Savage Love Letter of the Day: Time Management for a Poly Newb


A strong example of saying you really care about someone and acting like you really care about someone not being the same thing.

Really, this guy is just an entitled selfish asshole. Spend more time with the wife or get divorced.
Is this really a poly relationship? Aren't those supposed to be equal partnerships?

This sounds more like a CPOS whose spouse feels she can't leave, so she tolerates his cheating.
Color me shocked that this dude is a doctor.
A lot of poly people have a primary relationship. PTM needs to make his wife his primary partner and make sure she is happy with their time spent together before he spends time with others.
This isn't time management, it's personality management.

My take is, make your wife happy, then make your girlfriend happy. In that order.
I hope his wife realizes sooner rather than later that she will ultimately be much happier without this guy. She wouldn't see him much less, and the weight of a relationship that isn't working could finally lift from her shoulders.
I really feel for Bianca. He claims to love her, but sure isn't acting lovingly. In her shoes, I'd DTMFA.
Bianca, DTMFA.
Bianca needs to DTMFA.
LW is a world class piece of shit.
Wife should get a good divorce lawyer and move on.
Yeah, definitely empathy management. He has enough time.
This clown doesn't have a girl friend and a wife. He has a girlfriend and a maid.
@12 True. One he takes for granted at that.
You want to see where someone's heart is? Look to where their time is spent.

This guy has all kinds of excuses for why he can't be with his wife. His girlfriend, his work. Well, it's pretty clear to me that this guy has his life focused on (a) work and money at the very top, (b) fucking, followed by (c) building a life with someone whom he claims to love in a distant third.

(A) and (b) are symptoms of selfishness. I shudder to think what his bedside manner is like.

He has lots of choices. Unlike most people, he could actually afford to go to a part-time schedule, though that would mean downsizing the material side of his life a bit. What would the Joneses think?

Or he could act like his wife actually was the main thing in his life rather than his piece on the side.

Speaking of which, my understanding of poly relationships is that they aren't supposed to be means of legitimizing one's cheating. The way this guy talks about how much better he feels now that everything is above board is completely revolting. He's taken his own, well-deserved guilt about his actions and shoved those feelings on to the woman he promised to love, honor, and obey.

I agree with many of the others here. I hope his wife is reading this because she needs to kick this creep to the curb and take him everything he's got.
LW is a tool, who should not have gotten married. I bet that if (when) his girlfriend dumps him (which I think she eventually will) LW will complain bitterly when his wife wants to go out and see her family, partake in her hobby, or fuck her boyfriends. Then when he’s not getting laid for five or six days because she out or too tired or too sore from fucking her boyfriends he’s going to want to close the relationship, put her on a tight leash, or file for divorce and blame her.
What everyone else said.

Dr. Douche doesn't understand love. He only understands his needs. He wants his way AND for everyone to be happy about it because that's what serves him.

The best ending to this story would be Bianca and Valerie both dumping him to be with each other.
The wife should have taken the divorce option the first time. Whenever a spouse/ lover uses that sort of manipulation, after they've been caught in the wrong, " open the marriage or divorce," it's time to piss them off. Not waste another moment of your life negotiating anything with them except sorting out the assets.
I don’t think a marriage that was opened up “under duress” is ever going to turn into a happy, equitable open relationship. What this guy should have done, if he had had a shred of honesty, was talk to his wife about opening up the marriage before he cheated on her. Then his wife could have negotiated terms that served her interests too, and she could have done it from a place of equality. Instead she was presented with a situation she had no say in; he basically shrugged and said “Yeah, I’m cheating, and I don’t intend to stop, so you just have to deal with it.” All his talk about loving his wife so much and not wanting to hurt her made me roll my eyes right out of my head. He’s no loving husband, he’s an incredibly selfish dick who blew up his wife’s life and just wants to keep everything exactly the way he wants it while still feeling good about himself. I hope his wife gets over her shock and sorrow so she can dump this CPOS (please, please, take him for all the money you can). Then go find someone who will treat you a thousand times better.
What. A. Tool
This is such a thoughtful and downright helpful response from Dan (not that I've come to expect anything less). I'm married and have also been in a newly poly relationship for just over six months - thankfully NOT under duress. Nonetheless, while I shy away from the primary/secondary labels, I know that my husband has to go through a lot more of the day to day drudgery with me, so we make a special point of having plenty of fun, sexy, relaxing time too. It takes effort sometimes, and NRE can be intoxicating. I do think LW has some serious self-reflection to do, but I hope he's ready and willing to put in the work.
"I love my wife but not so much that I'm willing to give her what she wants and/or needs in order to make sure she's happy" is not love.
Bianca is a fucking saint. “Hey, I cheated on you. Let’s open our marriage. By the way, my first outside partner will be the same woman I cheated on you with. And I’m going to neglect you. That’s totally fair to you, right?”


She’s 1000 times more understanding than I would be in her shoes.

