Dear Prudence: My husband wants a threesome with his unattractive best friend.

Help! My Husband Wants a Threesome With His Unattractive Best Friend.

Help! My Husband Wants a Threesome With His Unattractive Best Friend.

Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 8 2016 3:04 PM

You, Me, and … Him?

Prudie advises a woman whose husband wants to have a threesome with his unattractive best friend.

Mallory Ortberg
Mallory Ortberg.

Photo by Sam Breach

Mallory Ortberg, aka Dear Prudence, is online weekly to chat live with readers. An edited transcript of the chat is below. (Sign up below to get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week. Read Prudie’s Slate columns here. Send questions to Prudence at prudence@slate.com.)

threesome.

Photo by Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

Mallory Ortberg: I have been up since 5 a.m., so let’s roll up those emotional sleeves, address the cares and burdens that characterize our troubled lives, and then take naps.

Advertisement

Q. Husband is interested in a threesome with his best friend: My husband and I are in our 20s. We’ve been together over 10 years and have two kids. Our sex life is great, but my husband does masturbate a lot. He found a porn video with a girl who looks exactly like me—super creepy! He asked me several times if I had cheated on him. About a week later he asked me if I would want to have a threesome with his childhood best friend, someone I’ve known for 18 years. He said he picked him because he’s seen him naked before, and because he’s not married and not attractive (at all, eww, although my husband says he’s not THAT bad) and therefore not a threat to steal me away. I don’t know if it’s just super gross and offensive because of who he picked or if I would feel like that with anyone. We do like to get kinky, but I don’t know about this. Please help.

A: I’m trying to imagine the world your husband lives in, where finding someone deeply unattractive is considered a good reason to sleep with them. “Darling, you know how you think Hank is physically repulsive? Well, I think that makes him an absolutely ideal candidate for a threesome.”

Technically, there are no bad ideas in brainstorming, and your husband appears to be doing a lot of sex brainstorming these days—watching porn with real-life-look-alikes, bringing up the idea of cuckolding, suggesting you sleep with someone you know well and aren’t interested in bedding in the slightest. It sounds like you don’t like any of these ideas; tell him so. You already have an active, satisfying sex life; you’re just not interested in adding unpleasant threesomes to the menu. “I don’t like watching porn starring someone who looks like me, I don’t want to fantasize about cheating on you, and I don’t want to sleep with your most grotesque friends because you think they won’t steal me away.” Your husband is being honest with you, so return the favor and be honest with him about how much his suggestions are turning you off. You don’t have to berate him for them, but you do owe it to yourself not to encourage any sexual behavior you find “super gross.”

Q. Guest Etiquette: I don’t wear shoes in the house, because of little kids, and for generally staying clean. It grosses me out to think of stuff kids pick up from the floor when everybody is walking everywhere with dirty shoes. My friends understand this and take their shoes off; I’ve never had to ask. Except that one friend, who knows the rule, sees other people taking their shoes off by the door but still keeps hers on. Is it impolite to ask your guests to take their shoes off? I have one exception—if I am having a big get-together, then I tell people to leave their shoes on, and I clean the hardwood after the party. Appreciate your thoughts.

Advertisement

A: It’s perfectly polite. Say, “Would you please take your shoes off?” There is a very simple solution to your problem; it’s calming in the extreme to answer a question like this one.

Q. Ending it all?: I am 65. My husband is 70 and was recently diagnosed with cancer. For a variety of reasons, he wants to commit suicide and he wants me to help him. I am wrecked. His main concern is MONEY! He doesn’t want to use our life savings! He won’t listen to me (I’d rather have HIM). I told him I won’t help him, which led to an argument about whether or not I love him. He won’t talk to a therapist. Is it wrong of me not to want to help him? And how can I tell our kids?

A: It is not wrong to not want to help him, and I think you should insist on therapy. If he won’t go with you, go by yourself. Suicidal ideation is a not-uncommon response to a cancer diagnosis, but it doesn’t sound like your husband is actually at the end of his life and trying to make a rational decision about how to die on his own terms—it sounds like he’s panicking about money and trying to pressure you into helping him kill himself rather than deal with the realities of his diagnosis. I’d encourage you to notify his doctor, but I’m neither a doctor nor an expert on privileged medical information. Do any readers with relevant experience want to add to my advice here? Happy to publish anything that may help this LW in her painful situation.

Q. Sweet 16 “coming out” party?: My daughter’s sweet 16 party is coming up, and she wants to do a candle ceremony to honor the important people in her life, including her girlfriend, “Sue.” The problem is that my daughter has not come out to about half the party guests, mostly relatives, and is worried about their reaction. She also doesn’t want the party to turn into some big announcement about her sexuality. My first instinct was to suggest that she simply refrain from mentioning the nature of her relationship with Sue, but I don’t want her to feel like she has to hide who she is. Any suggestions?

Advertisement

A: That is so charming! It is maybe the most 16-year-old thing I have ever heard, wanting to have a candle ceremony on her birthday to acknowledge her girlfriend. I’m inclined to think she should come out before the party, but if you’re both truly worried some of your relatives will react badly, I think she should hold off. What if a smaller group of you got together before the party proper and had yourselves a festive little candle ritual? That way she can acknowledge her relationship with the people who know her best but also doesn’t have to spend her birthday party worrying about how to come out to family members who may not take it well at first. Best of luck to her—she sounds like a great kid.

