On young love and sacrifice


I love you for everything that you have been to me all these years, I guess you get that a lot, but I am sincere nonetheless. I’ve submitted questions before and you’ve kicked my ass, you’ve also been nice and constructive and just perfect. I don’t know where to begin, I write to you with a very heavy heart.

I was violently abused the last time I had a long term boyfriend, and left him in October 2013. It’s been almost two years since, but it feels like a different life. After that, I fell in love with someone and he was only going to be here for three months. He was polyamorous, and the drive towards polyamory came from him. I decided that is what love was, that I would love him unconditionally despite everything, and he even encouraged the fact that I see other people. I was hurt in  the beginning and then I grew to love it. The honesty and faith we shared really transformed me, I fell for his best friend, and he was the one who provided us with the condom. That was the time I decided that I was, in fact, polyamorous. The both of them left for home. It was over by then. We remain friends still.

I believed monogamy leads to abuse or some kind of violation given the dishonesty involved, towards your desires, needs etc. I don’t know if it’s a fair assumption. I just make it because I saw it careened to its vulgar extreme; I was twenty years old and found at my college farewell with a black eye, meeting suspicious and even pitiful stares. I don’t know if I am still over it. It’s only after that I became polyamorous. Then I was the other woman for a few months, and faced the emotional consequences, followed by feeling completely unthreatened or at a loss, grateful for everything he did for me, and was to me. I left when the time was right. I finally met someone who felt like the one for me.

This was in December. We bonded over our shared ideas on polyamory, love for music, spirituality, literature, philosophy, we even have the same cultural family background, it’s a long running a joke between us, that if we ever found that we were cousins, it would be the end of the world.

Except. He doesn’t use condoms, and my health is fucked because of birth control. Another thing, is that he was screwing some local b-grade porn star last year, and she messaged him around the 10th of July stating that she wanted to spend a week with him, and go on a weekend holiday because it’s her birthday, and that she would like to stay with him. He even said that she could live with him! Fuck on the same bed that we do. I learnt he hadnt told her about me yet, or my significance in his life. I urged him to come clean and let her know. It’s only then that he did, he didn’t feel the need to do it otherwise. When he finally told her, she lost her shit and said stuff like ‘whoever your fuck buddy is, what do you expect to happen, when she comes over, a fucking orgy?’ then later apologized for reacting and persisted in turning up here nonetheless, she is staying at a person’s place, who is a common friend of mine. They still fuck though, and he loses his shit when I say that it’s better he doesn’t see me while he is with her, even if it’s just a week. Also, I would rather he took a VD before he slept with me after doing her. It’s nothing personal. Just precaution.

Now, the act of sex does not bother me, it’s just that she is who she is, and I don’t judge people for their life choices, but it makes me wonder who he is, if he can be with someone like her, and someone like me at the same time. Does that make him sexually diverse? Or just lacking in a self-concept, standards, integrity? She might just be better in bed, whatever, I don’t care.

I’m feeling strange about this because I have never experienced anything like this before. I am alright with one off sexual encounters that he might have with other people (he is a bit of a local celebrity, a musician, he tours, so I’m cool with it. I have slept with other people too, and we have been honest about things). I am not okay with someone having this space in his life, feel like she can get her way by throwing a tantrum. Hell, I’ve never once thrown a tantrum around him. I believe it’s important to be decent, no matter how trying the situation might be.

It’s making me feel like a terrible feminist, and even more so, it’s shattered my sense of identity. I don’t know who I am, or what I want. If I am not okay with monogamy, and I am not okay with his kind of polyamory, then what is it that I am okay with? I don’t want to be the person who restricts his impulses, and he isn’t aware of how I feel about this. I’ve just been playing it cool and blaming my emotions on going away (I got a scholarship to go to Paris for further studies, but neither of us are taking it too well). He says I am his first true love and he has never shared anything as meaningful with anyone in his life before. I’ve had his ex girlfriends chase me down, and insult me. I’ve lost friends to jealousy, I’ve lost the friendship of someone I loved deeply because I was with him, I’ve faced public ridicule, and social humilation and never given a fuck because I had faith in him and the love we shared. Everything was fine, those people became my friends again because they saw he loved me too. He did everything that was required of him.

