Savage Love

Big Moves

Comments

1

I like both answers today.

2

I thought Dan’s hate for LW1 was disproportionate. The guy comes off as a little whiny with all the backstory, and he could have left out the part about how he is “tall and slim”, but otherwise it is a run of the mill case of sexual incompatibility. Divorce is good advice, no shame required.

3

I guess we could knock him for being “resentful”, but clearly LW feels trapped, and it is natural for those feelings to morph into resentment. But of course, he is not actually trapped, and he should just leave, for his own sake as well as hers.

4

And yes, it would have been better to have figured this out earlier, but sticking it out for too long with a sexually incompatible spouse is not unusual, as any reader of this column knows.

5

Sorry, Under quarantine and have nothing better to do but hijack comment threads. It’s interesting LW1 never actually mentions divorce as an option, and doesn’t say why. It’s possible he believes in the til death thing, or it’s possible he thinks it will destroy his wife. Either way, here is hoping he reconsiders. Doesn’t sound like situation will improve.

6

I applaud Dan on both answers today. Nothing really to add except that the second letter reminds me of a friend who kept telling his family that his boyfriend was his roommate. Every time they'd go over to his house he and the boyfriend would hide all signs of their relationship so that they wouldn't be found out. He later realized that his family thought he was doing nothing with his life, going nowhere, lost and adrift because his apartment looked like a hotel room and his life looked empty. They kept pressuring him to find a girl and so forth, because they thought he had nothing in his life and were worried about him. When he came out to them, they were happy for him and relieved that he had happiness in his life.

Coming out enables you to show up in your family's life in a way you can't while closeted, and it goes a lot farther than 'who you're dating'.

7

I felt LW1 came off arrogant and whiny. I didn't like him from his letter.
I don't know the difficulty of coming out since it doesn't apply to me but I've seen how coming out has changed a few of my relatives for the better. They all seemed happier afterwards but my family didn't reject any of them. It must feel terrible to be afraid your family will reject a person for being true to themselves.

8

LW1 should quit jerking off and watching porn for a few weeks. Surely there is something about the woman he married that stimulates him, and it doesn't hurt to explore new territory of eroticism like kinks and maybe even tantric sex. People who are incapable of orgasm with their partners are usually held back by a mental block less than a physical one. If you can get off your wife, then surely there is still a physical connection you share. If you are willing to step up to the challenge, especially after being raised in a restricted Christian household, then have the courage to be vulnerable and let your wife know what you would enjoy more. Your primitive instincts to procreate and spread your genes may overwhelm you at times and dull your attraction for your wife, but if you can relearn to make love again for its own sake instead of the goal of reaching orgasm, you may yet rekindle your own desire.

9

Yes, both of Dan’s responses were good though read a bit lava-ish in terms of their finger pointing, grandmotherly scolding attributes.

Hairy Potter @ 8
That was a very passionate and valid post, why hide as a troll?

10

I thought LW1 was more a garden-variety, John Donne-style asshole, maybe -- no one bad decision so much as a series of lesser-of-two-evils choices, when somebody else painted him into a corner. Nothing to be proud of, could happen to anybody under the circumstances. And Dan is right -- the job now, if he can't be a good husband, is to be a good ex-husband. "It's not you, it's me" -- because it's NOT her, it IS him. Sad but survivable, be as decent a human being as you can, starting now. That's all anybody can do.

11

So the guy gave up his religious virtue to have a "one-night stand" (if that's the word to use here) with this woman, yet he's not sexually attracted to her? Something doesn't add up. Surely there was some reason that night happened? Has he gotten to wanting to sow his wild oats and forgotten how he used to feel? Divorce may still be the only possible ending here, but the story is strange.

12

Given the quarantine, I'd offer slightly more optimistic advice to LW1.

He says "When I’m helping out with laundry, I get bummed because there’s nothing in her wardrobe I find attractive on her."

I'd open up a conversation about the state of their sex life and say that I was feeling desire for new & different stimulation. I would offer to shop together (online) for some sexy bedroom outfits (for both of them!), to spice up their sexual connection. And, hey, maybe some toys too, if she's interested.

Sure, they'll probably end up divorced in a couple of years anyway. But it's worth a try.

13

"So the guy gave up his religious virtue to have a "one-night stand" (if that's the word to use here) with this woman, yet he's not sexually attracted to her? Something doesn't add up... the story is strange."

Here's my theory about why he chose her: it took him a really long time to decide that he wouldn't go to hell by sleeping with a woman, and by the time that happened he was in his early to mid 20s. Once a man hits his 20s with no sexual experience for whatever reason, he is usually terrified of sleeping with a woman for the first time and not being able to compare with all the other men she'd been with who were sexually experienced. Because this woman was kind and not conventionally attractive, he felt safe sleeping with her the night he met her since he figured that either she didn't have much experience with other men since they wouldn't want to sleep with her (which isn't true but I think this guy is the kind of arrogant man who would believe that about a not conventionally attractive woman) or that even if he was terrible in bed the first time it wouldn't matter since he could leave her the next day and tell himself she wasn't pretty enough for him so he wouldn't have to worry about what she thought of him. He had no intention of being in a relationship with her, but when he slept with her, he probably really enjoyed the physical part in the beginning so he stayed so he could have access to more sex with little effort. Since he describes her as extremely kind, he probably also enjoyed the emotional part of their relationship. But he never respected her at the beginning of the relationship and he still doesn't respect her, and he certainly should never have married her since he doesn't deserve her.

14

Yeesh...I see what you're saying. And yet, he extols her character, says he loves spending time with her, and clearly has no desire to hurt her, as he's not trying to push for an open relationship. I'm not sure he doesn't respect her at all, but it does sound as though maybe he just went with the flow early on rather than really thinking about whether this was what he wanted, and now he's panicking.

From personal experience, I can say that spending your early life in a controlling religious environment is not a good way to learn how to make and own your own decisions. Not that that's an excuse for this mess...

15

ITS, you had the opposite of a one-night stand.
How about taking one for the team and telling your wife you're divorcing her because you're gay? ;)

16

KBW @6, yes. It's possible the family already suspects he is gay. Also, they're in another country so FAMILY risks much less by coming out than someone whose family is local.
This link warmed my heart: https://www.boredpanda.com/dad-suspects-son-friend-couple-gay-advice/

Dashing @7, yes, I agree. He is 34 years old and yet he is the victim, he helplessly not only slept with a woman he wasn't attracted to but helplessly married her and now he helplessly can't admit he made a mistake and leave. ITS, person up for the first time in your life and set your wife free to find someone who's got their shit together, and who fearlessly likes short plump women.

KitKat @13, good theory. My thought was that he stayed because after having sex, he felt obligated to stay with her/marry her because sex is only for people you love, therefore committing to her would mean he hadn't really sinned that badly. In other words, marriage absolved him of the sin of sex before marriage.

17

Fuck you too CMD.

18

How ageist/role-ist of you, CMD. And given the climate we are all in, your bitch self is not appreciated.

19

LW1 is smoke-screening by blaming his parents or despairing his wild oats unsown. True, some of us are repressed by a religious upbringing, and are late-bloomers. But in even the most restrictive parts of US culture (excepting the extreme Mormon spin-off cults where the elders trade daughters) women pick men as much as men pick women. If someone sat on the shelf until they were in your their 20's, they got what they had coming, despite being oh so desirably tall, thin, and free of dandruff, zits, and tonsil stones that shoot out mid-conversation.

