@103 Larry, so you basically humblebragged/fucked your way through your office pond, until one the tadpoles became a regular frog, and you're thankful, she, your wife begrudgingly accepts that's cool, because your are, after all, the biggest toad.


@103, Sorry I fucked up my burn against you, but you and LW both suck, rest assured.


@105: How does Larry suck? Why does he have to tell his wife about one night stands that happened before they were together? They have nothing to do with their relationship. I personally have always been entirely up front about my past sexual history with my partners, but that's just me, and it's not like it's always worked out.
My first husband was 11 years younger and less experienced than I was and the fact that I had a past really bothered him. I pointed out that trying to make me feel bad about the fact that I was having sex in college when he was a third grader living thousands of miles away did not constitute a betrayal on my part.


What @105? As Lissa says, there is nothing in Larry’s comment that says there’s any problems with his story. Though jealousy is a bitch.
We all have pasts. I’ve kept letters. Which are like keeping emails. I’ve kept emails too. Not as near romantic.
Nobody owes anybody a description of their lives. So this LW and all the good moral souls writing here can fuck right off.


@Lissa and Lava, fine Larry doesn’t suck. I want to stay on your good sides, both as I believe you to be friendly sloggers. And Larry you don’t suck, I was probably posting hostile.


@108: :) No worries!


@Lissa, It’s okay for Larry’s wife to go to the grave jealous, and for him to hold all sorts of sexual experiences with a meh attitude.


Professor hasn't weighed in since @52 called him on the obvious- Professor is clearly LW and pissed for the reaming he got from Dan and in the comments. People often write in for validation I think..but LW picked the wrong blog. This blog is always 100% anti-snooping and 100% "easy" on past choices.

Professor/LW, you honestly do seem like a real asshole, and I only half read through your "supporting anecdotes"--because they seemed like convenient grasping anecdotes to support your position. It can be hard to hear a bunch of people call you the asshole, when you just discovered that someone you believed to be a "moral" (whatever that means), trustworthy person, participated in an affair for years. I wonder if it made you worry about her potential for cheating on you.

I do think Dan and this blog in general are a little too hard on the snoopers. Lots of relationships, especially sorta mainstreamy- het/normative ones, have an assumed "everything on the table" requirement about "honesty"-- which includes full access to phones, computers, and other stuff. I have loads of friends who think if their husbands didn't give them full access to their emails/phones/computers it would be indicative of hiding something. These people all feel like they have healthy relationships (and honestly, most probably do)-- but one party or another still snoops from time to time. The difference is, if they see something from the past that truly doesn't affect their relationship, they've got to find a way to shut up and deal, because they are smart enough to know that a) it's the past, and b) they were still snooping- and snooping into a period of time that isn't relevant to their current relationship.

So you counter, that you don't wanna be with a cheater, or whatever. Your standards of a person's previous perfection are too high. We all make mistakes. Clearly your previous SO wasn't proud of the affair, as she did not flaunt it or disclose it to you in nonchalant terms. If she felt flippantly about it, she likely would have flippantly disclosed it. This indicates you don't have a propensity for being with any partner with a history, a past, or with mistakes.

If you counter that she was dishonest with you by omission, that's not fair at all. You're a big boy, if "pasts" were REALLY important to you (although I'd argue that's unhealthy), then you had the opportunity to ask her to elaborate on her vague answer, and tell her further vague answers aren't acceptable. If you're the guy who needed full disclosure, it was your responsibility to make that explicitly clear.

LW, even if you aren't Professor, you share lots of similar characteristics, including some serious self-righteous rage. I would guess you still obfuscated some details in your letter, as it makes sense for most folks to do, and one of them I would guess is the length of time you and your g/f were together. Nine years- and finding out about an affair from over 10 years ago is a deal breaker? Shit, most people in LTR have trouble ending relationships over major, valid causes, because the history and the time together is so impactful. The fact that she dumped you after nine years over this, indicates either a) you weren't together 9 years (maybe 9 months?) or b) there were SERIOUS other relationship problems.

