SL Letter of the Day: Gay Husband Single On Grindr

Comments

1
I hate to say it, and not for nothing, etc., but this letter illustrates exactly why so many conservatives see gay marriage as a joke or worse.
2
My husband and I.

Being gay doesn't get you out of using proper grammar.
3
@1 so conservatives expect gay marriage to be just like straight marriage and since we're no better at it than they, we're not suppose to have the option/right ?
4
@1 - that's a preposterous thing to say. What, there are no straights with open relationships? There are no straight marriages in which the man WISHES he could have an open relationship? There are no straight swingers? Sorry that the gays don't comport to your Norman Rockwell vision of marriage.
5
One thing that Mr. Savage fails to mention: CAB deserves respect, but the people with whom CAB's husband hooks up deserve to know that he's a married guy. He wasn't just cheating on his spouse; he was cheating on his spouse and lying to the guys whom he hoodwinked into being accessories to adultery. To my mind, "We can be open, but you may not block me on Grindr and your hookups must know that you have another relationship that will always come first" does not seem remotely unreasonable.

In my experience, the young people who know they have the same long-term, realistic goals are the ones who stay together. Some of the ones who marry for the happy fluffy puppy love feelings do too, but that's less of a rule. I can buy these figures. Many of those gay couples were people who'd already been married in all but legal name. If the two lesbians in their sixties had been going to split up, they'd have done it already.
6
The problem is your husband's a dishonest douche who is all but skywriting his disrespect for you. I'm surprised Dan didn't at least mention DTMFA on this one. Yeah, four years is pretty good run and this is marriage and all, but it seems like your husband has been an underhanded asshole (or a full-on CPOS) to you for most if not all of that time. If it looks like a duck...
7
Open relationship = end stage of a relationship.
8
The conversation should go like this: "You want to be single? Then you get to be single, starting right now. If you *don't* want to be single, better start fucking acting like it."

Or in other words, pre-emptively DTMFA before he finds a trade-in and gets around to dumping you. I don't know how much clearer you want the writing on the wall to be - you're not a husband, you're just a backup plan.
9
Um, you do know there's a difference between an open relationship and a cheater, right?

Both involve sleeping with others on occasion, but an open relationship requires honesty, mutually agreed upon rules, and, well, openness. Your supposedly open relationship has none of those things. Your husband is a cheater and you're allowing it and calling it an open relationship, which it is not.

Your cheating husband needs to come clean or DTMFA. He needs to be honest with you about when and who he's hooking up with. You both need to agree on what is allowed and what isn't. He needs to stop lying, both to you and to the guys he's hooking up with.

Otherwise he's just a cheater and you're a doormat.
10
MRM = Men's Rights Movement? Fuck off. What conservatives think about other people's marriages is irrelevant, it's none of their business what other people do and no one knows how to fuck up a marriage like a hypocritical conservative.
11
@7 - Not if they're both sluts who like to hang out with each other. Open your mind, dude!
12
I just hope the CPOS is being super safe when hooking up.
13
@10: haha, you're not an Arrested Development fan, are you?
14
Yeah, it's better to wait to get married if you have a Western-style "love" marriage, but if you have a grown-up joining of families Eastern-style and make an actual goddamn commitment, you can get married when you're 20 and it will stick. Our 2% divorce rate beats your 50% hollow, bitches!

Yeah, yeah, our women stay in abusive relationships and get raped by their husbands... uh...
15
Good Lord. Married at 24? No wonder there's trouble. I know I come at this from the perspective of a middle-aged homosexual, but there was absolutely no way I could have committed to anyone in my 20's - unless perhaps they were willing to be as big a tramp as I was.

But having served my time in the trenches of the marriage/industrial complex, I can say with some authority that it's not much different for straight couples who marry at that age. Sure, there's people like my college roommate and his wife, who have been together forever (I introduced them!) but they are few and far between.

In any event, you can't go halfway with this sort of thing: the couple has to either be open to openness, or committed to monogamy. Everything else will end in broken crockery and broken hearts.
16
When a guy tells you he wants an open relationship, he's really saying, "I don't hate you, but I don't love you romantically anymore. It's over, but I don't want to let go. Being single after all this time together is scary. I need a way to ease out of this slowly so I won't have to go through a painful breakup period followed by searching for someone to replace you. If we're in an open-relationship, I can shop around for your replacement and be with you in case that fishing expedition doesn't work out."

This is sort of like being the only one in the office that doesn't know you're going to be fired soon. Your boss is already holding interviews, and there's a job announcement on the company website. You hold on in hope that you might win them over anyway, when you should be putting in resumes at as many places as you can.
17
@13: I am, in fact, but I obviously missed the reference.

I still don't see why it makes a damn bit of difference what conservatives think. Gays don't need their fucking approval, and if anything I'd think this kind of dysfunction would make gay marriage sound comfortable and familiar. Treating your partner like shit is a universal problem, there's nothing gay about it.
18
@Tacoma: stop projecting your own insecurities. People chose non monogamy for all kinds of reasons. It's lying to and excluding your partner that's the real red flag, and guess what, monogamous people are just as good at that as anyone else!
19
@17: I didn't want to imply that people should need conservative approval of their marriages, but when you've got spouses who are still both active on semi-anonymous hookup sites it kind of messes up the whole "sanctity of marriage" image, doesn't it?
20
18,

I guess I have a different concept of open relationship than you do. To me, open relationship means I wnt to date (as in, have more than just a sexual relationship) with another person.

