SL Letter of the Day: Lying Liars


what are you confused about?

you don't recognize a steaming pile of shit when you smell it?
Dan, hate to do it, but disagree on this one.

They were made for each other.

Can't wait for them to procreate.
"He told me that he couldn't imagine sleeping with other people and also said that he would be uncomfortable with me sleeping with other guys"

So, yes, he lied to you, as Dan pointed out. But, it's important to note that not only did he lie to you, but he also wanted to make sure you didn't sleep with anyone else while you were abroad. So, he gets to have fun, but he wants to make sure that you don't (or, if you do, you feel guilty about it). So, he's a liar and he's controlling. Yeah, DTMFA.
wait, i'm hung up on the part where confused says, "while I was gone, he could sleep with other people and I told him to never tell me about it." doesn't that part of "never tell me about it" imply lying and hiding all the evidence and then she goes & snoops to find it out.

so to me, she 1) gave him permission to fuck around - no conditions like don't fuck our mutual friends. 2) told him to lie to her about doing so - don't ever tell me what you did. then 3) she busts his ass for pretty much doing exactly what he wanted and what she told him to do - cheat on her & lie about it / try to hide it.

confused's bf should dtmcpb
She told him to sleep with other people, and then was shocked and horrified when he did. I kinda feel like he should be dumping her instead of the other way around.
Although i don't think there's a compelling reason for you to stay together based on your info, C, i don't really understand your problem. Your boyfriend did more or less exactly what you asked him to do, at which point you seem to have gone out of your way to make it a problem.

Don't tell your boyfriend you're okay with him sleeping arounf if you are not, in fact, okay with it.

And Dan, there's a difference between fantasizing about sleeping with people, and imagining it as an actual possibility. It's unfair to take the former as basis for saying people are lying about the latter.
It seems that he's only a MF if he agreed to her condition not to tell her about whom he slept with.

We shouldn't blame her for her feelings, because we can't always predict what we will feel, but she did give him permission.

And what were the conditions for her? Was she required not to sleep with anyone? Did she agree? And did she honor the agreement?
I'm with @5. She's the liar: she told him he could sleep with people, but she didn't mean it. Also, she told him not to tell her about it, but then point-blank asked him about it. How did she think that was going to play out? Unicorns and rainbows? We need to resurrect "don't ask, don't tell" but this time it applies to immature people.
You are both screwed up. You gave him permission to sleep with other women, he gave you a "aw shucks" attitude to make you feel better rather than say, great, I'm not going to have to be celibate while you're gone. Points to him.

Then you come back mid-year and ask him if he's slept with other women, even though you told him to never tell you about it. He decides not to be a lying douchebag, and tells you yes. Then, it sounds like you became a total bitch until he admitted three encounters with you. So he gets points for not lying about it.

You however, have been trying to be manipulative and controlling of him from Day 1. Maybe he could have been more open: Yes, honey, I'm going to sleep with every girl I can while you're gone BECAUSE YOU GAVE ME PERMISSION.

Don't make him the bad guy in all this, oh, wait, you already have. Just walk away from all this drama you have caused, Drama Queen, and go talk to a professional so you don't act this way in your next relationship.
What am I missing here? She told him to mess around while she was gone and that she didn't want to hear about it. He messed around, and she flipped out because she asked about it (the thing she said she didn't want to know about)? She's the one with the problem and he's the one who should be doing the dumping.

And there's no lie here. Telling your girlfriend "I could never imagine sleeping with anyone else" isn't a lie, it's called pillow talk, baby. He never even told her not to sleep around, only that he was uncomfortable with it. This is called honesty. You know, the same honesty that the girlfriend should have had before giving the boyfriend permission to do something she wasn't actually cool with him doing.
can't spell mendacity without "men".
I knew the maturity in this letter would sink to a deep hole when the writer claims she and her boyfriend have been "going out" for five years. Going out? Are you still in middle school?
Sorry Dan - I usually agree with your advice - but I don't imagine sleeping with other people....and I'm not a liar.
Lesson for next time for C:

"About a year ago, I went to study abroad for a year and told him to masturbate in front of the computer all he wanted while I was gone."

Problem solved.
obviously he took her up on her offer to an extreme, and he was likely intending to do exactly that while telling her he couldn't imagine it, but the basic facts are that she said he could fuck around and asked him not to tell her about it. so he did, and now she's pissed. that's unfair.

it is totally understandable for her to be pissed about the degree of it, pissed that he didn't grant her the same permission, and pissed that he involved their friends.

i agree he behaved really badly, took full advantage of the situation without any consideration for the fallout. but it looks to me like she's angry at him for breaking rules that were never set in the first place. i suppose maybe she thought such obvious things need not be spelled out, but that just means she gave her boyfriend too much credit. they're both at fault.
Hmm. I read the first part of her letter to mean that he said something like "no, I'm not going to sleep with other people, and you shouldn't either." And then he went and slept with other people. Which would have been fine if he had said "okay, that sounds like a good arrangement." If he had said "okay" and Confused went and snooped and found all this info, then I would be saying, tough luck, what did you expect? But he didn't.
@5 Yeah, seriously.

"he could sleep with other people and I told him to never tell me about it"
"I casually ask him if he's slept with anyone and he says yes, then proceeds to lie to me about hat happened"

She did play headgames from the beginning, but they should still break up regardless.
Hold up. As I understand the letter, C started a negotiation with "you can sleep with other people, but don't tell me about it" and he countered with "no". I don't think he can justify his actions under supposed rules that were not completely negotiated.
This could be the best thing that ever happened to this couple.

