Savage Love

Letter Rip

Comments

1

'All truth passes through three stages. Firkt, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.' (Arthur Schopenhauer)

2

Not sure if HUNG's ex or BEARD's ex are the biggest assholes this week, yikes!

3

"If you’re the biological father, TKINMSP, which you might not be."

That was an abrupt ending!

4

BEARD: If it helps, write the letter and /then/ decide whether you're going to send it or not.

As Dan said, it's possible the guy is bi and was not using you as a beard. That doesn't change the fact that he was an asshole to you, and that his behaviour was abusive and suspicious, and you have every right to be angry.

But I have to ask: did he ever have a "friend from work" give you a lift back to his apartment during a snow storm?

5

It's possible that BEARD's BF wasn't lying at the start of their relationship; he could have thought he was straight. And only lied by omission (not disclosed) a journey he took to discover he isn't straight.

Maybe that very night she got thrown out of her own house so her BF could host a cock, was a voyage of discovery for him.

Not that I'm betting on this, I just wanted to let BEARD feel that the more likely picture Dan paints might exaggerate the BF's offense.
xxx
I loved how Dan worded his reply to HUNG. I hope it got through to her, and that like me she now is asking herself something like "what is wrong with HUNG?" To the list of things wrong with HUNG, I would add however that her question was whether she should get involved in 'informing' the asshole's girlfriend. (I suspect there might be an element of revenge in that plan.)

6

Poor HUNG. I can't imagine ever letting someone treat me that way, over and over again.

7

Re: LW2 Even though you haven't spoken for years but are still FB friends then you have a relationship of sorts where you could just ask her (but not for all eyes to read). But I have a strong feeling that had it been your kid and had she wanted you to know she would have contacted you soon after the kid was born or, to at least seek some form of child support regardless of her financial well-being...

8

And to Curious 2: Are you an editor at The Stranger and perhaps post its online content? I mean, how else are you consistently firkt? (And as Griz will point out very soon, Congrats on that much-coveted distinction and to alexstrsza's secnod)...

9

The sex must be spectacular with that last one.

10

If Dan is right about the guy inviting a lover over and then telling LW1 she had to leave the house because of his depression... that is pretty spectacularly bad behavior, even for by advice column standards.

11

Dan, no need to rub it in BEARD’s face about that night. Your assumption may be true, maybe not, but that doesn’t change the situation rather than further hurting her.

I’m not exonerating BEARD’s BF for what he did to her, just want to point out that people can be late bloomers for whatever reasons regardless of parents and sisters.
And the only thing we currently know about ex bf is that he is dating a man. He may still be depressed regardless and the two may not be related.

As for the suggested letter, read it to a trusted friend before sending it. See how you feel about it afterwards and invite the friend to ask question and make comments if they’re so inclined.

12

TurbosDad@8
I am in no way affiliated with The Stranger.

Back on
https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2021/03/02/55564369/savage-love/comments
fubar beat me by two and a half hours.

And sometimes I've beat the secnod by hours; last week by 37 minutes; it's not always hotly contested.

FWIW my personal game with all the other numbers is to avoid hitting them except by accident.

13

Tuesday, April 13, 3:00 P.M. HUNG's boyfriend's apartment.

Friday: "You notice anything funny about the apartment Bill?"

Gannon: "No, not really, I . . . wait a minute, yeah, something is kinda funny! Dishes put away, cupboards cleaned, toilet seat down. Am I crazy or . . . has this apartment been mysteriously improved?

Friday: "That's right Bill. Some improvements have been made around here. And you know what that means."

Gannon: "A girl must have been staying here!"

Friday: "That's right Bill. Probably that girl from the snowstorm."

And scene.

14

I'll wait for Ms Fan to opine about BF1. While I definitely feel for LW1, her presumptions don't prepossess me in her favour. It would be nice to know why she thought his being a decade older would make for mediocre sex. I think of Fitz in Cracker trying to seduce Penhaligon away from her contemporary boyfriend by emphasizing his superiour enthusiasm (Peter, if asked, would rub oil on her back when they went to the beach but would feel it a chore, while he, Fitz, would rub oil on her back until Boots ran dry). And Mr Savage did well at correcting her about Other People's Closets.

It will be interesting to see if the week establishes much difference between the B closet and the G closet.

15

"I definitely would’ve appreciated it if someone had warned me about this guy in 2019."
I laughed out, what an absurd thing to think. Your own warnings about this guy in 2021 do nothing after two years of personal experience, what could anyone have said to dissuade you then if you won't dissuade yourself now?
Sounds like he's been pretty clear about himself too. You're making your own choices. This is on you at this point.

16

@1 WA-HOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Once again, curioius2, the Notorious FIRDT! (firkt) King strikes again!! We may have a new contest to see how long your consistent weekly FIRDT! record holds out. Meanwhile, savor your highly envied glory in leading this week's Savage Love comment thread, and bask in the sun-drenched glory.:)

Vitamin D come and get us!

17

BEARD: Holy. Fucking. Shit. I feel your rage. You have my deepest heartfelt sympathy.
Yes--do exactly as Dan so aptly recommended--write this guy a letter. Tell him how justifiably angry you are that he willingly used you, knowing your relationship wasn't going to go anywhere.

I am still working on my anger, over seventeen years later at a man who I really thought I knew after twenty-one years, who died of heart complications four months after his 40th birthday. For two decades since we had first met in community college he harbored a bizarre idealization of me, fixating on someone I clearly wasn't. Fast forward to 2003. What really killed any last modicum (thanks, Dan--I like that word!) of our friendship was my finding out that he contacted my father privately, by long distance, trying to get my father's approval to trap me into marriage and children to help him live the hideously cruel lie of posing as a good Catholic husband, father, and family man (my father told me all about this guy's desperate plot seven years after the memorial service, the summer before my father joined my mother in passing).
This man and I never lived together, slept together, or had ever talked about getting married, other than his giving off weird little hints like 'I'm all set for you to file a paternity suit'. He would either mail or present me with inappropriate gifts (like a mismatched maternity outfit ten sizes too big for me) or a manila envelope stuffed with useless job leads that had nothing to do with my skills, ability or interest. He was still a virgin, unmarried, his biological clock was ticking, and his doting widowed mother, siblings, and clergymen where getting impatient.
The last time I ever spoke to this desperate, dishonest man was just before he died that October. He telephoned me long distance, angrily demanding to know why I hadn't dutifully acted yet on all his supposedly "great ideas". We had a big fight on the phone. I finally had to scream at him that we weren't getting married (he even went so far as to quantum leap to the wrong conclusion that my divorce from a toxic marriage was proof that I really wanted HIM after all). Suddenly the phone went silent. He had been reduced to weeping softly. That he was that willing to force me into living his lie of a loveless lawful "marriage with children" merely to get his family and religion off his back is what still angers me the most. I have since cut ties with his surviving family. I really don't know what I could say to any of them at this point in time after the facts. Among my only comforts from this tale is that such a selfish plot against my will was never actually carried out. Like my leaving an unhealthy marriage, I dodged another bullet.

18

HUNG: Ask yourself why you would ever want to see this POS again.

19

I felt pretty dissatisfied about Dan's response to BEARD's letter (enough to register a comment and comment here for the first time), and it took me some time to put my finger on why it bothered me so much.

BEARD clearly believes her ex is gay, but as far as the information in the letter goes, we have no reason to believe that: it's at least as likely that he's bi. But Dan mentions that possibility as only as a brief aside. And although it can make some kind of sense to be particularly pissed off at an asshole who only realized he was gay after dating you, that kind of logic wouldn't apply to a bisexual guy: he's the exact same asshole he was when he was dating you, and being upset at him for dating a guy now (as opposed to being upset at him being an asshole during your relationship) makes as much sense as being upset at a straight guy when you find out he's dating e.g. a redhead now.

Not addressing that likelihood seems like a form of bi asshole erasure. Bi assholes have a valid identity just as much as straight assholes and gay assholes!

