SL Letter of the Day: New Dad's Urge Surge


Yeah I'm with you on this one, dan. You know what should be punishable by eternal hellfire? Telling your newly postpartum partner that you're looking to fuck other people. That's a dick move for the ages.
Yeah, as I think Dan has mentioned before, new dads shouldn't really be expecting much of anything (beyond maybe the occasional handjob) for the first several months of parenthood anyway, even in the best of circumstances. So cock epiphany or no cock epiphany, NFOH should have suppressed his sexual desires in recognition of the new reality. It's what should be expected from all new fathers.
The only thing I'd add is a 'Whoops, how'd that happen?' remark in response to the revelation 'before I knew it, I had created an email account...'

The whole next paragraph shows a stunning lack of assumed responsibility for his behavior.
Perhaps the rationale for his actions is between the nice and mean points on the spectrum. I have no doubt that parenthood can knock a lot of guys for a loop. I also have no doubt that selfish, manipulative bastards will lie to themselves and their wives before and after marrying them and knocking them up, which is a shitty thing to do to the wife and to the child(ren) they may have. Either way, NFOH needs counseling, with and/or without his wife to work through his desires and his dishonesty.
Well said 1 & 2. With a new baby, who cares what the attractions mean - he can still choose to be a responsible partner and parent, and his wife would be a good person to consult on what exactly that means to her, since he doesn't convey her viewpoint. Shutting up about outside attractions for now and not cheating (as in actual sex) are safe bets, for a start.
Wow. What a selfish piece of shit. I'd be surprised if his wife ever forgives him for this.

And who's going to watch the baby while you're out fucking other men? Your wife? You expect your wife to babysit while you go out and fuck men? Oh my god.
Yeah... regardless of your desires, you really picked the mother of all bad timing.

95% of the time, honesty and good communication is the best policy. But right after your wife gave birth? Not a good idea. That is a good time to buck up and be an understanding and responsible spouse and co-parent, even if that means not getting your sexual needs met for a while. I'd say that holds for about a year after the baby is born, more-or-less. For a while at least, the needs of the mother and your new child should take a priority over your own desires. You should have put your M4M craving on hold.

Not forever, of course. If you really, really feel the need for M4M sex, then that will wear on you, and it will eventually corrode your marriage and your self identity if not addressed in some healthy way. You just picked a really, really shitty time to do that. Best timing for that kind of discussion is before getting married and especially before having a kid. Failing that, the best fallback timing would be to wait a good long time after the baby is born, to give your wife's hormones a reasonable time to settle down, to get settled with your joint parenting responsibilities and roles. You now have responsibilities for a new life. Welcome to fatherhood. Time to take life more seriously and don't be so fucking thoughtless and selfish.
There is another possible explanation. Sometimes new fathers experience a drop in testosterone levels (it's hypothesized to be an adaptation to reduce aggression and keep men from accidentally injuring the baby). Changes in testosterone levels can definitely affect desire. This might be the reason for this man's sudden change in sexual appetites.

If this guy is telling the truth about his past desire for men being mild and this intense desire being a new thing, then he's not a PoS; he's someone who experienced a drastic change in sexual appetites. He told his wife about mild same-sex attraction, which was all he knew about at the time.

But either way "Hang in there for a year and see what happens" definitely would have been the right thing to do; his body chemistry would have evened out by then.
In the twitterz yesterday Dan was fulminating about My Husband's Not Gay, which might be part of his cranky response to this putz. Sample:…

I had the same reaction last week to this story on NPR:… (Presbyterian rather than Mormon). I kept thinking, sure, companionate marriages work for some people in or out of religion—but these people were forcing themselves to reproduce and make a Potemkin family in part to denigrate the gays within their sphere of influence by implying that if they don't do the same, they're not trying hard enough.


And moreover, they feel safe to shout from the rooftops about their same-sex attraction now precisely because of all the gays living more authentic lives who paved the way for them! Twenty years ago half their congregation would have deserted.

And what of their poor children should they turn out to be gay or trans. No way are they going to allow self-determination—"Daddy [or Mommy] shoved their gayness in a trunk and sat on it, so you can too!"
Shit behaviour, mate. Thank goodness the wife has parents to help her and help with the work you should be doing.
Big cover up, I'm thinking- for that profound transition that is called for with a new child. Especially, the first child.
It's called, putting others needs before ones own. And yes, it's hard. All those nites of sleeplessness, teeth coming- good hard loving work.
So what do you do, Mr Oh, I'm might really be gay? You wimped out. You suddenly found a smokescreen to avoid growing up. You ain't the first man to give into this impulse and doubt you'll be the last.
What you could do, is close down all your accounts , clear pictures etc. ask your wife to please forgive your coward selfishness
Get your family home and be a dad. Like others have said, sex may be several months away- for now, help keep your baby alive, loved , clothed and housed.
Classic closet case - sneaking around on Craigslist behind his wife's back. Craigslist "casual encounters m4m" section is FILLED with hundreds of married men cheating on their wives. Every day, hundreds of married men are out there looking to hookup with other "discreet" (aka: cowardly) closet cases. It's just sad. Their poor wives really need to know about them.

This guy is just another piece of shit coward, too gutless to have dealt with his sexuality in a healthy way, too cowardly to admit he's more gay than straight. I pity his wife and hope she 1) Outs him to everyone 2) Divorces him and 3) Gets a top notch lawyer to take him for all he's worth. Fucking closet case asshole. Typical Craigslist-trolling, married, cheating, cowardly little shit.
I'd like to ad that to every woman who is reading this and seeing/attached to a man who you think is "straight", think again. There is a good chance he's out there on Craigslist trolling for cock. Do yourself a favor and don't think "No, not my guy." Bullshit. The amount of men who identify as "straight" yet cruise for other men on Craigslist is stunningly high. They are cowardly closet cases, but they hide their tracks well. Be smart - do your investigative homework on your fella and you just might find his secret email account, craigslist photos, etc. I can promise you that more than one woman who reads this and follows this advice will definitely find their man has been cheating on them with men via Craigslist.
I agree with DRF @8 that if the LW is telling us the truth (and he seems to be good at telling the truth, since he self-reported his same-sex actions & attractions before marriage and self-reported his secret emails recently)... then he's not a piece of shit. He's a guy who has been blindsided by a drastic change in his sexual needs.

