His Boyfriend Made Constant and Baseless Accusations of Cheating and Then He Cheated



You don't need the admonition to "be a better guy" for this pour soul. Pulling out the tried and true advice to go shellack himself in other people's saliva would have been a better way to go. Coupled with, maybe next time you're in a long distance thing, don't agree to monogamy! And for get some fucking sleep. You've more than earned that.


He was probably cheating on you the whole time anyway. Constant and baseless accusations of cheating are pretty typical of cheaters.


Some people like high maintenance relationships. Plus they can convince themselves that it is really great, or else how do you justify putting up with all the crap. [see Cognitive Dissonance]


While you should be relieved this relationship is over I’d suggest looking into your own actions and reasons for staying with this guy.
Was he manipulating you all along? Did he sense insecurity on your side and played you?
Did you feel sorry and hoped to “fix” him some day?
Was he your only alternative?
Did his own insecurity made you feel safer?
What kind of relationship would you like?
That kind of stuff.

That said, once again, be grateful its over. Be sure to block him from your fb account and all others. Dan is right, he’ll attempt to manipulate you again by contacting you. Keep in mind that he is seriously abusive.


I'm with Dan. Try not to cheat in the future if you can avoid it though!


Accusing someone who is not cheating (and does not have a history of cheating) is wrong. It doesn't get retroactively made correct when you eventually cheated.

You do have to take account for your own cheating, however. Were you pushed into it? Sure. Was it ultimately your decision which you made several proactive steps to execute? Also yes. That DOES say something about you, and you should really interrogate yourself as to what that does say about you. Forget the relationship (the guy is not ever likely to get more secure and less accusatory towards you), which IMO should be over, you need better methods do deal with that type of relationship dynamic.


Did anyone else think LW came across more as someone who accepted socialization to be a man's partner than to be a man with a partner? I think that's why Mr Savage was slightly less kind than he perhaps is to women who write basically the same letter, although one could, of course, make the case that it's essentially kinder not to grade someone on a curve. I'm taking the admonition as a criticism for having a second half-the-night-long phone call of reassurance without dumping the abusive party.


@1, long distance and monogamy are completely possible when you trust each other and are committed to it. But this was nothing but blatant abuse, and I feel for you, LW.

I was in this situation with someone who would COMPLETELY flip out if I didn't answer my phone within a few hours of a text. It eventually rounded down to FIVE minute breaks and culminated into humiliating conversations where I had to answer the phone in front of friends and have them verbally vouch for me, only to be accused of cheating with EACH and every single one of them.

I never cheated, even once. But guess what? It made no difference, and it just got worse and turned into an even more abusive relationship over time. You did, and I can't say I blame you, LW. Under that kind of pressure, anyone could crack. Yes, he probably sees you as a CPOS... but he was always going to, no matter what you did. Get your life back together, keep this guy on your "blocked" list, and never give him a second chance to abuse you again and make YOU see yourself as that CPOS, too.


It’s always the crazy ones that are hard to get over because they have sucked one’s brain of nutrients that you can’t think straight.
LW, you do not need such drama in your life, accusing you of cheating via hours long night time calls. However much you liked this guy and yes it hurts, I think you dodged a bullet.


Venn @ 7
I read the letter as non-gendered, one that may have even been flipped during the editing process.
Such relationships, as you noted yourself and regardless of the actual cheating or not, can exist in any combination.
I also find Dan’s line of advice in recent years to be consistent in that context.

Lava @ 9
LW also needs to look into what kept them so long with that person despite the ongoing abuse. An honest introspection to help with future relationships.


As I was reading the letter, all I thought was RUN AWAY!!


Sometimes some people just need a reason to break up beyond being unhappy. Time to learn how to listen to that unhappiness and get proactive about taking those red flags at face value. Obsessive and controlling relationships deserve to get blown up... so long as one can use it to grow into someone who can end a relationship without cheating.


CMD @10, Yes. The LW does need to look at why:
why did he put up with this sort of behaviour and then feel guilty once he made a break for it by cheating.


I have nothing to add to Dan's good advice nor to the general sentiment of the comments above which I agree with but would stress also that lying about cheating is shittier in my opinion than the cheating itself.

On topic, but not directly relating to the LW's situation, what do you all think about nonmonogamy as a solution to deep insecurity / jealousy etc? Some people just really want to be monogamous for all sorts of reasons, so I'm not talking about that. What I'm talking about is people who - for whatever neurosis or insecurity- just get eaten up with anxiety over the thought that their partner might be sneaking around behind their backs. It seems sometimes it's the fear of betrayal or the anxiety of wondering which is killing them and requiring these long middle of the night conversations of reassurance, etc. Wouldn't just knowing that your partner was fucking others quell some of that? Like, if the LW had just been like "yeah I'm fucking other people" (even though he wasn't), then what? The insecure person would have his facts and then not have a thing to worry about anymore right? Could decide how to act then accordingly? Probably they'd have broken up sooner and so? Because if the insecurity is over thinking the partner is going to leave you, then being a needy drag in the middle of the night is going to increase reason for your anxiety.

As something of a control freak myself, I understand the need to compartmentalize- the things I control, the things I have no control over- and the only time I have a lot of anxiety over this is when I'm uncertain in which broader category something belongs. If I felt that someone else's sex life were something that was under my control, it would cause me no end of worry.

Just wondering because I think we get all these things mix up. People who want monogamy are not the same as people who want to control their partners. Jealousy like this is abuse. I wonder where Curious is, as I seem to remember him once arguing that he liked info kept from him from time to time. He'd be my opposite probably.


LW, yes block his fb page. How old is this man, he sounds a prat.
How would Dan know from the info you’ve offered, whether you gave him cause. By the sound of him you talking to a good looking man would give him cause.
You are hurting and that’s to be expected after a yr long relationship and you still have affection for this man. The other part is it sounds like he nearly drove you crazy.. look at the questions you’ve asked.
Block him on fb and in life. He is too unco for an adult relationship. You need to take a moment and think about your own boundaries, one of which should be nobody rings you in the middle of the night because jealousy, demanding you talk them down for hours. Big red flag that one, that the person has major issues.