20

Joe @2, I didn't read any hate or shame into Dan's reply. Just a reality check which he really seemed to need.

21

BDF@15: it might get awkward when she finds out he's dating women post-divorce.

22

Traffic @21, if he is able to move far away and block her on social media, she may never find out. (Did you miss the winkyface? This was not an entirely serious suggestion, but would indeed be the kindest possible excuse for not being attracted to her, if he does in fact feel sufficiently remorseful over the whole situation to keep it in his pants until they've definitively parted ways. And once she's found herself a new lover who bangs her enthusiastically and often, she might not worry that her neglectful ex-husband is dating again. She might even be able to see the new women as beards for her "closeted" ex, and feel sorry for all of them.)

23

l-dub 1, you are just a stupid human, raised by REALLY stupid humans that fucked you up a bunch. and that fuckedupedness translated directly into making a very poor choice for your first long term relationship. now you've realized it. cool. unfortunately, you aren't attracted to your wife. total bummer. nothing to s!ag you about, imo. this is exactly the kind of shit that happens to humans in your situation. be kind to her and move on. not being attracted to heavier people is not a sign that something is wrong w/ you. you are welcome to be attracted to who / what you are attracted to. people will shame you for it, but they are assholes. be kind. move on. find who / what you want. good luck!!!

l-dub 2, you are trapped between worlds. again, total bummer. if you were in brazil, having a DL homosexual relationship would be something that your brazilian partner would likely understand. but you aren't in brazil, and therefore you are going to hurt your american man w/ your stance. that's just the deal. and if you don't want to hurt him, you risk losing your family. add to it that dan doesn't give a fuck about you and your problems. he cares about his political project of people being out. and his political project is a very good one. but that doesn't mean you aren't going to get hurt in some way. sorry. dude. no good options for you.

24

@23 psd
"dan doesn't give a fuck about you and your problems. he cares about his political project of people being out"

I assume that psd has seen the hundreds of column-inches we've seen Dan write on this topic. But even is psd hasn't, even if he just read the short summary that this column's response amounted to, that was totally off-base, ignorant, and mean.

"dude. no good options for you."

C'mon psd. I know we're all having a tough time. Take a deep breath.

25

LW1, I think Dan gave you a well deserved kick up the arse. What pitiful attitudes you carry about your wife, and you have allowed these lies to fester. No way can you come out of this a good husband, because you need to look to end this relationship, and stop being a husband with this woman.
. You can come out of this a good person by ending it with compassion and empathy for your wife. To her, this is going to be a super kick in her heart. Do not mention the non sexual attraction, you can say the love has lessened over time that you’d hoped things would change back, yet they haven’t.. whatever.
Don’t stay in a relationship like this again where you allow the other person to continue believing lies about how you feel. Be straight and honest all the way thru.
Be kind to your wife as this is likely to be devastating for her. And please never go near any woman she is close to after your break up.

26

Why is the cardinal sign of being an asshole being 'rude to waiters'? What if waiters are rude to you? What if you're an African American man in the post-Civil Rights era dealt with perfunctorily, or superciliously, for being out of place? What if you're an incongruous trans or GQ person taken to be sending up, or just highlighting, a tony restaurant's affectation who's the victim of the maitre d's snark?

I think LW1's story is a sad one. In a way he and his wife get on very well. He's been with her eight years and still loves her company. But I don't see that he can make clear to her how important enjoying sex might be to him and negotiate openness. Her response--that she wants him 'all to herself'--shows that, culturally, poly isn't on her horizon of expectations; and, further, that she has no idea that she's positively unattractive to him. It's probably the best advice that he should look humanely to leave the marriage, for her sake as much as for his.

I think it's good that Dan keeps answering these questions, like the first, from people who lacked basic emotional literacy (this at least was true of the guy at the point at which he married). Maybe the primary service he offers is instruction in fundamental emotional literacy.

27

@12. Erica. She supposedly comes a lot from sex. Maybe she doesn't come a lot, but is desperately faking it to try to please him and get him initiating more? Maybe she has very little sex with him and genuinely loves it, gets off on it, when it happens? It doesn't sound as if they speak about sex. He wouldn't open a conversation, it would seem to me, with something like 'do you know what I find sexy?'; and she would find it hard, understandably, to open up and ask, 'if there anything I could do that could lead to us having sex more?'.

Certainly, they should try to speak, if it's an alternative to him heading at once to the door. It is also unlikely to me that the marriage has a long-term future.

/break/
As for LW2, what does the Brazilian healthcare worker fear would happen with his family if he came out? Would they reject him? Let's say that it makes things e.g. strained with his parents and he loses touch with some cousins. His bf salutes his courage and they become closer. Would that be better or worse than what he has now? It's not reasonable to his bf that he tries to take refuge behind an all-purpose formula like 'the importance of family in Brazil'.

28

@26 Harriet I like your first point and have seen it and experienced it when I'm hanging out with Black male friends. I'm guessing being ride to wait staff that's doing their job correctly is implied. If the waiter is shitty it's fine to be ride to them but only after you get the food because you don't want them spitting (or worse) in your food.

@16 BiDanFan I like the "person up" comment. I'm going to copy it from now on.

29

I don't care about LW1. Seriously, a LOT of men are attracted to big women. Fuck what society tells us. Men are even MORE attracted to big women who like themselves. I don't care if he likes being with her, he doesn't seem interested in learning to be attracted to her. File for divorce, tell her a completely believable lie, and cut ties. Because once she's happy, he's going be jealous and it's going to be ugly.

30

I did have the same immediate thought at the last sentence, that LW could come out of this a good ex-husband - by acting quickly. The warning signs are there.

I wish I had a better read on W1, and especially wonder if she came from the same background of being raised in "the" church. I'd not want to have to guess whether or not she had or should have had a good sense of his lack of attraction before their marriage. "Don't marry someone insufficiently attracted to you," (and how Humpty Dumpty defines "insufficiently" will be of prime importance) seems a useful corollary, but I have no strong sense of whether that might have applied here or not.

As for Mr Savage's tone, he explained Lw's plight without excusing it; sometimes he turns an explanation into an excuse. I'm inclined to coin a Dementieva Award after the time Ms D defeated Ms Williams, S in the finals of a Russian tournament and the genuinely impressed Ms W said that Ms D should play like that more often.

31

LW1 should realize that the "other" grass is always greener, and that, being rather a fuckwit, his odds of winding up with the tall, slim woman of his dreams are, well, slim. The conditions that had him reach 26 without getting laid may well persist, and he's quite likely to wind up alone.

That said, his wife sounds great. She should be allowed to go create the happy life that she's being defrauded into thinking she already has... with someone who'll buy her some nice sexy outfits.

32

@18: Yeah, it came out of the blue with no provocation. Quite indicative of a personality disorder.

33

Lava- my apologies, a removal request was sent to the authorities.

34

I couldn't get to the advise because I was too busy contemplating taking a 25yo gay Brazilian medical student in if his BF broke up with him. Hit me up if you'd like a nice older man to take care of you, regardless of your family's knowledge.

