Accepting What You Cannot Change, Faking British Accents, Extremely Fluid Situations — Reader Advice Roundup!

Comments

1

The way that Dan handled the readers, calling him out makes me question his ability to have a healthy relationship. Instead of listening and acknowledging how people felt about his response, he adds more context.

This is how you fuck up, and if you do this when your partner complains about x or y it's likely they feel immensely frustrated because instead of accepting your feelings you throw them in the trash and say 'But this!' and whenever you say anything more you just say 'But this!'.

Makes Dan sound like a fcking miserable human being to be around

I admit I'm tired of Dan after reading him for years posts like this make me avoid The Stranger for a week or two t typically. I don't think I'm alone here; maybe it's time to retire Dan before you make more people hate you?

2

1, perhaps you should comment less.

3

@1: If my dickishness repulses you... that's hardly an incentive to dial it back, now is it? If it's only driving you off for two weeks at a time tops... well, then I need to work harder at it.

4

@1

Quarantine getting us all down but it sounds like you get no pleasure out of Dan's column so why in the world do you read it? It's a sex & relationship advice column- you have zero responsibility to follow along. It's not news an informed citizen should follow, not work you are required to complete to keep your job, not a family member nor friend in whom you must show an interest to maintain a relationship, so what gives?

As for not thinking you are alone, sometimes I disagree with Dan's advice and sometimes his takes on things bother me. But usually in those cases they are interesting, give me some insight into others, provide starting points for conversations that are insightful at best, a fun distraction from real life at worst.

Why engage with media you dislike for years? I don't spend time on InfoWars forums.

5

Dan does not give a fuck what people think or feel. That's his feature, his pride. He will double down on anything people find offensive (see #2). Remember that when he (wealthy white man who likes to be a total fucking dick to everyone) is begging for money to keep The Stranger going.

6

I meant #3....no edit feature in the comments section...still.

7

Savage’s history of impunity — not just surrounding race, but more recent slights against the trangendered and other sexual minorities — is no secret.

https://nypost.com/2016/02/08/dan-savages-race-baiting-exploitation-of-the-liberal-grievance-pyramid/

8

Pretty elitist and smarmy to just blithely say "Make your wife orgasm every time!" It's not that easy for some people and orgasm pressure is a real thing. This guy also assumes orgasm = good time. I think most people can say that an orgasm doesn't necessarily be a good time. The underlying concept is good - if I enjoy a baseball game, I'll come back. But to equate orgasm so intrinsically with a good time is off. I wonder if his wife might have a different concept if we talked to her

9

Dan Savage: Awesome or Assh*le?
https://brokeassstuart.com/2018/01/17/dan-savage-awesome-asshle/

10

Why is divorce not even in the universe of possible responses to ANONYMOUS's situation?

ANON, if you had a great platonic marriage with sex outside, that would be one thing. But, well, ask yourself this, if you were single and free would you choose to enter into this marriage -- including its cheating possibilities, sure -- starting now?

If "no", then you're in it from inertia. I don't know how old you are, but weigh that against the rest of your life. Do you want to spend the rest of your life in this marriage cheating? Including after you get caught because you will, which will not improve the longstanding communication issues?

Or does the idea of starting a new chapter in your life have any appeal?

11

@1, it’s called responding to criticism. Dan is also showing that he’s holding his view despite others’ opinions, and that is called thinking for oneself.

12

@1, @5~ “...sonofabitch, Dan, we can’t stand your column or your responses! Every other day we HAVE to read this claptrap that makes our heads spin and our teeny, tiny dicks shrivel even further! Being forced to read your column for years has added to our COVID induced psychoses and made it impossible to form coherent thoughts (even more than usual). Please stop making us read your column!

13

There's a bakery down the road from my house that has the worst cookies and every day I go down there in the morning and I shove the cookies in my mouth and then, with chocolate smeared on my lips and crumbs falling all over my shirt, I scream at the baker for making such disgusting cookies, then I stomp off back home mad.

14

I don't read Savage Love or pay attention to Dan much at all, though I did read the one regarding the destination wedding (was that a Dan column, who knows at this point). I was just pointing out that Dan doesn't give a shit, never has, never will, and even now as he begs for money (while he and Tim Keck are millionaires) he insults his readers and mocks those who disagree with him and expresses a desire to drive away even MORE people. Just sayin' ~ odd practices for a guy begging the readers to save the Stranger.

15

https://www.postalley.org/2020/03/18/no-stranger-to-adversity-seattles-only-newspaper-fights-to-survive/

16

Oh for fuck's sake. So far I vote for EL to win this thread, starting with

@4 EmmaLiz
"Quarantine getting us all down"

Then doing the near-impossible and being even (sorry, to my taste) funnier than the master DonnyKlickous@11 with her @12.

/Break/
In what universe does it make sense to viciously and unfairly attack Dan claiming falsely that he does what you yourself just /actually/ did to him in making that claim? And I would note, dumnogenus and xina, that I myself have strongly criticized Dan about one particular principle. Most recently this week. But despite me being like everyone deeply affected by the world situation, I've tried to be what I saw as fair about it. But not only weren't you fair, you piled on with gratuitously mean cruelty. (I truly hope Dan hasn't experienced what I said as anything like that if he bothered to read those Comments by me.)

It seems like you haven't noticed that everyone on this planet is an individual that thinks differently from everyone else (however much I admit this drives me crazy). You need to be able to accept that no one is like you. (Perhaps it's true what they say about this being somehow necessary, BTW.) Since you apparently are familiar with Dan, it's incomprehensible to me how you can't see that he is a good person with a good heart that does good in the world.

No one is perfect. For you two, one way you aren't perfect is what you did to Dan upthread. Perhaps if I dissected the crazy things you wrote, I could find a seed of reasonable criticism in there; why couldn't you, and just post your reasonable seed and leave it at that? Why post those horrific and absurd comments? It only served to undermine whatever message you had, and literally demonstrate the very vitriol you thought you saw (but apparently were only looking in a mirror).

(Oh, as for my criticism, I should probably not ever repeat it. I've done so before a number of times, and now it's proven futile. Which is fine, Dan is a different person from everyone else, he's his own unique self. So there's no point in my repeating myself again either.)

I advise you to not be pointless, unkind, or unfair.

17

Dear Dan,
Why Do All These Homosexuals Keep Making Me Read Their Column?

18

re: chastising for being unfair to dan savage? seriously? okay dude. WHATEVER.

it's called having an OPINION. i don't think dan is fair to people, but i am expected to be fair to him? hm, nope. you are entitled to your opinion (see how that works) about my opinion.

still doesn't change one fact:
dan savage is a wealthy white man who clearly has no problem telling people to fuck off (see above) if they don't like his opinion. that's fine. he has every right to do that. that being said, this same dude (and all of the stranger staff) are begging people for money. every day. in nearly every post. on their mast head. begging for money during a pandemic in which the extent of catastrophic human loss (social, economic, life, etc.) are as yet unknown.

yeah i spend time here, read SLOG, write comments.

i won't give a dime to the stranger, though. they JUST fixed the 404 troll problem after years (decades?) of people complaining about the problem. the owners are wealthy white men. they can't survive this crisis? pay their employees? they need to be bailed out by their readers? really

if the stranger goes under, oh well. i'll read something else, somewhere else, comment if i can, or not if they don't have comments.

i think dan's an asshole. so what? being told i'm not being fair to dan savage who is well known for being a total and complete dick to so many people, including the people who work for him, does not change my opinion.