20

Dan the Man and regular commenters who know Griz's life story verbatim, please do forgive me for another lengthy novel in @17. I had a mammogram screening today, and while all went well and it was surprisingly quick and painless this time, BEARD's letter got my back up.
If nothing else, Griz is otherwise doing everything possible to stay healthy, the good weather has returned, and Griz's beloved Love Beetle returns home soon, as well. And I am slowly back to my setting a Stephen King novel to music.

21

Hi, Venn @14!
My take is that BEARD is now angry because her view of this former relationship was instantly revised from "we tried our best but it didn't work out" to "our entire relationship was a lie." I would encourage her to conclude her ex is bi, not gay. This would mean that their relationship was in fact genuine, if fatally flawed, and also explain why he didn't come out even with an accepting environment to come out into. Bi men are sadly at the bottom of the acceptability pile when it comes to queerness; even many gay men and bi women have biases against them. If she sees her ex as bi, their relationship wasn't a lie; he hid something fundamental from her, sure, but he may have feared she was among the 62% of women who wouldn't date a bi man. If her ex is bi, his dating a man now amounts to nothing more than his having moved on, and her hurt and anger need not exceed what an ex would typically feel to learn their former partner is in a new relationship.
Her letter doesn't say this, but if he has publicly announced he is gay, this strategy won't work. So I'd say she needs to feel her anger and express it constructively -- boxing gyms are now open where I live -- and try to convert it to pity for this guy, so that she can move on.

TKINMS(P): Can you be sure you were the only man she was dating during this period? I'm not sure I agree with Dan's advice. If TKINMS were the father and the mother wanted him to know, she'd have said so. Dan has a good point about medical history. This facet clearly didn't enter TKINMS's mind -- his reasons for wanting to know don't seem sufficient to justify asking -- but it is a good point. He may, however, find himself on the hook for child support. Personally I would let this sleeping dog lie.

HUNG: Block the player, improve your self-esteem so you can see red flags better, and don't make your life worse by causing drama with the woman he's two-timing with you. She probably either already knows or won't want to hear it from you, sadly.

22

Fubar @4: +1 to writing the letter but not necessarily sending it.

Ankyl @15, word. She wouldn't have listened to a third party. She'd have deemed that third party bitter or jealous. At any rate this other woman is already involved with Player, so it's too late to warn her in advance.
The unsafe sex thing is a concern, though. If she does contact the girlfriend, she should say she's just been diagnosed with herpes which she caught from unprotected sex with this man. That may wake her up.

Scarmig @19: Welcome, and agreed.

23

BEARD - Maybe this man now identifies as gay. But even that doesn't mean he's never been attracted to women, or wasn't attracted to you while you were having sex. Probably he was always bisexual and didn't tell you. I'm sure it's easier to dismiss him as gay and assume that the relationship problems were all his fault, but that's not going to help your relationship skills or sense of reality, and seems homophobic unless someone told you he's now identifying as gay. As far as his cruel behavior that you described, I'm not sure why you didn't calmly explain that if he needs alone time then he needs to try to be alone in another room or go for a walk or drive or buy his own hotel room, rather than asking you to leave. I'm not sure why you agreed to leave. Hopefully you still try to learn how you can better respond to your difficult relationship moments. I hope you stop labeling your ex as toxic, that sounds like you're still not over him and resentful. How does this sound: you had a bad relationship with a bad match, and know you both made mistakes and you tried to learn from yours because you want a better relationship with a better match.

TKINMS - If she wanted you to know, it seems like she knew how to contact you, but maybe she'd tell the truth if you asked and the kid was your son. Seems harmless to ask, anyway. I don't understand why Dan said that you shouldn't meet or ask to try to be involved if he's your son, until the kid is an adult. That sounds cold and irresponsible to me, I wouldn't like that part of a "is this my kid?" letter addressed to me.

HUNG - Why do you hook up with people if you don't like how they treat you? What is wrong with masturbation until you meet a guy who attracts you AND you can refrain from complaining about him? I don't think you feel guilty obligation towards a woman you met once, or towards the guy you're criticizing, I think you feel guilty because you feel bad about having sex with this man but do it anyway. Sex addicts anonymous?

24

Phi @23, I completely understand why Dan advised TKINMS not to ask to be involved in the kid's life. She made the decision to keep the child. She knows whether TKINMS is, or could be, the father. If she wanted his involvement, she would have reached out to him. He needs to respect that she had her reasons for not involving him, either because she wants to be a single mother, or because she doesn't think he would be a good dad, or because he isn't the dad. Without more than a suspicion based on timing, he has no rights here. And it doesn't sound like what he wants is to help raise a child -- it sounds like his male ego just wants to know whether his sperm did the trick. If he does reach out, he needs to be prepared for the possibility that if the kid is his, he'll be expected to play the role of a father. Is he prepared to do that, it didn't sound that way to me. He also needs to be prepared for the possibility of being told he's the father but that the mother doesn't want him to have any contact or involvement. Does he then want to go to court for shared custody? Sounds like a can with many possible worms in it. Definitely doesn't seem harmless to ask, to me.

25

BEARD, agree with Dan. Write an email or letter and tell him how you feel now and how you felt when you were with him and outline the instances of his nasty behaviour.
And ask him why he didn’t trust you enough to disclose his true orientation with you.
The anger and hurt will subside over time, and you will be wiser and hopefully more assertive in the future.

26

LW2; not sure I agree with Dan here.. past writing and asking if the child could be your son. Don’t pre empt your next move by saying you don’t want to be involved in the child’s life if you are the father.
Don’t fathers have legal rights to see their child.
In the photos, LW 2, do you see any resemblance to you or your family.

27

HUNG, why did you hook up with this man again after he treated you that way, so rudely and dismissively? Forget about warning others and look into your own issues, because he treated you like dirt and you went back for more.

28

Why does this bother you so much?
Because he comes out the victim.

Much as I don't like this fact, there's an advantage in being the victim. People and groups vie for victim status all the time. Illogical as it is, there's this idea that victims can't also be abusers. It's like once you've got enough sympathy on your side, everyone will think you can do no wrong. There's something terrific about wallowing in sympathy, something reassuring about basking in knowing people think you were right, knowing that others are on your side. This is especially important in the wake of a break-up. You need to gather your team around you.

Historically, gay people have been victims. That's changing slowly, but the big picture is that gay people have suffered. Your particular ex may not have suffered at the hands of his own family, but surely he's felt the big societal stigma. Automatic victim status. That runs counter to the narrative you need right now, the one where you're the one who was abused.

I think the reason this bothers you so much is that you had one narrative in your head that ran like this: My poor boyfriend was depressed, but I was doing the right thing by being understanding in the hope that putting up with him was helping. Furthermore, after the break-up, I was the abused one who got the sympathy. Now all that's stood on its head. Now the narrative is that he used you as his beard, got away with it, and every good progressive friend is going to be sympathetic with him. He's over his depression and dating someone he's suited for. You're not dating anyone, and your friends are still going to give him all the sympathy for belonging to a stigamatized group. No wonder you're enraged.

I'm going to give some advice. Figuring out all the ways you were abused is a good first step, but don't stay there. Don't stay stuck in thinking of yourself as the victim in an abusive relationship. Now move on to looking at the ways the two of you were wrong for each other. He wanted one thing (or set of things), and you want another. Set your sights on finding the dedicated relationship you do want, a guy who wants children as you do, a guy who likes the sex you like. He's out there.

And now my curiosity is getting the better of me. That night he demanded you leave your own house. Did you? All that time the sex was mediocre, did you still want commitment and children with him? Break-ups are tough no matter who's right and who's wrong. Engage him some more self-pity for a while. Stay quarantined until you have your vaccine, then go out there and start dating.

29

@9 The self-esteem must be low with that last one.

30

@9. Vivic. Isn't it in the name--'HUNG'?

