Savage Love

In the Straights

Comments

1

Firdt?

2

I am also skeptical of the hottub story. To me, "evening the score" would be me doing something with the friend's wife, while the friend is not in the picture. Unless the letter writer has a cuckling fetish. And was the friend's wife aware of why the foursome was happening?

The situation is probably not real and the man has a cuckolding fetish. If it is legitimate, I can see a lot of men just accepting the situation no matter how degrading it is. I know men who accept one-sided open marriages because they don't think they can do any better. They are onesided because the men cannot realistically find FWBs while the women can.

3

HOTWATER: HOTWIFER (or HOTWIFER Wannabe) might be a better sign off. I know a few women who are in FLRs, and they call the shots just like the wife in this story.

MESS: I'm not sure I agree with Dan's DADT recommendation here. If your ex tried and failed to meet someone else, and is back because he has flubbed, would you want to know? It changes the romantic story a bit.

KMKY: You could just ask "are you married?" Pillow talk is still a thing, isn't it?

4

@HOTWATER
"My wife...cheated on me...They didn't have sex"

Make up your mind. Cheating means having (some form of) sex. (Absent you having told us y'all have some kind of non-sex cheating agreement.)

"on the off, off, off chance"

Fake but sexy. Thanks for choosing it anyway, Dan!

@MESS
You could decide between them (I've been there, and sympathize, I don't think I've ever been less happy than when I had to do that). Or you could try to arrange /not/ deciding between them; in other words, deciding to suggest some kind of poly to them.

5

@1 fubar: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's highly vied for FIRDT! honors, found only here in Savage Love Land. Bask in the glory and savor your Numero Uno accolades in leading this week's comment thread. :)

6

@4 Curious2, cheating can be defined in many different ways and we don't have to agree with it, unless it's a SO. If I were kissing a woman or guy, my wife would consider that cheating. I don't think that new thing, emotional affair, is real but I know a lot of people do.
I agree with Dan, LW1 sounds fake.

7

So that whole first letter was just the setup for a really bad dad joke? Were there sharks in the hot tub? Cuz somebody just jumped.

8

Either that first letter is a fake or the wife and friend have been planning some elaborate cuckold/poly/both scenario for a long time and everything is running according to the planned script. But if it is legit, then the LW is somehow too dumb to notice but without being so dumb he drowns if he looks up in the rain.

It's far more plausible that it's a fake.

(Honestly, sometimes I wonder if the obviously-fake letters come from internet erotica writers who've written themselves into corners and then ask Dan for advice on behalf of their characters to help write themselves out of them.)

9

KMKY: Couldn't disagree more with Dan that your partner's marital status is none of your business. Ignoring the ethics, which I also wouldn't recommend, there could be reprisals if Ms KMKY's husband finds out she's cheating, and who with. Facebook and Instagram are semi public. KMKY, ask your partner if she's married and if so, whether her marriage is open.

Fubar @3: Dan didn't recommend a DADT. On the contrary, he told MESS that she should be open about having been with someone else, but not gush about the other guy the way she did in her letter. I agree that they should both be honest about what and whom they did while they were split up, but spare each other the details.

Curious @4, HOTWATER is clearly using the hetero definition of sex (which a lot of commenters incorrectly used last week). My educated guess is that they gave each other handjobs, which most monogamists would indeed consider cheating, even if most heterosexuals don't consider it sex.

Is the letter a fake? Who knows. I agree that a foursome with the same man and a woman HOTWATER wasn't attracted to wouldn't count as "evening the score" in anyone's mind. But I have been in a situation where a partner who wouldn't do certain things with me did them in a threesome. So perhaps this guy's real, and he's a doormat. At any rate, the advice is good. Mrs HOTWATER has unilaterally opened the relationship. He has to decide whether these terms are acceptable to him, and get some strange of his own or learn to love being a cuck, or leave. (HOTWATER, start using condoms with your wife.)
He also owes his friend's wife an apology for making her feel the way BODIES felt after her unfortunate experience. Ugh.

10

Was Dan actually counseling MESS to come clean with her possibly-not-for-much-longer-ex? It isn't clear from his phrasing. He wrote “'Have you been seeing anyone else?' is a question exes often ask each other when they’re thinking about getting back together." To me this implies that she should answer honestly IF the question comes up, but not necessarily that she should bring it up unprompted.

Whatever Dan's meaning, I think there is a strong case to be made for not bringing it up at all. What they did when they were apart is each person's own business, and I see no compelling reason to burden the potential re-union with more information than is necessary.

Also, at BiDan #9: If by chance I am one of the commenters who you think "incorrectly used" the hetero definition of sex last week, let me clarify what I meant. I embrace the many and various definitions of sex, but I thought in that instance that a young hetero woman who didn't specify otherwise probably was using the word "sex" as shorthand for PIV. Clearly I was resoundingly wrong in that assumption, but it wasn't because I define sex in only one way, but rather because I assumed the LW was. Which, again, was a mistake.