I'm perfectly okay with monogamish relationships, where you get permission to fuck someone outside the dyad from your partner and it's just sex. And no, I don't want my guy to lie to me or feel that he has to. But I will never be second fiddle to anybody. If you want to date (as in, develop a deep emotional bond with) another guy besides me, then we are done. It benefits nobody for either of us to keep up the pretense.

To wit, getting my permission first (Hey, can I go fuck that guy in the yellow shorts?) is better than "I want to go out with people like I did when I was single again"
21
@20: Who said anything about second fiddle? There's a reason the term 'primary' is used so often in these arrangements.
22
@16 That's pretty much the way I feel too, but some couples seem to be able to make it work. I suppose they transition more into being roommates or friends with benefits while still being financially intertwined.
23
21,

Ben, I am certain we would make very good friends. I will never date you.
24
Obviously some befuddlement happening here between the idea of "open" vs "poly" vs "monogamish" vs "cheating" ... I was going to suggest someone write up a Savage Dictionary, but maybe people would learn more by slogging through the archive instead.

"Why do most people assume that all nonmonogamous relationships are destined to fail? Because we only hear about the ones that do."
http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/Savag…
25
Whatever the arrangement is called (open, poly, monogamish) successful non-monogamy requires that the couple agree to some set of rules or principles. The rules or principles can be whatever the couple agree to, but both have to agree to them. It's possible that this couple didn't really work out their rules in full detail, the letter doesn't say exactly what they worked out, in which case they need to have a serious conversation. It's also possible that the guy's husband is intentionally not following the rules he agreed to, which given the previous cheating would be grounds to DTMFA.
26
Whatever the arrangement is called (open, poly, monogamish) successful non-monogamy requires that the couple agree to some set of rules or principles. The rules or principles can be whatever the couple agree to, but both have to agree to them. It's possible that this couple didn't really work out their rules in full detail, the letter doesn't say exactly what they worked out, in which case they need to have a serious conversation and figure out what is and isn't allowed. It's also possible that the guy's husband is intentionally not following the rules he agreed to, which given the previous cheating would be grounds to DTMFA.
27
I thought open meant you had sex with other people with your spouse's consent. Obviously there may be additional rules for any given couple, but the line between open and closed seemed pretty clear.
28
Damn it! I was trying to make a little edit and somehow double posted. Oh, Great Gods of Slog! Give us a delete function!
29
Dear Fanboys:

Cheating leads to "divorce".

Always.

Sooner or Later.

Calling it "open",
or "monogamish",
while oh-so-precious, ;)
is just slapping lipstick on a brutally ugly whore of a sow.

please make a note of it......
30
and,
obviously,
this is why some folks
(....we won't name names....)
don't deserve "marriage"
(and foul it with their filthy presence)
31
Danny told us homosexuals were not good at "monogamy".

we were skeptical.

the Troll thinks blanket judgements cast on entire groups are lazy and bigoted.

but we never argue with Danny where The Gay is concerned.

and he has convinced us.

Of Course,
Monogamy is an essential part of what makes Marriage useful.
Transforming.

Throw out monogamy and Marriage is just Shacking Up with a piece of paper.

"Monogamish". precious.

Pig Latin for Pretentious Lying Cheating Slut.

but relax....

Pretentious Lying Cheating Slut is an honored vocation in Gommorah.
32
@19: sanctity of marriage is a scam. From what I've seen, the only relationships that have any chance of lasting are the ones that embrace the messy sweaty filthiness of real life in some form or another.

@20: you're monogamous (not that there's anything wrong with that!). But not everyone is and not everyone wants the same things from their relationship or assigns the same meanings to things.
33
@19: and gays don't need to earn the right to marry by showcasing their ability to do marriage better than straights. The right to marry includes the right to fuck it up and get divorced. Or just get divorced.
34
There may still be time to save this marriage, which is why Dan suggested that they have the heart-to-heart. Marriage is still a serious life-long commitment, or at least I think it should be thought of that way ("...in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer..." etc.), and divorce should really be a last resort. If a couple really meant it when they got married, if the whole idea is truly precious to them, precious enough to make a big deal of it and invite their family and friends, then divorce shouldn't even be contemplated as an option, unless the relationship has truly become poisonous (e.g. domestic abuse).

So work it out, people! Put the difficult effort in the short run and you'll be glad you did in the long run.
35
Alright everybody (troll included): I flamed the husband earlier because he was disrespectful of both the monogamous relationship they had agreed to and then the open relationship they negotiated. That said, EVERY couple has the right to make THEIR OWN RULES based upon what works for them. If one or both them violates the agreement between them, THEN it's CPOS name-calling time. Other people's interpretation of what means what when who says what doesn't actually mean shit. Marriage is between two individuals trying to make it together however they can.
36
This letter certainly makes a mockery of the whole gay movement.
I'm actually surprised Dan posted it.
37
@36:
Why does it make a mockery of the gay movement? Because gays are just as human as hets are?
38
Gays have to be superhuman, otherwise they're not entitled to any rights.