If he really cared about Bianca, he would break it off with Valerie, then negotiate a truly open marriage or respect his wife’s wishes not to open it, since she clearly never wanted to. Or he should do the honest thing and divorce her so she can move on. As painful as that might be in the short-term, he’ll be doing her a favor in the long run.
I'll jump into the "PTM is a selfish, self-centered asshole" pool. Dan is right on the money, your marriage won't survive if Valerie gets the best of you and your wife gets the leftovers. Thank god I didn't see any mention of kids. Run, Bianca, run! I know it's hard to give up being the doctor's wife, but this guy is a clueless dick and chances of a complete personality reset are slim.
Alternative Take:
The gender flipped version of this is that the husband (nee-wife) agreed of his own accord to accept the poly arrangement and he'd need to stop being so defensive/controlling over his wife's (the doctor) time as part of being poly is that you don't get exclusive access to your partner. We've seen that letter multiple times here on Savage Love.

In any case, the real wife isn't a little princess who is helpless without a man, he proposed the open arrangement and she agreed. If she decides that's not the relationship she's looking for, she's not obligated to stay in the relationship, and has just as much ability to set her cost-of-continued marriage as the Doctor was when he offered to go poly as an alternative to divorce. It seems, instead, that she's good enough with it to stay even though it's not ideal.

I've been in a non-poly version of this relationship, where my partner got upset at any and anything that directed my attention away from her - friends, family, hobbies, work meetings past 5pm, subway delays, reading, whatever, she saw them all as threats to our relationship (literally i got the "if you cared about our relationship you'd have left work earlier to avoid the subway delay"). I too suggested that she explore new hobbies, spend time with other friends, etc - I wasn't comfortable being expected to fill 100% of her emotional needs. This could be leading the husband in this case to prefer the lower-stress time he spends with the girlfriend over the constant reminders of his "failure" with his current wife (and if you are in a relationship with someone like I was in, you will be reminded constantly of the ways in which you are disappointing your partner). It's been a few years now, we broke up, she married someone else, and I STILL have that beaten-dog flinch when I have to tell someone I'm dating (and not even particularly seriously) that I'd rather do my own thing some particular night. I call it Post-Relationship-Stress-Disorder.

There are clues - slight clues, to be sure - that the wife isn't exactly a "saint". All we know is she hasn't left. Yet.
I'll take the other side here, though I don't see Bianca as an overly controlling wife like Sportlandia does.

If Bianca wanted to leave she's fully capable of calling a divorce lawyer. They only opened the marriage six months ago; she's still grieving the loss of what she thought she had.

As someone who has been in her shoes (well, except Mr. P had a one night stand so I didn't have to accept an affair-partner as an ongoing part of his life) -- I'd advise her to take things one day at a time and see how it's going in a year.

One odd aspect is that the LW doesn't mention his sex life with Bianca at all. I don't know what to make of that.
this selfish prick dick gave his wife an ultimatum in which sounds as if it was delivered: “conform or fuck off”

he doesnt want to be married. he wants all the fun w cheating and no husbandly duties WHATSOEVER


“HALF, you get HALF”
~~eddie murphy
ps i also bet shes emotionally beatdown and esteem laden if not codependent. would not be shocked if battered wife syndrome is operating here. arrogant selfish dr??!! not a stretch
Dear LW's wife, Bianca: Count your blessings -that you have no children with your husband. Then call a divorce lawyer and move on with your life. He doesn't love you, he cheated on you, then blackmailed you into allowing him to continue. This isn't what an open marriage is! You deserve better, leave him before he destroys all your self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love. He will NEVER go back to being the husband you loved. Your pain is for nothing. LEAVE.
The “poly under duress” claim needs to die. It’s an oxymoron and offensive as fuck to those of us who engage in consensual polyamory.
If his wife is his primary partner, he needs to spend more fun time w her than with his secondary partner/gf. The best way to do that and keep everyone happy isn't to tell the wire to go find some dude to bone but to make sure the gf is free to roam herself and knows it. She's the one who isn't monogamously inclined, she's the one who knows she's a secondary partner, she's the one who chose to be secondary to a married woman, she's the one who needs more lovers than just the doc.
@22 right. Anyone wanna defend the doc sticking w the affair gf bc honestly that's a pretty low blow from my perspective. Insult to injury. The wife being supportive even under these circumstances implies that perhaps she is financially beholden or there are kids she's trying to protect.
@18 I think he should have broken up w affair gf, then worked on mutually opening relationship w his wife over time and together. Also the GF getting more than one night a week seems out of bounds to me given his schedule, anyone have thoughts? I mean, previous to this it works have been a lot less, right? So this is a huge upgrade for her if it is one night a week.
@24, "There are clues - slight clues, to be sure - that the wife isn't exactly a "saint". All we know is she hasn't left. Yet."