35

@13 I was thinking along those lines also. He picked her as the safe choice, because she was easier to approach- maybe not even on purpose but due to inexperience and lack of self-awareness. He married her because of his sense of religious moral duty and because she was his best friend, thinking that would be enough. I feel so bad for her, like she never had any equal footing with him. He needs to own up to his mistake here, that he put her in a very unfair position and wasted her time. Also, maybe he needs to at least make an effort to talk to her about what he wants her to change, before making a final decision to divorce. Although, not sure how he would talk about it without fat-shaming her or giving away the real reason he wants to end it (I agree with Dan that it's a bad idea to tell her that he never really found her attractive. Too hurtful) It probably won't work out, but at least by making one last effort, he can know that he tried to save the marriage. I mean, seriously? This letter is really a shame. He married her as she was- short and chubby- so it seems wrong for him to make demands after all those years together. However, lots of people marry for the wrong reasons, so maybe it's just as well that he cut her loose so she can find someone who views her as a catch. One man's trash is another man's treasure, as the saying goes.

36

Sorry to post two in a row, but you know how it is.

LW2
I have four different 40.50ish year old gay friends who are from various countries in South America, none of which could be considered "tolerant" of gay coupling.
One of them is in his mid-40s, and it's kind of a don't ask don't tell situation with his family. He's had the same boyfriend for a number of years, they're happy, he has a good relationship with the bf's family and it is what it is. His bf has not and probably will not meet his family, but again, they're thousands of miles away and not really a part of their lives to speak of.
Three (maybe more) of my friends have come out to families in Venezuela, Colombia, and Brazil. The one from Brazil remains on great terms with his family, they've met some of his bfs, etc. The other two were completely disowned and basically told to go away and never ever come back.
I think to tell a 25yo that he needs to live an honest life is really cavalier and simplistic, and very American-centric. If bf can't deal with this situation for a couple of years for things to sort out, maybe he isn't "the one". And if I were from South America I personally wouldn't even think of coming out over some random bf. But I'm risk adverse.

37

@36 tim browne
That was a smart comment deserving respect.

"to tell a 25yo that he needs to live an honest life is really cavalier and simplistic, and very American-centric"

First, Dan didn't exactly tell FAMILY that he "needs to", he gave him a very brief summary of Dan's standard and very impressive argument that he should.

"cavalier"

That wasn't really fair; Dan knows as well as anyone that the stakes are very high, and didn't hide that fact in his reply.

"very American-centric"

I addressed this here a couple years ago. My argument, like Dan's, wouldn't tell someone in another culture they must risk challenging their cultural norms.

There's a certain anthropologically detached viewpoint that holds that all cultures are equal, but they are not. Some things are right, some things are wrong. We all know very well that homophobic cultures kill people.

How is that gonna change if people with the guts to do so don't come out in those cultures? Dan and I aren't ordering him to enlist to fight in that culture war, we're just saying that if he has the guts and emotional/psychological strength, it's the right thing to do both for himself and his entire culture.

Some people would tell me that homophobic cultures that kill homosexuals, and misogynistic cultures that kill women, should be left as they are. But that would be wrong.

38

@33: Good. Now report to the sex dungeon to receive punishment.

39

My fucked-up religious background combined with my inexperience led me to believe that I had to commit to our relationship, which I did, but over the years, I have come to realize that even though you are a wonderful, caring person, you are not the right fit for me. I know it’s a cliche to say, “It’s not you it’s me” but in this case it’s true. I am full of regret for the pain this will cause you, but I have to move on. I’ll be as supportive as you want during the transition, but my mind is made up, and nothing you can say or do will change things. I say this not to hurt you, but to tell you in the plainest way possible that I do want a divorce and I am profoundly sorry about that.

40

PS. I’m not cheating on you and there is no other person. This is completely about what I feel I have to do, because of me, not because of you and not because of someone else.

41

@39@40 DonnyK
I really liked your script until I re-read it and saw it started with:

"...led me to believe that I had to commit to our relationship"

Doesn't that "had to" send an unnecessarily hurtful 'I never loved you' message? Not only does that seem to me something she needn't have to hear...I DON'T SEE ANYTHING IN THE LETTER THAT SAYS IT'S TRUE!

I know, I know, it's fashionable for people to grow and re-define themselves as not having been in love previously, but based on the letter for all we know he once did think that he loved her. And I don't believe in retroactively re-writing what one thought love is. I guess this means I see love as an emotion one knows when one sees, not a kind of realization that one can later find was false.

42

Admitting that you're coming across as being shallow doesn't give you a get out of being shallow pass. ITS is shallow. He says he's not attracted to his wife. He says he's attracted to almost anyone who's not his wife. Doesn't sound like a body type issue to me. Sounds like a guy who's been married 8 years and has that itch. Lots of guys are ready to move on after 8 years no matter what they're wives look like. They want a younger prettier model than the one they've got. ITS's wife could possibly get thinner. ITS would not magically become attracted to her if she did. That's shallow.

ITS is struggling to get off. What's the advice we give guys who are struggling to get off? See a doctor is first. Consider new sexual moves. Maybe get ideas from porn, erotica, or a sex therapist. Fantasize. See what works with you when masturbating, then share that with your wife. Guide her into becoming the sort of sexual partner you want. Maybe ask her to shed her sweet persona and see if she'd be into dirty talk. It could be that part of her sweetness is comes across as passivity, and you'd like her to be more active. She can't know unless you share. You say you had no sexual experience before you met her, so I understand why you have less idea of what works for you and what you'd like to try, but you don't have to leave your marriage, you don't have to depend on some other woman to teach you about sex.

It's possible that ITS can only get off with a threesome, but I doubt it.

All that said, I agree with Dan's advice. Leave because she deserves better

43

Holy shit Dan did you eat your wheaties today? A+++ on all fronts, at the risk of sounding sycophantic, the last paragraph of LW1 gave me chills. Bravo!

44

@39@40 DonnyK I agree with Curious2 @41, and would add that "My fucked-up religious background combined with my inexperience led me to believe..." is blame shifting and responsibility deflecting. His current immaturity and lack of life experience is also problematic.

45

Nice thoughts Fichu, @42, though by the sound of this man it’s way too late. He may never have desired her, that’s how I read his words. And he has been putting on a fake intimacy with her, for all of it, perhaps. Can’t stand looking at her naked body and avoids sex with her.
This marriage is doomed.

46

@1 WA-HOOOOO!!!! Congrats to Dashing, who scores this week's Savage Love FIRDT Award, winning the highly coveted honors of leading the comment thread. Bask in the glory. :)

47

@9 & @33 CMDwannabe: WTF? Why the Lava-bashing, CMD?
I'm old enough to be a grandma, too.

48

I see VP Pence and his wife, Mother, being like LW1 and his wife, where religion slays desire, because desire does a man/ woman/ other, undone. Pence is so wound up with unexpressed sexual desire, that’s why he’s been the perfect counterbalance to the weasel in charge. One who has grossly given into sexual desire and the other, the model for all the fundies out there, represses his sexual desire.
Pence can’t even trust himself to be alone with a woman who is not his wife. Pretends it’s because women lie, when it’s his unconscious fear he’ll come in his pants under the table. Or he’s a closet gay or bi man.
Our LW is like Pence, I’m reading. Marries because it’s expected of him, denies his true feelings because religion and now his poor wife has to somehow absorb the shock. Or is she that naive? I mean a woman knows when a man desires her, it’s in his eyes. So she’s been playing the religious wife who denies the importance of desire in a marriage, just as he’s been playing the religious husband, doing the same.
His repressed desires can be repressed no longer, and has she noticed any of this? Wives, so the story goes, sometimes choose not to mention signs of marital trouble, so as not to upset the apple cart. Turn a blind eye and leave it to the man to pop the pimple. Let the dysfunctional pus burst out. Years of mutual denial.
Maybe Donny @39 has it right. The truth will cause pain, yet set both free. After lockdown or during? Might be an interesting experience for the both of them to shed their skins and finally be authentic with each other.
/ Thank you CMD, apology accepted.