I’ve made every sacrifice because I know there would rarely be another instance when I would love someone with this kind of innocence and honesty again. I feel like I am the one who deserves this space in his life, and that woman can’t just randomly turn up demanding to share the same quarters with him and take him away from me for a week. Please help. I am so torn, these last few weeks have been sheer torment. I am 22, he is 28, she is 35, if that is significant. She dumped her last boyfriend because he would fuck around. Though she says to him, that she is okay with the situation between the three of us. I don’t believe her, especially after the tantrum she threw that day. I have a feeling that is significant in your assessment of the situation.

Should I just end it with him while I am about to go abroad to study? Take time to know who I am? Understand why I consider it beneath my integrity to compete for a boy’s time with a miserable, almost middle aged woman? There is so much shit involved. I just want to cry.

My faith in you, dearcoquette, is unshakeable. Please help me.


Polyamory is not love. It is a modality for experiencing love, and the context in which you were introduced to polyamory (during a rebound from an abusive relationship) suggests that you might have gotten into polyamory for the wrong reasons. You need to understand that monogamy wasn’t the problem in your abusive relationship. Your abusers violence and dishonesty was.

I’m not suggesting you be monogamous, nor am I saying there’s anything wrong with you being polyamorous. I am suggesting that you need to have the self-awareness to understand why you’re choosing either lifestyle, and you’re struggling right now because you’re simply not there yet. Don’t worry. You’ll get there.

Here’s a sneak peek at the process you’ll go through in your mid-twenties: At the moment, you associate monogamy with physical abuse and betrayal. In a few years, you’ll come to associate polyamory with emotional abuse and general douchebaggery. (I promise this will happen.) Eventually, you’ll come to realize neither monogamy nor polyamory are ideal, and you’ll have enough experiences (both shitty and wonderful) to pick the best elements from both lifestyles and chart your own middle course. The way you choose to love may end up being hard to define, but it will work perfectly for you and your partner(s).

In the meantime, I highly recommend you move on from your current relationship with the musician. I get a super sketchy vibe from the picture you’ve painted of him. He seems selfish, crudely manipulative, and the no condoms thing is a huge red flag that he’s also emotionally abusive. I know you can’t see it yet because you’re young and in love, but there will come a day when you realize this guy is a gigantic douchebag. (It’s okay. At 22, it’s hard not to end up dating douchebags.)

So yeah, I think it’s a great idea for you to let your travel abroad be the natural end to the relationship. Go. Be single in Paris. Have romantic and spiritual adventures. Take all the time you need to learn who you are, and if there’s one single piece of advice I could give you to take on your journey, it’s to stop making sacrifices for the men in your life. Love is not sacrificial. No part of you needs to be destroyed in fulfilling a man’s purpose. Ever. Period.

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1 Comment

What are your thoughts on SB 227? Should anything be mandated that’s not 100% safe or effective with no liability?
Sorry to burst your insufferably self-absorbed bubble, but you aren’t special, your children aren’t special, and nothing is 100% safe, so shut your organic pie hole and go vaccinate your germ-ridden offspring.


Do you have any resources for partners of sex workers? I know of lots of support groups for sex workers themselves, but I have my own side of things to deal with and nobody to talk to about it.
Hmm. The closest thing I can think to recommend is S-Anon or COSA. They’re geared toward partners of sex addicts rather than partners of sex workers, but there’s probably enough crossover for those groups to still be therapeutic.


I’m female, 29, healthy, in love, middle class. I am petrified everything I have is going to be taken away from me. I am petrified I will get Cancer. Scared my boyfriend will die in a car accident. Scared I will loose my family. Afraid of my own mortality. Some days I cannot get out of bed. Some days I forget everything. What’s the point in any of this? Why can’t I just end this misery now and then I won’t have to worry anymore?
Yeah, you’ve got a mild anxiety disorder. (Trust me, I know the feeling.) Go see a therapist about those intrusive thoughts you’re having. Therapy really does help for this kind of stuff. (If you include your email, I can maybe help you find someone.)


