He Gave an Ultimatum to His Cheating Boyfriend: Recommit Or Quit

Comments

1

Mens is WEIRD.

2

I heard the narcissist's prayer in there from the boyfriend... I didn't do it, and if I did, it wasn't that bad, and if it was bad, then it wasn't my fault. That's just about the ultimate red flag.

The L-dub sounds like a shit show too. For future reference, when STD prank calls seem like the solution to your problem... well... you're really fucked up!

Thank goodness these 2 found each other, so no one else could. Get a new therapist l-dub and start unpacking whatever made you think any of this was ok.

3

The letter writer was 40 when the relationship began, not 30.

He is in his early 50s now, and they've been in a relationship for 11 years, so he would have been 40 when the relationship started.

He was 40, and his boyfriend was 18.

4

"I'm notoriously bad at math, WAA, but if you're twenty-two years older than he is and you're in your early fifties and you've been in this relationship for eleven years... that means you first got together when you were about 30 and he was about 18."

Friendly correction :) I believe that LW would've been approx 40 when they first got together. (I'm also bad at math, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong!)

And 18ish and 40ish feels MUCH different to me than 18ish and 30ish... But anyway, Dan already addressed the biggest issue there (which is that the partner has most likely been emotionally and/or financially dependant on LW). Probably a lot of codependency here too. Therapy for everyone for sure! (And maybe also reading some books on codependency / boundaries??)

5

LW would have been 40ish rather than 30ish when they got together, but Dan's point — that BF was in his teens then — stands.

6

@3 you beat me to it by a minute haha

7

@3 Yeah. I was doing the math too. At the oldest, LW’s boyfriend was 21. LW is a control freak who robbed the cradle and is surprised his much younger boyfriend cheated on him?

LW’s boyfriend may be a piece of work, but his actions are understandable. LW, on the other hand, is a complete POS.

8

Your math is bad. You've shaved 10 years off both of them.

LW was 40ish and partner was about 28.

9

Wait, my bad.

BF would have been 18ish when LW was 40ish. Turns out my math us also bad

10

@2--it's called Gaslighting.

For his own health, the letter writer should DTMFA and the boytoy should DTMFA the LW ass TOO! Or may be these two should stay together--they deserve each other.

11

Gaslight is such a great movie.

12

“...I told him that I'm leaving him.”

Behold a tiny ray of hope in this roiling sh*tstorm of a letter. Please, please leave. Now. You just escalated a bad situation — who knows what your boyfriend may do in return? Run away now. Now!

13

What's the acronym work out to for "I have no idea whether you're a jerk or he's a jerk or both of you are jerks but this relationship is terrible for both of you and throw it in the trash already."?

(I don't buy "stick together, you deserve each other and then you can't mess up anyone new." First, one or both might be legitimately decent people if they get out and get their shit together. Second, these shitfest relationships are not cost-free for their friends or family or other bystanders.)

14

And yeah, after you break up, get a fresh therapist too, this one's not getting the job done (which may not be their fault of course).

15

Math, man.

16

Math changes everything. They should teach it in school.

17

Where were these word problems when I was learning algebra?

Regardless, as Dan said, the LW has been with his BF for basically all the bf's adult life. Maybe a bit of overlap before the kid reached the age of majority but who knows? If he had a horrific childhood and being with LW is all he knows of adulthood, well, his behavior is kinda understandable (not excusable). LW was safety, stability for a young man who really really needed it. But as he matured, he needed freedom to grow and be his own person, to explore, whatever. But he's not in good working order enough to articulate that in a healthy way so he cruelly tries to make LW miserable enough to do the breaking up.

And I've speculated way far out onto a limb but I dunno, could be plausible.

18

I would've been a lot harder on WAA for what he did. Snooping is one thing, what he did while he was snooping was... egregious. Neither of these guys are mature enough to be in a romantic relationship, by the sound of it, and with WAA's behavior, I'm sorta hoping he isn't able to lead another young gay astray.

19

@15, 16: Thanks for making me spit wine at my computer screen, ya rat-bastards!

20

The boyfriend is young. Maybe he just wants to fool around and be young.

21

I'd ask, "what is there worth saving in this relationship?"
From the sound of this letter, not much. But if there is, the next question needs to be, "can I put up with things as they are?"
If the answer is no, then you need to break up ('cause things aren't going to change); if the answer is yes, then you need to learn how to graciously accept the limited things that your boyfriend can offer.

22

He calls himself an old man and he’s early 50’s. This guy needs to wake up and smell the roses.

