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COLUMN

Savage Love

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I have a slowly terminal disease, and don’t have more than five or six years left. I haven’t told my wife, which brings me to my problem. We had lived together for seven years when she cheated on me the first time. We worked things out, we got back together, but we continued to live separately. Then I cheated on her. We got back together again but continued living apart. After a year of therapy, we got married, but again we kept our households separate. Fast-forward one eviction and three years of living in a studio driving each other crazy, and she cheated on me again – this time in our house. I moved out instantly. A few months and a terminal diagnosis later, I don’t have the will to file the divorce paperwork. We’ve talked a few times about trying to figure out how to fix us, but I don’t know if I can ride this messed-up roller coaster anymore. On the other hand, I don’t want to waste the rest of my life being a divorced fortysomething, but I still feel idiotic trying to fix our relationship. She reads your column every week, so if you publish this, I’ll have to talk to her about my illness, so at least that won’t be an issue. What should I do about us?
Doubting The Marital Future Again

You and the wife have a resilient connection, DTMFA. Some intangible something or other has pulled you toward each other despite infidelities. And reading between the lines, it doesn’t sound like being alone or your terminal illness are the only reasons you’re hesitating to file those divorce papers. It sounds to me like you love your wife, DTMFA, and it sounds like she loves you. Imperfectly. And maybe your semi-imminent death is putting those infidelities in their semi-proper perspective. I’m thinking the real reason you haven’t filed those divorce papers yet is: On some level, you now recognize that your existing, loving-but-flawed marital relationship should be given more weight than the marital ideal that you’ve both fallen short of, i.e., a flawlessly executed monogamous commitment.

I’m sorry about your diagnosis, DTMFA, I hope your remaining years are rich, and it would be a shame if you faced them alone. Maybe if you two changed your expectations of each other – if perfect sexual exclusivity wasn’t expected – you two would be less disappointed in each other. Good luck.

Are there kinky people interested in BDSM without sex? I’m an early-40s gal living in the Midwest. I’m in a decent-to-great marriage, have two kids, a good life. But my husband is not kinky, not at all. I feel like I’ve done all I can to get him comfortable with rough sex, power play, etc., but aside from some very reluctant spanking, hair pulling and a few humiliating (not in a good way) attempts at bondage, our sex life is almost totally vanilla. I enjoy the sex we have, but not being all of who I am sexually is making me resentful, miserable and desperate. At this point, I’m not even interested in trying to get my husband on board – it obviously makes him uncomfortable, and I think he’s just been hoping my desires would go away. They have not, of course, and will not. But I can’t see breaking up my marriage over this! My desires for intense physical play, D/s, role-play, etc. are only getting stronger. Is it even worth trying to find people to play with who would be OK with no sex? I think I could be happy staying monogamous if I could just get some of my needs met elsewhere. I’m going insane, but I don’t know if this is a thing, and research online has not been helpful. Is there any hope?
Sincerely Longing In Midwest

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