19

Xina, why don't you punctuate your sentences correctly? Sentences start with capital letters. You inability to grasp this simple fact means I will not be reading your posts.

20

dan comes from an era of loud and proud offensiveness. that was where social movements were back in the 90s. i'm an old loud and proud member of the stoner movement myself. part of it was being in people's faces and making them uncomfortable. it was an era of re-claiming terms... e.g. the old 'hey faggot' start to the column. that's some in your face shit!

that whole world has been turned on its head. now, everything is about tolerance and acceptance and not offending. people like dan made that possible, but that doesn't mean that there is a stable place for people like him in the world that they helped create.

i'm continually impressed by dan's straddling of the line between his in your face roots and the tone he has to take in a time of coddling. it's gotta be a pain in the ass. i would guess some days he's gotta drink to be kind to his whiny ass writers. and now, in the time of coronavirus w/ donald trump in charge and our best hope for a different direction being... joe biden? yeah, dan might swing back more to his roots a bit here and there and go asshole. it's cool. it's part of the story he's writing. as a human being struggling to get by.

but then again, i'm drunk and high. mostly high.

21

i don't read dan's column or care about it at all really, but I do have VERY strong opinions about him and stop by to write long comments complete with links to sources that agree with my opinions about a column i don't read or care about.

22

@7. xina. When has Dan beaten down on the transgendered?

@10. Mt Beaver. Why did he not seriously consider divorce, say, 22 years ago? I'd think it was largely because he valued her mothering of his kids.

/break/
People are reluctant to concede that sex can sometimes just be sex. It's its own sphere, own specialism, own motivation. You don't experience a revival of sexual feeling for your husband because he dons an apron and twirls round the kitchen with a mop (that is, you don't always). You aren't attracted to the ideal person in terms of your sexual politics (not to someone of the 'right' or most convenient gender, orientation, status or nature as top/bottom; not to someone liking the same kinks, living in the same metro area, supporting the same football team, patronising the same brands or having the same values). It's always possible to 'do' sex ethically; but sex leads, or proceeds, ethics. Our desires or kinks land us in a bath of moral shit, and our decency and integrity in sorting them through perfume it, a bit. People don't like this. They're scared of it, scared of sex. They want to lead moral lives, and hope that sex can be a consequent or pre-determined area of their morality.

23

As someone who (occasionally) has sex that lasts less than 15 mins. with a person not part of my household who needn't breathe on my face (nor I on his), I'll comment on the substantive item of interest in today's column: It's interesting. It will change how a lot of people have sex, emerging from lockdown. And who is investigating this urgent public health concern? It's Dr Fauci! Natch. No, it's the asshole of the PNW, the well-known white millionaire, Daniel Savage.

24

Morally, I’d say Mr A deserves to be desired. He is being denied an experience he could be having with someone else, because for whatever reason his wife stopped enjoying sex with him. Or stopped enjoying sex.
These two have had this lie between them long enough. It might blow up the marriage or it might take them to another level, if both want to keep the family together. People can compromise.

25

correction @24. Morally, I’d say Mr A deserves the opportunity to be desired. .....etc

26

@xina
I feel like I'm invading Dan's privacy just to respond to your repeated statements that he's a:

'white millionaire'

First, "white":
What does your criticism of Dan as an employer have to do with him being white? (Would you be less critical of his business practices if he were other than white?) Calling Dan "white" seems like a gratuitous racist attack to me.

Because I'm guessing Dan wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth. (Of course I could be wrong, you-who-can't-stand-Dan seem to pay a heck of a lot more attention to him than I have; I haven't made time even to read his book[s?][though I'm sure I'm love to]). Never in what I have read Dan write did I read that anything was handed to him on a platter. So I'm thinking it's that he made something, because he's smart and talented and good. (Which is a very uncommon path to financial success; in the corporate world, success correlated with amorality; good on people who can find a way to succeed without being amoral.)

(And if he hadn't made something, we'd be sitting on somebody else's forum because we'd have heard of them instead. It's insanely circular to criticize people just because you've heard of them. Some lunatic once told me that filmmaker Michael Moore's message [WRT the rich] shouldn't be respected because he made money. But that principle of course would make it impossible for anyone to succeed in delivering such a message; am I only supposed to listen to someone criticize the rich that no one has ever heard of [and thus whose message I will never see]?)

Lastly, "millionaire":
There's been definitional drift in that word, so it's unclear whether you're saying that he has a million dollars, or that he makes that much annually. Again, you-who-can't-stand-Dan seem to know a heck of a lot more about him than I do, and I hope I'm wrong, but my sense of Dan's financial picture does not include him making a million dollars every damn year.

So I'm guessing you mean he /has/ a million dollars. Which is true of 5.7%(1) of the human beings (calculation includes newborn babies) in the USA; a million ain't what it used to be, hence the definitional drift.

IIRC Dan had to layoff 18 employees. This is a situation in which pain ought to be shared, with no end in sight; how long should Dan's millionionare dollars be paying those 18 employees? Even if you were right to expect him to give it all away, a million isn't what it used to be split 18 ways. Why is that all on Dan (who himself has a life and a family)? The US government has many orders of magnitude more financial wherewithal than Dan, and their responsibility to do what you're asking for from Dan for everyone could spread the pain with maximum equity. (The Dan we know isn't someone who is profiteering off others' misery right now. My income is low, but I value thestranger, so I've been happy to help pitch in; I don't see why this should all be free to me.)

(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_the_number_of_millionaires

Again, for all I know you have some seed of a valid point in your criticism, but it reads so poisonously that you've undermined it.

27

If the partner working eighteen hours a day has zero interest and the person working twelve hours a day still feels sexy, the people telling the twelve-hour worker (almost always he, but I could make this point favouring either side) should work eighteen hours a day want to keep the mechanism and operate it in the contrary direction. But those saying they should both work fifteen hours a day and each feel half-sexy are still keeping the mechanism. I'd advocate for reducing the total load to twenty-four hours down from thirty if it can be done. Not everyone can get all the way there, but almost everyone has something non-essential that can be cut.

28

Xina, to claim that Dan's attitude has any unique effect on this paper's struggles, you'd have to show that this newspaper's struggles are unique- surely you are aware that small papers around the nation have been increasingly struggling to survive in the last decade and a half, that several independent media outlets online have gone under in just the last year, and that also we are in the middle of a depression?

Sure, Dan has the attitude that you'd expect of a genx white rich gay man from a nuclear family who has spent his life mostly in material comfort in an urban area. I don't think there's a soul in the world who's both heard of Dan and been laboring under the delusion that Dan's a radical.

Literally no one here cares if you express your opinion that Dan is an asshole- you are free to it, people here like to argue. I dont' think anyone is telling you that you are unfair or that you should stop criticising. Look how much fun we've already had in this thread in response to you!

