Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: A swinging couple stood up by a potential third wants revenge, a letter writer's dad doesn't want her to move in with her boyfriend, a reminder that I don't hand out cheating licenses to just ANYONE, and a longtime reader/listener/voguer wants me to stop recommending pot to my callers. And, as always, last week's column and Savage Lovecast.

On opening up marriages:

I wanted to write today to say thank you for being one of the few sane voices out there talking about the shortcomings of monogamy. After some increasingly rocky months, my spouse agreed that we should try opening things up. This wasn't the optimal situation to open under, but she insisted that she did not feel pressured, just aware that we were failing, as a couple, and willing to try anything that might help save the marriage. And it has helped (everything except my schedule). I have a few partners now, and I feel unbelievably lucky. I come home happier to see my spouse, I'm reminded of what it feels like to be a good partner and put energy into my relationships, and I also get the sweet kinky sex I need. I don't know if my marriage will survive long term, but I'm more ok with the possibility of it ending, too, if it needs to. I feel like myself again, and like I can respect myself again. You were a lifeline as I was trying to figure this shit out, Dan. Thank you for being a public face on what most of us would suffer through in silence otherwise. It makes such a difference.

When non-monogamy (everything from an infidelity to a threesome to opening up) ends a marriage, non-monogamy gets the blame. When non-monogamy saves a marriage, non-monogamy gets no credit. I realize the LW says she doesn't know if her marriage will survive long-term, but it sounds like she and the wife are happier now than they were before they opened up their marriage—at least according to the LW (which is all we have to go; it's all we ever have to go on)—and the happier a marriage is the likelier it is to survive.

On Dr. Lori Brotto and SORD:

As a part time Buddhist/meditator/mindfulness practitioner, I love the advice given by Dr. Lori Brotto. I have a very hectic work schedule and a lot of demands on me made by my business and volunteer work. Nothing kills arousal quicker than drifting off and thinking about a work problem in the middle of sex. Unfortunately that happens to me sometimes. It isn't caused by my partner and it is not intended by me, but it happens. The way I recover from that is by practicing mindfulness when having sex with my husband (I am a married gay man). I have many little tricks that come from meditation practice that allow me to focus my mind back to the present moment and engage with him. A few things that are helpful are: 1) setting a little time aside before sex to relax and get myself in the right mood, 2) Focus on something we are doing and try to engage my entire mind on that act (such as really focusing on feeling what is happening to my body or what I am doing with his body), 3) Doing a very simple personal role play where I imagine my role at the moment and use it like a mantra repeating it in my head while we play.

I am sure there are a lot more tricks that one can bring to bear. These are only examples. The real trick for me is not to be distracted or fantasizing about something else but to be focusing on the here and now, what we are doing as a couple and how I feel. I engage with my feelings and with my interactions with my partner. If something intrusive flashes in my head in the middle of making love I gently guide myself back to the present moment, possibly using one of my tricks, and allow my focus to nudge the distracting thoughts away. It takes a little practice and requires that you also forgive yourself for being distracted and then allow yourself to re-engage.

I think anyone can learn to do this and it would be helpful. My husband and I have never discussed this and I don't believe he is aware of what I am doing in my head. What he does tell me is how lucky he is and that he knows not everyone gets to experience such great sex. As long as he is saying that and I feel the same there is nothing we need to discuss.

Bravo to Dr. Brotto!

Enjoyed Brotto's thoughts on mindfulness in my column? You'll want to read Brotto's new book on mindfulness.

On weed:

I too am a long time reader and fan of your advice in terms of love, relationship and the invention of hilarious re-naming of awful political figures. I too work in the field of mental health and I cringe every time you tell someone to try pot to treat anxiety or depression.

Yes, I agree that marijuana is not the demon that the government and medical professionals made it out to be in the bad ol' "reefer madness" days. Yes, I agree that criminalizing marijuana and jailing users was a waste of time and resources for this country. Yes, I agree that marijuana use does not make any particular person bad. Though I was offended by your colleges suggestion that as a therapist I was likely to "shame" clients about their use. ("Their therapist will likely see signs of troubling pot use.") But NO. I will not stand up and say that marijuana is a good or useful for most or many people who are struggling with mental health issues. And I will flat out beg parents and teens themselves to do anything in their power to limit teen and young adults access to marijuana, especially if there is a family history of mental illness. Because I have met the teens who find themselves psychotic disorganized and in pretty terrible condition because they smoked pot. I have met the people who had their first psychotic break at the age of 12 and research tells me they have some real likelihood of long term impacts from their use. Here's a leaflet I like that I think offers a balanced perspective on the relative risks and benefits of pot use. Pot isn't some demon. But I don't think it's a cure either.

Regarding ARARB:

You missed a spot! In the end of your advice to ARARB, you said, "Dad, if worse come to worse and my relationship falls apart, the last thing you should want is for me to hesitate to turn to my family when I need your support for fear of hearing 'I told you so.'" Which is true, but I think you missed the much more pertinent, "Dad, if worse come to worse and my relationship falls apart, the last thing you should want is for me to be married when I/we could have had a practice run first!"

And what she said:


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