Ask Wendy

How Do I Tell My Boyfriend That Before I Dated Him I Made Porn Films?

Friday, September 15, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I’ve been dating a great guy for the past three months. I feel like I need to tell him that a year and a half ago, I used to do porn, but I only made four videos and I got out and never went back. I really care and love him and that’s not who I am today. I was in a bad place but I want to be honest and tell him about my past because I feel like he should accept me for all of me – the good and the bad.

JF – Simi Valley, CA

Hey JF,

How to set this conversation up is a good place to start. “I’ve done this horrible, horrible, bad thing that I don’t know how you’ll ever forgive me for…” is nowhere near as empowering as “Hey, there’s this thing about my past that some people might not be able to handle, but now that I know you better, and I trust you to be cool about things, I’d like to share it with you.”

In the event that you get some version of “why didn’t you tell me sooner?” I want you to remember you don’t owe anyone anything on you until you feel safe enough to share that information. Your past is your past, and as long as you didn’t bring anything with you that would impact his life (STI), you get to share your history on your own timeline and on a need-to-know basis.

Now, can we talk about “not who I am today” and “bad place”? I’m sorry you carry shame from what you’ve done. I hope you can work your way all the way through and past it. I don’t think what you did was shameful. You didn’t poison anybody. You didn’t steal, berate, or enslave anyone. You didn’t march with the Nazis.


My Husband Won’t Leave the House

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Hey Wendy,

How do I politely ask my husband to leave the house for one night? I belong to a book club with eight people and every month we rotate who hosts. That person chooses the book, hosts the discussion and cooks dinner for everyone. My husband is not a part of my book club (nor does he want to be).

He doesn’t mind me being in the club, but he gets his back up when it’s my turn to host because he says he’s made to feel unwelcome in his own home. I say it’s not that, but rather we live in a 600-square-foot condo with nowhere for him to go when I host. He could sit in the bedroom and watch TV, but even that makes him bristle. But there’s literally nowhere else for him to be.

How can I convince him to go see a movie or have dinner with friends when my book club is happening? It happens twice a year, but it always causes an argument as he says it’s his house and he would never do anything to make me feel unwelcome. I told him if he has something like this, I’d be happy to step out of his way. What can I do or say? He won’t budge, literally.

DT – New York, NY

Hey DT,

Your husband won’t leave and he wants to be stubborn? Then let him come up with a new solution. Let him fix the problem.

Learn what your two days are for 2018 and sit down with him and ask for help. The process I offer is long. There are seven parts to this sucker, in case you want to come up with your own words:


How to Tell on Instagram if He’s Dating Her?

Reprinted from December 16, 2016
Wendy, I was having casual sex with this guy for a few months. He claimed he was single. To cut to the chase, I found out the girl he said was a good friend is actually his girlfriend. I confronted him about it, and he told me they were on a break and they were just now starting to 'figure things out'. I found her Instagram account and from the looks of things, they didn’t look like they were on a break. I ended things immediately. I don’t know who was telling the truth.
Months have passed. Initially, I had thoughts of telling her, but I didn't want to get involved. So I decided not to. A few days ago, however, a close friend of mine became the victim in a similar situation. This made me think of my own experience. Maybe I should tell the girlfriend after all. I feel guilty. What would you do if you were in my shoes?

I would stick with your original plan and stay the hell out of it. This girlfriend of his is not your close friend. You don’t know her, and you’ve never spoken with her, so it’s not up to you to figure out who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. Maybe everyone is telling the truth, and it just doesn’t look that way on the surface. Photos rarely tell (more…)

How Do I Show My Wife I Love Her?

Reprinted from December 9, 2016
Wendy, I love my wife, but she tells me she doesn't feel that from me. She’s been telling me for years that she would like me to do things like bring flowers, hold hands and give her compliments. I have let her down in that department. Whenever she brings it up I promise to do better but that usually lasts only for a while.
We are now at a point that our marriage is in jeopardy. She told me she doesn't just want me to do what she asks, but to show my 100% commitment to our relationship.
I guess what I am asking advice about is what I can do to go above and beyond in showing her my love, and how can I stick to it?

My brother, I’m going to break it down for you.

Crazy-expensive bundles of flowers, sky writing, and romantic flash-mobs will be seen as an apology, not an act of love.

Sweeping, grand gestures won’t save you, and they aren’t sustainable. Also, they require a LOT of effort, and she may not appreciate the investment of your shared resources or you taking that kind of time away from other responsibilities.


What’s the Best Way to Meet His Children?

Friday, September 8, 2017
Hey Wendy,

My boyfriend of six months wants me to meet his children. Our relationship is going well so far, and just last week he asked if I was ready to meet them. I said yes but now I have some concerns. The kids are six and three, and I’m not sure how I’m going to communicate with them.

I really want his kids to like me and I don’t want them to feel pressure. I’m afraid I’ll be awkward and the kids won’t like me. So what should I do?

SC – Dallas, TX

Hey SC!

The awesome thing about six and three is they don’t give a good God damn about what adults are doing – they don’t realize that parents even have a social life. There’s nothing outside their world, so you’re good. No pressure.

I don’t have kids. I didn’t date anyone with small children (not more than once anyway) so I’m probably the least likely to truly know exactly what to do when you meet his children. But faced with this scenario, here’s what I’d do. For six and three? Yeah, I’d lie. Don’t worry, it’s just a little, white lie that will grease the wheels of friendship without threatening their safe and predictable world.


Help! How do I Kindly Stop My Mom From Controlling my Wedding Plans?

