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Savage Love

by Dan Savage on March 30, 2011

DEAR READERS: Folks who have the Savage Love app get the Savage Love Letter of the Day (SLLOTD) delivered to their iPhones or Androids. This week, I’m running three recent SLLOTDs to give my print-only readers a taste of what they’re missing. I’m also giving myself a bit of a break: I’m currently dashing around the country on a book tour for It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living. (Order yourself a copy—or donate one to your old middle or high school—at itgetsbetter.org.) But before we get to the letters . . .

I want to take this opportunity to thank Savage Love readers for launching the It Gets Better Project.

My husband and I created the project in response to the suicides of several LGBT youth. The idea was to give bullied and despairing LGBT youth hope for their futures by encouraging LGBT adults to reach out to them via YouTube. (For the record: Not all LGBT youth are bullied or despairing.) The It Gets Better Project was first announced in this space. Savage Love readers jumped in to help spread the word about the project on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and Savage Love readers created the very first wave of IGBP videos. Savage Love readers are responsible for making the It Gets Better Project the international phenomenon it is today and, more importantly, for helping to save the lives of countless LGBT kids.

Whether it’s taking on a bigot like Rick Santorum, coming to the defense of Constance McMillen, or jumping in to help bullied LGBT teenagers, my readers and listeners are a force to be reckoned with. Thanks for all you do.

My fiancé is awesome. I’m very happy we are getting married. We are in our early 30s. But . . . he has tantrums. When he gets upset, he literally throws things, punches things (never me), and screams obscenities. What makes him upset? Losing his keys, being overcharged at the supermarket, missing the subway. These moments are humiliating for me. On top of that, I had an abusive father who hit me and, though my fiancé would never in a million years hit or abuse me, his tantrums remind me of those childhood experiences.

I have tentatively broached the subject of therapy, but he is not interested. I don’t know what to do.

—Frustrated Fiancée

He hasn’t hit you… yet.

I’m not saying he’ll definitely get around to hitting you, FF, but a man who goes apeshit when he misses the subway is likely to go apeshit on his wife sooner or later. Marriages are more stressful than commutes. And I’m sorry, but it’s a disturbing sign that you’re already tiptoeing around this guy (“I have tentatively broached the subject”) and making excuses for him (“My fiancé would never in a million years hit or abuse me”).

Emergency rooms, divorce courts, and graveyards are filled with women who once said, “My fiancé would never in a million years hit me.”

The time for tentative broaching has passed, FF, and the time for confrontational confronting and ultimatums has arrived: He gets his ass into therapy and gets a grip on his anger issues, or the wedding is off. And this can’t be about seeing a therapist once or twice to mollify you. He has to solve this problem before you pick out cake toppers. And if he won’t get help, or if he can’t solve this problem even with help, do not marry him.

I’m female, bi, mid-20s, into kink—bedroom-only BDSM stuff—and involved in the local kink scene in NYC. I’m not into public sex or group sex; that’s just not appealing to me. One of my closest friends is having a birthday party. Most people do a bar crawl, but this friend is hosting a straight-up orgy. I don’t want to be a no-show—it’s her birthday!—but sitting around fully dressed, trying to make small talk with someone while a fisting scene is taking place two feet away? Awkward. I thought about going for the first half, while people are drinking, and leaving before it turns into an orgy. But what excuse could I give to bail?

—Wallflower At The Orgy

How about the truth?

If you’re mature enough to be a part of NYC’s kink scene, you’re mature enough to say this to your friend: “I love you, but orgies just aren’t my thing. I’ll be at your party—I wouldn’t miss it!—but I’m going to quietly slip out before the first fist disappears into the first orifice.”

If anyone should be able to hear that without taking offense, WATO, it’s a member of an organized kink scene. All organized kinksters ask of each other is an open mind about kinks generally, thoughtfulness about consent and safety specifically, and clarity about boundaries absolutely. No one in a kink scene expects that all kinks—and group play is a kink—appeal to all kinksters equally.

So go to the party, wish your friend a happy birthday, then head for the door when you hear the snap of the first latex glove.

I am a 28-year-old woman, living in a town with a big military base. About a year ago, I noticed this really torn-up-looking guy sitting by himself in a bar. It turned out his wife had just been deployed and was going to be gone for nine months. He said he didn’t think he’d make it. We wound up having sex. I moved in a few days after that. The whole thing revolved around nobody asking questions. Over time, I fell in love with him, and I thought he fell in love with me. If I thought about the future, I told myself he’d leave his wife for me.

Yesterday, he woke up and said, “It’s over. She’s coming home today.” I was crying and crying while he kept coming up with these unbelievable lines: we had a good thing, he’d miss my love, I should try to remember the magic. Then he told me to look away so he wouldn’t have to watch me crying!

I know I was a fool, Dan, but who was the bigger jerk?

—Sad Eyes

Seeing as you spent the last nine months attempting to be the author of someone else’s misery—his wife’s misery—only to wind up being the author of your own, SE, it’s kind of hard to feel sorry for you. I suppose you deserve some credit for acknowledging that you’re a jerk—you did, after all, ask me to determine which one of you is the bigger jerk—but I gotta say that your jerkiness is the kind that makes me want to break out my brand-new-asshole-carving knife.

But he’s the bigger jerk.

My reasoning: He took up with another woman during his wife’s absence, and he allowed this other woman to move into the home he shared with his wife. The other woman avoided conversations about the future because she was afraid of finding out that she didn’t have one; he avoided conversations about the future because he was afraid the other woman would pack up her pussy and leave if he told her she didn’t have one. And then he tossed the other woman out on her ass the very day his wife returned to the States, giving her very little time to make other living arrangements.

That makes him the bigger jerk, IMO. You both deserve new assholes—but he deserves a slightly bigger one.

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