I’m 20 and I’m honestly pretty spoiled. Nursing school full time, but Mom pays my bills. He’s a 38-year-old counselor for substance abuse. He’s had a couple serious relationships, whereas I’ve had none. Is there a point to this, or is the age difference just too great?
Sweetheart, he was twice your age a couple minutes ago. You’re a doe-eyed college kid and he’s (most likely) a reformed addict who’s lived a life and seem some shit. Sure, enjoy yourself. Have fun while it lasts, but the second you realize you two have nothing to talk about, have the sense to part ways quickly and amicably.


Are you worried Trevor Noah won’t be able to fill Jon’s shoes?
I’m not worried, because he won’t. It’s not possible to fill Jon’s shoes. The Daily Show will become something different in a similar format. Hopefully it won’t suck.


What’s your take on the Gawker Media debacle where a writer there pretty much outed a non-public figure for exploring hiring the services of a gay escort, and the recent protest-resignations by at least two staff members of that website after the article about it was pulled?
Everyone is gross and nobody cares.


On being honest with yourself


I want to fuck my best friend. We’re both spoken for; neither of us would ever ruin what we’ve got for sex.  My self-control isn’t worth a damn. Is there something you can say that will ruin my libido for him? I’ve stepped a toe (fuck it, a whole damn foot) over the line and I don’t know how to let this go.

You’re in love with your best friend, which terrifies you, which is why you’re distracting yourself with the possibility of acting out sexually.

Fucking him is a big red self-destruct button, and you’re prepared to blow everything up (and take innocent bystanders down with you) just to avoid dealing with all those complicated emotions.

Don’t make this about your libido. Be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling. That’s the only way you can start letting it go.


On principles and excuses


There are people who live by the script. They don’t really question it; they play the game they were born into and that’s enough for them. Then there are those who see the game for what it is, and they try to change it to suit their needs. They define what happiness and success is for them and seek it out. And then there are those who can’t get past the inherent bullshit that we as a society need any kind of game, and they say fuck it. They refuse to play.

I think I’m in the second category. My ex is in the third. A part of me admires him for what others see as laziness but what I see as rebellion. It’s over, and it’s never going to get better. At the end of the day, I need someone who also self identifies as being in the third category. I need a partner who will stand up and fight with me. So I finally got closure on this previous relationship, because that was never going to be him. My question I guess is whether you see him as brave or selfish? Or is it a bit of both, and my friends and I are both right? I can’t get past their dismissive disdain for someone that I still care about – and whose principles I ultimately agree with.


Yeah, your ex is just a lazy piece of shit, and even though the relationship is over, you’re still kind of romanticizing the fact that he’s a loser. That’s fine. You’re in the middle of a post-breakup emotional autopsy, and it’s perfectly normal to be picking apart your feelings on shit like this.

The reason that you can’t get past the dismissive disdain from your friends (even though deep down you already agree with them) is that you’re taking it personally. You feel like they’re somehow being critical of you. They’re not. At most, they’re being critical of your romantic choices.

The problem is you’re not ready to admit that you’re mad at yourself for being with this guy. You’re not ready to admit he’s a loser. Don’t worry. You’ll get there eventually. Trust me, in a year or two, you’ll look back and realize that your friends were right. You’ll realize that he wasn’t the one with principles — you were — and he just knew how to turn your principles into bullshit excuses.

(Again, it will take some time for you to fully internalize it, but one of the most important lessons you can take away from this relationship is that there’s a difference between having principles and making excuses.)

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On fun-sized advice


Marriage is supposed to be “until death do you part.” Well, what about if your partner is chronically depressed and not attempting to better the situation without your relentless urging for a which he resents the shit out of you?
The only thing that’s really “until death do you part” is your actual life, and that shit is too short to spend with someone who makes you miserable.