49

Excellent responses to both LWs as usual, Dan the Man.
And especially to ITS: "Time is a motherfucking meat grinder, and it makes hamburger out of all of us." Sheer brilliance and gets my nomination for another of Dan Savage's Best Quotes from 2020.

@ITS: Get a divorce NOW. Your poor wife of 8 years deserves infinitely better.
I am so glad to read that you never had kids. Please don't.
@FAMILY: Dan's right--don't live a lie. Come out, and happy for the life you have with your boyfriend. Your family in Brazil could very well pleasantly surprise you with full acceptance and support.

50

Aunt Zelda @ 47
I acknowledge I messed up and conveyed it in more than one way. Not to justify what I did, yet it wasn’t intentionally an age thing but a reference to style and what was brought up in past threads.
Again, I should have known better and apologize.

51

Raindrop- sorry I missed you earlier. Now that you’re here maybe that divine insight can be put to a good use. Quite a few commenters wonder where LW1 is coming from, why he did what he did and what he really wants. As a member of the miracle crowd you’re in a position to make a real contribution.

52

@50 CMDwannabe: Apology accepted. I guess we really are in truly tense times.

Everybody stay healthy, safe and sane.

Speaking of the latter--The nuts in formation!--today happens to be Jack Nicholson's 83rd birthday. In honor of three-time Oscar winner, Jack Nicholson, Griz will be watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), The WItches of Eastwick (1987), and A Few Good Men (1992) tonight Many people think that Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film, The Shining, rather unfaithful to author Stephen King's 1977 novel is a classic, but I don't find it among Jack's best.
Happy Birthday, Jack Nicholson!

55

Curious@41~ “... I DON'T SEE ANYTHING IN THE LETTER THAT SAYS IT'S TRUE!...”
Geez, calm down curious, I can hear you without the shouting. True, I’m reading between the lines and basing my response on an intimate knowledge of the way (Some) religions can cram the old, “Save yourself for marriage or burn in hell” mantra down kids’ throats, which leads to inexperienced youths leaping into marriage once they get their first sniff of the possibility of sanctioned sex and then later finding out they weren’t at all prepared for the reality of it. NOT EVERYONE all the time, but it sure sounds like the case here.

56

Style CMD. what’s your ‘style’ ? Besides you apologise, then double back. You don’t like my ‘style’, simple, don’t read my comments.

57

ITS - If the sex got bad, why is wishing your wife looked better your best idea to fix it? (Because you blamed her and stopped trying.) I've noticed that how I feel about partners, and especially about the sex, can greatly influence how attractive I perceive them to be. If she was ok to bed on a good first impression, she should be better to bed after she got to know your erotic buttons, something went wrong. It sounds more like desire for nonmonogamy overwhelming the basic attraction, if they both started dating other people I bet the initial desire would resurface.

"Like an idiot I believed it’s what’s on the inside that matters"
Maybe it was easier to believe when your insides were a little less messy.. you could start to speak about what you want (other women), not what you want your wife to change into? Or is there some other secret thing you haven't told your wife you want in bed? Or something in life you want but you're not pursuing? Be true to yourself again.

FAMILY - I liked Dan's answer. If your family is important because you think about having kids and you want them to meet their grandparents, or because you otherwise value your connection with them, tell them, maybe prep them by talking about gay friends and how the homophobic culture is different in the US and mentioning your boyfriend more, in more affectionate terms. If your family is simply important because you want them to send money or want a place to address extra Christmas cards, then decide whether you value the money or social contacts more, or the political statement more.

58

I like Dan's answers to both LWs.

One tiny quibble about one aspect of his answer to LW1: it's hard for the LW to excuse his error by saying that he married young, if they married after he was 26.

Now, onto LW1: my first red, or at least yellow, flag, was when he wrote that it was embarrassing that he lost his virginity at 26. At least in my mind, that is nothing to be embarrassed about. Frustrated, understandably so. Discouraged in years 0-25? Very possibly. But embarrassed? Especially considering his religious background, it should be, if anything, a badge of honor. When I read it, I went "hmmmm." And not a good "hmmmmm."

Unless I missed it, nobody has mentioned marriage counseling. In this instance, I think he should start off by going by himself. Maybe he can have the scales removed from his eyes, and realize that he is already married to a good and decent life partner. Maybe he can work on his excess baggage that is holding him back from being the loving husband that maybe he can be. Maybe he can work on approaches to, for example, see if he can help her with her boudoir wardrobe, if that's important to him. Valentine's Day isn't for another ten months, but maybe her birthday is sooner? Or just an "I love you" gift? Surely a husband can do so for his wife!

But if counseling doesn't work out, or if he can't be bothered, then yeah, he should divorce her, for her own good. I especially like Dan's emphatic advice that he say NOTHING about her weight.

Based on his description, she sounds like an amazing catch for the right guy. The sooner he lets go of her, the sooner she can move on and find someone right for her. His loss will be someone else's gain.

59

Lava @25, great point about ITS steering well clear of anyone his wife knows after this is over. I was mostly joking about saying he's gay, but if he can arrange to move away so that she doesn't have to witness any of his new relationships, he should.

Harriet @26, that's a good point. Being rude to waiters isn't the "cardinal sin" of being an asshole, it's the canary in the coal mine, the early telltale sign that this charming person you're on a date with is only trying to charm their way into your pants, and that their future self will be harsh and demanding when you dare to leave the coffee cup unwashed or bring up something they said that hurt your feelings. You're correct though that considering oneself "above" a service employee is a mark of privilege; thanks, I had never thought of that. If you are in a group that waiters may not have been socialised to respect, the dynamic would be different.

Harriet @27, I wouldn't call twice "a lot." "Maybe she has very little sex with him and genuinely loves it, gets off on it, when it happens?" That's how it read to me. Does she have her own theories about why he's gone off sex? Assuming they're similar in age, she's in her mid 30s and should therefore have a healthy drive. Is she initiating the sex to pick up where he's left off? Is infrequent but good sex sufficient for her? I'm presuming she is also from a religious background so asking for an open marriage would be a non-starter. He has to admit he made a mistake, or indeed that "his feelings have changed" -- he could cite the seven-year-itch phenomenon -- and end this marriage.

Venn @30: I agree. "Don't marry someone insufficiently attracted to you" -- how would she know?

Girlie @35, no, I don't think he should tell her he's not attracted to her and that she should lose weight. One, that's an asshole move, two, probably not possible if this is the weight she's always been, and three, he also dislikes her being short which she absolutely cannot change. This dilemma is bringing to mind the letter from the guy who was wondering whether driving his girlfriend away by acting like an asshole was better because she'd be angry instead of heartbroken, and the resounding "no's" that were the answer. I don't think he'd be attracted to her even if she did drop 30lbs and change her wardrobe (indeed, why did he not buy her clothes he liked better?), so I don't think adding insult to injury will improve or delay the inevitable here.

