Low Testosterone, DNA Tests, Pep Talks—Reader Advice Roundup



It's a graveyard... * crickets *


This: "Something for commenters to bear in mind: the letter writers read the comments, too. It's always temping to blow up at the person who seems to be in the wrong—I can succumb to the temptation myself—but there's often more to the story than made it into the letter"

I noticed this also. Some commenter seems to love feeling enraged and unleashes a torrent of invective at an LW who is perceived as unsympathetic. Then the piling on starts and eventually people feel the need to go beyond just namecalling and start fantasizing about physical violence.


WAA, you are a man in his early fifties, don’t assume you won’t find love and a relationship again. Thank you for clarifying re your situation and having the courage to read thru some difficult comments. May you and your bf be able to part well.


I certainly don't disagree with the sentiment of the ITMFA, but, let's face it, It just means an extra cleanup job for a poorly paid worker who is likely an undocumented alien.


"The comments were hard to read but still what I deserved and I'll be thinking about them for a long time to come."

Good job then. (Including to WAA.)

Best of luck on your journey, WAA!


@5 p.s.
Please allow me to elaborate. I f-ing /hoped/ that the LW was reading the comments, and after reading what I quoted @5 from WAA's update, I don't know how it could have worked out better than "...what I deserved...I'll be thinking about them for a long time to come."

I am grateful that Fichu prompted me to write
explaining that my intention was not to hurt WAA in the short term (I take no pleasure in that), but to help him in the long term. (In exactly the way it appears someone's [I have no reason to think mine] "hard to read" Comments will.)

IRL, it bugs me how often people give the advice it's easy to give (in part to reduce their own risk) instead of the truth people need.


“...bear in mind: the letter writers read the comments, too...”

I generally try not to be harsh, but sometimes I think you can’t sugar-coat the advice, ‘cause people hear what they want to hear and the worst of the idiots could use a “strongly-worded” kick in the ass as opposed to a gentle prod. I applaud Dan for couching his responses so as not to offend, but I think there can be value added here in the Commentariat when the majority of us say, “Pull your head out of your ass, you MFA!”


Jonathan Rauch's point in the article you linked - the negative impact of the prospect of incestuous relationships in adulthood on someone who is still a child - is a good one, but it only applies to people who lived in the same house when at least one of them was a child. It does not apply to DA. I honestly think there is nothing wrong with DA's relationship with their half sibling. Psychologically, if you didn't grow up together you aren't family, and you aren't violating the proper nature of the family relationship if no actual family relationship exists.

DA and DA's half sib should do what they want and not worry about what anyone else thinks. If their relationship ever develops to the point where they might want kids, they should get some genetic testing done to find out if they're facing any serious risks.


IDGAF what two half-siblings do. And if they do want kids, well, lots of couples have kids other than entirely with one another, and no one thinks much of that. I suspect the family will be a hard sell, but there's no help for that, most likely.

And I think a lot of commenters DO consider that the LWs are reading this, and enjoy the attention. IMO, telling people "what they need to hear" is a job better suited to people who aren't in love with the sound of their own prose. YMMV


WAA, if you read these too, do you think the fact that you don't want to be with "another old man" is related to your personal history of not getting to start until 40? Seems like it would make psychological sense to want to insist on getting some of the young action you couldn't get while you were young.

It obviously limits your options now. You might want to think about if you could somehow get on board with the idea of an old guy like you? I don't know how you could change your attraction pattern, but men your age are not Objectively Undesirable, right, so it's at least conceivable.


WAA is still a control freak with a generally icky and self-loathing outlook on life who sent mast messages about his boyfriend to random local people on hookup apps. My opinion of him did not change with this poor-me-look-how-good-i-can-be comment. That’s classic abuser manipulation and I won’t apologize for saying that.