11

BDF@9
"HOTWATER is clearly using the hetero definition of sex"

That's exactly what I thought. But I chose snark, since I didn't feel any responsibility to 'educate' a fictional character in a fake letter.

I'm rude to my smart speaker, too. This not treating fake people with kindness is a problem I have. (I think. Some people would call it 'venting', but then we learned--from, say, 'primal scream therapy'--that it turns out not to be 'venting' but * practice *.)

12

BiDanFan @9: Dan wrote "you don’t have to go into detail" and my comment @3 was referring to that. If the detail is "yeah, I was really, really into someone, but they weren't interested, so I'm back" then I would want to know.

More importantly, if I were the boyfriend, considering returning to Italy, I'd want to know that my ex was currently crushing and conflicted, having met and slept with someone /after/ we'd agreed to meet and discuss a future. I suspect she was slamming her hand down on the eject button, but she ought to work that out before seeing him in August.

13

MESS knows who she wants to be with. She wants to be with her ex--and she should be probably more forthright or urgent in telling him she wants him to return. The other guy, who's prepared to 'enjoy the moment' with her--or to leave her to understand that he has no aim beyond enjoying the moment--is happy for it to be a fling; and she's sort of happy for it to be that, too. If she can enjoy a brief affair with him without guilt over being disloyal to the guy she loves, she should do that. If she /would/ feel guilty, if it would feel 'wrong' because she's with the wrong guy, then she should pull the cord. She shouldn't feel embarrassed if what's possible for her is the first--if she wants the affair, the sex and a possible insurance policy.

The guy seeing a woman for casual kinky sex has no ground for keeping it anything but casual--no ground at all for springing questions on her regarding her marital status. He's perhaps deceiving himself about what his motivation would be for bringing this up. He thinks he'd be allaying any fear she had about a new partner having reservations fucking a married woman. It's more likely to me he'd be getting something--some sort of power trip--out of the imbalance in knowledge.

14

Couples who have young kids shouldn't be swinging and concentrate on keeping a happy home.

15

Curious @11, I seem to be notoriously unskilled at recognising snark. I guess I reserve most of my snark for other commenters, who are capable of returning volleys!

Fubar @12, I get you. I was confused by your use of the term DADT which to me refers to a relationship that is not expected to be monogamous, but secretly so. There is no relationship here so the term DADT doesn't seem relevant.

Dan does seem to be saying, "Tell, but only if asked," because they're not currently in a relationship. The exception would be if safe sex were compromised by her not telling -- for instance, if, like many hetero couples, they weren't using condoms, and Ex presumes this will continue if they get back together, MESS should disclose that she's had sex with someone else. Or she could just suggest that they both be tested for STIs before resuming their relationship.

But I agree with you about the emotional aspect of this. She didn't just fuck someone else, which he'd need to know about for STI purposes. She caught feelings for someone else. She's now going to have to give up a promising relationship to get back together with this guy. (Or is she? Mr Moment may not want to continue this relationship.) This is an emotional "affair" and the fact that MESS is capable of catching feelings for someone else means that to some extent, she has at least started to move on. And I too would want to know this before making a recommitment. That reconciliation was on the table, that she was exchanging "many messages of love," yet at the same time progressing a relationship with someone else. The bit that's a mess is that she didn't immediately drop the new interest when Ex came back into the picture. So in a sense, this was cheating, even though they weren't officially back together -- I'm certain Ex believes the purpose of this visit is to make that formal. So I've come to agree with you that she does need to tell, and let him decide whether he's OK with his partner having one eye on the door.

16

I'm very much with Dan that KMKY shouldn't ambush his casual partner with what he may know about her marriage. So far, they have hooked up for sex. It's possible the meals were for blocking out the kinky scenes, and the sex was solidly and pleasurably in-scene only. There was probably no pillow talk; they may have only the most superficial or beginning of friendships outside of the kink. Perhaps they'll develop more of an acquaintance-ship, perhaps they'll never be more than play partners. In one sense it was natural curiosity that impelled him to find out about her, but he should shove anything he thinks he learned about her down some sort of memory hole. The possibilities are: she's cheating on her husband (but he says he's OK with this: he only wants to give her reassurance on this score); she's scratching a kinky itch with him her husband can't itch (and this is negotiated between the couple); she's recently broken up and is on the rebound; she's recently broken up and is exploring. There's only one of these possibilities that could give him any pause--and if he develops ethical second thoughts, he should say, in general terms, that however notionally separated from the rest of his life his (their) kink is, he would never help anyone to cheat. He draws the line at that. The onus is then on her; and the remark would perhaps drive her to find another sex partner.

In the highly hypothetical case of the husband turning up indignant, he doesn't know--he wouldn't know--she was cheating.

