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Parting Shots

Joe Newton

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. So, I fell for him. I was always clear at the beginning that I was versatile, and he said he was, too. But after a few weeks I assumed the bottom role, and I never felt like I could make any demands on him. In fact, I’ve never even asked a blowjob. (And I did not get one for seven years, even as I gave him plenty!) Also, we had sex once every two weeks or so, and only when he wanted to. Always...

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...ly 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. But 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 he 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 obviously imperfect) 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. And based on your actions over the last year… I 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 half of that couple 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 (sounds like he violated their “we only play together” rule) — and the fact that you’re still slamming your dick down on the self-destruct button, i.e., the fact that you’re still fucking this other guy, seems like pretty good evidence that you want out. I mean, if an evil genius in a lab somewhere set out to genetically engineer the kind of affair that a marriage was extremely unlikely to survive, SOS, it would be the affair you had. Discovering that your husband had an affair is something a person might be able to forgive and get past. Discovering you’ve been socializing with your husband’s affair partner for months — the humiliation of it all heaped on top of the betrayal of it all — isn’t something many people could forgive. And when someone has an an unforgivable affair, SOS, it’s usually because — consciously or subconsciously — they don’t want to be forgiven. They want to be left. But if you can sincerely say you could remain happily married if you were free to fuck and date other men — so, you’re not just asking for open, you’re asking for poly — you need tell your husband that. Be clear that you’re issuing an ultimatum, SOS, not entering into negotiations. And if an open and poly marriage is unacceptable to your husband, well, then you’ll need to get a lawyer and your own place. If you’re still crazy about the other guy a year from now and you’ve come to enjoy spending time with his kid, you could move in with him then. If you’re still crazy about him a year from now and you don’t enjoy his kid, you could move a little closer, e.g., move into the same building or onto the same block. Sexual compatibility is important; it’s 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 for sex on your husband’s terms anymore. You’ve been doing the wrong thing for a while now, SOS, but it’s not too late to do the right thing: honestly ask for the divorce you want, SOS, instead of manipulating your husband into giving it to you. 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 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 your 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. If you were in love with anything — if you wanted anything — it 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. You hoped you might find what you wanted with him — love and connection — but that wasn’t in the cards. So, 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 a 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 burst into tears on the subway on our way home. But the realization that what seemed possible an hour earlier was impossible left me feeling incredibly sad. So, I feel you, TTC. 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 the guy to give me a call when he’s single. And 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 the married-and-unavailable guy as I possibly could. That’s not giving up, TEA, that’s moving on. If I heard from the guy 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 the guy 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 the guy 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. Got a problem? Everyone does! Submit a written question for “Savage Love” now! Or record your question for the next Lovecast here! Follow Dan on Instagram and Threads @DanSavage. Follow Dan on BlueSky @DanSavage. Discounted “early bird” tickets for HUMP! 2024 are on sale now! 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