23

Idiot assholes of the world unite! For Pete’s sake, both of you STAY TOGETHER! Please don’t inflict yourselves on the rest of the world!

24

LW, you really, really, REALLY fucked up, and the fact that your boyfriend is willing to consider staying (actually begging to stay) with you after the insanely abusive thing that you did (telling people you don't know that he's exposed them to diseases! jesus fucking christ!) suggests that your boyfriend has serious self esteem issues. The fact that he's with you is immensely unhealthy. I suspect that he's terrified — of you, of his family, maybe of the world — and that fear is both the reason he won't break up with you and the reason he should. It could also be the reason he's stopped having sex with you.

Another thing that makes me think this way: when you promise Dan that you'll listen to his opinions (which you just ASKED him for) even though you think those opinions are sometimes "full of shit", that's not a sign that you're a reasonable person who will listen to contrary opinions. That's a sign that you're a really unpleasant person to talk to. Let me go further: it's a sign that even when you know you need help, you put up ugly unpleasant barriers to the very people you're asking to help you — the people who are doing WORK to make YOUR life better because YOU asked them to.

I don't know how this tendency of yours manifests in the ways you talk to your boyfriend, but somehow I can't imagine it's good.

If you DO try to stay together, you have a LOT of work to do on yourself, and the first step is to get a couples counselor who can watch the way you talk to your boyfriend and tell you when you're being an asshole/abuser/self-righteous-twit. Because again, the way you describe your boyfriend's behavior, and the way you describe how you've reacted to it, makes me suspect that he's staying with you because he's scared, and these affairs he's having are cries for help.

25

@24: bouncing, what an interesting analysis. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was about the lw that bothered me (beyond the fact that the age difference and the length of the relationship meaning that this lw's partner has given his entire youth to this man and might be chafing by now). But I think you really may have nailed it.

26

I'm sympathetic to WAA's boyfriend. He was only about 18 when they first started dating, and it is probable that Mr. Waa did not have many, if any, sex partners before that time. It was never realistic that Mr. Waa was going to go through the end of his teens and twenties without having other sex partners, and anyone in a long-term relationship with someone decades younger should have known better.

I'm sure the response is, "But Mr. Waa should have been honest about his needs, he is old enough to know how to use words already!" Like the rest of us, Mr. Waa was probably socialized to think monogamy was the only option in a relationship, especially one in which his partner was demanding monogamy of him from the age of 18. Does anyone think that WAA was the right partner from which Mr. Waa could learn relationship skills like talking to a partner about his sexual needs, particularly something like an open relationship? Consequently, Mr. Waa's supposed gaslighting does not shock me, especially given WAA's over the top response when he snooped.

The Campsite Rule was very much in play from the start of this relationship, but has not been well-followed by WAA, who needs to take responsibility for that lapse. And seriously, who defines people who are sexually attracted to older partners as "creeps," but then proceeds to partner with someone 22 years younger than themselves?

If there is genuine love between this couple and WAA can abide a DADT arrangement, then by all means stay together, but if Mr. Waa only sees WAA as a surrogate father-figure with whom he cannot be sexual or WAA cannot agree to an open relationship, then they should part ways.

27

I keep reading Recommit Or Quit in the rhythm of MC Hammer's Too Legit To Quit. The LW will know exactly what I'm referring too but of course his lover would not have been born then.

But yes Dan's response here is perfect, responded to the question and all the red flags as well and gave some great insight as a man of the LW's age with an alternative perspective. Hope they both get the help they need.

28

The LW should dump the BF right after high school graduation

29

To be honest, I loved sex with older men when I first came out in my late 20s. Intelligence and experience (sexual and in life) were as much a turn-on as physical beauty and stamina. Now, as I'm close to turning 65, I find I would still prefer a relationship with someone close to my age, for the same reasons. Even in porn viewing I've found myself turning more and more to the "mature men" sections. I felt kind of sorry for the LW, that he's willing to rule out a lot of worthy, interesting, sexy men because they're older, wanting to stick with those decades younger. LW definitely nds to find a better therapist and work on himself. From what he stated, he's not exactly prime relationship or marriage material, no matter the age of the other party in the relationship.

30

Huh. Interesting to know that the "Older guys who only want to have sexual partners young enough to be their kids" thing isn't restricted to straight men. Seriously, Dude. Stop robbing the cradle and get a relationship with someone your own age, and you'll be surprised how much drama isn't there any more.