So? It's not necessary for the wife to be a saint for the rest of us to look at everything the LW has openly admitted to doing and saying, "Wow, what an asshole." And it's not necessary for her to be a saint for the rest of us to feel deeply sorry for her, because her husband is an asshole.

As far as why she did not want to get a divorce, all kinds of reasons and none of them are really relevant to LW's question or what LW needs to do (grow the fuck up and stop treating his wife like shit, because nobody wants to be around an asshole and sooner or later he'll find that with Valerie). It's still very much the case that this was a unilateral major change to their marriage, she's dealing the best she can, and he's being an asshole about how she's dealing with it.

She doesn't need to be above reproach to expect that her husband not be an asshole to her.
Also once/if the wife takes on some extra dudes then you can negotiate more time w your sidepiece, but until then chill dude, you are almost certainly deliberately screwing this up.
It's also a pretty good rule to not text/call the GF when at home w wife. Tell GF that's the rules, she'll understand.
Why is everyone assuming the LW is a man???
@29 The LW specifically said that the marriage became open under duress, so that's why people are using the term. Also the LW doesn't use the term poly they use open marriage. I think there is some difference and the LW set the parameters.

@36 You are right there is no concrete reason to think the LW is male. Male or female they are still incredibly selfish and are acting like a total jerk. I'm in DTMFA territory no matter what LW's sexual identity.
Agreed, LW is a dick. But both he and his wife seem to want to save the marriage, so figuring how to do that is what's at issue. Right now he's made his wife his secondary, and there's no way that will work. He has to make the wife the primary, dial back on the girlfriend (NRE or not), and concentrate on making his wife seem valued...something that doesn't seem to have occurred to him (see: "he's a dick"). It will work or it won't, depending mostly on how open his wife is to having her life blown up under her. However, everyone here who wants the marriage to end is assuming that there is no way to rearrange its rules so everyone is happy and acting as if there were no inherent value in a functioning marriage. Changes like this do happen. Giving up before even trying is really just craven surrender. But agreed--the guy is acting like a dick and needs to change.
@25: “I don't see Bianca as an overly controlling wife like Sportlandia does.”

It’s his gimmick, don’t think too much of it.
@29: Are you saying that Poly Under Duress doesn't happen? Or that it should be called something else?
What if Bianca finds a lover and dumps the chores on hubby?

Either the LW claims they are really named Valerie and Bianca in which case the letter is fake, or the LW made up those two names for anonymity in which case the LW makes me want to vomit. Oh and he's a doctor. Right.
This is entirely a case of "Dan, tell me how I can have my cake and eat it too."

Dude doesn't deserve either woman. He's scum. But I'm betting Bianca is trapped in that marriage somehow. She may not have the support system or finances, and I'm betting he's made her feel pretty shitty throughout their marriage so she even lacks the self esteem.
@26 is it really a selfish ultimatum when you think that the person, given their own free will, should actively choose one of the two proposed options? Like, this looks like a scenario where she should leave. She was given, explicitly, the option to do just that. And declined. Just seems to be an odd dichotomy.
@41 Maybe it's the fact that I'm under 50 but I'm completely ignorant of those names' meanings. I'd also assume, if there's a clever joke in naming them that, that Dan might have taken some liberties for his own amusement.

Bianca, personally, just makes me think Ivanka. Which I would assume Trump has a similar mindset of this shithead LW.
@33 Necessary? No, of course not. But people here are saying that. Obviously it matters - if she insisted on nothing but missionary position, lights off, under-the-covers sex on a once a quarter basis (we've read that letter numerous times, Dan's advise has reliably been "do what you need to do to get laid"), that's different than if she were a devoted housewife who supported her husband through med-school by holding down a fulltime job and providing a steady supply of blowjobs. All we really know is that she didn't get divorced when she had the chance and she was at least nominally able to accept her husband actively dating another woman. Let's call her Schrodinger's Wife?

