Reader Who Read Entire "Savage Love" Archive Has Thoughts to Share

Comments

1

I think SLE missed at least a couple of big concept in studying for his Ph.D. from SLU.

Be your authentic self, and don't allow your family to bully you into being who they want you to be, and if your family won't except you for who you are, create your own family who does.
Strive to be good in bed, giving equal time and equal pleasure to one's partner, and game or anything – within reason.

2

I have not read all 3,689 of your archived letters but I feel I can safely add another point:

If you are a conservative politician, avoid comparing gay sex to sex with animals unless you want your last name redefined into something that will be very difficult to explain to potential voters.

3

Is nailing Dan Savage an example of ethical non-monogamy? Enquiring minds want to know! 😜

Sounds like a very good distillation of the Savage Philosophy. Seems like the sort of thing that should be enshrined on the walls of your local bar/back room/sex club/bathhouse, pretty much anywhere where Eros and Aphrodite are worshiped these days.

4

My favorite SL concept: "The price of admission." It really validated that I was on the right track during a very painful, emotionally confusing time in my life! Friends (full of well-meaning advice) don't always understand this concept ;)

5

It doesn't necessarily have to end your relationship. It doesn't necessarily mean you don't love your partner/your partner doesn't love you. It can, and it does sometimes, but it's up to you and your partner to decide what it means for you and your future together.

True, but it almost always does if the cheater is unwilling or unable to sever all contact with the other person/people. Being reminded that your partner has lied to you, deceived and betrayed is no way for them to rebuild the trust they have broke, Inflicting more emotional pain undermines any assurances they give you that they love you. Like destroying something to save it is perverse in the extreme.

I hate the analogy, but it's like telling a rape victim to chill out. Cheating is often called soul rape for a reason. It's that level of pain and both can result in PTSD. The principal difference is that in most instances there is no further contact with the rapist.

I suspect that the LW has never been cheated on for him to tell anyone to chill out. Under the best of circumstances, it generally it takes a minimum of two years to recover from cheating and even then the psychological wounds may never heal completely.

6

Minor quibble, Dan: There are two entirely different camps of homeschooling, fundie homeschooling and secular homeschooling. (Some religious people are "secular homeschoolers" if they're not homeschooling for religious reasons.) Secular homeschooled kids generally end up with an excellent education, and more often than not with left-of-center politics. (Also, excellent social skills!) Please don't paint them with the same brush -- specify "fundie homeschooling" if that's what you mean. Thanks!

7

@5, I was cheated on, and for me, something more complex but essentially the same idea as "Chill out" was indeed what I needed to get past the pain and sense of betrayal. I wasn't really "betrayed" because it wasn't really about me - he wasn't cheating at me.

Now, the kind of cheating in our marriage wasn't an affair that involved a lot of sneaking around and lying and leading a double life - that I might have found more difficult to deal with. Then the problem wouldn't have been the sex, it would have been the lying and the sense of "Ha ha putting something over on the foolish wife, she's so stupid". Which is a different thing than his penis going into a vagina that wasn't mine.

8

@6 I dunno. The secular homeschooled people I know best are indeed intelligent, well read, and doing fine now as adults in their thirties. But when they went to university, they struggled some, because of gaps in their education. Their parents, quite naturally, had spent little time and effort on areas that they themselves disliked and didn't find much use for in their own lives. One in particular found herself almost totally unfamiliar with concepts that she would have needed for her studies, to the point where she had to completely rethink her educational goals. She's fine now, it didn't ruin her life and she is very happy in the different path she took, but that kind of thing can be a bump in the road for kids who receive otherwise very good homeschooling.

9

Went through the archives myself while fighting off some serious depression two years ago. It ended up helping me quite a lot. Thanks for (indirectly) being there for me, Dan.

10

Can anyone point me to the column where Dan recommended an Asian female cartoon artist who takes on such topics as HPV in her cartoons? It was sometime this year but I can’t find it and tried to Google without success. Help!