Either way, if you wanna be the guy that you clearly are, you need to define your terms up front in your next relationship, and find someone who agrees. Judging by the amount of female/het/cis snoopers that end up in this blog, I would guess you won't have trouble finding anyone who wants a "everything on the table" kind of relationship. Now whether or not you can find someone without a past-- that might be trickier.


@111: I think your comment is spot on, but Professor History isn't the LW. The Professor is a regular on Slog, just not in the Savage Love threads. His point of view on this issue is from a place of personal family trauma, and as such is pretty entrenched. It may not be rational, but berating him about it probably feels to him like we're telling him that it was ok for his dad to drive his mom to suicide.


Yes, everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has a past. But something you spend 3 years doing really pushes the definition of the word "mistake"- this wasn't a drunken ONS, people get law degrees in less time than LW's ex spent sleeping with her boss. I would also argue that just because something is in your past doesn't mean that it's irrelevant to your character and says nothing about your present/future.

I do think the LW seems like an unlikable douche, so I'm not defending him specifically, but I will defend the idea that you can have these sorts of standards and not be unreasonable/doomed to die alone. I wouldn't have wanted to marry a man who'd had a multi-year affair with a married woman, because I don't think that speaks well of his character, and it's just not compatible with my view of marriage.

And while I agree with the view that the person in the relationship is more at fault when it comes to cheating, that doesn't absolve the third-party of any responsibility. It's sort of analogous to the kind of person who's nice to you, but a jerk to, say, waitstaff- are they actually a nice person? I'd argue no. Similarly, a guy who doesn't cheat on his own spouse, but has helped other people cheat on theirs- does he really respect marriage? I'd also argue no.



Thanks for the correction. After I posted I saw his post history was fuller than would probably indicate secret LW status, though the similarities are there.

And to both LW and Professor, my apologies for conflating you as the same person, and if any of my comment came across as berating. You both DO seem like assholes, but there are lots of types of assholes, and I am one, and I have friends that are too. Your particular bag isn't really mine, (blanket dismissal of whole groups of people as objectively terrible for past mistakes), by my brand of asshole is unpalatable to some.

Professor, sorry for your personal family trauma. However, one horrific, sad story, does not equate 20% of the population (roughly, who cheat outside their monogamous marriage), and the much higher percentage of people who are unfaithful in their non-married relationship, or unfaithful on some other level (emotional,/physical but not sex) with the inability to eventually be considered good people, or change.


In the past ten years I've discovered ethical non-monogamy, learned I wasn't straight, went vegetarian then vegan then started eating meat again, started then stopped shoplifting, started then stopped taking hard drugs, and lived in two different countries. Ten years is a long ass time to learn and grow and improve.

The LW has every right to set any dealbreaker he wants, but he's judging the woman she was not the woman she is.


All good antiserumite; Larry wasn’t bragging, he was sharing.
Yes, people can decide from finding out about one’s life, that you aren’t for them. It doesn’t have to be this sort of months long anger and judgement. If she had been knocking off an underage boy, that would justify the LWs anger.
He has no idea what the relationship was about, and it was over when he and his lucky to be ex, got together.
For future relationships the LW better have a contract ready for the woman to sign, stating she is a virgin and has never seen a naked man before.


Ms(? - apologies if a wrong guess; I cannot recall a specification) Semite - My "attitude" on the cheating question as addressed here is that Mr Savage basically tells cheaters how to get a hall pass from him, so that any LW with an IQ in triple digits can frame the facts in a way that will garner his approval, and dispenses such passes as if they were Pez candies. I am also much more pro-divorce than he is. That is all. I don't particularly want to punish cheaters; I just wouldn't let so many of them swan around thinking themselves noble.

And Rumpole's low opinion of humanity and matrimony, which made itself quite clear in 42 episodes and a two-part special, is much closer to the way I think than the way Mr S thinks.


Lissa @112: The fact that Professor History is a regular on Slog doesn't automatically acquit him of being LW. Regardless, or irregardless, as the kids say, he's clearly coming from a place of personal family trauma, but calling people "dog shit" when they fail to condemn LW's ex is not okay by me.


Can we please stop blaming women for the bad behavior of men?

Because that's what all this is about.

People who seem to honestly believe it was the GF's job to keep her boss from cheating.