Tim @36, good point. These men do need to try to see each other's perspectives. Does FAMILY believe his own family are homophobic, that they would react badly or disown him? Or is it just the culture in general? A good middle ground indeed might be for FAMILY to not hide who he is, but not announce it either -- just live his life as if they already know. If they're homophobes, they'll ignore what's in front of their face, and if they're not, they'll get and tacitly accept the memo.

Curious @41, I too read the letter as he was, at minimum, never "in love" with her; he says he was never attracted to her; he met her at a party and decided to chuck his virginity as he'd been offered the opportunity at the "embarrassing" (something else for him to unpack) age of 26. It's far more likely he stayed out of moral obligation than love.

Fichu @42, I applied Occam's Razor and concluded the reason he struggles to come is that his wife -- and being married to her -- repulses him. I suppose we can't know for sure, since she is his only partner. But if solving the problem of not being attracted to the person he's banging doesn't solve the problem of not coming, he can come back and ask Dan or indeed his doctor.

Lava @48, we don't know what, if any, experience SHE has. Perhaps she doesn't have much to compare this to in terms of being desired by a man. Perhaps she has low self-esteem, considers him "out of her league" (as he clearly does), or has also internalised sex negativity to the point where she is mistaking his lack of desire for respect.

Dadddy @54, "tends to." There are exceptions. He could plausibly claim to be one of them. Better than saying he was never attracted to her at all. And Mrs ITS is bucking the trend, which adds credence to my theory that it's only, or at least mainly, a trend because of the way children affect the dynamic.

Music @58, yes. He married naive, but he did not marry young. I agree with your yellow flag.

60

Expanding on my post @42.
I have nothing good to say about raising children in a religious home that encourages people to save it for marriage or to think that sex and attraction don't matter because "what's inside" is the only thing that matters. I wouldn't want anyone to think the following is somehow defending that. I'm looking at logical fallacies.

ITS was raised in that religious home. ITS also is having trouble getting off when having sex with his wife. ITS has anxiety attacks when seeing his wife naked. ITS has no sexual attraction to his wife. ITS finds all other women attractive (presumably including women with the same body type as his wife).

All of those are things some men not raised in religious homes sometimes experience. All of those are things some men who are raised in religious homes don't experience. We jump to the conclusion that x caused y, and maybe it did-- but maybe it didn't.

That's why I say to look for other possible causes and other cures. I still believe it's okay to divorce to see if a change of sexual partner is what's needed to solve the problem, but it seems a shame to me to divorce the sweetest, most thoughtful person ITS has ever met only to discover that he was having trouble getting off because of a medical problem.

Also-- Sweet, thoughtful, considerate sexual partners CARE if their partner is having trouble getting off. They don't lie back and allow themselves to come (twice) without paying attention to their partner's needs. I'd say the first thing ITS needs to do is talk to his wife about the problem. Not the problem about not being attracted to her, but the problem about his trouble getting off. Look for solutions together. Good luck.

61

Letter 1 is literally the plot of Paradise by the Dashboard Light.

62

@28. Dashing. Maybe 'an asshole' is someone who campaigns against wait staff getting a living wage as their base salary i.e. their salary before tips in Seattle or NYC. But then, I'd feel, a lot of self-professed non-assholes and asshole-bashers aren't going to be joining that campaign.

@59. Bi. Well, I'll speak of myself. It's not that waiters haven't been 'socialised to respect' me; it's that they make an intelligent judgment I'm not the sort of person they want in their Michelin-starred, expense-account restaurant--just as they wouldn't a bored nine year-old boy dragged along by his family and holding a handful of peanuts. While for me in the early days of presenting as a woman, it was a big deal to go to the sort of restaurant I'd visit on a special occasion in an evening dress. I'll say this: at the opera, no one bats an eyelid; in a restaurant, you cop some side eye and sometimes some serious irritation. One story is that I twice, eight years apart, went to a restaurant where the wait staff ostentatiously address every diner as 'sir' or 'madam'. The first time the maitre d' smirkingly went for the less likely; eight years later, his myrmidon, his successor or mini-me, put on an almost identical smirk and did the same, but with the other designation. No 'we like to call all our guests 'sir' or 'madam'--which do you prefer?' from anyone. In a sense this is the mirror-image of the discussion I was having about pronouns with LostMargarita.

Does ITS's wife 'have her own theories' about why they have little sex? I guess so--but I formed the picture that she accepted whatever sex came her way, and, on the basis of a Christian upbringing, thinks sex something that cannot not be opened in discussion. This is a waste; he's not being fair to her, he is wasting her sexuality, he's denying her the chance of an integrally happy relationship. Of course, as almost everyone has said, he should leave her for her sake. In their day-to-day relationship, as to how they get on, I might be willing to accept his statement that he loves spending time with her--that they're typically happy in each other's company.

The most critical reading of the guy's letter is that he's looking for permission from Dan to cheat. That is, to stay married and cheat. This is plausible to me--in that (however little ITS knows about Dan's 'party lines'), he's unlikely to think that Dan is going to say, 'suck it up', 'you made your bed; now lie in it'; 'be faithful to the lifelong Christian commitment that you made'. Knowing little, he could have made a choice of Dan as advice-giver thinking that a sex-positive homosexual might be more likely to counsel sex in any circumstances. Actually, the hardline Christian 'lie in your bed ... and find a way of making your monogamous marriage work sexually' might in this case be effacacious, given what ITS is likely to be able to do simply. But morally my preference is for the consensus 'leave for wife without hurting her feelings' and become a better, more self-aware, more sex-respecting person.

63

@61~ It’s national sex week. Don’t let your meat loaf.

65

@59 BiDanFan
"; he says he was never attracted to her; "

I don't think he did say that.

After re-reading the letter 3 times, I think you might be getting there from this:

"...I believed it’s what’s on the inside that matters."

But that doesn't convey an actual appraisal of his original attraction to her.

Let's call that factor A. With factor B being how he felt about what's on her 'inside'.

He's simply saying he made the decision based upon factor B. No information in that quote tells us what he thought of factor A.

That's my purely logical primary argument, but I squeeze out a little more:

He's not just a guy, but a self-described "shallow" one! And (perhaps this is just poor writing but) he says that he "met the woman who would become my wife at a party" and "said to hell with it" to his church programming to "save it for marriage". The way he wrote it, it looks like he said he didn't abandon his brainwashing before the party, but after meeting her during the party.

Given that it was a party, perhaps alcohol was involved. But I would submit that even if alcohol were a factor in him being attracted to her at that party, it would still contradict the line of yours I quoted to begin this Comment. Because Beer-Goggles-attraction has the word 'attraction' right in it.

66

Answer to LW1 read as terribly extreme & paternalistic. Don't tell your wife how you feel, just protect her weak little heart while you walk out the door. How about advising him to talk to his freaking wife? She's not an idiot. She knows something is up. They're adults and need to communicate. Should he be tactful? Yes. Should he invite her into that conversation? Yes. If LW1 isn't ready to talk to his wife, talk to a counselor. Pent up quarantine peen energy seems to be fueling Dan's answer.