11

@8 Yes, there are homeschoolers with gaps who struggle in college. Also true of many regular-schooled kids, as I witness every term. But no need to quarrel over cases, there is data on this: on average, homeschoolers perform better academically than their non-homeschooled peers. They also tend to excel at the soft skills: speaking up with confidence, thinking deeply about an issue, taking initiative.

It's a little weird to say that parents would "quite naturally" neglect parts of their children's education. This is not true of any of the homeschool families I know. And by the time they're in high school and college prep starts in earnest, most parents aren't being their kids' teacher any more. They're being a facilitator. Kids take community college classes, on-line classes, work their way through textbooks, find mentors . . .

12

@10 it's called My Boyfriend Has Herpes. Happy reading!

13

That was sweet, SLE. And I guess Dan, you can semi-retire since 75% of the letters you get can be answered with a link to this.

(I'm joking! Please don't retire anytime soon. And feel better.)

14

Nicely done.

15

Sorry you have been ill Dan..hope you’re feeling better.

16

agony @7 -- exactly my experience.

@Dan - joining my good wishes to LavaGirl's above.

17

I don't know where this fits in, but it probably does. There seems to be a major uptick in letters from people who are dissatisfied with dating apps. I assume going back through those early columns, one would find people who were having a hard time with meeting people in face-to-face situations but it does seem that all the shit surrounding on-line anonymity (e.g., trolls) has extended to ghosting, being an asshole, acting in insensitive ways. Dan's last point about "Do onto others" would be applicable here so I'm not adding anything new; rather, the media context makes people think that "Do onto others" isn't applicable.

18

@10 that amazing artist is https://instagram.com/yudoridori

19

We hope you are much better, Dan.

20

agony @ 7 My apologies for assuming that you had never been cheated on. However, it doesn't sound like you were devastated by your husband's actions. You are most fortunate in that regard. It isn't so much the sex as everything else that does the damage. You question if anything the other person said or says to you was/is true. Because lying and deception are involved there reality isn't anyway to know if they are honest and have come clean. It is particularly damaging if friends and family are complicit in the cheating. (i.e. they knew about and covered for the cheating). Children complicate things immensely, children know when something is wrong with their parents. They are not just collateral damage of the cheating, but often have their lives torn apart and ruined by the cheating. Telling them to chill is just cruel.

21

@4/KindnessIsKey: Yes, the "price of admission" is another good idea that was missed.

Perhaps that gets connected to the idea that no one is ever going to be the "One," you may find your 0.7 or 0.8, but don't expect to find your 1.0.

22

Hope you are better, Dan! I had a SLLOTD-sized hole in my day, which only you could fill.

@21 +1. Also: GGG, there's no settling down without settling for. Use your words.

Dan says the Golden Rule but I think he actually teaches the platinum rule: find out what your partner wants, and try to do that. And they do the same. That ain't the golden rule, that's the less well known and much better Platinum Rule. All about asking, empathy and consent: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.

23

The price of admission, and the classic: DTMFA.

I agree SLE's blasé dismissal of cheating is a sign of their bias as a non-monogamous person. If you are naturally non-monogamous, then it makes perfect sense that people are attracted to people other than their partner, that it doesn't mean a lack of love, that attraction and love/commitment are not the same thing, etc. But to a naturally monogamous person, they are. So I would revise SLE's point three to: Have a discussion with your partner about what cheating means to you, whether you would want to be told about cheating, under what circumstances you might find cheating forgivable, and don't get involved with someone whose ideas about fidelity (which is not the same thing as monogamy -- non-monogamous people cheat too) are very different to yours.

24

Also: Campground rule.
Also: You might not find what (who) you're looking for.
Also: Historical look at changing definition of traditional marriage.
Also: Ladies come first.
Also: If parents don't accept you for who you are, they lose the chance to be in your life.
Also: Draw the line at children, animals, and shit.
Also: Equal rules for men and women in straight relationships as to non-monogamy and housework.

25

@22: I did get GGG @1, but "There's no settling down without settling for," is a really good one.

In all fairness, I think "Use words," as a rule in and of itself, was BiDanFan.

@24: The Campsite Rule is also really good.