Look she was not making good decision by having an affair, but neither was he. Why is all the responsibly dumped on her while the boss gets to walk off scott free? And does anyone believe that her mere existence was enough to ruin his marriage? Or that he's not having another affair right now.

It's not the job of women to police men. It's not the job of women to keep men faithful to their wives. It's not the job of women to force men to be better people.

So stop asking that of us.


msanonymous @119: Okay. Done.


I just checked my gmail account. I clear it out every month or so. I currently have over 5,000 emails in my inbox. That's over about 1 maybe 2 months. If this guy went back 10 years, that's some SERIOUS stalking and he was really looking for dirt or really obsessing on her past. Maybe she doesn't email much? But good lord, that has to be more words than 10 copies of War and Peace.


percysowner @121: He discovered a name, and presumably used the search function to dig deeper. Still, no doubt he was looking for dirt and really obsessing on her past.


@118: No I'm with you; the Professor is way over the line, but we're not going to be able to change his mind because he's not coming from a rational place. He's coming from an awful traumatic place. All he's going to hear is that we think that what his dad did was ok.
And no, he's not the LW. The writing style is different, the LW is too young, he's unsure if how he's feeling is correct (which is why he's asking Dan if he's wrong, and I think we can agree the Professor DEFINITELY doesn't think his own position is wrong) and nothing ProfessorHistory has ever written about his family life tracks with what the situation the LW is in.


Sublime @84: I disagree. I think those of us who feel SAAD was wrong to snoop also felt that Ms Snoopy from the other letter was wrong to snoop. The only difference is that one person dumped their partner for snooping, so that crime has already been addressed appropriately, while the other did not.

Pythag @86: Yes. If this had been discovered via some other means, the appropriate response would have been to have a non-judgmental conversation about it, including telling her he does not condemn her for past mistakes, and saying that he was hurt that she did not trust him enough to talk to him about it. As it stands, he DOES condemn her, so she was quite right to not trust him with the information.

Lava @89: Oh! SHE deserves better? Isn't she the one who kept evidence of an old relationship? Double standards much?

Rafi @91: I agree she should have told him, to avoid spending nine years with this judgmental jerk. I hope she gets some therapy to see why she keeps picking the wrong men.

Anti @92: Why do you say that? I think everything Traffic says makes a lot of sense, and I have no axe to grind either.

Larry @103: "My wife is incredibly jealous" -- what part of that strikes you as relatively healthy? I agree, if you're not going to dump her, not telling her what's not her business, and that she'd only condemn you for, is the second best option. Gah, I'm glad I'm up front about my past, I weed out all these insecure judgmental jerks.

Qapla @111: I agree that SAAD picked the wrong person to ask for advice on whether snooping and judging someone's past sexual history are wrong. Actually, no, he picked exactly the right person.
"if "pasts" were REALLY important to you ... then you had the opportunity to ask her to elaborate on her vague answer." Excellent point. Her answer amounted to "I'd rather not talk about it" and he seemed to accept that, until he didn't.

Rafi @113: Again, the thing to do would have been to ask his girlfriend about the affair. What were her reasons? How does she feel about it now? Those would make a lot of difference and explain a lot about her character, but he didn't even bother trying to find them out. I agree that the affair was wrong, but the level of wrong depends on circumstances we have zero information about.

Lissa @123: Yes, you're correct -- Professor isn't listening because this is too traumatic a subject. Professor, if you read this, none of us think that what your dad did was OK, nor what the girlfriend did was OK, though what she did was nowhere near as not-OK as what your dad did. Calling people dog shit is not OK either. We all do things that aren't OK, that's part of being human, as are empathy and forgiveness, which it would be good for you to investigate.


Fan: Words are not Videos!! How many times must I make this point. I wouldn’t have agreed with the female LW if it was Words and Words and more Words.
It was moving images of a woman pleasuring herself. Capturing her, holding her, ready to be used to objectify her.