I think he should continue being honest with his wife and see if he has built up enough credit over the past four years for her to be patient as they figure out whether they're compatible moving forward.
He should have kept quiet. But, he screwed that up.
And, when he told her, he promised not to keep chatting up guys. But, he screwed that up.
And, he should have kept quiet, again. But, again, he screwed that up.

And nowhere in his letter does he say that he has any interest in women, just men. Maybe I'm reading too much into that, but I think the only person he has been being dishonest to is himself (really, how can he not know to lie to his wife about this? At least for now?). I think he's gay and this just cannot be salvaged beyond a friendship, and he's pretty much screwed that up too.

And the wife has moved out to live with her parents? What a complete asshole this guy is. He should be sleeping over at one of his friends' house, and he should be telling her "I love you. I'm an asshole. I'm confused, but I should have shut up at least for now. I'm an asshole. I'm committed to providing for you and our kid. I'm an asshole. I can't believe how much I have fucked this up. I'm an asshole."

This guy gives bisexuals a bad name.
EricaP; blindsided or not, this guy has got a two month old child. Looking after his child is where he needs to put his energy.
Worry about who he wants to fuck, a bit later.

LW: please, don't give into this confusion, at the moment. Put it aside, don't ignore it.
Go, get your wife and child and enjoy bonding with your little one.
The first yr of a child's life, is so important. And it's so much fun to be a part of it.
I may be the only one who disagrees with Dan. Or, mostly I think telling this guy what he SHOULD of done (telling his wife he wanted cock before he got married and knocked her up) is not a very helpful response.

I think marriage needs to be more changeable than it typically is now. You can't be with someone your own life without the "terms of use" changing from time to time, because we do change over time, and our needs and wants change over time too. I don't think it's wrong after being with someone for years to say, "You know I really truly thought this whole cock thing was a mild fantasy I could live without, but now it's something I want". She can leave him is she wants, and you're right it is sucky timing, but WHEN, I ask you, WOULD be a good time to bring something like this up? When the kid is 3? 5? 18?. Maybe he was in denial all these years, maybe he was scared, or maybe he is just a lying asshole. Only he will know.

" ...while we attempt to figure out ... what all of these sexual attractions mean." Ugh, NFOH. It doesn't matter what they mean, and it doesn't matter how much you wany cock and it doesnt matter that, right now you don't get to fuck everyone and everything you want to. What matters is that you have a brand new baby, and you are already a shitty, selfish, asshole parent. You fucking prick.
Anyone else besides me think it's blindingly obvious that, with a new baby and all the responsibility, he's panicking and fixating on sexual situations that are guaranteed to not lead to pregnancy?

I'm mostly with the "nice" interpretation, and think it was laudable that he 'fessed up about his desires. But then, I'm honest to a fault and have never had a baby, so I'll defer to the "bad timing, dude" cohort.
@13: And more than one woman who follows your advice and starts snooping through their partner's e-mails without any just cause for doing so will find herself as the subject of next week's "DTMF snooping, controlling A" letter.
^ Oops, "DT snooping, controlling MFA."
BiDanFan.. Yes, I do think he's panicking.
Having had six babies, I know the issues well. As the mother, I couldn't do a runner.
And each one takes you thru some new unconscious work buried deep.

Nobody gives guys a medal for getting through the pregnant- and post-pregnant years without screwing things up and driving their marriage straight off a cliff. They should get a medal. It's hard for the guys. Maybe every other guy got a memo that they were going to have to be a monk for several months. Nobody ever told me that, or I would have tried to negotiate a pass well in advance.

The woman have it hard too, but they get support from their friends, from their family, and from society in general. Playgroups, moms groups, etc. I hate to generalize, but my wife was always the lower-libido spouse, and when she tends toward depression, she just stops wanting sex of any kind, and she doesn't even seem to miss it. And the guy is considered an automatic asshole if he brings up his needs.

The guys get to double-down on being stoic, getting less or no sex from the only person they are supposed to screw, and all while having the fish-out-of-water experience of co-parenting kids, and provider pressure combined with less money coming in.

I don't have sympathy for *telling* his wife about pic swapping on craigslist. That's really stupid and unfair of him. I feel like pic-swapping itself it is an effort-consuming variant of watching porn, because there are a lot of fakes and flakes on craigslist, and if we take him at his word, he didn't actually hook up with anybody. Telling his wife is stupid because he needs to process 'what it all means' by himself, or with a counselor. I feel like Americans need to be a little more French, and keep our fantasies and actual cheating to ourselves, and not tell our spouses. I feel like disclosure was his big mistake.

And the M4M aspect of his attraction is almost irrelevant. The relevant part is wanting somebody who is not his wife, which is totally understandable at all times. Fantasy. Nobody crucifies women for reading romance novels about people who are not their husband.

It is pretty safe to assume their sex life is not where it was pre-pregnancy. The timing sucks for both of them. For all the readers out there, try living with somebody a few years before you get knocked up. Once the NRE wears off, people have to find a new way to relate, and timing-wise, that was probably right as she got knocked up. They'll never know if they would have had a sexual stalemate two years in without the kid, or whether this is due to the kid.