Oh, and I forgot "fuck first," a rule meant for Valentine's Day, birthdays, and weddings.

26

Well, regarding the cheating thing: DAN (and his new age snake oil salesman buddy Esther Perel) tends to feel it's NBD. Many others disagree.

27

This column and this Comment thread wonderfully distilled the essence of this place; it's like the FAQ.

28

If my husband cheated on me and someone flippantly tells me to chill the fuck out, I'm adding that person to my murder list.

29

@5 No. No, being cheated on is not like being raped. Jesus fucking Christ. Cheating is generally a complex emotional situation. Rape is a violent crime with no justification. You’re exactly two morality steps above the incels who call alimony “financial rape” right now. That’s not enough steps.

30

@25 sorry I missed you were #1 w/ GGG!

Also, the partner of the campsite rule - the tea and sympathy rule.

31

Daniel, so what did you do on your Birthday, to help make you sick.. for the week? Maybe have to dial back those bday blow outs.
Birthdays, yes. My youngest turns 22yrs old next weekend.

32

Let us not forget ITMFA!
Hope you’re back in the saddle, Dan!

33

I agree, this ‘read every letter’ person is a man. Talk about not noticing much besides Cheating. After all that reading too.

34

I don’t have to read thousands of letters to know what a good bloke you are Dan. Look after yourself. Is Canada tonight then, didn’t the LW with the time efficiency for dating say this Friday night. Burning the candle Dan.
Hug to you anyway.

35

@32 DonnyKlicious and @34 LavaGirl: Agreed and seconded.

Sorry to hear you're under the weather, Dan! I hope it didn't ruin your birthday, and that, as Donny says, you are indeed back in the saddle again soon. Sending big hugs, positrons, and VW beeps.Keep on rocking the house and riling RepubliKKKans!

36

a skeptic and a cynic - your description @20 of a long-term affair where other people knew and helped cover up, that's a brutal betrayal.

But @5 you said "Under the best of circumstances, it generally it takes a minimum of two years to recover from cheating and even then the psychological wounds may never heal completely."

I'm here to say that the "best" circumstances of cheating can be a lot less damaging than you suggest. A secret one-night stand isn't fun to find out about, but it doesn't necessarily create psychological wounds or take two years to recover from.

I'd probably say, in fact, that if the marriage doesn't feel solid a year or two after the revelation of infidelity, it's probably better to end it.

Dan's definition of marriage is helpful here:

"A successful marriage is an endless cycle of wrongs committed, apologies offered, forgiveness granted—leavened by the occasional orgasm."

If the forgiveness doesn't emerge after a year or so, maybe it's best to move on.

37

Erika pinned what I meant in my post - yes, a long term affair that friends and family are helping cover up, with the attendant gaslight, well, of course that is terrible and would take a long time to recover from.

But that's the worst circumstance of cheating, not anywhere near the best, or, I am willing to bet, not the norm.

Instead it's so much more likely to be drunken stupidity or something of that sort, which is not something you want a lot of in your marriage, but which is just part and parcel of living together long term. Not necessarily drunken, and not necessarily stupidity, but there will be something - selfishness, or spitefulness, or pettiness, or some other all too usual human frailty.

What made it possible for me to get over the cheating was a real look at the ways in which I, in getting some of my own needs met, hurt or failed or, yes, betrayed, him. The ways in which I was not perfect, but which he was able to forgive because they were not malicious, but just ways in which I am not as good a person as I'd like to be. And when I looked at it all, and weighed it against all the ways I am good, it made it possible for me to look at him, and weigh his imperfections against all the ways in which he was good. Imperfect monogamy is just one of the ways in which a person can be imperfect.

And for me - sorry, this is getting long but ... - the problem with "naturally monogamous" is that I have a strong suspicion that for many people, it's not that it's natural, but that it's the default. Everything in our culture, from fairy tales onward, tells us that cheating is supposed to hurt, that it's a betrayal, that it tears the fabric of trust. So it's hard to look at how one really feels as compared to how one knows one is supposed to feel, with all that weight of expectation behind it. For me, when I got past the hurt pride of "Oh, this is a thing that happens in bad marriages and now I feel like a loser", I realized while I expected to be devastated, I honestly wasn't, really. The closest emotion was actually exasperation. So I wonder how many of us just assume that monogamy is essential to us because we've been told so, all our lives.