Lava @125

That's... a remarkably self-serving double standard. There's a whole body of scientific literature that supports the commonly held view that men and women tend to have different arousal patterns: men can respond strongly to a single visual cue (hence genital-centric visual media porn), whereas women typically respond to complex narrative cues, which are not necessarily visual (hence erotic novels with a focus on the characters' emotions and relationships). It's biological. Here's a couple of articles from Psychology Today, which contain further links to studies:

To quote from one of the articles:

""This strange clash of busty, giggling airheads and tall, brooding dukes produces mutual dismay. Where men see sexy, women often see misogyny. Where women see sexy, men often see arrogant jerks with split personalities” (p. 105). And many of the key ingredients of porn and romance seem forever incompatible. The impersonal, anonymous, orgasm-driven sex that typifies male porn is far removed from romantic fiction, which centers on a melodramatic story line and emotionally-imbued character development that culminates in a deeply loving—and committed—relationship between hero and heroine."

So, what, because you are a woman, holding on to old love letters and other narrative cues of past relationships is a-OK, but keeping a sexual image of an ex is some sort of betrayal of a monogamous commitment? That doesn't strike you as a tad hypocritical? Both ~could~ act as cues for sexual fantasies involving one's ex (there's no evidence that either ~were~ used for this purpose in the case of SAAD's girlfriend or PH's boyfriend).


Lava @125: No, words are not videos. And toys are not videos. But the principle for all of them is the same. They are not harming the current partner so they should be left alone.


How many times must it be reiterated. For the obvious reasons, you do not fuck your boss, superior, co-worker or subordinate and not because it is against company policy and common sense. It would the ultimate cliché if she had been her boss' secretary.


So after dating someone for NINE YEARS you decide to research their background? That's not healthy.
That said, a three year affair with a married former boss is the type of ex that should probably be disclosed when you're running through your history.


@128, and yet, according to studies, somewhere between 12 and 38% of adults meet their significant others at work. How many of those folks resign before their first sex date with a colleague?

I'm with you on the boss-subordinate thing, and there's a good reason that's against company policy in many places. But sex and romance between co-workers is NBD, IMO.


Margarita @130: And somewhere between 25% and 60% of people cheat in relationships, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.


Bi @131 Ehh, I dunno. Cheating is (usually) unethical, which is the main reason people don't tend to condone it. Workplace relationships with a significant power differential can also be unethical, or at least ethically questionable. Beyond that, its just situation-specific risk-reward analysis. Is base jumping "a good idea"? War zone reporting? Rope bondage? It's all individual.


SAAD, I feel bad for your ex-. She clearly has trouble picking the wrong men or letting them pick her. It's sad that she wasted nine years of her life with such an asshole. She needs to figure out how to avoid dating such huge jerks in future.

You have an even bigger problem. You need to figure out how to stop being such an enormous, malodorous asshole. That's going to take some work.


@127; Fan, you assume so much about other people. Harm was felt by that young woman, that’s why she wrote in. Yes, keeping momentoes or letters or emails from past loves is to keep one’s own history. Videos like those ones are a very different keepsake. Let’s agree to disagree.
I don’t feel one can say in a blanket way that every cheating scenario is wrong. It depends on the individual situation.
Like ProfessorHistory, my father cheated. This was decades ago, because he died in the late sixties in his early fifties. Finding out as an adult, I look back and feel glad he might have found some pleasure and happiness with others, because he sure didn’t find it with my mother. As he was the only bread winner, he stayed, keeping the family afloat.
My mother is still going, just, at ninety seven.
We don’t know what the situation was re the LW’s ex and her ex boss. That the LW is still angry months after they broke up says to me the love the LW had for her was very conditional and for both of them, I suggest, it would be best to let sleeping dogs lie. He’s not bad in any objective sense, he’s not the partner though, for her.


@125 you're saying Objectified as if isn't the constant state of life. I assume any videos are being used for the purpose they were created for.

@128 you can unscrew lightbulbs, not people.


Lost @132, sure, there's a sliding scale of bad idea when it comes to dating people at work. Your own boss/subordinate? Terrible idea. Someone on your team? Very bad idea. Someone who works on a different floor of the building? Probably not the dumbest thing you can do. It's not about ethics, it's about drama potential. Most relationships end in breakups; do you really want to see a recent ex every day at work? Do you really want them to use the naughty e-mails you sent during the relationship to accuse you of sexual harassment? (This happened to a friend of mine.) Not many people seem to consider the potential downsides. Personally, I'm happy I've avoided all of this by following a don't-shit-where-you-eat rule.