I think HOTWATER should just tell his wife that the cuck or foursomes or swinging experiment hasn't worked, but that he wants to sit down with her and sort something out to stay together, partly for the sake of the children. Do people break up because of indiscretions that start in holiday hottubs? Or is this only in the writer's imagination?

17

BiDanFan @15: It's a case of Schrödinger's affair.

If they end up getting back together, MESS will have cheated and should disclose; if they don't, she can keep it to herself.

But in order for the Ex to make an informed choice, she'd have to disclose, and he might well choose not to resume the relationship, in which case, she won't have needed to tell him.

No wonder she wrote to Dan Savage.

18

Fubar @17, exactly! She was honest with Mr Moment about potentially getting back together with Ex. If she isn't honest with Ex about shagging Mr Moment, then she's been more emotionally intimate with this fling than with the guy she's supposedly in love with. To me, she falls down ethically because everything she's saying points to an expected reconciliation -- not a possible reconciliation. "Two months later he changed his mind and wants a future with me in Italy." Not having second thoughts, changed his mind; not might want a future, wants a future. "We decided to meet in August to discuss our future" -- not whether we have a future -- "and in the last three weeks we have exchanged so many messages of love." Two weeks (or so) into this three-week period, she bangs this other dude. Did she just want to sow some wild oats before settling down with someone who might turn around and leave her again? Or get revenge for his breaking her heart? Understandable and fair enough. But oops, she caught feelings for the new guy too. Going back to her previous words, she says HE changed his mind; she doesn't say she changed hers. Before they meet, she should really interrogate her motives for giving him this second chance. Sunk cost fallacy? Did she feel humiliated by his leaving and wants to "win" the victory of his return? Or does she truly love him? She needs to dial back the "messages of love" if she's unsure; if she is sure, she needs to dump the new guy and never look back. Was he a moment of weakness or a clue as to what she really wants? Lots to think about.

19

Let your best friend come in YOUR mouth and see how your wife likes it!

Then upload the video to Slog--it really is the only sensible choice.

20

Original@19
I think the author is very disappointed you suggested that, because they were planning that for a follow-up letter.

21

@ 20

He'd better remember to press his tongue hard up against the head--guaranteed to cause a dick eruption.
Bro 2 Bro eye contact also a MAJOR PLUS.
Best to upload the video to be sure.

22

I'm surprised Dan didn't caution MESS that her feels for Mr. Moment may very well be a classic case of NRE. I'm not discrediting her feelings (that NRE is some seriously heady stuff), but it may help her make more sense of things if she can put whatever it is she feels for Mr. Moment in its oxytocin-induced place. If I'm following the timeline correctly, MESS has only been messing around with Mr. Moment for two months, and that hardly seems worth overriding an "almost got engaged" relationship.

It's awesome that she was upfront with Mr. Moment, but agree with BDF that she owes the same level of honesty to Mr. Almost Fiance. And maybe she legit isn't ready for engagement-level commitment; she says herself that she wouldn't have moved overseas or otherwise jeopardized her hard-won career for "a guy." I'm not saying people should have to make huge sacrifices for the sake of a relationship if they aren't willing to, but guess what? Marriage involves a near-constant balancing act of give and take and sacrifices. She should ask herself, among other things, what sacrifices she would and would not be willing to make if she pursues a future (especially talk of marriage) with Mr. Almost Fiance.

23

Ugh, and again Dan trots out the "what they don't know won't hurt 'em" advice to MESS, saying that it "isn't dishonest" not to tell about catching feels for Mr. Moment, "it's considerate." Obviously this is one that we the commentariat have gone round and round on before, and I'm really not sure what's the most "correct" here, but that advice always chaps my ass. Depends on if they really, truly "broke up," but also if she was able to be honest with Mr. Moment about the state of things with her ex, I think she owes her ex the same consideration. Idk.

24

Fantastic @22, less than that! The breakup happened, two months passed, Ex says he wants to get back together, she met and shagged Mr Moment in the three-week period between that point and now. The feelings are definitely NRE, though -- good catch.

Another good catch that she wasn't willing to move for him, which one (both ones) would have to be in order to make the relationship til-death-do-us-part material. Good for her for not being ready to do that after two years -- but they shouldn't buy any rings until they are far more committed to the long haul, and that goes for both of them. (Remember that he didn't want to stick around for her career, either.)

25

BDF @24 - oh my gosh, you're right! MESS has been sleeping with Mr. Moment for less time than a free YouTube Plus trial! I can't roll my eyes enough. And I know letters get edited for all manner of reasons, but interestingly she doesn't say that she and Mr. Almost Fiance broke up, just that he moved back to his home country when he couldn't find work (because fucking Covid), and only starts calling him her ex once she starts talking about her fling with Mr. Moment. Hmmmm.

