Ask Wendy

How Do I Stop Comparing Myself to His Ex?

Friday, May 26, 2017

knows too much about the ex

Hey Wendy

I am having trouble with comparing myself to my boyfriend’s ex. Before I ever met him, I knew his mother. She would show me pictures of him and his ex-fiancé, and she talked well of her.

They were together for six years. They come from a small town where they were treated like a celebrity couple. I see old photos online where it seems like hundreds of people were rooting for them.

When it comes to past relationships, the less I know the better, but I knew all about this other woman before I ever spoke one word to my boyfriend, so I’m having trouble feeling like I’m not as good and won’t measure up.

Hey Girlfriend,

You are not competing with her. He is your boyfriend. He is not holding her up in his mind while running an analysis against everything you do to see how you measure up. “Hmm…Margie kept a cleaner house than Carrie, so I still like Margie better.” This. Is. Not. Happening. He’s also not in bed with you comparing your body to hers—I can just about promise you that. Men tend to just focus on one thing, one person, one act at a time, and when he’s in the moment with you, he’s in the moment with you.

I hear you when you say it’s uncomfortable knowing all these details about your love’s past relationship, but here’s the thing: He had a whole life before you showed up (just like you did). There were people around—some of whom he loved, hung out with, drank beers with, flirted with, kissed, wished he could kiss—long before you. He is entitled to a history.


How Soon Is Too Soon for Sex Talk?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

sex talk way too early

Hey Wendy

Sometimes when I chat with guys online, they are quick to talk about or reference sex in our first conversation. That creeps me out. Here’s my question: I’m wondering if I should try and get used to it, or do something differently because sexual banter is okay, or is this a major sign to leave that person alone?

Hey Dater,

When a guy talks about sex in the first few exchanges before ever meeting you, he’s letting you know what he wants—and what he wants is, well. sex. He’s also telling you he doesn’t have enough regard for you (or he doesn’t have enough brains in his head) to not risk blowing it with you by bringing up boning before you’ve even gotten to beers (more…)

What If I’m Not His Type?

Friday, May 19, 2017

not happy with body

Hey Wendy

I have been with my boyfriend for almost a year. He recently admitted to me that he was generally attracted to a different body type than mine and that he sometimes finds me physically unattractive.

He now feels awful for telling me, and he likes me in every other way. He says he and I just click, he’s happy, and he’s never been in a relationship so long.

He also emphasized that this was not how he always feels about me, but fuck, what do I do with this? I am not an unattractive lady. I love him and I don’t want to lose him, but ughhh…

Hey girlfriend,

Wow, I’m so sorry! That must have been incredibly painful to hear and a real hit to your ego. Ouch!

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that there are plenty of guys out there who will be attracted to you just as you are. The bad news is that this situation is not good news for your relationship.


How Can I Get Him to Remember My Birthday?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hey Wendy

My significant other of four years has forgotten my birthday for two years in a row. Today is my birthday and I just don’t know how I feel about this.

I don’t care about presents at all—like AT ALL—and he knows that. All I wanted was a greeting or acknowledgement that it’s my birthday, and nothing. He knew my birthday was coming up but just completely forgot that today is THE day.

He tried to apologize but just didn’t sound sincere (or maybe I just didn’t want to listen to his reasoning, not sure). Do I have the right to feel shitty or am I overreacting?

Hey girlfriend,

Happy birthday! Sorry he forgot. To answer your questions: Do you have the right to feel shitty or are you overreacting…


How Can I Avoid Online Dating Burnout?

Friday, May 12, 2017

online dating headaches

Hey Wendy

Online dating can wipe me out. Especially when it comes to email. I get tons of messages from guys that I’m just not interested in. Any suggestions on how to not allow the online dating process to not feel like a draining sorting process?

Dear Dater,

Popularity does have its downsides.

Here’s what to do: Before you open your inbox, try editing your profile. Toward the end of your blurb, say something like, “I look forward to hearing from you! I respond to those who write more than six words and fit within the online pull-down specifications outlined in my profile.”


