Savage Love: Dec. 14, 2023

Don't drag it out, fuck the guy and other advice

Photo credit: Rachel Robinson

Please help. I saw an old boyfriend today and, based on our text communications about how much he wanted to be with me, I was expecting him to take me in his arms and kiss me. When he made no moves, when he didn’t so much as react to my flirty comments, I was devastated. 

I didn’t realize how devastated I was until I was alone in my car. While I’m not usually big on the waterworks, I started weeping. I don’t think I was devastated about being rejected. I’m a big girl; I can handle that. 

But does weeping — more like wailing — indicate something that my heart knows/understands that my head hasn’t caught up to yet? Does this mean that I’m in love with him? 

— The Town Cryer 

It does not. 

You reconnected with an old flame, you swapped some flirty texts, mutual interest was established. And at some point between reestablishing mutual interest and scheduling that first face-to-face meeting in however many years, you allowed yourself to do what anyone in your position would (and what your ex probably did): You began to fantasize about what could be (or could be again), TTC, and you got your hopes up. What you were wanted — what you were in love with — was what he represented: possibility

When an old flame comes back into our lives, it can feel like a miraculous shortcut. If you can pick up where you left off, the truly hard part (finding someone you like)  is already done. 

In this instance, TTC, the shortcut didn’t work. You’ve changed, he’s changed. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it: You were rejected, and that always hurts. But it was the want of it that made you cry, not the him of it. You hoped it might find what you want with him — love and connection — but that wasn’t in the cards. 

Go ahead and have a good cry, TTC, and then go find it with someone else. 

P.S. I once met up with an old flame — my first true love — hoping we might get back together. I went to Marshall Field’s that day fully expecting we would wind up in the changing room, tearing each other’s clothes off like we used to. But whatever we had was gone. 

We had a nice lunch, but lunch was all it was. The feeling (or the lack of feeling) was mutual, I think, and neither of us wound up weeping on the subway on the way home. But the realization that what seemed possible an hour earlier was impossible left me feeling incredibly sad. 

So I feel you, TTC, and my heart goes out to you. 

I am a 34-year-old gay man who immigrated to Canada from a Latin American country a few years ago. I immigrated with my husband of eight years. 

Throughout our relationship, we had been monogamous, and we never questioned it. (Perhaps due to our Catholic religious backgrounds?) However, the sex was never great — not even at the beginning. But he was kind, good looking and caring. I fell for him. 

I was always clear at the beginning that I was versatile, and he said he was, too. After a few weeks, I assumed the bottom role, and I never felt like I could make any demands on him. I’ve never even asked for a blowjob. (And I did not get one for seven years, even though I gave him plenty!) We had sex once every two weeks or so and only when he wanted to; always in the dark and always in the same position. I know I am at fault for not asking for what I needed. 

About year ago, I got on Grindr without my husband knowing. I met a man and his husband. Their relationship was open, and they invited me over. After that one threesome, we decided to just be friends, and we even hung out as couples with my husband, everyone pretending that nothing had happened. I started to develop feelings for the person I originally connected with on Grindr. We continued to have mind-blowing sex, just the two of us now. Four months later, both our partners discovered our affair. The other couple decided to divorce, but my husband and I decided to work through it. But the affair continued, and my feelings for this other person only continued to grow. 

My husband is not willing to be more sexual, he is not willing to allow me to top him, he will not go down on me and he refuses let me have sex elsewhere. I have been patient and mindful of his needs and struggles, but he gets annoyed each time I talk about this or ask him to read a book about open relationships. He accuses me of only caring for myself and the things that I want. He has agreed to talk to a therapist about the possibility of being open, but I don’t know how much longer I should wait. 

On the other hand, the person with whom I am still having an affair wants me to live with him. Sometimes I want that; sometimes I don’t. He has a young child, and I had never thought about being any sort of parent. 

Should I stay in my marriage and be patient with my husband since sex is the only thing that does not work between us? Or should I simply go be with this new person? 

— Staying Over Straying  

Don’t drag this out. 

