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Script Doctor

Joe Newton

I’m a cishet woman, married twenty years, three kids at home. My marriage is generally happy but it’s sexless. Going “companionate” was his decision, not mine. The absence of sex is driving me crazy, so my husband has given me his blessing to get sex elsewhere. It’s tricky, though, as it’s hard for me to be sexually attracted to someone without feeling a special connection. I’ve tried the apps, but the thought of discussing the mechanics of sex with someone I’ve just me on Hinge or Bumble or whatever leaves me cold.

The thing is, I periodically develop crushes on male colleagues. I work in a project-based industry where everyone works on three-to-four-month contracts. We work hard, get to know each other quickly, and then head off to new jobs. So, fucking someone I met at work feels like the perfect solution. And there is currently a guy at work...

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...k feels like the perfect solution. And there is currently a guy at work I’m having the most intense flirtation with. It’s off the charts and driving me insane. How do I find out if he wants the same thing I do? I get the impression he desires me as much as I do him, but this doesn’t mean he wants to have sex with me. He’s happily married with a child at home. I don’t want to cause drama or accidentally blow his life up. I just want to have sex with him. There must be other people out there in sexless marriages or open marriages who have hall passes like mine but how do I find out if he’s one of them? Do I have to ask? Can you give me a script? I don’t want to offend him or make things awkward, even if the awkwardness only lasts the few weeks until the end of our contracts. I would also hate to be accused of inappropriate workplace behavior. What can I do? Workmate Only Wonderland On the one hand… Workplace Crush could be flirting with you because you’re a married woman with a husband and kids at home and he assumes your marriage is monogamous — open straight marriages are having a moment, but most straight marriages are still monogamous — and regards flirting with you as harmless because 1. he hasn’t been paying attention to evolving standards of workplace conduct and 2. he doesn’t think there could be any repercussions, personal or professional, because [see 1] and you’re a married woman, WOW, so nothing sexual and/or dramatic and/or actionable can happen. On the other hand… Workplace Crush could be flirting with you because he wants to fuck you and he may even have his wife’s okay to fuck other people — he may, like you, have all the hall passes he needs — but he’s kept the flirting within the zone of plausible deniability because 1. he actually has paying attention to evolving standards of workplace conduct and 2. he doesn’t know if you’re allowed to fuck other people and doesn’t want to cause drama or accidentally blow your life up. On the other other hand… Workplace Crush may not be flirting with you at all, WOW, and sexual deprivation and desperation has induced a really bad case of clitful thinking. If you wanna make something happen — if you wanna fuck this guy or even know if fucking this guy is a possibility — you’re gonna have to risk asking him if he wants anything to happen. And seeing as you’ve already asked me to script this for you, WOW, I’m gonna assume you’re willing to run that risk. So, here are your lines, WOW, all have to do is memorize them (and your best impression of Meg Ryan, circa 1993): “We’ve been flirting — at least I think we’ve been flirting — please stop me if I somehow got the wrong impression so I can promptly crawl in a hole and die — but if we have been flirting, I wanted you to know — before our contract ends and we go our separate ways — that my marriage is open. I don’t want to leave my husband — I love my husband — which means I’m no threat to your marriage. So, if your marriage is open or companionate or something close, we’d be a good match — as affair partners go — since I don’t want to take you away from your wife. I just want to fuck your brains out and I’m pretty sure you want to fuck mine out. What do you say?” Finally, WOW, since Workplace Crush is going to leave town when your contract ends whether he’s down to fuck or not, and since you’re not gonna wanna make a habit of hitting on coworkers — evolving standards of workplace conduct and all — I’ve taken the liberty of drafting some suggested language for your profile on Binge or Humble or whatever: “I’m in a loving, stable, companionate marriage and I’m not looking to leave my husband. But I don’t feel sexual attraction in the absence of actual affection. So, if you’re willing to meet up at least twice and make a real connection, we might be a match. If you’re not willing to make even a minimal investment of time and energy, we’re definitely not a match.” There’s a chance I’m engaging in some dickful thinking here. I’m a late 30s, non-binary, queer transmasc who passes as a man. I have a circle of outdoor “activity buddies.” It’s not a sexual thing, it’s a we-go-hiking-and-camping thing. I took a shine to one of these friends on our first group trip. He’s strong and an athlete, and yet he’s incredibly sweet. This friend is a few years older, divorced, with