Jealousy is a bitch EmmaLiz, that’s all I know. People need to get to therapy if they are as insecure as the bf talked about in this letter.


The LW cheated but he cheated because the BF wanted a high maintenance relationship and a lot of drama. That would drive me nuts. So, I agree with Dan: the cheating was probably a product of wanting the fuck out of that nonsense.

EmmaLiz: This is stating the obvious but there seem to be a lot of letters from people wanting Dan's blessing to cheat because those letter writers are in relationships with people who want monogamy but don't want to fuck enough or don't want to extend beyond vanilla sex. And I assume, as you suggest, there are people who might cut some of the jealous stuff if the relationship was actually opened up. But if I was going to predict responses by the jealous types for open relationships, I'd have to say that 90+% would not agree. They seem to enjoy the jealousy; drama is how they do relationships.


HURT says, "I'm a 29-year-old gay male and I just screwed up a year-long relationship. I was head over heels in love with this man, he was the first serious relationship." By the time most of us are pushing 30 years old, we have had at least one, and often a few, serious relationships. So it is not shocking that HURT may have been a bit desperate to please his ex, and keep his first serious relationship going.

In their early months, important romantic relationships can produce a level of jealously and anxiety. I think that is a sign that this person is important to you. Being adult isn't about never having these feelings, but rather addressing them on your own, or at most acknowledging these feeling to your partner. Therefore, being so insecure that you need to waking a partner up, and require them to provide hours of reassurance is a huge red flag. When it happened more than once, it most definitely was a dump-able offense. No one should feel so grateful to be in a relationship that they allow someone to abuse or control them.

I think HURT's cheating is a separate issue. While there may be cases in which someone constantly and wrongly accused of cheating might decided to commit the act for which they are being punished, that is not what led HURT to cheat. HURT says he cheated because he was sexually unfulfilled in his relationship. Another relationship skill HURT is going to need to develop is how to discuss sex with his partners, and if he wants out of a relationship, how to end one.


@14, somebody who's insecure and jealous is going to be insecure and jealous regardless of whether it's a monogamous relationship or open one. In fact I can see it being worse in open relationship. jealousy and insecurity needs to be addressed by the person experiencing it and before they can have a healthy relationship of any type they need to get that under control. Jealousy is just like any other negative emotion (fear, anger, resentment) in that the person experiencing it has to learn how to process that the emotion and resolve it without acting out on it.


Also, LW, this man shouldn't have been "accessing" your google account. Try to make clear to all future boyfriends (and to yourself) that that's not something they should do, under any circumstances.


@14/EmmaLiz: “What do you all think about nonmonogamy as a solution to deep insecurity / jealousy etc?”

No. Non-monogamy is not a shortcut to address insecurity. A non-monogamous relationship requires lots of communication and trust, as well as work to address one’s feelings of jealousy. If Mr. Hurt was capable of doing that in a non-monogamous relationship, then he could do so in a monogamous relationship.


Luke @1: They weren't "long distance" -- he lived in the next town over and they saw each other every weekend.

NoHighway @2: Maybe. This is a common smokescreen. Recently someone wrote in whose wife had made "constant and baseless" accusations of cheating because she herself had cheated, past tense. It's also possible that this guy had been cheated on previously, or that he's just a nutjob. Multiple hours-long phone conversations in the middle of the night? Not in good working order. Glad HURT's dick got him out of the relationship, as Dan said, by finally doing the crime he'd been severely punished for anyway. HURT, go forth and date gaslighting abusers no more, and also cheat no more.

CMD @10: I don't see any reason why Dan would have changed any genders here. Same advice would have applied to a woman, though I suspect (if it were Carolyn Hax answering, anyway) that it would have been coupled with an appeal to her safety, given how many women are murdered by irrational exes. This might be good advice for HURT too. He should also consult with a cyber security expert to get this guy out of his accounts. And yes, he should examine why he allowed this behaviour to happen more than once. Classic DTMFA which he missed.

EmmaLiz @14: I agree that non-monogamy would be a nightmare for an insecure/jealous person. I'm not a particularly insecure or jealous person in general, but certain things do push my buttons. For me, the more I know, the less jealous I get. A person who is jealous or insecure and needs information to deal with that would never be satisfied. It would be constant questions, who where when how, which would make the other partner feel constantly interrogated (like HURT was). Anything they did, they'd assume their partner was also doing but not telling them about. A DADT would be torture. No, the solution for insecure jealousy is not to give the person something to be jealous about. They need to work on their own shit before they can be in even a monogamous relationship.

Surfrat @17: No, drama is not how we do relationships. Drama is what we avoid through communication. I will respect your non-monogamy preferences but I do ask that you refrain from insulting mine.

Sublime @18: Good point. He may not have known how beyond the pale his ex's behaviour was. Many people are socialised to see jealousy as romantic even -- "see how much he cares about me/how important I am to him." HURT, this is not normal or acceptable. Partners must trust each other; without trust, you have nothing.
I think HURT cheated for both those reasons: he was sexually unfulfilled AND he'd already been found guilty. Agree that he should develop the tools to discuss sex with future partners.


What HURT wants, most likely, is a relationship with a man he adores and the occasional Grindr hookup. People will understand my contextual specification of 'everyone' when I say that this is what everyone wants. And it's not unattainable. So many people want it! Find someone who wants the same and negotiate the boundaries.


@7. Venn. That socialisation is weaker for 29yo gay men than it is for 29yo straight women. Thankfully?


Thank you for that projection, Harriet @23. Yes, by "everyone" we know you mean you. Perhaps what HURT wants is a monogamous relationship with someone whom he can see during the week and with whom he's more sexually compatible.


Yeah... I'm pretty anti-cheating, but if I had an S/O that constantly accused me of it, I'd be like "one more word out of you on this and I'm going out to plant my face in the crotch of the next attractive willing stranger I find!"

So yeah, LW. Go and cheat no more - but also don't date people who don't trust you.


