Ask Wendy

What Does “I Can’t Give You What You Need” Mean?

Reprinted from February 10, 2016
Hey Wendy,
If a man you were dating said to you he can’t give you what you are after, but you don't think he really knows what you want, how would you go about addressing this with him?

I would say, “Hey. So what is it that you think I want?” Then I’d listen. I’d clarify. Most of all, I wouldn’t pull any punches with this guy since I’d know in my heart of hearts I had very little to lose. Usually when a man says this, he actually means, “You want me to love and commit to you, and I’m not going to do either of those things.”

How Do I Handle an Unsatisfying Sex Life?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Hey Wendy!

I received this text from my boyfriend today.

“Is having multiple sexual partners a requirement for you in our relationship?”

My short answer is no. The longer answer is that I would like to try it to see if it could be a way to get my needs met and not lose this awesome guy that checks off all the other boxes.

This comes because in the last year he has not often been able to satisfy me sexually. I'm also interested in the BDSM lifestyle but relatively inexperienced. The lifestyle is not his thing at all. We have talked about this subject, seen a counselor, done some education and our sex life has improved but it's not where it needs to be.

I asked that we have the conversation in person when neither of us is tired or hungry. Text is a poor medium for us and creates misunderstandings. I would welcome your advice and input.

LN – Dallas, TX

Hey L,

I’d start this conversation with your boyfriend by asking, “Hey, so about what you said in your text, is that a real option for us?” because the two data points about your sex life that stick out to me are “it’s not where it needs to be” and how BDSM is “not his thing”. Based on what you’ve expressed in your question, it sounds like you’d basically be denying your own sexual needs by staying in a relationship with just him, and girl, I’ve seen it over and over—that never works out well.


How Can I Get Her Back?

Reprinted from February 3, 2017
Hey Wendy,
I met a woman online in November. After going on a few dates I asked her to be my girlfriend. She’s amazing, beautiful, funny, and always likes to talk. I liked that because I'm kind of socially awkward and it's hard for me to carry a conversation.
I had a bunch of crazy stuff happen over the holidays—extended family drama, started a new job, stuff like that. Our schedules didn't mesh well, so we saw each other maybe once a week.
She broke up with me and said that she wasn't happy with herself long before we got together. She hoped getting into a relationship would help, but it didn’t.
I ordered her roses and chocolate covered strawberries to be delivered on Valentines Day. What more can I do?

It’s probably really hard to see this right now, but there is someone out there who really wants to be with you—and you’re depriving her of this chance because you’re buying roses and chocolate-covered strawberries for someone who doesn’t want to be with you.

How Do I Break Up with a Friend with Benefits?

October 6, 2017

I'm in an open marriage. When my wife and I made this decision about five years ago, I would say it was one of the best moves we've made, and we are very happy with it. I've been fortunate to have made a number of friends-with-benefits relationships during that time, all with lovely, wonderful women.

My question to you is how to end an FWB relationship? I've found that for some of these relationships I'm now less sexually attracted to my partner than when I first started seeing her, and that I'd like to move on.

This makes me feel more than a little awkward, though. If we were in a serious, romantic relationship then a "true" breakup would of course be in order. But many of my FWBs I see only occasionally, as schedules allow, and by definition they are casual relationships. I've been very up front with my intentions with each, and I believe they share the same goals out of our relationship that I do. 

I feel really horrible on some level conveying the message "I'm not attracted to you anymore." That feels unnecessarily cruel. On the other hand, I don't want to just disappear and stop calling. I do feel my friends deserve the respect of having an open, honest conversation. And I genuinely like each of my FWBs; generally speaking, I'd like to remain friends with them. Just not necessarily with the benefits.

How would you suggest I handle one of these FWB breakups?

SR – San Francisco

Hey S,

Well done! Living outside today’s cultural norms to do what truly works for you and your wife is a brave move. I love you for that. I also appreciate how thoughtful and respectful you’re being to your lovers. Kudos. And by definition, a FWB relationship is designed to end—otherwise, these women would be considered your partners, i.e. polyamory. So I agree, it’s tricky.


When Is the Right Time to Tell Him About My Bipolar Disorder?