@39 I know you're not capable of considering more than one option for any given thing... but could you at least pretend?
@41 the lw, in extreme gratitude for his wife not kicking him out the door, should be doing all the chores for a goddamn long while until she's worked through the emotional shit he's put her through to the point where she herself can feel good about the marriage and think of this as a true positive for her, for herself. That's why the GF really should have been put on hold for a while, and honestly the GF, knowing the situation, should have offered that, because apparently the lw is pretty clueless about basic human feelings. Kinda a common theme for those in his trade, unfortunately. Being the kind of person who volunteers to do that much school, of that type, for that long, you're going to weed out a lot of the "human communication/interaction is a priority" type people.
@45 pretty sure the lw would have said if it was a sexless marriage. They always do.
@36 because they seem pretty dense.
Q- does anyone think maybe the GF doesn't know he's married? I mean, if she's poly, why isn't she checking his bullshit so the man she ostensibly cares about can keep the marriage he values so highly? The wife is totes cool with it, encourages me spend time my gf despite having no nice times with me does not make sense to me. And what chores are so overwhelming for DINKs that they have no time that isn't spent doing them?
LW if a guy also clearly didn't get the memo that women who are cool w open relationships and encourage you to go have fun w your gf are 1) rare and 2) worshipped. Is this not a well known law of the land? Writ in stone, laminated, preserved for the ages, etc? Especially surprise open relationships?
I agree with both Sportlandia and EricaP and the rest the commenters. It's a valid point that Bianca has the option to end the marriage. And yes, LW did change the terms of their marriage in a way that apparently is not to Bianca's liking. But she still has a choice.
However, if LW does love their wife as they claim and she is their best friend, then they need to do a much much better job of considering her feelings and the vulnerable position they've put her in. She was cheated on, which can seriously wound self-esteem. Then she was told by her spouse that they intend to keep their co-cheater on as a regular partner, at least sexually if not also emotionally. That's another self-esteem crusher. Now, to top it off, LW is behaving in a way that could be reasonably interpreted by Bianca as her spouse routinely preferring the company of the co-cheater over hers. All of this is a lot to take in and self doubt is inevitable. She needs the reassurance that LW does love her, wants to be married to her, still wants to fuck her and that they're not looking to replace her. LW created a mess here and if they truly value their marriage, they need to tidy it up. 4 days without seeing a spouse you live with full time is a long time to go. I hope that they work it out and have a happy marriage. I agree with EricaP, she should give herself a year or so to see if she can be happy about the new arrangements and if LW will make their marriage a top priority. If not, I hope she has the courage to leave and find a more like-minded partner.
What saddens me about this letter is Bianca has put up with this bull for six months.
Four days go by.. wtf, and she's only now getting him worried for her. And she has stayed to be treated this way.
I'm assuming that there's no children so why would she want to be treated like this.Women need to warrior up. Cop the pain of whatever and piss the self entitled duds off. If a woman has to live with a little less security, toughens her up. Make sure she gets her share though.
I do agree with all who have said that Bianca should dump PTM.

I'm also see the letter as an opening to my questions about poly. PTM says he was "struggling with monogamy." Does he think that monogamous people just naturally have no trouble with it? That they're (we since I include myself in this group) monogamous by orientation and never feel attraction to other people?

WHY did PTM have that affair? He makes it sound like it just fell on him. He doesn't mention any dissatisfaction with his sex with his Bianca. Maybe there was some, and if that's the case, if Bianca was refusing all sex with him, maybe she's not the sympathetic character we all assumed her to be. (If that's the case, she should still dump him but not with anger. She should divorce because they'd both be happier.)
How did Bianca find out that this disgusting excuse for a human being was cheating on her? How long after this did this FPOS issue his ultimatum? How much time has his wife had to process his lies, deceit and betrayal? Best guess is not much time and that she is still in reeling from discovering that FPOS was cheating on her and his ultimatum (women have more class than this crass douche bag). Eventually the emotional roller coaster ride will subside and can rationally begin laying the groundwork for her inevitable divorce (inevitable based on the scumbag the FPOS is). If Dr. Douche bag had any real love for Bianca he would have dropped Valerie, focused on saving his marriage and help Bianca recover from his betrayal no matter how long it took. I believe the average recovery time is one to two years based on the degree to which Bianca has been traumatized/devastated Bianca. Why does anyone here think Bianca is capable of being rationale at this point in time.

She should publicly fuck her way through all the doctors in his medical practice.
Judyblume503@29 Do you seriously call this consensual polyamory? What term would you prefer to use for a non consensual open marriage?
@55 - best solution yet.
L.pos@36 and no@48 Women a supposedly more empathetic this FPOS
Dan must often wish that he could ask this kind of letter writer to "please hand the phone to your wife for a moment".
Sporty @24: Blaming the wife. What a surprise.
"I've been in a non-poly version of this relationship" -- Wow; projecting. Again, what a surprise. Why did YOU not exercise your free will to leave? You weren't married; Bianca is. To make some assumption that this wife, who appears to be doing her best under difficult situations (not seeing one's husband for four days at a time is hardly wanting to control his ever move), is abusive like your ex seems to have zero grounding in the facts of the letter. The only thing these two have in common is that they're both women, so obviously, both are the true villains here.
Bianca may be sticking around because she knows her husband, and she knows that Valerie isn't likely to stick with this guy forever. She's just waiting out the NRE and the inevitable breakup. I agree 100% that PTM needs a smack with the priority stick in the meantime. And agree with Erica @25: If things don't come back to their equilibrium after the NRE with this one wears off, she can leave then; she doesn't have to leave now.
No @32: As a solo poly person, if I were involved with someone who was married to someone else, I would absolutely expect to see that person no more than once a week, if that. A few times a month would be my expectation. Honestly, if someone I was seeing was neglecting their primary like that, I would get the feeling they weren't a good person and perhaps I should think twice about being with them.

Slinky @33/No @34/Skeptic @55 and 58: Right on.