My Boyfriend Doesn’t Want To Get Married, Help!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

the marriage question

Hi Wendy

My boyfriend doesn’t want to get married anymore. We’re 28 and have been together for 11 years now.

It was love at first sight, but we lived four hours apart and that distance took a toll on our relationship. A few years in, I left my small town and went to live with him in the big city, but within a few months of being together we were on again / off again for about a year. He proposed but took the ring back 11 days later.

We are together again, and we recently moved a thousand miles away from everyone/everything we know, so he could pursue his career. Now he tells me he never wants to get married or have kids. I am fine with it, I guess. Is it normal for a guy to change his mind like that? He says he wants to spend the rest of his life with me. I am confused.

How Long Can He Hold His Trump Card

Tuesday, May 5, 2017

she flirted, he won't let her forget

Hi Wendy

About 5 years ago my husband and I moved in with his parents so we could save up some money to buy a house. Turns out his mother is an emotionally abusive narcissist, which I kinda had a hint of from early in our relationship, but thought it wouldn’t be a problem since we were gonna be living in a basement apartment separate from her.

Well turns out they wanted us to integrate, and made sure to keep their computer, tv, couch, etc down there to use whenever.

Fast forward a year, and I had basically become enslaved. My husband’s mother says things to keep me down, makes me cook dinner for everyone, clean up the whole house, take care of the dogs, take her younger kids to school and pick them up. She knew since we were living there she could basically do whatever she wanted. I was extremely depressed, basically wanted to die all the time and eventually found a meetup group to go hang out with to give myself something to do. (more…)

Penis Size Is Not the Problem

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

is penis size an issue?

Hi Wendy
My boyfriend is pretty self-conscious about his penis size. His ex-girlfriend was not too kind with her words on the matter.
Size is not an issue for me; I love the man. And in my opinion, he’s actually pretty average. I just would like some advice on what I can do to help make him comfortable with himself around me, and make it known that it’s personally not an issue.


Dear Girlfriend,

Aargh, humans! We say the dumbest things sometimes. There are thoughtless people scattered across the globe who say devastating things to others, and I’m sorry his ex-girlfriend is one of them.

I think for most women it’s not the size that matters, it’s the fit. And a good, solid set of skills doesn’t hurt either.

So how do you clean up her mess? The next opportunity you have where you’re both chilling and chatting in a non-sexy setting, try saying something like this: “Hey, I’m so sorry your stupid ex-girlfriend made hurtful remarks to you about your size. That was cruel, even if she didn’t mean it to be. She’s wrong, and by the way, I think your size is normal. I know what she said has caused you feelings of inadequacy but I want to say for the record, I think we are a nice fit together, and larger or smaller just wouldn’t be us. And I LOVE us! So, can you please know that I think you’re awesome and you totally rock my world in bed? I love you.” Hopefully that will give him peace.

How Can I Tell Him?

Friday, April 28, 2017

home needs repairs can't invite him over

Hey Wendy
I have been dating this man exclusively for two months. We both have pretty strong feelings and see this being a long-term thing. Our only problem is that I can’t invite him over.
He asks why and I’ve told him I’m embarrassed by the shape of my home, which is 100% true. It is old and just absolutely falling apart. There are so many things that need to be repaired and I don’t have the time, money or skill to do them myself, so some of these things have snowballed into bigger issues. He has seen the outside of the house, so he knows I’m not making that up. He tells me constantly that he won’t judge me, he doesn’t care, and he wants to help me get things on track. I believe him, and based on that alone I would swallow my pride and let him in. The only thing holding me back now is that I have… roaches! I am so ashamed. I haven’t told him that part.

I keep a clean house. They came from my next-door neighbor, who had roaches and set off bug bombs. I have tried everything short of setting off my own bug bombs and calling the exterminator. (No bug bomb yet because I have indoor pets and can’t figure out where to take them for the process, and no exterminator because I am broke and ashamed for even the exterminator to see inside my home.) I don’t know what to do…

Dear Over-Your-Head,


Can Couples with Different Work Priorities Stay Together?

Friday, April 21, 2017

helping hand up the mountain

Hey Wendy
My boyfriend and I value work and career very differently.