What's fascinating is why you bother.

Like, when I bother to think about Axl Rose, I think he's an asshole, but since he's irrelevant to anything I mostly just don't think about him. But even when I do, it would never occur to me to go to a forum of his fans and inform them that he's an asshole- especially not with extremely obvious observations like "hey, fellow opinon-havers about Axl Rose, are you aware that he acts like a spoiled misogynist rock star with a drinking problem?" (egads, clutch pearls)

29

But set that aside. Imma respond to you seriously b/c that's my M.O. just like yours is rebelling against rules of capitalization.

Dan is an entertainer. He's written a few funny things, made some funny appearances, built a career around telling people fuck before dinner. At best, he's played a small role in a larger cultural movement that has helped make the world safer and more pleasant for lgbt folks- sometimes in a funny way, other times with very serious issues. He's been on the positive side of other cultural developments/disagreements: helping straight people move away from a focus on piv sex, advocating for reproductive rights & the rights of teenagers, rights of immigrants, universal health care, etc.

But in the long run, he's just a professional who makes his money in media doing media things, and even within that world, he has a relatively minor career. He's just savvy enough to have carved a little niche out for himself, and the attitude that bothers you has been a big part of his bread and butter. No one makes a decades-long personality-driven media career based on the polite expression of correct opinions.

Anyway, if you are going to criticise him, it's not over the petty shit you mentioned which mostly amounts to he-said, she-said bickering and not-super-woke-but-still-more-woke-than-the-mainstream-at-the-time takes. If you had a job in which you expressed your ideas for decades, sometimes off-the-cuff in interviews, sometimes in books, sometimes online, sometimes in radio- you'd sometimes say stupid and offensive shit too.

The most assholish thing Dan has done (career wise, know nothing about him personally) is that he used his relatively small and mostly insignificant platform to support the US invasion of Iraq. But no one reads Dan's column to learn about foreign policy. They read it to find out how he's going to respond to folks asking what to do with a girlfriend that wants to shove worms up her vagina.

Even with this incredibly bad and morally reprehensible and just down right idiotic take- Dan was a tiny voice contributing to the majority opinion of others in the media class- including much more influential global movers and shakers who advise policy, write speeches for presidents and have an audience of millions. And unlike any of those people, Dan apologized for being stupid while most of those motherfuckers are still writing speeches and fundraising for presidents and advising policy, etc

So what fascinates me is why you'd get so worked up about the occasional dumb take of a sex advice columnist, interested to the point that you provide multiple links to stories that I presume you've even spent time reading that are written by people who share your opinion on this minor celebrity figure. This forum is entertainment. People who waste time here do so because they enjoy doing so- there's literally no other reason to bother with it as it's totally inconsequential.

If you enjoy getting worked up about media figures, there are dozens of terrible offensive and immoral takes in the NYT op-ed section every single month and some of those people actually have the ear of powerful people.

I mean, hate-reading is fun so I guess I get it, but it just seems silly to have such a random target.

30

xina @5: "Dan does not give a fuck what people think or feel."

This is not true. I'm often taken aback by how kind and compassionate he can be. But you claim to read his column not much, so you might not have noticed.

"He will double down" just as you did @6, 7, 9, 14, 15, and 18. That's a lot of effort. Why the butthurt?

31

I don’t feel that way EmmaLiz @29. These threads are not for entertainment, because people write in with serious life questions. People brave enough to have their lives cut open and examined by Dan and a gaggle of non entities/ us. How generous is Dan to let people from around the globe hang onto his coat tails and share their responses.
Dan is an empathetic person, a gay white western man from the US, who may or may not be a millionaire. Not sure that’s any of xina’s or my business. Dan has worked for it. And why shouldn’t the Stranger ask for financial help from the readers, the people who jump on and read for free, during this time when advertisers have gone awol. It’s to be admired they have kept the paper going via the internet.

32

Yes, CLIT sounds burnt out/ over stressed/ etc, so pacing is important here and priorities. Let go of some of the housework, put a movie on for the kids on a Sunday morning and have a cuddle session with her husband.
Bodies touching often leads to other activities.
CLIT could see where ignoring this important part of a marriage can end up by reading MrA’s letter.

33

EmmaLiz @13: Damn. Now I'm hungry.

34

@dumnogenus: You seem to be conflating the attention and consideration owed a partner with the attention owed to any one of a million random people Monday-morning quarterbacking advice columns on the internet. They aren't the same.

@xina: Of course they're asking for money. Lots of people work for the Stranger, they want the paper to continue to survive during the crisis so that those people still have jobs later. It blows my mind that you could interpret this as a bad thing, or believe that Dan could just fund the whole place himself indefinitely since he's a "millionaire." I suppose you may have a wishy-washy grasp of arithmetic.

Also, if you "don't read Savage Love ... much at all," then how on earth are you qualified to comment? Because someone you know had you read a thing or two taken out of context somewhere on the internet? I could take out two of your comments from this one thread and show some friends and they'd probably conclude you were a real asshole, too.

@dropout, I don't always agree with your posts, but I appreciated @20. Completely correct.

I've been reading Dan for something like two decades now, and my impression is that he cares exactly the right amount. Enough to be compassionate when it's called for, and not so much that he can't call someone out for being an asshole when called for.

35

EmmaLiz killing it in these comments.

@1: Here's a little life lesson for you: if you criticize someone incorrectly based on incomplete information, you're not entitled to an apology, you fucking miserable human being.

36

One of xina's links (Broke Ass Stuart) includes a link to this article as evidence that Dan is transphobic:

https://slate.com/human-interest/2011/11/did-dan-savage-deserve-to-be-glitter-bombed.html

Which doesn't at all prove that point and in fact ironically ends with this sentence:

"What does stifle progress, though, is insisting that one man speak for all (only to judge him when he necessarily fails) instead of finding creative, savvy, engaging ways of speaking for oneself."

37

Chase @36: Another of xina's links was the NY Post... a bit by David Kaufman no less. 'Nuff said.

38

I've been listening to the Magnum, and thus far haven't heard any British accents, let alone fake ones. Perhaps the Tweeter is confused by the Oz/NZ callers?

39

Yes ciods, so many people have read and gone to Dan for decades, seeking advice. Proof is in the pudding.
xina, anger is going to eat you up. Got to be a better way.

40

For the record @1, I and most who wrote on the thread didn’t agree with Dan re Mr Anonymous going off and cheating, and here’s Dan sticking to his response.
I can see where god yes let this torture finish. I don’t sense though that Mr A could carry it off. Once caught all hell will break loose, kids get involved. Time for a kind exposure of the truth, via words, not cheating.

41

"If Mr. Anonymous can have an honest open relationship, I think he should go for it. Talk to the wife. I told him that." No, Dan, you didn't. You told him that IDEALLY he should talk to his wife before unilaterally opening the relationship. You didn't say, "I think you should talk to your wife about opening the relationship," you said, "You should fuck other people." You told him to cheat. And you didn't tell him to stop fucking his wife after deciding to secretly and unilaterally open his marriage, something that could have redeemed your "just go cheat" advice. If you'd told him to tell his wife he gives up on their sex life, then give it a few months for her to get used to that, THEN start meeting his needs discreetly, your advice might have passed some sort of ethical sniff test. Nope. Don't defend the column you meant to write. Write that column next time.