She had a clue that he might want sex while she was gone; hence she gave him permission. Now she sees what that looks like (OMG, he slept with people we know! and tried to meet people we don't know! and did sexy chat!). To a woman seeing that for the first time, I grant that it can be a bit shocking. But now she knows. There's not likely to be other awful things to find out -- sounds like she's snooped enough to understand his sexual preferences.

So, sit down, Confused, and decide if you still like him, the real him, who you now know a bit better.

But don't "dump his sorry ass and move on," thinking you're going to find some guy who does like sex with you and yet doesn't want sex with anyone else. Guys who like sex, like sex. Generally speaking. So - how's your sex life? Does he blow your mind? Does he make you come gangbusters? Then keep him around! Or does he complain about your body, compare you to other women in bed, and generally make your life miserable? Then leave.

In other words, the lies were totally normal during the weird circumstances you two were going through (and, as others have pointed out, given your request that he lie to you). So don't judge him on the lies, but on whether the rest of your life together is fun sexy times, or kind of a drag.
@4 Except that he declined the deal and said he did not want to sleep with other people or have her sleep with other people.

You don't get to decline an offer and then surreptitiously reap the benefits.

Had he said sure and then she asked and got mad that would be one thing.
get fucking laid! move on. and he isnt the asshole here, probably just immature.
I don't know why she's being judged so harshly. She seems a little bit naive, and I bet this is the first time she's had to deal with a situation like this. Also, I doubt that his behavior would have been any different had she not tried to give him permission and talk things out with him.
Put me in the "he did what you gave him permission to do and his only mistake was telling you about it when you asked, which you shouldn't have, so it is your fault" group. You do come across as manipulative and controlling.

If you are given the benefit of the doubt, it just means that you now find it emotionally difficult dealing with the reality of what you were okay with in the abstract while ignorant of the details of its execution. Fine. But your emotional difficulties are not his fault; they are yours. Accept responsibility for your dsisatisfaction, your paranoia, your crazy psycho freaking out. He is not a sorry ass. You are.

This relationship ought to be over. So end it. If he's not going to dump you (and you deserve it) then you should dump him so he can find a better girlfriend.

And please, people, don't ask goddamn questions with respect to which the possible answer is something you absolutely don't want to hear! "I casually ask him if he's slept with anyone . . . " Why in the hell would you do that? Are you a moron?
Wait. She gives him permission to fuck around, with the instruction "never tell me about it", then comes home and asks about it? OF COURSE he didn't explain the whole thing. THAT WOULD BE VIOLATING HER INSTRUCTIONS.

Fuck her. She should get dumped herself for this shameful reversal.
I don't know... I agree with what Dan said about men, although I'm willing to believe there are a few exceptions here and there. Women, however, I really believe are differently wired. Of course there is a wide spectrum of libidos in each sex, but I think there are a lot more women who really don't imagine sleeping with other men.

I've been married ten years and we still have sex four times a week or more, and before I was married I fucked almost anything that moved... but I'm not lying when I say the thought of sleeping with other men crosses my mind about twice a year. It's not low libido, because my husband gets me hot and bothered all the time. I just don't seem to notice other guys anymore. Enough of my other female friends say the same thing so I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

I know my husband fantasizes about other women, and that doesn't bother me, because I know it's pretty much universal for guys. But I think Dan might not want to admit that it really isn't universal for women, because Dan tends to normalize male sexuality while marginalizing female sexuality. Dan wants everyone to believe that typical male sexuality such as desire for promiscuity is "normal" and ought to be accommodated, while typical female sexuality such as desire for monogamy and emotional commitment isn't and shouldn't.

Dan talks an awful lot about being GGG in terms of being sexually adventurous (which I am all for) even to the point of allowing straying, but precious little about being GGG in terms of meeting more typical female needs for security and faithfulness.

Before everyone jumps down my throat, let me repeat that there is a wide overlap between the sexes and that I know many, many women are just as promiscuous in their desires as most men are. I just think that if you were to plot it on a graph, you would find a lot more men clustered at the "slutty" end of the spectrum and a lot more women clustered at the "boring" end. What I object to is the characterization of one end of this spectrum as normal and healthy and the other end as constricting and castrating.

Totally agree with @5. She told him to sleep with other people, and he did.

Curiously missing from the letter: whether Confused agreed not to sleep with anyone while she was abroad. Whether Confused slept with anyone while she was abroad.

I also note that her objections seem curiously targeted toward other people in their social circle knowing about his actions, and not about him actually fucking someone else. If one were looking for a bullshit way to distinguish her own fucking-while-abroad from his fucking-while-home, that would be it.
I agree with the advice that this relationship should end. But like others I don't see how this is entirely the guy's fault.

He said he couldn't imagine sleeping with someone else. Lets assume he meant in reality and not fantasy, because it is one thing to think about knowing that it is a fantasy that will never happen, and a very different thing to actually contemplate going out in the real world and doing it. So he may not have been lying about that if he sees a difference between having fantasies about fooling around with other women and actually planning to go out and sleep with other women.

She doesn't say if he actually said he wouldn't, however. He said he would be uncomfortable with her sleeping with other guys, but she doesn't say that he made her promise not to or gave her some kind of ultimatum.