I think she needs to slow all the way down. I think she should cut things of with Mr. Moment if she is in any way considering getting back together with Mr. Almost (and just so this side rebound fling doesn't muddy the waters any more than it already has). And she needs to temper any declarations of love with Mr. Almost with "but hey, you really broke my heart when you left, and I'm having a hard time straightening out my feelings right now." The two of them both need to have some really hard, honest conversations about the implications of what sounds like an inherently international relationship (we know Mr. A has a "home country" that isn't Italy, and it isn't explicit in the letter that MESS is an Italian citizen herself). What are their respective visa situations? What if one of them can't find work or loses their job in Italy? What if family in another country fall seriously ill and need to be cared for? It could be that this aspect complicates things to a degree that it permanently ends the relationship, but they really need to communicate through these very realistic hypotheticals.

26

The last sentence suggests MESS is tempted to turn to her friends for advice, and I would say definitely don't do that. If you do start things up again with Mr. Almost Fiance, you will not be happy that your friends knew you were wavering between him and someone else.

The one caveat is if you have friends who do ethical non-monogamy, and you're hoping to end up in an ENM relationship. But the letter gives no sign that MESS is hoping for ENM, so I suspect that's not the case.

27

@fubar, #17 comment,

"If they end up getting back together, MESS will have cheated and should disclose; if they don't, she can keep it to herself."

The key words "if they get back together".

They were not together, she was a free, unencumbered, able bodied woman, passing through her Life. "Mr Wishy Washy" has no right to his expectations of her actions after he left her.
The word "Cheating" has no place in this conversation.

28

Excuse me, the word "cheated" has no place, etc.

29

BiDanFan @9, 15 Ens. Pulver @10 Fubar @12 Harriet @13 Mrs Fox @23
I agree with Fubar and BiDanFan (15). MESS should initiate the conversation and "come clean" to her ex-boyfriend before he moves back into her country to be with her. If he's moving anyway, independently, fine. If he's trying to build a future with her, her crushing on other people is absolutely important to his decision-making process. This isn't just about STD's, it's about uprooting his life for someone who has complicated feelings for someone else. "What they don't know won't hurt them" is demonstrably mistaken. If they were broken up but still living in the same town, I'd be more inclined to give her a pass on telling him (say, if he just got cold feet then changed his mind).

Fubar @17 I disagree that she was cheating, if they're explicitly broken up and able to have sex with other people. I just think it would be really messed up for her to get back together with him, without giving him information that's likely to affect that decision.

BiDanFan @18, 24 fantastic analysis, and in more detail than I'd thought about! I agree she needs to figure out what's going on in her own heart and what she wants going forward. Not have it set in stone, being flexible or unsure on some points is fine, but she needs to be able to have a cogent discussion with him, if she wants to get back together at all. She can't explain where she's coming from if she hasn't explored it yet. Does she want an open relationship/poly and being with both of them? Is she trying to get him to come back to prove how much he wants her before she decides whether to dump him, for maximum revenge or before she'll even consider whether to take him back? Are neither of them really a good fit, and she doesn't have strong enough feelings for a monogamous commitment to either of them? Etc.

Mrs. Fox @22, 25 yeah, I don't have the impression that she has any business being engaged to her ex, if her feelings toward him are weak. Not that she had to uproot herself to prove it, but calling him "a guy" and not even considering it...I think both of them deserve a better match than that. Definitely sounds like she's in the throes of NRE to the point where she shouldn't make long-term decisions without a lot of thought.

Erica @26 I think she should talk about it with someone (or a few people). Her therapist, us commentators/people in the comments at another advice column, etc. Just hiding it romanticises it more, and makes it harder for her to get a more balanced perspective. I agree that telling their shared friends about it is likely to be awkward if they get back together.

30

Fubar @3 Harriet @16
I think bringing up her FB/Instagram (if she didn't give him her handle for either) is rude and comes across as stalkerish. Personally, I would want to know whether a playpartner was married/in a relationship because I don't want to aid and abet someone in cheating. It sounds like he doesn't have any qualms about that. So, he should wait until she brings the subject up to discuss it.

31

@raindrop,, #14,

"Couples who have young kids shouldn't be swinging and concentrate on keeping a happy home."

Worthless comment.
Most Humans do things they should not do.
Care to give a comment with insight related to the posting?

32

@fantastic_mrs_fox,

""I'm not saying people should have to make huge sacrifices for the sake of a relationship if they aren't willing to, but guess what? Marriage involves a near-constant balancing act of give and take and sacrifices. She should ask herself, among other things, what sacrifices she would and would not be willing to make if she pursues a future (especially talk of marriage) with Mr. Almost Fiance."

Very true. Marriage is different for us all. A puzzle of sorts.
When pieces of the puzzle are left out, or hidden...

33

Apologies to all, damn fingers.
I meant to say:

"When pieces of the puzzle are left out, or hidden... the puzzle is rarely, but on the off chance, ever completed.".

