America’s longest-running sex-advice column!

The Long Game

by Joe Newton

Would it be inappropriate to introduce my girlfriend to the kink/swinger scene if I plan to break up with her? I’ve been unhappy for a decade, but I’ve been able to fake the funk until pretty recently. I’ve been failing at that lately and the lack of sex is making her unhappy, as she has a huge sexual appetite. I’m considering joining a kink/swinger club to satisfy her needs while I’m unable. I’m honestly turned on by the idea of watching her with someone else and I’ve told her this, but she worries that the reality of seeing me with someone else will be too much for me and it’ll damage our relationship. Which means, if I do get her to join the kink/swinger club and break up with six months later, she’ll assume I broke up with her because seeing her with someone else...

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...r, she’ll assume I broke up with her because seeing her with someone else broke me somehow. I don’t want her to think she made a mistake by going to a sex club with me. The real reason we are still together is that our child — legally her child (and now legally an adult) — is in a special program only offered through the school system in our ritzy suburb. This program is preparing him to live independently. I’m also working to pay off the credit card debt she built up over the years, so she can actually afford to live on her own once we split. The plan is to have her debt paid off by the time he graduates and then asking her to move out. In the meantime, I’d like her to be sexually satisfied. And while I’m no longer attracted to her, she is a sweet person and I want the best for her. Long Over And Done You could point to the publication of your letter in my column prior to your visit to the kink/swinger club with your girlfriend — provided you can convince your girlfriend to visit that kink/swinger club — as proof that going to the kink/swinger club didn’t doom your relationship… as it was already doomed. That will be cold comfort to your girlfriend, LOAD, but the existence of this letter does demonstrate that the breakup was premeditated and not a reaction to seeing your girlfriend with another man. Now, describing something as “premeditated” makes it sounds bad, I realize, but it’s a positive in this context. It always sucks to get dumped, of course, and the realization your ex was planning to dump you for months or years can add to the humiliation and pain. But no one wants to get dumped at the worst possible time, e.g., right before a big family event or when they’re finishing their dissertation or when their credit is in the toilet and their kid’s future hangs in the balance. So, an ex who held off  — the long-term partner who waited for a better moment (or less awful moment) to end things — did us a favor, even if it’s hard for us to admit or recognize. So, LOAD, making sure your girlfriend’s debt is paid off and that her son (your son) gets the best possible start before ending things is absolutely the right thing to do — and good on you — but I’m not convinced the kink/swinger club proposal is coming from the same place of pure altruism. Still, if you think convincing her to attend a kink/swinger club might actually revive your sex life — if seeing her with someone else might make you wanna fuck her again (and it might) — it could have a positive impact and might even save your relationship. If going to kink/swinger clubs revives your sex life with your girlfriend… and if your sex life is your only point of conflict (it’s the only problem you mention in your letter)… you might not need or want to break up with her after all. I’m at the point in my life where I’m both a caregiver for my parents and my partner. All three have various physical and mental disabilities, and none of them is going to get any better. It’s exhausting. I don’t have an open relationship with my partner, although I’d like to practice ethical non-monogamy. The problem is, he would probably not give permission out of fear I would leave him for someone else, and then where would he be? I know you’ve gotten lots of letters lately from married people in the same boat, but we are not married. Never did that. Never wanted that. So, there are no vows here to break, no promise of lifetime commitment to walk back. But I can’t leave him, because he needs me — as his caretaker, as his patient advocate, and as his companion. But I want the opportunity to get needs of mine met that he can’t meet anymore. It feels so unfair that I have to sacrifice everything right now. I want permission, I guess, to do what I need to do to stay with him and stay sane, without feeling like an awful person. I should be less of a coward and talk to him about this, I guess, but I’m afraid of hurting him. He doesn’t deserve more pain than he’s in already. Thank you for listening. American Caregiver Has Intense Needs Ask the average person to describe a “cheater,” and they’ll describe a selfish asshole who fucks other people behind the back of a loving, faithful, and willing partner at home. And, yes, some cheaters are pieces of shit who betray loving partners without remorse and don’t care about the pain they inflict. But that’s not true in every case. In fact, some people who cheat — or some people who write to sex-advice columnists seeking permission to cheat (and the suspense must be terrible) — care