Dear letter writer: get yourself a vasectomy. I got one, and the piece of mind that I'm never going through that again was pretty great.
@23: "It's hard for the guys"?
That may be so. But one word: childbirth. This might be why the women get a teeeeeny bit more sympathy as far as the bringing-babies-into-the-world process goes. The women get no sex post-baby either, because their sexual organs have been literally torn apart. The guys just... have to masturbate. *hands you a medal*
Glad you got a vasectomy. Sounds like the best solution for everyone.
@23. Nobody gets medals. Women don't get medals for not abandoning the newborn on a windy hilltop and running in the opposite direction - so why would a dude get a medal for not "driving the marriage off a cliff"? Two people who decide to have a baby, they take on very predictable responsibilities and consequences thereafter. Part of that super-predictable shit is "you might not get a bangin' sex life for awhile, neither of you, #sorrynotsorry". You know what the medal is? The medal is the BABY. The medal is "I was there for her while she put her body through the ringer birthing and feeding my child, and I was there for the baby, and we were as good to each other as we could be given the sleeplessness. And now look at the beautiful child we made together." Being a good father doesn't start when the kid learns to play catch, it starts when the woman carrying the baby can't stop hurling and you bring her a f*king ginger ale.
Well handled, Mr Rob.
A lot of the vitriol being directed at the LW is WAY over the top. Did he cheat? Hello? No, he didn't. He confessed to his wife *before* he did anything. He didn't go out there and hook up and risk exposing his wife to any STI's. Yes, her feelings were hurt. Obviously. But this kind of honesty is exactly what their marriage needs, because it's clear at this point that the guy is not going to stop cruising for dick.

So now she has all the information, and the ball is in her court. If she decides to leave him, that's her right. Yes, he should have told her this before she got pregnant. But if we are to believe his story, he didn't realize how deep his same-sex attraction went. Personally I believe him, because if he had known this for a long time, he would have never told his wife about his activities - he would have snuck around instead.
@11: Perfect distillation of the Penthouse Forum style. Ah, the memories…

And thank you, Mr Venn.
So...I'm with @8 and @14...kind of. I don't actually disagree with Dan's ultimate advice (closing paragraph) but I disagree with the path he took to get there.

So, whether or not it's actually some dramatic change in testosterone and/or sexual desire, there's a really good chance he's dealing with a huge change in his sex life. At 4.5 months into a pregnancy-induced drought myself (and gradually coming to realize it's going to wind up lasting over a year at best) - even rationally and intellectually knowing you're going to have to put up with masturbation and fantasy alone - I can attest that as a human rather than a Vulcan, your desires don't just vanish.

In this case, fantasizing about men might be a function more of increased horniness (good old situational homo|bi-sexuality) than selfish manipulation a straight woman into being a beard. It may also be that it feels less like cheating to him - that replacing his wife in his mind as the object of his sexual desire with another woman feels like more of a violation.

This guy was honest with his wife about his "kinks" and desires...yes, right now, telling her about his sneaky email behavior is beating her up with an honesty club and not at all helpful. That was just a cruel (and stupid) move; I give the guy the benefit of the doubt that he's bought the notion that nothing but 1000% brutal honesty 24/7 will ever suffice. He should have refrained from emailing pictures and engaged in a lot of masturbation about whomever/whatever spun his crank, and not given her reasons to be freaking out.

I hate the word "excuse" because it implies that somehow anything less than abject condemnation is excusing (giving a pass) behavior that really isn't acceptable. I do think that understanding behaviors can help appreciate the real future implications (for her: are you really going to be a beard? is he going to leave you for a man?) of an action. Still, if it's gotten to this's bad. You can't un-ring a bell and things aren't going back to where they were before. At this point, all he can do is knock off the sneaky behavior (so he doesn't have to bludgeon her with honesty) and be faithful and hope she can forgive him.

Not sure this pooch can really be unscrewed.
@20 - yes, all the bi men out there can thank the LW for validating the paranoia about bi men so well exhibited by @13. The reason so many bi men remain in the closet likely has a lot to do with how many women refuse them out of hand. Bi, straight, gay: people cheat. I doubt @13 would be any happier to discover his secret email account where he hooks up with women. But it's so much easier to blame it on the bi.
@25: "Nobody gets medals. Women don't get medals for not abandoning the newborn on a windy hilltop and running in the opposite direction..."

Shouldn't they, though? I mean, I've encountered a newborn once, and "abandon it on a windy hilltop and run in the opposite direction" seemed like a really tempting idea.
Put me in the nice camp. The guy's pretty honest, he just doesn't seem very thoughtful or self-aware and is definitely impulsive in general and sexually impulsive in particular.

What he should have done: waited for 6-9 months or so to see if his M/M desires changed or reverted back to previous levels before telling his wife. Not because of the baby's needs; I don't think there is any good stage of a child's development to introduce potential marriage-breaking conflict into the relationship, but because of his wife's needs, to recover emotionally and physically from pregnancy and childbirth and its effect on her libido. And during that time, satisfy his M/M desires only with fantasy, toys and porn.

He didn't. And what he did do was fairly crappy; creating a shit-show at a time when the new parents barely have enough energy for the immediate task at hand. But this doesn't make him an ultimate failure as a husband or a father. He's being too hard on himself, and some of you are being too hard on him as well.

However, if he wants to try to fix it, he needs to do now what he should have done earlier. Accept responsibility for his actions (not just retroactively, but at the time he is undertaking them), have mom and baby move home, put this issue aside until a 6-9 months down the road, jack off to gay porn privately, and then address the issue. Sounds like his wife may not want to go that route, in which case immediate counseling is called for to determine whether this relationship can be repaired at this point.

Immediate individual counseling might be a good thing for him too, not to address his bisexuality at first, but to address his self-destructive cycle of impulsivity followed by extreme guilt. It's a bad way to live one's life, in a relationship or outside of one. Indeed, one wonders whether his expressed lack of enjoyment of earlier M/M encounters was related to guilt felt while engaging in them or was imposed by post-encounter shame.
@15, 16, it's not up to him where his wife stays. If she wants her parents' help and not his right now, that's her choice, and he doesn't get to go fetch her back.

But he can ask her to come home, and he can work to stay in the kid's life.
@25: Maybe every other guy got a memo that they were going to have to be a monk for several months.

Ha, this could have been me 13 years ago. I definitely didn't get that memo, and nothing was said about any of it in all the classes and reading we had done, so that first year held more than a few unpleasant surprises.