nearly grown kids. He’s one of the few in the group that I’ve told I’m trans. After a recent overnight group trip, I realized that I have a crush on my cis and probably het friend after he opened up to me about his kids (one of whom is non-binary!) and a recent date he went on with a woman. I don’t know if it’s insane to want to tell him how I’m feeling. For what it’s worth, my spouse also likes him and telling Spouse how I was feeling inspired us to talk about moving toward an open marriage. Now I’m having daydreams about landing this guy as a FWB and sharing him with Spouse! Am I, as the kids say, completely delulu here? Is there a chance in hell that my friend would be down for a little experimentation with my exotic self? (I haven’t had bottom surgery.) Is this a case of “you can’t know until you ask”? If so, can you give me a script? Longshot Longing So… you’re not only hoping Crush is attracted to men and/or is willing to make an exception for a man with a vagina — which some online types would consider transphobic (low bar, I realize) — you’re also hoping you’re that man, LL. And that’s not all: you’re hoping your marriage can smoothly transition to not just open, but poly, and that Crush is just as into Spouse as Spouse is into Crush. That seems like… an awful lot to hope for. While Crush could be bi or pan or open to sleeping with trans men who haven’t had bottom surgery, LL, it kindasorta sounds like he’s straight. And if Crush joined this we-go-hiking-and-camping-but-not-fucking group because he was seeking meaningful friendships with other men — too many straight men report having no friends at all and groups like the one you describe are a good way for lonely straight men to make friends — your “ask” may not only derail your friendship, LL, but ruin this group for Crush and Crush for this group. Given the odds that Crush is heteroflexible or bi or willing to make an exception for a trans man who hasn’t had bottom surgery are slim… and given the odds that, even if he’s into you, he’d also be into Spouse, whom he’s presumably never met, are even slimmer… I would urge you to keep your mouth shut for the time being. If he begins to telegraph any interest at all, if he gives you some unambiguous of romantic of sexual interest sign, then you can make the first move. (First moves are asks, not lunges; use your words, not your hands.) Even then, LL, you should open by asking for the “no” you’re hoping not to get. So, here’s your script you can use if and when you get some sign from him that confirms your dickful thinking: “I have a crush on you — if you’re not interested for any reason, please tell me and I will absolutely take your no for a final answer. And if this makes things awkward between us, I’ll do whatever you need me to do to get past the awkwardness, including giving you all the space you need. And if that means I skip the next few overnight trips, I’ll absolutely do that.” I’ve recently entered into a long-distance relationship with someone six years younger. This may not seem like a huge age gap, but since we’re both in our twenties, it feels significant. I’ve been told by everyone in my life that I’m too old for him and that the affection, support, and commitment he’s flinging my way are due to his age and lack of experience. All my friends say that once he’s gotten older, he’ll move on to someone else. So far, it’s been the most loving and serious relationship I’ve ever been in, despite the fact that it’s long distance. I think if we were in our thirties the six-year age gap wouldn’t be important, but since the difference between 22 and 28 can be vast, I don’t know how to proceed. I feel overwhelming judgement from close friends, and everyone is telling me to get out because he’ll probably leave me anyway. He’s very committed and looking to move to my city, even though it’s only been a little over a month. Should I take him seriously? What do I tell my friends? And what if they’re right? Continental Age Difference Here’s what you tell your friends: “Most relationships don’t work out. People meet, hookup, feel like they’re really into each other, and then it fizzles out for whatever reason. But it can’t work out — nothing ever works out — if we aren’t at least willing to give it a chance. And I’m going to give this a chance. If you dated someone and it didn’t work out for whatever reason, I would be there with love and support and beer and ice cream, not a bunch of ‘I told you so’s.’ Promise me you’ll do the same for me.” That said, CAD, this boy’s willingness to move to the city where you live after four weeks is a pink flag. Tell him you want to keep seeing him but unless he was already planning to move to your city for another reason (work, school, whatever), you wanna keep doing the long-distance thing for at least another six months. Because as good and right as this may feel at four weeks, it’s too soon for a move that big. If he can’t hear that without melting down, that’s a bad sign. If he’s a bummed but willing to wait, that’s a good sign. P.S. I met a guy when I was 30 who was only 23 — and we’re still together 29 years later. P.P.S. Get some better friends. Got problems? Email your question to Dan here! Or record your question for the Lovecast here! 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