Ask Wendy

Can I Trust My New Boyfriend?

June 30, 2017
Hey Wendy,

When I met the guy I’m dating I didn't expect anything would come of it, then BOOM we're falling for each other. We’re both in our late 30’s. He's handsome, intelligent, generous and really into me. I'm on cloud nine. As is standard in dating these days I googled him, and I learned that he's a registered sex offender!

I read that when he was 18 there was sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old. I was nauseous and disgusted. When I confronted him, he explained that when he was 18, he was dating a girl who said she was 17, and it turns out she lied about her age, and her parents turned him in to the authorities.

I've gotten over my disgust and am looking at this as a horrible time in his past. I believe he is the man in front of me and not the man of 20 years ago. But (social implications aside) is this naive of me? I don't want to involve myself with a pedophile. I can't settle my thoughts.

Dear girlfriend,

18 dating 15 is not pedophile territory—that’s a high-school-aged boy dating a high-school-aged girl within a reasonable age range.

Unfortunately, how things are reported on sex offender lists varies from state to state. So, you may or may not be able to get all the facts from public records.

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How Do You Love Someone & Remain Detached?

Reprinted from September 20, 2016
When getting serious and moving from dating into relationship, how do you open to adoring someone and also remain detached?

I don’t. And if you want an intimate relationship, you don’t either. Romance is tricky business. You actually have to be vulnerable. That’s where the magic happens, and nothing deep will ever develop if you’re working at being detached.

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How do I Deal with My Boyfriend Meeting My Crazy Mother?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I’ve met my boyfriend’s parents multiple times, but he has yet to meet mine, and it’s about to happen and I’m freaking out. Here’s why:

My family consists of my mother and uncle, and they are coming for a visit next week. My mother is a tinfoil-hat-wearing-crazy-lady. Literally. She stuffs tinfoil into a baseball cap. She also wears tinfoil body armor, never bathes, and doesn’t wear her colostomy bag. Yup, that’s mom.

Boyfriend knows about the tinfoil but not about the other stuff. I'm freaked out because I feel like it’s one thing to hear about this stuff, it's a whole other thing to actually witness it in person and realize this could be your mother in law. Also there's that old saying that I've always hated, "If you want to see how your girlfriend will turn out, look at her mother." I'm afraid he'll take one look at her and run for the hills.

Also, I lied about his job. My family asked about his job and I panicked and said he worked at the museum where I first met him. He’s actually a driver. I don't know how to tell him that I lied about his job. I don't know how to tell my family about his job either. They are old school and think the man should be the primary breadwinner and that I should marry rich. I don't want to hurt his feelings, but I know my family is going to judge him for his job and judge me for dating him.

Hey Girlfriend,

Okay, wait a minute…you’re telling me you’re freaked out about Tinfoil Mama judging your boyfriend’s job? Umm, what now?

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Why Does My Husband Watch Porn?

Reprinted from September 16, 2017
My husband says he’s happily married to me, and he’s faithful, so why does he need to watch porn?

This is a hard issue for many women. We often don’t find out that our partner/husband/boyfriend uses porn until we’re living together and we stumble upon it. And there’s a predictable response many women have (anger and hurt feelings) which causes a predictable reaction from men: they stop watching it. No! That almost never happens!! What really happens instead is they go on the down-low. And this is not what you want, because it will cause distance and a lack of intimacy in your relationship if he feels he needs to hide things or lie to you.

So if you can’t stop it, and if you’re hurt by it, let me see if I can give you the “why” and also help to reframe it to see if you can live in harmony with your porn-viewing man.

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Why Won’t She Take My Name?

September 13, 2016
My fiance is refusing to take my last name. Why would the woman who says she loves me not take my name? ~ Troy

Troy, what’s your last name? Hitler? Dick? Crapper? These are real possibilities, ya know.