@LW I'm with @20! NO ONE should have access to your Google account. WTF!? That is so dangerous. Go into your Google Account settings and change your password ASAP if you haven't already. Also, turn on MFA (multifactor authentication). That way, even if anyone is able to guess your password, they still won't be able to get in without a direct approval on your phone. If you have an Android phone, you'll get a notification every time you or someone tries to log in and if it's you, just hit approve and you'll be in. If not you then they are effectively blocked and you have a fair warning to change your password again.

If you don't know how to enable it, just Google it.


Boyfriend was insecure? I say HURT was equally insecure. He's the one who put up with all that nonsense. He's the one who is just having a "serious" relationship at age 29. He's the one taking all the blame instead of saying, "WTF, dude? Talking for HOURS to calm you down? Breaking in to my Google account? Airing our dirty laundry on Facebook?! Now I'M wracked with guilt!" This sounds a lot like codependency, get some counseling, pronto, and figure out why you have been doing this to yourself, or history will be destined to repeat itself!


Mx Wanna - It interested me that LW manifested a couple of habits we see more often from female LWs, particularly the excessive self-blame. I think you're right about the advice, but the tone seemed to have a bit of edge in it I'd like to run through a Sharko.

M?? Harriet - That would be an explanation, not an excuse. It's aimed harder at women, of course. I'm a little surprised you'd say "Thankfully?"


Ms Fan/M?? Harriet - You remind me of the episode of Cracker in which Penhaligon says to Fitz in a somewhat accusatory tone that that's what he'd like, isn't it, his wife at home and her on the side, and he responds, of course, then generalizes.

Now that I think of it, LW might meditate on Judith, who was certainly pushed into her outside liaison.


Donny @28: Word.


True Donny. Re reading the letter, this boy is confused and I want to send him a hug.
You live and learn LW, and given this was your first relationship, looks like you get to learn a lot.
Only you know if you gave this ex bf cause.
If he felt he had cause, then the way to go about that is to calmly talk about it in daytime hours while you’re visiting, not the middle of a workday week when you have to work the next day, or later that day. Guess it’s a one am call or three am. This is not the behaviour one wishes for in a healthy adult sexual relationship.
It’s a tough emotion to deal with, jealousy, coming at one and arising inside one. I can understand the LW getting frazzled by this scenario, and as it’s his first serious connection, he hasn’t developed the experience to see he shoulda walked a while ago. Good he has written into Dan.


@7 Dan (and most commenters) are mindset to women because they feel that women are feeble and incapable, but that a man should have the huevos to represent himself. This pattern is repeated over and over and only a True Believer could claim not to see it. Fuck, maybe it's true and I've just been trying to jam a round peg into a square hole all this time.

@23 I got no impression that LW wanted anything on the side, just a quality relationship with his partner.


Donny good point. My guess is that the first time it happened, a person would be unwilling to immediately bail, giving the benefit of the doubt that from time to time, anyone can have a moment of neediness. But yes, if it happened again or if it was abusive (all that blame seems like it was) then why did the LW keep putting up with it? I don't know, but there's a world of people who become victims of partner abuse (physical or mental) and the trend is that they usually tend to internalize the abuse, so obviously it does happen to people.

I tend to agree with the side that thinks the cheating has nothing to do with it. People will cheat or not, sometimes it's circumstantial, and your concern about them cheating isn't likely to sway it in one way or another, though it is also possible that some self-defensive part of the LW's psyche was trying to blow up the relationship to get him out of it?

BDF good point about warning about future violence or abuse. I thought a similar thing because the FB post seems vengeful. Could he retaliate in other ways, like at this man's work?

Also surfrat, I think you are correct about people who really like drama. Gives people a sense of purpose I think.

Yes you guys are right regarding nonmonogamy, I think I don't really understand what drives jealousy. I assume it to be a fear that someone will leave you or that they will betray you. BDF good point, I'd never considered that about having too much info. That shone a spotlight on my own psyche, something I'd not seen clearly before. Luckily I also get off on hearing all the details, but I bet that's a classic case of taking anxieties and turning them into sexy play- had never thought of it that way, wow.


EmmaLiz @35: Argh, don't encourage Surfrat in equating people who prefer honesty in their open relationships with people who like drama! >:-(

Jealousy is complicated because it can mean several different things. As you say, it can mean insecurity, a fear of being left (for someone else). This fear can be rational or irrational, based on insecurity about oneself or insecurity in the relationship. If you've only been seeing someone for a few weeks and they seem tepid, a worry that they may ghost you is reasonable, because this happens frequently. Jealousy can also mean envy: I may feel jealous when my partner gets a new partner because -I- want a new partner. And it can mean possessiveness: I may feel jealous when my partner gets a new partner because I want more time with them. Often it is some combination which is hard to analyse because it manifests as a strong negative maelstrom of emotion. And because we are all taught it is wrong to feel jealous, or at the very least to act out our jealousy, we make things worse for ourselves by attempting to suppress it instead of parsing it to see where it comes from, whether it's rational or not, and how both we and our partners can help us address it. It's also hard to universalise because what makes me feel jealous might not make you feel jealous at all, and vice versa. Some people, for instance, have no issue with their partner fucking someone else but get jealous of the idea that the partner might develop feelings for that person. Some of us have jealousy triggers that are based on past negative experiences; for instance, if I had a partner leave me for someone younger, I will feel apprehensive if my current partner gets involved with someone younger but not someone my own age. Etc. So it's hard to generalise really. I find that the better one's self esteem and the more considerate one's partner is, the less one will feel jealousy. Considerate meaning they continue to show you they value you, and give you as much information as you need to feel reassured. For Surfrat that would be no information at all; for most it would mean some base level of whom else they are seeing and how frequent and committed it is; for some it would be an introduction, if feasible; and for some it would mean details of their sex life, as a way, as you say, to combat the jealousy by eroticising it. Being a good partner means that when you feel jealous, your first approach is to deal with it on your own and not make it their problem unless they are legitimately neglecting you, breaking agreements etc. It also means recognising that your partner may feel jealous from time to time, being compassionate toward them, and doing your best to not make things worse.

Wow that got long, but I did say it was complicated!


