OKCupid Accidents, the Kid Talk, and Cheating With a Smile

by A Dude

OK, serious issue here. (Also, I’m a dude, too.) I know something about my brother-in-law (my wife’s brother) that could drastically affect his life, and I’m not sure what I should do, if anything. One afternoon after riding bikes together, I was waiting in his car for him to run an errand in a store. He had left his smartphone in the car, so I figured I would check my email on it real quick, no big deal. When I opened up the browser window, it was open to his hotmail account and the first thing I saw (this all occurred in, like, one second) were a bunch of emails from OKCupid. I closed the browser, put the phone down, and didn’t tell him or anybody else. My brother-in-law is and has been married to a wonderful lady for about five years now, and they are trying to get pregnant.

So, later I decide to investigate, and I see that on the OKCupid registration, one of the options is “married, just here for friends” (how fake is that?) but it was enough for me to tell myself “OK, he’s just looking for friends. He’s not the most social guy, that’s all it is, don’t worry, etc.” Then last night I was bored and thinking about it (bad combo) and started a fake account for a woman around his age in his area, just to look at his profile. To my horror, he has listed that he is interested in dating women, and at the end says he’s looking for somebody who isn’t into being monogamous, and isn’t against dating somebody who is in a relationship. Yikes.

So, now the only story I can tell myself to make this OK is that he and his wife are looking at an open marriage. She is cool and socially liberal, but in an NPR way, not a “let’s be swingers” way. At least I assume, but in theory you can’t really smell swingers out, right? Doesn’t seem likely. So it’s pretty clear that my brother-in-law is at the very least trying to cheat on his successful, beautiful, intelligent, caring wife. My wife and I are very close to him and his wife, and her whole family. So, I don’t know if I should talk to him (or anybody else) about this, or let things fall where they may. I did invade his privacy, and even if he does fuck up his marriage I’ll still be in his family. Also, he tends to hold a grudge. A little help!

No! Noooooooo! See!? Everybody PAY ATTENTION: This is what happens when you use other people’s phones/computers/toilets without their permission. Just never look at someone else’s email. I mean, unless it’s your job at the CIA or wherever and/or you’re sure you don’t ever need to have any kind of relationship with this person and anyone who knows… oh what am I adding this disclaimer for? Remember when A Lady warned us never to touch the Bitch Filament? You touched something just like that! Honestly, though, thank you for this question, because right off the bat here I am able to give real, generalizable advice: Do not read other people’s email. Never ever. Always never.

But you know, I definitely feel for you, Knowing Man, so it’s not gonna be all wire hangers here. As long as we understand that it’s your own damn fault that you know this information (and, I mean, you kind of sound like you get this): Man! It sure does suck that your brother-in-law is probably a huge jerk! But that’s just that trouble: probably. He’s probably running around on your wife’s sister. But we’re not talking about probably in the sense that fluctuations in the quantum foam, like, eventually allow you to pass through a brick wall. I mean that while the possibility that your in-laws are in some kind of secret open marriage is super unlikely, it’s way far from being a zero-probability scenario. So if you don’t want to run the risk of having this blow up in your face and turn you into the jerk (oh no!).

So I have two courses of action for you (and I am really not keen on the first one):

1. Drink more. Specifically, drink more with your wife’s sister and her husband. Drink with each of them separately, drink with them together. You know: all the different ways. People like to say a lot of things when they’re drunk and maybe you can get them to talk about how they fuck other people. But, see, that’s kind of exactly my problem with giving you this advice, because it requires you following a really simple rule and rules are so hard to follow when you’re drunk! The rule, of course, is YOU CANNOT LET ON THAT YOU KNOW ANYTHING. Especially if you find out they’re swingers* … but especially if you find out he’s the only one doing the swinging. Another reservation I have about this is that it feels like it’s kind of a complicated scheme and I feel irresponsible advising you to do any more complicated scheming. On the other hand, you sound kind of good at it, so… if you think you have the steady hand to pull off that kind of procedure, go for it, but don’t screw it up, and if it’s unfruitful you’re just gonna have to:

2. Do nothing. Don’t do anything. Don’t say anything. Wear this information like a hairshirt that reminds you not to look at people’s emails.**

But yeah, that sucks. You seem like a nice dude and a little obsessive, which is not great, but I am too, so I identify. All the weird things you did (after the first weird thing, natch) is not stuff I would put past my own damn self. So, solidarity etc. and good luck.

