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Ask E. Jean For DearSugar: Am I Just Being Used?

Dear E. Jean,

My wife displays no affection for me whatsoever! When we first met, it was like magic. I lived in a big city in an upscale neighborhood and had a thriving business. I was 37, never married, no kids. She was divorced with seven kids.

I knocked on her door while campaigning for a friend’s Senate position, and the rest is history. I was at the point in my life where I was tired of looking for my soul mate. My family thought I was nuts for marrying her. But it was something I always wanted — a lot of kids and a beautiful wife.

We married, I bought a ranch, and we moved.

Now, here comes the bombshell: She tells me that she was a prostitute to support her kids. She stopped just two weeks before our meeting. Her pimp (a prominent local businessman) is still calling the house after four years wanting to hook her up.

In the meantime, I’m catering to her every need, because I know she had a very difficult time in the past. I’m doing all the shopping, taking the kids to school, and basically running the house. I write her love notes, bring her flowers, chocolates, and give her massages. When we make love, she tells me she’s never felt that way before.

However, I’ve begun to notice she doesn’t and hasn’t done anything for me. No attention, no initiation, no love or affection. No cards. No love notes. I’ve tried to talk to her about it. She says that if one person (me) is initiating the love in the marriage, that’s all that’s needed.

I feel unwanted. I’m losing confidence in myself. I feel like a dog chained to a tree that doesn’t get any food or water. I love her but I feel as though I’m being badly used. Help! — Lost in Texas

To see E. Jean's answer,


My Dear, Dear Texas,

You pierce my heart! My man, you deserve love notes from every woman in America! If I had your address. I would send you 33 pounds of chocolates, then fly to Texas to help you eat them. But as for your wife . . .

I’m guessing she can’t show affection to any man. I’m guessing she’s so hungry for love herself, so busy with the children, so exhausted, she can’t even see your needs. I’m guessing she spent so many years being paid to love gnarly, greasy, brutal, stupid, selfish men, spent so many years pretending to love their idiot sex fantasies — turning tricks to feed her children has got to be one of the toughest ways to earn money in the world — she doesn’t know how to handle the real deal from a spectacular guy like you.

Pardon me, I don’t want to add to your pain, but I think you will have to accept her as she is — flaws and all. You can’t make her be affectionate. Until she learns to love herself (and she will probably have to go to a therapist to get a new perspective on herself) she won’t be able to love you as you deserve.

Of course, you can do a hundred little things to nudge her along — you can ask her to tell you she loves you. You can ask her to give you a kiss. You can use humor — write a love letter to yourself, ask her to sign it, and then mail it to yourself (and when it arrives, rip it open, read it aloud, and praise her for her, ahem, “gorgeous writing style”). But in the end, it will always come down to one thing: You are too good for her.