He’s amazing at what he does, and he’s in the top of his field. He likes what he does, but he doesn’t live for work. He has a work/life balance that I just don’t have because he goes there, gets the job done, but it ends there for him.

I make a lot less than he does but I work twice as hard and twice the hours. I try to always take advantage of the opportunities that come up to build my career and these opportunities end up being conflicts in our relationship. I’m willing to do what it takes, even if that means I’m traveling a lot, I was out of the country for over a month last month. Do you think we shouldn’t be together? Is there anything that can make this work?

Dear Ambitious,


How Do I Get Over An Ex I’m Still Having Sex With?

Friday, April 14, 2017

heartbroken going cold turkey

Hey Wendy,

My ex broke up with me a couple of months ago. I’ve tried the no contact thing, but I miss speaking to him. We’ve met up for sex a few times. Before and during it I’m okay with it, but the next day I feel hollow inside and swear that I’d not do it again, but I end up going back just to feel close to him—I cave into the crave. How do I stop? I miss him so much, and enjoy his company, but I know that I’m hurting myself doing this, but it also hurts not seeing him at all.
Dear Ex,

Most of us have been there before, and it’s painful—I’m so sorry! Going cold turkey feels like the wrong thing to do…but it’s not. The answer to “how do I stop?” Is simple: You stop. Why? Because you decide to.

Now, just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. You’ve probably heard of the hormone oxytocin. Its purpose is to bond us to other humans. When a mother gives birth, her body floods with oxytocin to help her bond with the baby and care for it at a time when she’s exhausted, needs to recover, and would probably rather be sleeping. Oxytocin is also released in our system when we have sex! I could give you the long and complicated story of why, but the bottom line is it happens because biology is doing its part to keep humans alive on the planet.


Does Porn Play Out In Real Life?

Friday, April 7, 2017

her examining his porn history
Hey Wendy, I am in a relationship with an amazing man. I have known him for 5 years and we’ve been together a little over a year now. A couple months ago I found out that he was very much into incest porn. This is something he is extremely ashamed about. One night, after he fell asleep, I checked his history even though I told him I would respect his personal life. But what I found was brother/sister porn.When I confronted him about the brother/sister porn he told me he tried watching different types of porn but it always ends up there. That was the only porn he could get off to.

The last time we had sex we were looking into each other’s eyes and then put his head next to mine as he went to town and came. (more…)

Are We Compatible?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Dear Wendy,

My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years. We have 2 kids and one on the way. We are great friends and genuinely love each other. But the longer we’re together we’re realizing how opposite we are. Our differences often leave me feeling pressured and him feeling unloved.

Ever read 5 Love Languages book? I like words of affirmation and receiving gifts. He likes acts of service and quality time.

We read “When Your Sex Drives Don’t Match” and I’m a “Disinterested Lover” Meaning sex isn’t a priority, but when it does happen is fairly enjoyable. He’s a “Dependent Lover” meaning he likes to use sex as stress relief and an escape from the day.

During sex, I like romance, while he enjoys lighter, more playful sex, trying new things, positions, experiences, etc. A hiccup in the “system” can ruin the mood for me.

Because he likes acts of service, he goes out of his way to love me the way I want to be loved: Flowers, candles and small jewelry. Telling me he loves me and complimenting me.

He says I don’t return the same “service” type of love, and that leaves him feeling unappreciated. And I feel like I’m doing it wrong. Help?

Dear Reader,

Books are great, aren’t they? They give us useful ways of relating to each other, they uncover blind spots, and they definitely help us see other people’s points of view. I think books are so great I even wrote one. However, the things you’ve discovered in these books are not immutable qualities or hard-and-fast rules. This is not science. These are not unchangeable differences you are stuck with or must overcome. And your sex dynamic? Yeah, that’s the exact dynamic I’m working with in 90% of the couples’ counseling I do, which makes you…normal. Yep, totally normal.

So let’s back down from, “he’s this one way and I’m that one way,” and instead look at how knowing each other’s preferences and defaults can help you be great for and with each other instead of set you further apart.