Reprinted From January 27, 2017
Sadly, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 27—possibly as a result of several emotionally traumatic events. I’m in my mid-forties, I’m stable, compliant with medication, and have held down my current corporate management job for over 12 years. My colleagues don't know about my condition. My family and close friends do.
When is the right time to tell a prospective partner about my condition? The person I’m seeing lives long-distance. Is it better to get it out there, and if so, when? Before intimacy, after the first time one of us travels [to meet the other]? I would feel deceitful if I let it go too long, but I know there's no avoiding the conversation. What do you think?

Long distance or local, this isn’t something you need to roll out on a first date. You get to share personal information when you’re comfortable and feel safe with this person. I’d say wait until they no longer feel like a stranger to you and they’re someone you have an intimate connection with, but before you have sex with them.


Am I the Rebound?

Reprinted from February 17, 2016
I am starting to get the feeling I will be the rebound for the man I am dating right now. Do I stay or go?

Dear rebound girl,

I’m sorry! And good job catching this early instead of trying to convince yourself otherwise. We’re usually not eyes-wide-open about this stuff.

So…should you stay or should you go? This question is not for me—it’s for you. You know you can move on to what’s next if need be; that’s a given. But can you stay and have something mutually beneficial and life enriching with him? Can you afford to take the hit to your heart, give up the time on your calendar, and put your energy into him instead of someone else who really wants to stick around?A few of my 121 first dates were rebounding so I’ve had the experience of both walking and staying, and I didn’t regret either, but each were intentional decisions.


What’s the Differences Between Girlfriend Privileges & Wife Privileges?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Hey Wendy,

What do you consider are the differences between girlfriend privileges and wife privileges?

I love my boyfriend, but I’m wondering what privileges I should be reserving for when he’s my husband. At what point are you overextending yourself as a girlfriend? Like, would you do his laundry? Cook for him? Try anal? Cook in lingerie for him?

Would you do all this for a boyfriend? Or would you save it for marriage?

HW, Redwood City, CA

Hey H,

Are you asking me if I take it up the ass? Yeah, I’m not answering that. I will tell you, as someone who has no plans to ever marry my beloved partner of nearly five years, the one who I will most likely live with until one of us croaks, but is not my husband – he still gets all the “wifey” privileges I wish to give, and he has received wife privileges since we moved in together four years ago.


Dating A Guy With A Girlfriend?

Reprinted from January 20, 2016
I met a guy and we are falling in love/lust. He lives with his girlfriend and I would normally never do this. But we have crazy chemistry and we are attracted to each other physically, mentally, spiritually, and sexually.
Even if he breaks up with her (which he doesn't want to do) this can never end well, correct?
We have only seen each other three times, including when we met. I don't know what to do. He is amazing. Super hot, intellectual, meditates, is sporty, thoughtful, artistic, and all kinds of awesome. And he makes me feel cherished and safe. Help!

I’m missing important details from your question here. Is this new guy in a monogamous relationship and is cheating on his girlfriend, or are they in an open relationship? Because if they’re committed to a non-monogamous relationship, that may leave plenty of room for you, and it could end quite well. Also helpful to know would be this: Are you okay with him having a girlfriend, or are you looking for monogamy yourself?

Am I In Charge of Planning This Stupid Party?

Friday, September 29, 2017
Hey Wendy,

My fiancé is turning 50 in two weeks. We’ve had a tough relationship and his parents are cordial to me, but not nice. For example, his father recently hired a criminal lawyer to research whether I was trying to get his son in trouble, because my fiancé was arrested a while back due to his temper and I nearly had to have a restraining order. I was not physically hurt but his anger sometimes scares me.

His mother texted me today and asked what we are doing for his birthday. She is asking me to throw a big party, cater it and invite his friends. His friends apparently hate me too because when we had our issues, he told them personal things about me that were private. I really don't want to invite these people. I invited his kids and even offered to pay for his son to fly in. But I don't want this big party. It's going to turn my stomach knowing that they all hate me while I stand there and smile.

I suggested a weekend trip and he said no. The reasons he gave were he wanted to be at home with his family and friends for his birthday, and he didn’t trust me enough to travel with me right now.

I don’t know what to do. How would you handle this?

BT – Charlotte, NC

Hey BT,

Nowhere is it written that at 50 you are guaranteed a large-scale birthday party planned by your beloved. If that’s the way your fiancé wants to spend his 50th? Awesome. He can plan it and make it all happen, just as he wishes.


How can you get over loneliness when you’re single?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I've been single for five months now and I just feel like I'm never going to be in a relationship again.