*Also: If your in-laws are indeed all Ice Stormy and are giving off an NPR vibe rather than a Peterson-Kekich vibe, then good for them. Shit, I hope that doesn’t make me sound too conservative. Does that scan as “keep it in the closet, weirdos”? I don’t know, but I’m sure the commenters do.

**Hotmail on a smartphone! Adorable.

What does it mean if almost every dude I hook up with goes down on me almost instantly the first time we hook up? I like it, but don’t always want to reciprocate — I’m fine with giving BJs, but they just seem somehow more intimate to me, and don’t usually break them out until later on down the road. (And then I break them out with vigor!) But before then, I feel weird about the imbalanced reciprocity and am curious what this means, if anything, about me/the guys I hook up with, and is this typical? Is this question ridiculous?

There definitely are such things as ridiculous questions, but no, Lady Correspondent, yours is not one of them. So let’s talk about mouth sex.

So anyway, you’re meeting what seems to you like an abnormally large number of dudes who like eating pussy. I have a few theories about why this might be. First of all, I’d be professionally negligent (I mean given my actual job, not as A Dude, because, disclaimer: not a job!) if I didn’t point out that we are in no way talking about a random sample of dudes. What we have here is a sample of dudes who have been selected (by you) into situations where they have reason to believe they are allowed to put their faces between your legs. It is highly likely, in my opinion, that there is some unobserved variable correlated with both the likelihood of your attraction to these dudes and the likelihood that they will go down on you. Does that sound right? I mean, if you’re cruising for dudes in settings where dudes don’t generally do that, like, I don’t know, Indiana or the 1930s, then this whole thing might be way more of a mystery. Also, you said this has been the case with “almost every dude” and not “every single dude,” which would certainly be much more of a statistical anomaly.

The second theory is that maybe this is just something people do more often than they used to. Sexual behaviors change over time. Speaking of the 1930s, it was totally a scandal (approx.) that Charlie Chaplin wanted his second wife to give him blowjobs. New sex perversion! From France, even! (But seriously, have you not read Hollywood Babylon? Why are you not reading Hollywood Babylon right now?) What I’m saying is I think dudes maybe feel more often like this is expected of them. I don’t know, but you say that you like it, so if it’s not generally expected/required, you might want to keep that a secret. Just sayin! And again, I suspect this trend is true in general, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it’s particularly strong in the population you’re selecting these dudes from.

Third theory is you have some kind of magic pussy. Ha! Just kidding! Magic isn’t real; there’s a perfectly good scientific explanation, probably involving your ultradense vagina and these dudes keep crossing the event horizon and, y’know, gravity is a motherfucker. Science. Or maybe your mysterious ladyfluid is Pillsbury cinnamon roll icing or fucking Spice Melange, in which case, like, good for you and also my number is [REDACTED]? Hoo boy! Science, how bout it!?

That’s all well and good, but really your letter isn’t so much “is it weird that this is happening?” because no, as we’ve demonstrated, one way or another it’s not. What you’re really asking is whether it’s OK that you’re not reciprocating right away. This is a much easier one: Don’t worry about it! I feel reasonably confident that these dudes are eating your pussy because they want to be eating your pussy. If I’m catching this right, you sound adequately appreciative and concerned about reciprocity, which is a whole lot better than the opposite. Which I guess would be totally unappreciative, which is a low bar, especially because of course you sound sympathetic because you wrote the damn letter and we’re all heroes in our own minds. Shoot, I’ve lost the plot again.

Anyway! Not reciprocating (for like a little while — at some point fish or cut bait, right?) should not be a huge problem. I guess if you do encounter some ding-dong who’s all like “now you have to blow me!” then you have my permission to punch him in the balls, but mostly can you even imagine someone saying that? And can you imagine someone saying that after going down on you? Yeah I don’t know, maybe you can! On the other hand, I just want to double check that these guys all do kind of want reciprocation even if they don’t expect it, right? They shouldn’t be super-pushy, but you should also maybe be concerned if these dudes don’t make at least some maneuver, up to and including that scene in Bridesmaids about Jon Hamm putting his penis in Kristen Wiig’s face. I know, I know it’s probably not nice to be in that position, but just do me a favor and don’t be too harsh about these kinds of maneuvers (dude did just go down on you, remember! That was fun, right?), and as long as you can get him to mostly cut it out with a polite demurral, everything should be fine.