31

Yeah, I did the math right off, put him at 52 now and boyfriend at 19 when they got together, and decided I have very little sympathy for this creep no matter what comes next in the letter. And I wasn't disappointed:
"The only people who want to fuck an old man are generally either old men themselves or kinda creepy." So what does that say about your toyboy?
"I don't want to be with another old man myself" -- and what does that say about you?

You said it yourself, dude -- sex is a young person's game. Your 30-year-old boyfriend has a higher sex drive than you. You don't get to have a May-December relationship like this without paying the price of admission, and he's made it clear his price of admission is that he's gonna fuck whoever he wants to fuck. Can you accept this?
Ugh, looks like the answer is no. Mr WAA, dump your immature geriatric boyfriend for being a snooping, meddling creep! And get some therapy to figure out why, at 30, your childhood is still having such an effect on you. WAA is not the only man who can ever love you, and if he is, you're better off alone!
Oops, it's WAA who wrote in, not Mr WAA. Yes, break up and maybe get another therapist who will get real with you.
Or better yet, stay together so no one else has to deal with either of your messed-up selves. Oy indeed. Dan, great, compassionate advice. If these two dumpster fires are going to stay together, WAA should just give him permission to fuck whoever else he wants, since he's already doing it, and yes, since WAA's own virility isn't going to improve from here.

32

Mirea @17: "Where were these word problems when I was learning algebra?" Bwahahaha! Great quip. Gold star for the rest of your comment too. Mr WAA probably does want out but is terrified of being on his own. Mr WAA, you're 30 (or so) -- get out there and find yourself already.

Athari @18: Yes, that is a mercy -- at his age, few 18-year-olds will fall into his trap.

Lava @22, he calls himself an old man because he is attracted to, and potentially only hanging around with, much younger people. WAA, get out and meet some people your own age, you'll start to see that early 50s is not as ancient as you feel by comparison.

Bouncing @24, great insight. WAA did in fact neg Dan -- twice! -- while supposedly asking for his advice. I bet he picks young men not because of their hot bodies but because they're easily gaslit and manipulated. You're right -- Mr WAA found out that WAA had not only snooped but meddled in his private life, and he begs WAA to take him back instead of dumping the motherfucker with extreme prejudice? Mr WAA, if you're reading this, you're not safe. Get the fuck out now and sever ties.

33

WAA is the most unlikeable letter writer in awhile. Damn, what an awful, narcissistic, shallow, and petty vengeful person.

His juvenile, vindictive response to unpleasant information he discovered while violating his long term partner’s privacy which only confirmed what he had always believed shows a level of emotional immaturity and abusiveness which reveals that he is not fit for an adult relationship and suggests that his apparent shallowness in his desire for younger guys may be related to a subconscious recognition of his retarded maturity. Most 40 year olds realize that, hot as the sex might be, an 18 year old is not by definition, a mature and equal partner for a long term monogamous relationship.

It’s pretty obvious to most commenters here that the fact that his boyfriend begged to stay with him is not a sign of the boyfriend’s love or a sign of hope for this relationship, but indicative of a longstanding gaslighting of the bf by LW, of abuse of the likely power differential in the relationship, and of unresolved issues of dependency and fear from the boyfriend’s childhood carried through to this relationship. This 30ish year old needs lots of therapeutic help, and when he’s ready for it, a healthy relationship, unlike the one he’s in now with LW.

The worst part of LW is his stunning lack of empathy for this man he purports to love. The campsite rule is no where in evidence. He took a damaged, emotionally immature 18 year old and simultaneously expects him to be an automatically responsible emotionally mature adult and partner while reductively defining his value only by his age and sex drive.

Add in the disrespectful way he talks to Dan while seeking application of his limited resources and considerable talents and the general observation that those who write in try to present themselves in a positive light, and the awfulness of this guy is overwhelming. Damn.

34

To the LW, as neutrally as I can say it:

To paraphrase Dan, sex comes standard in a relationship. If you need it and he won’t give it, break up with him.

But listen, you dysfunctional, opportunistic, abusive, narcissistic piece of shit, you don’t deserve a loving and intimate relationship unless and until you are capable of providing one, which doesn’t seem like right now or anytime soon judging from your description of yourself in this letter you wrote asking for advice. You have to love your guy for who he is, not just what he provides you. You have to be interested in his development and wellbeing for his sake, not yours. You have to be aware of and responsive to his needs, not just your own. He’s supposed to be your partner, so treat him like one, not an emotional support animal in the body of a gay Twink porn star.