67

Curious @65, I think we're both seizing on different things the guy didn't say. He didn't say that she put on weight or her appearance changed in any way. He didn't say he is NO LONGER attracted to her, he said he ISN'T attracted to her. He didn't say that at any point this changed, so I am presuming he was never attracted to her, that perhaps this offer of casual sex, at age 26, was the first one he'd ever received and that's why he said yes. (Or he'd received previous offers but was not sufficiently "embarrassed" by his virginity to accept.) I too feel that booze was probably not the reason. I think he was just desperate, thought with his dick, then his brain came in and said, now that you've shagged her, you have to stay as long as she wants, otherwise you're going to hell. And there's the factor of her being such a great person, being what he "should" want, that rejecting her for her looks would be shallow, another sin. I suspect that the war in his head between what he "should" want (to save himself for marriage) and what he did want -- sex now -- was brewing in the background when he want to this party and a perfectly nice woman he didn't fancy said, "so, do you want to come back to my place?" And impulsively he said yes, then figured he'd now made his (marital) bed and had to lie in it.

68

Is this...

69

...cheating? #69

70

Ms Fan - It's not always as easy as with Miss Grey and Willoughby. She knew, all right. As for W1, I get no real read, with plausible backgrounds on one side and "all to herself" on the other. But at least there's a good deal of elasticity in "insufficiently".

Ms Fan/Mr Browne - I'm tempted to play the Medical School Card. If they've been dating for three years and living together for two, I'll guess that BF thinks he's given it some time to sort out, but LW has not been attending to sorting on his end. Perhaps BF is ready to raise the level of commitment and LW is behind schedule. (It's a pity that the nicer-seeming LWs tend to write the shorter letters, although perhaps that's part of why.)

LW has been primarily US-based for seven years, and at least doesn't seem to be preparing to pull up stakes and return to Brazil on graduating. If he were planning to live full-time under Pres Bolsonaro, that would be a strong point in favour of at least choosing his battles with caution. I shan't guess whether "somewhat" monogamous was intended to mean anything deeper. "Zero idea" - how securely can LW proclaim that (and is he actively contributing to a false impression or just interpreting their communications that way)? I remember enough of what our former regular Mr Ank (who, I hope, is now enjoying the study of Latvian, either still married to the Russian and very anti-Latvian Mrs Ank or not) told us about Brazil not to need follow-up questions on that line, though I do agree with Ms Fan when she asks whether LW2 fears particular or general homophobia, and wonder why he doesn't specify. Perhaps he might have been spending a little time in the last year or two getting ready to nudge his parents and family; perhaps BF has expected him to do so. How recent and strong is the pressure to come out, and, if it has picked up lately, why? Does LW even know? I could take this in so many different directions; I really wish the letter were longer. As LW calls himself apprehensive and not something stronger, I suppose I can hope that he was angling for at least a nudge in the direction of the actual response.

71

Emalie @66: It's not paternalistic to not want to unnecessarily crush someone's self-esteem under your heel as you walk out the door. Even if that someone is female.

72

Dan @69

I don't know, but I enjoyed it!

73

@67 BiDanFan
"He didn't say he is NO LONGER attracted to her, he said he ISN'T attracted to her."

That's true, but all I took aim at was your assertion that "he was never attracted to her".

"He didn't say that at any point this changed, so I am presuming he was never attracted to her..."

Wink yes on that we agree, you are presuming.

A line I edited out of my @65 conceded that he probably/evidently wasn't attracted to her enough to remain attracted.

But he was attracted enough to her to fuck her that first time. For a self-described shallow guy I think that's a more reasonable interpretation than to say he just wasn't too repulsed by her to fuck her.

Now, at this point part of me wants to just continue to think I won this tiny challenge. But I'll lower my guard and admit that...

A whole paragraph I edited out of my @65 went on about, perhaps it was a really quiet churchy party and they sat together in a corner for hours so he got to know her on the 'inside' which over-rode his utter revulsion to her appearance?

Hey I just noticed:

"Even when I look at old pictures of us together I get extremely depressed because I know this is the best she’s ever going to look."

It's difficult to say that sentence supports either of our sides. But the "even" suggests she looked better previously, contrary to your:

"He didn't say that she put on weight or her appearance changed in any way"

And while he doesn't say anything to praise how attractive he found her, all I've asserted is he found her attractive enough to fuck once.

In summary, your contention is not just based on the presumption you cited (about her appearance not having changed because he didn't say it had), it's a presumption that that "even" might directly undermine.

74

Dan @69, if so, it's the kind of cheating I think we can all accept! Congrats on the well deserved lucky number and thanks for stopping in to brighten our day.

Ciods @71, I agree. I don't know what letter Emalie @66 read, but I do not read Dan as advising ITS to disappear without a word. He DID say that ITS should talk to his wife; he DID say that ITS should be tactful. Emalie, you really think he should say to his wife, "You repulse me and you always have"? Really? I think 999 out of 1,000 people would prefer a sugarcoated version of this truth.

75

Curious @73, do you think that in the history of sex no man has ever had sex with a woman he wasn't attracted to, in order to get his dick wet? Sorry, but my presumption that he wasn't attracted to her even at first can't be ruled invalid. He explained his reasons for sleeping with her, and "I found her attractive" was not among them.

Actually, that sentence about the old photos supports my view. Even in the beginning, when he looks at those old photos he doesn't see someone who looks good to him, who could potentially get back to that look with exercise or dressing more attractively. Even back then she was, in his eyes, a bow-wow. How depressing. Sorry, you've failed to disprove my negative. And I'm kind of wondering why it was so important that you do so in the first place.

76

@69: Yeah, totally cheating. I love it!

"Like an idiot I believed it’s what’s on the inside that matters." It sound like ITS has de-matured over the years, although "seeing my wife naked sends me into an anxiety attack" makes me wonder if there's an underlying issue.

77

@71 @74 . To advise leaving your wife because she's gotten larger and think that by leaving, instead of talking to her about your absent attraction, you're protecting her self esteem strikes me as very paternalistic. They may work it out & spice things up again or it may turn out they really are incompatible. But at least start with a conversation with her about how you feel.

I've had friends in the same boat who didn't have the same upbringing as LW1 but found attraction to their partner disappear. They had some painful conversations - some bounded back, some ended it. I gather this isn't an uncommon experience.

78

@77: My read of the letter is he was never attracted to her; she hasn't "gotten larger," she was always this way. There's no "spice things up again" option because there was no spice to begin with. That's what makes this different, in my eyes. It's not, "Honey, I'm sorry, but I need you to put in some effort to appear more like you were before in order to feel attracted" (which is rough enough stuff), it's "Honey, I never wanted to have sex with you to begin with, and only did so out of desperation, and I find you revolting."

79

@78 - Ouch! Haha. I see what you mean. His looking back at old pictures read to me like he once was attracted to her, but if he's coming from the place where he was never attracted to her, the advice now makes sense.

80

@75 BiDanFan
@65 I simply said of (of your "he says he was never attracted to her") that

"I don't think he did say that."

That was my entire point, period. And that point was only confirmed by your stating you arrived at your point of view from a presumption (which is why I winked at it). But I grant you that "he says" can refer not just to a plain statement, but to the kind of indirect evidence we then skirmished over.

It's true that, as you wrote @67:

"we're both seizing on different things the guy didn't say"

but my entire point was that you said he said the thing he didn't say that I was focusing on.

"Actually, that sentence about the old photos supports my view."

Yes I knew one could see it that way, that's why it was lowering my guard to not stop mid-@67. I just love making points enough to even like making points that could be scored against me.

"I'm kind of wondering why it was so important that you do so in the first place."

What do you mean, important? Like I said, my whole point was that (as I pasted at the top of this Comment) he didn't say something you said he said.