He did what she said he could do. Yes, he made some bad choices doing it. Clearly he should have had his fun a little more removed from home and friends. She perhaps has reason to be critical of his poor judgment. But he did what she said he could and what, as far as we know, he never actually said he wouldn't.

She, however, broke her promise about never asking about it. Then went all psycho girlfriend and actively dug up details when he didn't reveal the truth that he had been told he would never have to reveal in the first place.

I don't blame her for not reacting to the details the way she thought she would, and for being upset. But she is upset because she didn't keep her own promise.

They both screwed up. She screwed up more. She needs to accept her part in all this, learn from it, and they both need to move on.
@5, et al.: Correct. She gave him permission then freaked out when he did what she gave him permission to do. He should DTMFA. And she wasted a whole year abroad not getting laid? Idiot.
If you interpret "I can't imagine sleeping with anyone else" to mean, "I am unable to use my imaginative faculties to visually picture a scenario in which I am in bed with someone else", then well, yes the person is probably lying.

But a more reasonable interpretation is probably something like, "I will never sleep with someone else" or "My sleeping with someone else is so unlikely that I doubt it will ever happen". In that case, whether it is true depends on who's saying it. Some are telling the truth; Some people will never actually sleep around, (as I'm sure Dan would agree), even if they are perfectly capable of IMAGINING it (and some of them may never cheat even if they OFTEN imagine it, say, when masturbating).

Compare: "I can't imagine ever throwing my cat off the Space Needle." Really? You can't IMAGINE it? I bet you're imagining it right now. But we understand what you mean: you'd never do it. (I hope.)
I guess I got the impression from the letter that she wanted to open up the relationship, and he denied it, thus the sentence about how he didn't want her sleeping with other guys. He then turns around and does it anyway, while ensuring that his girlfriend stays monogamous.
He turned down her offer in order to get her to agree not to sleep with other guys, and then he slept with other women. Yeah, DTMFA.
This is one of those cases where the infidelity is not the problem (she tried to give him permission, after all). The lying POS part is the problem. He lied about not wanting to sleep with other people, tried to prevent her from sleeping with other people, and then he had a jolly good time sleeping with other people. Manipulative, lying douchebaggery. Misogynist hypocrisy (he can sleep around, but she can't). Definitely, DTMFA.
What about the silly bitch who says "never tell me about it" then "casually" asks him if he did or not? That's ridiculous. Both of these people need to grow the hell up. Maybe they'll be worthwhile people someday, maybe they won't -- but not with each other.
Am I the only one who noted that SHE told him it was OK to sleep with other people, told him NOT to tell her about it, then proceeded to ask once she returned? Ugh.
@11: You can't spell women with men, too. How does that make you feel?
20-year-old-I-will-always-love-you-but-not-really-high-school-soap-opera-I-created-my-own-personal-drama-please-post-it-to-validate-my-stupidity: the letter. Jeez Dan, pick something hard. You've been pretty scarce around here, at least toss out a letter that isn't eye-rollingly cloying and obvious.
I don't buy that he actually agreed not to or that he made her promise not to.

If that had been the case why would he have told her the truth when she asked? It sounds to me like she left it with him having permission, so that when she asked he thought it was alright to tell her. If they had left with the understanding they wouldn't sleep with other people then he would have lied when she brought it up.

That he didn't give her permission to sleep around doesn't mean that she agreed not to. There is way too much information missing from her account, but from what I can infer from what she did say I don't buy that either of them left with the impression that they were both going to monogamous to each other for the next year.
What @24 said.
@20: "Except that he declined the deal and said he did not want to sleep with other people or have her sleep with other people.

You don't get to decline an offer and then surreptitiously reap the benefits.

Had he said sure and then she asked and got mad that would be one thing."

You don't immediately start naming off all the people you're going to screw, for goodness' sake. He may have initially thought that, but she was gone for a year. She didn't change the terms with him.
Sounds like they probably do not communicate very well. He probably gave her a knee-jerk answer you supposedly have to give the little woman (a la "Do I look fat in these jeans?") and they probably left it at that so that the deal was not officially rescinded but the whole thing was made unclear.
And in any case she didn't communicate her true conditions (no one I know, I actually will look for details, etc.) so she has no one to blame but herself on that front.

@25: Totally agree. My BF tells me like 10 times a week how it would make his millenium if I wanted to be with another woman and I kinda feel non-GGG for never ever wanting to do so.

@29: Good call on the willful misinterpretation of "can't imagine".
@ 25: You get a slow clap & stand. That's well-said.
Agree that w/everyone that she gave him permission and then freaked when he took her up on it. And agree that his "softening the blow" reaction to her permission wasn't a good idea on his part. However, I think one thing that is obviously bothering this girl is that he slept with a friend. I think she's embarrassed that she agreed to be cheated on, essentially. And she doesn't like that he had sex with others in their bed. She sounds young and this sounds like an exercise in being explicit. The rules need to be laid down very clearly. It's not, "You can sleep with people while I'm gone." It's "You can sleep with people while I'm gone, just not in our bed, and no one we know." She assumed he would know that -- she was wrong.
@40, if your BF tells you 10 times a week that he wants you to sleep with a woman, you might want to take the issue more seriously. First off, if you're not interested in women, I don't think you have to do women in order to be GGG. I doubt Dan would do a woman to please Terry, and surely Dan sees himself as GGG :-)

How does your boyfriend feel about you sleeping with a guy?