34

I give up....

35

These damn phones, I need a typewriter.

36

The pleasure and high of seeing the words and the noise of my thoughts to print on a typewriter, not to mention the smell.
Is any relationship odd in this world we live in?

37

Fantastic @25: "interestingly she doesn't say that she and Mr. Almost Fiance broke up, just that he moved back to his home country when he couldn't find work (because fucking Covid), and only starts calling him her ex once she starts talking about her fling with Mr. Moment. Hmmmm."

Hmmm indeed! It's fairly obvious English isn't this woman's first language, so that may be another factor in how we should interpret this letter. Also, I thought she didn't want to give up a five-year career, but she says, "I spent the last five years getting my degree and I’m a woman who is working in my field." Which means she is probably also young, too young to think about getting married. She said she thought she'd marry him, not that this was ever discussed -- I get this too, I think most of us in our first serious relationships think or fantasise that we've met The One and that we'll someday get married. Given all this, I think it's pretty obvious she should take some time for herself, play the field, not commit to any one person. MESS, live your young life. Find yourself, then worry about finding a life partner. Live in the moment, indeed! :)

As for visas, my guess is that they are all European and don't need them. She didn't say that she was Italian -- but this fiery passion is pretty characteristic of that country! Polyamory is also not part of that culture, which is why I didn't suggest it. At any rate she is too young and impulsive to be a good candidate for ENM (EricaP @26) -- trying to date them both would only make things more MESSy. Totally agree she needs to think more with her head and less with her heart (and her other body parts). Life isn't a fairy tale!

George @27: "They were not together" -- Or were they? Fantastic Mrs Fox makes a good point: he moved away, but did they break up? And/or did three weeks of "messages of love" constitute a reconciliation? In Ex's shoes, I'd certainly see it that way. I think MESS was indeed encumbered. Certainly he had no right to expect her to stay celibate in the two months after he dumped her, but in the three weeks after he told her he'd changed his mind and wanted a future together and she told him she loved him too? Harder to argue she was free and single at that point.

Opal @30, yes, good point. If aiding and abetting a CPOS isn't something he's morally opposed to, there's no need to ask. Just be aware that a jealous husband may suddenly appear in his DMs or on his doorstep.

George @35, indeed, I type my tomes on my PC, it works much better in this forum! Not quite old-fashioned enough to be using a typewriter. Perhaps Mr Venn is. :)

38

Another point: MESS's choice isn't Mr Ex vs Mr Moment. He's told her who he is -- a player. He is Mr Right Now. He doesn't want to think about the future. So she needs to bear this in mind. Her choices, therefore, are: Mr Ex vs Playing The Field, and Not Telling About The Fling vs Telling About The Fling. If she gives up Mr Ex because she's caught NRE feelings for Mr Moment, my prediction is that she'll quickly find herself heartbroken again after he moves on to the next moment.

39

George @27, Opal @29: We have no way of knowing what was said during those "messages of love", so the "in a relationship" definition of "cheating" may or may not apply. From the story thus far, I tend to think that it does.

Regardless, they're discussing the Ex returning to Italy, which he may not want to do if he were privy to all the facts. I certainly would not. I'd probably ask her to call me after she'd worked it out. He has a right to know what he's getting into.

40

Fubar @39, yup. If the timeline were: He dumps her, she has a fling, he contacts her to try to reconcile, then she'd have no moral obligation to tell him about the fling. But that's not the order that things happened. He dumped her, he changed his mind and asked to reconcile, THEN she had a fling. It may or may not be cheating, but he does have a right to know.

41

@22. Fantastic. Supposing that MESS and her almost fiancé ex get together again, could she say to him honestly: 'I did try again with other guys, and with one guy in particular, and the experience just made me realise I wanted to be with you'. If she can, she should just say that. If there is more to it than that, if her feelings are more complicated, she should then be more forthcoming with her ex (her ex-ex), but she might then be in the territory of pursuing poly (which I am not sure she wants).

I think I've read the letter as having a slightly different subtext to other commenters--the subtext of there being a double standard for het women and men in having recreational sex. The new guy says he just wants to enjoy the moment (which could be an elegant, Italian way of getting in her pants) and she is not, no one is, judging him. Yet after having sex with him (maybe once--she says with great weight, 'I slept with him'), she supposes this can only be justified by feelings, which would make all her feelings and preferences complicated and messy. One of my impulses on reading the letter was to tell her she could just have enjoyable inconsequential sex with someone she had no long-term interest in--that this involved no cheating, because she was single, and was not necessarily an emotional betrayal (surely less so than leaving the country. COVID sounds a rather flimsy pretext for leaving the country: Italy wasn't sniffing at essential workers, and most white-collar jobs were done remotely).

42

Disclosure

I'd still like to leave my directly addressing MESS with advising her to "decide". But I got to thinking a bit about disclosure in the abstract.

