"I'm going to offer you my advice on one condition: you don't write to me ever again."
I've written before, but I didn't hear back from you — probably because my e-mail didn't contain flogging or santorum or whatever. But I won't be IGNORED, Dan.
I'm a thirty-two-year-old female. Second marriage, two kids: one kid with my ex and one with the man I cheated on my ex with (my current husband). My problem: a year ago, I found my "first love" on a social network. I'd been looking for him off and on for more than sixteen years. This person was a jerk who left me for one of my friends back in high school. But he was and still is the love of my life. Always has been. Always will be. He is not married, has never been married, and has no children. We began an affair about seven months after finding each other. My marriage, my second marriage, had been rocky before this. My second husband, of three years, stopped having sex with me after I became pregnant, and this continued after our child was born. We tried counseling. It didn't help. In no way am I using this as an excuse. I know what I've done is wrong. But I also have a pretty bad track record and have cheated on every man I've ever been with, except for my first love.
This man, my first love, is the worst person in the world for me. Yet I'm in love with him. I have ALWAYS been in love with him. He wants me to leave my white-collar husband for him, a very blue-collar guy. I live in a nice home in the suburbs; my first love lives in a small apartment in the city. Five months after we began having sex with each other, my current husband found out. Instead of leaving me, he has turned into a different man: extremely loving and attentive. He says this experience has made him realize how much he loves me and that he doesn't want to lose me.
My other problem: I didn't begin this affair to get my second husband's attention. I began it because I'm in love with my first love and always have been. My husband knows of my deep feelings for my "first." I mention divorce often, but it falls on deaf ears. I want to do what is best for my kids — and that would be staying right where I am. But I feel my only chance for "true" love, if there is such a thing, is passing me by. I've never felt for anyone as I do for this man. Every man who has come into my life AFTER him knew about him and knew that if he ever came back for me, I was gone. This includes my current husband. Dan, pull out all the stops on this one, as you famously do, and please tell me what to do.
— Serial Cheater In Love
I've read what you've written before, SCIL, but I didn't respond because I didn't have much to say to you and I still don't. I had the same reaction reading your e-mail today that I had reading all the other e-mails you've sent. My reaction is a little selfish, and I'm a little embarrassed to share it with you. But you keep pressing me, SCIL, and so here it is:
THIS BITCH CAN GET LEGALLY MARRIED AND I CAN'T?!?!
Sorry, sorry, sorry. That was cunty of me — nowhere near the level of respectful professionalism that people expect of me — and so now I'm going to have to make amends by scrounging up some of that advice shit you're after. But I'm going to offer you my advice on one condition: you don't write to me ever again.
You say you've cheated on every man you've ever been with, with the exception of your "first love," SCIL. You seem to be engaged in a little circular reasoning/magical thinking here — you've concluded that he must be the love of your life because you didn't cheat on him, and you didn't cheat on him because he's the love of your life. No. You didn't cheat on him, SCIL, because you didn't get around to it. You two broke up when you were fifteen-years old. If you'd been with him a little longer, you would've cheated on him like you've cheated on everybody else.
If you leave your current husband and break up your first child's second home and your second child's first home, it won't be long before you get around to cheating on the love of your life, too. Because you're a cheater, SCIL, a habitual, serial cheater. You're precisely the kind of person who shouldn't make monogamous commitments.
Or get married. Or have children.
So what should you do? Stay? Go? Frankly, SCIL, I don't give a fuck what you do. Stay or go, it's not going to make a fuck of a lot of difference. Your personal life is a mess, SCIL, and it always will be. Because, you see, wherever you go, there you are.
That said: if your current husband doesn't mind being cheated on, if he can put up with your affairs and wants to put your children first, then I think you should stay with him for the sake of your kids. They deserve whatever stability and continuity you can provide for them between infidelities. Again, if you leave your current husband for the love of your life, SCIL, it won't be long before you're cheating on your third husband and preparing to uproot your kids a third/second time. I know it, you know it, everyone out there reading this knows it, even your current husband seems to know it.
So just stay put, okay?
My girlfriend of two years, my first real relationship, broke up with me a month ago. Although I felt like shit for most of that month, we somehow managed to struggle through to a close friendship. I wouldn't say I'm entirely over her, but I understand why it happened and that we won't be getting back together. All in all, I've felt like we've both been pretty mature and things are going well.
The complication: we still find each other attractive and we work very well together sexually. So she proposed an FWB arrangement, and I said yes. We laid down ground rules — we are not together, we are just friends who fuck, so no "I love you," no commitments, no expectations — and we started having hot sex. Is this foolhardy? We both know that I'd prefer something more. So the question remains: should we keep fucking?
— Can't Recall Acronym Procedure
How are you going to feel when your ex-girlfriend/current-fuck-buddy finds a new boyfriend and ends your FWB arrangement? If you can honestly answer, "I'll be happy for her," then keep fucking — but don't forget to ask for your balls back when she dumps you that second time.
If you can't say that and you decide to keep fucking the ex anyway, CRAP, you wouldn't be the first lovesick dumpee who agreed to enter into an FWB arrangement with an ex. If the short-term rewards (all that hot sex) and the potential long-term payoff (getting back together) make the risk seem worthwhile, then keep fucking.
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.