It's not like that for all guys. I remember one of the moms in our PEPS group saying that she couldn't wait for their baby's first birthday so she could give her (marvelous) breasts back to her husband. My wife was in no such hurry.

Good luck, man. If I were to write the male version of "What to Expect - The First Year", I'd recommend designating at least one evening a month as "Daddy Smokes a Giant Bowl of Weed and Blows $500 on Lapdances Night".
@33 - my thoughts exactly.

@34 - Being of advanced paternal age, even though nobody told me about it explicitly, I had observed it with several friends. And I guess Dan has talked about it, quite a few times. So, yeah, I guess someone did tell me explicitly.
AFinch @29
>> At 4.5 months into a pregnancy-induced drought myself (and gradually coming to realize it's going to wind up lasting over a year at best) ...I can attest that as a human rather than a Vulcan, your desires don't just vanish. >>

Quoted for truth.

(Also, good luck!)

People saying the LW should have resisted the urge to post sexy pictures online should explain what has helped them resist incredibly strong sexual urges.
@31: Me too. That's why I don't have kids.

I actually do sympathise a lot with the plight of the man caught in the situation of accidental pregnancy, he never wanted kids, woman decides to keep baby, he steps up to be a dad. That does deserve a medal, in my book. But if you and your wife sit down together and decide to have a baby, you're deciding to accept whatever sacrifices go along with that. Complaining about no sex post-planned baby is like joining the military and complaining about being forced to get up at 5am every day.
@BiDanFan: Complaining about no sex post-planned baby is like joining the military and complaining about being forced to get up at 5am every day.

Umm, you realize we give medals to soldiers, right?

I love analogies.
@38: Hahaha, good point. In that case I suppose the bestowing of medals for those brave dads and moms wounded in the changing of diapers. :)
@36 - thanks, we are excited, though there seem to be some (hopefully ultimately irrelevant) complications which mean zero sex. I have long known I have a kind of pregnancy fetish (at least: that flavor of pr0n has crossed my screen), and I had heard rumors of wild hormonal pregnancy I am disappointed about missing out on that. I am really excited to be starting a family with this person though - we need a new generation of quasi-subversives.

The child is the "medal" or reward, and I really think the egregious thing the LW did was to tell his wife - not so much the online fantasizing. Send pictures, get pictures, do what you need to do to stay sane, faithful (see today's column on pr0n) and married (as Dan often advises)...don't rub your wife's nose in it (just as he advises about managing pr0n).

What this LW needs is to get a clue about what being kind and considerate of your partner means: which is sometimes putting her needs first; in this case, waiting a year or two before having that sexual identity crisis, if he still needs to have it when he gets there.
I'm an old gay man. I first came out to my mother at 19 in 1970. She was not happy. But after decades of cultural change, she came around. One of the thoughts that allowed her to see me as a man of integrity -- rather than a sick pervert -- is that I never ruined the life of an unsuspecting woman. Too late for NFOH, but not for others.

And remember, only the lucky get to be old.
Some wives make their husband's needs & desires a top priority until a baby shows up, then switch that same devotion to the baby. That can be a really hard transition for the guy.

I hope she can see the big picture and judge his character using everything she knows about him rather than just reacting to the immediate issue.
Ooh! Ooh! Another theory. Maybe NFOH has gone dick-crazy because he now associates the female genitals with childbirth, rather than pleasure. Maybe he can't quite think of pussy in the same way he did before...

Most women would think that you shouldn't need a memo. After all, you know that your wife/girlfriend is going to push a watermelon-sized object out of her vaginal canal, after an intense and painful labor. Her body is messed up after this event. Her hormones are completely out of whack. Do men really need to be told that this is going to majorly interfere with your sex life? Paging Captain Obvious.
@BiDanFan: wounded in the changing of diapers

Oh, I've got some war stories...
@44 Women's experience differs. We had sex throughout the pregnancy (Mr.P. found my changing body erotic and I loved the reassurance that I was still sexy and not just a mom now.) And after the birth we held off on PIV for 6 weeks but had heavy make-out sessions to connect sexually (usually he jerked off to finish). Less sex than pre-pregnancy, definitely -- we were both exhausted and I was often "touched out" from nursing. But certainly two weeks didn't go by without some mutual sexual contact.
Re 32/40: Alan and Finch bring out a good point: his actual problem is acting on impulsiveness, followed by guilt and confession. (Rather than doing something different, he focuses on the dishonesty and confesses that he's been doing whatever Hurtful Thing is.) So he impulsively does something he know will hurt his wife, feels guilty, and then chooses between a) cut it out, or b) confess all so the problem can be about his being honest rather than unkind. Having opted for b, he then does it some more. All this presumably when the baby is about 1 month old, since she left him after he continued to post, felt guilty about it, and presumably confessed some more.

I think one reason he's getting so much lambasting is that the baby--the very small new baby--has (presumably) left his life and this pops up in the last paragraph as he wonders how they can figure out his various sexual attractions and what they all mean. His focus is the wrong direction--not on the baby, not on his wife who has just been through the physical and emotional wringer that is childbirth--which is probably a large part of why he's in this fix.

Following up on EricaP @42:

Some men have no idea how to relate to an infant. I’ve more than once seen a man almost disappear when his firstborn arrived, learn to relate to it when it was two or three, then get back together with the mother and be willing and able to put the effort into caring for the secondborn from infancy.

If the infant is an unknowable alien that has dropped into your life and has completely absorbed the attention of the person who used to pay attention to you, you’re going to feel jealous and dumped and not like a coparent.

My suggestion: take care of your daughter solo for 48 hours a week. It’ll be frustrating and bewildering at first, but as you learn to know her it will become rewarding. Learn how to be a father to her right now, don’t wait until she’s two or three. If your daughter is a shared project and not a competitor your marriage will benefit greatly.
Great advice, Dan. Way to call him out on his lack of responsibility taking.
Clearly, LW just wants simplicity.