Thanks Fan, it’s interesting to know more about the poly lifestyle. I’d go crazy with all that talking now. Unless the convos were put to music.


Bottom line LW, this man didn’t care about you, his own feelings were more important. Putting that stuff on fb, this guy is a child.
Relationships are for mutual benefit, where both show concern for the other.
Cut this man off, lick your wounds and learn from this.


Venn @ 29
If anything, I think Dan was too soft with LW and should have been clearer about having them look into their own issues, something that some commenters have alluded to and DK @ 28 said loud and clear.
For all we know it is still possible that the original letter was written by a woman, likely in a het relationship, and genders were flipped to highlight a universal issue.

Sporty @ 34
So much for the party.

EL @ 35
“…a classic case of taking anxieties and turning them into sexy play- had never thought of it that way, wow.”
Welcome to the party.

Lava @ 37
“I’d go crazy with all that talking now.”
If stigmas are right, and I’d say that in the folowing case it is more likely to exist than in other configurations, then lesbian relationship isn’t likely to be for you either.


I'd say the boyfriend was insecure but not in the way it looks. He's making it sound like he's insecure about sexual fidelity. From the information I'm given, I'd say he wakes up in the middle of the night just feeling a nameless terror. It's more like a toddler who's scared, maybe from a bad dream, maybe influenced by a stomach ache, something vague and horrible, and all he knows is that he wants hugs and soothing and to sleep in Mommy's bed or anything that will make the terror go away. Since this is an adult, and since there's no social acceptance in saying he gets anxiety attacks, he "blows up the phone" with calling and reaching out in the only way he has.

Which isn't to say that HURT has to put up with this, only that if he sees it in that light, he can feel better about the grindr guy. HURT, you didn't make the insecurities worse. The only way to make them better was to get your boyfriend to a therapist's office where the anxiety could be dealt with in therapeutic environment. You had every right to end the relationship because you weren't feeling sexually fulfilled.

Think of it this way. A toddler is afraid of the dark or afraid of the monster under the crib or his stomach hurts. Leaving the light on or explaining about the lack of monsters isn't going to do it. If anything, the discussion about cheating is a sidetrack.


@BDF: I'm not trying to be a dick but you seem to have a hard time reading what I wrote and instead are twisting what I wrote. Here is exactly what I wrote: "But if I was going to predict responses by the jealous types for open relationships, I'd have to say that 90+% would not agree. They seem to enjoy the jealousy; drama is how they do relationships."

So let me break that down since I was responding to EmmaLiz's suggestion that open relationships could be a cure for people who are jealous. People who are jealous tend to want a perfect monogamous partner. Of course, the reasons for one's jealousy will be complicated. But it does not seem to me that those jealous types are going to be comfortable with their partners fucking someone else. I said "90+%" because there could be people who are generally jealous and perhaps an open conversation about attraction to other people will show the jealous partner that the everything is on the table. But I think most very jealous people (i.e., the letter writer's BF) will not be satisfied either way. The super jealous person's mental anguish can't be satisfied.

But with all of that said, can you show me where in my original post (which I just quoted) that I said the things you are attributing to me?

In fact, you seem to have ignored my previous responses in our previous discussions: you are for open relationships. I said, that's cool. I said, that's not for me. I prefer DADT. I'm not interested in the endless meta-talk about a relationship for me but understand why other people appreciate that and want that. Or at least among the people who want an open relationship. For people who demand monogamy, that's there choice. Some people can do that well and others (the LW's boyfriend) can't do that well.


Those jealous types are *not going to be comfortable.

Also, again, to clarify since you are twisting what I say. I never said communication is bad. I never said communicating about jealous is bad. I never equated communication with drama. I never equated communication about jealousy with drama.

I noted that there are people who thrive on drama. That is not the same as communication, or productive communication. And I would add here that those people who thrive on drama have some fuel for that fire when they are jealous. That shit isn't good for the person who is in the relationship with the drama lover.


People who demand hours of reassurance in the middle of the night more than once in a very long while are not in good enough working order to date. They need therapy from a professional and possibly anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants, none of which can come from a partner. Someone with extreme insecurities, anxiety, etc. CAN be in good enough working order to date IF ze is getting treatment and, say, calling up zir therapist or a mental health hotline rather than zir partner to deal with insomnia-inducing anxiety. It's okay to be fucked up (most people are in some ways, many in normative ways that aren't seen as fucked up by most people because they're normative) and still seek relationships; it's not okay to behave harmfully/abusively toward people with whom you're in relationships, whatever the impetus to do so (mental illness, abusive cultural values, sadism, whatever).

In short, repatedly calling you up to try to assuage irrational anxiety (pro-tip: this is impossible because the anxiety is irrational - it doesn't respond to reason, else it wouldn't exist in the first place) more than once (unless you've been dating for years, so you know this is infrequent and relatively managable), especially in the middle of the night (sleep deprivation is additional harm, and a common control/abuse tactic), should be a universal hard line. It's inherently abusive, not so much a red flag as a smoking gun; dump anyone who does this (go back to sleep and wait for daylight - sleep is important!).


Yes CMD, @39, I’ve alteady sussed being a lesbian is not for me. I do listen to more music than talking, from anyone. Even the TV annoys me. When I was younger, sure, talking talking.


@14: "What I'm talking about is people who - for whatever neurosis or insecurity- just get eaten up with anxiety over the thought that their partner might be sneaking around behind their backs. It seems sometimes it's the fear of betrayal or the anxiety of wondering which is killing them and requiring these long middle of the night conversations of reassurance, etc. Wouldn't just knowing that your partner was fucking others quell some of that?"

No; that kind of anxiety simply is - it's not linked to anything rational or even anything irrational in particular. Manage to address one point of fixation, and it latches onto something else, or reverts back to the original focus even if that's supposedly been addressed. In your example case, the anxiety would likely shift to worrying about the person leaving for someone better (at fucking, at being a partner, at not being an abusively anxious mess - which is incidentally rational and tends to be self-fulfilling - whatever) rather than the fact of fucking other people. There's no way to rationally address irrational anxiety; that's a big part of what makes it irrational.