So I don’t know? This feels kind of like the only advice I’m giving is “do whatever you want and things oughta shake out correctly,” which feels like a cop-out, but like I always say: Sometimes life is easy!

Dear Mr. A Dude, I think I already know the answers to my questions, but since there’s a serious lack of solid dudely advice in my life, I’m going to ask them anyway.

My boyfriend of three years and I just broke up, well, yesterday and I’m trying to figure out whether I should fight to reinstate the relationship or just let go and move on considering the breakup occurred not from lack of love, but rather from the simple fact that we have potentially different life goals.

The backstory: XBF and I are a few years apart in age, I’m 26 and he’s almost-but-not-quite 24. About three months ago, around my 26th birthday I started to have my typical “OMG I’m getting so old and I’m not where I want to be in life” cray-cray birthday bullshit freakout and part of that freakout involved potentially wanting kids one day. Maybe. If I’m willing to sacrifice my frankly banging vajay to a hostile takeover. I go back and forth on the subject, but nonetheless decided to have that talk with the dear boy. It shouldn’t surprise you (or anyone) that a 23 year old dude does not want kids. Let me be clear, I didn’t ask him to buy me a ring or put a baby in me or anything like that. It was more of a “hey, this is how I see my life going, how’s about you?”

The problem for me was not that he didn’t want kids right now, because — hell — I don’t want them for at least another 10 years, but that he’s dead set on never having kids ever and is insistent that he’ll never change his mind on the subject. His reasons for not wanting kids are a little strange to me to, like not wanting share significant other with kids. Fact is, people change their minds and when I was his age I was convinced children were nothing but cleverly disguised torture devices and I find it silly that he allows for no possible changes of heart.

I tried to break things off with him then (hindsight being 20/20, I regret that particular moment of crazy) and he begged me to stay, which obviously I did because I love him terribly and really believe that he’s my soulmate. I also privately started reevaluating whether or not I really want kids (jury’s still out, but I’m leaning towards “no” though am unsure if his attitude has effected that decision).

Anyway, fast forward to yesterday and him dropping the giant breakup bomb on me. His reasons were that he feels he’s holding me back from getting what I really want out of life and that he’s been selfish. I tried to explain that I wasn’t sure anymore what I wanted and that he matters more to me than any potential future brats, but he said that my previous tearful arguments in favor of kids made him think that I would change my mind again, yadda yadda. I know he loves me and I believe his feelings were completely sincere and he is just looking out for my best interests, but there are a couple of things irking me:

1. He lived with me for the last couple months (starting after our original baby-related talk) due to some extenuating circumstances out of his control and this breakup comes three days after helping him move into his new apartment and driving him to Outer Mongolia to pick up various things integral to the moving. I’m feeling a little used, but that could just be due to all-around hurt feelings. Am I crazy for wondering that the “holding me back” explanation is a cover for another issue entirely which would stop me from trying to rekindle the relationship?

2. His complete unwillingness to accept that his mind (and mine) might change over the course of the years, especially considering how young he is, also really bothers me. It seems a bit drastic to jump all the way to breaking up with me, proclaimed best friend and love of life. His words. I’m sorry this is so convoluted and longwinded, I’m just trying to come to terms with losing such an integral person in my life for reasons that don’t quite make sense to me. Is it worth trying to talk to him about it? Do you have any tips for ways to approach the conversation if I do try and bring it up again?

Aw, Lady Interlocutor, I am so sorry! First of all you don’t have to call me Mr. A Dude — that’s my father’s name! But, no, seriously folks, when these kinds of things are fresh we go into super-detailed examinations of what exactly went wrong and because I’m a human I have totally felt like this. Ruminating on it for a minute, I don’t have such good advice for you and I feel bad about that. Practical advice for this sutuation just boils down to: walk away, do all the fun stuff all the other people who know you better tell you to do (like I don’t know… Yoga? Grad school? What do people do?) and things will work out one way or another.