Well, I didn't know that WAA didn't have an out gay relationship until his 40s because of familial pressure--I think of him a bit differently now. It seems likely to me that he thought his bf was 'the one', as well as (at times) thinking him too good to be true and (almost all the time) turning a blind eye to his bf's faults. Lava is quite right that WAA can go on and have another happy, and let's hope this time more fully negotiated, relationship.


I agree with slomopomo. I don't think anyone here is abusive and people try to mostly be thoughtful. But I doubt anyone here is actually motivated deep down by a desire to do good in the world or good for the LWs (which isn't to say that is not a nice byproduct, I generally wish people well). There are various motivations for 'posting' and altruism usually is not among them, let's be honest. Even for Dan, who is good at advice and seems to generally care about people and the world, this is his job. His advice column is a regularly public part of his own career as a writer and media figure and activist. And so I think if someone writes him asking for advice from a professional love & sex advice columnist, they should expect what Dan delivers. If they also know that the column has a discussion board of fans offering their own contributions, they should expect what strangers online deliver. It's good to keep in mind that some people may not have people who love them in real life who can offer them guidance- people can be vulnerable in all sorts of ways and what we say could matter. But with that in mind, I went back and scrolled the comments in the letter in question and I did not see anything very harsh.


Regarding the testosterone advice, whether or not the LW's bf has low testosterone, the question is if his lower sex drive matters to him. If he is happy with the amount of sex he's getting, then is it really a problem for him? I don't know that people should have to start taking hormones just to put themselves in an average range if they are not unhappy with the experiences they are having already. (This is speculation of course since lower sex drive doesn't mean his is necessarily low- it could be that the LW's is higher than average. And the test might shed some light on this or it might not, more things than just T levels affect sex drive though it could be interesting to find out). I just mean, let's say he has the test and his testosterone is lower than the average man in his demographic. That doesn't necessarily mean he should start taking T.

"It's good to keep in mind that some people may not have people who love them in real life who can offer them guidance"

Oops I realize that sounded like I was implying that LWs don't have people in their lives who love them. I misworded this. I meant, the people in their lives who love them may not be able to offer them advice. Generally, I think it's best for everyone to have a few people in their lives that they trust who can hold a mirror to them, offer them advice, hear through their defenses. Not everyone has that though, and sometimes people who are your intimates can't get a clear perspective. Sometimes they aren't capable of it, sometimes you aren't in working order enough to hear it, sometimes it would be damaging to the relationship. Hence, you seek outside advice from someone with distance and more experience (in Dan's case). And it's probably a good idea for us to keep in mind that some of these people might be affected by our words too.


I was harsh in my comments to WAA. I had a visceral reaction to his letter. I certainly could have been more measured and kind in my responses. I hope that WAA, having read the comments, can separate the good advice from the reactive hostility and apply it to better himself and process his issues with his relationship. Good luck with this difficult work of self-examination.


May both halves of the couple eventually view the relationship as a net plus.

I shall go mildly against Ms Lava and M?? Harriet to state that LW should not feel there would be anything wrong with deciding not to try again. It would not mean a future of certain misery.


My take on this kind of comment board is that we comment here for our own amusement and edification. We like to think about the problem and discuss it, but it's more a springboard for us to have conversation about the topic than an actual offer of advice for any real person.

Which is why it never bothers me if the column is a rerun - we're not really giving advice to the LW anyway, so who cares if the problem is five years old?


Don’t assume what other people’s motivations are, EmmaLiz@13, you only ever know your own. And some of those comments were confronting. The LW isn’t complaining re the comments, he’s thinking about them and taking some of what was said, on board.


EL @13 " I went back and scrolled the comments in the letter in question and I did not see anything very harsh."

Comment @54 on the letter in question: "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."


@17, agony, again only speak for yourself.
I’m not amused by these letters. Some of them, especially ones where children are involved, generate concern in me.
Takes my mind off myself, and yes the community here is enjoyable to be part of.


@19 Registered European
Since I clarified @54 in that thread that that I was joking(1) there, RE, I think it would be more fair to have used in your example my initial comment in that thread @38:

"Holy crap WAA you suck, go fuck yourself."