Maybe she loves her last name. Maybe she hates yours. Maybe she’s built a long-standing career around her name. Maybe it flows better, or is easier to spell. Maybe she’s rebelling against convention (and there’s not one thing wrong with that!).

I beg you to consider that this issue has nothing to do with her love for you. And I’d like to give you a history lesson for perspective.

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How Do I Deal with His High Sex Drive?

Friday, June 23, 2017
Dear Wendy,

I am three months into a new relationship and my boyfriend has the highest sex drive of anyone I have ever dated. We have sex six days per week, and out of those six days there are at least 2 days where we have sex more than once in the day. The one night out of the week when we don't have sex he wakes up the next morning frustrated with me. I feel like on those days I have failed him.

I don't know what to do. I feel like we’re having a ridiculous amount of sex, but it’s still not enough for him. I want to address it, but I don't know how. I would like to not feel Inadequate and like I’m failing him.

Dear girlfriend,

Wow. That’s a tough spot. Addressing it won’t be the most comfortable conversation you’ve ever had, but I recommend you spell it out directly all the same. Say, “Love, it seems like our sex drives are incompatible. Based on our history, you need sex every day, while I would like to have sex (your number here) times per week. This isn’t going to work for us for much longer. I feel put upon to have that much sex, and when we don’t, I feel your frustration, which in turn makes me feel like I’m failing you—that doesn’t work for me. Can we talk about this?” Then see what he says next.

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How Important is it to Have Things in Common within Your Relationship?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Hey Wendy,

How important is it to have things in common? I am motivated by things that are quite intellectual and academic, and even though my boyfriend tries to be interested in the things I find fascinating he struggles as it’s not his thing.

I'm trying to get past the fact that I can't have in-depth intellectual conversations with him about things like the nature of power/politics.
I love him and his kindness and warmth with every fiber of my being, but I miss that intellectual connection. Can this work?

Hey friend,

“Can this work?” is a question only you can answer, but you can gain some clarity with this query:  I hear that you love him, but do you respect him? If his lack of knowledge/interest in intellectual topics cause you to lose respect for him, you don’t stand much of a chance together.

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Who Initiates Communication Between Dates?

September 2, 2016
Who initiates communication between dates? 

After a first date, I would initiate contact. I’d write a quick email thanking him for the time we had. I did this to send the unspoken message it was safe to ask me out again if he were so inclined. These emails were always short; here’s a sample: “Hi Sean! I had a lovely time with you today. Thank you so much for taking me to the Legion of Honor Museum. I love that place! But my favorite part was sitting on the lawn getting to know you. You’re interesting. I hope you have a fun week ahead. Wendy”

Ball tossed squarely over his fence to pick up or leave behind.

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How Long is the Courting Phase Supposed to Last?

September 2, 2016
How long is the courting phase supposed to last? ~ A Girlfriend in the Making

Dear Girlfriend,

This is a trick question because there isn’t an end date. I do, however, want to speak to the courting phase, so thanks for bringing it up! There’s universal consensus about what the courting phase means:

  • Everyone’s on their best behavior.
  • It ends, you’re committed, and while you’re not going to fancy restaurants all the time anymore, it’s okay to wear sweatpants.

No!

May I create a new framework for daters to think about when they think “courting phase?” Permission granted? Okay, thank you, I will. (more…)

What is the Perfect First Date Spot?

August 30, 2016
Where is the perfect first date spot?

Dear Perfect,

Paris! Did that help? 

Okay so the real answer is wherever the two of you are together that’s safe and comfortable. It’s fine to meet in a café, a city park, or somewhere easy-breezy. No need to make a big production out of your first meet-and-greet date.

A good friend of mine once said, “But I want our first date to be special. I don’t want to tell our grandchildren we met at a Starbucks!” then she went on to several dozen more first dates trying to make each and every one of them uniquely memorable so she could have that romantic story to whip out. Perfect, she was exhausted, and ended up quitting dating for a while. (more…)

How Much Should I Say About My Ex?