Specifically the simplicity of a tiny apartment with one chair and one fork, as his money will soon all go to child support.
“I told her that some of the experiences were okay and others were ones I'd rather not relive. She took it as me trying something I thought I might like and discovering that while it was enjoyable in some ways I mostly didn't have any interest in pursuing it long term.”

That sounds like she misinterpreted and that he didn’t bother correcting her. But if my partner told me that he’d never had a same-sex encounter that was better than okay I might very reasonably think that it wasn’t something he was going to pursue.

If this partner were very excellent, loving, supportive, participatory, responsible but then told me he’d exchanged pictures with a handful of men online I’m not sure that would be enough to make me leave the father of my child and move in with my parents.

I think this is a more-than-usually edited version of what’s going down. He was always more into men than he cared to let on, even to Dan; and the problems in his marriage are about a lot more than picture exchange.
@47 - well put; yes, that gets to the root of what makes him a jerk.
BiDanFan; yes. I had the same thought. Being a modern man, he probably went to the birth. If she had a vaginal birth, well- it ain't pretty, seeing a baby come out of there.. Its amazing. Just not pretty.
And EricaP, of course you're right. It is the wife's choice if she returns to live with her husband.
And she may very well be thankful for her mothers help.
I'll rephrase my words. LW. Please don't miss out on bonding with your child.
And to the " where's my medal" guy.
I could very well ask the same.
Congratulations AFinch. It's true, the baby is the medal.
Hope you keep us posted. Those first few days after a baby is born, I loved that time especially.
You guys lamenting the change in sexual activity with your wives. Boo Hoo.
Try the total change in a woman's body.
Her vagina has been stretched to Kingdom come ( or she has a cut in her belly), her tits turn into milk fountains etc etc.
And it was your sperm that helped it all happen. Therefore, you get to help with the job. Simple, really.

@Alison: I have to admit I don't know any fathers who aren't/weren't willing and able to coparent an infant. If a guy has assumed a relatively peripheral roll as coparent, it could be because his wife is adamant about breastfeeding and is relying on him to provide. Also, lots of women assume the lead parent roll as a sort of entitlement that they've been dreaming about and preparing for since they got their first doll.

I'd agree that taking work off your wife's shoulders is generally a good strategy for getting her in the mood, regardless of whether kids are in the picture. But some women experience dramatic psychological and biological changes after a child is born. As @EricaP mentioned, many are unable to move back and forth between their identity as mother and wife, so the wife more or less vanishes, in some cases for years, or even forever. (It says something about mainstream attitudes towards sex that this syndrome doesn't even have a name.) Also, breastfeeding can produce hormonal changes that sometimes suppress libido.

As far as I'm aware, none of this covered in mainstream baby prep curricula, presumably because those are all written by and for women, and a common female reaction to these kinds of concerns is "tough shit" (plenty of examples above).
Sean, an opening then. Write about it.
I don't remember being out of action for too long after each child. The recommended no sex period, is six weeks.
It is a hard transition, for all. A new baby. And I do agree, not enough is really talked about re how this transition translates. I had to learn thru much error.
Good on you for weathering the storm and still being there.
The disclosing, doing it again and disclosing again sounds suspiciously like the LW can't cope with not being the centre of attention since the baby arrived. He has very effectively pulled the focus right back to him. Not just counselling but therapy might be wise.

It could be possible for the marriage to recover from the sexual straying, but without doing some serious work on himself I can't imagine how his wife could forgive him for the selfishness of telling her about it.
seandr @55

The couples I’ve know who’ve gone through what I described weren’t cohabiting at the time she became pregnant. When the first child was born the fathers had no concept of an infant as anything but a competitor, certainly not as anything they wanted to have anything to do with. It took two years of the girlfriends doggedly insisting on maintaining contact before the fathers happily took on the identity of fatherhood.

The LW married his wife before they conceived the child so it’s not really the same thing — probably more like what you describe where gender roles are exaggerate and the farther is shut out. But either way, if the father doesn’t have his own relationship with the infant it will be difficult to regard it as anything but a competitor.

I wasn’t thinking the LW should lighten his wife’s burden, I was thinking he should take advantage of his wife’s moving out to develop his own relationship with his daughter. If that gives his wife a break to be something other than a sleep-deprived milk-fountain, so much the better.
@LavaGirl: Write about it.

Wow, so supportive!

If I did write a "What to Expect" book for men, the epigraph would be

"The horror. The horror."
- Colonel Kurtz

From my own personal experiences, I don't interpret the letter writer in the same way Dan does. When my wife was pregnant (both times) I was extremely excited and looked forward to the impending arrivals... only to come crashing back to some form of alter-Reality once they arrived. The crushing realization of lifelong responsibility hit me like a train, causing panic attacks that lasted a month or two after my first, and for a good year after the 2nd. I was basically self-destructive... not suicidal, but definitely not contributing to the well being of "the family". I did not really want out, but my flight instincts were telling me differently, and could have easily sabotaged my relationship. What fixed it was time... the gradual becoming comfortable with the new "status quo" of being a parent. That was 20 odd years ago, and we have had no serious hiccups since.

Is this what is going on with the letter writer? Maybe/Maybe not... but I feel some empathy there and wonder. Regardless, it is a shitty thing to be doing to his wife, but could perhaps be classified under "male-post-partum-depression" which really is a thing.
And another thing.... I don't think this behavior has *anything* to do with sexual orientation or even the seeking of outside-the-relationship sex. It is all about the timing of the "acting out" and the arrival of the baby.
The LW reports sexual attraction for men but only "meaningful relationships" with women. There's nothing about having sex with the wife, sexual attraction for the wife, nor love for the wife (he doesn't beg for an answer to keep them together. Rather, he wants clarity "with our lives whether that be together or apart.")

That doesn't sound like a devoted bi husband who's just a bit kid-phobic. It sounds like a garden variety, chicken-shit, closet case. Which also explains the wife's reaction -moving back in with her parents - if she knows/senses that she's married to a gay guy and not the bi-curious man he presented himself as.