To see more advice from E. Jean, visit Elle magazine and

Join The Conversation
xoxoxx xoxoxx 9 years
Er, whatever. I believe it [crazy shit happens these days]. Good for the guy for leaving that nutty tramp. And happy father's day.
Fallen85 Fallen85 9 years
I dont mean to be rude but this is just too dramatic a problem with too perfect of an ending to be 100% believable. We may just have to agree to disagree, thats the TeamSugar way!
Fallen85 Fallen85 9 years
As bluebellknoll and ufshutterbabe said I do not think on any level that E.Jean wrote it herself! Of course not! But I think some loser sent it in and it was just too juicy of a letter to ignore. I think EJean got taken in by the letter because it was just so opposite of the usual "women being used by men" posts. zombielove, I suggest reading Savage Love by Dan Savage which was referred to by ufshutterbabe and bluebellknoll. I suggest reading this one where he goes over why he thinks certain posts are fake: For all we know, every post on this site could be completely 100% made up by a team of sugars but I doubt it. There are some posts that are completely believable because we've been through those problems ourself or we can relate to them so they seem more likely. Then there are posts about an alleged majorly christian girls who gets knocked up by her exboyfriend who just happened to leave a month before to California to be an actor and she didnt notice she was pregnant until she was already 3 months and now she's engaged to her new boyfriend and her mom is totally happy she's knocked up even though she 'sinned' by cheating on her fiancee and having sex before marriage but now she has to tell her fiancee and her father that she's pregnant and it's not immaculate conception! Oh no! Aaaah! Too much drama, sounds like a REALLY BAD after school special and there are just too many things happening that come off as unrealistic. Same goes for the 37yr old rich guy who falls for the prostitute with 7 children who uses him for his money and allows her pimp to call. It's just too pathetic and dramatic to be real.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
I'm right there with you Fallen85 and ufshutterbabe. And I also agree with ufshutterbabe regarding the person who submitted the letter is the culprit...I didn't think that EJean actually WROTE the letter.
zombielove zombielove 9 years
fallen85, i have a question...what stops any of the other stories on dear sugar from being true or being made up? i have read other threads and no one is calling bs on all of the other ones, for all you know, those could be "Fake".
Fallen85 Fallen85 9 years
Uh... I still call bullsh!t. Just because some "guy" joins TeamSugar 18 hours ago and claims "It is I who had these problems and everything is fine. I've moved away and I am happy. No messy divorce, I still get to see my son lalalala everything is wonderful!" doesnt mean TeamSugar didnt do it to save face. Does this not SCREAM "deus ex machina" to anyone else on this site? I'm with ufshutterbabe on this one. I have my doubts and I'll be taking the E.Jean things much less seriously from this point on.
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
I'm glad we all ogt a response, but I have to admit I'm still alittle troubled. I'm glad that you have a son and that in some way this turned put well for you. My mother and father were together and had 3 children before they split up and now if you ask my mom she will tell you that she never should have been with him in the first place. I don't think there is anything wrong with admitting you made a mistake and moving on, but part of the response seems to be back tracking on things that were clearly printed in the original post. I think anyone can learn and grow form their mistakes, I just hope you are willing to not only look at how you were wronged by the other person but also how you may have wronged yourself as well. No relationship goes bad because of just one person. In even the worst cases their are things that both parties could have done differently to avoid conflict and make the situation better. Ihope you feel better about yourself now and feel you are worth being with someone who can truly appreciate you and won't be there just to take advantage of you.
Chloe08 Chloe08 9 years
MovingOn - I truly feel for you and your unfortunate situation. I wish you all the best, and I'm sure you will find a wonderful woman worthy of your love before you even know it!
JenFan1 JenFan1 9 years
Ah -I'm so happy Movingon came and responded to us, and now we know he really exists and is not just a figment of our imaginations! *LOL* You are a very handsome man by the way, you should have absoloutely no trouble finding a decent woman at any age that will love you for everything you are. I applaud your courage to get out of that toxic took the first steps toward the rest of your life and that could not have been easy. You are now free to heal and to move on... I wish you and your son the very best and hope you find true happiness..tho I have no doubt that you will!
kythera kythera 9 years
E. Jean, I respect you 100%. I never thought for the life of me that ANYONE would question you or the authenticity of your articles. I think it shows a lot when Movingon signed up and voiced himself. There are a lot of skeptics here (myself included). Movingon's situation happens to a LOT of guys. I knew a few that had been trampled on by their supposed love. It's sad, and it gives good women like me a bad rap. Kudos to YOU Movingon for doing just that. You totally deserve better, and believe me, there are awesome women out there that KNOW how to treat a man right. Like myself, but I'm married haha. You are definitely handsome, I hope the next girl feels lucky. E. ARE a goddess! Keep on doin' what you've been doing. There are going to be skeptics and haters EVERYWHERE. 8)
Wow! I'd be on the phone to my lawyer, hoping the whole thing could be annulled based on the fact that she failed to mention her hooking ways to you prior to saying "I do." Yuck! I do not commend any woman who supports her children by spreading her legs. If you have so many kids that a real job does nothing to support them, you should/ should've think about birth control and abortion. Now there will be these 7 kids thinking it's perfectly reasonable to have too many kids to support, then open their legs to get the money to feed them...
sundaygreen sundaygreen 9 years
Haha, when I said it sounded fake to me I wasn't even thinking that E.Jean had 'made the story up' - it just sounded too bizarre to be true, and maybe someone had wrote in trying to yank everyone's chains.
Meike Meike 9 years
Wow. Well, you certainly do not deserve the treatment you've received and I do believe men like you exist out there. I have my own. I guess many women find disbelief in your words because the chance of meeting someone as generous and devoted as you are to this pathetic person is rare. To be honest, I think you must have been pretty blind and desperate to enter a relationship with a woman who's history you've only discovered after marrying her. Obviously no one wants to hear that about themselves but I feel that is what happened in your situation. Well, you already know the answer to your problem. Leave her and find someone who will truly love you and is generous with her love.
movingon movingon 9 years
I think I can clarify this for you. I suspected that he had been calling recently and other times in the past because she would go outside to talk to someone on the phone. When I would ask her if everything was ok she would fumble on her words so I conveyed in my email that it was for four years but I only had actual proof of it in the first nine months. I have recently moved to another state for work. Hope this helps. T-
ufshutterbabe ufshutterbabe 9 years