@15. Ankyl. Yes, of course. The issue here is the lw's self-esteem, that allows her (probably 'her') to persist with a year's worth of non-dating hookups, then have sex with this sleazeball again after having been blocked. Her thinking about alerting the other woman is an indirect way for her to get to grips with her self-esteem issues.

@20. Griz. I didn't know he was a virgin and died of cancer. It was new and interesting to me.

31

Agree CMD @ 11; no need for Dan to throw a curve ball at BEARD, re the night the ex asked her to leave the apartment. Seems unlikely he’d have a man over, because what if she had decided to return suddenly to retrieve her toothbrush or found her courage to kick such a jerk to the curb.

32

Larry @29, I reckon it's both.

33

@21. Bi. Whatever the statistics for the proportion of straight women who will date bi men, she is not to blame for his concealing from her his bi-ness, queerness or gayness. There's no reason to think she intimated anything to this effect while they were together.

The conversations about kids and lifelong commitment do suggest to me he was lining her up as a whole-life cover, as a full-on perpetual beard.

I'm not sure someone clinically depressed turfs a live-in partner out of their own house to host in the middle of the night. Something here doesn't add up for me. Of course, he could have been depressed and hosted, as he purportedly did, at slightly different stages in the evolution of his mental health. The hosting surmise, as CMD says, slaps salt into the wound and isn't helpful.

34

This months column needs to be titled: "Asshole apocalypse".

35

Harriet @33, I wasn't suggesting she was to blame (jeez) or that she did make any biphobic statements while they were together. Simply that the odds were stacked against him. Many, many bi men stay closeted from their female partners for this reason. And many, many bi men marry and raise children with women. Conversations about kids and lifelong commitment don't preclude his being a closeted bisexual.

Recall that my comments here aren't in aid of determining whether the preponderance of evidence suggests gay as opposed to bi. They're in aid of providing BEARD with an easier-to-process explanation for her ex's behaviour that will help her deal with the anger she is feeling. He could be gay or he could be bi, and if presuming bi is less of a slap in the face for her, she should round him down to bi.

36

Harriet @33, I agree entirely that the suggestion of "oh and also, he was cheating on you" doesn't seem kind, even though it may be true.

37

TurbosDad @7, why would the mother contact L2, if her object was his sperm, if he is the father. Some women want to go alone with being a parent, then they don’t have to negotiate with anyone else close in, and get to be the sole decision maker. As she has money, she could be employing help or she has a supportive network of family and friends.
Though it would seem a little heartless of her to continue being fb friends if the LW is the father.

38

Mr. venn@14
"why she thought his being a decade older would make for mediocre sex"

Yes indeed. At least as prevalent is the presumption that practice makes perfect.

Ankylosaurus@15
"what could anyone have said to dissuade you then if you won't dissuade yourself now?"

Yes, that's the craziest part. She herself /lived/ those years and still fucked him "last Sunday."

39

Griz @18 - "HUNG: Ask yourself why you would ever want to see this POS again."

LW's signoff says it all, Griz! Most of us care more about the person attached to the genitalia, their personality and for sex, their skills. But sometimes, it's just about the D! And I'm guessing for HUNG that D comes attached to a raging hot bod w/ rockin' sex skills.

40

TurbosDad @8 curious2 might be a coder with a script that checks for updates and notifies when the new column goes up. Or auto-completes pre-written posts. Or just has some free time in their time zone, around the time the new weekly letter goes up, thus getting firdt! Or be unemployed. Or retired. Or a student with remote classes. Or an uber-AI like Skynet / Colossus. please be kind, curious2, if ur the latter :)

41

Curious @38 re Venn @14, perhaps the sex was mediocre because he had trouble getting erections -- which we non-penis-havers are told is to be expected with advancing age -- and which would support a diagnosis of gay rather than bi. However, this could just as easily be explained by the depression; he may also struggle to get hard with his new boyfriend. Many possibilities here that aren't just ageism on BEARD's part.

42

BDF@41
" trouble getting erections...is to be expected with advancing age"

I'm curious (stating the obvious), are we told it happens much as early as one's late thirties?

(IIRC it was my late fifties before I noticed a decline, and even then it's only in that I can't cum dozens of times every day anymore.)

43

Fichu @ 28
This is a great observation that I think can also be applied beyond personal relationships. Vying for the victim status is often how nations attempt to portray themselves and build narratives in order to justify certain actions and inactions.

It’s not that sinister if any at all in BEARD’s case, she certainly has plenty legitimate reasons to be upset at her ex, but him being gay or bi may change some of the perceptions in her and others’ minds.

44

Curious @42, we are just told "older" and to this woman, he was "older." Timeline wise, she's in her late twenties now and they broke up a year ago after a relationship of unspecified duration. She may have been in just her early twenties when they got together, and a 10-year gap at that age feels significant. If this was her first experience with a guy in his 30s, she may have presumed that was old enough to feel the effects of ageing. I'm not arguing she was right to presume this, just attempting to explain why she may have.

45

So I’m super old. Dan is a younger guy in my eyes. But in the wayback time pregnancies were allowed to go much further past “due date”l.”Both my sibling and I were 10 month babies (especially me as I was conceived “out of wedlock” as was the phrase of the day so my mom knew when the zygote was enabled.) With today’s science he’s probably not dad but still could be.

46

delta35 @39 I believe you are correct. I have one lover atm, and that's because, while we don't see each other a lot, he is legendary.

47

Dan- sorry, but I still can’t get over your rush to tell BEARD that the reason her bf wanted her to leave that night was because he wanted to host. I understand the entertainment value of SL which was and still is part of the charm, but such statement does not change the situation at hand, will only elevate the pain of someone who seems to be seriously hurting already, and may not even be true.

I think that generally you’re doing great and was always quick to adopt over the years. And yet it reminds me the early SL years when a then-novelty openly gay man sex adviser columnist was viewed as the identifying authority and as such told plenty worried women that any slight deviation they may have observed should entail telling their men to “join the local men’s chorus.”
It may have been entertaining to some, but it also elevated anxieties for others, enhanced stigmas, denied any nuances, and possibly not accurate in the first place.

48

Really don't like that advice to LW2. If he's the dad, yeah he has a damn right to know and even be involved in this kid's life.

If it was my kid, I'd be freaking pissed. And I'd want to be involved. Big time.

49

I understand that we are always operating from the perspective of the LW who is biased. But the first letter to me read as weirdly pathetic, I guess. The guy does sound like he might be an asshole, but we know for sure he was going thru a mental health crisis (middle aged men are the highest at risk for suicide in the US). Now, having dealt w severe mental health issues as many of us have, as both partner and the one dealing, here she made a choice: go through this with him or not. Rationality is not the strong suit of the mentally ill. Now she has to live with the fact that she chose to stay and things still didn't work. But as many have said before, we forgive other people not for us, but for ourselves. If she's gonna get it all out in a letter, go for it, they could both learn from it. She should be seeking closure and moving on however she can. If you take out the bad identity politics and Dan's shitty closet-shaming, this isn't much worse than any other letter. Anyone who has dealt w real, tough mental health problems in friends or family knows that.

Whether he is gay or bi or whether he owed that to LW is beside the point. Move on. He has. It didn't work out. Let go of the anger.

Sorry this was so poorly worded. The response to this letter just seemed so hyped up on nothingness. As others have said in the responses, to say that he for sure was hosting is just complete hyperbole on Dan's part. Dan tends to believe all men who have sex with men function exactly the same. That could not be further from the truth. I hope she takes this all with a grain of salt.

To in the same breath accuse him of not disclosing his issues confronting his sexuality, and say he used her, and cheated on her... we have almost no context to say any of that is true. This is the number one Old Dude take I've seen from Dan in a while. I think we can do better.