Inherent abuse is a red flag John. Yes re sleep.
Fichu, agree. Child like behaviour all round, and that man does need therapy. The cheating is a red herring, in this instance and probably saved the LW from a breakdown. Having his sleep interrupted, constantly being accused. His questions sure are showing signs of a man second guessing himself everywhere.
In future it would be best to have some strong boundaries, also re therapy, gay men groups, as already has been suggested. Then he’d be able to end things with others in a kind and responsible way, not thru cheating.


I've had a couple of regular fuck buddies over the years who were in long term relationships with chronically jealous men. And both of them said that since they were constantly accused of cheating anyway, they had thought "why not just do it, I'm paying for it anyway". I had a great time with them, and they enjoyed having an honest fuck buddy relationship with no drama.

I'd much rather have a fun fuck buddy than a drama-addict spouse.


E@47~ “...I'd much rather have a fun fuck buddy than a drama-addict spouse...”
But how about if you could have a PONY instead of a drama-addict spouse!? How cool would THAT be? (Plus, you could ride him on your boat...)


Lava @37: It's not that bad really! People who are inclined toward insecurity and jealousy should steer clear of non-monogamy in the first place. And in my experience and that of my poly friends group, there is really not much turnover in partners. New partner teething issues may happen once every couple of years. Once relationships are established and everyone knows where they stand, there is less need for check-ins.

Fichu @40: Perhaps he should be calling a 24-hour mental health hotline instead of destroying his poor boyfriend's night of sleep.

Surfrat @41: Yes, that's exactly what you wrote, and it's offensive. You imply that people who want open communication are "jealous types," and you say we enjoy both drama and jealousy. How is that not insulting? It's not your first snide remark directed at ask/tell types; in the May 2 letter you referred to them as "gatekeepers." This was the letter from the woman who found a hair and you concluded she'd gone snooping to find it and was therefore hypocritical about preferring open relationships. Your tone belies not only that you prefer DADT but that you have contempt for people who don't. Even your characterising of communication as "endless meta-talk" is dismissive. I don't "endlessly" talk about my partners' other relationships. In established poly, those conversations largely consist of "So how's Patty doing lately?" in much the same tone as I might ask "So how is your mother?"
There are indeed people who thrive on drama. Many of these people do it through the medium of monogamous relationships. Opening a discussion about your partner's outside love life is not causing drama.
I guess the misunderstanding came in when you said 90% of people would disagree with you. Jealous types would disagree, but so would a hell of a lot of other people -- pretty much everyone else who's answered EmmaLiz's question says bad idea, and that does not make us "jealous types."
Apology accepted, moving on.


Mx Wanna - That isn't inconsistent with wanting to Sharko the reply. I could make Mr Savage's case for him, but it would be an explanation and not an excuse.

Speaking of Mr Sharko, we saw a love set Sunday in Rome for the first time in the 54 meetings between Djokovic and Nadal. And, perhaps even more surprisingly, in the current superfinal between the top chess engines, yesterday Leela defeated Stockfish with the black pieces for the first time in eighty attempts between this match and their last one. I'm on the alert for other unexpected things to happen.


I have never commented on a savage love or savage love letter of the day, but this letter was the tipping point. I even made an account! I was in a similar experience in my early 20’s, I was dating an older person when I was 24. I had never been in a LTR, but he had, so I assumed he knew more. He was incredibly insecure. It started with him making comments about how “all relationships end eventually,” which would put me in a panic that I was doing something. I’d argue that not everything ends, blah blah. I had been honest up front about wanting to explore my sexuality, being bi, and he initially was super cool with it. But then he’d trap me into arguments by asking if I found a certain person objectively attractive.

Then his insecurity turned into him making comments about how I’m probably cheating on him, etc. I had never cheated, never asked about open relationships, nothing. I would point out logically how I hadn’t, but eventually my zealousness for my debate declined, which was further proof I was cheating and didn’t care about him. He even convinced me that I HAD cheated!! By hanging out with a friend I found attractive but had never been sexual with and who was not even attracted to my gender. We just met up for brunch. This continued to escalate to the point where he would become angry with me if he thought someone was attracted to me. Like a male coworker who was “probably thinking about me to masturbate to.” Like that was something I could control? Also, I don’t want to think about that and it made me uncomfortable. Didn’t matter, I shouldn’t be attractive.

Eventually, it was just easier to stop talking to people or socializing. Obviously, this did not stop anything. Our relationships ended eventually, weirdly with him dumping me. But the saga continued that night when he got wasted and threatened to kill himself. I went over there (dumb, I know), and he hit me and threatened me with a gun. The police came and he was given a citation. He continued to call me for a few weeks after and I (stupidly) would answer. The hours long conversations just consisted of him blaming me for everything and all that.

So LW, I would see this as a huge red flag. Cheating isn’t good, but getting out of that relationship was a hugely positive thing. Learn from this experience, go to therapy (I did and am still), grow, and learn your self-worth. We all deserve healthy, happy, and respectful love.


Thanks BDF- I think actually I'm confusing jealousy for anxiety, as John @45 describes- yes that is how it works for me. It's part of what makes raising teens so terrible- so much to worry about. But then again, that brings me back to my original suggestion- if this is about anxiety and not personal relationships, then a coping skill could be learning which things to fixate on. Put it into your job or a hobby or a kink. You have no control over other people, no sense worrying about what they do. As for specific examples of different types of jealousy- none of that resonates with me and I agree that those things do not sound like they'd benefit from open relationships. I don't know how I'd respond if my husband fell in love with someone else. But I also can't imagine how I'd respond to a tornado destroying my home, etc. Trying to think about both feels about the same- the anxiety about what this would do to us and our family, our home, future, etc. Likewise with both, the feeling that it's unlikely to happen and totally out of my control regardless so no use in even worrying about it.

FWIW, I interpreted Surfrat's words the way he says he intended them. He was responding to my hypothetical jealous people who might benefit from a relationship in which they can just let certain things be openly out of their control - that of THOSE people, the sort who are already having problems with jealousy, many of them just enjoy the drama of it. Whether or not this is true, that's not the same thing as saying anyone who prefers honesty in open relationships wants drama.