Well, I was able to sustain the neutrality for two sentences.

35

@30 Yes indeed. When I came out and started dating men at 19, men like him started crawling out of the woodwork. I found them super skeevy and avoided them as much as possible (much to their ire), but I had the advantage of a relatively stable home life so I didn't need the resources that someone like the LW could offer to entice a young guy who normally wouldn't give him the time of day. It's predatory.

Now that I'm in my 30's, I've dated men in their 50's. These are not the same men, even though the age gap is the same.

36

I'm a guy in my fifties, 56 to be exact, and live in a college area so the guys that tend to be attracted to me are in their early 20's sometimes as young as 18. My last two relationships have been with college students. One thing I always pushed was for them to have sexual experience with others. These young guys are just coming into their own and need to experience life. The mistake the letterwriter made was locking this guy down for 11 years. No wonder the kid was cheating. Dan's PPS is right on the money

37

This older guy sounds pretty immature and clueless. He obviously hasn't figured out that his own jealousy is poisoning both him and this relationship, and he needs to figure out how to stop it. If the younger guy isn't interested in sex with him any more - that's just a fact, he can't change that, he needs to deal with it. If he isn't satisfied with an open relationship and sex with other men instead, he needs to get out of this relationship.

He got into a relationship with a very young man, and somehow didn't expect the young man to change significantly over the next ten years, even though ALL young men change a lot as they grow older and more experienced. My sympathy is with the younger man. He deserved a better mentor.

38

Holy crap WAA you suck, go fuck yourself.

39

Arithmetic

40

@31 BiDanFan Dumpster fires -- yes. I keep forgetting this phrase exists. Gotta use it more.

41

To repeat everything that's repeatedly been said here --

The boyfriend fucked up, multiple times, but my sympathies still lie with him. The LW apparently plucked this dude from an unstable childhood and plopped him down in a non-negotiable monogamous relationship that is supposed to last forever. I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with an older person fucking a younger person (though I do personally find it scummy), but there's a difference between fucking someone and having a long, long-term relationship in which the rules and roles are so strict.

I think the LW probably stunted the boyfriend's growth as a person. The Campsite Rule has clearly been blatantly ignored. Who knows what kind of shit went down in the last 11 years? And that's all before I even consider the fucking terrible recent conduct of the LW. And the boyfriend wants to get married?

Therapy for everyone, certainly. Maybe medication for the LW, I don't know. I smell a personality disorder. (That might just be too long in group treatment with people with personality disorders talking, though.)

But I don't think there's any reason for these two to stay together. Even if they stay together and the LW isn't gaslighting anyone else, the boyfriend is still dragging all this baggage into, at best, FWB and hookup situations, and at worst into secret secondary relationships. And there's always now a risk that the LW will "snoop" again and freak out all the boyfriend's other partners.

42

Now would someone please tell me how in the world I got CSNY "Our House" stuck in my head?

43

Calliope @ 42 - I can't tell you how it got stuck in your head, but it gets stuck in mine all the time. And I've known that song for 40 years. It's maddening.

44

@42 Calliope...shit now I have Madness' "Our House (In the middle of our street)" stuck in my head...damn ear worms!

Ok, as long as I'm here, I wasn't going to comment on this, but as a mid 50's guy I find more and more that I have less interest in those young perfect bodies and more and more interest in interesting people who have something to say. AND if you rule out anyone your age (how fucked up is that?) then the price of admission is surely going to be that you'll encounter more and more people (young people) who are still figuring things out and thus will fuck up. Not that the BF here is an angel but it is kind of what you are signing up for.

Also being in your 50's does not make you an old man, but thinking sex is a young man's game, does. You could not be more wrong. If I had the skills I have now in my 20's...hoo baby! Just because someone can get hard when the wind blows does not mean they know what to do with it. At my advanced age (55) I'm having the best sex of my life by quite a large margin.

45

I pity those who are youth obsessed.
This relationship is doomed.

46

There's no avoid personal responsibility: A horrific childhood is a reason, not an excuse. It doesn't mean you're no longer culpable for hurting other people.

People who find reasons to hold themselves to a lower standard than they hold others aught to be avoided.

47

Well, as Dan, among others, has pointed out before, there's a higher percentage of damaged psyches among gay men, being more likely than the more cis among us to have taken a lot of shit growing up. A reason, as 46 Sport says -- excuses are irrelevant.