(eye roll)
39
@34: A partnership can only work if both parties are invested in it. That's not the vibe I'm getting from the letter.

Nonmonogamy overall: Dan has a long history of pointing out that equality means calling a gay person out if you'd call a straight person out on the same thing. Nonmon is similar. It's not going to fix what's broken, and adding it to an already stressed relationship is likely to make the stresses worse.

LW's hubby has been presenting as single for a while now. Both before and after he got LW's official blessing to look around outside the relationship. It may not technically be cheating, but it's not a relationship I'd bet on either.
40
35

oh no sweetheart, you have Marriage confused with a bathhouse......

Marriage has the power to improve the lot of society, the kids raised in it and the participants only to the extent that it inspires (or coerces) them to a higher standard of behavior.

Marriage has rules, sorry to say, and monogamy is one of the big ones.

you can't just work out any sort of fuck arrangement and call it Marriage.

at least, you can't in enlightened functional societies that have a future.

now, Danny's Gommorah, that is a different thing.......
41
I am tempted to call the husband a CPOS; but I would suggest that not everyone is okay with openly talking about hookups/people they think are hot. My girlfriend and I are semi-open, but I still think it's rude to talk about the hookups. It's rude both to my girlfriend (she shouldn't feel a need to compare herself to/compete with the other girls) and the girls I hook up with (who's biznass doesn't need to be openly talked about). So your husband could be the latter type
42
@40: First, talking down to those you wish to "educate" (by which you really mean "subjugate") is why God invented the coup. Second, if marriage is such a rigorous exercise in monogamy and other "higher standards of behavior", why do more than half of them- excluding Danny's Gomorrah- fail anyway? If the current state of heterosexual marriage is your example of moral superiority, I suppose Ted Nugent's kid-fucking loophole avoidance and Kim Kardashian's multi-million dollar sham are gold star models of righteousness for you. A fear of change and a failure to adapt are signs of the very, very weak...
43
CAB understands their relationship is monogamous.
Husband is browsing hook-up sites.
They have a discussion.
The relationship is now open so that the husband can sleep around without cheating.
Husband blocks CAB, lists himself as single, and doesn't wear his ring.

DMTFA.
44
I don't expect SSD eventually to look exactly like OSD. Given the numbers imbalance and the various differences involving children, my starting hypothesis would be that there might be five waves, with the first perhaps doubtful or SSD higher, SSD higher in the third and OSD in the second and fourth, and then a leveling off for both at the end.

This letter takes me back a bit, to when I worked somewhere that had conservative talk radio playing all day. It did not take long to formulate the idea that I would not think highly of any caller to Dr Schlessinger who began her question with, "Me and my husband." That actually held up fairly well.

Remaining on the theme of Dr S, I recall her advocating a rather narrow window of marriage opportunity, that the proposal should not occur before a year or after eighteen months. Mr Savage appears to have a different time frame in mind. Of course, circumstances are widely different. But it would be interesting to know what Mr Savage's windows are for SSCs and OSCs, and how he expects the SSC window to change as marriage becomes more accessible (assuming it does) and eventually settles once people are all born into a world with equality.
45
addition to @43: Okay, okay, marriage counseling, but I'd set a limit on it. CAB and husband are only 28 and don't have kids, it'd be relatively easy for them to start over now that they've finally clued in that there's a major disconnect between what they want out of a marriage.

CAB wants everyone to hold to the standards that were agreed to after they found that they had different standards.

Husband wants to be a CPOS.
46
Start talking with a lawyer so that while your hubby is out cheating you can be rearranging your finances to ensure that you get a very nice divorce settlement.
47
@1 - Something tells me you really don't hate to say it.
48
lolorhone - why are you talking to the troll? It just adds more troll shit to the comments. Cut it out. Please.
49
@1 - Yeah, because opposite-sex marriages never fail due to cheating. And yeah, even if it's an open marriage, people can cheat. It's called betraying the relationship by lying.
50
Basically, CAB's husband has embraced dishonesty as a lifestyle choice. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. This guy is all about himself, not about his primary partner (his husband!) or the men he hooks up with (who deserve to know that he is in a committed relationship). CAB, be very careful as you move forward with this guy. I have a feeling that he's going to tell you exactly what you want to hear, and then do exactly as he pleases.
51
@15

I know I come at this from the perspective of a middle-aged homosexual,


Wait, what? Say it isn't so... I've always thought you were an antique mannequin girl from the 60s. I am perfectly fine crushing out on a witty sassy antique mannequin girl, but a middle-aged homosexual?

You, sir, go too far. Please fix this immediately.
52
All this talk about how gays have to be better at marriage, and the problem of divorce misses one of the important reasons why gay people need the right to marry. So gay people CAN have access to divorce when necessary.

A straight married couple gets married then, for what ever reason, decide to split they have an entire legal mechanism to deal with it. To see that property gets divided fairly. To see that everyone gets taken care of. To see that those with kids have their parental rights protected.

Gay people in places they can't get married decide to split and they basically have to fight it all out on their own and in that situation it is far more likely that someone is going to get screwed over.