No @47: Indeed. There is no hint anywhere in the letter of PTM being at all dissatisfied with his relationship with his wife, on a sexual or any other level. He just says he's not monogamous. There is no need to go on a blame-hunt.

No @49: You raise a good point -- if PTM's time is so short that any time at home is spent on "chores," and he's a doctor, why doesn't he use some of that spare cash to hire a cleaner or someone to run errands? (I'm assuming he's male because it reads that way, and because a prior commenter confirmed my observation that poly relationships are virtually unknown in the lesbian community.)

Fichu @53: Some monogamous people are. Bianca obviously is.
BDF This letter just doesn't ring true. So he is never exhausted when he is with Valerie??? When he is exhausted he comes home (isn't that mighty nice of him) I think he hears what he wants to hear, believes what he wants to believe about Bianca and the state of their marriage. I get the impression that there was a relatively short time between him getting caught cheating and his issuing his ultimatum. Bianca has had her life torn apart (first by his cheating and then his ultimatum). How the FPOS describes her is just not normal for some one dealing with this kind and level of betrayal. It is consistent with a person suffering clinical depression after being traumatized. The term is shell shocked.

I do find this comment interesting "Any time (being exhausted and doing chores) I spend with Bianca is wonderful because I love her and she's my best friend, but I can definitely understand why the same isn't true for her."
Skeptic: You keep using the acronym "FPOS." What does the F stand for? The common acronym for unfaithful liars is CPOS, cheating piece of shit. Though in this case, it could easily stand for clueless piece of shit.

This letter rings true to me, I've seen many poly people get a new partner and be so excited about them that they neglect the existing one(s). As a few of us were discussing on a different thread, people are fundamentally selfish. PTM seems so thrilled he gets to have his cake and eat it, openly, that he's forgotten about everything else. Namely that his wife has needs too!
I was looking forward for the High Priestest of Plyhood to place the pieces in their right place.
@60: “Blaming the wife. What a surprise.“

But as he posted recently he’s the self-professed arbiter of logic!

Totally uninfluenced by emotion and bitterness as he blames the wife for wantonly being cheated on and forced into a poly relationship.

@61: Knowing his predilection for cheating and demands post-, I’m sure he’ll get bored of this one after not too long. Then to new and exciting problems!
@21. Hateboner. Perhaps what Bianca 'wants and needs' is monogamy. This is something only she can decide.

And she has leisure to decide it, too--with his ultimatum, I think the LW bounced her into poly.

The advice for him is obvious--'make time for your wife'. What his wife does may be more interesting.
@26. nnob. I can't think it's a good idea to conflate #timesup, which protests sexual harassment at work, especially where it's routinised or met with a conspiracy of silence, with the LW, who (belatedly) is being honest and wants to negotiate a workable poly relationship.

There was a mismatch of expectations before he cheated. Bianca thought they had a marriage that was exclusive because of how (perhaps how much) he cared for her, or in response to what she gave him. They never had that. It seems he always wanted to sleep with other women, then overwhelmingly wanted to be with Valerie. It could be that he feels entitled because of his financial contribution to the marriage. If Bianca wants to stay with him (a big if), she will have to give up what she never had and work out how opening the relationship can work for her.
Sublime @15 -- I had the same basic thought after reading the letter. I wish we could get an update about how happy he is in an open marriage once Bianca finds a new relationship, and things fade or end with Valerie. Although, at the very least, he did suggest this solution rather than promising to never, ever cheat again. On the other hand, he doesn't necessarily seem like the most self-aware type.
Maybe it's just my natural urge to be ornery, but I feel like everyone is really harsh on the guy. He's making a mistake by not prioritizing his wife, for sure--she's been very cool about this and she needs to be treated accordingly, i.e., as if she has increased value to him (not decreased). He needs to realize that he may be able to have a good thing here, and the person making that possible is his wife. She should be treated as such. (All the stuff Dan said.)

But I feel like people are so quick to DTMFA even when there's a marriage, and a clear interest in maintaining it--she didn't leave when she found out, right? So they want this to work. Maybe she'll look back in 5 years and think "God, I should have left him right then," but maybe she'll look back and think "I'm glad we worked through that patch because we're in such a good place now."

I do think we know some examples where poly under duress worked; I know one couple IRL for whom it worked, and EricaP has given herself as an example before. So it's not impossible.

I get that he made a serious mistake, and is not handling his second chance well. Sometimes people don't actually figure out the right way to do brand new things before the first time they try them! But y'all must date/be really exceptional people, to not think that sometimes a serious mistake is worth working through, rather than starting from total scratch every time.