I'd like a boat to ride a pony on.


Agree with John above @43 too. In addition to the abusiveness of the situation, I'd also point out that a person who can't tell the difference between an actual crisis and their overwhelming feelings is not someone most of us should attach ourselves to. If this dude freaks out this much over not knowing where his bf is for a few hours, what sort of partner is he going to be when there is a real problem?

I wonder also about why the LW felt he needed to put up with this. I can see being taken by surprise the first time, but when it happened again, why did he stay with it?

To be fair to the LW, if you genuinely care for a person, it's difficult to cut them off when they appear to be needy. It's easy to say that's what you should do, but it's hard in the moment to turn your back on someone who is really freaking out. I can see a kind person thinking that if they just help an insecure person a bit, that person will become secure and all will be well. And then a cycle of abuse and enabling starts, you can lose sight of reality awfully quickly. It's always good to step back and see where you are at- it's not normal or healthy to spend hours on the phone with someone at night, reassuring them while they abuse you. Also it's perfectly fine to look out for yourself as well, that does not make you selfish. I wonder if the cheating was actually a form of self-defense- it got him out of this toxic relationship.

My advice is that if you have trouble keeping boundaries or looking out for yourself, that you look to close or trusted friends/family- the sort that love you and won't judge you. A lot of times, people hide the turmoil of their relationships even from loved ones because they are embarrassed. It might be good to have a friend who can hold a mirror up to you. So you can say "Am I helping this person or being used?" and describe what's going down to get a trusted outside opinion. Basically what you've done here with Dan.


@25. Bi. That's not the rationale for my comment--roughly 'that HURT most likely wants a monogamish relationship enlivened by hookups'. The rationale is rather that it's beating yourself up unnecessarily, if you're in that situation--or beating the person who acted that way up unnecessarily--to ask whether you, or they, cheated through being pressured into it by their partner's baseless accusations, or for any other reason e.g. their partner correctly intuited something about them. There's no reason to go there. HURT made a mistake--he should have ended the relationship, or stood up to the abusive phone calls, or else desisted from cheating. A mistake, yes, but a minor and forgivable mistake over the long run of life.

What does he want? And how can he negotiate it better next time? These are the questions for him.


@29. venn. I say 'thankfully' because, in part, I'm still the guy I was in my 20s, femme-presenting but still to all intents and purposes a gay guy, who thought he couldn't have relationships. I thought I was too unusual; my habits (hard study, then hard partying) were too uncongenial, and I didn't believe in my desirability. So I'm glad I didn't feel the same utterly gravitational normative pressure women feel to be in a relationship.


@34. Sportlandia. I'm very happy to have brought you and Bi together! ;)

The LW yaws between expressions of extreme feeling without looking to mediate or moderate them. He was 'head over heels' in love. He adored the guy. He 'totally screwed up'. He wasn't 'sexually fulfilled'. They're all separate sentences. He isn't able to think the whole passage of experience through--to say anything integrated like 'my partner said I was going to cheat, but I don't think I did it just to spite him ... or because he had removed the rationale to be faithful--it was just that I was horny and the relationship was based on affection, not impersonal lust'. Plus he is raking over the coals, asking the wrong question--i.e. 'was my ex right'? 'Like, maybe he was so right that I should get back together with him?' But it doesn't matter why he slept with someone else. He acted out--expressed what was important to him without it being under his rational control--and that way exited a situation that could have become oppressive (maybe was already).

Now would be a better time for him to think--not about this relationship in the past, but about what he wants in the next one. Does he residually think it's 'wrong' not to be monogamous? Does he think it's better to be in a relationship than to have FWBs or casual sex on a scene? Does being about to turn 30 affect his answer? There aren't right answers here. It's about what he wants.


@35. Emma. For me, jealousy isn't about other people fucking my partner but more about (as you surmise) a fear of abandonment. Other people fuck my partner all the time. He's a standing dish. Some people trigger jealousy, others don't. I see his hookups as a more or less interchangeable string of hot guys, twinks, out my league and not my type; obviously, they're more than that, but this would be roughly my rationalisation. I hate drama--even disagreement of any form.

@47. ECarpenter. Yes, I'd rather have a fun fuckbuddy than a drama-addict spouse. But possible I've told everyone what I'd rather have already ;)

Turns out I agree with Lava on everything! Much rather music than the yada-yada.


@49. Bi. Surfrat said that '90%+' of 'jealous types' would not accept an open relationship. In an open relationship, they would have to work at communicating and commit to getting their jealousy under control. But these jealous types, he (he?) says, tacitly 'enjoy the jealousy' in their relationships. Surfrat seems to be saying the opposite to how you read him/them. You may be getting your wires crossed because of Surfrat's previous comments.


M?? Harriet - I was later reminded of Emma and the dinner part for the newlywed Eltons, when (secretly engaged) Jane Fairfax can only prevent the officious Mrs Elton of insisting on having the Eltons' servant who collects their mail collect that of Jane as well by praising the efficacy of the post office, which leads to a discussion of handwriting, and how girls in a family often write alike due to having the same governess, while boys, who get sent away to school, scramble into any hand they can get. It occurred to me that gays may often scramble into any socialization they think might fit, though none really apply to us, or even fewer to you and your lot. (This may also tie in to a discussion I was having elsewhere about the Abstinence Only Education Brick Wall - "No sex until marriage." "We can't marry; what should we do?" "No sex until marriage." - which, though not the main design of the AO set, provided a nice side benefit by trying to goad us into risky, socially-seen-as-depraved conduct which they could turn around and use as an argument against our inherent wickedness and lack of suitability for basic human rights and decent treatment.)

I'm still not sure why you think it acceptable to berate gays for accepting the "wrong" socialization, but perhaps it's just part of a grand scheme worthy of a Bradshaw Award.


@59. venn. I'm not berating anyone. I said there were no right or wrong answers to the question, 'what do you want?'. Only each person's answers.