I haven't found anyone I like yet and all the guys that are interested in me haven't made a move in real life or are overly confident and are just "players.”

Talking about this makes me feel lonely. I feel like all my girlfriends have husbands or boyfriends, and I just don’t see things changing for me. Help!

AI – Seattle, WA

Dear A,

I’m sorry you’re feeling the pain of being on your own. I can relate. I promise, if a relationship is what you want, and you’re committed to having one, you’ll have one again. The two simple things you need to do to find your love are to start dating and don’t quit.


How Do I Deal with My Husband’s Business Trips?

Reprinted from January 13, 2017
My husband is handsome, incredibly successful and in his late 30s. I trust him, and we’ve been married for 14 years. He has a work assignment that’ll take him out of state for four weeks. He’s being sent with a woman in her late 20s who drunkenly bragged to me that her "specialty" is breaking up marriages and I should "keep an eye" on mine. We've discussed every option for him including quitting. What are my options here?

It sounds like you and your husband are on the same page on this one, so I don’t think you have much part in this other than being apprised of any new developments in the situation.
He’s a grown-ass man, and if he’s incredibly successful, I bet he’s pretty darned good at drawing a clear (more…)

I Can’t Shake an Attraction for My Co-Worker

Friday, September 22, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I’m attracted to a co-worker but this will never work. We see each other every day, and as I've gotten to know him, I can see we are in no way compatible for a relationship. I take relationships slow and he treats them like a sprint race. I want kids and he hates kids. I could not care less about having the latest and newest things and he is a bit more materialistic than me.

Logically, it will never work, but I can't let it go with him. I can still remember what he wore the first time I met him and the thoughts I had in the first few minutes of seeing him. How do I stop being completely infatuated with someone that’s not right for me?

SJR – Oakland, CA

Hey SJ,

Infatuation can range anywhere from delightful to unnerving. Whatever state you’re in, I promise you – whether you have him or not – the infatuation will fade all on its own. That’s just the nature of nature.


Can We Be Partners and NOT Live Together?

September 19, 2017
I’ve been in a relationship for a few years now, and my partner is insistent that it’s time I move in. I think I’d be miserable if we lived together in his home. He has a pit bull who isn’t fully trained. I’m not that big of a dog fan, but if I’m around one, I need it to be trained and have good boundaries. The dog jumps all over guests, urinates all over his own legs, and then is allowed to jump freely on couches and beds. He begs for food and is aggressive, and tries to eat food out of your mouth or off a plate. My partner seems concerned when I sternly tell the dog, “No begging,” as if I’m somehow hurting both of their feelings.

Any reprimand my partner gives is in a light, sing-song tone and the dog doesn’t have a clue that he’s in trouble or that something needs to stop or change.

My partner works 9+ hours a day. I think it’s neglectful to have him kenneled up for that long. I love this man more than anything in the world. We’ve been discussing marriage for months, but I can’t move in with this animal. Do I move in because I want to be with this man or do I move on?

BN – Los Angeles, CA

Hey BN,

I have met happy couples that stay together and never live together. It’s a thing. We get to design our partnerships any way we wish these days. But at the end of your letter to me there, you only gave me two options: A) move in, or B) move on. Maybe there’s an option C that you haven’t considered yet. Before you move on, and most definitely before you move in, you want to start with some truth telling, and maybe some behavior modifications.


Am I the Only One Who Doesn’t Like Alone Time?

Reprinted from December 2016
Am I the only one who doesn't really like alone time? I love people and I want to be around friends, family, and especially my special someone always. I'm genuinely happy with myself and do go solo on many adventures or errands, but I would much rather be with a friend. I'm dating someone who’s the complete opposite of me. Is there something I can do?

You are NOT the only one who doesn’t like alone time! There. Now, does that solve your problem? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Many of us are just “let’s do it together” people, and many of us need alone time to prepare and restore to be (great) with people we care about.

Do I Give the New Guy a Gift?

Reprinted from December 23, 2016
Wendy, I am having a third date with a new guy I like a lot on Christmas day, we’re going to a party. It turns out his birthday is on Christmas.
I’m not sure whether to give him a gift, two gifts or no gifts because we’re so new. If I give him a gift, will come off like I'm trying too hard?

The odds are good that since I went on 121 first dates and there are only 365 days in a year that this exact experience could happen to me. And it did! I’ve got this! When I went on date number three with Christmas baby, First Date #5, I had the same concerns you’re having.


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