The idea that gay people may get divorced being an argument against same sex marriage misses the point. Same sex marriage is important partially so that gay people can have access to the same resources as straight people when ending a relationship.

Divorce is actually one of the important benefits of marriage.
53
The problem with marrying in your mid thirties (for the ladies, anyway) is the fertility issues that come up. Besides, if you wait that long and want children, then every boyfriend/girlfriend is going to have WAY MORE PRESSURE to commit so you can make with the behbehs. And who wants to be nearing 60 with teenagers?
54
Six shooter dearest, I can be anything you want me to be. This is the Internet, after all.
55
Dan states in his link that the report shows correlation, then goes right on to attribute it to causation. (Whereas red states with a lower age of first marriage also have lower levels of education--something the Pew report specifically notes--and other factors that also correlate.) What struck me reading it was that they didn't list WHO gets divorced, even though you can find this data from the CDC. (All reports are in PDF form, and you have to dig through the tables at the back.)

What the CDC ones consistently show is a big jump at age 20. Teenage spouses are much more likely to get divorced, after than it flattens out.

(This does not say anything about how many people *blame* their age at first marriage for its ending, rather than any personal failing.)

Statistically the thing that really makes a marriage likely to end in divorce is one of the parties being already divorced, and yet we all probably know happy lasting second or third marriages and don't go around proclaiming that no one should ever marry a divorced person, it depends on the people involved and their relationship, etc.
56
Also too: Same sex couples have been in the crazy position of not knowing how long they might be allowed to marry. I met my husband when I was 18, and had we been told we *could* legally marry at 19 but who knew what would be allowed after graduation, that door might close, we might have been inclined to rush into it while we could. As marriage becomes a settled right that isn't always on the verge of being yanked away, I imagine same sex couples will feel a lot less pressure to leap into things while the legal door is open.

Some people are bad at being married, or bad at being married to specific other people. I think it helps to affix the blame to them, rather than providing a list of "See, you're young, you're gay, you're short, you're left-handed" reasons to explain that treating someone crappily isn't really their fault.
57
@36: Um, yeah. "My opposite sex spouse has been posting on dating sites and pretending to be single" is a thing never heard of in advice columns, anywhere.
58
24 is not too young to marry. That should be the minimum age, but it isn't too young. If this couple is in trouble, it wasn't because they married too young, but instead rushed into it when it became legal. Probably caught up in all the excitement.

Anyway, if anyone else has observed this, please excuse me. I simply didn't feel like reading all the comments first.
59
I think IPJ/#56 has hit the nail on the head: among the various types of gay couples who choose to get married are those who rush into it because they don't know how long that option might last, and rushing into marriage is very rarely a good idea. Having said that, the NYT article reveals all sorts of additional problems that beset gay couples trying to get divorced in America, but in terms of the reasons for getting divorced there's really no reason to see gay couples divorcing as fundamentally different from straight couples divorcing.
60
Your husband is a selfish pig.. it's not about if you're straight or gay and whether or not your marriage will last.. it's about being honest and having some integrity while being involved with other living individuals.. our society has been raising little "me me me"'s for some time now and he is a product of it.. try and work on it if you really want to be in a relationship with someone like this.. but he's a liar.. and I doubt very much that he'll change..
61
Dan, I'm surprised you didn't hone in on what seems obvious to me. Hubby gets off on cheating. It's not specifcally sleeping with others that he likes; it's pushing the bou.daries, the secrecy, the "cheating" that turns him on.

62
@36 Your ignorance moves me. Saddening, really. Please open your mind before you mouth in the future.
63
Making this about marriage really derails the answer. It looks to me like the husband is the kind that enjoys cheating and sneaking around. He doesn't want honesty and openness. He wants the thrill of getting away with it. Dan has correctly pointed out these types before and this looks to me like another one. Unless his partner can roll with that--and I'd suggest he definitely not try to roll with it since it seems to make him crazy and frankly his partner is getting a thrill from not giving a flying fuck about his feelings and pushing him around--this is not going to be workable and indeed will continue to be crazymaking.

Whether the law is involved or not, he should DTMFA. Sneaking around is probably his partner's turn-on and it appears to be incompatible on its face with how it makes CAB feel. Get out of this.

It's a shame this conversation is now all about marriage because it really doesn't address this problem. Some dudes (possibly women but the ones I've known of are dudes) really like sneaking around and don't care how crazy it makes other people feel. Get out. It can take years to come back from the insecurity and lack of trustworthiness at the center of this kind of thing.
64
@22 - @14 does have a point! There is a lot more to a marriage than just a romantic love partnering and recreational sex as an expression of that love partnering (or just fun). A lot of marriage is about making a business partnership - a partnership for running the domestic business: house, children, retirement, cooking, etc. (and these duties should be distributed equitably among partners!!!).

To that end, yes, while @7 is absolutely right that asking for an "open relationship" or "taking a break" or "seeing other people too" is definitely the start of the end for Romantic Love, it's not necessarily the end of the business of marriage partnership.

And you know what? I don't know a single long term (>25 year) couple where that romantic love junk has faded out, at least for a while, and been replace by a much stronger and more important commitment to the partnership. That junk is going to fade regardless - and that is what is causing our insanely high divorce rate.