50

@35. Bi. I agree with you that the way for the lw to think about her now-over relationship is--for instance--'it faced some insuperable obstacles e.g. the sex wasn't great; he was depressed; I always saw him as older and slightly subpar (this is NOT explicitly stated but it's conceivable); there were things that he was unable to tell me--e.g. his bisexuality--which meant that everything wasn't on the table when we were considering our future and thinking whether we could overcome our problems'. It isn't 'it was a lie; it was a facade; he used me'. I'm sure (or at least hope) that she would accept that there were things that were suboptimal about the relationship that didn't at bottom derive from his bisexuality (or gayness). That is, they were a matter of mismatches between them, or of her attitudes, as well.

It's not the main thing to say about the current case, but the idea that bi-skewing-to-gay guys, or homoflexible guys, aren't potentially great lovers of women is a (homophobic) misconception.

If she wants to think of herself as the casualty of his 'shame', fine--'fine' in the short term. But she's not a long-term casualty. She's in her late 20s, not her late 40s. This is in part a learning experience for her. Does she want a nesting relationship and kids? What are her criteria for the guy? Do they have to do with the sex they're having, with his mental health--and with what else?

With the 'am I the Daddy?' guy, I wouldn't think it reflects that well on him that he wants to put the question to his FB friend and former lover now. There is no suggestion that there was a break in his contact (a remote, thin contact over social media) with the woman. He seems to have waited with his question 1) until an age when there's no wiping of botties, sleepless nights, potty training, extinction of social life, and so on; 2) until such a time when he has more dates (calendrical) and it seems unlikely that he's the biological father. Let's suppose it came entirely out of the blue to him that a pleasant person, but not an earth-shaking life-match, he had sex with had a child ten and a bit months after their encounter. Why did he not write to the woman at once? Just saying something like he didn't know she wanted a child? Or expressing his congratulations and saying something complimentary about the baby?--this is not a context where subtlety could be misunderstood...? It seems to me that he hasn't wanted to be on the hook for money, time or commitment (to the child) until these things were easier. It could be that he inferred, correctly, as it seems, that the woman was independently well-off and had no desire to tap him for money; but this should not have stopped him asking about the child's paternity as soon as he was aware of the boy's existence.

51

I'm really concerned about the failure to respect reproductive rights with respect LW #2. Both partners in a sexual encounter that lead to a child have an EQUAL right to be parents after birth. If this woman wanted to be a single parent, there are sperm banks.

That being said, if the kid was born 10+ months after the LW writer was with the woman don't bother. It ain't your kid.

52

@24. Bi. If she wanted the sperm and nothing but the sperm--say, for instance, she wanted to raise the boy by herself or with her parents only and actually feared his involvement--she would have blocked him on social media. It's either a coincidence of dates, or she's isn't finally fussed about his decision but she's leaving the window a fraction open.

I agree he isn't itching to be a hands-on father. Finding out he's the sperm-gun, the sperm-monkey, the super-fertile-spermy guy ('the man') seems a very big part of his motivation. I'd say to him, ask nothing pointed, but make occasional comments over FB about school plays or birthday parties, what have you, as well as anything else she posts or commemorates.

53

Just wanted to amend my comment real quick and say, Dan's obsession w capital G Gayness in men is a weird archaic thing. As a man who has identified as Gay all his life who is realizing I may be Bi, or at least greatly curious, in my 30s, it drives me wild that he perpetuates ideas of static sexuality in men. So many men I know my age have some amount of sexual curiosity or fluidity. Let people live. Your cultural notions of gayness from 1994 are restraining as hell. And beyond that, they create toxic headspaces for women who love men. Like this poor woman slamming on the keyboard "He has none of your reasons for staying closeted Dan!!"

Sometimes people go through things and they don't know how to communicate it properly. The white-knuckled attitude won't help. The sooner we realize that the better.

Peace and love

54

@51. gomer. Sure, she burnt his condoms and lied about her IUD. There was lots about that in his letter. I'm being ironic. He's asking--most probably--because he had heedless or selfish unprotected sex. If the woman was on 'Mommy's sperm safari', she has made this good to the guy, to the biodaddy, by not making any request for cash or help. The person to whom she will eventually owe an explanation is the child.

55

BiDanFan @24: It's entirely possible for a man to want be there for his accidental biological children without it being about "male ego". Some men are decent men who want to do the right thing.

I disagree with Dan's calculation that it's unlikely that TKINMSP was the source of the sperm. If the baby was born on 1 May 2014, then a normal 40-week gestation would have started on 25 July 2013. And as Dan said, it's possible the baby was late. It's not uncommon.

Dan's perspective and advice about what to offer is bang on, especially the fact that the child is not property. TKINMSP should check his motives, and act accordingly.

56

Your honor, I submit Exhibit #41,994 that the average woman finds bi men disgusting. Don't wonder why he wasn't out to you - you clearly have a problem with it! "Progressive" only counts in actions, you can't slap on the label and call yourself a progressive.

Anywho, be mad at him for how he treated you - not because he's not 100% straight. That this isn't obvious to you belies your self-conception.

TKINMSP: Not everyone is born on a strict 40-week timetable. You should ask if you're curious. If she says no, well, I think the momentary awkwardness is worth avoiding decades of uncertainty. You should plan on what to do if the answer is Yes, however. And of course, the kid may want to know who his father is as well, apart from his mother's wishes, so you may get a postcard in a few years regardless.

HUNG: Be responsible for your own actions. It seems like this guy is a massive douche who you would be well-advised to stay away from - but if you can't do that for yourself, don't expect someone else to do it for you. Don't rely on this guy going to therapy and fixing himself - go to therapy yourself and figure out what you're looking for. If you just wanna fuck a hung mimbo stud, well, that's OK - but be comfortable in your desire. Get to the point where you know what you want and stop accepting 2nd (or in this case, 5th or 6th) best.

57

I disagree regarding LW who thinks he might a father. First, a woman doesn't have the right to have a child and make the unilateral decision that the father shouldn't be involved. Once the child is born, the father has the same rights as the mother. Second, unless the LW both wants and is prepared to be a father, he should not contact the woman. Only contact her if he wants to step up.

58

Yikes, what a particularly painful and cringey set of letters this week!

HUNG - Omfg. Read your letter, read it slowly, then read it again. What's more painful than how she's repeatedly hooked up with this scumbag and made herself available to him in other ways, is the seething, red-hot irrational jealousy bubbling up in the subtext. HUNG doesn't even know for sure that Mr. Himbo (I'm dying over this term, I freaking love it) HAS a gf, just that his apartment has "mysteriously improved." Not only is she leaping to the conclusion that he has a gf, but she's already convinced herself that it's the dreaded Girl From The Snowstorm (GFTS). And that she now feels some sense of duty to warn GFTS about what a scoundrel Mr. Himbo is (bc she fucked him yet again and is feeling like a schmuck). She's seriously considering "reaching out" to a woman she doesn't know, who she awkwardly gave a ride in a snowstorm a year ago that one time, who may not even be dating/seeing Mr. Himbo.... this is peak irrational jealous behavior right here. Over a lying, scumbag player. The mind boggles. Maybe part of HANG wants to warn some past version of herself about what a scoundrel this guy is, but frankly it reads more like she's trying to sabotage a relationship that may or may not exist between Mr. Himbo and GFTS.

By the way, I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I remember that snowstorm. And out here in the PNW the infrastructure is utterly unprepared to deal with winter weather. So unless HUNG had already shovelled her driveway, and had an SUV with four-wheel drive already prepped with chains, she went * well * out of her way to give a casual hookup a ride. HANG needs to ask herself why she made herself so endlessly available to this guy who clearly never took her seriously at any point in their arrangement. Therapy and losing all ways to contact this guy yesterday.

59

Nos. 9 and 29. Maybe Explosive Sex and Low Self-Esteem go hand-in-hand. In any event, HUNG will need an intervention in a few months (probably the euphoria of post-pandemic release fares). Let’s all be there for her.

