Ask Wendy

Do I Have To Have The “We’re Dating Exclusively” Conversation Yet?

Friday, March 16, 2018
Hey Wendy,

I am newly single again and I remember from 20 years ago what my process was for dating. As soon as I met someone that I liked, I saw them exclusively and just worked through things. And ultimately, never identified what I needed. Been there, done that!

Now I’m older and wiser, and I want to date around until I’m absolutely sure that the person is someone who has long-term potential (and after 20 years of marriage, I am in no great rush!). That being said, when and how does the “we are just casual” conversation come up? Or it doesn’t have to?

I’m a month into dating this guy and as much as I enjoy him, it’s way too early to know if he has good long-term potential. My thought was to just enjoy our time together, continue to see other people, and not bring up the fact that we are casual and seeing other people at this point. I think it would actually crush his unspoken, but obvious, a fantasy of him being the only apple of my eye. If he asks me if I am seeing other people, which I can’t see this guy doing, then I will be upfront with him. But otherwise, until he brings it up, I wasn’t going to bring it up. I realize I am possibly sending mixed signals because there are a lot of sleepovers and I always find time to see him, so why would he think I’m still seeing others? Is that his bad for assuming or my bad for not spelling things out for him?

Ella P. – San Diego, CA

Hey Ella,

Thanks for this question. Thousands of daters find themselves in this situation. This oh-so-common conundrum is caused by the framework our society has built around dating, and it’s a bit, well, fucked up, to be blunt. So, let’s reframe this problem, okay?


What Happened in My Relationship? Was it Him or Me?

Friday, March 9, 2018
Hey Wendy,

A little over two months ago, a guy I went to high school with reached out to me on social media. We had always had a thing for each other, but we never acted on it up until now. We exchanged numbers and started texting, FaceTiming and Snapchatting constantly.

We lived in different states at the time, so it was difficult to see each other in person, but I did go see him a couple of times and would spend a few days with him each time. Every time we were together it was great, we had a lot of fun, and he made me feel special. He told me that he was serious about me, that he could see a future with me.

We did talk about the long-distance thing hindering the relationship, and so about a month and a half later I moved two hours away.

I had an extended stay with him recently. After a few days, I started to notice a change in him: he was distant and less affectionate. When I asked him about it, he said everything was fine and within a few days things seemed to be back to normal.

When I returned home, he seemed distant. I texted him and only got brief responses. I tried to FaceTime and got no answer. Finally, I texted and asked him if he was going to tell me what was wrong. No response. He ghosted me.

Meanwhile, he was still the first to look at my social media. I asked him to be an adult and tell me what happened. His response was, "I just have a bad feeling. It's not going to work." I asked him to explain and he just said, "It's just not going to work." That day he deleted me from Snapchat. What does that mean??? Was it me, was it him? Please help!! :/

Jessie T, Kansas City, MO

Hey Jessie,

Oh my God, I’m so sorry, you uprooted your life to get dumped! And if you’re still standing over there in shock wondering what the hell happened, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but yeah, that’s what just happened here.

You know, people always get so flustered with me when they hear me say “long-distance isn’t real,” but I stand by my belief. Are there times that a long-distance connection can turn into a real and lasting relationship? Of course! But there’s a whole lot of real that has to happen in between to get to that happily ever after.


What’s the Right Pace for Dating a New Person?

Friday, March 2, 2018
Hey Wendy,

I met a guy at a Meetup who asked for my number and, on our first date, brought a list of really fun questions that helped break the ice. Come to find out, when I mentioned some specific ones to my girlfriend, she told me they're the famous 36 questions that lead to love. These questions start innocently enough and become increasingly intense and probing until you're baring your tender little soul, and you have no idea how you got here! The frog has been boiled!

We've been on a medium-length first date and a lengthy second date, and had two lengthy phone convos and still haven't finished all the questions. We always end up going off on tangents and talking about a million other things.

Even though these questions are new to me, and I've never gotten close to someone in quite this way, it seems like I have been burned before, getting too intimate, too early. And even though I would never have picked him, and I had low expectations of our first date, I like this guy. He makes me feel safe and special, and he turns me on. This feeling, too, is familiar to me. Some people advise going slowly while getting to know someone. That's never really worked for me. I tend to develop intense feelings quite swiftly, and if I stay too long in the getting-to-know-you phase before forging ahead into romantic possibility, one of us inevitably Friend Zones the other, and then it's game over, and it all feels like a waste of time.