We’re long distance. He’s depressed. He alternates between saying if I want an out, to take it now and that I am what keeps him alive. Do I stay to make sure he’s okay while he tries to get better or end it for my own sanity?

You knew this would happen, so quick dicking around. If you want out, get out. Sounds like he needs to build a new support system wherever he is now anyway.

I keep thinking there has to be more to life than this, but I don’t know what it is or how to find it.

Nah, there isn’t more to life than this. Stop looking for something that doesn’t exist and go do something you enjoy with the time that you have.

What if we end up with another Bush as president?

If it would keep Jon Stewart hosting the Daily Show for four more years, it would almost be worth it. Almost.

I’m in love with a married man. Please remind me how big of a piece of shit I am so I can move on from this toxic situation…

You can’t help who you fall in love with, and you’re not a piece of shit unless you have an actual affair with the guy. Quit punishing yourself. Forgive yourself instead.

I love that in your 2010 posts you talk about guys at the club wearing Affliction, meanwhile in my dismal little corner of Ohio in the year of our lord 2015 this is still how every man I see on a daily basis dresses.


The Hall of anti-fame is now the best of Dear Coquette. I’m puzzled. Did you get tired of people asking you why you named it that ?

I just felt like changing it.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m an introvert. (I’m great at parties, but my default setting is pleasurable solitude, and the stuff going on in my head is almost always more interesting than the stuff going on in front of me.)



On being too dumb to carry a gun


I recently had to deal with a socially conservative asshole who essentially made this point:

Now that gay marriage has to be recognized in all 50 states, my concealed handgun license that was only recognized by 36 states must now be recognized by all 50 states as well. That “now, no state has the right to infringe upon my Second Amendment right. If the violation of federalism works ok for LGBTs — then it works well for gun owners. I can’t wait to see how the gun-hating liberals try to get themselves out of this one.”

Please tell me what the fuck I can say to this person to shut them down, in the most Coke-tastic way possible.


I don’t know what this idiot means by a “violation of federalism,” but he’s misinterpreting the effects of the Full Faith and Credit Clause for the simple reason that sexual orientation is a protected class, whereas gun ownership is not, nor should it be. Guns may be a part of this douchebag’s identity, but owning them is still just a consumer preference, and not at all worthy of special consideration under Federal anti-discrimination law.

What he doesn’t seem to understand is that it’s perfectly fine for states to have different laws and regulations that apply equally to everyone. New York can have different speed limits than Utah. A medical board in Vermont can have different requirements than a medical board in Iowa. California can have different gun laws than Texas. On the other hand, Utah can’t have different speed limits for women. The medical board in Iowa can’t have different requirements for black people, and Texas can’t have gun laws that only apply to homosexuals.

This whiny asshole could legitimately claim to be a victim of discrimination if he were denied a conceal carry permit based upon his age, race, gender, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation, but that’s not the case. He’s just doesn’t like the fact that 14 states don’t honor the multi-state conceal carry permit for anyone, regardless of their age, race, gender, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation.


On consent and small-mindedness


In your two most recent Fun Sized Advice blurbs, you gave one woman the advice that “if you don’t wanna take it up the ass, don’t fucking take it up the ass,” then you gave another woman the advice that her husband not wanting a vibrator in bed is just a sign of a “small minded man with a fragile ego.” The implication of the first one was that people shouldn’t have to do stuff in bed if they aren’t comfortable, and the implication of the second was that the guy should just put his feelings aside and do it.

Why is it okay for one to be an assertion of consent for things done in the bedroom, and the other is just a small-mind thing?

The implication isn’t that the guy should put his feelings aside and do it. The implication is that he’s a small-minded man with a fragile ego. He still has every right to say no to pleasing his wife with a vibrator, but it’s a bit ridiculous for you to compare that kind of ineffectual selfishness with pressuring your girlfriend into having anal sex against her will.