In my 20s I was very anti- gays approximating to het norms. My line was 'you're gay; the fantasy shouldn't bite as much into your mind as that'. I thought the gays who wanted marriage had bought into a prejudicial conception by which they had to school or tame or subdue--domesticate--their queer urges. In retrospect, I see this was stupidly militant. And protesting-too-much. Your actual point--as opposed to your critical riposte, imagining I was berating anyone--about gays having a range of socializations available to them would be one I agree with.


@EmmaLiz: I've come to understand that BDF reads what BDF wants to read. Then if there is any repetition from other people in any way (e.g., Sportlandia, Hunter, and now me) then BDF is quick to tell other people not to cater to those folks, as was posted above to you about me.

In this instance, I have said explicitly that the LW's boyfriend thrived on drama, which is a very specific type of communication. To borrow Sportlandia's recurring move: if the LW was a woman (e.g., the woman who wrote that her BF always wanted to fuck when the woman was on the phone with her mom) then most respondents would call the move manipulative and abusive. In this instance of the LW to which this thread exists: the LW's BF was manipulative and one could argue abusive. That's not open communication in any context (open relationship, monagamish, or monogamous). Anyway, I'll keep posting as I see things and will expect to be added to BDF's growing list of so-called trolls.


Surfrat, if you are expecting me to rally around your perspective against BDF- especially when you link yourself to Hunter and Sporty- then you definitely have me barking up the wrong tree.

I just think she misread or misinterpreted the fact that you were talking about a specific group of people (those who were already jealous) and I agree that it probably has something to do with your prior comments about DADT which showed some extreme biases on your part if I remember correctly.

Harriet I don't know about the jealousy bit. This conversation is interesting to me because the more I read the more confused I get. I'm not afraid of abandonment at all. I have a lot of anxiety but it tends to be around long term planning and goals- I can get caught up in how immediate choices affect the future, etc, and any time my long term life is wrapped up in other people's (as happens with families and finances) then I can get anxious about it. But abandonment? I don't think so. I think I'd be fine on my own- in some ways it would be easier. What troubles me is betrayal- if I've been led on by someone I trusted, you know carried on as if things were the same while meanwhile they were carrying on deceit on the side, an ongoing affair- hmmm. I'd probably respond with violence tbh. Is this jealousy? I wouldn't be troubled by the relationship but rather by the deceit. Does that matter? I dunno.


@62. Emma. I'm insecure--in that my mind runs to 'will the people I love or like stop liking or loving me?'--but not anxious--e.g. 'will my house burn down? Will I die in a car crash? What will happen to people I care about or support financially if I die in a car crash?'. I figure that life would just go on and everyone would make the best of it. My partnership is set up so that the only thing my lover could do that would mean 'cheating' would be to find, long-term, someone who offers him much the same as me--notably intellectual stimulation and a sounding-board for his work, as well as emotional support--and whom he prefers to me. This would be devastating and end the relationship; but, in a sense, that would be that.

I don't know whether these thoughts about the relative vulnerability of people to insecurity and anxiety have anything to say about preferences for different relationship formats.


EmmaLiz @52: Thanks. Indeed, because Surfrat had been snide about open communicators previously, I jumped to the conclusion that he was once again being snide about open communicators in his comment. I am happy to stand corrected. Thanks for your support @62.

EmmaLiz @53: "I can see being taken by surprise the first time, but when it happened again, why did he stay with it?" My theory is that because this behaviour is so illogical, the logical thing to do is assume that there is something one can do to make it go away. Only in the rearview mirror does one realise what a futile hope this was. Wishful/dickful thinking is a strong motivator, and this guy did not have any "normal" relationship experience to compare it to.


M?? Harriet - I didn't say you were berating anyone, but that you thought it acceptable for Mr Savage to berate LW.

I shall sympathize on point, at least - it can be terribly irritating to see people acting in a completely wrong-headed way while respecting their agency to do so.


@65. venn. I don't think it's acceptable for anyone to berate the LW. I'd say, 'that must have been a difficult relationship to be in', putting an arm round his shoulders, and not bringing up his cheating more than strictly necessary (say, if he brought it up). And I'd say, 'you know, that's not a normal way to behave in relationship'--viz. jealous, needy phone calls--'you don't have to put up with that'. And not scold, or expect him to understand this because he's 29, or to have any desire to psychologise (or sociologise) why he hasn't had a serious relationship before being 29.


@EmmaLiz and BDF: The example that was used to highlight my bias against open communicators also ignored all of the nuances of my response to that issue (e.g., the woman who found a hair in her BF's bed). First, in that post, I said that the BF in that scenario was a complete asshole and not to be trusted. I said that even if she and the BF were to come to an agreement about an open relationship, his manipulative behavior could likely open her up to something far worse than cheating (i.e., STI). Second, I said that the phrasing of her letter was such that it was not clear to me if she was looking for something or found something, which are too very different acts. And if she was looking for something to then catch him then perhaps the level of trust wasn't there to engage with ethical non-monogamy. Again, the letter wasn't specific enough in the description to know what happened. But if the hair was found because it was a long black hair on white sheets and nobody in that relationship has long black hair then finding the hair merely is another piece of evidence that the BF was cheating and she should move on if cheating is a deal breaker for her.

The thing that I find most interesting here is that my regular posts that I personally could care less about cheating is read as an attack against other forms of non-monogamy. Personally, I'm not interested in being in a relationship that involves a lot of meta- talk about the relationship (note: a lot) but I've never said that such approaches to relationships are bad or that people who want that are bad. It's like saying I don't like strawberry ice cream and someone reading that as me saying strawberry ice cream eaters are assholes. The one thing I have said is that people spend a lot of energy on cheating and I think they should worry about other things (esp. when a lot of bullshit gets lumped into cheating, such as watching porn or masturbating while thinking about someone else). But again, that's not an attack on people in any relationship (esp, not open relationships). It's a recommendation not a judgement about an indivdual's personality. I think I am also consistent when I post in ways that are a judgement about personality: someone is abusive in some way. Then I say dump the asshole and move on.