The hallmark of a closet case is confusion (e.g. "and before I knew it I had created a temporary email account"). He can't even explain his own actions.
@23 If a man doesn't get support from his friends, then maybe he should make some supportive friends. Women don't get support from their friends as some magic element of being a woman; they get it if they have supportive friends, which people tend to have (regardless of gender) if they put the effort into finding, acquiring, and keeping supportive friends. I do recommend it for everyone, it's been shown to be statistically good for you.

As to the letter writer, I don't care whether he had a surge of libido and interest in men or was waiting to spring this on his wife when he was vulnerable. Character is best displayed by what you do when you have to deal with something a bit more challenging than usual. And the only thing he had to deal with was new fatherhood, which as challenges go, is a pretty typical one that countless people navigate a lot better than he did. He was cruel and thoughtless to his wife, and his letter expresses no real concern for either his wife or his child. He's a new dad, and he doesn't seem to care about his own child. I get that many people experience sexual desire as an avoidance mechanism when under stress, and yes, a new baby is a huge stresser. But I still expect people to be able to cope with such issues. If he'd taken to masturbating a lot while thinking about anything he wanted to, I would have no issue with it. But he should be learning how to best help out his new child and help his wife recover from giving birth, and he appears to have drastically failed at his responsibilities. I also agree with comment 51... I think that his telling of the story is probably a lot more favorable to him than the truth is.
Hmm. I tend to agree with BiDanFan's comments above. I don't necessarily think that seeing a vaginal birth would have been the catalyst, but rather that "OMG, babies are the product of regular sex" which will NEVER happen between two men.

However, there is one thing that nobody has touched on. His insensitive need to unburden himself could not have come at a worse time for her, not only physically but emotionally. How many women complain they're as big as a house, or whale, when they're in their 9th month? And it takes a while for her to regain a reasonable approximation of her former shape. So, no matter what he revealed to her before, she had every reason to feel rejected. As a body. As a woman. As his wife. And as the mother of his child. No wonder she moved out.

Proclaiming "I'm an asshole" while offering apologies isn't going to endear him to her, because all she's going to hear is "asshole" and project onto his future behaviour. If he wants to try to get her back, I'd suggest counselling ALONE for him to curb his impulsive need to blurt things at inappropriate times. And only then to approach her. But he'd better get a move on it because his child is growing up.
@63 people do screw up sometimes. It's part of being human.

"Drastically failed" seems over the top for someone who "masturbated a lot while thinking about anything he wanted to" (as you suggest he was right to), sent sexy pictures to strangers, and told his wife about his activities. One might as well say she's the one who "drastically failed," since she took the baby away from its father who was simply honest about his sexual desires.

I don't think that she is a failure, just saying that they're both under stress and I don't see the point in assigning huge amounts of blame.

Suppose he is completely gay and the marriage ends over this issue. He's still the kid's dad, and, last I checked, him being gay doesn't reduce his parental rights in any way.

@64 "He'd better get a move on it because his child is growing up."
Um, yeah, that's literally true. But since the two-month-old isn't even aware that other people exist yet... I don't think NFOH has to worry about burning any bridges with the child in the next few months. That said, I agree with you that he should get some counseling, and figure out what role he wants to play in his child's life, and how to set things up to maximize the chances he gets to play that role and isn't relegated to simply providing child support.
EricaP. It's nothing to do with whether a two month old is able to " know", it's that the Mother- the mainstay of this child's world, is under duress. She had to leave the home. She doesn't have a supporting husband, so she can tend the baby well.
This is a very critical time in the baby's development. Developing trust for the world thru the mother. If she is strung out and hurt and rejected, then that will be communicated to the baby.
This guy is being self absorbed when he needs to be other obsorbed. Yes, for new fathers, as for new mothers- it can be a confronting time.
For the baby, if the world feels unsafe- then the damage to its developing psyche, begins.
@65: He doesn't express any concern about how to be a good father, though. He expresses concern about figuring out his sexual identity. He expresses concern about determining how to move forward with his life.

Yes, humans are resilient, but I'm with LavaGirl that if you can avoid throwing a lot of chaos at a child, you should--assuming the baby is now wherever its grandparents live, he really doesn't appear to be doing anything toward either caring for the child himself or trying to make the child's other caregiver feel stable and supported.

Also, there's a huge difference between having thoughts in your head (Men! Kinda sexy after all!) or emotions (New baby! Stress!) and what actions you take. (And before I knew it, somehow I had a secret e-mail account! And then I tripped and landed right on a Craigslist posting, and--I have no idea how this happened--it turned out that I had sent him an e-mail! And then we exchanged some sexy photos. And this kept happening, like the world is a mysterious mass of M4M postings that I keep accidentally e-mailing! So I told my tired and stressed wife so that she could support me in the fascinating question of what exactly my sexuality is and how we could figure that out. And she didn't leave, so then I did it some more, and after a few more rounds she finally moved out with the baby.)

I don't give people credit for nobly sharing with their spouse every thought that passes through their head: they should stop and think whether whether their partner needs to know this, and needs to know it right this second. Some things--like how hot you find the barista--can just exist in your head. And some things--what a reawakened interest in other people might mean--can be things you try to work through on your own, and if you eventually decide it's something you need to work through with a spouse (aware that they can't unhear this), tell them at a time other than the most emotionally fraught possible--new baby, mom just started chemo. As someone notes upthread, it does come across as a way to drag the family focus back to Him.
@66 I hope you are guessing (and it seems a good guess based on the letter) that THIS dad is not engaged in parenting fully and that therefore THIS mom is the mainstay of this child's world and the vehicle through which it develops trust for the world. :)

Respectfully, dad of a child who has two dads.
@65, I'm not saying this guy deserves a medal for being a great dad. I'm just asking people not to bash him as a complete failure. There's a lot of room for human frailty in the middle.

Call him a complete failure when the kid is 18 and they haven't seen each other in 17 years and 10 months.