Phi, high five on the shout-out!

42

Larry @8, I agree. Anyone with a "you must orgasm every time" rule has a spouse who fakes orgasms. Dude, you CAN emphasise the Big O enough; you can emphasise it too much, and that's what you're doing. Good that your wife orgasms easily but there may come a time when she doesn't, and you will regret your smugness then.

As far as opinions of Dan. I am still here and think Dan hits it out of the park 85% of the time. But he has a pattern of advising cheating as far from the last resort. When this advice first appeared, it was groundbreaking and compassionate. LW is married to someone who has become physically disabled, is no longer able to have sex, would be heartbroken at the thought of LW having sex with anyone else, and is financially dependent on the LW. What should the LW do? In this situation, none of the other options is reasonable. Many would have advised the LW that they need to stick to their marriage vows regardless, but Dan recognised that leaving would be more cruel, that informing a spouse on their deathbed that you'll be banging sex workers would be more cruel, than cheating in this very narrow circumstance. That advice was controversial but sex positive, empathetic people saw it as realistic and kind.

However, Dan jumps to cheating when other resorts are available. In general, if the sex has gone bad (or just gone), the options in order of preference are:
1. Try to improve the sex. (In A's case, not an option because the wife does not accept there is a problem.)
2. End the relationship.
3. If ending the relationship will cause financial hardship, or the relationship is otherwise worth saving, ask to open the relationship.
4. If leaving or ethically opening the relationship is literally not possible, and the sex really is over, do what you gotta do.

In A's case, there was no reason to jump to 4. Why can't he leave? The kids are grown, there is no mention of financial dependency. Nor was there the usual disclaimer about "she's my best friend and the marriage is wonderful otherwise." On the contrary, they have had other problems. So it seems obvious that the person-up advice would be to walk away and seek a new, better relationship. Nope. Dan just tells him there's no reason to keep his dick in his pants here, that he's entitled to do whatever he pleases, with honesty as an afterthought.

One of the reasons I stick around here is in hopes that the LWs will read not just the advice, but the comments, where people with a stronger sense of ethics will jump in and say, terrible advice, you have options 2 and 3 open to you so option 4 is not justified.

43

@42. Bi. Yes. 'Do what you have to do to stay married and stay sane' is flawed as a boilerplate because, in so many cases, being married itself involves the sexually-dissatisfied party's exploiting or dominating their spouse, e.g. a guy having his wife iron all his shirts, cook all his meals, etc..

44

@43, Harriet: I hope this comment makes it into next week’s reader roundup.

If you’re depending on someone for many things in your life, but they won’t fuck you, you need to evaluate what would be more realistic and kind: accepting that your sex life is over, asking for an open relationship, or leaving. I don’t think cheating is acceptable if being with this person makes your life easier and you know they don’t want you to have sex with others.

If you’re the one being depended on, you’ll probably be better off just leaving. But I still can’t see that cheating is OK. Except for the original example of Dan’s ‘stay married and stay sane’ advice. This applied to situations where the spouse is incapacitated, terminally ill or cognitively handicapped, where leaving isn’t an option, and neither is a conversation about opening the relationship.

43

BDF @42: Yeah, Dan's 2 faults IMO are his alacrity with the "have you considered cheating?" advice, and his frequent "if you know something could probably be a dealbreaker for a potential sex partner (HIV, Herpes, Married, Poly, Sex Worker, etc.) but you (and I) don't think it's a reasonable dealbreaker to have, just hide the dealbreaker until the person is more invested in you, or if it's a ONS, what they won't know can't hurt them, eh?"

That being said, I think that the frequent commenter pushback in these areas has affected him in the past years, and he advises it less.

45

As far as whether Dan takes criticism, I think the fact that this weekly roundup exists at all shows that he does. He prints critiques of his advice, and sometimes he lets them stand alone but sometimes he follows them up with an explanation/clarification/"doubling down," if you will, of his original advice. He seems to do this when he does stand by the original advice but a commenter has brought to his attention that there is another way of seeing things, which is often the case, particularly when all information is not known. And sure, sometimes he prints a letter from a crazy right-winger not because he thinks that person's point is valid, but because it amused him to read, and he thinks it will amuse us too. EmmaLiz is correct that he's an entertainer first and foremost, an adviser second; he has no formal training, and if someone's problems are THAT serious they should be seeking help from a qualified professional. So yeah, people like dumnogenous and xina who don't like his column should feel free to go read other columns, not presume some sort of entitlement to columns written the way THEY would like to read. Dan's laughing at your butthurt, all the way to the bank.

46

Harriet @43, that's an angle I hadn't considered. You mean in cases where one spouse behaves selfishly/abusively, the other spouse loses desire in response to the poor treatment, and Spouse A uses the loss of desire as an excuse to seek permission to cheat. That would be very devious indeed, adding insult to injury as it were. In these cases "try to improve the sex" would include a holistic "try to improve the relationship," as this week's critics have said, by doing more housework, etc. Or if the abusive situation is obvious from the letter (rare, I would think, due to people not wanting to show themselves in a negative light), the advice could be option 2, leave and save your poor partner from your shitty self.

47

@42 BiDanFan
Re: Dan and cheating
I applaud both your persistence (as I announced upthread, after years of beating this exact drum I've now given up) and your clear outline of the situation.

Honestly, this issue seems to me have gotten worse; I wonder if Dan's digging his heels in in response to this very criticism, and that deeply concerns me.

@43 Traffic Spiral
"hide the dealbreaker until the person is more invested in you"

Doesn't that overstate Dan's advice? Which I thought was to just wait a bit (instead of blurting it out immediately), say for them to get to know you (and that if true to know that the lack of the dealbreaker would not be a dealbreaker for /you/); I don't see Dan as suggesting one wait so long as to have sunk one's claws deeply into their heart.

48

Re: PIM vs PIT. Even though PIT rhymes much nicer and sounds dirtier, I'd suggest that for average sized men it's technically PIM. They ain't hitting no throat.

49

Without any evidence and with only a little thought, my own brand spanking newly formed opinion on Dan's cheating advice (since we're being meta which seems a quarantine trend?) is that he built his media career on (primarily) normalizing same sex relationships among mainstream liberals. It's so blase now that it's hard to remember that it used to be a big deal for someone like Dan and his husband to show that they were regular loving couple living a family life, etc. And I think that as this has become not only perfectly acceptable in mainstream liberal culture (which isn't the norm across the country but it is in most mainstream media and in most inner urban areas especially among professional classes) then Dan has needed another hook on which to hang his hat. It seems he picked up ethical nonmonogamy- that's the new not-yet-totally-acceptable slightly-transgressive-but-not-actually-shocking lifestyle that he's thought to press on.

