I am a 28-year-old straight girl two years into my first marriage. New job, new home, and new city 1,200 miles from my closest friends. It was really lonely at first, not knowing anyone nearby. Plus, Hubby is far less social than I am and has not gone out of his way to help us make any friends to hang out with. He’s happiest at home on the couch, in front of a good movie, which is how we spend a lot of our time.
Adding to that is the fact that Hubby is now working late nights. I’ve spent a lot of lonely Fridays and Saturdays at home. A hot bath coupled with a good book is fun only so often before it becomes pathetic. Enter Elaine. She’s my running/workout buddy, my wine-bar buddy, and happens to be a lesbian. She recently split with her partner of eight years, and as a result, we’ve been going out a lot more often.
Hubby is not happy. He feels threatened by Elaine’s lesbianness and equates it to me hanging out with a single straight guy. I did have a couple of straight-but-drunk escapades with women WAY back in college (hubby knows), but I am not gay, not interested, and NOT A CHEATER. Plus, I am simply not Elaine’s type. She has never once come on to me, nor has she said/done anything that hinted at an other-than-friendly relationship. How can I convince Hubby that my friendship with Elaine is platonic and nonthreatening? And keep him from pouting and griping every time I mention her name? She’s the only friend I have.
—Sick of Being Home Alone
It might help, SOBHA, if you didn’t use inelegant phrases like “two years into my first marriage,” unless you mean to imply that second, third, or fourth marriages are in your future. If I ran around introducing my boyfriend to people as “my current boyfriend,” it might give him a complex, too. Just sayin’.
Here’s how you set your husband at ease about Elaine: Keep doing what you’re doing—all of you. You get to hang out with Elaine, which is within your rights (married people are allowed to have friends and nights out); he gets to grumble about it, which is within his rights (married people are allowed to have feelings and insecurities). Only the passage of time—along with regularly offered reassurances, your acquisition of other friends, and Elaine’s eventual acquisition of a new girlfriend—will convince your husband that Elaine’s intentions toward you are merely friendly, and that you’re not itching to eat pussy for old time’s sake.
It would also help if your husband spent some time hanging out with you and Elaine. Invite her over for one of those on-the-couch movie nights. And if Elaine isn’t willing to hang out with your husband—if she’s not willing to do what she can to set him at ease—then your husband’s suspicions about her intentions may not be entirely irrational. —Dan
Recently I brought up the idea of adding a little kink to my boyfriend’s and my sex life. Nothing extreme—just some light bondage and some toys. A simple “No, I’m not interested” I would understand, but he freaked the fuck out. He got angry, saying that he didn’t know I was a “freak who was into sick shit.” The next day he called me like nothing had happened, and I’ve been hesitant to bring it up ever since. We have been dating for a few months, and he seemed like a nice guy, not some sexually conservative nut job. I don’t know what caused his freak-out, and I don’t know whether I should head for the hills or what. —Slightly Kinky Lady
What caused his freak-out? Dunno. Your boyfriend could be insecure or repressed or uninterested in kink. And any or all of that would be fine, SKL, and something you might be able to work with or around, if your boyfriend were capable of discussing his insecurities, repression, and/or disinterest without resorting to sexual shaming and emotional abuse. While I would never advise someone to run from a good, decent, vanilla boyfriend, that is precisely what I would advise someone whose boyfriend resorts to emotional abuse to shut down a conversation about the sex life he shares with his girlfriend—that’s shares, not owns.
But before you head for the hills, SKL, give the asshole a chance to redeem himself. Perhaps he feels bad about freaking out and is too embarrassed, ashamed, or clueless to broach the subject. So sit him down and say exactly this—yes, memorize it—to him: “What you did to me the other night was abusive and unfair. Lovers should be able to talk openly about their sexual interests. So let’s try it again: I’m interested in some light kink. If you’re not, that’s cool. But there’s nothing wrong with me. If you’re not willing to meet my needs, or if you feel that my kinks give you the right to treat me like shit, then there’s something wrong with you.”
If he apologizes and promises to make amends (and pick up some rope), you can keep seeing him. If he blows up again, SKL, DTMFA. —Dan
My (now ex-) husband loved to fantasize about me fucking other men. At first I was repulsed, but he kept at it and eventually I started indulging his fantasies by making up stories to tell him while we were having sex. Eventually this led to my husband asking if we could have threesomes with other people so he could watch me getting fucked for real. We did this a few times.
I eventually had a couple of affairs that I didn’t tell him about. Of course he found out and now he’s divorcing me. I feel terrible about what I did, but I can’t help but wonder if his need to see me with other men and my subsequent feelings of inadequacy (and my need to be with a man who just wanted me) contributed to my affairs. Now I am terrified to get into another relationship. I don’t want to wind up with someone who has fantasies like this again.
—All Screwed Up About Sex
If the marriage of a cuckold fetishist and his adulterous wife can’t survive a routine infidelity then, jeez, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Look, ASUAS, your fears are understandable after what you’ve been through/been put through/put your soon-to-be ex-husband through. But your odds of winding up with another cuckold fetishist? Pretty slim. Your ex-husband’s kink may be enjoying its 15 minutes, but it isn’t all that common. —Dan
Dan! Everyone has an opinion, but you’re the one with the advice column. So stop printing goddamn response letters from readers every other week. —Quit It Already
You’re right, QIA—I’ve been running way too many goddamn response letters from my goddamn opinionated readers. It’s almost as if some of my goddamn readers think they know more about putting together a goddamn advice column than I do. Christ, the nerve of some goddamn people, huh?
Speaking of goddamn response letters: Tons of my goddamn readers wanted to share their goddamn opinions with IMHB, the man whose wife declined to get reconstructive surgery/new boobs after losing both her breasts to cancer. You can read their goddamn response letters at thestranger.com/savage/boobs. —Dan Savage
Dan Savage’s most recent book, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family , is on sale now. Send your Savage Love questions to email@example.com. A new Savage Love podcast is available for download every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.