Too many people with bad fundamentals, masked by Romantic Love (a narcotic high), get married, and when the high wears off, they split. Gay or straight, makes zero difference.

LW's "husband" is a CPOS and he sounds exactly, exactly, exactly like a bunch of straight married men in their 20s, myself included (not quite a CPOS, but damn close).
65
Always have a prenup.
66
"And I'm true to you darlin' in my fashion /
Yes I'm true to you darlin' in my way"

Yes I know relationship advice works on likelihood ... but CPOS-ness, crappiness at communication, douchebagginess don't always mean the marriage won't last. Something about the LW makes me think he might be a resilient type and will stick by his husband. He seems like someone who could see through the fallibility of a human being and be able to forgive it and even love it.

I dunno, just a hunch, and my hunches are often wrong ...

Men ARE pigs, and I think there's something beautiful about gay men who knows their husbands to be pigs (because they know themselves to be so), and still be willing to stick with someone. In that way I don't think gay marriage is totally the same as OSM, and can even give back something to the world at large. Oy hope I haven't stepped on any toes, just my tipsy rambling.
67
I don't know how things stand with the young kids these days. But I remember twenty years ago, there seemed to be a great deal of opportunity for anonymous sex. Opportunities were everywhere if you had a decent sized gay community in your city: not just baths but bars and parks and porn theaters and even just random cruising down the street once or twice. Heck, geek that I was, I even made a few early hookups from a gay BBS...text only at 2400 bps (get off my lawn!).

So I wonder if quite a few gay men have made a bit of a fetish, not just for having multiple partners (which the open/monogamish/closed question addresses), but anonymity and for sneaking around...doing something bad and getting away with it. The turn on isn't the promiscuity itself, but the cheating itself (and maybe, truly perversely, the getting caught).

Now granted, lots of straight guys do this too, but we've got so many more methods and opportunities for this sort of thing. If CAB's husband isn't on Grindr, then he'll be cruising the arcade or hitting the bath on the DL. And the reason he presents as single on the app is so he can pull the wool over everyone's eyes.

If that's the case here...if CAB's husband is turned on not so much by the fucking around as by the cheating itself, then no amount of openness and honesty is ever going to fix things. Openness and honesty are going to be what drives the husband away. He needs the rush of doing something he's not supposed to and getting away with it.

Which means that CAB has two choices: he can either turn a blind towards it and accept that this sort of thing is going to happen (and make damn sure when they do have sex they use protection) or he can DTMFA.

A third possibility does present itself. If CAB can get into this same headspace and get turned on in a similar way, it's possible that the husband might go for a "partner in crime". But part of that would mean that the two of them would have to be cooperating to pull the wool over someone else's eyes; the secrecy is a big part of the thrill. That might work (outwardly, the nice monogamous gay couple with the white picket fence and the perfect dinner parties, inwardly, the two bad boy porn stars that no-one suspects). Or it might not. Might be worth thinking about.
68
Many "partnered and married" gay couples I know, who are also in "open" relationships, spend half their free time trying to hook up or set up hookups, or trolling internet hook up site for hookups- with most hookups never materializing. All that time and energy could be spent doing something constructive for their relationship (and with each other)...

If sex is really that boring and insufferable with their partner why did they get into a relationship in the first place?

Meanwhile they're both trying to show the world their veneer of married bliss and respectability. It really is kind of a joke…
69
Nothing says "You're not enough" like an open relationship. Which could also be a fancy way of saying "codependency" - When two people's selfish wants outweigh their needs.
70
@7:

"Open relationship = end stage of a relationship. "

Oh dear god no!

When I started dating my wife, she immediately told me that she was still seeing someone. Actually, mostly she was just having sex with him. That was 12 years ago. It's always been an open relationship. Kind of like Dan's relationship with his husband.

However, when in a "monogamous"* relationship, it's discovered that one person is cheating, and a proposed solution is to open the relationship, it's often the end of the relationship. Especially when the person doing the cheating actually gets off on sneaking around in the first place. Some people don't like the honesty and openness that is required in a truly open relationship, and that is why the relationship fails, even when they're allowed to have sex with other people.

* By monogamous, I mean one person thinks it's monogamous, and the other is screwing around.
71
As a gay man myself, I get soooooo tired of gay people who fight so hard for the right to marry only to have an "open relationship". YOU ARE SETTING US BACK! No wonder right-wing groups don't want us to have equal rights. Gays and the absolutely moronic idea of "open relationships" only adds fuel to the right-wing fire. Gay men who say "we're married but we have an open relationship" and justify it with "but we're gay so it's fine" are saying "we want to be treated the same... but different." Well, the same but different is called a civil union. No need to fight the marriage fight anymore if that's your mentality.

To me, the man who did not want to have an open relationship to begin with sounds like he has VERY low self esteem, and probably after catching his "husband" (I hate using that term for people who don't take marriage seriously) cheating on him, or trying to hookup with other guys WITHOUT his permission, probably just gave in and rather than throw away the last four years, or face the scary thought of being alone but maintaining some dignity, he said "ok, let's give this a try." Well, clearly his husband had already been giving it a try and once he had permission to do so, he took it a step further.