What are the odds there's some unmentioned self-medicating going on here? Cause that doesn't help one's decision-making process much, and there's been a ton of bad decisions getting made here.

48

I'm still hung up on his claiming that sex is a young person's game. And that he doesn't want to have sex with men his own age. My guy and I are in our sixties and we have GREAT sex. He's still hot, and I'm hot for him, and (God love him) he's still hot for me.

Also, mutual respect is a fine thing to have in an LTR. WAA should try it sometime.

49

As Sophie Tucker pointed out to her ex-boyfriend Ernie, twenty goes into eighty a hell of a lot more times than eighty goes into twenty.

50

I've long since been fascinated by the phenomenon of young gay men desiring relationships with (often much) older gay men. I have a close friend who is in his 60s who likewise finds himself 'chased' by young men. He's nice looking but not incredibly attractive. He's secure but not rich. I find him to be extremely interesting and personable, a great host and a lovely person, so I understand that he's a catch. But the interest in him from much younger men did surprise me- it's not like they know him ahead of time, they don't know he's interesting nor secure when they approach and/or swipe, so what's up? When we met, he was in an ltr with someone roughly his own age, so it surprised me when they broke up and he was suddenly with all these 22 year olds. His more serious dating has been with men his own age- he says he is interested in a real partner his own age but finds it so much easier to date young men as they approach him. At first I thought this a humble brag, but I've had evidence sense, and reading accounts here- I see this is a thing. He says it's the security and the mentorship, but they are often young men doing well for themselves from stable homes, grad students, tech workers, artists, not troubled teens but up-and-coming 22-25 year olds, and good looking.

So what do you think it is about being young and gay and male that accounts for this phenomenon that does not exist in such large numbers among het people in either direction? There are neither loads of het young men seeking elder women- especially not in their 50s and 60s- nor are there quite so many young women seeking elder men- at least not unless it's obviously a financial arrangement to some degree.

51

LW needs a new therapist, one who can help him work through why he feels like he "owns" this boy. You have rock solid proof that he's unfaithful. If that's a deal breaker, then it's broken.
Every gay "daddy" knows that boys who just want to have fun are a dime a dozen and they mostly move on to more age appropriate partners around age 30. Why do they want an older man when they're quite young? Who cares... enjoy the ride.

52

I was ready to tell you not to bother helping this hypocritical creep right here: "My health is good, I'm very sturdy, but sex is a young person's game and I know that if I try to find a new relationship it will be difficult because the only people who want to fuck an old man are generally either old men themselves or kinda creepy."

Yeah guy, it's the younger men TO WHOM YOU'RE ATTRACTED who are ALSO attracted to you who are the "creepy" ones. Not the older man who will only fuck guys decades younger than himself, but not any who are actually attracted to him (because he's preliminarily written them all off as "creepy"). Only wanting to have sex with people who don't want to have sex with you, and who lack social power relative to you, is totally fine and not at all a problematic experssion of narcissistic sadism.

Yeah, he's cheating on you, which sucks (and also something that you've known about on an ongoing basis); breaking up is the proper response. This, on the other hand: "I deleted his hookup profiles and replaced his folder full of naked selfies with one of me giving the camera the finger. I even messaged a few people I know he's had sex with and implied that he has an STI." This is some controlling, abusive shit. Your relationship is NEITHER loving or sexual, and I see no evidence you want - or are necessarily capable of - a loving relationship. Break up; this relationship is bad for both of you. Then accept that you have narcissistic tendencies (and may be a clinical narcissist) and resolve to get better if you actually want to get better. (If you don't actually want to get better, please resolve to.be much less shitty to other people, for all of our sakes.) You'll need a new therapist - this one isn't savvy enough to see through your bullshit, and you need someone who is. Pro-tip: if you like the therapist initially, it means ze's flattering your narcissistic ego, and is thus the wrong person to help you; you need a therapist who challenges you and calls your bullshit, which is unlikely to be someone you will like (at least at first; you may grow to appreciate the help of someone who is actually helpful).

53

I have little sympathy of the LW. I've known men like him most of my adult life. They don't just go after young guys, but it's usually the damaged ones, those with childhood trauma or those who have been kicked out by their families, etc., that they specialize in. They are typically not interested in leaving the younger man better off than they found him. They are interested in keeping him dependent.

54

@52 John Horstman
"...if you like the therapist initially...is thus the wrong person...you need a therapist who challenges you and calls your bullshit, which is unlikely to be someone you will like..."

This might be my favorite JH sentence ever.