So, my question is: do you have any thoughts about this? Should I be more cautious? (The very question makes me shudder, as it feels so inauthentic to me.) Should I be this open, vulnerable, and forthcoming this early?

Anna P., Austin, TX

Hey Anna,

Ok, so first off, thanks for providing the readers and me with this inspired list we’ve all heard so damn much about! And I read it to see just exactly how hot that water got for little froggie.

Verdict: I love, love, love these questions! I also love any guy who brings them to a date. It’s a tell about him; he’s interested in knowing you and willing to go deep.

But don’t let my opinion sway your own gut instincts or your process.


Should My Marriage Be Open Or Closed?

Friday, February 23, 2018
Hey Wendy,

I've been married to my wife for nearly 20 years. About five years ago we made the decision to open the marriage, and while I think the decision has been great, lately we've run into some complications.

What underlies our arrangement is that she has been losing interest in sex in general. She's going through menopause and is on antidepressants (which doesn't help). With the open marriage I got the sexual connections I craved while she was alleviated the burden of being the sole source of my sexual attention. It worked well for both of us.

The challenge is that my wife is now having second thoughts. She's thinking she might not be as amenable to the open marriage as she originally thought. She tells me she did it because she feels I'm a good guy and I should have what I want. But she's no longer sure it's what she wants.

In fact, it's starting to cause marital trouble. Which leads me to my question.

I'd prefer to keep the marriage intact if possible. We're best friends and good co-parents, and I'd like to grow old and die with her. On the other hand, the past five years have made me realize how much I value an open relationship. I treasure the wonderful web of delicious and close connections I've made and don't want to give them up for the world.

But she's not sure she can live with it anymore. I could keep the marriage together if I agree to close it again. Or risk losing it if I dig in my heels and insist on keeping it open. Hence my conundrum.

While I have my own opinion of what I should do, I would love to hear what you advise.


Kevin T. Belvedere, California

Hey Kevin,

Conundrum. Yup, that’s what you’ve got there. What a tough spot! Being trapped between your love for her and the need for the wonderful web of connections you’ve cultivated through your open marriage isn’t an easy place to be. I sure wish I could tell you how to keep your marriage open and have her be fine with it in 140 characters or less, but sadly, I can’t.

Here’s what I will say, though: I’m pulling for you two to figure out a creative solution that works for both of you—a solution in which everyone gets “enough” of what they need. For the two of you to be in a healthy, happy marriage that will continue to last, you each need to do your part in sorting this out.


Can I Date Someone With A Filthy House?

Friday, February 16, 2018
Aarg! Help, Wendy!

I've been on a couple dates with this guy, and when he invited me back to his apartment, I said yes. He's artistic and musical and a programmer and a guy, all of which is to say that his place was kind of a wreck. I have my own clutter. It wasn't the clutter that bugged me, and I thought I was okay with it...until I used his bathroom. It was so gross! It looked like it had never been cleaned, and I couldn't imagine taking my shoes off. It grossed me out, made me feel unsafe (health-wise), and made me feel completely unspecial. The visit to his place was very spur of the moment, so part of me wonders if he would have cleaned up if he planned in advance to have me over. Is having a clean apartment something I could reasonably expect him to do for me? How do I have a convo about how much his mess depletes me and makes me not want to get physical with him?

June L. Houston, TX

Hey June!

So, I cohabitate with someone who’s artistic, musical, in tech, and also a guy, but he manages to keep a bathroom pretty damned tidy and definitely clean enough to walk into with bare feet, so let’s not let these characteristics be your dude’s “good reason” for living in filth. Housekeeping standards vary drastically from person to person, but if we were to generalize, statistically speaking, straight guys don’t pay as much attention or put the level of detail and effort into cleanliness as we do. This doesn’t make being a slob okay, though.


How Does #metoo Apply to Me?

Friday, February 9, 2018
Hey Wendy,

#metoo is really hot right now. I don’t think it’s ever happened to me. Am I being oblivious? Am I too unattractive to be sexually harassed? Men have been inappropriate, sure, but I don’t think that’s assault. Am I missing something?

Stephanie T, Chico, CA

Hey Stephanie,

Like any large movement, there’s a million different voices to and definitions of what #metoo means. Whatever it means to you personally (or not), I’m thinking you can count yourself lucky to feel like a bystander on this one.


Is it Disrespectful that My Husband Doesn’t Wear a Wedding Ring?