BEARD’s suggestion that a 30-something is too old to get the job done hurts me to my core. Even if there were a plumbing problem, by my 40s I’d learned and forgotten enough to get the job done without even taking my dick out of my pocket.

60

Steeeeverino @59 "without even taking my dick out of my pocket" that is one interesting metaphor! I'm thinking you might be (a) a transman with a packer, in a hurry, rushed out the door and grabbed the packer and put it in his pocket; or (b) a man of Jonah Falcon proportions, whose flaccid penis is large enough to go out the fly and into his pocket? Or is pocket a regional euphemism for fly / zipper?

61

That’s a bit extreme, Endless _ Ork @56, saying the average women is disgusted by bi men. And I don’t think LW1 is showing disgust, when she says she is angry. Her take, like Dan’s, is that he is gay and her anger stems from believing he used her as a cover. It doesn’t necessarily follow that she’s disgusted by bi men.

62

eeeeee @49 & 52; yes, re your observations, though ‘Old Dude Dan’ is a little harsh. My youngest son in his early twenties tells me he believes many/ most people are sexually fluid, not just men, and labels are restrictive anyway. That he and his friends, men/ women/ other , have no issue with this fluidity.

63

The lesson here:
best way to get back at your stuck-up, ex-girlfriend is to start humping men. It will destroy her psyche completely.

64

CMD @47, agree. Speaking of when to not tell about (someone else's) cheating...

Twi @48, but TKINMS doesn't want to be involved. Big time, medium time, or little time. He's merely curious. If he were that keen to be a father he wouldn't have waited nearly seven years to think about asking.

eeeee @49, good point as well. For whatever reason, this guy didn't feel that he could be open about his attraction to men. (Which also points to bi rather than gay -- only bi people can choose to remain comfortably closeted while dating the opposite sex which is easier and does not require them to fake passion.) Dan has jumped to a few conclusions here which are not just unkind but potentially inaccurate, by putting himself in Ex's shoes and finding those shoes wanting.

Harriet @50, I too took a dim view of his reaching out to ask now that the tasks of parenthood are orders of magnitude easier. An infant? No asking "is he mine." A playful, self-contained seven-year-old that he can coach at Little League? My first question, were I the mother, would be, "Where were you when there were diapers that needed changing?"

Gomer @51, she is the one who did all the hard work. I agree though, ethically, she should have told him she was pregnant and given him the opportunity to participate in the parenting. Unless she had reason to believe he would be an abusive parent. Or she couldn't say who the father was -- but she could have given any potential dad the opportunity to take a paternity test. Perhaps during their stint together TKINMS mentioned that he didn't want kids. I'm going with her body, her choice here -- any rights fathers may have are not equal unless they're the ones giving birth.

Harriet @52, she MIGHT have blocked him on social media. Or she might, as mentioned, have had a conversation during the time they were dating where he said he didn't want kids. If this were the case, and she later found herself pregnant, she would have nothing to "fear" vis-a-vis his potentially horning in on the child-raising. Or she was happy to be a single mother but wouldn't have rejected an overture, if he'd made one, which he didn't. Or a lot of other "ors," the most likely of which is indeed he's not the father.

eeeee @53, thanks for your perspective.

Harriet @54, agree. If he wanted equal -- or any -- parental rights they should have talked about that prior to unprotected sex.

Fubar @55, hello? I wasn't talking about all men, I was talking about this one. His only motivation seems to be idle curiosity, at most. I was responding to the letter, not jumping to stereotypes. You should know me better than that.

Ork @56, where do you get "disgusting" from? Particularly if she picked her signoff, BEARD is not a woman who is "disgusted" to learn her ex is bi; she's a woman who feels used and deceived upon learning her ex is gay. Anyone would have a problem with that! (Unless of course Dan read the letter wrong and picked the sign-off and she is, in fact, angry to learn that he's bi, in which case, I would call her anything but average.)

Mrs Fox @58 gets the gold star for advice to HUNG.

65

"Fast forward to now. I find out he’s been dating a man. I can barely cope with the anger I feel about this."

Need I say more?

66

M?? Harriet - While there's a similar point to the way atheists tend to know the Bible better than believers, Thank you for your valuable contribution about the it's less homophobic than the idea that Kinsey5-and-ups are superiour lovers of women "because they all desperately want to be straight".
xxx
Ms Fan - Thank you for your valuable contributions about the B closet. I'm content with saying LW1's just furious her ex is dating a man. I doubt his Kinsey score has much relevance to her. As for her reasons - "progressive" friends aren't necessarily better company for gays; they're often more patronizing or condescending than conservatives, and new progressives are likely to find gay a bit of a dinosaur label. I'm not even sure she wouldn't be just as angry if he were dating a woman. I'm getting a faint vibration that this is like those letters in which a LW wanted children but one's partner didn't, and then right after the breakup the partner took up with someone else and there was an immediate pregnancy.
xxx
Ms Phile - true, even if he has taken up a G label, it's not conclusive proof that there was never any chance for the relationship. There seems enough of that elsewhere anyway.
xxx
Ms Fichu - You seem plausibly quite close to having captured LW1's state of mind.Perhaps it would cheer her up a bit to point out that her thinking is a few years behind the times. Gay is the new straight.
xxx
Mr eeeeee - On the podcast, Mr Savage has expressed the view that those of us whose sexuality has never flowed are the inferiour ones. Congratulations for having switched to the winning team.

67

@39 delta35 and @46 Creepella: Yes, but HUNG routinely treats the LW like shit as she says in her letter, whether he has a red hot body and a Maximum Overdrive Dick or not. That was my point. If I spent a wild night of hot, reckless sexual abandon with Brad Pitt and he treated me like shit from the next morning onward, I'd say see ya, Mr. MOD BOD. And Brad would still have six kids to go home to, with or without lil ole plainjane Griz to spit on.

@30 Harriet_by_the_Bulrushes: He actually died of heart failure and natural causes, not of cancer, and thankfully in his sleep. I need to rephrase what I wrote initially in comment @17. I don't really know, can't, and don't want to have to actually prove at this late date that he was a virgin. He never spoke openly to me about sex. We never had sex. However, over a span of two decades since our late teens he had developed an increasingly creepy fixation on bending, molding and changing me into his ideal, like forcing a square peg into a round hole--as if trying to play Mr. Fix-it and "save" me.

68

@67: Correction: Make that: "....and Brad would still have six kids to go home to, without lil ole plainjane Griz to spit on."

The typos do seem to become more glaring when Griz's back is up and still has yet to consume any red, red wine.

And this week's Lucky @69 Award winner IS...........

69

f_m_f @ 58
I find myself in a masculine place while discussing cars, I always found vintage lingerie to be so much more exciting, yet when it comes to a 2.5” max Savageville-area snow drive much of it depends on where both resided at the time as well as their proximity to major streets and freeways.

A small 4x4 like Subaru and other makers can often do the job sufficiently without any chains. Performance is key regardless of size.

70

Oooooh, speaking of performance....

71

Note that a 40-week pregnancy is counted from the last menstrual period (LMP), so includes two weeks of non-pregnant time from the start of the period to ovulation. It’s actually only 38 weeks from ovulation but we don’t count days from ovulation because we usually don’t know when that is. We do know what the date of the LMP was, hence the convention to use that for the starting date.

If they last had intercourse on July 31 and she was ovulating then and conceived, 38 weeks later is April 23. The baby only needs to be 8 days late to be born May 1, and today’s obstetricians are usually fine with that if the pregnancy is otherwise going well.

72

@69 CMDwannabe: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's decadent Lucky @69 Award honors! Savor the highly envied coveted glory and bask in your luscious good fortune. :)
and
@69 CMDwannabe: It is interesting to note re snow vehicles, that my VW SuperBeetle convertible got me through a nasty blizzard back in 1985--without a dent nor a scratch. I was a nervous wreck, however, once we got safely home. I vowed from then on to spare my beloved, then newly acquired car (that had initially belonged to my mother) from the possibility of becoming someone else's hood ornament in inclement weather conditions. So my beloved VW and I are indeed, much happier as dedicated beach bums instead, despite my father's teasing me about having the family snow car. We're fine with letting the avid skiers and snowboarders go to the slopes. :)

73

Ork @65, one thing we agree on is that you never need say more.