And just to be clear, if the wife had been complaining that her husband refused to take a vibrator up his own ass, I would have given both women the exact same advice. Instead, she was complaining that her husband refused to use a vibrator on her. Surely you see the difference with regard to issues of consent and bodily autonomy.

Please tell me you’re not confused about the obvious distinction here. Please tell me you’re just a douche playing a game of devil’s advocate with this passive-tense question of false equivalence, and you’re not some self-absorbed narcissist who can only frame an argument from the perspective of your own needs.


On fonts and features


Why the serif font? It works well in headlines; it reads not so well on a screen. Just curious and readjusting to the new platform. BTW, you handled the transition very well.

Thank you. The theme came with these fonts out of the box, and my primary concern was just getting the site up an running again.

If you’ve got an eye for this sort of thing, feel free to leave a comment. I’m totally open to any font suggestions, feature requests, or notes on the user interface.

Now’s the time to make changes while it’s all still fresh.

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On more fun-sized advice

1 Comment

If a guy cheats on you once, why does it mean he’ll cheat again? What if he learns his mistake and regrets it?
Regret is a very poor indicator of whether someone will repeat the same mistake. When it comes to behavior, look for patterns, not promises.

She cheated on me a year ago. We broke up. She begged me to get back together. We did. Why? Because I’ve fucked up in the past and I believe in second chances. We are doing okay and 95% of the time I trust her. Why can’t I get rid of that last 5%?
Because she cheated on you a year ago.

I just got the test results back, I have herpes. What next?
Valtrex and awkward conversations.

My husband of six years is wonderful. But, our sex life is a tad boring. He won’t use a vibrator on me in bed because he says it’s emasculating. Is it?
Only to a small-minded man with a fragile ego. If he thinks a sex toy is emasculating, wait until you tell him he’s boring in bed.

What will make me feel less lonely when I get home? The drugs aren’t working.
Connect with other humans. That’s the only thing that will work.

What’s the protocol on sending an ex an email? Is the answer just don’t do it?
If you’re having even the least bit of doubt, definitely don’t do it.

I started making my bed but I either get back in it or I lie on it. What do I do now?
Get a decorative pillow that “locks” you out of bed. In other words, make a personal rule that bed is not made if the pillow is not on the bed, and if the pillow is on the bed, you are not allowed to lay in it.

I just work up from a dream where Ben Affleck was fucking me from behind while we watched porn. What does it all mean?!
It means this new Batman movie is gonna suck.

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On fun-sized advice


He cheated on me and we’re trying to make it work, but it’s just not the same anymore. Will it ever be okay?
Sure it will, just not with him.

Will you please comment on the recent media interest in and admiration of the dad bod?
The “dad bod” media trend is just the highly-processed residue left behind after the deeper trend of body positivism was sanitized for mainstream white male consumption.

We’ve been together for 8 months. He wants to have anal. I have never felt comfortable with the idea and really do not want it. Do I give in for him, or stand my ground. I feel so silly asking this.
Whether it’s been 8 months or 8 years, if you don’t wanna take it up the ass, don’t fucking take it up the ass.

Is it possible to overcome the fear of death, or at least not think about it all the time? Or are we stuck with that part of our lizard brains?
That kind of abstract anxiety about death isn’t a part of the same parasympathetic fight-or-flight response that causes panic attacks. It’s your ego freaking out, not your lizard brain. If you’re having intrusive thoughts about death, I recommend working with a therapist to overcome them.

Every time my husband asks me to make him food, it fills me with rage. Is this normal? Or is this marriage?
It sounds like transference to me. You might wanna get a little introspective and figure out the source of all that rage.

Is becoming a sugar baby a bad idea?
Bad is a moral judgment, so I won’t say it’s bad, but if you have to ask, then becoming a sugar baby will probably have more negative consequences than positive ones.

Should I seriously consider becoming a Buddhist nun?

I hate that I have to have my life figured by 22. Thanks, society.
Quit whining. You don’t ever have to have your life figured out. You just have to provide for yourself and behave like an adult.