Friday, February 2, 2018
My husband doesn’t wear a wedding ring. I think people notice, and I don’t really want women hitting on him. For me, my wedding ring is a reminder of our love. Is it disrespectful? I’m not sure how should I feel about this…

Tanzie, Atlanta, GA

Hey Tanzie,

There are gazillions of other advice-slingers out there who’ll disagree with me, so if you need a different answer than mine, one should be easy to obtain. But before you run off asking, my thoughts, while they may not be the kind you want to hear, will give you the most personal power, freedom, and peace if you can embrace my point of view. So, let’s get started addressing your concerns:

People will notice: Yup, some will. What does that have to do with you and your life and bond with your husband? People also notice those shoes you’re wearing, and they’ll pass judgment on them, too. People are extremely judgy, have you noticed? (more…)

I Keep Looking at Online Dating Apps to See If I Can Do Better

Friday, January 26, 2018
Hey Wendy,

I’m dating a good guy, but I keep looking online to see if I can do better. Do I have a problem? Is this a bad sign? Do I need to grow up?

Kathy K, Ventura, CA

Hey Kathy,

It depends.

What it depends on is your own set of best practices for the dating process. Some people only “date” one person at a time—however, I’d like to point out that seeing one person at a time is not actually dating. That’s, as they say in Grease, going steady.


What’s A Relationship Red Flag? What’s A Pink Post-It?

Friday, January 12, 2018
Hey Wendy,

What is the difference between a red flag and what you call a pink post-it note?

I’m dating someone who voted for Trump, and I did not. I’m a liberal. I thought casting that vote would be a deal-breaker. But I’m not sure it is. I’m staying because he treats me like gold and I like him. Am I selling out?

Anna S., Charleston, SC

Hey Anna,

I’m glad that your guy treats you like gold. I believe that should be on every person’s “must have” list for partnership.

A red flag is when you see, hear, or experience something that doesn’t work for you. If this thing persists or if the situation or behavior gets even worse, then you’re out. The red flag itself is the warning that shit is about to get much worse.


Does My Ex Want To Get Back Together With Me?

Friday, January 5, 2018
Hey Wendy,

I am perplexed. My ex of five years had been talking about us possibly getting back together since Christmas of last year. However, during the past 13 months, he’s never asked me on a date or even come to see me at my place unless it has to do with a family get-together. Was he just trying the scenario on out loud? He even asked me to go on a trip with him in the spring but that never materialized. I don’t hear from him unless there is a request to do something for his mother or for one of our children’s birthdays. Should I let go of any expectation and move along? Talking about ‘us’ is avoided like the plague.

Confused and perplexed from Seattle

Hey Confused,

Christmas 2016, huh? The plague? I’m not confused. You need to move on with your life. Ever heard the phrase “talk is cheap”?

Look, love and life aren’t always black and white with simple solutions. When he spoke about reconciliation over a year ago, it’s because he loves you. And you’re the mother of his children, (more…)

He Has Given Me Every Reason To Trust Him, And I Still Don’t Trust Him

Friday, December 29, 2017
Hey Wendy,

My boyfriend and I have been together for about 4 years. He travels a lot for business and we’ve been apart for a week now.

Since he’s been away I have had profound amounts of anxiety. I want to know where he is and what he’s doing 24/7. I think it’s because my boyfriend is the complete package: attractive, funny, intelligent, athletic, and I think I feel like he can do better than me. He frequently says how I’m the best and brags about me to his friends, so I feel like I’m being irrational in not trusting him, but I can’t stop feeling this way. I don’t want to ruin his trip by repeatedly texting him and being nosy, but don’t know how to stop.

Is it reasonable to ask him to check in with me when he’s traveling or even when he’s home and out with his friends?

Jill K – Freemont, CA

Hey Jill,

I think you need to interrogate your own feelings and excavate all the way to the core on this one. Is this your women’s intuition telling you that you can’t trust him, and to watch out for signs of a cheater, or do you truly believe he’s out of your league and thus, you don’t deserve him? (“Out of your league” is a made-up concept, btw.)


My Husband Acts Like A Child

Friday, December 22, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I'm in need of some guidance and your perspective. My husband is a great husband on the surface; he's respectful, unwaveringly faithful, a very active father, and steadily employed. My problem is he needs an incredible amount of micromanaging in order to keep the bills paid on time, appointments kept, or to get things done at home. If left to him, the bills go delinquent, obvious messes stay uncleaned, dishes pile up, and even sex is never had.