My advice to you- screw the "heart to heart" bullshit, lay down the law, tell your man you are not comfortable with hooking up outside your marriage and if he's not ok with that then it's time to part ways. If he REALLY loves you, he'll understand that he can't be so selfish. He committed to MARRY you, be with YOU and ONLY you. If he is unable to keep this commitment, then it's time for a change. You're 28 sweetheart- you'll be fine.
72
@68:

It's not about the sex being boring or insufferable. Far from it. Let's put it this way. If you could go on any wild adventure (say, a mountain biking trip or sailing around the world or something) with your spouse and another person or couple or group of like-minded adventurers, would you? Or would you turn your fellow adventurers down and say "no thanks, me and my wife are fine with the adventure we have".

Some people would rather have the extra company. Other people wouldn't. It's up to you. But it sure beats sitting at home saying "I wish I could do X, but I can't, because society".
73
Your husband wants the best of both worlds: as much sex as he can get with strangers *and* the security of having you at home looking out for him. You sound like you agreed to be open more because he already was rather than a mutually agreed upon decision.

But, Dan is right, too. IMO 23 is too young to get married, especially given today's longer lifespans. People do marry that young, it's true, but the marriage age has been steadily creeping up. I think that it's because, in the past, it was mostly because they were so horny they couldn't stand it anymore and marriage was the socially acceptable outlet.

I say this as someone who has been happily partnered and monogamous for 10 years now. We both met in our early 30's so had our fill with the anonymous stranger sex thing. Do we still look--DUH, of course, we're guys--but, on such a major issue, don't feel pressured to do something you don't want to do to please your partner. It will only cause resentment in the long run.
74
This is not a gay issue- it's an issue all kinds of couples face. I was in an open relationship- for 2 years (strait female), and I find that most people contemplating it have no idea what it really means or takes. It is not a fix for infidelity. It takes much deeper communication and stronger boundaries and deeper trust than traditional monogamy (in my experience), because everything is created and nothing is left for granted. Before jumping into it, I'd recommend doing some research on how these types of relationships function. The Center for Sex Positive Culture offers classes, and The Ethical Slut is a great book on open relationships.
75
@71 - There are plenty of straight married couple who are in "open", "monogamish" or "swinger" relationships, you act like this is something that never happened until gay people started getting married. What two people chose to do in their relationship is no one's business but their own and it's not "setting us back". Who gives a fuck what right-wing groups think? The only thing that matters is that both parties agree and are comfortable with the arrangement they have, which in this case, they do not and are not. Regardless, your opinion on monogamy is just as backwards and conformist as these "right-wing groups" you're decrying. It's about the freedom to do whatever the fuck you want because you're both adults and you set the rules for your relationship.
76
@66, @67: Why are you tying yourselves in knots trying to excuse or save this relationship? It's doomed. Liars aren't worth the effort to keep around.

Or as Dan said in a wise response to another letter:
And remember this going forward too: when you're with someone who sends mixed signals, disregard the signals that appeal to your vanity and/or hopes ("cannot imagine me not being in his life as he loves me and he doesn’t want to break up") and accept at face value the signals that break your heart ("he has been thinking about the future and more and more of his future plans have just involved him alone"). The upsetting signals are invariably the truth and the appealing signals almost always turn out to be an an inch of vanilla frosting spread over a big piece of shitcake.
77
This guy's not even sending mixed signals - he's being pretty clear.
78
@71- Keep your opinions out of my marriage, thanks. Gay open marriages work quite well, and don't need your puritanical view of marriage to succeed.
These two are simply too young. They remind me of my machinations with my first husband. Sneaking around, no way to be honest because we weren't honest with ourselves. LW needs to move on.
He will be much better equipped in his next relationship to know what works for him, and to find a partner with mutual ideals and values, whether monogamous or open. BTW- I know of no long-term gay marriage that is strictly monogamous- we ARE talking about two people with penises after all. Just sayin'. Sometimes reality bites, but better than than living a fantasy-lie.
79
@71 I know just as many heterosexuals in open relationships as I do gay couples, so screw your bullshit. One of those hetero couples is celebrating 12 years together, the others are at 7.

The letter writer is in a relationship with a cheater. This has nothing to do with open relationships.
80
@48: I talk to the troll because he shuts up more quickly when someone says something he can't counter. Not that I owe you an explanation. I'll respond to whomever I like, if that's alright with you.
81
@75 @78 & @79

71 here again. Maybe I wasn't clear. First of all- I AM GAY. Second of all, I think there is absolutely no problem with screwing around. Be as slutty as you want when you're single, or even "casually dating" someone... but once there is a ring on it, A COMMITMENT, to one another, that's it. No more screwing around. If people can't abide by that, then maybe they're not emotionally mature enough to be in a MARRIAGE yet.

This is absolutely an issue about open relationships- the point of the story is THE LINES BECOME VERY BLURRED. How can anyone REALLY fault this guy's partner? He's already agreed to an "open marriage" (as repulsive as I find that term), but now there are rules in the openness of it? "Hey honey, bang as many other dudes as you want, just don't tell them you're single." How much sense does that make? If anything, I see the partner's logic in lying to these other men about having a "husband"... it would totally derail him getting more action. I feel SORRY for the guy who wrote this letter because it's clear he never wanted to "open up" the marriage in the first place, but he did and unfortunately his partner took it as a license to kill. Live and learn, and hopefully don't make the same mistake again by agreeing to "open relationships" in the future.