38

I definitely have to echo "price of admission" and the concept of "rounding up to one". That is advice that I have given multiple times to people in my life thanks to this column.

I also feel like a lot of Dan's advice can be be summed up as "Don't take what someone else wants as a personal attack and keep an open mind". I feel like that's more useful than "chill out". I learned from Savage Love that a relationship doesn't have to suffer or end just because one party's desires have expanded or changed. You can usually re-frame the relationship unless there is too much actual betrayal.

Thanks Dan! I hope you feel better.

39

agony, thanks for sharing. Re @37, I feel for me re sexual jealousy in monogamy, is that it’s a cultural expectation and how one was raised as siblings in childhood. My mother/ main child reader, was not skilful in dealing with sibling rivalry, she made it so much worse as we got older by competing with her daughters.
There are many around who are comfortable with poly, how come their jealousy isn’t overpowering etc. I could never have managed poly as a younger woman. I was ripped apart enough after my marriage did break up, I knew he was round the road with his new gf, and I’d wanted our marriage to end. So I had to live thru the pain of that jealousy, not fight for the marriage anymore. I burnt the feelings off, night after night thinking of them together, it lasted till he and she left our villiage and moved way way down south. The whole process sure taught me about attachment.

40

@38 Well said:

"I also feel like a lot of Dan's advice can be be summed up as "Don't take what someone else wants as a personal attack and keep an open mind". I feel like that's more useful than "chill out"."

Good way to show there's better ways to express Dan's philosophy-- WITHOUT using the dismissive phrase chill out ;)

(BUT to be fair to the LW, trying to condense those thousands of letters would be difficult!)

41

While I respect Dan, I don't find his perspective on cheating to be particularly useful to those of his readers who practice monogamy, and his regular commenters are a self-righteous pack of wolves ready to tear apart anyone who dissents.

42

Sublime @25, thank you for the compliment, but using words is great advice I learned from Dan. (Hope you are feeling better, Dan!)

Yes, no settling down without settling for; GGG; rounding up to one; campsite rule. All gems. And don't forget the word pegging, which didn't exist until Dan agreed to a reader's request to coin it. Much to the consternation of his Aunt Peg.

Dartmouth @29, agreed. Being cheated on is a betrayal, but only someone who has never been raped would compare it to rape. No one who has experienced a traumatic event should be told to chill out, indeed. Skeptic, it would have been more sensitive for you to have said something like "it's like telling a mugging victim to chill out."

Lava @33, I don't see that. I see someone who is naturally inclined to non-monogamy, but grew up in an environment where any form of cheating, even "sinning in one's heart" (Jimmy Carter), would send a person straight to hell. Then this person finds an advice columnist who extols the virtues of ethical non-monogamy, who even claims that there are times actual cheating is justified. No wonder four of their six points relate in some way to this aspect of Dan's advice, which indeed has a far broader range.

EricaP @36, I agree. It's possible for someone to get over cheating pretty quickly in some circumstances. Again, if the cheatee is non-monogamously-minded themself, in a hypothetical situation where the spouse was away on business and "slipped up" (as a broad-minded gay LW once put it) and fessed up, I can see them taking this in perspective, forgiving the spouse and being grateful for their honesty. I agree with Erica and Agony @37 that if something like this happens, and you haven't put it behind you two years later, you shouldn't be in that relationship. And if an ongoing affair happens that feels like such a betrayal you're still hurting two years after the fact, you should also not still be in that relationship.

Lava @39, I agree that poly would have been much harder when I was younger. I was recently talking to a gay male friend who's recently started dating a partnered man, and commenting on how much easier poly seems to be when there are no women involved. And that's because women have been told for our entire lives that we are not good enough, not pretty enough; we are told that we are competition for each other. Of course that will lead us to see metamours as rivals, and that's a hard hurdle to get over. Worth it for some, but not for others, and that is fine. Jealousy is a bitch and I don't blame anyone for finding it a price of admission not worth paying for non-monogamy.