Venn @66, I've found bisexual men are better lovers but that's not because they want to be straight. It's because they have a broader view of what constitutes sex than straight men do, having had sex that cannot possibly default to the penis-in-vagina-is-sex-everything-else-is-(optional)-"foreplay" attitude many straight men have.

"I'm not even sure she wouldn't be just as angry if he were dating a woman." That's a thing, yes, but I'm sure she wouldn't be just as angry if he were dating a new woman because she states, "I find out he’s been dating a man. I can barely cope with the anger I feel about this. I feel like a casualty of his shame. We have progressive friends! His sister has dated women! His parents are accepting! None of the reasons you list as appropriate ones for staying closeted apply to him, Dan!" Look at those exclamation points; she's angry that he hid his attraction to men. Would she have found a reason to be just as angry if he were dating a woman, say, with different physical attributes to hers? Perhaps, but her issue with the current situation is his sexual orientation. Which indeed we don't know whether she's presuming is gay or bi, but she did write to a famously gay columnist for guidance. Perhaps we'll get lucky again this week and BEARD will write in so that we can give her a biphobia quiz. (Perhaps we can also ask her whether she regularly experiences anger issues and might want to work on those.)

Griz @67, yes, but that's because you have respect for yourself, which HUNG clearly lacks. I bet she is also young; these are lessons young people learn the hard way, and I hope she has finally passed the quiz of whether one should (continue to) bang selfish cheaters with big dicks. I certainly learned the, ahem, hard way myself.

CMD @69, congrats on the lucky number!

74

Harriet @52, thinking further about your theory. If she did know the child was his and she "feared" his involvement, wouldn't blocking him on social media be a great way to set off alarm bells? If the kid -wasn't- his, she'd have no reason to block him, as it would have nothing to do with him. By contrast, blocking him would send a signal, "I don't want you in YOUR kid's life," which might have spurred a man to approach the court for custody. (Even if he didn't want this before, he might be pissed off enough at being blocked to seek it.) By contrast, her actual approach of "just act normal" has worked well for seven years.

75

@53. eeeee. I don't think Dan holds those views. Further, I'm sympathetic to the idea (similar to venn's views) that there will naturally be some resistance to presumptions of sexual fluidity in persecuted, discriminated-against and minoritised groups, e.g. gay men. Saying to a lesbian, say, 'well, we're all a little sexually fluid' can easily be the contemporary version for supposedly more enlightened people of 'it's just an adolescent pash', 'it's just a stage people go through'.

I'm also sympathetic to someone who says, e.g., 'in terms of attraction, I feel stirrings for people of many gender identities; but in terms of dating, I'm most comfortable with the routines or mores of a gay male (or lesbian) culture, and I don't think we should be politically erased, so that's what I'll stick to'.

I'm saying this as a femme-appearing male, or bigendered person, who only began to act on my bisexuality in my 30s. As it happens, I am/was just so habituated to a gay male culture and pattern of interaction (including open relationships and monogamishness) that I haven't ever wanted, or had, a monogamous sexual relationship with a ciswoman (although I've aspired to approximate to a ciswoman in a monogamous relationship--but that's a whole other story). Part of the reasons for my not dating ciswomen have been personal, but I have been moved by a political motivation not to have my identity collapse into that of cismen (which would feel wrong to me, as if I were throwing in my lot with 'toxic masculinity'). Anyways--and at all events, I'd encourage you to explore your bisexuality, as my life got a whole lot better when I gave myself permission actually to go out and do what I always wanted to do (more grouping and certain kinks than heterosex per se).

76

Ms Fan - Those who are skilled at displacement can often rattle off a laundry list of why they're angry about A when they're really angry about B. And his orientation offers her a top-drawer reason for her anger - such eloquence that perhaps nobody will notice that she might just want to kick herself for (going by the illustration) how many times she thought she was really going to be allowed to kick the football. I'm becoming almost inclined to give her a Gertrude Award (for anyone new since the last one, for Protesting Too Much). Or then again, perhaps not. It's quite possible that I just disliked her leading with their Progressive Friends.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I'm not at all sure that New Man 1 has gotten anything at all like a Good Deal.

77

@56. Endless_Ork. She is angry at the deception, at being kept in the dark, and feels she was set up to fail, with her ex not being able to be open about his gayness or bisexuality. These are legitimate feelings. BEARD may have gone too far, though, in attributing all the problems there were in the relationship to this source.

@57. Dinmem. I'm not sure whether 'rights' is the appropriate language here ... but, running with the term, hasn't he already forfeited some of his paternal rights by not texting/picking up the phone the moment he found out that she had a child within <10 1/2 months of sleeping with him?

@61. Lava. Quite right.

@64. Bi. Yes. Diaper-daddy is an actual daddy--a dadddy-daddy, to use the language of this board--and, whatever the accidents and necessities of nature, sperm-daddy, if only that, ain't no daddy at all.

Some of the sub-MRA responses to this question have surprised me. Without knowing whether every one of the people saying that the lw has rights, is entitled to have the chance to be a parent, etc., is a cisman, or a spermatic man for the purposes of reproduction, I'd ask why as contributors to a liberal forum they are deferring to male entitlement....

Your suggestion about the distant FB contact keeping him at a distance is plausible. Other than ... he knows about the child, and has always known about him, and wouldn't (perhaps) if she had unfriended him. We would get a better read on her openness to any overture on his part if we knew whether they had sufficient mutual friends, contacts, etc. to mean he would likely find out about the child without seeing her FB pages. I was more under the impression they hooked up once, or very few times, rather than being in a brief relationship.

She has definitely thought about what to tell her son re his parentage. You can tell a 7yo he happens not to have a daddy, like some other kids, but is around many people who love him and will care for him--you need another answer for a 13yo. If he is the father (or even might be), she will be prepared for any step he might take. A very fair price for any relationship, however distant, with his child will be financial contributions. The lw should think what he's prepared to do, and how he's prepared for his life to change. Most probably it won't--though there is conceivably scope for a large and happy change in his life, given he's always be on amicable terms with his former lover.

78

Harriet @77: "I was more under the impression they hooked up once, or very few times, rather than being in a brief relationship."
TKINMS says: "I saw a woman for a few months and then we parted ways." Sounds like a brief relationship to me.

"She has definitely thought about what to tell her son re his parentage." Good point -- if she hasn't thought about this, she really needs to. He will be asking, if he hasn't already. Framing this as what's best for the child, I revise my opinion that TKINMS should stay out of it and agree with Dan that he could sent a one-off note stating that he's done the math and it seems a possibility that he's the father, and that, if so, he would be OK with her telling her son this and introducing them. And that he's willing to provide any medical information they may need to ensure his health care is optimised. Indeed, you're correct that this will open the door to potential visits and child support (even if she is "independently wealthy"). He didn't seem keen on any of that to me, which is why I advised he leave any ball in her court.

#

Picking up an earlier thread of mine, namely why BEARD would have thought mediocre sex a reasonable expectation for a mid-30s man, we are told that men reach their sexual peak at age 18 while women don't do so until 35. From the perspective of a mid-20s woman, a man in his mid 30s has been on the decline for nearly two decades. It makes sense that (a) she'd assume mediocrity was normal and (b) that she wouldn't have had any experiences with men older than this to prove her assumption wrong.

79

@67. Griz. I got heart disease and cancer confused--sorry. Somebody who has never had sex with someone they want to marry probably isn't marrying for the sex. There may be pronounced religious conservatives who are marrying (out of a state of virginity) precisely for the sex--but I don't know how many of those there are left.... I don't think Catholics are like that. I was raised Roman Catholic; I think you learn very early on that you sin and ask for absolution....