Anyway, as I've explained multiple times now, "for all you know that might be what gets through to him and wakes him up instead of a gentle approach."(2)

Some believe (Zen Buddhists? I forget) that at any given moment there is always something (that it's only possible to know /in/the/moment) that one can say to wake someone up. You might be right that I didn't say anything that well did /that/, but you also might be wrong since you have no way of knowing. Particularly since (as I celebrated up at this thread's @5 [largely dancing upon your @2, RE!]) the goddam LW has followed up with

""The comments were hard to read but still what I deserved and I'll be thinking about them for a long time to come.""

In other words why go on about this when the LW appears thankful for it?

(Though I do admit that, as pointed out by TheMisanthrope@11, that the thankfulness might not be genuine.)

(1) Were someone to look at
they would see that I saw spinning @52 hyperbollically.

(2) Starting with https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/08/19/41129831/he-gave-an-ultimatum-to-his-cheating-boyfriend-recommit-or-quit/comments/60

@18 LavaGirl
I totally agree. I'm a billion % sure EL has a fascinating explanation for her statement "I doubt anyone here is actually motivated deep down by a desire to do good in the world or good for the LWs...", but I'm 100% sure I'd disagree with it and I'm just not feeling motivated to have a back-and-forth with her about it.

Though it does remind me of a family member who says people don't do things because they're /right/, but because the things /feel/good/ to do. This person isn't very self-aware but is good-hearted, so I think they just don't realize that the 'feeling good' /comes/from/ their inner sense of what's right.


@19 RE Yes that's terrible. Sorry I just scrolled and missed it. I didn't happen to be very active on that thread since I have little to contribute to that topic, so I didn't read it carefully. Seems an overreaction as well since the LW came across as sort of a jerk and a bit insecure but not malicious or abusive.

@curious / lava, There's nothing deep about it, and let's not make more of it than what I said. People who spend quite a bit of time on a discussion board chatting with one another about various things have various motivations and receive various pleasures. (Examples: procrastination, it's fun, vicarious chats about sex, interesting insight into how others live, learning stuff, trolling/arguing, stirring people up). As I said, the potential to help others might be a nice byproduct, but if anyone were really totally motivated to do good in the world, this is probably the least efficient way to go about it. As we all know, the Venn diagrams of people who enjoy giving advice to random folks and that of know-it-alls / busy-bodies has a big overlap between them.

Also curious I know nothing at all about Zen but I think it's funny that in our chat last week, we were talking about the possibility or desire to handle strong negative emotions plus the efficacy and restrictions of being polite, and in these comments plus the quoted one (joke or not) you seem to have done an about face.


In retrospect, yes the revenge stuff was abusive. I don't think that justifies wishing physical violence on someone, but it does explain the strong reactions. We are talking about relationships, and these situations can trigger strong responses / emotions. I don't know. I go back to my original statement that if you put yourself out there to get responses from strangers online, you can't expect it to be all nice. Whether or not this approach could potentially helps anyone is another conversation- my point is only that it's normal that it will happen online.

If you were going to take a "right speech / right intention" approach, Curious, you'd also have to consider all the potential harm that could be done, not just the potential good, and what sorts of unarisen potentials you were cultivating as well as which arisens you were responding to- all in the person you were talking to as well as in yourself in that moment. In my mind, this is exhausting and stifling, though I had managed to train enough to think I was pulling it off in my younger years. Made everything too meta and I think it has contributed to my later in life need to not be sober if I want to turn all that off- again, I say leave this to the monks. The simple matter is, someone says something that makes you feel a certain way, and you cuss them out because either it is an outlet for how you feel or else you want them to feel how you see them. If we were trying to be all Buddhisty about it, then we wouldn't bother here since we don't actually know any of these people. Though as I said I know nothing at all about Zen (I'm sure they still follow the 8fold path tho)- best I know it has something to do with motorcycles and Keanu Reeves?