Maybe (since he asks about it so much) your boyfriend is the one who wants to get busy with another woman? Maybe you guys would have more fun with another couple, than with another woman? Anyway, this should give you something to talk about when he keeps bringing it up...
Wait, who is the liar, again?

Letter Writer told her boyfriend it was okay to sleep with other women (Lie #1), and that she never wanted to know about it (Lie #2) Then the first thing she did when she got back was ASK HIM about that thing she said she never wanted to know about, and then FREAK about that thing she originally said was fine with her.

Basically both of you said something that you thought was true in the moment, but felt differently about later when circumstances changed. "I could never imagine sleeping with someone else" is an exaggeration of the fact that right now, while you two are still in physical proximity and he feels very bonded with you, he does not feel like breaching that bond by sleeping around. Likewise at that moment he probably felt like you were basically saying you intended to sleep with others while you were away, never a terribly comfortable thing to hear. Later, when he was feeling lonely -- and remembering that you explicitly gave him a free pass, and figuring you were probably making good on your implicit intention to do the same -- he changed his mind.

He didn't do anything wrong, you idiot. You gave him permission to do what he did.

If you passed up hot sex out of loyalty to him, find a particularly cruel way to dump him.
A girl who tells you she couldn't imagine sleeping with other people? Also a liar.

I've never used this line before, but I've heard this line from ladies. Curious whether the ladies agree with Dan here.
I'm with the majority. C said he could, said not to tell her, then asked about it anyway and was shocked when he told her what happened? She's an idiot and should be dumped.
Oh, right, good point #4: She tells him to never tell him about it, and then when he does exactly that, she characterizes his not giving her a full confession as hiding things from her and making her snoop!

Textbook batshit-crazy.
She didn't freak out because he slept with other women, she freaked out because she did not get any warning. She tried to have an honest discussion about sexual fidelity and he responded with a lie meant to lull her into a false sense of security. How is that not wrong?

Maybe C was a bit immature to "freak out," but she deserves credit for being upfront about the fact that she would freak the fuck out. Hence her request to not be told about it. "Don't tell me about it" is not the same as "you have permission to lie about everything you do." There is nothing wrong with wanting some predictability in life.
@43: Thanks for the response Erica. I have always been honest about not being at all into 3-ways, be it MFM or FMF, or non-monogamy. Not sure how seriously he took me or how thoroughly he thought that through before we got serious, but what can you do?
Does a thirtysomething hetero man "imagine" sex with other women? Would he consider it if his arm was twisted real hard? Does the pope wear a funny hat and super-cute shoes?
But, respectfully, what does that have to do with me? I was honest and I keep him good and laid. It's just his misfortune to have gotten involved with a boring woman who won't throw a hot bi girl at him. We all have our crosses to bear. (Mine being to kinda feel kinda, but not really, non-ggg sometimes.)
My only real dilemma is whether to ask him to knock it off with the "subtle" hints or just allow him to express it as a fantasy?
Just to weigh in on the "do women also think about sleeping with other men" issue, for me it's a resounding yes. My husband and I have sex about 3 times a week, which is about right for both of us since we also both masturbate at around the same frequency.

I think about sleeping with other people on a daily basis, and he knows it. Both men and women, and sometimes it's fleeting and halfhearted (a few seconds wondering what someone would be like in bed) and sometimes it's an intense crush that goes on for months on end and that person stars in most of my fantasies. And I don't now, nor have I ever, considered myself particularly sex-crazy, just in possession of a healthy libido.
Another red flag is the fact that he said he "loves her" and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. What he SHOULD be saying is he is sorry for anything he has done to upset her and he wants to talk through any misunderstandings. Sounds like C's boyfriend is the type of guy who tries to silence his girlfriend's complaints with emotional appeals. "I love you" isn't a good response to your girlfriend accusing you of being a slut, just as "I can't imagine sleeping around" isn't a good response to your girlfriend giving you permission to sleep around.
What (almost) everyone in the comments seems to ignore is that she might not have wanted to give him the permissen out of the sheer goodness of her heart, but because she wanted to fuck other people too, but when he seemed so averse to it she decided that she could go without for him. -- So him turning around and fucking lots of other people while she abstained is a very good reason to be pissed.

Also, she obviously didn't want to make their somewhat open arrangement public so him picking the women from their mutual circle of friends AND bragging to all his friends about it is more than a bit douchey -- also a very good reason to be pissed at him.
I mean if basically everyone in their circle of friends (and as implied lots of people in town) knows about his flings, how long until she would have learned it?

Even if it was weird of her to ask him when she came back, he didn't know that she would when he initiated these flings that would have definitely gotten back to her sooner or later.
Also is it really a crime to change your mind about wanting to know or not.
A last aside and probably not the case, but could 'ask him casually' maybe even interpretated as 'kind of jokingly, not totally serious (since he said he wouldn't)?'
Come now, can't we assume that "couldn't imagine sleeping with other people" has an implicity "actually" it? As in, "I can't imagine actually sleeping with other people." Of course you can imagine it. I can LITTERALLY imagine going to the moon, but I can't imagine (implicit "actually") going to the moon!


That's brilliant.
@50, "Not sure thoroughly he thought that through before we got serious, but what can you do?" A relationship isn't a fixed thing. Even though you were honest, and even though he may have thought he could deal with that, life gets in the way sometimes. If he really brings it up every time you have sex, then it sounds like he is itching for something to change. Just saying...
Ms Squared @2 - Neatly observed. Who would wish either of these two on anybody else?