@66. venn. I do not know how many of the best 'power tops' I had sex with were Kinsey 6s. It's possible that some weren't, and that they were just presenting as very masc as part of their get-up for being super-potent. It's also possible that they were only ordinarily proficient or skilled tops, and that I was inexperienced, and had been topped clumsily a lot in my early sex life, and thought they were much better fucks than they were.

I'd say now that I'm not sure it's helpful to generalise about whether bisexual people are better lovers.

80

@78. Bi. OK. They had a months-long relationship. Did they not have any discussion of whether either of them wanted children during that relationship? It's either 'no'; the lw has forgotten about it (though it may not be the kind of thing your forget), or he has omitted to tell us because the answer isn't convenient to him.

One possibility is that the lw is writing in because his conscience is biting him (that is, it isn't just about was he so potent as to impregnate an ex). He's now in his 40s. It's less likely than it was that he has a lifestyle where a child majorly cramps what he wants to do in his free time. His friends will be in their 40s, too, probably; many will have settled. Maybe he can spare the 25% of his disposable income and 25% of his disposable free time that he begrudged, or would have just selfishly held onto, aged around 34? Does he have children himself? This was another, possibly significant lacuna in the letter. Does he want children? Is his current partner, for instance, open to him having fathered a child? (Of course, he cannot magically step in as the fully-fledged and all-hands-to-the-pump father of a child with a woman he is barely in touch with, having missed the first seven years). But if he wants a relationship with the child, if his, he should go ahead and find out from his ex how she conceived.

81

BiDanFan @73 "I've found bisexual men are better lovers but that's not because they want to be straight. It's because they have a broader view of what constitutes sex than straight men do..."

I hope so! I wonder if it's even more true of us out bi guys (bi or bi+ identity) who've also had BFs and MM relationships, so it's not just sex we're better at? I know getting D is sometimes welcome sometimes not. The "what do you like" convo at almost every hookup. The "what do you want to do tonight?" convo in a relationship. HIV/safety convos - so pre-sex conception prevention is also a natural convo. I've had drunk guys violate consent and know how that feels.

Convos like this common in MM but in MF seems to still not the norm?

On the other hand, I've met behaviorally bi guys who are not out in terms of identity, and they seem pretty homophobic, biphobic, and misogynist, a really different population. Of course there are messed up people everywhere so YMMV.

82

BEARD, perhaps stop for a second and generate some empathy for this man, because as you said he suffered from depression, which you were overwhelmed by. You also said you were over him until you found out he was now with a man. From there you assumed he is gay and that he used you to cover his true orientation, which Dan has reinforced as the possible scenario.
Yet neither you, Dan or any of us here on the board, know what the truth is... he may be gay and has only recently accepted this himself or he may be bi. He may have really wanted to be straight, and was lying to himself as well as you.
Look into your anger and try to see why you feel this way rather than relieved you dodged a bullet because he, at the age of forty, still didn’t live his life honestly, or didn’t know what his truth was when he was with you.
Your attitude to why the sex was mediocre, his age, which is absurd as he’s still young, leaves you out of the equation of why it was mediocre.
I think you could reach out to him, with care rather than anger because you don’t know his reality now and you are defining the story only in relation to yourself.
Mental illness has become a monster problem for western culture, and his behaviour towards you when together sounds like he was very unwell in his mind.

83

M?? Harriet - Much of the young crowd advancing Universal Fluidity has been apparently aiming it at straight people to try to create some sort of common feeling. But it makes me think of a game of chess in which one appears to be attacking on the queenside of the board but one's pieces are also lining up so that if one or two pawns are removed there could be a surprise checkmate - they are preparing to invalidate at least the G at some point in the future and maybe the L as well.

You state that you did what you always wanted to do, which leads me to wonder how the concepts of bi and fluidity will settle with each other in the long run. According to the definition Mr Savage keeps citing, the B is eternal - touch it once, and there's no going back. But fluidity would seem to aim for being able to enter or leave anywhere. It's like the debate over whether the Cheshire Cat could be beheaded by order of the King of Hearts when all but its head had disappeared.

84

Harriet @79: I certainly hope anyone having unprotected PIV sex would have had a conversation about what would happen if pregnancy were to result, but it seems many do not. (Even people having protected PIV sex should have this conversation, as condoms are not 100% effective.) As for whether future kids would come up in a relationship of just a few months, unsure. That's a conversation I definitely would have had, based on my own strong feelings on the matter, but I can't presume everyone who engages in acts of procreative sex would do so.

"I'd say now that I'm not sure it's helpful to generalise about whether bisexual people are better lovers." But it winds up misogynist biphobes like Endless Orklandia so it's definitely worth doing. ;)

Delta @81, it's definitely not a stretch to conclude that out bi guys -- that out queer people, and poly people -- have better communication skills around sex than heterosexuals who can function entirely on assumptions. It's not a good way to function, but many seem to rely on it. And it's certainly not a stretch to think that anyone who has come out as anything is better at communication than those who have not -- and that people who are out cherish and respect themselves more than the closeted, and are therefore more capable of cherishing and respecting their partners.

85

LW2: seven long years later you now think to find out the truth. Why now when you’ve wondered since you learnt she was pregnant, if you were the father. Is this an academic interest only, or would you want involvement if he is your boy.
HUNG, you by far are the most intriguing LW this week because your story reeks of such poor self image. Is it because he is a great lover that all self respect flies out the window when he calls. Or do let men treat you like this on the regular?

86

CMD @69 - yes, usually the comically ubiquitous Subarus Forester and Outback of the PNW can handle a dusting of snow if we happen to get it. I'm saying that year the snow was particularly bad (we got nearly 7 inches overnight where I live), and people were urged not to drive unless strictly necessary. I missed about 4 days of work that week and I wouldn't have given a close friend a ride during that storm, much less a lying fuckboi who'd already potentially exposed me to STIs.

Also CMD - there's a group of gentlemen who gather in the parking lot next to my building with their vintage cars, every Friday in the summertime. Your mention of vintage lingerie gave me a mental image of these guys getting together in vintage lingerie with their vintage vehicles, and I feel like there's a really missed opportunity here.

87

LWs 1 and 2 both reminded me of the quote by motivational speaker Tony Gaskins: "You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce."

88

BiDanFan @64: Ah... apologies. I found TKINMS' letter so bereft of intent that I assumed you were generalizing. I can see, absent any explicit motive (which is a strange omission; hopefully the result of editing), that idle curiosity seems to be the default. If that is indeed his purpose, he should move right along.

It briefly occurred to me, when reading the letter the first time, that TKINMS has been seeing pictures of the child on FB for some time. It's not that difficult to estimate the age of a child, and if he had indeed been having unprotected sex (or assumed protected sex) with the mother, his possible parentage ought to have crossed his mind earlier; at least enough to motivate him to ask about the child's age.

89

Harriet @77: TKINMSP said "I saw a woman for a few months" so I'd guess they hooked up more than once or twice, but clearly it was not a significant relationship for him.

I'm not sure that the MRA-leaning commenters are are deferring to male entitlement. Some men are inclined to want to parent their progeny. They're certainly obliged to provide financial support for the result of every errant sperm (and LW seems naively dismissive of that; how is that even a factor in his thinking?), and the right to be listed on a birth certificate is the quid pro quo.

To be clear, I'm not advocating for "men's rights" in this context. It's the woman's choice to continue a pregnancy, but once born, the child's rights trump everything. I have a nephew whose father was absent, and as a young boy, that absence hurt him deeply. If the LW is the father, he should have been told, and should have stepped up... assuming of course that he lacks any undisclosed disqualifying characteristics.

90

Granted we can never know for certain, but I thought Dan's conclusion that BEARD's ex was hosting was brilliant. It's the sort of insight I read this column for. I wouldn't have put that together myself.