WAA, you'll know you've found the right therapist when they tell you to "go fuck yourself" and kick you in the balls so hard you lose consciousness. When you regain consciousness, beg them to fix you, you piece of shit.

55

Calliope @41, might be a repeat but well said and summed up. Did you just see two cats in a yard, perhaps?

Coolie @44, great comment. This guy could learn from you.

Charles @36/Emma @50, interesting to know that often it isn't the older men but the younger ones who are doing the "preying." And some older men in this position have the sense to apply the campsite rule, but others do not. Emma, you're correct, we don't see young women seeking out significantly older men except as sugar daddies -- and when we do, we attribute "daddy issues" and deem them damaged in a way that doesn't seem to happen with the male elder-chasers.

56

Oh, dear gods, WAA, you certainly have significant problems. Not your bf’s attitude towards casual sex, though. Your boyfriend enjoys casual sex because casual sex is fun. I’m 47, so not significantly younger than you, so you obviously know that your attitude towards monogamy is not the default setting for gay men of our generation. I know very few men who are actually looking for a monogamous relationship (and I’ve known a lot of men in my time). The only i man I know who has expressed a desire to be in a monogamous relationship is acutely aware that this not normal, was both defensive and apologetic after he let it slip, and was nevertheless keen to emphasise that he knew it was that too soon to discuss it seriously. He also has a lot of casual sex.

Given the sheer number of problems you do have, it is hard to know which one is the most important. I’m going with your attitude towards ageing (although your retaliation after discovering ‘evidence’ that your bf was a normal gay man is also quite worrying.) You are entirely wrong to think sex is a young man’s game. I know so much more about how to have good sex now, and so I should - I’ve done my 10,000 hours of practice. Yeah, young men are hot, but they don’t really know that much about love, sex and relationships (which is why your bf believed you that monogamy is normal practice among the gays). But older men are also hot, we are also your peers and we could also be your friends if your crippling Peter Pan syndrome didn’t prevent you from seeing us anything but reminders of humanity’s inevitable march to the grave.

As to what you should do now, I recommend lots of casual sex. It’s lots of fun, a great way to make new friends with similar interests and, let’s face it, everyone is doing it.* Just between you and me, watch out for the guys in their 60s. They know some tricks that will blow your mind.

*every gay man, at least.

57

@50 EmmaLiz I can speak only for myself, but I certainly remember how impressed I was by older men at 18 when I moved from a small country community to a city with gay beat. I learned so much from them. And they’d even have sex with a scrawny, unattractive young man like me if I asked them politely enough..

BTW if your friend is ever in Melbourne and needs a date.

58

BDF @ 55 (and Emma @ 50) - "we don't see young women seeking out significantly older men except as sugar daddies -- and when we do, we attribute "daddy issues" and deem them damaged in a way that doesn't seem to happen with the male elder-chasers."

Being the middel-aged subject of such attention from much younger man, I do deem them damaged and consider they have daddy issues.

They all seem to want someone to make life easier for them (even when they've had it pretty easy so far). It's like they're too afraid or lazy to face life's challenges and they are attracted to the psychological and/or financial support that an older man should be able to provide (and, they assume with all the arrogance of youth, willing to provide if it means he gets a trophy BF in exchange).

59

A man makes horrible choices that make himself and those around him miserable.
-Here's the criminal justice system's way of dealing with him: You are horrible person. We're going to throw you in jail. (But you still don't know the way to stop being horrible.)
-Here's the parent/family way of dealing with him: You are a horrible person. We're going to keep berating you and telling you you're horrible until you believe it yourself and feel horrible. (But you still don't know how to stop being horrible.)
-Here's the competent cognitive therapist way of dealing with it (hopefully): Let's talk about reasons you feel the way you do, show you the ways your actions are making you unhappy. Let's untangle this mess, not assign blame as much as teach new coping strategies so you have a means to make better choices in the future. Sometimes when you get to the bottom of what made a person the way they are, they start wanting things that are better for them in the first place.

There's no doubt that Weary And Angry has done some wrong things both in the recent past and the far past. He wants the wrong things when he wants a hot young boyfriend even as he admits that he wouldn't want to have sex with someone his own age. He's just a mess of wrong thinking and wrong actions. That said, I've never been more disappointed with the general tone of the commentariat as I have in the response to this letter. Too many think the way to deal with WAA is to berate him. Then they take issue with the therapist who doesn't berate him. Let's call him out on all the bad things he's done until, what? until he decides to become a better person? A therapist who doesn't act like a disapproving family member by berating a patient is not a bad therapist. Sometimes therapists make patients feel good while they're in there untangling years of mess. I for one, wish WAA well.