Not only didn't I say it was important, I repeatedly said it was unimportant (@73 I called it "this tiny challenge").

As I so often do, I was attempting a very minor correction of no importance to the greater discussion. Did you assume I wouldn't as always bring up a very tiny point, and thought I thought it was of the slightest importance?

81

I get that ITS isn't attracted to his wife. My question is whether he'd be attracted to anyone else past the getting naked stage.

82

@63 DonnyKlicious: Thank you for the wickedly spot on advisory!
"...don't let your meat loaf".I love it! :)

@69: WA-HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Dan the Man scores this week's Lucky @69 Award! Cheating? Not in your own column. Thank you for joining us, and bask in your highly envied decadence---especially during National Sex Week. As DonnyKlicious @63 has so beautifully advised, don't let your meat loaf. :)

83

Now who will score this week's Big Hunsky? Tick...tick...tick......

84

@81 Fichu

I think you've uncovered something crucial that goes beyond whether he ever was attracted to his wife. After all, he admits he was "embarrassed" to be a virgin until 26. Why would that bother him … unless he'd never shown any interest at all in getting to know a woman, get married, settle down, and produce babies as a result of religiously-sanctioned sex?

He could be asexual and hiding it from his family who may have been wondering why he wasn't keen to get married. He could be hiding it from himself but erecting a smokescreen that he's shallow because he's tall and slender and prefers women to be the same.

I wonder why Dan felt the need to contort himself into a pretzel with the advice that ITS be exceptionally ^kind^ when breaking up with his wife. Unless Mrs. ITS is oblivious to the world around her, she's probably more than aware that her height, size, and body shape are not universally valued. Absolute strangers will offer ^helpful^ advice. If she goes to a doctor with a problem, the doctor will harp on her weight rather than try to resolve the problem. If she were a Slog reader, she'd encounter the 404 Troll who is apparently obsessed with Lindy West's body. It's no wonder she's not interested in a threesome (where she'll be comparing her body to the guest star's) or a more open marriage (where she has to put herself out on display).

I'm still trying to wrap my head around ITS going from Zero (religious family, most likely no real sex ed) to capable of giving his wife more than one orgasm. Is he a reliable narrator? Is she faking orgasms and otherwise content in the marriage as evidenced by her sweet personality? More data points definitely needed.

85

Curious @80, sigh. No, I wasn't quoting directly, hence the absence of quotation marks. Rephrasing: His letter makes it clear that he was never attracted to her. Better?

"I just love making points" -- so that's why it was so important to you. No, I didn't assume any particular response on your, on anyone's, part when I made my post; I was just stating my impression. Do you think I make posts in an deliberate attempt to provoke responses on your part?? This is an advice column, not debating society. Instead of arguing that he -was- attracted to her, an assertion for which there's no evidence, you could have said, "He didn't literally say that," and left it there. You did the same thing to Donny: took issue with his (eminently reasonable) interpretation of the letter because it was in fact an interpretation, even using all caps to shout at him for presuming things LW did not literally say but which make perfect sense. It's fine to interpret a letter differently to someone else, but you now seem to want to start fights over the fact that we are -- of necessity -- making interpretations in the first place. It's tiresome.

Helenka @84, I'm now trying to wrap my head around your needing to wrap my head around the fact that she's having orgasms. Sex ed never includes "how to give a woman an orgasm" -- nor does porn, for that matter -- yet most men figure it out just fine. It's mostly down to the woman; in fact, it can be easier to "train" an inexperienced man in what you like than override an experienced one's preconceived notions. Going to reverse myself here and note that she propositioned a stranger at a party, which hints that she is sex positive and possibly far more experienced than he. It's likely that she knows how to enjoy herself and either they naturally found a groove or she trained him easily. Remember too that she finds him hot; it's far easier to get off with someone who turns you on, as both characters in this story demonstrate.

86

I once could have written a big ol' thing analyzing the fuck out of the first letter writer, but all I can really muster now in light of the deep depression I'm in is to say, "I really don't like that first letter writer very much."

Yeah, I really don't care for the dude.

87

And yes, Curious, I'm presuming that she propositioned him and not the other way round, either directly or indirectly, because propositioning a woman at a party would have been completely out of character for him. There, I've shown my workings.

88

Nocute @86, I'm sorry you're suffering from depression. Sending hugs.

90

Hunter @89, yes, that's exactly what I meant by indirectly propositioning him.

91

@84: My money says the orgasms are fake. Maybe not even intentionally so; she may be making some category of pleasure noise (real or encouraging) that he interprets thusly, and they just go on that way. It's happened before.

92

Ciods @91, it is a possibility. Especially if it's exactly twice every single time. Wouldn't put any money either way though.

93

@86 nocutename
I'm so sorry you're in a deep depression, sending hugs and support! Please let me know if there's anything I can do!

@85 BiDanFan
I'm sorry that I take everything so literally, and don't even realize that's not the only way to take things.

I'd say about half my posts aren't "advice" posts but are "debating society" posts. So I guess I should I stop posting half my posts. Or maybe I should if not stop them, be aware enough to alert others that I'm picking nit and being tediously literal.

"His letter makes it clear that he was never attracted to her. Better?"

It was perfect to begin with, it's my fault that I read everything so literally that I need it this way.

"He didn't literally say that"

I'll try to remember to say that!

(I see that what I did say @65 was "I don't think he did say that."; in retrospect, now that I've explained my insanity, wasn't that somewhat clear?)

But first I'll have to try to imagine the perspective from which you inferred it, because otherwise how would I know you didn't mean it literally?

Even after our discussion of your inference I'll note that I don't think it's a sound one; but prior to your support of that inference it hadn't even occurred to me that it was as arguable an inference you made me realize it turned out to be.

But I hear you about "It's tiresome", because I too never had any interest in discussing your inference. (Maybe if I did I would have focused better and even agreed with it!) I was simply trying to say (thanks for this script:) "He didn't literally say that".

And while if I paste those 5 little words into my tedious posts we could avoid tiresome analysis of inferences, I'm still wondering how...

(if as this time I can't even imagine where you got to such an inference because I don't see it at all)

...I can possibly know there's an inference I can't see behind the statement?

Because I did try my best to find an inference, which is why the very next thing I wrote @65 was

"After re-reading the letter 3 times, I think you might be getting there from this:"

/Break/

"using all caps to shout at him"

Wait. I used all caps because while I can use /slashes/ to emphasize a word or phrase, I don't know of a way here without bolding or italics to emphasize a bunch of words in a row. I know that internet-speak calls all caps 'shouting', but my personal take is that that's senseless. If anyone can recommend another way to emphasize a bunch of words in a row I'm all ears, until then if I use all caps for a bunch of words in a row it's emphasis, not "shouting", please.

Now, when someone simply writes everything in all caps, of course that's wrong. (But not because it's "shouting"; it's wrong because reading speed is much slower with all caps.)

Of course probably all this is what normal people mean when they say "shouting"; but me, being very literal, I don't know that.

94

@93 p.s.
Feel my pain. @93 didn't appear after I posted it so I spent about 5 minutes re-creating it (from an earlier draft I wrote in Notepad). Only then did refreshing it show it appeared. Ack. At least I didn't also post the near-duplicate I re-created.

95

@56 Lavagirl. I say the following with full respect.