I'll start with something I mention not to repeat something we already thoroughly discussed, but just as a foundation:

Early in my time here I told a personal story which is an example of my belief that people have an absolute right to privacy WRT their thoughts. Once upon a time I fell in love with someone, but decided my only viable option was to do absolutely nothing about it. I was the only person in the universe who knew. While that was unbearably painful for me, it also saved everyone involved absolutely pointless problems.

(Actually, in retrospect, my life could have only worked out better had I chosen differently, lol. But at the time I couldn't choose differently.)

Now, I can totally relate to that being something one would want to know about a girlfriend/boyfriend. (Or think they would want to know.) But some may recall that I firmly held that one has an absolute right to privacy as regards one's thoughts. (Thoughts aren't actions, they don't really have any reality.) I know folks disagree, but we already went around on this, and I don't feel any need to read or respond on a repeat of that. I just wanted to set up the following.

Without going back and reading the letter and responses by Dan and y'all, just in the abstract...

Were the letter writer to decide, let's say she picked the one who she had been broken up with:

That would be simple. When people get together (whether newly, or after a period of breakup), they can decide whether they want * prior * relationships to be disclosed, by which I mean: If one wants to volunteer the information, one can. Or not. And if one wants to know, one can ask (and are obligated to be answered truthfully).

BUT UNTIL THE LETTER WRITER DECIDES, if the (monogamous) relationship is resumed, it must be disclosed. Because until they decide, they are still already in a relationship, and resuming the temporarily broken-up relationship without disclosing would be cheating if it is resumed as a monogamous relationship.

43

@42 p.s.
Well maybe "cheating" is the wrong word. But it would absolutely be impermissibly lying about the verbal contract which constitutes the resumed monogamous relationship agreement.

44

George @31 - raindrop is one of a couple of resident trolls who rears his head from time to time to say something absurd and off-topic and is best left ignored.

BDF @37 - my American is showing! I failed to take into account that EU countries likely have very different work/"immigration" (if it's even considered immigration?) policies than in the States. Still, they both hail from different countries, and if they're going to have a long-term future together, they certainly need to figure out the logistics of that.

Also re: your @37, I took "a woman working in my field" to mean that MESS has * just * managed to get her foot in the door of a male-dominated field, and isn't keen to jeopardize that by following romantic impulses. Which is totally fine! But again, if her career (or at least getting it built up and more established) is more important to her right now than a relationship, she should be honest to herself and to Mr. Almost about it.

Fubar @39 - exactly. And Opal @29 as well WRT "what they don't know won't hurt 'em." It bothers me to no end how often Dan suggests that you're doing a partner a "favor" by unilaterally leaving them in the dark about something that could change their mind about being in the relationship. It's selfish and self-serving, and insulting to the feelings and intelligence of the other person. Agreed that MESS at least needs to come clean about the uncertainty of her feelings (if not schtuping Mr. Moment and getting the NRE) before Mr. Almost uproots himself for the sole purpose of getting back together with MESS.

Harriet @41 - maybe MESS is "justifying" the fling with feelings, but I think it's just as likely that she didn't have a sufficient chance to process and get past her heartache over Mr. Almost leaving, then transferred her feelings for Mr. Almost onto Mr. Moment (to play armchair psychologist for a moment).

45

Fantastic @44, in the EU, citizenship of one country confers citizenship of all of them. Which is why it was so heartbreaking when the UK decided to throw all that away because... um... give me a minute. Because fish?

It seems MESS was up front about her prioritising her career, when she said she wouldn't move to Ex's home country. Good on her. I was just noting this as evidence that she's young, 23 perhaps, and they've been together since she was just 21. So this is likely to play a role in both how seriously she should be thinking about committing to anyone, and why she's overblowing these "feelings" she's caught for Mr Moment. We may roll our eyes but we were probably just as melodramatic at her age!

46

My tuppence for KMKY: If you continue to see this woman, I think it's important that you find out what her situation is. It doesn't have to come up again, and you can make it clear that you're not judging, but ethics aside (although cheat-enabling is a no-no for me, in most cases), you don't want some enraged, wronged spouse coming for you. I met a guy once years ago and had been hooking up with him for about a month casually before I found out he had a girlfriend... because she found out about me. It was a scary couple of weeks- she called my job, she left me threatening messages, I was scared to go home for fear she was waiting outside. And that was BEFORE social media. Damage could be done, so take care while you can.

47

"Evening the score" is such a strange concept in relationships. Ms HOTWATER got one on the side. Against the rules as well, if I'm not mistaken. Then she suggests a foursome. Which means she got another point in addition to HOTWATER's one. Someone needs to consult a rule book to see how many points one gets for a touchdown, field goal or safety. And have an umpire to call the strikes and balls (or lack thereof). IMO, this whole "score" thing should be ringing alarm bells.