Ok, wait a second here. I don't think anyone accused EJean of making this up - thats a serious journalistic infraction and I would never accuse a professional of that without solid evidence. I believe we were all questioning whether the letter writer was fabricating his story. Secondly, I know letters must be edited for length, but the fact that you left out mention of his son disturbs me. Again, assuming the letter is real - that's a serious concern. This column online isn't like a Dear Abby letter printed in the paper - am I wrong in thinking these letters are presented for everyone to weigh in on, not just to be entertained by EJean's response? How can we form accurate opinions when major facts are omitted, or misrepresented? EJean, why did you edit the letter to say "Still calling the house after 4 years" when the writer is now saying that was "only for the first 9 months" ? And I'm left questioning how long of a lag there is here between the letter submission and publication - if this man has moved to another state already, seems like he doesn't need much help or advice. Knowing what I do now about how these letters are presented, I will definitely view this feature in a much more skeptical, detached way in the future.
EJean EJean 9 years
My dear man! I am so glad to see you came to talk to us and greet the Sugars! We have been boiling all day about you . . . very concerned! To some of us you were coming across as too good to be true. I am happy to hear how well you are doing. (And I am also happy to see you are looking so well, so handsome, and so ready for the NEXT big thing in life!) Ravishing Regards, E. Jean [P.S. Yes, ladies, this is the man who wrote the letter. How do I know? He disclosed in his letter to me he had a son with his wife. I had edited that part out along with about 600 words of more details. The man above mentions his son.]
movingon movingon 9 years
Thank you all for responding to my email. I have made the decision to end this relationship and move on with my life. I currently live in another state and visit with my son every other weekend when possible. He is the joy of my life! If I can say this about what I have read (posts) regarding my situation… I did not make a hasty decision about starting this relationship given the facts I was presented. I do understand people make mistakes in their lives as I have made many myself. If we were not forgiven of the shortcomings in our lives this world would be a horrible place to live. I chose to believe in her and her kids based on the many, many neat things/signs that were telling me to move forward in this relationship. Her undesirable friend only called for the first nine months of the relationship if I can clarify that. It did feel like a knife piercing my heart every time he called though and the non-love from her left me to bleed death over the next three years. I know what you are thinking but I couldn’t abandon her and the kids given the circumstances. Also, I wasn’t “tired” of searching for my soul-mate and had concluded that if it happens it will happen when I least expect it so I stopped seeking the “one”. Then she came into my life and I am grateful for the son I have now. It is Father’s Day weekend and I will see my son tomorrow. We live 7 hours apart now and I can’t wait to see him! If I could change what happened to me I would but that would mean giving up my son. I would loose everything again if I had too just to have him in my life. I know there is woman out there for me somewhere that can reciprocate at some level all the love I have to give. I am still the same person as I was before. I believe if you love someone you show them by the big and little things you do for them that makes their life wonderful and the best that they can be. T-
K-is-For-Kait K-is-For-Kait 9 years
You were so desperate in your serch that you settled for the first woman who showed interest in you, but she's not the right woman for you. She can't handle giving you the love you need, you shouldn't be taking on all her personal responsibilities. You can do better.
lvkelly79 lvkelly79 9 years
although i love E.Jean's response, i think it's inappropriate to say that he's to good for her... His wife has obvious emotional issues, but i applaud her for doing what it takes to support her kids... This guy sounds like "the perfect husband", but i'm sure he has flaws as well...
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
I would like to add ,in response to E Jean: If this was a woman I would say the same thing. I don't think it's fake because it comes from a man, and I don't think you made this up. I'm sure someone wrote this e-mail and your advice is truly what you believe to be the best for his situation. I think however, that this man ,if he exists, has the lowest self esteem possible, and that you didn't really address that in your response. You said that he should get his wife help, but the truth is that he needs counseling as well because he chose this woman. There were clear signs that she was probably not a stable prospect for a relationship and he even admits that he was at a point where he was tired of looking for his soul mate. He didn't get into this because he wanted this woman or her children in particular he did it because it was something he had always wanted, a dream to fulfill. He was and is using her to make that happen and just because he treats her well doesn't mean he is any more in the right. Would any of us want to be loved that way? Don't we all dream of being with a person who not only lives with us despite our oddities , but who in some way can't live without us or at least doesn't want to? I know that people write in and ask these questions because they want advice as to what to do about the horrible people in their lives who are making life unbearable for them. I just think every once and a while it's nice to be honest and let a person know that they do have the power to change things in their own lives and that, in all honesty, a lot of the situations they find themselves in are because they were not being 100% genuine to begin with.
tomatoshirt tomatoshirt 9 years
EJean, I agree w/ you.... that's why someone needs to slap him back to reality (excuse my language here)... This guy may exaggerate it a lil in his letter, but i know some guys are like that, so deep "in love" totally lose themselves... I wouldn't want to be w/ a guy like that...
DearSugar DearSugar 9 years
Ladies, ladies, ladies — come on now! You can't really think E. Jean made this up! I know she has a great imagination, but not even she could make this up!! The truth of the matter is this: some people's lives actually are that complicated, and just like me and you, they need advice from an unbiased person — our lovely E. Jean. So ladies, instead of accusing her of making up the question, gave this guy some sympathy, he clearly needs it!
EJean EJean 9 years
I am awe-struck, my darlings! The brainpower on Dear Sugar is of the highest quality; and yet one or two of our most charming Sugars lack the experience with life to even IMAGINE that a man can fall so deeply in love he can't see straight . . . Come, come Sugars! Open your minds! Admit that a man can be so needy, so without love, he falls for a woman----who HE describes as beautiful---(it may not in fact be the reality; but HE thinks she is) and can make sad sad mistakes. P.S. His letter did not say the woman lived in an upscale neighborhood, it said that he did.
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
This letter is so fake and if it isn't then this guy needs therapy as much as his "wife". What person male or female would put themselves in this position in the first place? If this woman never showed any signs of love prior to marriage what's the shock now, and by your own account you married her because it fulfilled some sort of desire in your life , not because you loved her. Sounds to me like you are both being used.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
Look after yourself and get rid of this woman and her brood. This woman and her children have "liability" written all over it.
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