Friday, June 16, 2017
Hi Wendy,

I’m dating this guy and I like him a lot. He’s asked me what happened with my previous marriage. I started to tear up as I talked about it and he could see I was about to cry going back over the memories and events. I really think I made him feel bad.

The divorce was very hard for me, nine years and he drifted away because of how much we worked away from each other (military). I don’t think I'll ever be over him but each day gets more manageable. So, what do I tell this guy without giving off this vibe that he will be second place?

Hey dater,

I don’t usually dole out advice to wait to date, but in your case, you may want to step back and ask yourself if it’s time or if it’s too early for you to put your heart out there. Right now, it sounds like your heart’s kinda not in your possession—your ex is still holding onto it.

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How Do I Date as a Single Mom?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Hey Wendy,

I’m a single mom with a fourteen-year-old daughter. I recently started dating an amazing guy. We see each other once or twice a week, and every other weekend when my daughter is with her dad.

I feel like my daughter’s radar goes off any time I plan something with him. I get texts requesting mother-daughter time; shopping and other things. I feel guilty, and I don’t know how to make everyone happy in this situation. Help!

Hey Single Mom!

I’m not a mom to anyone other than my dog, so while I haven’t experienced what you’re facing exactly, I do know what it’s like to be asked for things from people I care about when I’m not in a position to provide. While it’s uncomfortable and might make you feel guilty, it’s important for you—and, more importantly, for her—to hold your space and to keep your plans.

Like all of us, your daughter has a need for attention. You say you’re away from her to be with him one or two times a week—that doesn’t feel like too much to me. I bet she’s away from you at least that amount of time to be with her friends.

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How Can I Accept My Polyamorous Girlfriend?

Friday, June 9, 2017
Hi Wendy,

The love of my life is a polyamorous woman. I reluctantly accept her lifestyle with the understanding that she will involve me in her encounters somehow (watching, videos, audio, etc.)

The first attempt at this was with a former FWB. She forgot to record anything because things happened too fast. It took everything I had to be ok with this situation. The one thing I asked for she ignored.

When I confront her she starts sobbing saying she's sorry. I don't know what to do.

Hi friend,

It doesn’t sound like you’re all that cool with her being poly. And you don’t have to be cool with it—just don’t say you are when you’re not. I have some questions for you:

Question 1: How do you think it feels for your partner to be “reluctantly accepted” as she is in your relationship? Probably not that amazing, I’m guessing.

Question 2: Do you know if her FWB and/or other lovers are okay with your agreement? It would freak me out if I were being filmed or photographed for someone else’s consumption if I hadn’t 100% agreed to it beforehand. Are you certain they’re okay with being recorded, watched, etc.?

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How Can I Keep Political Fighting Out of My Relationships?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Hey Wendy

My girlfriend of two years and I are in our 30s and have very different political views. While we’ve disagreed in the past, we’ve always seemed to be able to work it out.

We were at a holiday dinner six months ago and we ended up speaking with a close friend of mine and his girlfriend. Unfortunately, during the dinner, the topic of politics came up with my girlfriend being on one side of the aisle and my friend’s girlfriend on the other. It turned unpleasant and we all left at the first chance.

Recently I had a bunch of people over, and I invited my friend and his girlfriend. My girlfriend is upset because she was uncomfortable with their presence and thinks I care more about my friends than I do her. In all honesty, I thought enough time had passed that my girlfriend would be more open to seeing them, especially since my friend’s girlfriend apologized, but it wasn’t the case.

Should I have run it by my girlfriend before inviting them? Does she have a right to exclude them from our future events? Help!

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Do I Tell His Wife He’s Cheating?

Friday, June 2, 2017
Hey Wendy

I just found out I was the “other woman.” I thought my boyfriend was single but apparently, he’s been married for four years. Do I tell her?

Hey Lady!

I’m sure I’ll lose the popular vote on this answer, but girlfriend to girlfriend, my advice to you is nope, you don’t tell her.

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