Q. Re: MFM/cuckolding: Technically, what the threesome husband wants is not cuckolding.

Cuckolding is either a woman having sex with another man without permission (so, cheating), or in the kink world, it’s a very specific fetish involving the woman having sex with another man as part of humiliation play (often involving the husband being there to watch and be the recipient of humiliating comments about how her lover is better in bed, etc., to the great fun of all involved).

This request is more of a general threesome interest, or perhaps a hot-wife fetish (the woman has sex with another man, but the husband finds it arousing that she’s with another man, and there is no humiliation component).

Advertisement

A: Yes, very true, but what you seem to have missed in the original letter is that before the threesome request, he also asked his wife repeatedly if she’d ever cheated on him, in what was clearly an attempt to get her to say “yes.” We’ve all seen that filmstrip, and we know where it ends.

Q. Moving out on my children: I’m a 44-year-old single woman with two children ages 23 and 20. I have raised them on my own since they were both born. Currently we all live together in a flat owned by my parents, who live in the unit underneath us. I pay the rent as well as all of the bills for me and my children. My daughter works part time and is a full-time student. My son works full time but doesn’t make all that much and has a car and insurance payments. I have never lived on my own and now that my children are grown I feel nothing is, or should be, holding me back. However, I still feel guilty about moving on—even though I’d only be 30 minutes away and would still contribute to their expenses for the next few years. They could rent out the spare bedroom and have more than enough to live on. I still feel like I would be abandoning my children, but I desperately need my own space and need to start living for myself. I love my children dearly and we have a great relationship—I don’t want to jeopardize that in any way. Please help.

A: Is all you need my permission? You have it. You are not abandoning your children; they are long past the age of abandonment. Move out. I hope you have a wonderful time in your own place.

Q. Re: Ending it all: She should turn that guilt around and say that she too is concerned about the finances. Then they should get the name of a good financial planner/estate planner. Though the threat to his health may be dire, there’s plenty he can do to mitigate that. Perhaps seeing that he can protect her, and giving him something he can control to focus on would help.

Advertisement

A: That’s an excellent idea, thanks!

Q. How to move on: I recently ended a four-year relationship with a man. We are both in our mid-30s. We had both been married and divorced before. I have a child, and he was involved in his life too. For the month prior to the holidays he had been struggling with depression, or so he said. Two days after spending the holidays with me and my family, he broke up with me alleging he needed time on his own to sort himself out and he didn’t want to drag me down with him. It’s been about a month and I just found out that “time on his own” really meant immediately (i.e. the next day) starting to date a 21-year-old college student 12 years his junior from a different state that he met online gaming. He obviously had something started with her before we broke up. He thinks he got away with cheating on me without my knowing. A huge part of me wants to send him a message letting him know I know. All I really want to say in the message is “I know you are a cheater and a liar and nothing you said to me ever was true. Except that you didn’t deserve me. That was true.” Is that a terrible idea? And, really, the better question is, how do I move past this? I am pretty crushed.

A: As an advice columnist, I know I am supposed to encourage you to be the bigger person and gracefully sail away from this relationship, secure in your choice to rise above the need to have the last word, but ... that sounds like an exquisitely savage kiss-off. It might feel really good to say it.

It might also feel terrible! I cannot promise you good times if you send that message. The high road may be agonizing, but its consolations are reliable: If you don’t have any further contact with your ex, you’ll spare yourself the possibility of an embarrassing scene or the knowledge that you’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about him. If you take the low road, you may not be able to stop yourself with one message. It may open a floodgate and every resentment you’ve ever held against him will come tumbling out, and you’ll humiliate and exhaust yourself trying to get him to admit what a bad boyfriend he was to you. Whether you say something to him or not, you will still feel—and have been—played. It will sting.

Advertisement

As for moving past it, you can, and should, hate him for a while. You can, and should, eventually relinquish the pleasure of hating him once it stops serving you. The classic combination of time and letting go of your expectations will eventually do the trick. You were together for a long time and his betrayal was immense. You may never feel serene about what he did to you, but the day will come when he is not the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning, and that will be a good day.

Q. Re: Ending it all: Letting the primary care doctor and the oncologist know is an important step. There are therapists and chaplains who can help both of you. Reach out to support groups who might also help with finding a good therapist. I’d also encourage getting a palliative care consultation.

Keep in mind hospice care is a great Medicare benefit that can help both you and your husband. They help people stay at home rather than die in a hospital, and they can be a tremendous support to the caregiver. You can ask for a consultation from your primary M.D. And you can even “test drive” the benefit, start it and stop it if it isn’t working for you.

A: Thanks so much for the hospice recommendation. There are more options than they might originally think, in the wake of an initial diagnosis.

Q. Meeting people: I’m curious how the rest of the world goes about meeting potential dates. I’m a 30-year-old woman, and I’ve never been in a long-term relationship, largely because after college I’ve not met any single men who are also a good match for me. I’m not super shy or reclusive, but as I go about my daily life—working, running, reading—I never seem to meet anyone I would be interested in spending more time with. All the men I know are married! I’m reluctant about using online dating sites or visiting the bar scene, as it’s important to me that whomever I date share my faith. How does one go about meeting people?

A: Use an online dating site that caters to members of whatever faith you belong to—there’s one for absolutely every religion I can think of. Join the singles ministry at your church or temple, if they have one. Running and reading are both fairly solitary activities; I just Googled “[Religious group] running + California” and got about 5,000 results, so unless your religion is incredibly obscure, I’m willing to bet there are groups of people your age who share your faith and your interests.