On to the question of whether BEARD should tell him how hurt and angry she is. Maybe. The way I figure it, sometimes people blithely hurt other people. They're so wrapped up in themselves they don't have a sense of their effect. Maybe there's another reason they're unaware of their effect, but either way, if you let them know, there's the chance they can feel some guilt, learn and grow and become better people. If not, laying on some well deserved guilt can balance the equation. He made you feel bad with cruel treatment. You make him feel bad with some guilt. That in itself can make you feel better.

On the other hand, there are bullies out there. They just love hurting people because they can. Who the hell knows why they do it. Maybe they feed off the drama. Maybe they get off on it. Those folks would hang on to a "here's how you hurt me" letter as a badge of honor. If the victim dusts herself up too well, they feel like they haven't done a good enough job. If she wails and cries and writes letters, then she's made their day.

43-CMDwannabe-- Yep, now that I've latched on the theory of the faultless victim, I'm seeing it everywhere. I do see it with nations whose victim status in one war is turned to a justification that they can't be aggressors in another. I see it in the domestic abuse survivor, the woman who was getting beaten up by a boyfriend who should be in jail. She certainly didn't do anything to deserve getting punched, but then somehow no one suspects her of embezzling funds from her employer. With my own relatives, one guy has a severely handicapped son he's been wonderful to. We're talking about above and beyond devotion to a kid who will never do anything much more than drool. Somehow everyone looked the other way when he cheated on his wife with her best friend and confidant the whole time they were in marriage counseling together.

66-Mr. Venn-- Yes, you're right. In addition to everything else BEARD has been through, she's now also thinking of herself as old fashioned, stale, unhip. Dan has pointed it out before, but it bears repeating. Vanilla is not better than anything else. It's not morally superior or any other sort of superior, but neither is it less than. There's no shame in wanting good straight vanilla monogamous sex and a family.

91

BDF@84
IIRC, the 'women are disgusted by bi men' thing has been SporKlandia's position for an Endlessly long time. From the energy he has invested in this position, I bet this biphobe is a self-loathing-biphobe.

92

Okay, so I've read and re-read BEARD's letter. One bit of context I'd love to see cleared up is how long her BF was treating her like shit as described in the letter. On my initial read I interpreted it as that being his behavior the whole time, but subsequent re-readings have me thinking that this terrible behavior manifested after they started talking marriage and kids (incidentally when his moderate depression ratcheted up many notches). Assuming the latter is the case, then I think it could be surmised that her BF got cold feet, or started thinking long and hard about his attraction to men, or at the very least he started seriously questioning his future with BEARD. And rather than be open about that, he turns into a miserable, hurtful POS until his GF's self-esteem is trashed and she leaves him.

BEARD claims she didn't think much about her BF or their time together (until OMG, what if he's gay?!), but I have a hard time believing that. Maybe she stuffed her feelings without adequately taking the time to decompress and process the damage this relationship had on her. I don't know if she ever had the chance to tell her ex how he made her feel. I think she should be afforded some amount of grace for feeling shocked about finding out this man she spent so much time with was hiding such a huge part of himself from her. She has every right to feel angry about that. But she does need to let this "casualty of his shame" nonsense go, and she absolutely should not accuse her ex of anything other than the fact that he treated her unfairly and shittily.

As long as there's no legit reason to fear contacting this guy (including being a sadistic bully as Fichu describes @90), and as long as BEARD can check some of these leaps to conclusions (Dan, whyyyy would you put in her head that he threw her out of her own house for some D?!?!), I think she should reach out. I think it's fair for her to let this guy know, "hey, I know you were really depressed and now I know you may have been struggling with your own sense of identity, but you treated me very badly in our relationship and here's the effect it has had on me." As others have suggested, he may have zero idea how awful he was to BEARD, and he may be able to offer her some closure. He may have a chance to learn and grow. But I also don't think BEARD should invest overly much in trying to see herself as a beard or casualty of shame. She should see this as a case of people who were mismatched, who ultimately wanted different things out of life. I agree with Lava @82 that she should reframe this as thanking her lucky stars that she dodged the bullet of an unhappy, painful marriage with children with probable divorce on the horizon.

Also re: closure, though it would be lovely if her ex is able to have a conversation with her and give her some closure that way, it's also something BEARD is going to have to work on giving to herself. The first step is letting go of trying to overly tie up her ex's attraction to men in their relationship problems, to focus on what she knows. And to focus on never allowing a partner to treat her cruelly in the future.

93

Also, what's with all these people who want to marry people they have consistently "meh" sex with?! Especially people in their 20s who clearly grew up reading SL and presumably are aware of how things typically go in the sex department between folks with mismatched libidos/kinks/preferences/enjoyment of sex. I know sex isn't everything, but jeez, people. Maybe try to set yourself up for success?

94

Curious @91, ugh, don't put him on MY team! My theory is that he struggles with insecurity/inadequacy and it makes him feel marginally better about himself to (constantly) remind himself, and the rest of us, that large numbers of women have a group of men they dislike more than him. He needs a class of people he can feel superior to, to punch down at. Rather than just focusing on being a nice person that women will find dateable.

Mrs Fox @92, I agree with you. It seems likely she stuffed her feelings and now that this last straw of, perhaps he doesn't even like women, has come out, her unresolved feelings are doing the same.
I don't think she should reach out now, because in her current emotional state, reaching out would mean lashing out. I'm not sure whether she should reach out at all. Dan has taught us that closure isn't something we can expect, whether or not we deserve it (which BEARD does). The apology she wants, that she needs, from her ex may not be forthcoming. If this rage lasts more than a week or two, a therapist may be the best person to vent it to, rather than her ex.

95

Whereas 95% vaccine effectiveness means 5% will show symptoms if fully vaccinated then infected, so far

"7% -- of those who got infected after they were vaccinated required hospitalization...and [1.3%] died" per
https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/14/health/breakthrough-infections-covid-vaccines-cdc/

96

p.s.
Re: those numbers, I think it's worth noting that the most at-risk populations got vaccinated earlier.

According to https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ the un-vaccinated death rate is about 2% (compared to that 1.3%).

97

Aunt Zelda @ 72
Thanks. As for the 1985 snow storm, are you talking about the Thanksgiving one?

BDF @ 73
Thanks to you too. And that response to endless.

f_m_f @ 86
The idea of wearing corresponding lingerie on those vintage cars gatherings sounds lovely. Maybe you can pitch it to them? I would encourage them to find garments that represent the time the car was made, maybe also related to the country of origin, or just a color that resembles the car or a design that hints to its distinct shape Sounds like a fun, creative project.

Fichu @ 90
Yes, vying for a victim status and placed on a pedestal is everywhere.

98

There is something weird about the guy wanting the house for the night for alone time. In my experience, it's on you to haul your ass for a drive, or sit down and chat with your partner about needing some space to chill, because even in relationships we the right to our own autonomy. It points to healthy, functioning adults when it can be achieved. However, it usually does not involve inconveniencing the other person to the point of having them sleep elsewhere. I've read all the ideas behind why he may have done that, but we'll never really know, except to definitely pin a red flag on that kind of behavior as someone not being upfront about something.

99

As for BEARD’s letter to her ex, I think she should definitely write it. It will help her gather her thoughts and maybe also help with clarifying what was happening and how she feels about all this. I say that as a 12-step program “graduate” where lots of writings on different topics were part of the process for a long period of time.

Such letters don’t necessarily need to be sent, nor read, to the person they are addressed to. Regardless of her plans I’d urge her to write few drafts and also read it to a trusted friend or even a group and be open to their feedback, especially prior to licking an envelope.

100

@77 please don't try to hit me with this gaslight bullshit. The context couldn't be more explicit. Unless you're the letter writer, you're not qualified to tell us anything more than the letter says - and it says it right there. But I guess who you are is a narcissistic piece of shit, you belong with HUNG's partner, you'd make a great team.