Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: He asked his girlfriend to cheat on him and she did but she did it all wrong. Her husband cheated—repeatedly—while she was pregnant and put her health and their unborn child's health at risk. Some quickies. The world is on fire, but he has a question about porn. And, as always, last week's column and Savage Lovecast.
First, I have a new pet name! And another reader wants me to watch my language...
Hi Dan Sexy Arms! I just picked out that new pet name for you. How do you like it? Anyway, no real problem here just wanted to reach out after the last podcast where you related the story about your husband almost getting separated from your son on the train. You stated that you nearly had a "panic attack" over it and I am really just asking people not to use that terminology so flippantly. I have no doubt you were in a worried panic but a panic attack is usually not connected to any certain occurrence. That is the scary and debilitating part about them. I was brought very low by them in my twenties and early thirties and lost a lot of my life hyperventilating over nothing. Not just having the attack but living in constant fear of having another which gave it power and caused it to explode. I don't mean to be a total pedant but it is a real and serious condition and the public expression seems to be that every time you can't find your car keys you have a "panic attack." If everyone could have one just once I think it would fall out of favor. As for me with great counseling and tools and meds I am a happy homo that hasn't had an episode for many years.
For "When Trust Fails," aka WTF, the woman whose husband cheated on her and put her and her child's health at risk:
Jesus Fucking Christ is right! That woman doesn’t know what is going on yet. She needs to run. She needs to divorce this man before he knows that she knows what he is. What she doesn’t know is that she is married to a narcissist. Just have her google ‘Divorcing a Narcissist’. She should secretly seek therapy and pretend like this guy has a chance. She is in an abusive relationship. This will never end until her last kid is 18. Once he knows that it is over between them, the real pain begins. Right now she can leverage his guilt and his perceived hold on her as prey to get the quickest and best settlement possible. Tell her to ask for the clean break, a decent settlement, legal custody and run. There is no second guessing in the situation.
This was me. Mine cheated on me for like a decade with our best girlfriend. He traveled for work too. Exposed me to a zillion opportunities for an STi. I am two years into a divorce and I am just embarking on the custody battle. It’s an unbearable situation. I won’t even go into it but family court is hell. It’s just as stupid as the unfairness of Trump separating families at the borders. The refugee bullshit in the news doesn’t surprise any of us who have to deal with high conflict divorce with a cluster b personality disorder. The U.S.A. does not protect kids. Patriarchy rules. The bottom line is she needs to be strategic and capitalize on his false shame. He sounds like he exihibits pathological behavior. Share my email with her if she needs support.
Best of luck to her.
WTF: You have a numbered list of all the ways you were wronged. Unless you want both of you to live in a perennial punisher/supplicant roleplay AND you want to raise your child in such, get out. No apologies, no handwringing, no interpretative dance of regret will make you forget. You can both be loving and involved parents and you may even find a way to be friends but all this wasn't an oops. How can you trust what he'll do, what he'll risk, the next time life inconveniences him?
WTF herself wrote in after reading my if-you-wanna-stay advice and the run-for-it-lady advice from readers in the comments thread...
Thank you, Dan, for responding to my letter and giving measured advice rather than a knee jerk DTMFA. (Trust me, DTMFA crossed my mind more than once because the situation is totally nuts.) I suspect his shame is from his religious upbringing and not a hidden kink. For the inquiring minds in the comments thread, I have no ulterior motives for staying with him other than the fact that we've built a good life together for the past 10 years and I actually feel we have a positive and loving relationship outside of the fact that he did this. Really. My next most serious complaint is that I don't like the way he loads the dishwasher. I've got a grad degree, six figure salary, work partly from home, could move home to mom while I get my own housing, would have no problem getting healthcare or child support if needed. Fuck I'm lucky. Except for this and the political state of this country, my life is great. To therapy we will go. Any recommendations in the Indianapolis area? Resources for finding a therapist who would be appropriate? Again, thank you and thanks to the commenters—even the "run now" ones because their comments validated my "WTF" feelings. — WTF
Thanks for the update, WTF. I don't know of any couples counselors in the Indianapolis area. But if you're looking for one who matches the criteria I laid out in my response—doesn't regard cheating as unforgivable, won't heap scorn on the cheater, won't shame the cheatee for wanting to stay—the listings of certified couples counselors at the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) is a good place to start.
I think that your reply to THROAT was very good. You give good advice. I have only one issue with what you did not write. THROAT and "Sam" are mutually lucky. (I envy "Sam" for his extreme good fortune!) THROAT must get over feeling guilty and worrying about being unfair to Sam. Feeling guilty will not only make him enjoy it less but can affect Sam's too.
The arrangement is almost perfect and this is the issue I have with your reply. Nowhere did I read you telling THROAT and Sam that if they are having sex with a variety of people then each is putting the other one at health risk. The best solution (and the one that I would want if I were as lucky as Sam) is for this to be a closed arrangement in which each of them will only have—at the absolute maximum—just one other sex partner. THROAT with a lady and Sam with a guy. This would be a monogamish arrangement instead of a monogamy arrangement. But it could work if each made the right decisions.
On the podcast:
Was just finally getting around to listening to the opening monologue from Episode 607 that mentions the "OnceGay" campaign. I suspect that someone has thought of this already but on the off chance that I am the first, it seems to me that it is a wonderful opportunity to start a counter-campaign. The GayOnce campaign to promote the idea that no one should leave this earth without trying out the same sex at least one time. Could be a space for people to share their stories about their one time. A suggested slogan: "GayOnce: Can You Every REALLY Know Until You've Tried."
And a tweet in response to a caller who wanted to know if it was true that gay men get tattoos on their forearms to indicate just how far up a guy's ass they can get their arms during a fisting session...
A response from PORN about my response to his question:
Well, thanks for running my letter. Really wishing I had added that the failed sexual encounter DID include fumbling attempts at oral and manual stimulation, but no big deal. Next time I'm in need of sexual advice I'll make sure there are no national or international calamities occurring before I write in lest I come off as self-absorbed for continuing to think about my own life. But anyway, glad I could provide grist for your political rant. — PORN
My response to PORN's response to my response to PORN's question:
Hey, Thanks for writing. I honestly appreciated the question—and I walked back my own “How could you think about this at a time like this!” reaction in the my response. ("I don't mean to come down on you, PORN.... [People] need distractions—they particularly need them when times are tough—and providing a few of my readers with advice and the rest of my readers with a little titillating/edifying/distracting reading is my job.
So. Yeah. Anyway. I'm not bagging on you, PORN. I'm reeling.")
So I hope you’re not feeling too butt sore. We are allowed to think about our own lives. We must—even when the news is shitty. I was just reacting to your question as honestly as I could while working through my reaction to the news. Not a slam. I went home after work, got high, and hung out with friends and we had ice cream and talked about our lives and non-political shit all night long. So I’m right there with you. — Dan
And PORN's response to my response to PORN's response to my response to PORN's question:
I was only a little butt hurt, Dan. No one would ever accuse me of having a thick skin. And honestly, I think the question came off more seriously than I intended it. Mainly it's just become a source of gentle ribbing between me and my wife, and we laugh about it every time it comes up. I just thought the situation was funny and would be entertaining. Dan, I am a huge fan. Much love. — PORN
This has been a trying week and it ain't over yet. Stay engaged, stay in the fight, call your reps, resist, march, donate. And take some time to enjoy what's good and decent and beautiful in this world. Like the boys in the ballet. Because there ain't no butt like ballet butt...