At this point, it seems to make more sense to talk about how he can figure out how to be the dad he wants to be, rather than beating him up for what he has already done (which isn't criminal or even cruel so much as thoughtless and stupid.)
There is literally one sentence in his entire credo that mentions the baby, and it's a fairly oblique reference. When he says that his wife moved out, there's no mention of the baby at all, and even the closing statement is "my wife and I". Again, no mention of the baby, no mention of family.

I really get the impression that he doesn't want to be a dad at all, frankly. I'm not going to call him a complete failure, because EP is right - it's only been two months. But I still think that there should be a little more 'wow, I helped bring a new life into this world and it's a bit terrifying, but I want to help the little bugger along as best I can', instead of 'wah wah poor me I fucked up and now my wife is gone and I really want to get some cock what do I do'.
@68, Sorry. I sometimes forget where I am writing.
Of course, the main care givers, are the mainstay of a baby's world. And after reading many many books over the yrs, rearing six children of my own and helping pretty strongly rear my granddaughter- I know how important those first few yrs are in establishing a healthy begininning for a human.
EricaP, I don't want to beat this guy up at all. Rather, kick his arse a bit and wake him up.
And it's too damn late, when the child is 18 yrs old.
The situation is now, the baby is two months old, his wife needs his attention to do her loving of their baby, well, and he needs to love his baby well.
Not the time to be suddenly so concerned about HimSelf. That time is over for the moment, and he needs to own that.
Like, when you were a new Mother, what did you have to surrender to do the task at hand? A bloody lot, I remember.
So, stop the navel gazing, or dick gazing or whatever, shut his mouth about HimSelf for a while and see and feel what rearing a child is all about. Like a fellow dad above said, it just takes time.
IPJ; spot on.

"Symptoms of Men's Depression [may include]:
Impulsiveness and taking risks, like reckless driving and extramarital sex
[etc. etc.] A man who’s depressed won’t experience all these symptoms. Some men experience only a few of them, while others experience many...The important thing to know about these symptoms, and about men’s depression, is that they’re treatable. You don’t have to continue suffering from them...You can recover from depression."
@44: "Most women would think that you shouldn't need a memo."

Paging Captain Obvious: Apparently most women need a memo that what you think other people do or don't need has absolutely nothing to do with their actual needs. Other people's needs do not vary based on your opinion.
@48: "My suggestion: take care of your daughter solo for 48 hours a week. It’ll be frustrating and bewildering at first, but as you learn to know her it will become rewarding."

Will he be excused from his responsibilities to earn the money required to support the family during that period? How do you recommend doing so?
Mr E, this guy doesn't " need" to find out if he's got to be with men, at this moment.
The baby " needs" the caregivers to look after every aspect of his/ her life.
@63: "If a man doesn't get support from his friends, then maybe he should make some supportive friends."


Women don't get support from their friends as some magic element of being a woman; they get it if they have supportive friends, which people tend to have (regardless of gender)"

I do recommend it for everyone, it's been shown to be statistically good for you.

Absolutely agreed. Close friendships are extremely important. It's also statistically unusual for men to have any with anyone other than a romantic partner.

@77: Your opinions about other people's needs do not change their needs. I have decided you don't need food. Let me know if you suddenly become immune to hunger.
Yes Erica, accepted that a new baby can freak out new parents. Been there, done that.
And done some damage in the process. This man wrote in, he's asking for help. Ok, find a fathers group to share these fears in, do therapy. Lots of ways he could deal with his freaked out/ depressed/ overwhelmed/ etc state.
If he pushes thru these feelings, spends time with his baby- lets that experience inform how to go forward.
@76: "Will he be excused from his responsibilities to earn the money required to support the family during that period? How do you recommend doing so?"

Dunno ... weekends? Evenings? Just guessing.
Me E, what? Of course I need food. This guy doesn't need to sort out his sexual orientation, right this fucking minute. It's a fob, a decoy, for the fear he's feeling IMO.
And these fears are valid. Suddenly realizing that this baby is your responsibility, that your life as you knew it is OVER. He could be a total dick and just abandon his responsibility, lots of parents do.
That child, however, is still out there. Suffering from her/ his parent's lack of courage. Missing that parent's love and care.
There is no going back to life before children. Best to accept that, deal with it- grow the fuck up- and assume the responsibility.
Eudaemonic @76,

I suggested 48 hours. There are 168 hours in a week, 50 of them allocated to income-generating (including commute). That leaves 168-50=118. 118 > 48.

A doctor I know was back at work 3 weeks after her second child was born because of professional requirements. (She was furious but she did it.) My own mother took two weeks sick leave when her third child was born prematurely then went back to work full-time until he was ready to go home from the hospital, at which time she took her three months of maternity leave and went back to work again full-time. (She was grateful for the flexibility and much happier than when she had stayed home full-time when her older children were wee.) There’s nothing about penises that precludes childcare and nothing about uteri that precludes income-generation.

Seandr accepts his children as a shared project with his wife and has his own relationships with each of them. He hates the burden of sex roles that their chosen model of infant care imposes on them but it doesn’t prevent him from engaging with his family.

The LW is no seandr. He needs to work on developing that relationship with his daughter — it’s clearly not automatic for him.
LavaGirl: You might want to reread #44.
You ever been a single parent, Mr E? You know that story?
@83: Oh! Sorry, I thought you meant 48 consecutive hours, which seemed... complicated. My bad.

I'll note that 118-48-56 (or so) is kind of a small number, though, since even if someone is lucky enough to have to allocate only 50 hours a week to earning an income, there's nothing about penises that precludes the need for food and sleep. I suspect "Turn into a robot that does nothing but work, eat, sleep, and childcare" is not really ideal for forming a bond with a child.

Seems like a good recipe for abandoning one on a windy hillside, though...
@69: "I wasn't cruel, just thoughtless and stupid," is cold comfort. Even moreso offered to a child by a parent, describing behavior they kept repeating. (And as noted elsewhere, he doesn't say anything about the kind of parent he wants to be.)

