my late 20s. People in my apartment building have been doing double takes, and recently I even got carded at my favorite restaurant dining out with a female neighbor-friend half my age! While I admit the newly acquired positive attention is fun (especially getting carded! Who? Me?!? Ha-ha!), I'm happy staying single and am not interested in developing any LTRs with the opposite sex. The weird thing is, the majority of guys doing any flirting with me seem to be much younger than I am. A wise, older female friend of mine once commented that men "don't know what to make" of someone like me. Okay, I think. So am I too narcissistic? I can't seem to relate or really keep conversations going. Plenty of younger men in their 20s and 30s are nice looking, but I'll be 50 next summer!

I'm Not A Cougar Though I'm Very Energized"


Oh and is responsive; I wrote them about some site glitches and got a nice reply.

Speaking of which, lately I'm reminded their cookies are atypical; I actually had to delete mine last week and like last time I did that it appears it'll take weeks for my email/password to auto-load into the signin boxes.


@87 RE: O.....kay. No WONDER I couldn't find my letter-----I thought I had written it in 2014 when I turned 50. I was actually 49 in 2013 (I'm in my late forties....). I didn't go back enough when digging through the SL Archives. The letter is from 2013. Thank you for the correction.
CalliopeMuse--again, thank you, too, for the correction: INACTIVE = "I'm Not a Cougar Though I'm Very Energized' (not Energetic).
@88, @89, & @90 curious2: Thank you and bless you for pasting my original letter to Dan. My goof--I was 49 when I wrote the letter, not 50. Now we all can read Griz's letter from 2013.


Hooray!! I went back to the 2013 SL Archives and found it--under "Diaper Pals" (really more for LW1 than for me). Quite interesting that my letter to Dan was printed on July 31, 2013, the day after my 49th birthday. Now it's six years later--time flies when you're having fun. Thank you, everyone for helping Griz find the link and letter, and your responses, along with Dan the Man and Cindy Gallop, from MakeloveNotPorn.


On to this week's Savage Love: Cheater's Club.......:)