Dear Dan —
I'm a 27-year-old bisexual chick who just moved in with my girlfriend of 10 months. I love her very much, and this is a great relationship—hot sex, laughs, good conversation. Here's the thing: I like to smoke pot, and pot makes her very uncomfortable. We've talked about it a lot—you know how dykes are—and I've been up front with her from the beginning. I'm responsible and successful, and I don't smoke that often. But I don't like feeling guilty. I'm afraid we're reaching an impasse on this issue. I've considered banishing pot from my life, but I know that some part of me would always resent her for not letting me be who I am. To her credit, she doesn't want me to stop smoking, but she gets angry and blames herself for the whole problem. I feel like I'm asking her to change a pretty fundamental belief and I don't know how fair that is. Basically, I need some perspective. Am I being an asshole?
— Distraught Kentucky Dyke
What is it about lesbianism—even in cases of lesbian-identified bi chicks—that renders a person incapable of taking yes for an answer? (Or maybe it's cunnilingus? Does Michael Douglas have the same problem?) Your girlfriend isn't asking you to stop smoking pot, she recognizes that she's the one in this relationship with a drug problem, and over time (it's only been 10 months!) she'll probably get over these OMFG-my-girlfriend-smokes-potpanic attacks. She's giving you a great big yes, DKD, and I think you should take it. But if you insist on viewing this as a problem that must be solved—if you insist on being a couple of cliché lesbians who feel they have to operate their relationship on the consensus model or someone is being oppressed—then this issue will be an endless source of anxiety and drama. Better to agree to disagree, smoke when the girlfriend isn't around, and remember to return the favor when the time comes, i.e., agree to let her enjoy something that you don't without pitching fits about it.
Dear Dan —
I'm a lost little lesbian. I have been with my partner for the past four years. She's 27 and I'm 26. These have been four magical years. We love each other, our parents are happy for us, and we make a great team. My girlfriend deployed to Afghanistan, and I was an angel for the first four months of her deployment. But then I hit a rocky spot. After an argument on Skype, I went to confide in a friend—seriously, confide, that was it. My friend and I cooked dinner, drank, and chatted. The next thing I knew, it was 5 a.m. and I was on the couch half-dressed. I never told my girlfriend. Part of me wanted to, but the moment she got off the plane and dropped to one knee, I knew I'd be keeping my indiscretion a secret. Seven months after my first slipup, we found out that she'd be leaving again. During her second deployment, I ended up out on the town with friends and was heavily intoxicated. Cutting to the chase: I slept with a random person. I did the same thing again five months later. So I have cheated three times. None of these people meant anything to me. My girlfriend is back, and this is the happiest I've ever seen her. We are planning a wedding, and I can't bring myself to break her heart. Many nights I find it impossible to sleep. I have identified that drinking is a major problem and I am finished with it. I know that the things I have done will never happen again, and I want to spare her that hurt. How do I get past all the mistakes I've made so that I can love her the way she deserves to be loved?
— Army Wife In Training
By giving yourself a break, AWIT. You were drunk, you were lonely, and you were unmarried. Okay, you weren't exactly single at the time, it's true, and you did a shitty thing... and another shitty thing... and another shitty thing. You can look on those three shitty things as unforgivable betrayals (and as prologue) or you can look at them as important life lessons you learned before making a formal and (hopefully) final commitment to your fiancée. Resolve to stay away from booze, go get tested for STIs, and stuff those ill-advised,booze-soaked,pre-exchange-of-vowsexperiences down the memory hole.
This week on the Savage Lovecast: Are shrinks good for your love life? Also, how should you comport yourself when you're the Dungeon Master and you have to watch your ex-girlfriend be some other guy's slave? Find out at savagelovecast.com.
Dan's new book—American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics—is available now.