But here’s the part where I don’t want to make you feel bad, and if I could spirit you away to the Scandinavian wilderness and train you be an emotionless teenage supersoldier I totally would, but: The real most likely thing here is that yes, the “holding you back” line is bullshit and he just doesn’t wanna be your boyfriend. Because you know what? There’s two ways to look at this: There’s a lot of us dudes who are chickenshits who aren’t gonna tell you that he just doesn’t like you like that anymore and you can’t do anything about it because you’re you. How do I know this? I know this because I do this all the time. (Like twice a week! No just kidding! But only kind of!) But because I’ve been there I also know why and that’s because, well, we do love you, y’know? And we don’t want to say things that will make you feel bad, like “you don’t give me boners anymore” or “your voice! I hate hearing it!”

On the other hand, wait, you wrote this letter the day after the breakup? By the time you’re seeing this advice it’s weeks after the breakup! It’s hard to even think about a day after the breakup vs. weeks after the breakup. Did you meet someone new? Did you go on a mission to outer space and return hundreds of years later when your great-great-grandchildren were long dead?

Furthermore, I am hoping your Outer Mongolia reference is literal and you live in a yurt on the steppe, because that sounds interesting.

What is the deal with dudes cheating on their girlfriends but staying with them? I know a guy who is now engaged to his girlfriend of many years. According to all of my friends who know him, he is a great guy, the nicest guy, just wonderful. And yet, he has made out with me twice (and would have had sex if we had had a condom each time).

I have separated myself from the situation, but the whole idea confuses and angers me. I’ve been single for a long time, but when I’m committed to someone it’s completely. I can’t believe this “nice” guy has told me about all of these feelings he has for me and has hooked up with me and yet continues down the path of commitment with his girlfriend (now fiance). (Also, I didn’t know he had a girlfriend until after the first time. The second time, I was actually telling him how much that sucked for me. And yet I did it, again.)

I wouldn’t expect anyone in a relationship not to have crushes or doubts, and I could even see someone slipping up once and feeling terrible. But he doesn’t feel terrible. Given a choice, I think he would continue to see me when it was convenient for him, whenever he could… and still be with his girlfriend. And I don’t know how he can do this. How he can betray the person he loves without feeling guilty. How he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with his relationship. And will he change once he gets married? Or if some other girl comes along that he likes, will he pursue her too?

I hope one day that I meet someone and fall in love again. I would like to live with a dude and maybe even get married. But I keep thinking of this super nice guy who is totally fine cheating on his girlfriend. Then I keep hearing all of these very similar stories on the Hairpin and from friends of friends, and it makes me terrified of ever trusting that the same thing wouldn’t happen to me (actually my ex cheated on me, but told me and broke up with me).

Is this a thing? Am I naive? Can people who cheat on their significant others really have healthy relationships with them?

Well hi there, thanks for the question! So let’s see, there are kind of a lot of questions marks in your letter, but they boil down to two questions: Is this guy/anyone ever gonna change? And how widespread is this kind of behavior?

To answer the first question, I’m gonna say, somewhat controversially, that people can change. I feel like there are a lot of good reasons to be skeptical of this, and usually it takes some kind of traumatic event to make it happen, which is why… oh gosh… remember I am so not a professional, but… I’m feeling reckless and am kind of on the verge of advising you to blow up this whole situation by telling his fiancee. I mean, this will probably ruin a lot of things, so be sure you are Ready, but if you are, then you can tell her that you’ve been fucking her fiance.

Or, what I mean is: This is pretty much the only thing that has any chance of making him change, so if that’s really priority number one, then I say go for it. But of course, if you actually care about whether he changes his behavior at all, you probably also care about him in some other way that implies that you would prefer not to have him hate you forever, which is the most likely consequence of the nuclear option. So… that’s a tricky one! And I can’t give you any further advice on this count outside of figuring out which of those things you care about is more important.

OK, well, after that it’s gonna be small consolation that no, you’re not naive. Not every dude does this. And it would really be a shame if you went through life worrying that dudes are constantly cheating, checking their hotmail for OKCupid emails and performing oral sex on letter writer #2. Also I wouldn’t worry about whether these relationships other folks are in are healthy or not. That’s kind of between those two folks in the relationship (of course the relationship between, say, your engaged friend and you is indeed your business). We just can’t let our lives be dominated by these kinds of concerns. There are more important things to worry about, like those amoebas that attack your brain when you go swimming. Or that the sun is going to burn out in five billion years and then what?

Previously: Breaking Up With Cheaters, Travel Partners, and the Decrepit.

A Dude is one of several rotating dudes who know everything. Do you have any questions for A Dude?

Photo by Brian Eichhorn via Shutterstock