I don't expect anyone is going to go back through the history of my posts but I would be very confident that you will not find me saying people in open relationships have made a bad choice, people who talk about their relationships are wrong, or that people who continue to negotiate their relationships are bad people. I have expressed a preference for myself that differs but there are a lot of things I like that differ from other people; that's really great in some ways and can be frustrating in other ways. In the case of this specific thread, I said two things: the LW's BF was manipulative and his repeated talk about the relationship was not meant to build a stronger relationship (again, he was borderline abusive) and that opening up the relationship would not solve the problems in my opinion because it seems like the BF thrives on drama and jealousy. That's not the same for other people in open relationships, who thrive on honesty and connection.


surfrat, I have no dog in this race. I vaguely remember you saying something about DADT being bullshit, I don't really care why you said it or what the context was. It worked for my relationship, if it doesn't work for you I don't really care. I enjoyed your contribution to this particular conversation. I think BDF misunderstood what you said and I was clarifying. But if you want to attack BDF or have a bigger beef with her, just leave me out of it- she's perfectly capable of defending herself. It's weird that you want to make a bigger point about your feelings of BDF and you do so by dragging me, Hunter and Sporty into it. But if you insist on pretending we are organized into tribes here, it's a no brainer where I'd be if Hunter/Sporty are in one and BDF in the other. BTW, take a moment to reflect on irony of accusing someone else of bias and drama and trolling and bullying in two posts in which you drag three other commenters into your own misunderstanding and refer to past grievances with that person, etc. My point- I have not always agreed with your posts but I have not had any particular problem with them either, people misunderstand one another online and people get on each others' nerves and all of this seems quite normal- BDF has been willing here and otherwise to clarify and accept misunderstanding. The only thing offensive to me is you blowing this up and directing your (imo bullying and dramatic and biased) post against BDF up above to me. If you have a prob with her, leave me out of it. When she directed her post to me at 36 to me, I clarified how I interpreted your words- she did not attack you personally. FWIW, I don't think you or Sporty or BDF are trolls, though I think Sporty is deliberately obtuse and instigating and does not argue in good faith and is sometimes insulting. Hunter, I don't know. Regardless, of all the people to defend against accusations of trolling (if your point is to make those accusations seem nuts), it's weird you'd select one person who is widely considered a troll and another who is deliberately provocative.


Also Surfrat, to be fair, I shouldn't have said that you were bullying. To me it seems bullying if one addresses a second person to complain about a third, but you said nothing offensive or personal- even though I disagree with your POV here, you were not bullying. Drama and bias for sure though. BTW, as I've said before, I personally don't GAF too much about things like that- I have my share of drama and bias as well and I generally think good manners are over-rated. So I'm not really complaining about drama and bias so much as the hypocrisy of pointing out your perception of others' drama and bias in a biased and dramatic post. But we're deep in the weeds now.

BTW while we three were being petty, Nothing Clever wrote a really good and actually helpful and relevant post that describes how someone can slowly get accustomed to abuse- how it's normalized. Thanks, and I'm glad you are out of that.


Harriet, yes that insecurity vs anxiety distinction is probably what I was getting at, thanks. I definitely am in the anxious camp.

"I don't know whether these thoughts about the relative vulnerability of people to insecurity and anxiety have anything to say about preferences for different relationship formats."

I can only speak for myself and hadn't really thought about it in the context of nonmonogamy until this letter, but for me it definitely helps to cultivate an environment in which there really isn't incentive to lie, and I think this is because of that insecurity v anxiety split. For example, though it would no doubt be a massive heart break if my man were to fall in love with someone else and then choose to be with that person instead of me, I don't have any concern that I couldn't handle it and get on about my life appropriately, assuming I had knowledge that it was happening and could prepare for it accordingly, etc. An insistence on monogamy would be a barrier to any open communication- you might not be so open or honest about where your actions and feelings were leading you if you thought you were not supposed to have them in the first place or that disclosing them could blow up your life, etc. I'm definitely firmly in the camp of wanting to hear the hard truths and make decisions accordingly, and I can be reasonable so long as everything is out in the open. I think this is a direct result of my general anxiety about the future- it also makes me pretty damn responsible. If my concern were more about the actual emotion (rather than material) consequences, then I might be prioritizing relationship security instead? Right? Hence why I wonder about people who keep themselves up all night with worry about what their partner is doing- it must have at its core some sense that there are things that are acceptable and things that aren't, and it makes more sense to me to just get those things out in the open- other people's actions are not under your control, but you do have the right to decide how to respond to them. IMO once I reframe the situation this way, I no longer worry what other people do. I just worry about my own responsibilities and choose how to respond to others'. The things that would make me leave is discovering I've been lied to- basically anything else I can deal with, so there's little incentive to lie. Other than that, it's just basic compatibility stuff, like if my partner were to tell me he was suddenly obsessed with adult diapering, it would probably cause a rift so I suppose he could be incentivized to hide that, or if he were to become a Republican or something. Again, I'm just not sure I understand jealousy like this- seems like it must be a symptom of something deeper, so I'd think that it's healthier to find other ways to deal with the problem. Like, you have a fear of abandonment. Do you just keep that to yourself so as not to dump your shit on others? There must be some way you work it into your relationships or else you'd constantly be in a state of insecurity, right? I'd assume that could lead to you seeking validation and a desire to control the other person to make sure they wouldn't leave- assuming you were less ethical and/or selfaware, etc. Hence the LW's situation or Nothing Clever's ex above, no?


Surfrat @67: "I said that the phrasing of her letter was such that it was not clear to me if she was looking for something or found something." You may have thought that, but you didn't type it. You typed, "Then again, she's the one looking around for hairs in a bed so maybe she's not as open as she's suggesting." After I called you out, a follow-up post did include the word "if" but not a clear statement that perhaps you had misread the letter and she did in fact just stumble upon it, in which case your accusations were unfounded. Again, it's your tone rather than just your words. Words like "gatekeepers" and "endless talk" suggest that you do not have a neutral view of open-communication relationships. I do not disagree with the other views you expressed in that column (and don't care to rehash it), I was just using it as an example to show how my misreading of your comment in this one was not deliberate as you accused.

I don't feel bullied and I'm happy to move on from the misunderstanding.