My message for WAA would be: What do you want? What would be the most efficient way to get it? Can you see the problem here in what you've been doing?

60

@5 Fichu
"I've never been more disappointed with the general tone of the commentariat as I have in the response to this letter. Too many think the way to deal with WAA is to berate him. Then they take issue.."

And I take issue with your issue. Maybe the best way to get through to someone is sometimes to berate them. (Particularly if plenty of other people have already tried the other way.)

And maybe not; I have no issue with all of you who have treated WAAaaaa with patience and constructiveness. And I don't appreciate you taking issue with /my/ approach. (Oh, and I was just joking about him needing a therapist to berate him; but not about a therapist who gives him truth.) It was the approach that felt right to me at the time (and I think there's value in trusting myself in the moment).

And then there's the guy's rights. I think it's wonderful and professional of everyone (including Dan) who is overly understanding of the guy. But an asshole does not have a right to not hear criticism (let alone if he writes in to an advice column). And for all you know that might be what gets through to him and wakes him up instead of a gentle approach.

61

The LW fears he is undesirable (or will soon be so) because of his age (or his attitude towards his age). His partner fears he is unlovable because of his family background (presumably). This is not a good basis for an ongoing relationship. The younger man is 30 and can be loved in a relationship by someone else--and, on balance, I would think WAA should let his partner go.

62

@26. Sublime. Very well-put re the 'creeps' comment. @27. Emma. Deft with MC Hammer and also very well-put.

@30. Traffic. The issue, rather, is that the LW is bigoted about 'Daddy'/'son' relationships.

63

Mizz Liz - Congratulations on catching a glimpse of the Straight-Gay Divide. Possibly that should be OS-SS, but I don't really think so.

64

It is amazing what can get into a young head. My PLB, whose stepfather actually counted how much food he ate, was suspicious of freedom. He was also upset at first if I didn't hold things against him that he'd thought were terrible failures.

65

Venn, urban dictionary offers Pretty Little Bitch. Clarification?

66

PLB stands for my Positively Last Boyfriend. Some years ago, I was against all odds pursued by a teenaged Mormon. I have no idea why I thought I was up to it, but I managed to do him some good and he's done me proud, going on to be a great credit to the G. Although I don't gamble, I have good enough instincts to know when to stop.

67

@66 vennominon
"PLB stands for..."

How could we not have guessed that?! (LOL.)

68

That's the problem with continual turnover; I need a pinned glossary.

69

@68. You could make a throwaway gmail account, put everything in a Google doc, and set it so only you can edit. Then you could just share the link. And other than me, I'm not sure how much turnover there really is here. The main characters seem to have been around for years.

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@69 (Congrats!) CalliopeMuse
That's a great idea (using a Google Doc on some new vennominon@gmail.com) to make it anonymous and accessible. If vennominon were to make his dictionary of personal acronyms available I'd certainly be willing to consult it(1).

For a while, like EmmaLiz@65 I used to try to google Venn's personal acronyms.

@68 vennominon
"...continual turnover..."
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Venn, I bet you didn't define any of your personal acronyms even the /first/ time you used them!

That theory goes with both simply using so many personal acronyms in the first place, and the tendency to lapse into the reverie of literary reference. In other words, for some reason I think that communication is often not at the top of Venn's mind.

(I honestly won't begin to guess why. But I will note that about a year ago I nagged him about the literary rambling that was then dramatically more cryptic than nowadays, and for a while he did cite sources.)

Anyway, I like to give people what they want. So it they don't want to be understood, who am I to ask them to help me do so? I feel I'm best accommodating him by just skipping it, and saving both his and my time.

(1) Alternatively, he could just follow his personal acronyms with the phrase in parens.

71

The personal Venn acronyms I know: LMB (laissez moi barf), CMY (covenant marriage yesterday) Ftwl (shortened form of ftwltsottitsottl, for those who like that sort of thing, that is that is the sort of thing they like), PLB (positively last boyfriend) There are probably a few more that I know when I see them but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

72

tc @71 There is also the half-acronym "The V gays", which means "The Vichy gays". That is a reference to the Nazi-collaborating Vichy French government in WW II. As far as I understand, the "V gays" are "traitors to the gay cause" in Venn's worldview, though in what way exactly is unclear to me.