I dated a woman some time ago who had quite a few more lovers than I. She brought up the idea of "evening the score". I said fine and started going out with another lady. That relationship took hold and years later I ran into the ex. I told her that I seemed to be falling behind, score-wise and suggested that she might want to check into a convent while I struggled to catch up.

48

Yeah, hotwater sounds like a “Loving Wives” story on Literotica.

49

@30. Opal. I very much agree with your conclusion. My guess would be that his new play partner maybe told him her (first?) name and something of her background for vetting purposes, but did not give him her Facebook or Insta. Ideally he wouldn't have tracked her down, but the genie is out of that bottle. The next best thing is to see--supposing they keep their thing going--whether a friendship develops and whether she is then a bit more forthcoming about her circumstances.

50

@31 George Thunder-Weiner: raindrop @14 (known to me as Elmer because he tends to be slower than old glue when commenting) prides himself for his worthless trolling. He's not going to get any smarter. We can steer the woefully ignorant toward enlightenment, but sadly we can't make them learn.

Who is salivating hungrily for this week's Lucky @69 Award honors? Tick...tick...tick....

51

HOTWATER sounds like he's seen too much of Baywatch.

Celebrity birthday alert: evil Nurse Mildred Wratched, portrayed by Oscar-winning actress, Louise Fletcher, in the Academy Award sweeping 1975 film based on Ken Kesey's novel, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next" turned 87 today.
"It's medication time...medication time, gentlemen...."
Griz is off for another needed dose of red, red wiiiiiine.

52

@51: Aiiiiighhhh!!!! Make that: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"!
Griz needs to drink before commenting. For some bizarre reason there are less typos in my comments. At least Louise and Jack would probably have a good laugh.

53

@44. Fantastic. I'm not sure about 'transferred', as in any simple transfer of affection, but I would think or agree that the feelings impelling her liaison with the new guy are likely to draw, in some way, on her longer-term feelings for the man she broke up with. She's acting out. She may be acting vengefully towards the guy who 'left' her, as BiDanFan suggested, without being entirely aware of how much this is determining how she acts to the in-the-moment guy.

She needs to make a choice--either resuming with a view to the long term with her ex (whom she loves); exploring something much more uncertain with her new lover; a period of less committed, exploratory relationships, or (maybe the least likely) not just opening her mind to poly, but taking the lead in negotiating it. Wishing she wasn't in this situation or hoping it goes away isn't a choice. I do feel for her, but also have the sense that anyone in her position will know her own heart. She has to follow her heart and do everything (by her own values) consequent on that.

54

@51: Correction: I meant HOTWATER sounds like he's seen too much of Jersey Shore.
Hopefully his drama doesn't send him up Schitt's Creek without a paddle.

55

George_ThunderWeiner @31: this is why we have the slogblocker plug-in!

56

@45 BiDanFan EU countries don't actually confer citizenship in all EU countries, but, the right to work, travel and live, for any EU member state citizen, in any other EU member state (COVID temporarily reduced this), reciprocity of essential health care with the EHIC card, and ability to permanently move (and obtain citizenship).

And yes, very sad for UK citizens (and EU citizens living in the UK) when Brexit happened as the UK citizens had all that removed - you could say it was a human rights violation as people who had a right to live and work in dozens of countries (or from EU in UK) many from birth, and it was taken away without their consent. A great tragedy of the 21st century.

57

delta@56
"...a human rights violation...A great tragedy of the 21st century"

It was certainly in the UK's top three great tragedies of the 21st century.

First place I think deserves to go to BoJo's horrific mishandling of the pandemic, which resulted in great unnecessary loss of life and other consequences both medical and financial in their country and elsewhere. (As a USA citizen I should note that the US' has been worse; though not as much worse as Trump wanted, but that evil desire itself caused great harm too.)

Second place might go to the UK's complicity in the US' invasion of Iraq which caused the deaths of 1M Iraqis.

58

Thankfully we have a lot of 21st century to go to unseat those leaders in the great tragedy sweepstakes.

59

@58 curious2: We can only hope.

60

@58 curious2, part II: After so much media overhype on Jeff Bezos launching a giant dildo into space just to arrogantly blow U.S. taxpayers' $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, I am hesitant to hold my breath. If we could just blast all RepubliKKKans into outer space, never to return. Think of all the noxious dicks we'd be spared.

61

griz@60
Bezos didn't pay for it? I admit I don't pay much attention to the news circus. But I did hear that he gave credit for the launch of the giant penis to Amazon customers who he said paid for it.

But I guess it makes sense since I heard Amazon doesn't pay taxes. Or let employees go to the bathroom. Or get paid a decent wage. Fuck American voters for letting that bullshit happen.

62

@61 curious2: Agreed and seconded. And thank you for citing reason #1 why I continue to vote against fraudulent, wasteful shit like this and refuse to do any business with Amazon.