43

Pack of wolves, bigg. Bit heavy and defensive.
Cheating is never ok, whether in monogamous or polyamorous relationships and that’s what commenters on these threads say, repeatedly.
What advice would suit you, re cheating. Stone and feather the cheater, cut off their toes?
Once cheating has happened, how best to deal with it. Depends on the story and info given by the LW. No answer fits all.
End of the day, no one owns another’s body and each person needs to decide for themself how to respond when a spouse/ partner has cheated.

44

That’s stone or tar and feather. Been so long since I’ve done some stoning and tarring I got quite confused.

45

Indeed, Lava @43. As a matter of actual fact most of us regulars are far less forgiving of cheating than Dan is. Too bad that doesn't fit Bigg's persecution complex.

46

@ 41 I assume one of the people you are talking to here is me. Would you prefer me to pretend that my life experience was different than it was, and that my feelings were not what they were?

47

@40 KindnessIsKey
(cute avatar!)
"more useful than...the dismissive phrase chill out ;)"

You're probably right; "chill out" probably won't help most (it might help some) people solve their jealousy. But trying to be lighter about one's attachment could be somewhat helpful to most people, so I think it could be seen (not simply as dismissive but) as useful advice.

48

Chill out< made me think of Jason Mendoza from The Good Place: “I'm telling you, Molotov cocktails work. Anytime I had a problem and I threw a Molotov cocktail, boom! Right away, I had a different problem.” You tell someone to stop feeling what they’re feeling? Boom, now your patronizing, dismissive condescension is the problem.

49

Someone spent two years reading all that, and didn't come up with a single interesting point that hasn't been discussed to death?

50

BDF @ 42 I did not invent the term or the analogy. Cheating is often described as the most painful (devastating) experience anyone will ever experience. I'm not sure if I agree with that. I can think several equally devastating experiences (e.g. the death of a child, rape). A Sophie's Choice of pain. Having your heart ripped out (metaphorically) and your world shattered by your nearest and dearest. Mugging doesn't even come close by several orders of magnitude.

I was reacting to the casual attitude of the LW.

51

@49: Because the human condition gives abundant credence to "the more things change, the more they stay the same" it looks like we're in for such discussion and bloviation in perpetuity.

52

Cheating, which elicits sexual jealousy can feel like one’s heart is being ripped out, skeptic @50.
I’ve not been raped, I have lost a child, and that’s like a million knives stuck into your heart for many many months.
All of it generates some form of grief. With cheating, one has to grieve the person they presented as and the sort of relationship one thought one had.
As agony says, when she looked at the plus parts of her husband, his cheating didn’t outweigh them.
So why does cheating seem to be the biggest crime in a relationship. When there’s mental cruelty, financial withholding, being lazy, etc etc.

53

I just wanted to say that I really appreciated post #37. It's refreshing to see someone who's been cheated on also acknowledge that they had a role in creating the circumstances that led up to the event.

We act as if relationships have a good guy and a bad guy, and as soon as one of them cheats we know who's at fault for all the toxicity in the relationship, or at least who's "worse". And sometimes, yes, there IS a bad guy in the relationship. But just as often, it's a cesspool of toxic behaviors and low-level abuse on both sides.

It's not at all rare that the "cheatee" is the real abuser, and the "cheater" just cracked one day and gave in to an impulse that wasn't even really sexual, just the temptation to feel wanted/loved/validated. In a perfect world, yes, the "cheater" would end things, but real-world economics can make that very difficult: sometimes two people move in together and one becomes abusive, and it's not possible to leave without financial ruin.