Lastly, all of you saying "I know just as many heterosexual couples who blah blah blah...." No, you don't. I don't, and about 80% of my friends are straight. Sure it exists in SOME relationships, but not NEARLY as much as it does in the gay community. The whole point any of you're trying to argue is the fact that you ARE saying "treat us the same but different because we're gay" and what I'm saying is when states only recognize civil unions and not MARRIAGES, that's exactly what they're doing. Treating us the same but different. If we want to be treated the same way, we need to act like it. If you want to fuck around, why get married in the first place?? Doesn't make any sense- gay or straight.
82
Mr Ravished - Men are not pigs. I agree with you about SSM not being exactly the same as OSM, but please don't try to see the entire Y chromosome in your own little mirror.

Mr SF - News flash: women look, too!
83
@81 Sorry, you are still putting your own expectations onto other people's marriages. You don't get to define what marriage means to other people.
84
Can we stop putting the 28 year old's crappy treatment of his partner off on his being just a wee young thing of almost 30?

If you're old enough to be having sex (and starring in porn films while running a weapons import business on the side), you are old enough to treat your partners decently. 16 year olds can get away with blaming their immaturity on their actual immaturity, but if you're old enough to do stuff without asking your mom first, you don't get to declare a special "treatment of sex/romantic partners only" childhood that lasts until somewhere in your 30s or 40s, while insisting on being treated as a responsible adult in all aspects of your life.
85
I feel terrible for CAB. He's being used. He needs to dump this douche, get tested for every STD, take a year off and then look for someone who will not only love him, but RESPECT him.
86
@82: lol ok, let me rephrase; I was thinking more along the lines of how people chase after the "ideal" marriage - ok, aside from the religious crap, people are still seduced by what that genius bastard Shakespeare called "the marriage of true minds". People forget there are also George and Martha (or Jimmy and Alison if British theatre is a more familiar reference; or else if theatre is not on the radar at all, I'm referring to Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf and Look Back in Anger). The beauty - the awful beauty - of people sticking to each other is not in whether you communicate healthily or set the rules sanely. These things help, but sometimes they're irrelevant. It's like eating healthy to prevent cancer - it works for many people, but for too many it's just a matter of genetic predisposition, that's what life's given you, you just ride it. Even the most celebrated romance of not just western culture but all over the world, concerns the impulsive, immature, violent passion of Romeo and Juliet.

I'm trying to say that in reading advice columns we tend to think of standardizing things to some kind of healthy norm, to find a kind of silver bullet for killing the beast of unhappiness, to designate these are the motherfucking cunts (stay away) and these are the innocent victims (get wise and choose better next time). But it's more likely we're all monsters just trying to find the other monsters whom we can live with. So, no, not all men are pigs, but we're all fucked up in some way, but it doesn't preclude any of us from love.
87
51

yeah.

wtf.

we sure feel dirty....
88
80

you are mighty.

a god, actually.

why didn't Obama put you on the ticket?
89
@1: You should see what antics heterosexuals get into! ANTICS.
90
CAB, you need to ask yourself: why exactly do you want to be married to a guy who clearly wants the rest of the world to think that he is _not_ married to you?
91
@86: Saying nobody's perfect and saying that everyone's equally fucked up are two completely different things. Only one of them is true.

Sustained abuse isn't beautiful just because it's sustained. And it exists in part because people stupidly glorify the sustained part as more important than the abuse part. It's not, and longevity is a lot less valuable than integrity. Bad relationships deserve to end. Sometimes that's the way that people have to learn not to be bad partners.
92
@81: it was pretty clear from your first post that you are gay, and nothing in the responses suggested people missed that. It's telling that you imagine this fact is some sort of protection against other posters disagreeing with you, though. Being gay doesn't mean your opinions on gay marriage can't be just as obviously wrong and ultimately irrelevant as those of any right-wing nutjob. You make the same mistake that so many of the rigidly intolerant do, imagining that what works for you is some sort of rule of what works throughout society. Try to not make it everyone else's problem that the horizons of your world and imagination are so narrow.
93
@48 Seconded.
94
@81 Your posts illustrates the main reason I'm more than a little bit leery of gay marriage. Forcing same-sex relationships into a heterosexual-style mold is a mistake IMO. The whole attempt to define gay relationships as equivalent to straight ones frankly does us a disservice. If there was no meaningful difference between gay relationships and straight ones then what the hell would be the point of being gay in the first place?

@92 Here's the problem I have with your view of what marriage is. It basically defines it down to the point where it becomes meaningless. If marriage isn't defined by gender, isn't defined by permanence, isn't defined by monogamy (that too-rigid straightjacket you complain about), then what the hell is it? If the only difference between a group of people living together and having sex with whoever they please and a marriage is a big fucking cake and a different tax bracket, then really, what's the point?

