Recent Savage Love Letters of the Day: A timeless warning about donkey punching, a whole May Day Parade's worth of red flags, a dad with two mistresses (and one angry daughter), and a letter-writer who asks, "Dude, where's my libido?" And, as always, last week's column and Savage Lovecast.
Regarding Personally Feeling Fearful Today:
My two cents on the above letter you received this week, as an occasional poly advice columnist: There are many men out there, who are married to women, and the women come out as bi. The husband is totally ok with the wife exploring her sexuality with other women, but will not allow her to date/have sex with other men. This is known as a one penis policy. There are major implications for such policies: Men think that women fucking/dating each other poses no threat to the marriage, whereas another man would, so the husband feels insecure. Perhaps PFFT feels that way and he needs to check himself. I know that he stated his boundaries, but his wife did check in with him to see if his boundaries had shifted and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. It also seems like PFFT may be imagining relationships where there are none yet. I definitely agree that they need to have a dialogue, but I also think that PFFT needs to do some self-reflection.
Regarding Abused & Enraged:
A&E: You’re not alone, and you’re not stupid for feeling these things. When you’re in an abusive relationship, it rewires your ENTIRE brain. I recommend you look up “Love bombing” and “gaslighting”. Read about the experiences that others have had, and start checking the boxes off. Your boyfriend isn’t just a POS, he’s an expert manipulator who knows how to play you; he knows how to keep you and other women hooked. I agree with everything Dan said, especially therapy, but if it’s hard to get out of bed right now, start googling about what it’s like to be in a relationship with a sociopath or narcissist. I’m not trying to diagnose your boyfriend, but if the red flags do align with the symptoms (they seem to) then it may give you the strength to finally cut him out of your life. One last thing: the hardest part is cutting the cord, because he’s thoroughly conditioned you to believe that you can’t survive without him. Remember that you’re not alone. So many others including myself have been in your shoes. You can do this.
At least Abused & Enraged has a smoking hot sociopath twisting her around his finger. My emotional predator was mopey, listless, and didn't even turn me on. He hit the jackpot when he found a young codependent like me.
A&E, you are clearly intelligent, but your observation about his pathological lying is the key. You pointed out that he lies even when there's no reason to lie, when he gains nothing. Since I lived with the same behavior, that's the single biggest warning about serious financial and legal trouble to come. Pathological liars become conditioned to responding to a question with a falsehood until it becomes second nature, which is why any question will usually elicit a lie. Looking back, what I considered a weird 'tick' was the clearest sign of a deeply disturbed, emotionally vacant predator.
You're going to wake up one day to discover that he's cleaned out your bank account. That he's been using your credit card. That he's listed you on loans. That he's been forging your name to deposit the money he's been embezzling from his employer (that's what mine did) and you're in a shitload of legal peril.
Now that he knows that you know about most of his lies (there are more you have no clue about), he knows he can push even further. He's calculating how much more he can manipulate you and the other woman before he zooms in for the kill and you find yourself talking to detectives. After that happens, you'll wonder how you ever managed to touch him without retching.
About that dog scratching at a Lovecast listener's bedroom door when she was trying to have some alone time/sex with a human companion:
I had to laugh when I heard the poor woman on your recent episode discussing how her dog's separation anxiety (I should say, presumed separation anxiety—one shouldn't diagnose over the internet!) is inhibiting her sex life. Only once in my veterinary career has someone told me that their pet was ruining their sex life, and it was another case of separation anxiety—in that case, a dachshund that hurled itself bodily at the bedroom door until it actually broke through, and then would jump all over the owner, and growl at the owner's partner. Crazy stuff!
So, here's the thing. I do NOT recommend that this dog owner try to fix this problem on her own. It sounds pretty severe. And the other thing is that the dog is not having a good time here. This is a very mentally stressful disorder—the dog is in a lot of what you might call mental anguish, here, during real or virtual separations from the owner. The dog is suffering.
Hopefully the owner is in an area where she can access either a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (here's a search tool!) but there are only 79 of them in existence in the world, so it's entirely possible she's not. In that case hopefully she can find either a general practice veterinarian who has developed a strong interest in and proficiency with behavioral medicine, or even a trainer who is familiar with the desensitization and counter-conditioning exercises that are used to treat this disorder, and who works in conjunction with a general practice vet who can prescribe adjunctive medical therapies as needed (SSRIs like Prozac are sometimes helpful in these cases—clomipramine and fluoxetine are the only FDA approved drugs for canine separation anxiety, actually—but sometimes other shorter acting drugs like alprazolam or trazodone are also used as adjunctive therapies). No medical therapy implemented in the absence of behavioral therapy is likely to really help a significantly affected dog, though.
These cases can be really difficult and result in a lot of dogs being surrendered to shelters, unfortunately. I wonder if that is why her dog was available for adoption in the first place?
Or she could, you know, give the dog to a family that lives on a farm way out in the country where the dog has plenty of room to, you know, run.
On a recent top-of-the-Lovecast rant about medical bankruptcies:
Why do you say "bankrupt" as if that's the worst medical thing? I have friends who've died many years younger than they would've if we had Medicare for All. They just didn't go to the hospital or see a doctor until way too late. Or they died before they went. I have friends who don't get surgery and instead suffer for years or their whole life. If we were in Canada, they'd wait a few months and get surgery. If we were in Sweden, it'd be even better. But in the U.S., many people die because they don't get the medical care they need. Bankruptcy is a luxury for richer people. Please talk instead about people dying years younger. I have Type 1 Diabetes and spend over $12,000 a year on the least expensive medical I can get as an individual in Oregon that won't cause me to die younger, and that goes up 10% every year. It means I have a lot less money for other things, every year. I do not expect to ever go bankrupt. I expect my life to be different, in many ways worse than going bankrupt. You can't get many medical things if you might go bankrupt or have been. You can die younger. Solution: Medicare for All. Please advocate straight-up for that. Email back if you want to know how it could work at even a city level, and how dental care insurance can work for even 5,000 people.
And in regards to JACKS...
Longtime reader, first time e-mailer. I thought I would share a fun story about how relations with managers don't always turn out badly.
In 1990 due to the kind attention of my best friend's wife, I got hired into a full-time, summer-only temp job in the administration offices of my university. The job tripled my income and changed my life. The connection that got me my interview was that my friend's wife knew that the gay choir I had just joined was also the principal recreation for her manager. After my friend's wife got my resume and gave it to her manager, he approached me a couple of weeks later at a break in the rehearsal and asked me to come for an interview. I got the job, and it went fine.
As it was Vancouver, and the summer of 1990, gay life was really happening: 1990 was the first time the Gay Games were held outside of the USA and the chorus I sang with was very involved. In one of our concerts, I had a small solo to sing. After the concert, my manager came up and gave me a hug and big kiss on the cheek, then said, "I couldn't do that at work." I replied: "Sure you could; the drawback is that under the collective agreement and to be fair to all of my colleagues, you would also have to kiss everyone else at work."
He turned a little pale. I guess my joke was funnier to me than to him.
And, finally, because it's gray and gloomy and pipe-bomb-y and because shit is fucked up and bullshit and because the midterms are less than two weeks away and because I love you... here's a little sunshine, a nice mountain view, and a boy ballet dancer in the foreground. If you squint you just about make him out...
See? People are amazing—and ballet Instagram is the best Instagram.