The five love languages book was designed to help readers be more effective with their partners. What does that mean? Well, if your love language is gifts and his love language is acts of service, then don’t do gifts for him; do acts of service instead. He’s the one in charge of gifts because if he enacted acts of service for you, it would be lost on you—it wouldn’t hit your radar, right?

I’m not trying to pigeon-hole the genders here, but I have never met a man who didn’t have acts of service connected to feeling loved. I’m not saying those guys aren’t out there—I’m just saying I’ve never met them. And I have literally asked thousands of men the question, “What makes you feel loved by a woman?”

You might think, “acts of service, ugh,” and I get it—most of us are already doing a lot in our partnerships and in our lives in general. Acts of service can be draining, so pay attention to which acts are easiest for you and give you the most points with him. I used to iron my husband’s shirts while I watched All My Children on VHS after work. (Yes, I’m that old.) It was soothing, semi-mindless, and helped me unwind, and it made him feel loved and cared for. What acts of service do you like doing or that cost you little that he might love a lot?

This is a two-way street; what gifts can he give you that mean the world to you but don’t break the bank or totally stump him? Red roses on Fridays? A new pair of earrings? A piece of fancy chocolate? Or perhaps something completely different? What would do it for you? He won’t know unless you talk with him about it.

Now let’s talk about sex. And when I say, “let’s talk,” I really mean you two talk. Since sex is more like an occasional treat for you and a needed meal for him, make sure he’s fed, but you don’t have to do all the cooking. In other words, take it easy on yourself. Make deals around time of day or days of the week, learn what he needs during times you don’t want to make an effort and see where you both can comfortably compromise, and shoot for a balance of both romantic and experimental. Maybe when the creative, new stuff happens, it’s at a time when you’re rested enough that it’s not taking anything out of you to enjoy your intimate time together, and/or maybe when you’ve already had your needs attended to in the ways you need from your partner.

You two have preferences that aren’t the same because you’re unique humans, and this by no means spells out hopelessness.

Good luck!

My Boyfriend is Broke, Should I Keep Him?

Friday, March 31, 2017musician boyfriend and financial concerns


I really like the guy I’m dating, and he’s following his passion in music but he’s financially unstable and he makes significantly less than I do. How do I deal with the financial situation of someone I’m dating?

It’s hard for me to come to terms with the fact that there might be a point in our relationship where I may need to be the financial pillar. I can definitely support myself but supporting someone else is scary. He does live on his own with a handful of housemates so he’s independent. But typically artists/musicians don’t make a lot. Financial situations can change over time so I feel like what I’m scared of now may not follow me into the future.

Dear Financially Freaked,

What a great opportunity you have to use your words! I know, I know, I’m being snarky, but really: Don’t leave this to chance. Talk to him.

Does he have a plan for paying the bills while he’s investing in his passion? Do you share similar lifestyle expectations? What’s his relationship with money? Has he planned for a side job that will help the two of you make ends meet? Is he realistic about finances, or does he believe that money is something that other people worry about?


How Can I Get Her To Like Me?

Friday, March 24, 2017

contention with the old girlfriend

Hey Wendy, 

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about a year. He doesn’t have many friends and his ex girlfriend is one of his closest friends. They “share” her dog. He loves this dog, and sees his ex like a sister. I don’t have a problem with that.

What does bother me is that 1) the ex does not like me, and 2) boyfriend refuses to make any effort to change that situation.

Why doesn’t she like me, you ask? About six months ago, boyfriend and I addressed some trust issues. Now she sees me as untrustworthy.

I’ve asked him if he thinks she could ever learn to like me, but he claims she’s very stubborn and probably won’t back down. He then shrugs and says it sucks for him to be in the middle, but there’s nothing he can do.

Currently, he sees her and the dog about once a week, and it doesn’t usually conflict with our time together. It sucks to feel like a part of his life is completely walled off to me.

It breaks my heart that he can’t and won’t budge on this. I’m not sure what to make of the fact that he won’t put in any effort to help his best friend/ex see me in a better light.

This problem you have is not your boyfriend’s to fix. Please don’t put this on him or put him through the paces about it. He doesn’t have the magical power to change people, and that’s a good thing, because everybody gets to own their own feelings.