deeply about their partners and want to spare them pain. Which is the definitely the case here. ACHIN: Do what you need to do to stay married and stay sane. Be discreet and vigilant, protect your partner as best you can, and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re an awful person. You’re a good person in awful circumstances who’s doing her best to take care of the people she loves, herself included. Everybody else: If you’re lucky enough to have a partner and you’re young and still in good health, now is the time to talk about your expectations if and/or when — and it’s most likely when — your relationship looks a lot less like it does now and a lot more like ACHIN’s relationship. My husband and I have been married for thirteen years. We’ve always been kinky, but we’ve been monogamous this entire time. For the past few years, we’ve fantasized about having a MFM threesome. We met a new friend last year and we both felt comfortable asking him to be our third. He agreed but he takes relationships —especially sexual ones — very slow. He said he would like to have some discussions regarding expectations, boundaries, and desires. This level of care makes us feel even more attracted to him. Our issue is that we are growing more deeply attracted to him with each conversation. We talk at least every other day, and we all see each at least twice a week. We feel like we could fall in love with this person. Are these feelings we should convey to him prior to the threesome? Should we keep this to ourselves and see how the sex goes? What is happening, Dan?!? This Hottie Is Really Delightful What’s happening here? You and your husband have a crush on your first potential third, THIRD, which is wonderful. But you need to keep this — the intensity of your feelings — to yourselves for now. You can tell this guy you’re into him, you can tell him you’re ready to fuck whenever he is, but you can’t — or shouldn’t — tell him you’re falling for him. At this early stage, THIRD, you can’t know whether those feelings are genuine and/or sustainable. Also, not blurting out “I love you” on impulse is one way adults let other adults know they have good judgment, self-regulation is in their skill-set, they don’t wanna get out over their skis, etc. For now, THIRD, enjoy that feeling, ride that wave (ride that dick), and wait to see if those feelings deepen after you start fucking. I was dating my nursing supervisor for eight months when I found out he entered into a monogamous relationship midway without telling me. (No wonder I couldn’t get him to commit!) I was immensely hurt and ended it immediately. I wanted to tell his girlfriend, who had plastered him all over her prolific social media (this is how I found out). I had screenshots of text messages with him that aligned with their trips, family outings, etc. There were even times when he went on vacation with her and immediately came to my apartment afterwards. There are plenty of unknowns here: she could have known about me (ENM), she might not care, etc. However, it appears to be a very traditional hetero relationship. Personally, I would want to know, and I would want someone to tell me. Ultimately, I decided I was motivated by a desire for vengeance rather a duty to warn and said nothing. What do you think? Did I do the right thing? Seemingly Nursing A Grudge If you were her — if your partner had been cheating on you — you would wanna be told. But you’re not her, SNAG, you’re you. So, it’s not just whether you would wanna be told you need to consider. You also need to consider what it would mean — for you — to do the telling. Do you wanna get pulled into their drama? Do you wanna risk a shoot-the-messenger reaction? (A figurative shoot-the-messenger reaction, one would hope, but in America one never knows.) If your affair partner was capable of lying — and lying successfully — to his girlfriend about you, is he capable of lying to your supervisors about you? And if you need to produce proof of the affair to protect yourself from professional retaliation, can you produce that proof? Are you willing to produce that proof? If I were in your shoes, SNAG, I would stay out of it. If he’s a liar and cheat, she’ll figure that out. It was shitty of him to keep seeing you after he made that a monogamous commitment to her — and it was shitty of him to hurt you the way he did — but maybe he’s doing his best to honor that commitment now. Whatever the case may be, staying out of their relationship — and out of his pants and out of the vengeance business — is the best course of action. P.S. Most straight relationships are presumed traditional — that is, they are presumed monogamous — unless the couple is open about practicing ENM… and very few ENM straight couples are open about it. So, just because this couple doesn’t openly identify as ENM isn’t proof they’re monogamous. You also can’t rule out the possibility that she knows and/or doesn’t care — which would mean she’s tolyamorous. That’s no excuse for the way he treated you, of course. Got problems? Email your question to Dan here! Or record your question for the Lovecast here! Follow Dan on Instagram and Threads @DanSavage. Follow Dan on BlueSky @DanSavage. HUMP! Part One is playing in cities across North America and Europe! Go to HUMP! Film Fest to check out the new films and get your HUMP! 2024 tickets now!  

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