You’ve already opened your marriage, SOS, and you have no intention of closing it again. You’re still fucking the other man. While you don’t explicitly state that your husband is unaware the affair continues, the fact that you still describe it as an affair suggests your husband doesn’t know. 

You need to tell him. 

I get it: You don’t want to be the bad guy. You got caught having an affair, and giving your marriage a chance — or pretending to — is what a good (but not perfect) person does after they get caught having an affair, SOS, if that’s what their spouse wants. I mean, you owe your husband that much, right? So, now you’re going through the motions — having those difficult conversations, pushing the right books at him, searching for a non-trad couple’s counselor — but unless you sincerely want to remain in this marriage, SOS, you’re wasting your husband’s time. 

Based on your actions over the last year, I really don’t think you wanna stay in this marriage. To recap: You cheated on your husband with a married couple and then encouraged your husband to socialize with that couple and then started fucking one of those guys behind his husband’s back and yours. That kind of double-barreled betrayal isn’t something a marriage typically survives —your affair-partner’s open marriage didn’t survive a lesser betrayal — and the fact that you’re still slamming your dick down on the self-destruct button (i.e., fucking this other guy) is evidence that what you want is out. Because you already got caught once, SOS, and you’re going to get caught again, and then your husband is almost certain to leave you.  

If you can sincerely say you could happily remain married if you were free to fuck and date other men — so, not just open, but poly — you need tell your husband that. But you’re issuing an ultimatum, SOS, you’re not entering into negotiations. And if that’s unacceptable to your husband, well, then you’ll need to get a lawyer and your own place. 

If you’re still crazy about the guy you’re fucking a year from now and you’ve come to enjoy spending time with his kid, you could think about moving in with him then. If you’re still crazy about him a year from now and you don’t enjoy spending time with his kid, think about moving a little closer, e.g., moving into the same building or onto the same block. 

Sexual compatibility is crucially important in sexually exclusive relationships. The sex doesn’t work between you and your husband, it never has, and it’s unlikely it ever will. You could live with that for a while (you did live with it for a while)  but you’re not willing to settle anymore. You’ve been doing the wrong thing, SOS, but it’s not too late to do the right thing: Honestly ask for the divorce you clearly want, SOS, instead of manipulating your husband into giving it to you. 

I’m in love with someone I shouldn’t be. He’s married. He claims to love me. We haven’t done anything besides talk. 

While I’m not among the most traditional sorts of people, I have a hard time getting past the fact that he is married. I can rationalize it: We knew each other, and we loved each other before he met her. He only married her because he thought I was unavailable. Their union is an unhappy one. 

But the fact remains that he hasn’t asked her to open the marriage. I don’t get anywhere when I suggest he do that. He claims he wants to divorce or separate, but he doesn’t make any movement in that direction. They don’t have sex anymore, he says. They don’t sleep in the same bed anymore, he says. They don’t celebrate holidays together anymore, he says. 

If all that is true, I don’t understand why they stay together. I don’t know if I should wait, which could be a long time, or give up. If it were just about sex, the answer would be easy. But he’s become an important part of my life, despite it just being only talk — and not sex talk; we talk about everything going on in our lives. 

What would you do? 

— This Emotional Affair 

I’d fuck the guy. 

But if I shared your qualms — if the guy was married and unwilling to ask for an open relationship and I didn’t know if anything he was telling me was true — here’s what I would do: I would tell this guy to give me a call when he’s single. 

As much as I might pine, I wouldn’t wait. I’d get out there and date/fuck other people — single and looking, partnered and ENM — in the hopes of putting as much emotional, social and sexual distance between me and this married-and-unavailable guy as I possibly could. 

That’s not giving up, TEA, that’s moving on. If I heard from him after his divorce and I was still single, we could resume talking and possibly start fucking. If I was with someone else when I heard from him after his divorce and I was happy with that other person, I would tell him he missed his window — again — and, given the intensity of our connection, I would tell him being friends was out of the question. 

And finally, TEA, if I was with someone else when he reached out after his divorce and I was unhappy, I would do what I wanted him to do back when he was married and unhappy: open or end the relationship I was in so I could be with him, too, or with him instead. 

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