Ask Wendy

Why Can’t I Break Up with Him?

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Hey Wendy,

My boyfriend and I are in our mid-thirties and we’ve been seeing each other for about eight months. I want to break up with him. I've been increasingly unhappy in this relationship, mostly because he gets into these awful mood swings and when he does, he can be a total dick toward me. When he's happy, he's nice and considerate. It amazes me that one person can be so different.

If his moodiness only affected him, I might be able to tolerate it, but he gets into such a dark place that I start to get dragged down with him. I hate that feeling.

In the beginning, I just took it and ate it and waited for him to be on an upswing again. Now I speak up about how his moods affect me. He’s said he’d heard this before, so I'm not the only girlfriend who has experienced this.

I’ve tried to have the breakup conversation with him, but he gets so sad and worried whenever I talk about being unhappy. I think he genuinely loves me, but it feels like wasted time to be with him. I'm a fucking adult! Why can’t I just break it off? I feel so stuck.

HP – Reno, NV

Hey H ~

That situation has got to be hard. We are all wired so differently when it comes to depression. Some of us breeze right through life without it barely affecting us, while others struggle seasonally to constantly.

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My Boyfriend Likes Kinky Violent Porn. Will I Have to Do These Things?

Friday, August 25, 2017
Hey Wendy,

My boyfriend has always been into kinky and violent porn. For example: he likes to watch women getting whipped (their butts and vaginas), and he has done that to me while having sex. I don't like it that much, but I go along with it because it satisfies him. He doesn't do it every time. Sometimes the sex is tender and romantic.

Last week he told me he is into porn that shows men forcing anal sex on women. He said he likes to see them weep, shout in pain, and beg the man to stop. He called me today to tell me he wants us to do that tonight.

I don't mind doing anal. But I like to prepare for it first so that it doesn't hurt. I don't know if I want to have anal if I'm not going to be properly prepared down there. What do you think of all of this? Does this mean sexual fantasies escalate? Should I do it? Help!

CF – Phoenix, AZ

Hey C –

Let’s assume for the sake of this conversation that the type of “kinky violent” porn your boyfriend is watching is theater, the kind where the adult actors are agreeable, consenting and down for this kind of power exchange scene. I consulted with a sex worker friend, she assured me that this is the majority of this genre of porn. So let’s go with that, shall we?

We are all entitled to our private thoughts, erotic fantasies and imagination. What turns us on is no one else’s business. But when your guy wants to bring fantasy into reality, then yeah, it kind of is your business.

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How Do I Get My Husband to Do Housework?

Reprinted from November 4, 2016
My partner refuses to do any housework until I ask him 10 times and then he makes a big deal out of it. When he does clean it's all or nothing and it happens every 3 months or less and then he acts like the hero. I feel he doesn't respect me or have pride in the house we bought. I resent the hell out of him.

I’m super sorry you’ve been tortured by all the lack of cooperation in your relationship.

An “all or nothing” person will only clean the house every three months or so because of the overwhelming ordeal that all is.

The most effective way for me to help you here is to give you a new model to try, but I’ll warn you now, it could piss you off. This offering isn’t going to make excuses for how your partner behaves—rather, since he is already the way he is and you married him that way, let’s see if we can find a workaround so you get your house cleaned and you can get back to respecting instead of resenting him.

Part 1: The all-or-nothing perspective is driven by a focus that fully commits to a project. So “clean the bathroom” as a task just might include a toothbrush, tile grout, and four hours. (more…)

Can I Find Love After Divorce?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Hi Wendy,

I’ve been divorced for three years after being married 17. My marriage almost destroyed me, and I’m fearful to get back out there again. I don’t want to end up in another situation like the one I was in – or worse. And the thought of trying to figure out how to date today at midlife freaks me out. But my daughter is telling me I’m too young to give up.

I’m afraid to try again and lose, or try and not find anything. I could never do 121 first dates like you did. Can I afford to take this risk?

– AL Mountain View, CA

Hey A –

Life is super-risky business and there are no guarantees, but any relationship that is worth having takes courage and vulnerability. I think the real question of love after divorce isn’t “Can I risk it?” but “Am I willing?”

You might not be. Do you love your single life? If you do, you should tell your daughter to worry about her own love life first, because you’re good — you found love after divorce — and that love is YOU. Single is a valid and empowered choice women make all the time, and I back their play as long as it’s just that—a choice.

Do you have a nagging feeling that you’re missing out on a big part of life by not being in a relationship where you can love, enrich, and contribute to each other’s lives in a major way? That without that kind of connection, you’d feel… underutilized? Then it’s worth the risk. (more…)

Is There an Online Dating Site for Men with Money?

Friday, August 18, 2017
Hey Wendy,

To be blunt, I’d like to find a man who can afford me. Are there any specific trustworthy online dating sites I could use to find a guy who makes more than $250,000 per year?