Reprinted from December 2, 2016
I’m 30, and in the planning stages of marrying the love of my life. We both grew up in conservative, religious homes. My family is Catholic, and his is Lutheran. Religion didn’t stick for either of us, and we’re socially progressive; we love our gay friends and support gay marriage.
My mother insists that what’s most important is we get married in the Church, because she believes that marriage is a blessed sacrament.
I love my mother, and I don't wish to hurt her. I also realize that this wedding is not all about me and my fiancé. Truth be told, if financing and planning the wedding were entirely up to us, I doubt we would have a wedding at all, but for maybe a small dinner party.
My parents are financially able to pay for a wedding, we are not (or, I suppose, we just would never opt to spend so much money on one day of our lives).

Mazel tov! Here’s the thing: If you and your folks were on the same page (or even nearby pages in the same book), I’d say negotiate it out and maybe let them host your wedding. But you and your mom are worlds apart on this one. And guess whose wedding it is? Yeah, not hers—she’s probably already had her big church wedding, right? I’m not sure why you say this day isn’t all about your and your fiancé, cuz actually, it is. I recommend doing this on your own.

Your wedding event is about celebrating the connecting of your community and your family to your union. It’s not a religious experience for you, so don’t go through an elaborate charade for other people when it is, in fact, your day. Invite those who will support your union. Some of them may not come if it’s not in a church, and that’s okay—it’s their choice.


What If He Says He Wants Something Casual But Won’t Stop Texting?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I went out with this new guy, and I liked him a lot but he said he was only looking for something casual. I told him I’m not interested in that, and that I don’t date for sport. Now he keeps messaging me. What should I do?

SL – Jersey City, NJ

Hey S –

If I were to be charitable, I’d say maybe he won’t stop texting because he liked your clarity and wants to get to know you better, perhaps for a relationship. But what’s more likely is he’s showing you that he doesn’t care what you’re looking for. He wants what he wants. And that’s to get to know you for something casual.

You might write back and say, “So you said you were looking for something casual. I said I’m not interested in that. This makes us not a fit. But here you are, texting me. Did I misunderstand something?” See what he comes back with.


Can Dating Long Distance Work?

Reprinted from November 25, 2016
I am “dating” a guy who lives over five hours away. I was open to it because he eventually plans to move to the country and has friends in my area—he’s not a stranger to the area I live.
In 12 weeks I have seen him three times.
I’m worried that I’m settling for the same old pattern of attracting men who are unavailable. Last month he disappeared for two weeks, and then he travelled five hours to see me perform in an aerial show.
Should I give it more time before deciding whether or not I have attracted an unavailable man, or is it blindingly obvious that, on a daily basis, “winning me over” is not a huge priority of his and therefore I should move on and not waste any more of my precious time?
Confused in Australia

Dear Confused,

Here’s one thing I know about Australians that sets you apart from Americans: you guys think nothing about traveling a gazillion miles in a day. My Aussie friend tells me she drives 10 hours to go to parties, and that’s commonplace. So I’ll factor that in as I craft an answer for you.

An unfortunate aspect to dating long distance is you two can’t fully show each other who you are until you’re together (in the same place) for an extended period of time.


How Can I Screen for Similar Financial Values

Reprinted from November 18, 2016
As a single woman, how do I screen for similar financial values? I date the over-65 crowd. Did you know that over 70% of seniors have no real savings, and often carry large debt? I've tried to respectfully approach this with very poor results.

Dear Solvent in a Sea of Debt,

You say your approach had poor results. Maybe you have simply done an effective job of screening and sorting out those who are disqualified where this topic is concerned?

You have every right to ask for a partner who shares your financial values. And when you meet them, they’ll be delighted to see that the two of you are simpatico.

I recommend you respectfully lead with this in your online profile by being direct. You could say something along the lines of, “A thing I could admire about you is you’re like me; we have saved and planned for our retirement, are solvent, and have the means to finally play a little bit. I’m looking for a partner who is my equal in this area.”

Happy dating!

How Do I Get Through the Silent Treatment?

Friday, September 1, 2017
Hey Wendy,

My partner and I went to a concert last weekend. He had work that morning and he wasn't feeling too well, so I showed up with a pizza so we could eat before we left. We had a great drive up and were both really excited about the concert. We were singing songs on the way, we were playful, we were flirty. After the concert, as we were waiting for the parking lot traffic to die down, we started talking about a topic I brought up and it went south fast. There was arguing, crying and all that.

He was supposed to stay the night, but he dropped me home, and left. There’s been very little texting, but he isn’t really responding to me. I tried to call but he isn’t answering. We’ve gone from talking every day to hardly texting all week. How do I deal with this silent treatment?

J.T. – Sacramento, CA

Hey J –

Did his mama forget to teach him to use his words?

My best guess is there’s something that he needs. Maybe an apology, clarity, understanding, or space. So text, “Love, what do you need from me so we can be back to normal? Please let me know.” See what he comes back with, and then look to see if you’re willing to provide that.


Are All Guys Polyamorous?

Reprinted from November 11, 2016
I live in L.A. and I keep bumping into guys who are polyamorous. If I like them, I’ll date them for a while but it never works out. I’m dating a really good guy now, but I think I see the writing on the wall. Is there anyone out there who still believes in monogamy?

Hi there, L.A.!

Guys who are polyamorous (poly) will most often state their case up front; they’re likely to put it on their online dating profile. If you meet him at the club and he asks you out, simply ask, “Hey, are you poly?” If he is, he won’t be offended, and this makes for quick sorting.

Hot tip: If you are looking for monogamy (which it sounds like you are), then don’t. Date. The. Poly. Guys.

It takes courage and conviction to come out as poly or otherwise non-monogamous. Trying to flip him might just be like trying to flip a dude at the gay bar (possible, but supremely unlikely).


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.


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.


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…)

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