Frankly, I've even known a few people who basically WANTED to be cheated on -- to get leverage in a divorce they'd already planned, or get cooed over by sympathetic friends, or just reenact whatever drama their parents went through ("See, I KNEW you were just like my no-good mom/dad who left us!"). And so they engage in various forms of low-level abuse and relationship sabotage, until the other person responds predictably -- in a kind of constructive dismissal (to borrow a term from labor law) of the relationship. And since human beings are terrible at understanding covert/passive aggression, third parties only spot the obvious transgression, not everything that led up to it.

54

BTW I think anyone taking the LW's recommendations to "chill out" personally is being silly. It's not a denigration of your personal experience, it's a suggestion that -- whether we're talking about monogamy, cheating, or whatever -- EVERYONE is obligated to do the work to differentiate between the part of their reaction that's genuine hurt and betrayal and loss of trust, and the part that's more about wounded ego and the thrill of self-righteousness. It's the first part that deserves sympathy.

It's possible to be a trauma victim AND to use that trauma as a pretext for acting like a self-righteous asshole. And when it comes to this topic, plenty of people take advantage of that particular leverage, to vomit out all kinds of endless rage that family and friends -- and, most perilously, their own children -- are obliged to listen to.

55

Such a great letter! I would like to add that someone who did have what I thought at the time was comprehensive sex ed (but much later realized it was really only sexual biology and a little bit of health), I've learned so much about relationships, love, and sex from this column. It's opened the door for me to learn and go deeper about all kinds of things. When I told a friend about how helpful Savage love has been for me, they brushed it aside saying it was really only about kinkier types of sex. I told them Savage love is so much more. You really help people be themselves and have happier, healthier relationships in all aspects of their lives. Today, I'm a smut writing lady who has boudoir modeled and is experimenting with kink. My art and my mental health (and my current lover) definitely have much to owe to Dan and his work!

56

LavaGirl. Saying that I am sorry for loss is never adequate, but I'm truly sorry for your loss.

Having discussed opening the relationship, it adamantly rejected by the other person and then finding out they been cheating all along is particularly painful. As is having your SO unable or unwilling to give up the other person.

I don't know how long it takes before cheating reaches the point of no return. It is the sustained lies, deceit and betrayal that shatters a person's world. This applies to more than sexual cheating.

Emotional cheating is worse than physical cheating. There is no way to judge the intensity of the emotional cheating or know when or if the cheating ever stops. It's impossible to know what anyone really feels or thinks. You only have want the other person tells you and the veracity of what they say has been destroyed.

57

Thanks skeptic, my eldest son died in 04, at thirty one, of a heart attack. The acute pain has long subsided.
I’m sorry for your pain, skeptic. You seem to be talking from experience. Yes, sustained lies would be intolerable.
/ It is when one looks at it, a little impossible to promise in youth to never want intimacy with others, besides one’s spouse.
Some people, yes, they want deeply that intimacy only monogamy can bring. Others can’t live it, and how to reconcile our truth as we age with the promise we made in youth.

58

@50 damn if cheating is the most devastating thing, I mean, that's privilege in action, holy moly.

59

@53 Talk to your friends. If they're trying to get people to cheat on them for those reasons, thats EXTREMELY FUCKED UP and those people should be corrected. The consequences of that are life-defining for multiple people, you can't be a decent person and observe that without speaking up.

60

Might be more authentic for marriage vows to include speak the truth to each other. And if at any time monogamy has become an issue, then talk occurs between spouses, before any action is taken. Cheating is mostly always a cowardly way of saying something. Use your words instead.

61

Bigg@41~ You ignorant slut! Unbelievable that you would think we regular commenters would tear your useless asshole apart just because you were too fucking stupid to realize...

Oops!

Never mind...

62

@60 LavaGirl
"...be more authentic for marriage vows to include speak the truth to each other."

Great point, since by implication most married couples consider absolutely nothing about marriage more important than that.

And I can appreciate why the lack of marriage honesty is so extremely hurtful.
I recall as a kid it being pointed out that if a stranger walking past on a busy street said hurtful insulting things, one would relatively speaking disregard them since they came from an utter stranger. Whereas with someone exceedingly close, they do have far more power to hurt; the closest of all have the most power to hurt of all.