I'm not saying it's dishonest reasons- I think he really does believe that the expectation of monogamy is harmful and unrealistic for many people and it's liberating to push against it. But it does look like he picked that up and ran with it when gay relationships became mainstream (to the extent they are). If you look at it this way, the issue has the same media elements- it's just out of the ordinary enough to be slightly controversial, pisses off all the same people, and gives liberal media types the delicious sense that they are hearing something slightly shocking without actually saying anything really shocking (and example would be the clip of him on some talk show, can't remember which, quipping about how he and his husband fuck other people it's just at the same time) without requiring him to step too far out of the role of media entertainer since his audience really never stops being mostly urban liberals. Like, he's not attempting to talk about normalizing gay relationships or nonmonogamy among nonliberals - that task has been left to the altright, frighteningly. (No criticism to Dan for this, it's not his responsibility, I'm just making an observation).

It didn't lead to the same career trajectory for a number of reasons including the changing media/political landscape, the culture war shift which focused on gender instead of nonmonogamy, the fact that it's just not as pressing an issue for most people who would be the receptive audience for such a message, the personal implications that it might have for some of those open-minded liberals which could view gay marriage as an "other", etc.

TBH though the reason for my disclaimer at the top is I've never thought of Dan's career trajectory before this conversation so I might be making shit up, but now that I'm thinking about it, this is what it looks like?

But back to the original point, I think this is what's behind Dan's fairly lax rules around cheating. Though he gives lip service to other people's preference for monogamy, I think if you listen to him talk about it, it's pretty clear he thinks it's a foolish expectation, and who knows he might be right. How to deal with that, among straight people at least, is never going to be so straight-forward as a list of rules or a granting of rights, and it requires stepping into a lot of very nuanced and culturally sensitive circumstances so it's never going to have the media swell behind it that same-sex marriage had. Long way to say- I think Dan sometimes jumps flippantly to cheating just because he doesn't think it really matters.

50

@49 EmmaLiz
"I think he really does believe that the expectation of monogamy is harmful and unrealistic for many people and it's liberating to push against it...he thinks it's a foolish expectation...jumps flippantly to cheating just because he doesn't think it really matters."

Welcome aboard EL, I said the same some months ago (in installment 97 or something of my extended campaign about this) when speculating on why Dan fails to respect honesty...in monogamous commitments he doesn't think they should have made to begin with. But our theory doesn't make me feel what Dan's doing is correct. Regardless of whether Dan (or I, frankly) think people should be making a promise, once they do make it honor and integrity demand respecting the promise (and grave practical implications like unknowingly exposing others to STIs).

Another factor I've suggested, is that it seems to accept as a premise the cultural norm that marriage is permanent (which I imagine might come from Dan's religious/cultural programming), and thus one would at all costs want to avoid renegotiation that might lead to divorce.

(Yes I know the promise of marriage is permanence, but I also think anyone taking that literally nuts.)

IIRC I've also speculated further that Dan is influenced in this by wanting to think of his own marriage as permanent.

51

I know I said recently I'd given up on beating this drum, but apparently what I gave up was being the one to bring it up.

52

I don't have much of an opinion on monogamy at all, maybe that's why Dan's stance doesn't bother me as much as it does others. It's just not an issue I really care about. I don't know if that puts me on board with you, Curious, or not. Maybe?

I have a very strong opinion on cheating specifically limited to lying to a person who you are having sex with about your sex life (which includes any other sex partners but also things like STIs and birth control and your sexuality / expectations insofar as you understand these things). I'm not saying all these things must be revealed up front, only that you cannot lie about them. To me, this is an issue of consent and bodily autonomy- that's the rub- not an issue of the value of monogamy or the role of marriage or how cheating affects people emotionally etc which to me seem such varied and specific questions that it's pointless to generalize about it.
Also I agree there's an inherent contradiction- which you point out- regarding the role of marriage in society in the first place. If I'm being deep about it, I think the gay marriage conversation took the most conservative approach and it's been sort of a band-aid over deeper cultural questions. But I don't expect Dan to be a philosopher, and yes if we are going to accept that the state gives certain legal rights to certain relationships, it should apply to everyone equally.

But back to the topic. I heard an interview with Dan a few years ago in which he said something about how you'd take a bullet for your spouse, this person who is central to your life who you love, but that somehow cheating could be a relationship-ending crisis. He was trying to point out the contradictions here, but I thought it generalized much too much. We all have a problem with seeing other people's perspectives. It ignores the various ways we interpret trust and betrayals. If my partner were to cheat (which would be pointless as we could just return to nonmonogamy which it seems I might've preferred more than he did) but if my husband were to stray, fuck someone else without permission because he got caught up in some passionate moment, come home, tell me about it, then I guess we'd have to have some pretty serious discussions about our current arrangement, much in the same way we do when we make big changes due to jobs, family, finances, etc. But if my husband were to cheat, carry on an affair, lie to me about it, all the while I'm under the impression that things are fine, sharing with me trust and intimacy and decision making and all these things that our daily life entails including sex, and then I were to discover that he'd been lying- actively, intentionally- then it would be relationship ending. I'd probably become violent over the betrayal, it would shatter my world- seriously I don't think I could recover. The reason isn't that he'd slept with others (I couldn't care less about that, in fact I enjoy thinking about it)- it would be that he is not the person I think he is. My relationship would be built on a false premise. He is not that person I'd take a bullet for. The person that I'd take a bullet for would not actively carry out a deceit that would destroy our lives and shake the foundation of my mental/emotional health. For me, trusting someone intimately is an extreme responsibility- it makes you vulnerable. And people make mistakes, but if they do so with intentions to deceive and then lie to cover it up, then that is a massive betrayal.

This is extremely specific to my own relationship and other people have different circumstances/values- it's impossible to generalize about what's right / wrong because it's all too specific. The best you could do in a sweeping way is just to say "we should rethinking monogamy as a default expectation for everyone" but of course this leads to nuanced conversations and there is no easy slogan for it because you'd have to grapple with all the various cultural issues that made it the default expectation which is fairly new for both men and women- and to be perfectly honest- a gay man probably isn't best positioned to take that on.

But regarding hard lines in terms of general ethics- I really don't see how we can justify one on any grounds other than bodily autonomy (consent) which means you can't lie about fucking others IF you are still fucking your partner too (however rarely or unsatisfyingly). Everything beyond that is too specific to the individuals involved to make generalizations.

53

EmmaLiz @49, as someone who is ethically non-monogamous, it's great to see someone with Dan's profile waving the flag for ENM. He is openly monogamish himself. Yes, he seems to jump too often to opening relationships, when not everyone is suited to non-monogamy. That is a bias, but that is different from giving advice which violates every tenet of ethical non-monogamy by being unethical! I get your point -- monogamy shouldn't be the expectation, fucking other people shouldn't be considered a relationship killer, one person shouldn't be expected to provide perfect sexual compatibility. All fine and if that's Dan's message I think it is one that needs to be said. But "monogamy is silly, just cheat" is irresponsible. Most people DO think cheating matters. Monogamous or non-monogamous, most of us want our relationships to be honest. So if you're right and this is in fact the envelope he's now pushing now that only the most backward bigots give a crap whether someone is gay, then he forgot the "ethical" bit of ethical non-monogamy and is therefore failing at being its ambassador.