Regarding the spelling posts, this reminds me that recently I saw a post elsewhere from someone who could not remember whether the spelling "womyn" was singular or plural. I posted a recollection from the early days of lesbian presses that "womyn" was the singular of "wymyn". But apparently it now appears that "wymyn" has basically gone out of fashion, while "womyn" is not only used as both singular and plural but has even gained acceptance in that holy of holies, playability in Scrabble. Does anyone know how this happened? Why toss a perfectly good plural and make the singular ambiguous?

And that reminds me that I have seen several feminists lately using "women" as a singular. Assuming that this is a deliberate choice, does anyone know how this recent trend started? It's quite new - if it really is a trend.
They're both insecure and have clearly not internalized the whole honesty in open relationships philosophy. I think he fed her that "can't imagine sleeping with anyone else" line because 1) he was very anxious about missing her if she left, which can be a sign of immature codependence, and 2) he felt like that's what he was supposed to say, because of social expectations.

It can't have helped that she told him explicitly that she wasn't really okay with it and didn't want to know. And then she asked? They're both kinda pieces of work and they need to break up.
This letter isn't super clear on details, which I have a feeling is the root of the problem. She threw out, "Hey, I'm cool if you sleep with other people while I'm gone." He says "I can't imagine doing that and I'm uncomfortable with you sleeping with other guys." What we're missing is what on earth she said BACK to that. Did she say, "Okay, then we've agreed that neither of us will sleep with other people?" Or did she say "Well, the offer still stands if you change your mind"? In either case, I don't think he should've gone forward with sleeping with other people without reopening the conversation with her first, in which she could've talked about limits that would make her comfortable- for example, she clearly didn't want all of their friends to know about it, which I totally understand. Seriously, what kind of douchebag tells all his friends who are also friends with his girlfriend about the girls he's going to hook up with while she's gone? ESPECIALLY if she doesn't want to know anything about it? It puts the friends in an incredibly awkward position and increases the likelihood that the girlfriend is going to hear way more details than she wants to know. In any case, if she said the offer was still on the table, I think that he's just a doofus with little tact and bad communication skills. If she wants to stay with him, they really need to work on that. If he let her leave with the impression that both of them were going to remain monogamous, however, there's absolutely nothing worth saving IMO.

I guess that I think he's a douchebag because he basically made it impossible for her to not find out by blabbing to all their mutual friends and sleeping with people she sees all the time when her main stipulation for the situation was that she not find out. Even if they had worked it out so that they could both sleep with other people, his indiscreet choices at best indicate obliviousness and lack of tact and at worst are just totally douchey. If they came to an agreement that they could sleep with other people, then I do agree that it was bad of her to go digging on his computer, but what exactly prompted her "casual" question? Was she getting weird vibes from one of her friends whenever he came up in conversation? Or was it really a casual question that made her go crazy?

Basically, my conclusion is that he's either insanely tactless and/or douchey, but the extent of her own douchiness is mysterious.
@ 46 (seandr),

It depends on what Dan means by "imagine". Can I see a beautiful man and imagine having a relationship? Sure. It happens and I tell my husband about it. Can I imagine actually having, doing, a relationship with another man. No.

I may or may not be a liar with regard to Dan's proclaimation.
the lady should sleep with some other men in the very near future, and see if she still wants to be with/dump the guy. these seem like young people anyway (studying abraod- in college?), and probably shouldnt be settling on one person.

they've been together for 5 yrs?? obviously he wants more variety.
Take it from me: run, run, RUN! I fell for the BS and married a guy just like that. Still paying for it.

Look up antisocial personality disorder. There might be red flags in other areas of the guy's life.
Hmm - I read this as the guy saying no to opening up the relationship when she asked, then going ahead and sleeping around anyways. This way, she'd feel guilty about dating/fucking guys while she's away.

He's the asshole for going behind her back when he had it offered on a silver platter.
kim @60:
I think I understood it to mean that imagining fucking other guys wasn't something she did or would enjoy doing. I can almost see this being true for someone with a low libido. Otherwise, probably not so much.
Those of you in the "he should dump her" camp: can you please address the fact that he fucking LIED to her face and she relied on that lie, putting her pussy in a lock-box while he was out having fun, putting the LIE to his lie but not telling her during the period when she could have been having fun also? Please. This was strategic on his part.
seandr@ 64,

Could be. If imagine=fantasy, then a person who says they can't imagine sleeping with another could have a low libido, be asexual, have some past experience that makes them hesitant to acknowledge sexual feelings within themselves, religious expectation... Anyway, I thought you were asking about Dan's statement and how I received it. Personally I don't think myself capable or telling another person how they feel, so I take Dan's omniscient statements with a grain of salt. More along the lines of true for many, but not truth for all.

Take care.
I'm surprised so many people are against the LW here. I think it's pretty clear that she offered to open things up while she was away, he turned down the offer to keep her from sleeping with other guys during her trip, and then he cheated. (And I use the word "cheated" because he turned down the agreement.) It's not even so much the cheating that's so wrong--it's messing up her chance to also get laid. He's totally manipulative and needs to get dumped hard and f
Oops, hard and fast.
@56: I agree Erica, I have no idea what the future holds. Right now, he also tells me multiple times a week that I give the most amazing blowjobs ever and that he's terrified that I'll leave him and he won't get them anymore. So I guess he feels pretty well rewarded for my "price of admission". But you're right, I wouldn't pretend it might not be a big issue some day. Hence the obsessing on the internet.
They both played head games with each other. They are both immature. They should break up permanently and try again with new people. Including a couple of shrinks wouldnt hurt either.