T.H. Santa Monica, CA

Hey T –

I don’t know of any, and I’m not going to check for you because you have access to the all-knowing Google (and your own good judgement). That said, I do want to talk about this with you.

You are entitled to want what you want and to not settle for anything less, but know this: If you go out and look for a mate on a site based on money, know what your dates will be focused on? Money. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with that, but here’s what you’ll be “buying” (always read the label, right?):

Men who make that kind of money will be focused on work. And that’s okay—I just don’t want you thinking that you can get with one of these guys and then say, “But I really need you to spend more time with/on me.” Then, after you start a family, I don’t want you stuck complaining that he’s never there for you and the kids—he can’t be, because he’s busy making the money that fuels the kind of lifestyle you desire. One usually can’t have it both ways.

I’ve seen women get into this cycle before. She feels bad, as if it’s a failure on her part because she wasn’t good enough, charming enough, or she didn’t matter enough to shift his focus to her instead. But the focus was never on her. The focus was on “find a partner who can get behind my crazy-ass-workaholic lifestyle.” Again, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a pot to every lid and whatnot, but I don’t want to see the lid get butt-hurt when the pot isn’t around much because the pot’s too busy closing multi-million-dollar deals or flying across the country to meet a new big-name client for brunch instead of staying home and making pancakes on a Sunday morning. (more…)

How Do I Transition from the Honeymoon Phase to the Long-Term Phase in a New Relationship?

Reprinted from October 28, 2016
What’s your best advice for transitioning successfully from the honeymoon phase to the long-term phase in a new relationship?

Thank you for asking! Because one of the most important lessons you could learn is that the fairytale called “happily ever after” isn’t real. Some people have to lose a first marriage to learn this lesson. But the root of the problem isn’t that love isn’t real. The mischief starts with the folklore concept “meant to be” because once you go down that magical path (high, by the way), you expect “happily ever after” to show up one turn later, and with little to no effort on anyone’s part. And five, ten, or fifteen years later you wake up next to someone you love, who looks and acts a whole lot like a sibling instead of a lover. Want something different? (more…)

My Boyfriend Doesn’t Like My Family

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Hey Wendy,

My boyfriend never wants to attend my family functions. I was raised in a huge family, and spending time with them is important to me.

In the last six months, my family has had multiple gatherings for the holidays and for my sister’s wedding. When I ask if he wants to come, he says “sure,” but then always has an excuse not to come a day or two ahead of time. He’s met them and things seem fine otherwise.

I don't expect him to go to every family function, but I hope I don’t have to go to all of them alone. Any advice on how to handle this situation?

If hanging out with your boyfriend and your family together is important to you (as it is for most of us), you want to tackle this head-on. Pick a time when you’re both hanging out and it doesn’t seem like much is happening and say, “Hey, there’s something that’s important to me that you don’t know about. Is now a good time for me to tell you about it?”

Wait… Get his buy-in for a meaty conversation. If your boyfriend says, “Sure!” say something like, “Spending time with my family and with you at the same time is important to me. When we’re all together, I feel loved and with everyone who matters most to me, I need that. I don’t mean every week or every time I see them; I do mean once every other month or so, and for the important events. Are you willing to do this with me?”

(more…)

What’s Up with the OK Cupid Questions

Friday, August 11, 2017
Hi Wendy.

How many OK Cupid questions should I fill out?

OK Cupid questions! It was my favorite part about that site – besides the whole meeting cute, smart and interesting guys part, that is. You can answer as many questions as you want. However, you’ll pay the price of incompatibility if you choose to skip the questions process altogether, or if you simply answer a handful of questions.

The system’s algorithms that match you to potential suiters won’t have enough data on you to match you accurately. So instead of making you more of a desirable fit for others, they penalize you by giving you a lesser percentage score to everyone.

In other words, if you put up a stellar profile complete with adorable photos and answers to all the pull-down and multiple choice questions, and add a handful of clever lines in your essay but answer none of their fun questions, it might rate you a 73% match with HotTamale69. But if you went in and answered, say, a couple of dozen questions or so, it may make that compatibility percentage leap up to 94%. So yeah – the question part is kinda important.

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How Can I Tell if He Wants Kids?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Hey Wendy

I’m dating a guy who says he wants a family but won’t say specifically that he wants kids. This is confusing to me. What should I make of this?

Hey Dater,

What you should make of that is that he wants a family. But I get your point. There’s a whole lot of “new normal” out there, so a “family” may mean one boy and one girl, or it could mean being the guardian of three frogs, two crabs, four (fat) newts, and a rapidly shrinking supply of goldfish in a terrarium. Or the dad of a dog, or a pot-bellied pig, or a herd of goats. It’s hard to know, isn’t it?

So how do you bring up kids without putting the cart before the horse and scaring him away with a question that’s too soon?

Delicately.

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He Likes Me, I Don’t Like Him, She Doesn’t Like Me…

Friday, August 4, 2017
Wendy!