54

@52 EmmaLiz
I was referring only to the specific quoted section as agreeing with me.

I don't really have much of an opinion on monogamy either. But I sure as hell do about integrity and honor in agreements.

And then there's secretly exposing people to STIs which in my view is criminal.

The "consent" issue is one whose complexity confounds me; I hope not to remind anyone of how, but early in my time here I was accused of doing wrong to a partner by not revealing pointlessly thoughts which could and would have no effect upon reality. In other words I don't think I'm up to the challenge of talking about consent in a way that draws a clear line in really abstract hypotheticals.

"I think the gay marriage conversation took the most conservative approach and it's been sort of a band-aid over deeper cultural questions."

I felt the same way, and was disappointed that it couldn't be an opportunity to address them. I also felt that addressing them could have achieved the goal sooner.

But it got achieved just as fast, probably faster that way, and in a way which even those most embracing of cultural norms got what they wanted. And I never had and never felt I had any standing to even offer my opinion on that strategy. Least of all to ask people fighting such a historic fight to fight anyone else's battle too.

I think there's an historical analogy with Women's Rights. Women still didn't have them after the US Civil War...but technically Black men did. And I similarly don't think I can blame the fight to free the slaves for not also fighting a simultaneous second war on the Women's Right's front.

"The person that I'd take a bullet for"

First I have to say that that was /such/ a wonderful paragraph.

That contradiction Dan was pointing out is very interesting. I would introduce my belief that for most people, underneath what they call love is largely need. I think that part of the reason they'd step in front of that bullet Dan mentioned is that they need and are dependent upon the beloved one so much they might as well; they don't feel like they can literally live without them anyway. (I admit this is overly cynical, and I don't mean that for everyone love is so much an insecure weakness.)

""we should rethinking monogamy as a default expectation for everyone" but of course this leads to nuanced conversations and there is no easy slogan for it"

Certainly true. Changing culture is like trying to turn an ocean liner. But I think people are already rethinking it at a pace that will take centuries.

55

We don’t know Mr and Ms A’s thirty year bed history. Those of us who stayed married a long time with children in the mix, have some idea what he’s talking about. Kids, routine, bad habits, etc can kill desire if effort isn’t made to keep sexually connected. It’s part of the glue which holds a marriage together.
What’s with all this pearl clutching? MsA puts out every so often with little desire for MrA in her behaviour. He complains, she says it’s not a problem. And you guys bring up ethics? Her ethics aren’t so hot.
The relationship is sexually dysfunctional, even as other areas of their shared lives after three decades together goes ok, or age and laziness have set in. We don’t know.
If MrA stopped having miserable sex with MsA, told her he’s not gonna bother her anymore, he moves into the guest room so he can strengthen his boundaries, then go from there.
I’d rather be alone than with someone who never showed they had desire for me. That’s what a relationship is about, so when desire goes, change the structure of the relationship.

56

Acknowledging your suggestion Fan, @41, which I interwove with my comment @55.
I do think MrA has tried the honest conversation, MsA says there’s no problem. Hard as it may be for MrA to stand straight and talk the same after all these years and hope that MsA will hear him, guess he’s gotta give it one more college try. And do it Louder.

57

I dunno, Curious. I'm feeling cynical too but not about love. Relationships include some aspect of needs-meeting, but I don't think that has anything to do with the feelings of love or that you'd take a bullet for someone (which is just a colorful way of saying you'd make sacrifices for their well-being, to preserve their life).

Here's something one of my aunties used to say, I think I mentioned it here before so sorry if I'm repeating myself. She said that the love is the same if you feel it for your child, your parents, your spouse, your close friend- at the core, the love feeling is the same. Then on top of that is piled all these other feelings that are very different depending on the relationship and that make the love feeling more/less intense in different contexts. I think about that a lot because i'm not sure if I agree or not- sometimes I do, sometimes not. But your comment about needs seems to add something to it.

Anyway, back to Dan's thing about taking a bullet for someone. I think of it more like this. Haven't you ever lost a close friend? Or had someone you love who is not in your life anymore? And you miss them, love them, wish them peace regardless if they are ever in your life again, so it can't be all about need. You love someone and so you want them to not hurt, want them to be happy, healthy, have good things, separate from what you want from them in the context of your relationship. Other people can meet your needs too, hopefully several other people and hopefully mutually because it's too much for one person. But even as needs come and go and the way you meet them changes, you still love the people.

58

Regarding consent, I'm sure you are talkign about something deeper than I am. Sorry I missed the former conversation. I just meant that when you believe you are in a monogamous sexual relationship, you are only consenting to opening your body to a closed circle- someone with whom you are already fluid-bonded. And if someone breaks that circle, lies about who they are fucking, then they are exposing you to risks to which you have not consented. It's no different, in my mind, than lying about using a condom.

59

@Lava I don't think anyone is defending Mrs.A or any other partner unilaterally ending a couple's sex life and just expecting them to put up with it as if it's no problem. And to a certain extent I agree with Ciods that there's far too much social acceptance of this as compared to cheating which is widely considered a bad thing to do. The conversation around ethics, to my understanding, is only if cheating in response "to save the marriage" is justified. It's too nuanced a question to answer with a hard and fast rule, but at the very least, I believe very strongly that you can never justify lying about who you are fucking IF you are still fucking your partner at all. Shit happens sure, but it's an especially bad & wildly irresponsible thing to actually advise someone to do as a planned course of action.

60

@57 EmmaLiz
"is just a colorful way of saying"

Yet again I'm excessively literal.

"Haven't you ever..."

Of course (and that was a wonderfully executed example that made the point perfectly), but I'm not talking about you, or about me.

I'm talking about people whose standard procedure would be something like transitioning from love to hate.

I'm also talking about people who can't be alone, because they can't stand to be alone with their thoughts (shit sucks for those people now, OTOH crisis is an opportunity!). (I know these aren't "most".) But I think for most there is some degree of that it's need more than genuine love. (Though they certainly call it and think it love; and I contradict myself here because I call whatever people call love love too, and hate the practice of retroactively redefining ended relationships as not-love.)

I've heard spiritual teachers make this distinction.

But I now back off from my excessive claim that it's 'not love' for most. I'll now say that it's mostly not love for most. The distinction I've heard made is that for most it comes from a need for the other person, and that it's uncommon for it to come from a more genuine (er, I'll just leave it at 'place'). This is mostly an esoteric point I'm making about how connected people are (to themselves, to others, to being present); I'm not at all saying that the factor of 'need' is something they're consciously aware of. But it's a dead giveaway when it ends and it resolved to hate.

I wish I had something more clear to say on this subject, sorry!

@58 EmmaLiz
"are exposing you to risks to which you have not consented"

Oh yes, this is clear as day. I'm just astonished that even this practical crime doesn't appear on Dan's radar scope when he (as you said @49) "jumps flippantly to cheating".

@59 EmmaLiz
"IF you are still fucking your partner at all"

And yet no matter how many times we bring up this factor, I don't recall ever seeing Dan address it. As you wrote @52

"I don't expect Dan to be a philosopher"

but this area is one of many in which Dan seems problematically nuance-challenged.