Don't play drama games. Be honest. Accept that people generally think about having sex with other people. Own your desires: if you say you are ok with your partner boinking other people, and you desire the same, state it and stand firm. Good luck.
Oh what-the-fuck-ever. She said she didn't care if he fucked other girls, and even if he initially said he didn't want to, she made it clear that monogamy is not that important to her. So what did she expect? Yes, her boyfriend was not 100% forthcoming about his own expectations, but when you give someone permission to fuck other people don't be shocked when they go ahead and do it.
@65 Okay. I think you are unfairly interpreting his actions as malicious and manipulative without evidence. He didn't turn down an offer. He just said he couldn't imagine doing it. We can never know, but my bets are that he really meant that when he said it. It is a big stretch, and probably an unwarranted one, to assume that he manipulated her into celibacy with the intent of going out and plowing the fields himself. But as the weeks of her absence continued, he got lonely, he got horny, a he started to think about it. Then he looked on the net. Then he started setting things up. he didn't see his words as a promise not to do anything, he remembered he had permission, and the only rule was not to tell her. So he went out and did it. And got a bit crazy and indiscreet.

People who are quick to cry liar are often both unsophisticated and mistrustful of other people's emotions and motivations. In my profession (the legal field) I see people call each other liars very often. But generally, the their motivation is not intentionally stating a falsehood, but results from a more human, more complicated, subtle and subjective mix of recollection, perception, and emotion.
I dunno, I think he's pretty much the dickhead in this scenario. He turned down her open relationship plan and made it sound like he couldn't imagine such a scenario. Then he goes and fucks around (and does it messily) in their own backyard while she's away (and presumably not fucking anyone else). Who knows why she asked if he slept with anyone while she was gone - could it be she sensed something was off when she got back? Yeah, I'd freak out too I think. He comes off as a pretty manipulative shit - not to mention selfish and deceitful. Why on earth would she want to stay with him?
He also messed up her opportunity to live it up during her year abroad just to fool around with some local bar girls he could have nailed any time. I guess I think he's extra shitty just because her opportunity cost ended up being so much greater.
Yes, #72!

Well said. In Dan Savage's world there is no room for morally ambiguity. Every conflict is at its root caused by at least one party who is a nefarious LIAR or ASSHOLE. No further discussion of motivations is required.

The suspense of every column is in finding out where Dan's mighty ax of judgement falls. Is it the advice seeker's subject of ire who is the true villain, or is it the advice seeker himself?
65 & 67, I think 59 makes a great point--we don't know what she said after he initially turned it down. Did she say, No let's keep that option open. Or did she say OK, we'll be celibate while we're apart.

He didn't necessarily lie in that conversation. Maybe he couldn't, at that moment, honestly picture putting out the effort, flirting, inviting someone back, and actually having sex. Two months later . . .

62, I'm not sure I'm seeing APD here. Immaturity, yes. Possibly even dishonesty, although that's not yet settled to my satisfaction. But not sociopathy.
@25 Your experience != all women's experiences. Please do not turn anecdotes into gender essentialism.
@69 Yay for giving great enthusiastic blow-jobs that are well appreciated! Does he satisfy you in return? If so, reminding him of his mad skillz may alleviate his fear of you leaving.

@72 thank you - well said.

@76 that cracked me up. You're right -- Dan certainly knows how to play to his audience :-)

Don't want to know if he sleeps around; asks if he sleeps around.
My first thought on this (like so many others) is you don't get to say "Fuck other women, don't tell me" and then ASK about it, however casually. The man's fucked regardless at that point--should he lie and say oh no baby, I didn't fuck anyone, or acknowledge that he did exactly what she told him he could do? As to the 'in my bed' outrage--she moved out to go abroad for a year. Seems like it was his bed at that point. And regardless, I'm sure he changed the sheets before she came back. Was he supposed to fuck other women (with her permission) on the floor next to the bed? Was he supposed to limit the other women fucking to only women that she would never meet or see or know in any context? As a couple, attracted to each other, they likely similarly gravitate to the same type of people.

He should be the one dumping her. Mindfuck-ing little twat.

On Dan's statement that anyone who claims not to think about fucking other people is a liar, I'm torn. I don't like to generalize so broadly. But as a woman who has been married forever, who haas sex 5 or more times a week with her spouse, and masturbates daily, I will say that I think about having sex with other people constantly. Every person that I meet has an element of sexual posibility, a sense of who are you when you're not under scrutiny, not in the public eye.
@82, my guess is that if you're orgasming during sex 5 times or more a week, and also masturbating daily, then your testosterone levels are likely to be higher than the average woman's. So the fact that you think constantly about sex doesn't go to show that most women do. For me, it comes and goes; some days hardly at all, some days quite a bit.
@72: Maybe, always hard to say without knowing anything else about the relationship.

I've been pushing for an open relationship for a while, but wifey isn't into it so our relationship is closed. If I suddenly found out my wife was shagging other people while I was, on her behalf, refraining from doing the same, I'd move out the next day. That kind of manipulativeness strikes me as quasi-psychopathic.