Lava @134, and harm was felt by this man. You make a big show about Ms Snoopy's feelings being valid, but you don't think this man's are valid? I get it, for you personally videos squick you, and we're all entitled to be squicked by things other people find innocuous. It's the right or wrong of the situation you're being inconsistent about. Sure, everyone has the right to dump anyone for any reason, even for doing something perfectly reasonable that sets off their squick-o-meter. Perhaps these two should date each other!


msanonymous @119: No one is saying that the boss was blameless or that it was the girlfriend's responsibility to keep her boss from cheating. We're simply saying that what she did was immoral - not as immoral as what her boss did, but she still was doing a pretty shitty thing.


@121. 5000 emails its only 2 months of email for you? I get hives if I have over 500 emails in my inbox. I love cleaning things out... Monthly trips to Goodwill, reorganizing the Tupperware cabinet, and oh my goodness I clean out my email and my texts constantly.

All that said, I think the girlfriend was disingenuous. When you date somebody for 3 years, that is like having a boyfriend. She intimated that she had not had any sort of serious or long-term relationship before the LW which was just not true. I think people who cheat mostly suck, although there can be extenuating circumstances. Usually, I'm inclined to think that most of the time people cheat because they want to cheat. I think people who have affairs with married people, once they know the person is married, also suck. I think the girlfriend was not being honest. I think the LW looking through her emails so he could find incriminating information and then say "gotcha!" is a jerk. I think their relationship needs to stay ended. One last thing, I never been able to understand the idea of dating for years. Unless they have no interest in making it permanent, which is fine, who dates for 9 years?


bookaday @138: She said "she hadn’t met the right guy yet" which doesn't mean she "had not had any sort of serious or long-term relationship". It means she hadn’t met the right guy yet.

I'm really kinda astonished at how judgey much of the commentariat has been about this letter. When I date someone, I'm pretty sure I have zero business in their past relationships. If they currently like to fuck donkeys, or wear inflatable blueberry suits, that's different. I'd like to know about that so I can make the informed choice to get the fuck out of Dodge. That means I'd like to know who they are today; not how they got here.


Yes Fan. Harm was felt by this man and he and his ex are now parted. The young man in the other letter could have pulled the plug too. That girl was early thirties not a world weary middle aged woman. You are like a dog with a bone.


Fan , I never said this man’s feelings aren’t valid. After nine years with a woman, I don’t understand his anger about something way in her past. And you keep misrepresenting my position. Nothing to do with being squirked out about it. Keeping videos of past lovers masturbating is offensive because it’s keeping a video of her private intimate behaviour to him, given while they were tog, as a jack off tool, using her as an objectified other. She’s gone. It’s over.
Try replacing porn with words and see how many see no difference. Sure, I can jack off to words on the screen. They are no different to real humans in a video.


Sorry guys for hijacking another thread. Peace Fan. Let’s lay this one Down.


Okay then Lava. I won't ask about whether a hypothetical new boyfriend of yours would be within his rights to ask you throw away your DVD of Thelma and Louise, with shirtless young Brad Pitt waiting to be objectified. That's different too, I'm sure. I won't get you to lay down the bone either so agreed, let's stop boring everyone else.


I find it fascinating that some of these letters blow up and others don’t. This is a pretty run-of-the-mill story, “idiot boyfriend dumps longtime GF because of someone she fucked 10 years ago”, yet it gets 140+ comments while “teenage boy masturbates to 40 nuns in secret convent orgy, wonders if that was a bit excessive” gets nary a mention.


...or did I just dream that second example? Well, if it wasn’t a real letter it SHOULD be. We need more nun orgy letters.


@145 I'm pretty sure they'll be fake, so you could write them as well as anyone could!


Donny @144: It makes sense -- we comment on what we can relate to, and most of us can more readily relate to mundane situations like snooping, cheating, regretting one's past, and making bad relationship choices than we can to convent orgies. Add in tangents and the fact that it takes just one troll to generate a storm of objections and there you go.

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