@70: Part of the reaction is the framing, in that he’s treating his partner like an inconvenience and an unpleasant obligation. The other part, sometimes people just want to say “Christ, what an asshole.” instead of offering direct advice.
This NRE seems to be hanging around a long time. It's been six months since disclosure and how long before that was Dr Dick and Valerie together. This guy won't change, and if he and Valerie break up then he'll be knocking off the next on his list. Then Bianca will have to go thru the whole process again.
Staying around for another six months to be treated like this is of what benefit?
So, let me get this straight - husband 1) cheats on his wife, carrying on a full blown “deeply in love” affair. When wife finds out (not before) he 2) engages in emotional extortion by giving her ultimatum of ”divorce now or get cool with it.” And then 3) he has the nerve to complain that it isn’t FUN hanging out with the wife and wants her leave him alone - except for, you know, continuing to be a full partner in running the household. Wow. I wonder what kind of doctor this is? I’m gonna guess either a surgeon (serious God-complex) or a psychiatrist (who else has the ability to engage in this level of rationalization?). Glad Dan read him the riot act. And I am monogamous, but if I were Poly I would be mad as hell that this CPOS was trying to co-opt my vocabulary to engage in this bullshit gaslighting.
@71. Ayn. I'm asking what advice the LW expects? The obvious advice, especially from a pro-poly agony uncle, is to make time for his wife. So very, very obvious that it's a question why he had to write in to get it.

Did he expect to be told that his loyalties lie with Valerie and to divorce i.e. to bite the bullet on the financial settlement? Or to be told that poly was something more negotiated-in-advance than what he offered his wife, and that if he wants to stay married and genuinely open his marriage up on an equal basis, he needs to give up Valerie and start with a blank piece of paper?

I don't exactly see that the LW's framing is that disrespectful or slighting of his wife. He's saying 'open marriage' and 'poly' when these terms are favorable to him, or extenuate his behavior, but this doesn't express his attitude to Bianca; it's blindness or for his own sake. Fwiw, I agree with ciods about the rush to saying Bianca should dump him as an unpleasant person being immoderate.
@74: Sure, I don’t know what he wants from anything beyond his wife to leave him alone and.. not be sad about her being alone?

It may be immoderate but as I mentioned this is one of those scenarios where people aren’t sincerely offering advice because he hasn’t acknowledged any more inclusive options to Dan (or his wife.) So more venting, as any of the “treat your spouse better” options are likely to be ignored by this lover of love.
@60 I did, eventually. Like almost everyone in a similar position, I was believing hard in sunk-cost fallacy.

And yes, why wouldn't I project? Why would I say "Gee, I've been in a scenario like that"? I mean if you don't recognize the scenario, why are you commenting at all if you're so ignorant? And secondly, what do you come here for, a circle jerk where people say how smart you are and how great it is that everyone sees everything the same way? The entire "husband sucks" conversation was BORING AS FUCK and was going nowhere. And lastly, bitch please: you're projecting just as hard. Every time you say "well women are socialized to x/y/z", what do you think you're doing? You reliably have a women's perspective on most every LW, because, great, guess what, you are a woman. I'm not. Yet I'm still a person with a valid perspective and life history... unless you disagree, in which case you're yet another white person in a long-ass line of white people stretching back 1500 years that thinks you are the one who gets to determine who is a "correct thinking" and who's an untermensch who isn't a valid member of society.
Sportlandia, your situation is a bit of a stretch projected onto this one. Your point that Dr D's wife shouldn't expect him to fulfill her emotionally needs 100%, is true though. Surely she has friends, hobbies, a job which must satisfy some of her needs, but that's still not the point. Circle jerk it may be, he's still a giant prick for throwing her this curveball.
I've got advice for the LW undead: pull his finger out. Look around, this is 2018, that is not the way a good man treats his wife. Backdoor poly is bullshit and dishonest.
Advice for Ms Dr D, get the hell out woman and don't pick such a cheating man again. Good men are around, ones who will be straight and honest and loving with you. Go find one.
@45 and @51,

"All we really know is that she didn't get divorced when she had the chance and she was at least nominally able to accept her husband actively dating another woman."

Marriages aren't exclusively romantic relationships. They are also economic and legal partnerships and may have cultural expectations that come into play.

Right off the top of my head, I can think of, wife has $50,000 in student debt which would be crushing if she were suddenly living without a second source of income and not consolidating bills into a single household. Or they are living in a very expensive area (San Francisco, etc) where the economic benefit of putting up with the open marriage outweighs the psychological and mental costs of living without that second source of income. Wife may not be working outside the home, wife may be a graduate student and po', wife may have a good steady job but not one that pays a decent wage (kindergarten teachers don't actually get paid all that much, and neither do retail workers).

We also don't know how old LW and Bianca are...if they're both in their 50s, it's a totally different story than if they're in their late 20s or early 30s. Women who get divorced around that age are the women who are more likely to wind up poor, because they're getting to the age where they will not be hired and that's assuming they didn't take a giant career hit from unpaid care work (either children or elders).

And if Bianca is from a culture in which marriage is prized and divorce Is Not Acceptable, even if LW is not, that's an additional wrinkle.

