Savage Love: Sacrifice

Dear Dan,

I'm a 29-year-old straight woman facing a dilemma. I dated this guy about a year ago, and in many ways he was exactly the guy I was looking for. The main hitch was sexual. Our sex was good, but he had a fetish where he wanted me to sleep with other guys. Basically, he gets off on a girl being a "slut." He was also into threesomes or swapping with another couple. I experimented with all of that for a few months, and in a way I had fun, but I finally realized that this lifestyle is not for me. I want a more traditional, monogamous relationship. I broke it off with him. We reconnected recently, and he wants to get back together, even if it means a more traditional sex life. I'm interested, but suspicious. If he decides to forego his fetish, can he ever feel truly fulfilled with our sex life? I don't want to be with someone I can't completely satisfy. I also worry that down the road he might change his mind and try to convince me to experiment with nonmonogamy again. I'm looking for someone to settle down with, and I'm scared to waste more time on this guy, even though in many ways he's a great fit. Do you think it's possible for us to be happy in a traditional arrangement when deep down he wants more?

— Interested Despite Kink

Every partnered person is with someone they "can't completely satisfy." No one person can be all things to another person — sexually or in any other way. So don't waste too much time stressing out about that.

That said, IDK, this guy gets off when girls — his girl in particular — are "sluts." That doesn't mean he can't/won't/doesn't get off when you're not being slutty. (In this situation, "being slutty" refers to you sleeping with other people, which is only subjectively slutty.) He likes it when you're a slut, but I bet he also likes it when you ___, ___, or ___. (I don't know your sex life. Fill in the blanks.) Are you focusing too much on one of the things he's into (you fucking other people) and not enough on all the other things he's into (things like ___, ___, and ___)? If those other things are enough for him to have a great sex life with you without getting to enjoy this particular kink, you can make this work.

In other words, IDK: If giving up his hotwife/cuckold fantasies is the price of admission he's willing to pay to be with you, maybe you should let him pay that price. If being with someone who fantasizes about sexual scenarios you would rather not participate in (and who may be fantasizing about them while you're having sex) is the price of admission you're willing to pay to be with him, maybe you should pay that price. Another maybe: Are there accommodations that would allow him to have his fetish/fantasies without having to stifle them and allow you to have your monogamous commitment? No fucking other guys, but sometimes sharing stories of past exploits? Or making up dirty stories you can share while you're fucking?

Kinky people sometimes place a few of their kinks on the shelf for years, decades, or all their lives because they love their partner, but their partner doesn't love their proclivity for ball-busting/piss-pigging/whatever-evering. And, yes, sometimes a person says they're willing to let go of a kink and then changes their mind and starts pressuring their partner years or decades later — often when it's much harder for the non-kinky partner to end things, i.e., after marrying, having kids, etc. Another thing that sometimes happens: People who never thought they'd be into X and married someone with the understanding that X was forever off the table suddenly find themselves curious about X and wanting to give X a try years or decades later. Who we are and what we want at 39 or 49 can look very different than who we were and what we wanted at 29.

Dear Dan,

My partner has a hard time dealing with the fact that, before him, I had several casual flings and one-night stands. It has repeatedly caused issues with us. He is disturbed by the vastness of my past and concerned that I am sometimes impulsive. Because of these things, he often feels too scared to move forward in the relationship. In all other ways we have a supportive, fun-filled, and loving relationship — but I wonder if this issue is just too fundamental. I cannot change my past (and wouldn't even if I could) and I am trying to be less impulsive, but I'm not sure he sees the changes I'm making.

—Partner's Angst Seriously Troubling

With apologies to George Santayana: Bros who cannot shut up about your past are condemned to reside in it. DTMFA.

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