It's entirely possible he's slamming his hand down on the self-destruct button of his family (over and over, as she stayed the first time he told her about the cruising Craigslist for guys thing) because he's depressed or otherwise drastically not himself. The correct response (from him: he's the one who wrote in, he's the only one who can make himself do anything unless someone has mind-control invented) is some sort of "Whoa I am fucking up my life, and more important my kid's life, and my beloved and supportive partner's life, and I need to get myself to a professional post-haste and deal with this." It's not to ponder over the existential nature of where exactly he wants to stick his dick.

And you mentioned upthread re controlling urges: that's something people do all the time. I'm not one to fling around "we'd all look like an Abercrombie and Fitch ad if we just used self-control," but self-control is something people use all the time because the result of giving in to an urge would be negative. They don't scratch their incredibly itchy genitals because they're in a business meeting, or trying to attract a hot potential date who probably won't find that sexy. They distance themselves from an attractive and interested person because that would screw up their work or relationship. People ignore urges--strong urges--all the time, or they're deemed unfit to care for themselves. If creating a secret e-mail account and cruising sex ads and exchanging naked photos with actual individuals, all of which you believe to be hurting several people you love (his wife and baby, in this case) is really an uncontrollable urge that you can't do anything but give in to, you should be seeing that professional.
@86, um, yeah, work, eat, sleep and childcare is pretty much all there is at the beginning, for both parents. Five minutes of fooling around here or there... an occasional shower. The baby goes everywhere with you when you're not literally at work. It's pretty draining.

Most parents step up. Some people need to figure out for themselves that they want to step up -- that they're wouldn't be doing it to please their parents or their wife or anyone else, but rather because they choose to step up. The LW isn't there yet, but may get there, with time, space, and counseling.

@80: "This man wrote in, he's asking for help. Ok, find a fathers group to share these fears in, do therapy."

@87 "If creating a secret e-mail account and cruising sex ads and exchanging naked photos with actual really an uncontrollable urge that you can't do anything but give in to, you should be seeing that professional."

@88: "Some people need to figure out for themselves that they want to step up -- that they're wouldn't be doing it to please their parents or their wife or anyone else, but rather because they choose to step up."

What are your thoughts on parents who genuinely don't have that internal motivation? I would've been in that boat if Mrs. E had required children as the price of admission--parenting would've been something I did for her and the kids, not for myself.
Eudaemonic @86 ‘I'll note that 118-48-56 (or so) is kind of a small number, though, since even if someone is lucky enough to have to allocate only 50 hours a week to earning an income, there's nothing about penises that precludes the need for food and sleep. I suspect "Turn into a robot that does nothing but work, eat, sleep, and childcare" is not really ideal for forming a bond with a child.’

Nothing about uteri that precludes the need for food and sleep either. Infant care is a bitch.

RE consecutive hours: that would actually be the simplest approach. Pick up daughter at in-law’s place Friday evening, drop her back off again on Sunday evening. Waking up every three hours through the night to feed her is childcare. The slept hours are not subtracted from the total.
Eudaemonic @90: Sterilization.
90, I had a friend in this situation with her baby's father and she found it easier when he was gone. He could not/would not contribute in a meaningful way, and she could not take care of herself, an infant and him at the same time. I wouldn't blame the LWs wife if she felt the same way
@90, Leave aside doing it for Mrs. Eudaemonic. What does "It would have been something I did for the kids" mean? Why would you do anything for these little people?

I think the answer to that is what I'm talking about.
Alison, Er, perhaps not with a two month old. Especially if Mother is Breast Feeding.
A whole weekend, might stretch this guy just a little, If he's freaking out.
If the baby is nursing, then dad can just be around between sleeps. Pop his baby in a sling and go to the park, river.
The more time he focuses on the baby, the stronger his bond will become.
@93 "she could not take care of herself, an infant and him at the same time"

Life is long. Perhaps if they had let go of their mutual expectations, she could have taken care of herself and the infant, and made the guy take care of himself. Then, when the kid was older and wanted a dad with whom to spend time, the guy might have found this walking, talking, joking kid more interesting than a pooping, crying infant. Nothing wrong with that kind of division of labor, as long as no one gets pissy about it. Yes, I did more than my share of diapers. But I am so thankful my husband now coaches the kids on video games and technology so I don't have to figure that shit out.
Making him take care of himself, how do you do that exactly, with a grown person? She kicked him out and he moved in with his parents, who resumed taking care of him. He has a relationship with his son, just not a parental one.
LavaGirl @95, if she’s not breastfeeding, whyever not? Yes it’s a lot of work and a steep learning curve but that applies to any parent.

How does anyone arrange to just be around between sleeps and feeds? Maybe they could spend the day in a minivan outside the in-laws’s house and someone could page him the moment the baby finishes her five am snack and wants to hang out and watch curtains. He could install a diaper-changing station in the minivan and change her, then take her back to the house and ring the bell when she starts fussing for breakfast. Then he’d wait to see if she’s going to go down right after breakfast or whether he’s going to take her for a walk first. Seems like it would be much easier to just take her for an extended period and feed her and put her down for naps himself, less opportunity to get into arguments with wife and in-laws.

If she’s breastfeeding, these days women pump and most babies are not exclusively breastfed anyway. She can get a mix of formula and pumped milk on Daddy days.
EricaP @96 Yes, exactly.

But if the father is not interested in the infant he may be jealous of it and actively interfere with the mother taking care of it, or harass her into providing him the same level of care she used to. In that case all you can do is kick him out.
@97 I didn't realize that the guy you mentioned literally wouldn't take care of himself if his girlfriend stopped doing it. Yeah, that's something you have to look for in a person before you have kids with them.
@96, I'm thankful my husband was engaged and involved from infancy, indeed I would have been "pissy" if this was not the case, especially after I went back to work. How people divide labor is up to them, but if you check out when your kid is a baby you may not get to waltz back when you feel like it.