So, yeah, I can totally understand and accept that she made the choice of her own free will, but the choice may not have had a single romantic feeling attached to it. "If I divorce him will I be homeless" or "If I divorce him will I be able to afford to live in a reasonable place that is not a rat and bedbug infested shithole or a 90 minute commute each way every day" are entirely legitimate reasons to stay married. Even if the romance and intimacy were staked through the heart and Bianca is mourning their loss.
BFD @64 The F as in F U. He transitioned from a C to an F with his ultimatum. I yield to your expertise in all things poly. What doesn't ring true is what he says about his wife (She's lonely and sad) While there is a wide spectrum of behavior when discovering your beloved husband is cheating on you and then to receive an ultimatum. The most common reaction is to feel as if your heart has been ripped out. Her world just came apart and he is telling her to get some new hobbies. It sounds like he didn't break stride with his cheating (NRE) and has no apparent interest in helping his hurting wife and best friend (Please don't tell me you think she isn't hurting). This not just neglect, this is callous disregard. He says he is a doctor. First, do no harm” is the bedrock of medical ethics. I think everyone can agree that he has no integrity. NRE or no NRE. You just don't do this to someone you say you love. As I said in an earlier post, he hears what he wants to hear and believes what he wants to believe. Sounds just like DJT.
Upon reflection, his wife should channel Lorena Bobbit. I wonder if they have a dog as a family pet.
He is so besotted and clueless that I don't believe anything he says about his wife.
@62 thanks, and I appreciate the informed perspective.
@62 I've personally not known any monogamous lesbians, monogamish sure. Admittedly my knowledge pool is small. Maybe you need a really big city to get a critical mass of poly lesbian dating pool? I can't think of a reason why lesbians wouldn't be poly.
@14 the dude feeling great to be honest though the wife isn't ok yet - yeah I think probably if it were me I'd be pretty mortified that I'd slipped up so badly (i.e. didn't come out as poly prior to cheating), and that the wife's feelings would be the priority over everyone else's until she felt better, which it doesn't seem she does yet. Six months is a while sure but this is a big shift, taking twice as long to feel ok wouldn't be out of line I don't think. Maybe she shoves him off on the GF just because she doesn't want to have to deal with him all aglow all over the place, or just to make it really clear that he has a completely free choice over what to prioritize, which will help her make the right decision for herself. If he's unrestricted, she sees his true priorities.
no@84 I would agree that six months would be marginally adequate for the wife to be able to decide what to do about the ultimatum. Six months is no way near enough time to recover from finding out he was cheating on her and that impact on their marriage. On top of that she has to deal with his ultimatum.
Harriet @74: What was PTF expecting? I dunno, a lot of LWs seem to write to Dan expecting him to wave a magic wand and come up with an impossible solution to their problem. In PTF's case, inserting an extra day or two into his week perhaps, or magicking up a secondary boyfriend for the wife. Glad Dan gave him some tough love instead.

Sporty @76: Projecting is one thing, but all you ever seem to project is misogyny. It's tedious. Grow up. (Also, great words from someone who believes he is the arbiter of determining what another person's gender is. Hypocrite much?)

Skeptic @79: I think it's reasonable that Bianca would be "lonely and sad." People react differently to infidelity. As Sporty says, we don't know the entire picture. Perhaps she always knew, or at least suspected, that PTF is a CPOS; this is unlikely to be his first infidelity. Perhaps PTF only sees her as being "lonely and sad" because she is hiding stronger feelings from him in an effort to appear OK with the situation, or because she is secretly plotting her escape. I don't see anything that rings untrue about his observation of the situation -- remember, this is written from his self-absorbed perspective. I agree, the letter she wrote to Dan might be eye-opening for PTF to read.

Here's an article written by a wife who implies a "poly under duress" catalyst to opening their marriage, which seems to have worked out at least so far:…
BDF Can we agree that PTF is presenting "facts" from his perspective and his actions in the most favorable (to him) light? Unless and until we hear directly from the Bianca I am not willing to speculate on what she knew and when she knew it. Lonely and sad are often characteristics of depression. I concur with you that people, in the long term, handle infidelity differently. However, initial responses to such betrayal (whether it be sexual, financial etc) is fairly consistent.
@85 good point. I feel like the LW should read some Esther Perel.
"Go play with your GF" might also be "don't worry about getting me a birthday present". He seems about that clueless.
@80 this year I wouldn't be surprised if someone offered that as a traveling service. Like dog walking. Bitch Inc?
@85 do you get to ultimatum if you're the CPOS (and it's not a sexless marriage)?
I'm surprised you accept this man's behaviour Fan, it indicates to me a man with very sexist attitudes to women.
The phrase Time'sUp is not just about workplace harassment as a poster, a male one, above asserted. It's about all male behaviour, allowed by women in the past, which disregards a woman's words and experience. It's saying #Time'sUp for entitled men like Dr Dick here, who because of their positions believe women are still available to be denied their full agency and personhood.
@92: “I'm surprised you accept this man's behaviour Fan”

What are you responding to here?
"I've suggested Bianca spend more time with family and friends, that she try new hobbies, that she even seek a lover of her own. Her reply has been that she misses me, and what she thought our marriage was, and it's harder to find a solution to that."