63

I wasn't home schooled but did 13 years of Catholic school, where sex ed mostly consisted of a graphic description of all the ways STDs would make your penis rot or your urine turn to blood or both. Reading Savage Love (pretty voyeuristically early on) helped me learn about sex ed in a way that has shaped who I am in ways profound and banal. I'm so grateful for the service you provide!

64

Chiming in a bit late but homeschool:

I've known secular and religious homeschooled kids. There's not really that much difference between them. They get individualized learning and tend to be very confident, independent learners. They're grade levels ahead of their institution-school peers. And their education includes some pretty huge blind spots based on parental bias: fundies push the religion down kids' throats and the left-wing nuts push either unrealistic utopias or "the world is evil" down kids' throats.
Homeschool kids almost always struggle socially. School isn't just about learning and it never has been - one of the original goals was to socialize workers so they'd be able to take orders in factories and the workplace. Home schooled kids I've know have struggled with college, have difficulty creating friendships, and even greater difficulty evaluating friendships. That last one is important. School teaches you that just because someone is nice to you doesn't mean that you want to be their friend. It teaches you that being honest is not always the best policy and that sometimes you have to feign respect for those in charge to make things easier.
Over half of the homeschooled kids I've known have struggled with college. Most of them are smart enough to go all kinds of places but choose local community college or quickly drop out of a far-away school. They just aren't ready to have to demand attention when they need help and they're so dependent on parental involvement that maneuvering their way through a school system is difficult. Can it be done? Sure. Some people can up and move to a foreign country and adjust. But it isn't done often.

I think we should take two lessons from home-schooling:

(1) our education system should feature much stronger individualized learning by regularly bringing more and more adults into classrooms. I'm a teacher myself and most of the training is about how to manage 25 kids and keep them on track. We talk about different learning styles and differentiating lessons but past about 5th grade, that gets to be almost impossible. Its crowd control with some learning thrown in. The school system could benefit from learning how small class sizes and one-on-one tutoring with adults is the key to development. Spend some money on more paras!

(2) Social skills are as important as book learning. Homeschoolers nail the second but screw up the first. We've all known super smart kids who lacked the ability to work with others. Group projects suck but most they are life - most workplace functions involve working with others, doling out responsibility, being accountable, and figuring out how to accomplish goals in an environment where people actively work against you for no decipherable reason. Those situations just don't pop up in homeschooling settings and I think that's the root of their struggle adjusting to the real world.

65

@59: Not many of the people I have in mind were my friends -- only one was, really -- and the picture often wasn't clear until after the fact. And the behavior wasn't necessarily conscious, either: we're not talking about women who hire call girls to seduce their husbands and take incriminating pictures for leverage in a divorce (though that does happen!).

In one case I know, the woman was borderline-asexual but hid the fact. Some time after moving in with her boyfriend, she made it clear that she found sex and physical affection distasteful -- but since neither of them could afford to live on their own, she would do it once every couple of months, at least until they got married.

That, combined with some low-level abuse and denigration (from her to him), yielded the predictable result. And when the drama blew up, and she was surrounded by sympathetic friends who didn't care about her part in making things the way they were? I've never seen her look happier, because she had what she wanted: attention, and the moral high ground.

I don't think she consciously strategized to get him to cheat on her, but I think she's too smart not to understand on some level what was going to happen. Instead, she accidentally-on-purpose created circumstances in which she was going to get what she wanted: intense, sympathetic attention and validation.

Her kink, as it were, was being at the center of attention, being told she's the good one, and how awful the other party is. And it's a kink that a LOT of people share.

66

@66 so twitter is now a kink?

67

@Sporty: Hell yes it is, and for my money it qualifies as A Kink Too Far. Ugh!

I so want to hop into this homeschooling conversation but I think my experience was quite atypical, even for home schoolers, so I'm trying to keep my trap shut. I strongly agree with larry's point #1 @64, though.

68

LG To move in with a person while having an affair, subsequently marrying that person while continuing the affair is inexcusable and truly reprehensible. Add in her best friend knowing everything is especially devastating when you've asked that person what is going on. True story, not a hypothetical or a fake story. Life truly can be stranger than fiction. So improbable and such a cliché. The kind of thing that you would only find on a soap opera.