No Emmiz; You have no idea about others’ motivations, period. Ok? You might as you’re doing here, guess at why people tune in to comment.
Again, how would you know if our comments are or are not helping people? And commenting on Dan’s threads, doesn’t mean one isn’t also elsewhere, saving the planet.
Suggestion EL, stop projecting.




lol Lava, you are reading more into what I said. You yourself said you enjoyed the community here, and posting here takes your mind off of things. That's exactly what I said as well.


@23 EmmaLiz
"If you were going to take a "right speech / right intention" approach, Curious, you'd also have to consider all the potential harm that could be done, not just the potential good, and what sorts of unarisen potentials you were cultivating as well as which arisens you were responding to- all in the person you were talking to as well as in yourself in that moment."

A good and very interesting point, thank you very much!


You throw up a Venn diagram comment EL, as if you know for sure why people do what they do.
People may be helped by these threads.. you don’t know that they aren’t.
I was talking for me, and that’s all you can speak for as well... yourself. These generalisations you make are sloppy.


I hope WAA decides to pursue therapy to come to terms with his own aging. Middle-aged men who think people their own age are "too old" for a relationship often feel alone, but this is very common. You might not have had the life you wanted in your 20's and 30's, but you were still living your life. There are no do-overs.


WAA Now you should work your belief that anyone over 22 is unfuckable. I think this is what's holding you back. You won't get your lost years back dating college students and you'll find yourself in the same position you are now, with someone who has no idea who he is and what he wants.

Attractive older me exist and I feel you might do better with someone who was in the same position you are. Unable to live the life they wanted due to family pressure.

And please stop the self-loathing. It'll push away all the good people who could come into your life.


Interesting response from WAA. If his own coming out was delayed until he was 40, it makes a bit more sense that he would have considered an 18-year-old on a similar level to himself. But, dude -- just because you won't pull another 18-year-old boyfriend at your age does not mean you won't pull another boyfriend. Talk through this tendency towards creepiness with your therapist and try to figure out why you wouldn't consider, say, a 40-year-old man an appropriate partner. WAA got some tough love in the comments (and some tough hate) to be sure, but I'm glad he's taken it on board. Both these men need to work on themselves before they get into other relationships.

Great response to YVOIG. Hope this puts the idea that men with low libidos don't exist out to pasture.


Another point for WAA: You say you didn't come out until 40+ and expected to have to settle. Well guess what? By dating a 19-year-old, you DID settle. You settled for someone without wisdom or life experience. You settled for someone who couldn't stay faithful. You may not have had to "settle" for someone who was less than your physical ideal, but as you really need to learn, physicality is only one aspect of a person. There are hot people who are 35, 40, 50 and beyond. I think you really need to do a lot of work on yourself to figure out why you exclusively assign attractiveness to people who are barely adults.


@28 I never said they weren't helped by them Lava, in fact I said each time that sometimes they might be and that this potential help contributes to why some people here might post. But honestly I don't believe that anyone who posts regularly on this forum wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, "I must log in to Dan's site because people need my help!" I think it's much more like Agony's description @17 or your own- the community, the diversion. And of course some people are trolls. Some of us are know-it-alls. Sure I'm not in people's mind- it might be a projection or a sloppy generalization, but I'm as convinced it's true as you are about whatever.

Other people's lives are fascinating, and it's even more fascinating to hear how other people interpret other people's lives.

Changing tactics with WAA, how would he feel about letting his younger lover be who he is and also allowing himself the freedom to step out himself, with younger men or with men his own age- date a bit and see if he did settle or not. If it's an either or situation, then they'll have to break up since it's unlikely that the younger man will ever be monogamous, but I don't know if WAA is thinking clearly about it since he's couching it in such fatalistic terms. Even if they do break (which might be right, given the history) why in the world would this be the last relationship he could ever be in? Maybe work on his own jealousies and insecurities?