He has to be reminded of every little thing. If I didn't know better I'd think he had a fetish for being nagged (is that a thing?) Once told, he does things with very minimal to no complaints. It's like he never learned motivation or responsibility, but in our thirties, it's a bit ridiculous.

Am I asking for too much considering how nice of a guy he is? We have three kids and I feel like he's my fourth child. Because of this, I'm totally turned off by him despite him being a nice-looking man.

I've tried talking to him about this a hundred times and he always swears he'll turn a new leaf, but 10 years later here we are and nothing has changed. Thanks for being here, because marriage counseling is out of our price range. What am I missing?

Melissa L. – Los Angeles, California

Hey Melissa,

I’m sorry I don’t have a string of magic words that will make him pay attention to what’s needed in his environment. It sounds like you’ve tried, and how.

When one of us becomes the parent, sexual attraction tends to die down. It doesn’t surprise me that you’re turned off by your guy, handsome though he is. Part one of the problem is you’re having to use all your “mother” energy with him, which leaves absolutely no room for your juicy, sensual, “girlfriend” energy that’s so important to maintaining a healthy marriage. Part two of the problem is you’re losing respect for him, and those two things can kill all the romance and sweetness in a union stone-cold dead.


Skin Deep

Friday, December 15, 2017
Hello Wendy,

My partner and I have been dating for almost two years. He openly admits that he has a very strong preference for African American men, which is very common in the area where we met and now live.

About three months ago, we moved in together, so we're discovering a lot more things about one another. This morning, I discovered something that has me concerned...It was hardcore pornography featuring all African American men. I'm starting to wonder if his preference for Black men is more of a fetish. I don't know how I feel about a person who may just be interested in me because of my skin color. I have a lot more to offer!

Maybe, I'm overthinking this, but it has crossed my mind before now. For me, attraction is much deeper than skin color. I do not prefer one race over another. Also, the area where we live has many interracial couples, it's almost the norm. Maybe, this has influenced his preference. I'm not sure, just concerned.

Thank you. I look forward to your advice.

Tony M. – Brooklyn, NY

Hey Tony,

I’m curious, do you feel objectified by your mate, or do you feel like he sees you for the whole person you are? Does he treat you like a partner of substance or more like an accent throw pillow? I have a hunch that, after two years of being with you, he sees all of you. He loves you for your quirks, uniqueness, and charm. He appreciates your intellect, humor, and natural talents. And yes, he has a strong preference for how you look, and good thing, too, because your skin color isn’t something that’s going to change (nor should it).


How Do I Get Quality Time Back in My Relationship?

Friday, December 8, 2017
Hey Wendy,

My partner and I are going through a bit of a rough patch. We have been together for 6 years (we are 22 and 23 years old); we met when we were in high school and have spent a lot of time together since getting together.

We have lived together the last two years. We have both recognized that things are not the same anymore. We both sit in silence doing our own thing. There is no quality time spent together, no acts of thoughtfulness given by either of us. I feel like it has gotten to the point where we are just used to and comfortable with each other’s company.

We spoke about this at the weekend and agreed that maybe it would be best to split, but ever since we talked, things have been so different. He sent me a 600-word letter on how much he appreciates the time he's had with me and how he recognizes his own faults in the relationship. I'm just getting mixed emotions and feelings at the moment and finding it really difficult to cope with the situation. I'm not sure what the right decision is, whether we should end things or fight to continue. I can think of reasons to do both of those things. So, I guess I'm just looking for a bit of advice and guidance. He was my first everything, so it's extremely difficult.

Demi – Sydney, Australia

Hey Demi,

I’m sorry you’re in a hard place. Let me tell you how you got there.

Biology is smart! We’re designed to not think our siblings are hot, and that helps curb inbreeding, which isn’t that great for the longevity of our species. Now, you might be wondering what the heck that has to do with you two, yes?


My Boyfriend Doesn’t Honor My Boundaries

Friday, December 1, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I’m very confused about a situation. My boyfriend likes to touch my private areas when we’re not sexually intimate. When I ask him to stop he responds with either “shh” or “I’m not touching your private areas,” even though clearly, he is.

When I attempt to force his hand away, he will grab harder and sometimes tries to pull the area. When I told him that it’s an infringement of my privacy, if we are hugging at the time he will push my face away and respond “hugging you is also an infringement of my privacy.”

I’m lost and I really don’t know what to do.

Amanda – Reno, Nevada

Hey Amanda,


Just because our commander in chief grabs women by the pussy doesn’t make it okay. Your boyfriend’s behavior is not okay. In fact, it’s straight-up harassment.


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