69

@66: Retweets and "likes" are the zipless fuck of the 21st century, I s'pose. As in Jong's ideal, you give and get validation from a total stranger, but this way you don't have to engage their messy, flawed, odorous personhood in the slightest.

Yay, everyone's a thing now!

71

@8 yeah I have had a similar experience. I know people who felt they had to home-school because their child had special needs which is reasonable but otherwise the hippies I know who HS are sometimes backwards as well, just in a different way, than the bible thumpers. Yes, I would rather have a neighbor/coworker who was homeschooled by a liberal, but I would still not take their advice about crystal healing or fluoride scaremongering seriously. Public education has been one of the great forces for good in our society, and I say that as someone with PTSD from the cruelty of public education. I don't like to hear it torn down by self appointed experts on the left or the right simply because it does not promote their particular beliefs.

72

I just want to chime in here to let people know that I'm intensely following the homeschooling conversation. It's incredibly rare in non-homeschool circles to listen to the subject spoken about thoughtfully.
I'm a homeschooling parent and have been weighing the cost/benefits for the last year and a half of sending the oldest child (middle school/jr high age) to ps vs continuing homeschooling, and struggling to determine which is truly the best choice. Your thoughts are invaluable and I hope you all keep talking about it.

74

@72, so much depends on your kid, too. One of the people I mentioned up above is now trying to decide whether to send her own kids to school.

One of them will, I think, do well no matter what they decide. She picks up on social stuff quickly and easily, so the social life she has through the library, 4H, etc, is probably enough. The other kid, though, I worry about. I spent a lot of years in early childhood education, and in him I see a kid who would dislike the structure of school, but benefit from it once he calmed down and realized it was not there to hurt him. So, a difficult choice, and frankly I'm glad it's not my responsibility to make it.

Of the adults I know who were homeschooled, a couple went to public high school, and liked it a lot. It was an extremely small town though, and quite remote, so they already knew most of the kids in school just from living there. I don't know how they would have done in a big city school.

75

I was worried for years that my own kids will find my female attire stash, inadvertently trigger their parents’ divorce and feel guilty for the rest of their lives.
Apparently the ex found but didn’t tell them. I came out to them few years after I moved out, with her approval, while the kids in college and beyond, and also met them en femme few times after that.
During my initial conversation with one of them they said, “Oh I heard about people like you, I listen to the Savage Love podcast every week.”
Now I can die peacefully, at least in part thanks to Savage Love.
No more secrets nor shame. Thanks!!!

76

I kinda did what the LW did with the Lovecast.

I started reading Dan's column when it started appearing in the SF Bay Guardian, probably in the early nineties, but I did lapse some periods. I actually didn't know there was a Lovecast for a long time, then I went back and binge-listened to them all, and stayed caught up....until a couple years ago when I started hanging out here, and since then I confess I just haven't had time to stay current with the Lovecast. Eventually I hope to binge-catch up again though.

77

@41: I do ("practice monogamy," though I do think that the common understanding includes a category error based on a social belief that contradicts material reality - unless the definition is "sex with one person in your entire life," trying to define the period of time during which one only has sex with one other person in order to be monogamous becomes a subjective semantic quibble, and just about any definition can be countered in the manner of Zeno's Paradox), and I do (find Dan's advice regarding it useful).

"his regular commenters are a self-righteous pack of wolves ready to tear apart anyone who dissents"

Well, yeah; have you met people? Or, more importantly, people who don't already basically agree with you about core social ideologies, such that you'd notice? (We don't tend to notice that sort of thing when we AGREE with the norms.) Tribalism is one of our most important evolved cooperation incentives; without it, those of us not killed in interpersonal conflicts with other humans probably all would have been eaten by actual wolves (or sabertooth cats or whatever). I think we're actually less hostile to dissent than average, but then that's another common human cognitive bias (thinking we're better than average, which is statistically impossible for just over half of all people).