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@71 tachycardia
Thank you very much for
"ftwltsottitsottl"
!
I must admit that the long form is poetry. Though once I learned even the short form...I can't say that I've been sufficiently motivated to remember it.

@72 Registered European
Oh right, thank you very much for that, that one is indeed very /Venn/. (My first guess when I saw it was that "V gays" might mean [non-op] trans men [V for vagina].)

74

Mr Curious - It's partly my history as a composer of possibly unsolvable acrostics, which I doubt can ever be entirely overcome, and partly that I always draw the inevitable lines differently. We all do draw lines. If you quoted a saying as being one of Hamlet's, would you cite the source? I doubt anyone would for such a well-known title character. It's simply a question of where one draws the starting line. As I assume that most people skip my posts to begin with, I have a vague guideline of guessing whether half the people who don't just skip everything I say will know a reference or not. When in doubt, I'd rather be flattering than condescending.

Ms Cardia - Those are the ones in most common use. I was thinking more of the Awards, although I have been a little less prone to bestowing them since my return.

Mr Registered - The easy definition of a Vichy gay (which I'm tempted to make one word instead of two) is that he'll willingly "take the L" on behalf of all gays for what he may sincerely believe to be the general good. One common sort subscribes to the idea that homophobia is a subset of misogyny, from which it logically follows that he will cheerfully accept the co-opting of gay voices and resources to be used towards feminist improvements rather than gay ones. Ms Cute will doubtless recall how deeply disturbed I was that marriage equality was celebrated at the end of 2015 as a Feminist Accomplishment "because women everywhere should be able to marry the women they love" rather than as a Same-Sexer Accomplishment supported and celebrated by many (or even most) feminists. Since then, things have gotten rather worse. Vichy gays welcome and collaborate with outside appropriators. Others will make the case that we've been appropriated by Democrats. I'm not really sure there, but Mr Savage would seem to be an example for them.

This intersected(!) with how unwieldy and unmanageable "the community" was becoming due to far too many people with different and even competing interests being crammed into the same rainbow. Some of the assembled company will recall my idea that most letters in the acronym would make far better neighbours than housemates. As I'd rather not wait for trickle-down solutions to reach us, I'm for an amicable divorce for at least the G, as the leaders of the acronym have manifested that they have other fish to fry. I'll agree that most of those fish do need frying, but don't want it done in my omelet pan. I don't care for WalkAway, which strikes me as just an attempt to co-opt us from the other side, but, as my preference for being loosely linked communities has been dismissed in favour of becoming an increasingly unworkable community in which we all must constantly fight for control of the one voice we're allowed by the mainstream, official separation from a group which no longer represents the G adequately seems necessary. I can no longer bear to use the acronym with the G included, and occasionally use phrases such as, "gay or LBTQ interests." But I do want to acknowledge the agency of those who prefer to remain, and also use LVBTQ regularly.

Ms Muse - To provide a little light entertainment after such a tome, I recall that I have not bestowed a Gertrude Award since you have joined the assembled company. I think you might be able to guess what the Gertrude Award commemorates. Even better, there is a clue in this post. It's fine if you'd rather not guess, but I thought perhaps you'd enjoy taking a shot.

(Sorry, Mr Curious, but how could I resist?)

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@73 vennominon
Hi Venn! Truly kind of you to even reply to my whiny-ness, let alone so politely!

You're much too interesting to skip! (When not too cryptic.)

"One common sort subscribes to the idea that homophobia is a subset of misogyny..."

Wow, they really need to consult a dictionary then.

"I'll agree that most of those fish do need frying, but don't want it done in my omelet pan..."gay or LBTQ interests.""

Solidarity amongst the oppressed has been a powerful force for political good. The oppressors work together, it's so sad when the left atomizes completely. No one wants everyone to /work/ on everyone's issues (who has /time/ for everything), but isn't supporting each other's issues the only way to beat the oppressors?

(I tried to add a sentence in there about who was oppressed the most but my head started to spin. Everyone has been so oppressed in so many different ways. Usually socioeconomically women are more oppressed...but then The Patriarchy makes a point of going more nuclear WRT their own (often repressed) male SS panic out of terror they'd be treated like they treat those out. Anyway...why should the oppressed divide themselves while the oppressors already seek to 'divide and conquer'.)

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@74 I can only surmise some connection to Gertrude Stein. Perhaps you designate a Vichy lesbian this way, given Stein's connection with the puppet government?

77

I'm also not sure what exactly your Awards mean. I've never seen one awarded. Are they a good thing or a bad thing?