And that's my understanding of what played out in this letter.
@64 Not just low libido. Really firm monogamy can affect a person's imaginings, too. I virtually never imagine MYSELF being sexual with anyone other than my husband, because within that scenario I'd be breaking the terms of our agreement. Those kinds of fantasies make me feel awkward and a little guilty. Luckily, imagining OTHER women having sex with, say, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine doesn't trigger any of that guilt/betrayal stuff.
Well, he wasn't supposed to tell her about it, so I guess the only thing he did wrong was tell her about it. Probably should have stayed away from mutual friends if the idea was secrecy.

Not sure about the idea that he turned down the offer and couldn't claim it, since immediately telling her "I wouldn't want to do that" would be exactly what she told him to do. NOT TELL HER ABOUT IT. He's obviously not the most subtle operator and could have done a better job, but letter writer screwed up more.
@69: Nearly all men have those kind of fantasies. The fact that he feels comfortable enough to share them with you and even ask you if you'll realize them is a good thing - it's good communication, he'll feel closer to you, he'll feel understood by you, and he's less likely to feel resentment that they aren't going to come true. Just be careful not to give him false hopes.

A woman can get a lot of mileage from a man if she's attentive and generous with her blow jobs. If he starts pouting about no three ways, sounds like you know how to cheer him up. If three-ways are out, maybe think of something racy that you would be willing to do to make him feel like he's "livin' the dream."

she didn't say that she was orgasming during sex 5 times or more a week, just that he was humping her 5 times or more; hence the daily masturbating....
@87: Thanks for the input. I do want him to feel he can share with me, even if at times it's a bit of an "overshare" for me. And I am basically up for anything else so I guess that makes me as GGG as I'm gonna get!

@80: Yes my man has truly magical fingers that blow the Rabbit out of the water and I let him know it. Neither of us is perfect but I guess it's working for now!
The other day, my partner brought up the subject of seeing other people. I panicked a little, talked it over with my friends, and then decided that I'd probably be okay with it enough to stay, if not overjoyed... and then when I brought it up with my partner, it turned out that it was a joke all along.

"You can see other people" or "I want to see other people" are things that nobody really expects to come from out of the blue. Most people kind of assume it's impossible, whether or not they'd like it to happen. Because of that, you can't be sure about how they're going to interpret it! It's possible he's a controlling douche who wanted to sleep with other people without giving you a free pass. It's also possible that they didn't talk about it very much, and after she was gone he realized he did have a free pass and set out to use it.

This is why people need to talk about these things in detail to make sure that everyone's okay.
Given the way that things played out, I find it hard to believe that when he said he was uncomfortable with the idea, she responded by actually retracting the offer and saying that fine, in that case monogamy was still in force and expected.

If you give me permission to do something, if I first say I don't imagine myself ever doing that,, but I eventually decide do it after all, I simply changed my mind. I didn't lie, and I didn't break any rules, and treating me like a lying, untrustworthy rule-breaker is fucking insane.

If she abstained on her own purely because of what he said that he thought that he felt, and is mad because she passed on the opportunity to bang her hottie lab partner in Caracas while he was boinking up a storm back home, that still isn't his fault. It's hers for not resetting expectations after explicitly telling him the opposite.
"I casually ask him if he's slept with anyone"

I bet she didn't *casually* ask him.

I'm not saying she's in the wrong here, but I don't think this part is true.
Dan is 100% right, because he actually read the letter. Most of you, it seems, did not. "He told me that he couldn't imagine sleeping with other people and also said that he would be uncomfortable with me sleeping with other guys." That response does not mean that he is unusually incapable of having a fantasy life; it means he is turning down her request, partly because he can't imagine doing it, and partly because he is uncomfortable with granting her the same options. Now, he has arranged it such that she isn't going to sleep around on him.

However, not only does he sleep around on her, but he makes it completely public among their mutual acquaintances, thus making the whole "don't tell me about it" line completely useless. He won't have to tell her; all their damn friends already know, and some of the mutual acquaintances are the very people he's fucking! Yep, he's the soul of discretion all right, and the big problem here is that she casually asked about it.

Now, use the reading comprehension again here and tell me how we go from a 5 year committed relationship (presumably supposed-to-be monogamous, given her rebuffed efforts to temporarily open the relationship during the absence) immediately to posting numerous ads on dating/sex websites, responding to numerous Craigslist ads, and bragging online about the weekly hookup? That isn't "okay, I guess you gave me permission, so I'll fool around". That's the mark of someone who probably has been doing it all along, for whom it's easy, and who doesn't give a shit how the girlfriend is going to feel about it later.

And what of the girl, who is being called every rude name in the book in this thread, because she did the Dan-Savage-approved bigger person thing and openly offered to let him sleep with other people? She's the one worried about being the psycho bitch. Those are HER words. She doesn't want to be the psycho bitch, but now she's paranoid because she found out that her guy will pretend he doesn't want anyone else even as he's boning whoever he can find on Cragislist!