I’m not sure you can help me with this polyamorous problem but here it is. What can I do when a guy seems a little too "friendly" with me, and his girlfriend seems unhappy with this? Maybe she doesn't like me or maybe she feels threatened. I'm not at all interested, and I don't know them well enough to say anything directly without potentially creating more awkwardness and maybe drama. I can't avoid them; they're central figures in my social circle. What’s a girl to do?

Hey girl!

Yeah, this isn’t a polyamorous problem, this is a people problem. I think you can say something without drama. And about the awkwardness… um, isn’t it already awkward? I see two choices:

a) Ignore the friendliness and trick yourself into believing he’s like this with everyone and this is his normal.

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Does Long Distance Matter for Online Dating?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Some guys online don’t respect my boundaries around distance. I state politely that I am only interested in people that are within an hour from my house. They come back with “distance doesn’t matter…blah, blah.” Well, in fact, it DOES matter to me.

But then I think, “What if he’s THE ONE!!! Aren’t you being too critical?” How do I handle distance?

Distance matters. A lot! Thank you for recognizing that and being the voice of reason. You will most likely have to push through a lot of “give love a chance” noise. Here’s the thing:

If you can’t travel to see each other three times a week and not be tortured by that commute, it’s not that workable if you really want to know someone well. You just won’t have enough information about each other, even if you are both actively working at transparency, communication, and all that fine stuff.

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How Do I Let a Guy Down Easy?

Reprinted from October 21, 2016
Dear Wendy,
I don’t like getting stuck saying, “Thank you, and no thank you” when a guy is really into me, and I'm not into him. I would love some feedback on how to let them down gently.

Dear Desirable One,

Nobody likes this part—nobody. And I commend you for wanting to address this head-on, because there are women out there who get through this by… not dating.

Dating: It’s not for the meek or the weak.

So let me dive right into your date with Mr. Notmyguy.

Maybe it hits you on sight, right before the initial greeting hug, or maybe you’re just not that into him after another date or three—he’s not the man for you, but he’s asking you out again.

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How Do I Deal with Online Insults?

Friday, July 28, 2017
Hey Wendy,

How do you respond when you let someone know you aren't interested and they respond with insults?

Hey Dater,

I don’t. And you shouldn’t, either. It’s the weirdest thing—anyone reading this who hasn’t done much online dating likely doesn’t know what you’re talking about, but I sure do.

I recommend that when it comes to online dating, we should all strive to be good citizens. If someone reaches out with something real to say—I mean more than six real words with at least an attempt at grammar and everything, not “suuuupppp?” or “hi baby”—then that’s worth responding to with a quick, kind no thank you if you’re not interested (I don’t even bother with the Suuuppp-Babies). Most guys totally appreciate that!

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How Do I Get More Affection from My Boyfriend?

Reprinted from October 14, 2016
Dear Wendy,
I’m 63, and my boyfriend of 18 months is 56.
I have a need for more touching, kissing, foreplay, and sex than he does and I end up initiating much of the time.
I know men’s testosterone levels drop after 50; however, I find myself craving more of his initiating—it makes me feel desired.
We’ve talked and he’s noticed that I’m a much more passionate person than he is and he wondered if he was enough for me. I have let him know that he is a wonderful lover. I never criticize and always ask for things in kind and positive ways. I know about herbs he could take for the testosterone-level problem, but have held off sharing about them.
I don’t want to start dating all over again. We have a nice weekend relationship, he is able to get it up, he has lots of great qualities and is a very good person, we dance every weekend, and he is able to keep up with me decently in other ways. Help!

Dear Sex Goddess,

Have you ever had a plant you forgot to water? Or maybe you watered it, but only once a month when it required weekly care. Maybe you just didn’t give it the attention it needed… What happened to that plant?

You, my love, are a luscious flower that needs to be attended to. The short-term effects of mismatched desires lead to annoyance and frustration; over-initiating will take its toll, and the long-term effects are detrimental to your essence. A sensual woman needs to feel desired or the fresh, juicy part of her spirit slowly withers and dies—which can be soul crushing. We passionate ones need to be wanted, crave to be desired and seen, and need to express all the amore there is to express.

Men’s testosterone levels drop as they age, it’s true. That said, there are plenty of men over 50 who have sex drives so high you’d be begging for a break. You’ll be better off addressing this from a compatibility angle rather than an age angle. (more…)

How Do I Say What I Want in Bed?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I’m in a new relationship, and I have a sex question for you. How do I say things so he hears and believes me? i.e. in trying to communicate how I find pleasure, he corrects me and tells me what to do without hearing what I am trying to tell him that works for me.

Hey friend,

Well that must be really annoying! Try a conversation when you’re not having sex; maybe over huevos rancheros and coffee the next morning.

If you do enjoy parts of your sex life, then this conversation can start with, “Hey, can I tell you something I really like about sex with you?” That should get his attention. From there, share some things he does that delight you, then tell him what would make sexy time even better.

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