61

Yeah I've thought of that before too, and actually- you should write him a letter about it. He'd probably answer? It's fun to speculate about the thought processes of people we don't actually know, but in this case it's someone you could just write a letter and ask!

The only explanation I can come up with is that a man might think of most STIs as something he can just get rid of with a shot whereas a woman will think of it as something that can cause symptoms like pelvic inflammatory disease, yeast infections, UTIs and HPV (which can lead to cancer). The knowledge that you are exposed to STIs makes a huge difference in how you respond to / monitor the health of your own body. Other things can cause similar symptoms for a woman and you might not know to get tested, you might try first changing your soap, etc- meanwhile you have an infection that is attacking your organs. HPV is ubiquitous but these days you can't get pap smears regularly unless you are in some risk group or have recently had an abnormal one, and you can't make those decisions if you don't know you are in that risk group. On and on.

But you'd think a gay man who lived through the plague years would know better so I just don't understand it either.

62

As for love and needs, the conversation is too deep for me at the moment. I'm in my cups. Talk to you later.

63

Mr Curious - Oh, marriage wasn't the best answer by any means, just perhaps the only workable answer. As for addressing the deeper questions, that's lovely in theory but in practice just gives people an excuse either to justify a dislike or set up a trickle-down system that never quite trickles.

What the full effect will be of how people just wanted gay issues not so much to be solved as just to go away so that they could concentrate on things they deemed more important only our issues haven't gone away in the way they wanted is something I hope to see a little more clearly before I die, but that may not happen. I have very little hope for the future, however. If the right doesn't get us, the conformists, the class reductionists or the gender abolitionists will.

As for cheating, Mr Savage's attitude seems peculiarly influenced by the longtime Irish dread of divorce.

64

EmmaLiz @52, I agree. Way back before I knew that ENM was a thing, I knew that I could -- and did! -- forgive a partner for cheating if they came clean, but I could not forgive a partner for lying. I agree also with the STIs consideration. People need to be able to make informed choices about their sexual health and they can't do that if their partner, one whom they're unlikely after years of marriage to be using condoms with, is banging other people without their knowledge.

Lava @55: "And you guys bring up ethics? Her ethics aren’t so hot." What? I'm sorry but MrsA's response to her husband has nothing to do with the ethics of fucking other people behind your spouse's back. I agree with your suggestions. He should talk to her one more time, be clearer than he has been. That's an ethical approach. He could declare the sex over and move into the spare room, that too would be an ethical approach. He could negotiate an open relationship. He could even divorce her, that too would be an ethical approach. But neither you nor Dan can argue that MrsA's bad faith approach to her sex life justifies MrA in cheating. Yes, I bring up ethics because MrA has many ethical options open to him, and Dan jumped straight to the unethical one. (Also, we do know their history. Fine at first, crappy after children.)

EmmaLiz @59 and @61, exactly.

65

Not sure why pearls are maligned, the cultured ones sure are so perfectly round. The natural ones can be weird shapes and beautiful different shades of silver/ white/ grey.
I’ve just been looking online at black opals. Amazing colours, and the prices for some are over $50,000 US. Such a magic stone though.

66

Fan, we only know Mr A’s side of the story. Ms A says there’s no problem.
Dan has stated at least two rules for cheating at some point, that I remember. And I agreed with both those rules when I read them and for a while they were followed. Again, if I recall correctly.
If one’s partner has a chronic illness and the LW is the carer.
If the sex tap has been turned off, without negotiation
over a period of years. Mr A’s situation falls into rule two, except they have maintained perfunctory sex for untold years. His version is it’s never recovered from the baby making years. Bit of a clue there.
Twenty five years being his subjective experience of not much being desired, I’d ethically agree with Dan if MrA cut sex out and went to sleep in another room and like you said, wait a bit. See what her play is in response.
As someone said on the thread. He’s got three options. Tell her and risk losing the marriage by asserting his wish to be desired again by a woman. Cheat and risk loosing his marriage and also his children’s respect and love. Or jack off wherever.
Ethically I think cheating is an option, not the best one here if this man wants to maintain good relations with his children.

67

because loose is such an attractive word that I sometimes slip up.

68

Lava @66, I have to continue to disagree that cheating is an ethical option here. There is just no way to defend it when other options are available which both let this man maintain his integrity and won't blow up in his face. You referred to his children -- indeed, imagine how they will be affected if he cheats and she catches him, or worse, he gives her an STI, because as you say they are indeed still having sex, and if he doesn't want her to get suspicious he'll need to keep this up. Versus being a grownup and seeking an amicable divorce. EVERY option here is better than cheating. She is neither an invalid nor dependent; she is not physically or emotionally incapable of having sex, she just doesn't want to. This is a DTMFA scenario, not a do what you gotta do scenario.

Back to EmmaLiz's point, if this is in fact part of a crusade on Dan's part to convince us all that banging other people isn't a big deal, he could direct those thoughts to people who've been cheated on, rather than people who are considering cheating. My partner banged someone at a work conference, what should I do? Answer: forgive them, it's not a big deal. That's fine. But to tell someone go ahead and cheat, it's not a big deal, that's ridiculous because whether or not it should be, it probably IS a big deal to their spouse. And if it wouldn't be a big deal, surely they can be honest about it? And if it would, surely that's a relationship better ended? No; other than those narrow circumstances I already described, I really cannot see an ethical, nor a practical, defence of lying to one's partner. Cheating almost always remains the worst worst option, not even Dan can sway me on that.

69

@61 EmmaLiz
Interesting explanation about STIs' differential effects upon the sexes.

"it's someone you could just write a letter and ask"

Oh geez, I think I'll have mercy, I think it's more than enough to go on trying to torture him here. (Not that he is tortured by it; I'm amazed by how much Dan put sup with here without a word. Can any of us imagine doing the same?)(I think writing him a letter is the opposite of my new vow not to bring this subject up anymore.)

@55 LavaGirl
I appreciate others making the substantive responses, IJWTS that this

"you guys bring up ethics? Her ethics aren’t so hot."

struck me as a baldfaced "two wrong make a right" ethical argument. On the contrary, it's perfectly possible for two people to both be dishonorably unethical to each other; this does not transform their actions into ethical ones. Rationalizations are a substantially lower bar than what's ethical.

70

@Lava I love pearls, Not a fan of most jewelry, but I love pearls. I have strands in different colors and shapes, some the 'perfect' white round ones, some natural tones which are pinkish and all diffferent shapes, and some which I assume are dyed but they are green and magenta. I asked about it once. The image apparently comes from a Victorian woman, easily shocked (or easily feigning shock) by placing her hand on her chest where there would naturally be pearls to clutch. I have no idea if there is a definitive source. Is there a famous literary character or historical figure who did this?

@Curious I've always been under the impression that he dips in and scans the first few and then carries on. I doubt seriously he spends his time reading the comment section and leaves that to us more obsessive types.