63

griz@62
"refuse to do any business with Amazon"

I applaud your principles, but good people opting out isn't gonna change their evil business practices. Only making them illegal will; business will do anything that's not severely penalized.

IIRC, way way back, there was both a corporate death penalty, and a limit to their life. But now they're in charge and those things only apply to us, their servants.

64

@63 curious2: I agree with you. I have protested, door-belled, phone banked, and have marched. And I vote to support candidates who are out to make such unspeakably corrupt business practices illegal with severe penalties to corporate thugs hellbent on violating the law.
At this point, I don't know what else I can do differently.

65

@64 Part II: The only alternative I can come with on the top of my head is to start playing dirtier than Bezos and his RepubliKKKan ilk. We need to keep on pushing the Democrats, who now in 2021 again have the ball to growing spines and oust these corporate Mafia scum---for good.
The only way to stop RepubliKKKans is to hit 'em where it hurts---in the bankster vault.

66

Delta @56, thanks for the correction. And yes, I DO consider it a human rights violation that my EU citizenship rights (I'm just using that as a shorthand) were revoked without my consent.

67

Curious @57, I agree those are the three worst things the UK has done. Not sure I'd agree on the order though. Actually, I would put austerity and selling off the NHS into the top three, ahead of the Iraq war. Agreed, things may get worse before they get better -- if they get better.

Curious @61, yes, I think we can consider Bezos' vanity space ride a use of tax money, since he used the money he should have paid in taxes. I also boycott Amazon, great lot of good it does.

68

BDF@67
"austerity and selling off the NHS"

I don't know much about those, but yes, those are even more horrific than coerced complicity in Iraq.

In fact I'd never even heard of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_government_austerity_programme
So very tragic. And counterproductive too (I'm of course a Keynesian).

I don't know much about what they've done to the NHS, even though I know someone who quit in disgust because of it.

"if they get better"

I'm not sure I'm an optimist anymore. I'm very disappointed in the way humanity addressed the pandemic. The last year I've been very alarmed by the extremely abnormally high temperatures in the Arctic.(1)

Maybe the 1972 MIT study predicting the collapse of civilization around 2040 was right.(2)

Humans seem to have a lot in common with the proverbial lemmings.

(1) This last winter was stunningly less cold than usual, and it's been over 100F (38C) in tje Arctic in both Siberia and Lapland.

(2) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/25/gaya-herrington-mit-study-the-limits-to-growth

In other news, I'm appalled by Bezos' "417-foot superyacht that’s so massive it has its own “support yacht” with a helipad...The estimated cost, not including the boat’s support boat, is $500 million.
...Recent quarters for superyachts have been record-breaking...“It’s impossible to get a slot in a new-build yard...They’re totally booked.”" per https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/10/business/jeff-bezos-yacht/index.html

69

Oh, and I forgot about my American West turning into a desert and being on fire with unbreathable air half the year.

70

@68 & @69 curious2: I agree. Income inequality has gone insane since Trump burst open the floodgates of hell. It's just batshit crazy sick.

and.......
@69 curious2: WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Congratulations on scoring this week's luscious Lucky @69 Award honors! Savor your envied numerical glory and bask in your newfound accolades. :)

71

griz@70
I don't doubt you're right that Trump made it worse, but Ronald Reagan's administration off our national economic disaster.

https://ourworldindata.org/uploads/2018/07/Top-Incomes-750x536.png
https://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/pikettys-inequality-story-in-six-charts
https://www.chartbookofeconomicinequality.com/inequality-by-country/usa/
https://ourworldindata.org/income-inequality

72

@71 curious2: Sad, but true. Ronald Reagan started the road to the U.S.'s economic ruin forty years ago upon deregulating banks, introducing big tax cuts for the rich, and willfully ignoring the AIDS epidemic as if looking the other way would make it miraculously disappear. Four decades later, Donald Jackass Trump has since doused the rest of us with gasoline and, for extra shits and giggles, tossed in a lit match.

73

griz@71
The destruction of USA labor unions was another key factor.

74

Labor unions have issues but for some reason a large portion of the work force are against them. Union membership is way down and non-union people but also non-management people.

75

A new column is up.

76

@73 curious2: Yep. Reason #1 as to why Griz continues fighting to stay self-employed. The U.S. Department of Cheapskate Corporate Slave Labor is a sick joke at the expense of the working class. The current Fall of Boeing is a perfect example.

77

Hey, so just got back from a remote job without internet access, and read the letters, but not all the comments yet. Relevantly, also just had a super hot thing with a guy whose friends I worked for, so after it began, I was informed that my new thing was married. I am ashamed to admit that being 'straight off the boat' I did not care, and let dude know that I know he's married. He was so relieved and happy to no no longer dance around the fact that he has a wife. Now that it has all sunk in, I feel like shit. So I guess last letter writer needs to decide on their values.