Rigidity is not a bug here; it's a feature. It implies a standard of behavior being met. Permanence is part of it, as is monogamy. I'd also suggest that it's limited to two people. Despite my personal misgivings, I support opening up the institution of marriage to gay and lesbian couples because my misgivings aren't necessarily theirs. But just because I believe that that institution should be available to them doesn't mean we should define away that institution into meaninglessness.

I shouldn't have to point this out, but the opinions of "right-wing nutjobs" are not in fact the fevered, oxycontin-stoked dreams of Rush Limbaugh. They are, in fact, the commonly held, across the political spectrum, shared understanding of marriage, held by the overwhelming majority of people, both straight and gay alike, as recently as 15 or 20 years ago and for centuries before that.

If you want to make a change to that understanding (permanent, heterosexual, monogamous, between two people), then the onus is upon you to justify it. We're reaching a point where most people seem to agree that dropping the heterosexual requirement is a good idea. That does not mean that the rest of it ought to get tossed out as well.
95
@48, @93: We're all on the same side of the argument, we just differ in our approach. But I would never try to tell either one of you how to feel or react to anything on this comment thread- it's none of my fucking business what you do. So cut it out. Please.
96
@94: "They are, in fact, the commonly held, across the political spectrum, shared understanding of marriage, held by the overwhelming majority of people, both straight and gay alike, as recently as 15 or 20 years ago and for centuries before that."

Oh god, you really sound like another arrogant American who thinks New Zealand is Iraq on the map.
97
@94: "The whole attempt to define gay relationships as equivalent to straight ones frankly does us a disservice. If there was no meaningful difference between gay relationships and straight ones then what the hell would be the point of being gay in the first place?"

That's why there's no "point" to being gay, you right-wing dipshit. Equality isn't about novelty or specialness.
98
Ah yes, the American left wing. All for "diversity" as long as everyone agrees with them.
99
@94 "Your posts illustrates the main reason I'm more than a little bit leery of gay marriage. Forcing same-sex relationships into a heterosexual-style mold is a mistake IMO. The whole attempt to define gay relationships as equivalent to straight ones frankly does us a disservice. If there was no meaningful difference between gay relationships and straight ones then what the hell would be the point of being gay in the first place?"

1. There is no meaningful difference between gay and straight relationships beyond the fact that the two(+) people in the relationship are of the same sex.
2. There is no more point to being gay than there is to being straight; to say that there is "a point to being gay" implies there is a choice: to be gay or not to be gay? It is not a choice any more than who our biological parents are.

The real point of marriage, at it's most basic, is and always has been a legal contract between two people. What you're blathering on about are your own personal, subjective fee-fees (quote: "IMO") regarding the social contract (aka cultural mores) of marriage, one that is unwritten and constantly changing: marriage used to be primarily about the transfer and negotiation of funds, inheritance, property and power--only very recently has the social contract shifted to marriage for romantic love, yet all the former still apply.

"The whole attempt to define gay relationships as equivalent to straight ones frankly does us a disservice."

This statement tells me that you have absolutely no theoretical context in gender equality, women's or gay rights, because if you did, you'd know why this is bullshit. That aside, you completely ignore the very real legal rights and benefits afforded married couples by the state. So, double bullshit.

The real disservice is to those GLBTQ couples who experience legal discrimination, a huge one being those denied next-of-kin status and access to their partners in healthcare. And that's just the tip of the cock.
100
@94: "Here's the problem I have with your view of what marriage is. It basically defines it down to the point where it becomes meaningless. If marriage isn't defined by gender, isn't defined by permanence, isn't defined by monogamy (that too-rigid straightjacket you complain about), then what the hell is it?"

You're confusing religious and civil marriage. Civil marriage is a legal contract conferring an assortment of rights, benefits, and obligations. Beyond that, it's whatever the couple involved says it is.

Religious marriage, then the faith can toss in all the various add-on's you invoke, if they are so inclined. As someone who has no desire to ever be married in the eyes of any religion, I don't really care what these add-on's are, as I can't see how it will ever be any of my business (see how easy that is? just staying out of it and letting people do what makes them happy?).

"I shouldn't have to point this out, but the opinions of "right-wing nutjobs" are... the commonly held, across the political spectrum, shared understanding of marriage, held by the overwhelming majority of people, both straight and gay alike, as recently as 15 or 20 years ago and for centuries before that. If you want to make a change to that understanding (permanent, heterosexual, monogamous, between two people), then the onus is upon you to justify it."

This worldview is deeply unsettling. The casualness with which you conclude that everyone must conform to the majorities understanding of cultural institutions, so that there is "a standard of behavior being met", is chilling. And the people who just don't feel like it's for them should be... what? Forced to do so? Because society will like it somehow? Better to force people to be miserable in a structure that doesn't work for them, so that it won't be scary to the neighbors?

Also, if we're going to emphasize the importance of adhering to mainstream American values, what's more vital than the commitment to personal freedom (insofar as it doesn't harm/infringe the rights of others)? If it's the job of the person challenging the "understanding" to justify why the majority should allow their radical new way of looking at things, then that's you. We already allow marriages that aren't permanent (there's this thing called divorce) and marriages that aren't monogamous. The change would be suddenly making these prerequisites.