It could be that Bianca just needs time (and maybe therapy) to work through her emotions about the relationship she thought they had vs. the relationship they actually had. It can be really disconcerting to find things were not as they seemed. Personally, I can easily go monogamous or non-monogamous but each comes at a price. And as Dan has said in the past, it's important to check in on things like this throughout a relationship because preferences can change over time. It sounds like these two agreed on monogamy at the beginning, may never have been open about those preferences changing, and then Bianca was blindsided by a unilateral opening of the relationship. Whether she is open to being polyamorous or not, she may need time to process the loss of the partner/partnership she thought she had before putting herself out there.

I would also say that Bianca should not expect a pivot to polyamory to change the issues of entitlement and deception. I would go so far as to say those characteristic are negative indicators for success in polyamory and that the odds are stacked against it working out with this guy. I would think he would be more likely than average to not respect boundaries in his poly relationships since he did not respect those boundaries in his mono relationship.

Furthermore, if Bianca chooses to move on, it's likely these same traits of entitlement and dishonesty will color the divorce process. Just a heads-up for Bianca on that.
@75. Ayn. He could find his wife boring but not want to take the hit of divorcing her. But, on the grounds that we should think good of people until they definitively prove our faith misplaced, I'll hope that this guy is just 'new to poly' and will soon see that he needs to prioritize Bianca. Not least because of the hen's-teeth aspect of finding an existing primary who accepts the existence of someone in Valerie's position. And ... @93 Ayn again. It could well be my parsing of #timesup, but LavaGirl has embargoed my contacting her and seems to be observing a symmetrical prohibition in speaking to me.

@86. Bi. Yes. The answer was a lot more 'loving' than many of the comments. Sometimes people must ask for confirmation to do what they just can't bring themselves to do.
@93. Ayn. I don't know what Lava was responding specifically to in Bi's comments.

Saying a 'poster, a male one' is:

1. guilt by association. 'The writer, a person of the nationality that exterminated the Tasman Aboriginals, expresses the desire to crack men's testicles (with a nutcracker, not--presumably--an early nineteenth century shooting rifle)...';

2. bigender erasure--irrespective of the way/extent I identify as female. I'm disprivileged in a way a straight person isn't, but this tiresome repetition of 'male' and 'female' in irrelevant contexts would paint this orientation/identity as some kind of freakishness or imposture.
Undead @ 93, I may have mistaken Fan's intent. I thought she was advocating Bianca stick around for more punishment. Apologies Fan if I've read incorrectly.
The second part is in reference to mansplaining what the focus of #Time'sUp is given by a poster above. Oh, the very one who thinks the Tasman is more than a stretch of water, try Tasmania, and tries to link me with murder.
Fichu @53: "He doesn't mention any dissatisfaction with his sex with his Bianca. Maybe there was some, and if that's the case, if Bianca was refusing all sex with him, maybe she's not the sympathetic character we all assumed her to be. (If that's the case, she should still dump him but not with anger. She should divorce because they'd both be happier.)"

I want to poke on that. He might be somewhat dissatisfied with their sex life, without that meaning that Bianca refused sex completely.

Suppose he's kinky and wants a woman to flog him and humiliate him sexually. Maybe Bianca even tried to be GGG about that at the beginning, but he could tell she wasn't into it and so they settled into a vanilla life with sex once a month or so.

She's upset now to learn that their apparently happy marriage wasn't really satisfying him, even though it was satisfying her. She's sad that her illusion that they were both happy was revealed to be just an illusion.

I really don't think it's obvious she will be happier if they get divorced. Even if they had no sex together -- maybe he has always pressed her for sex and his requests for sex have gone away since the affair came out. She may be relieved not to have to have unwanted sex or turn him down anymore. But grief and relief can go hand in hand.

I think there's a ton we don't know about their marriage. And I think people who insist that divorce will make this a happier situation don't have any evidence for that theory.


The names don't have any particular meaning. They are just the sorts of names people come up with when they are writing really bad fiction that is more like an expression of the author's own fantasies. I'm a doctor with two women, Veronica and Bianca. It's like when a teen writes a bad story about the really cool teenager Andromeda and her twin sister Aurora and their friend the cute skater boy Skylar.

If it is true, @Gueralinda said it all. @73
In some relationships, it's too late, the damage is done. There's no children in this story, so it's different to yours EricaP. He cheated for how long, your man did a one night stand Erica.
Then he gives an ultimatum.
Then he spends six months doing whatever the hell he wants, no concern to stay close with his wife while she adjusts to the above.
Then he has the hide to say he's concerned because she's not happy.
so many layers of spousal neglect here.