It seems pretty arrogant to rip on someone's style while refusing to hear any criticism on your own style, which was CMB's original point (poorly stated). Yes no one has to read your posts if they don't want to. That's 100% true. But if you can't take constructive criticism (admitting CMB was not the best example of constructive criticism), how are you going to improve?

I'll say that I often don't read your posts. It's not because I think you're unintelligent intellectually or emotionally but because they're hard to read. Overly long, not organized into paragraphs, hard to find transitions, improper use of the enter key, etc. I'm not some grammar Nazi either, its just that paragraphs organize ideas and make them easier to comprehend quickly. I'm not reading Kafka, I'm reading a comment board. I want to be able to scan and get the gist.

Some of the best commenters on here are also the best writers. I teach high school and I tell my students that we all have good ideas - you learn to write so that you can be heard. Just a thought.

P.S. Not sure calling CMB a "bitch self" (while hilarious) is super useful or makes you come across well.

P.P.S. I will also acknowledge my own writing faults. I'm too verbose, have a predilection for uninteresting personal stories, and have a tendency to overuse semicolons and dashes. I'm working on that!

P.P.P.S. Please don't hate me.

96

Ms Cute - I quite agree.

I'm trying to divine how much worse LW1 would have turned out had his instruction consisted of a line of female-only chastity.

97

@larrystone007: "I will also acknowledge my own writing faults. I'm too verbose, have a predilection for uninteresting personal stories, and have a tendency to overuse semicolons and dashes."
OMG: I didn't realize that I had split into two people!

Except in additions to overusing semicolons and dashes, I also overuse colons and parentheses. I am trying--clearly unsuccessfully--to work on that.

Never change, my brother (or my sister, or my non-binary sibling)!

98

I may slightly backtrack on the possibility that ITS is asexual, but I still find him excessively passive. As in OMG, he's still a virgin at 26, he meets a woman at a party, they have sex, OMG, how'd that happen but, now that it has, he's in a relationship and that can only lead to marriage.

Now, he's allowing ^things^ to happen again, even if they're only mental and emotional imaginings. He's at the point of fantasizing about having sex with ^anyone^ other than his wife. He wallows in his disgust of his wife's body while he'd "helping" do the laundry. He's not even interested in seeking or learning any coping mechanism to stop or reverse these feelings because he - poor victim - is at their mercy.

99

BDF@85

Before the internet, there were books. I bought my first sex manual in 1970. At the time, they were marketed intentionally (and slyly to get around obscenity laws) for women who were about to get married, so that they might have a better chance of experiencing pleasure rather than pain and ultimately disappointment.

Through the decades, I kept buying whatever the latest offerings were which unveiled more mysteries of the human body. So that's the kind of sex ed I'm thinking of.

In any case, I still believe that Mrs. ITS would notice only the presence of dogged determination in the absence of loving enthusiasm.

101

Congrats on the hunsky, Daddy @100.

I'm not sure who was ever taught that beauty doesn't or shouldn't matter. I certainly missed that memo. But it's definitely true that people awaken or evolve sexually; especially those with sexual proclivities they find hard to accept... such as the women you've dated, I suspect.

There's a difference between coming to terms with, for example, needing to be dominated, and becoming repulsed by your partner's particular body whilst coveting other female bodies.

My gut feeling is that ITS wants to experience some strange, and he's such a conflicted person that it's done a number on his head. I don't think it rises to the level of being able to leave while maintaining his Good Husband seal of approval.

103

If we're hypothesizing on Mrs. ITS, my guess is that she always knew that she was short, round, and plain, and did her level best to make up for that by being nice. (Where "nice" generally meant "doing things to make other people like her".) That tracks with regular compliments nowadays, with being "the sweetest, most thoughtful person", and with being DTF at a party. In fact, if my hypothesis is right, she quite likely had a history of sleeping with boys to (unsuccessfully) try and get them to like her, and was thrilled to find one to get her off that carousel.

Which inclines be to believe that a little white lie and "the spark is fading, I want to be able to keep getting turned on when I look at you" is the best spin possible. Dumping her throws her back into the dating pool older, dumpier, and without many skills other than her old fallback of being nice to work with. Whether she nices herself into bad situations or gets bitter, neither is an ideal outcome for her. Encouraging her to be mindful of her looks while creating a supportive environment for her (matching her diet and workout plans, continuing to do his part with time-consuming household chores, etc.) is probably the least bad solution all around.

105

I think Dan is showing some self-critique-which could read as projection-in his response to In The Shallows. The harshness he shows towards IHS may stem, in part, from Dan possibly recognizing something in IHS fatphobia which echoes, in a way, the judgmental rigidity he displayed towards Lindy West in their exchange on body positivity-an exchange whose tensions inform Lindy's web series SHRILL, in which Aidy Bryant plays a vaguely Lindy-type Seattle journalist who works for a vaguely Savage-like editor.

Dan's response could reflect the beginnings of awareness that he was out of line in the exchange with Lindy, manifesting as a willingness to change and to address the rigidity he showed on body issues when he perceives it in others.

It likely wasn't pleasant for In The Shallows to read that response, but even if what Dan wrote there did involve some degree of projection, it was totally on the mark and ITS clearly needed to be told what Dan told him there.

106

@100 & @104 Dadddy: WA-HOOOOO!!!!! Congratulatioins, Dadddy, on scoring the Big Hunsky! Savor the good fortune and bask in your lucky glow. :)
@101 fubar: I am unsure if this would be as good a song parody as It's Time to Remove Donald Trump (as sung to You Can't Always Get What You Want, c.1969, by The Rolling Stones), but I came up with another one, touching on the recent times. I think this one's another bullseye.
Sung to "Stuck in the Middle With You", by Stealers Wheel, c.1972, music and lyrics by Gerald Rafferty and Joe Egan, here is Fighting Off TRUMPVID-19:

Well, I don't understand MAGAs at all.
I'm about to bang my head on a wall.
No real President for over three years.
All Trump does is feed off his lies and fears.
Moscow Mitch McConnell,
Mother's boy, Mike Pence,
Here we are, fighting off TRUMPVID-19!

Yes, I'm fighting off TRUMPVID-19,
And I don't know how to not make a scene.
All the fools in D.C. say 'We're prepared.'
So then why are so many running scared?
Moscow Mitch McConnell,
Mother's boy, Mike Pence,
Here we are, fighting off TRUMPVID-19!

We once had a Constitution
A First World global democracy.
But we're now seen as a world threat.
It's hard to lead when you can't...
Breathe....breathe!

Well, touristas just won't stay home.
And angry gun nuts claim it's their right to roam.
Why won't Inslee make them all pay a fine?
Snohomish County sheriff should just resign!
Moscow Mitch McConnell,
Mother's boy, Mike Pence,
Here we are, fighting off TRUMPVID-19!

We once had a Constitution,
A First World global democracy.
But we're now seen as a world threat.
It's hard to lead when you can't...
Breathe....breathe!

Well, I don't understand MAGAs at all.
I'm about to bang my head on a wall.
No real President in over three years.
All Trump does is feed off his lies and fears.
Moscow Mitch McConnell,
Mother's boy, Mike Pence,
Here we are, fighting off TRUMPVID-19!
Yes we are, fighting off TRUMVPID-19!
Here we are, fighting off TRUMPVID-19!

107

@griz @106: I Googled up "Stuck in the Middle With You" and played the Youtube while reading your lyrics. I think you have a winner there.