@BDF / Lava I think the situation is more nuanced- I'm not saying cheating is bad advice here as it might be the only way he can ever have a sex life again and we don't know the details of his family. People tend to throw around 'divorce' here very easily too, and I don't think some people, especially if they have small families or have been single a lot of their lives, really understand what that entails for a lot of folks. It's a disruption to your life that some people never really recover from- financially, emotionally, etc- and it reverberates out, affects others than just the couple. I'm not saying this is always the case and we need Venn's referred-to Irish attitude, just that it's not so easy. There are a hell of a lot of lonely older men out there, estranged from their adult kids. And a lot of people value having a central gathering place, where the kids and their grandkids return for the holidays, and this is before we consider extended family, friendship networks, retirement plans- it's not so simple as "get divorced" for a lot of people.

I'm just saying under no circumstances is it good advise to tell someone to fuck others WHILE fucking his wife. I just keep picturing that woman noticing some symptoms to her own genitalia, thinking she's been spending too long in the bathtub, changing her laundry, only doing her pap once every three years, because she doesn't know she could be exposed to an STI.

If he stops having sex with her and she is relieved and their sex life is over, then I think it's really his business if he fucks around. Ideally he'd tell her, but sometimes people overlook discreet stepping out, sometimes they prefer not to know. And if it causes her no harm and relieves her of being pestered for sex and retains their marriage, then it's potentially good advice. He just doesn't get to fuck her TOO.

71

@70 EmmaLiz
"he dips in and scans the first few and then carries on"

He's grabbed quite a few @69 Comments in recent months.

And I would note that most people are extra interested when /they/ are the topic of conversation.

72

Could be Curious. I haven't been here as frequently in recent months. I think NoCute is still around right? Haven't seen her in the most recent articles. I'm probably going to step away again as I'm sharing elder care with an in-law, sort of like a custody arrangement, ha haha. Just when I thought I was over that part of my life. Then there are visa considerations. Honestly I've just been doing a lot of procrastinating again b/c it seems so grim. Seems like the last few years have been me thinking that when this thing ends, life will return to normal, and now I'm seeing, nope, this is what life is now, the new normal.

But anyway, I'm telling you this for two reasons, one is b/c you asked last time (I'm struck sometimes how thoughtful many regulars here are, makes me feel a bit ashamed of myself for being so flippant) and the two is b/c part of hanging with my fil has been hearing old stories of his parents and when he was young of people's various experiences with ghosts and past life memories. It's such great story telling, really fascinating stuff. His ability to just chuckle away any cognitive dissonance about it is admirable too, I want to reconcile, explain, theorize. He just shrugs, yes beti there are things we can't know what harm is it? My own mind meanwhile is exploding against it. Like if I had any of these experiences, it feels like it would change the way I live my life, but for the people in these stories, it's just something that happened before dinner one day ha ha ha.

73

EmmaLiz @72, NoCute is still around but having a tough time in the lockdown, last we heard. It makes sense that she wouldn't want to read about other people's sex lives for the time being.

74

@72 EmmaLiz
Thanks for letting me know!

When you were gone longer than you'd predicted, particularly what with the pandemic, I was concerned. (As I still am about Calli, who was having a rough time before the new global reason to be having a tough time got layered onto us all, in addition to her being in a region that's been so horrific.) Even at the best of times one wonders when friends disappear.

Plus, maybe knowing that you expect to return I can pull myself together enough to pull out my outline and compose my promised writing that'll include some ghosts too.

Your FIL's "there are things we can't know" if very apt. One can't (I can't anyway) interpret these things; all one can really know is that there's something mysterious afoot. And personally I love that!

"The answer is never the answer. What's really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you'll always be seeking. I've never seen anybody really find the answer--they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer."
-Ken Kesey

If anyone wants to reach me offsite my gmail is curious784523

75

EmmaLiz @70, I agree that the WORST part of the advice is that it exposes his wife to STIs. I said upthread that he should announce an end to the sex, wait a few months, then discreetly get his needs met, if Options 2 and 3 are not valid in his case. I still think options 2 and 3 are preferable. But better for him to be dishonest but not expose her to STIs than for him to do both.

76

Maybe ethical is not the best word choice here.
How about fair. In terms of fair, I think it’s a valid response to being gaslighted for untold years, which is a form of domestic abuse. Stop the sex with MsA yes, to avoid any STI transmissions. Would Ms A even much care? By the sound of this marriage it’s stuck in her believing it’s all good if she says the words it’s all good. Ignoring him saying no, it’s not all good.
Why should he upend the marriage practically when she has done it anyway, only not overtly.
In the real world cheating would see him lose his kids to the drama, and maybe all his home and assets, not only half which may be the case if he goes legit course of action. Tell her he’s done with the lies, and if she has no desire for him, he needs to seek that experience elsewhere.

77

It’s all academic during the pandemic. Good time for some solid talks and maybe having their own rooms.
He can then jack off in bed, must be socks handy.

78

I liked Dan's feedback. I could have mentioned that he was a notable leader in equal pleasure for the genders during sex. That is one of the first things I noticed about his advice that drew me back. In the 90s. Sweetening the message never hurts. Thanks Dan.

79

Don’t know EmmaLiz @70. black ones are beautiful too. Yes, I make bracelets on elastic jewellery thread and one of mine is pearls. Greys and creams and odd shapes. Big too. I have a box of them, collected via wherever over x years. Amber from the Baltic states when they first opened. If I look at stones and gems, it soothes me.
Black opals and the myriad of colours, wow. I just see those in pictures. I do have a small Boulder Opal ring, zaps of different colours in the sun. We found massive amounts of slithers of red coral on a local beach, years ago.

80

EmmaLiz @70, Curious @71: "he dips in and scans the first few and then carries on"

No SLLOTD this week. I wonder if Dan just says fuckit when the commentary is an abusive shitshow. I know I would take a few days' break.

81

Lava @76, thank you. I agree that MrsA's behaviour is thoughtless and un-loving, but the word "unethical" did not feel right. I'm glad you see there are many ways MrA could respond to this situation other than to decide two wrongs make a right, as Curious observed, and he's just gonna cheat on her. Yes, pull the plug on the sex and let her know the expectation of monogamy is over. Then she can make an informed decision on whether to continue the marriage in this form or call it quits.

Fubar @80, you can't set your watch by the SLLOTDs. He does take a few days' break each week, it's called the weekend. And he does a rerun each week. My guess is that he saved up all this week's letters for the quickies column that appeared last night. And I've seen several comments threads devolve into abusive shitshows, but this has not been one of them.

EmmaLiz @70 re divorce, I guess I have a bias because not only am I happily divorced myself, my parents' divorce in their 50s was the best thing that ever happened to their marriage. Sure, it's not practicable in every case, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't receive higher consideration than cheating to stay married, particularly as that is so likely to backfire if the cheater is caught. I guess I see cheating as a likely first step to divorce, so the cheater may as well just skip the intermediate steps and get right to the bit where they aren't the evil cheater in the divorce proceedings.

82

BDF @81: No SLLOTD, no reruns, no roundup. But like I said, I'd say fuckit too if the commentariat was an abusive shitshow (directed at me).

83

Fubar @82, glad Dan's not you then, because if abusive comments drove him off we'd have had no Savage Love since approximately 1992.