Again, read the letter: He's the one wants business as usual to continue--obviously, he's shedding no tears about her terrible, controlling, manipulative behavior, so maybe all the reader concerns for his tender soul are a bit misplaced. She's the one who is now "paranoid" and feels bad about it. She's probably wondering how he goes so quickly from 0 - 60 and back to 0 again, even as he pretends not to want to and definitely doesn't want HER to do it. I would wonder too... no, actually, I'd take Dan's excellent advice and DTMFA! He sees all of this, that everyone seems to be totally missing. There's a much bigger dynamic at play.
72: spoken like a true lawyer. You might have a case, counselor, had he decided to tell her that she was free to fool around once he had his late-breaking epiphany, suddenly and out of nowhere discovering that the unthinkable had become the amenable. But he didn't. You are picking your facts very carefully in order to maintain the ability to see his actions as innocent.
hmm. My husband brought up me sleeping with other guys a few times. And I told him I couldn't do it. I fantasied, sure. But actually doing it? No. They smell different then him and the idea of actually touching another guy just wigged me out. Then he left me for a 22 yoa. And I responded with sleeping with several men. So maybe you can mean it at the time? I honestly think I could have lived the rest of my life only sleeping with him and been perfectly happy. (No, I wasn't a virgin when we got together or anything)
"Now, he has arranged it such that she isn't going to sleep around on him."

No, he hasn't. What he has done is say basically "WTF?" when initially confronted with her basically saying that she intends to sleep around on him while out of the country. "Fast forward to me coming back for summer break and I casually ask him if he's slept with anyone" very strongly implies that the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell rule has been in force over the semester. If she/they had arranged that the rule would remain monogamy after all, "Have you slept with anyone?" wouldn't be a casual inquiry, it would be the opening salvo in a huge-fucking-deal interrogation because she suspected he had been breaking the rules.

Basic reading comprehension does require the ability to read for context.

I will agree that his idea of discretion is completely useless. Also agree that the big problem is that she specifically asked him about that thing that she said she never wanted to hear about. At the moment she asked, he is basically caught in a trap. What is he supposed to say? "You said you didn't want to know about that?" That is for all intents and purposes identical to "Yes I fucked people, but I refuse to discuss it." Sure, that one would go over real well.

"That's the mark of someone who probably has been doing it all along, for whom it's easy, and who doesn't give a shit how the girlfriend is going to feel about it later."

OR it's the mark of someone who is pretty sure that his girlfriend is doing the exact same thing over in Osaka, because that's the rule she set up, and she didn't rescind the offer when he said "Whoa, what?"

It's not rocket science. If you aren't okay with your partner sleeping around on you while you are away, don't fucking offer it as an option. At least that way, if he does it anyway, there will be no question that he is breaking the rules. Instead, you have a situation where he followed the rules -- admittedly pretty ham-handedly, but he didn't actually break them -- and she's pissed because he took her at her word, while she, on the other hand, did exactly the opposite of what she said she wanted.

"He's the one wants business as usual to continue--obviously, he's shedding no tears

He didn't write in to Dan. We have no idea whatsoever how he feels about the whole thing. You have just crossed over into making shit up. When it comes to reading between the lines, interpolate, yes, extrapolate, no. (I really, really want to know whether she stayed monogamous while out of the country, and if so, why. But I'm not going to make something up on her behalf.)
Thank you Dan!

I used to feel so guilty because I love my boyfriend, but frequently imagine what it would be like to sleep with other people. I would never act upon those thoughts for numerous reasons, but it's fun to imagine. Now I know this isn't something only guys are supposed to do. I feel a lot better that you acknowledged this. I thought I was a pervert.

Thanks again!
@94: "You might have a case, counselor, had he decided to tell her that she was free to fool around once he had his late-breaking epiphany, suddenly and out of nowhere discovering that the unthinkable had become the amenable."

Your interpretation (that he has to specifically tell her she is now free to fool around) requires that at the outset they had left the arrangement that she would remain monogamous but he was free to fuck around in her absence. Somehow (to borrow a phrase), I "just can't imagine" that being the truth of how they arranged it.

Well, okay, I can "imagine" how that might have happened, but it would been a really dumb way to do it. If she had decided she should abstain in order to spare his feelings, surely the simplest thing would have been for her to say, "Okay, never mind" and call the whole don't-ask-don't-tell scenario off. But for her to quietly elect to remain monogamous, but still give him permission when she obviously didn't feel too good about him fooling around? That's facepalm-stupid.
Yes, I don't like the chemistry that this letter suggests exists between these two. Maybe they'll be both better away from each other.

C, you're writing as someone who is very angry -- all full of "his sorry ass", etc. I think you should calm down and think carefully about your relationship with him. What exactly do you like about him? And what is it that you don't like about him?

And I especially mean: in the 'sexual realm' (as Bill Maher was saying the other day).

By all means have the sex talk. Monogamy, 'monogamishy', open relation, how open? What are his needs, what are your needs, how are they going to be met? How do you feel about each other? What does this incident of lots of sex mean (given that you gave him permission)?

Reading your letter, it sounds as if you're almost more offended and who he chose to have sex with (people you know! a woman you meet every time you go to the bar!) than at the fact that he had sex with someone else. Is that so? So if he had chosen someone else, someone you don't know or wouldn't be likely to meet, it would have been OK?

After weighing the pros and cons, make your decision. Then live with it.

(By the way: did you have sex with other people while you were away? He said he "wouldn't be comfortable", which may or may not be a veto -- was it? And if so, did you obey it? I suppose this is also important data for you to decide what your needs are and how they are going to be met.)
lizdini @95, this is so totally none of my business, but: have you stayed in touch with your ex enough to know if he's happy with his girlfriend? Was everything else in your marriage good, except for his sexual obsessions? If you aren't too angry at him and if you do miss him, you might consider dating him again. Now that you know that you can have sex with other men (and even enjoy it?), could you restart your relationship with your ex, but with added sexual excitement? Of course that may not be possible if the whole abandonment thing drove too much of a wedge between you... Feel free to ignore this post for being way too out of line...