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Hey, look! It’s the first snow of the season here in NYC, and it’s not even Halloween. But it will be next week, and then after that it’s like a blink of an eye and it’s Thanksgiving and then Hanukkah and Christmas and New Year’s, oh my. Fine by me, really. I’ll be glad to have 2014 behind me. I can’t point to any one thing in particular that was spectacularly awful (on a personal level, I mean; the world has certainly seen some spectacularly awful things this year), but in general 2014 kind of blew (or has blown, I guess, since it’s not over yet). I feel like every month, I’ve been thinking, “Oh, that was a hard month, I’m glad that’s done.” And then the next month is just as challenging/stressful/tiring. So, now I’m just accepting that the rest of the year is probably a wash, especially with a move coming up in a couple of weeks (which will be a good thing when it’s done and we’re settled, but, when you’re in the thick of it, moving sucks), but maybe 2015 will make up for all of it. One hopes.

Anyhoo, sorry, I didn’t mean for this to be such a downer of a weekend post. Let’s talk about something more cheerful. Does anyone have early Halloween plans? Or fun fall weekend stuff planned? For the first weekend in I can’t remember how long, we actually don’t have a single thing planned. No kids’ birthday party or pumpkin carving or trips out of town or anything. We’re hoping we get keys to our new place a week early and can maybe start moving some things over. And painting! I don’t love painting, but I love the way it transforms a space into a home. And when you do it yourself, I think it gives you a chance to literally feel the space out, to get to know it. I love interior design and sometimes think it could have been a good career for me to pursue. But I also think it’s one of those things that, if I did for a career, I wouldn’t like anymore. So, I’m glad to have a new space in which to flex some of the creative muscles that have been dormant recently. Hmm, maybe the remainder of 2014 isn’t a wash after all. Maybe most of the good stuff will just be packed into the final couple of months. It is almost the season of Baileys Martinis.

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Here are a few things from around the web that may interest you:

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“‘Dating’ vs. ‘Married’: How Text Messages Change Over Time” [via The Atlantic]

Related to our discussion this past spring, “How Did you Spend Your Wedding Night,” Jezebel says “Nobody Has Wedding Night Sex Anymore.”

“Please Do Not Leave A Message: Why Millennials Hate Voice Mail” [via NPR]

“When a name is all that’s left: Why I changed my name after 8 years of marriage” [via Today.com]

“To Siri, With Love: How One Boy With Autism Became BFF With Apple’s Siri” [via NYTimes]

[image via The Atlantic]

Thank you to those who submitted links for me to include. If you see something around the web you think DW readers would appreciate, please send me a link to wendy@dearwendy.com and, if it’s a fit, I’ll include it in Friday’s round-up. Thanks!

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It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I recently got into a relationship with a guy who is very sweet but who doesn’t do normal boyfriend things. For example, his friends told him in front of my face that I have a big butt and he didn’t do anything. This made me feel uncomfortable, but I have not addressed it yet. Then, last week, I cheated on him with my best guy friend. (I gave him my virginity). I have been friends with him for six years, but he is a player type and I don’t think I have feelings for him. When he has sex with other girls, he uses protection and does not kiss them. When we had sexual intercourse, though, we did not use protection and he attempted to kiss me, but I kept moving and closing my lips. I am honestly confused. Please help. — Lips Closed

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I’ve been single for two years now. My last relationship was long-term but was not heading anywhere, and, since I wanted to move forward, I ended it. It was very hard and, admittedly, I built quite a wall up around myself after that. I couldn’t imagine letting anyone “in” again anytime soon. So I have been content being single, working on my confidence, and enjoying lots of “me” time, family time, and girl time. My well-meaning friends (all of whom are coupled) have all given me the same nudge to “get back out there,” telling me “you’ve got to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince,” etc. I still hadn’t been too interested in dating, though (and frankly I hate casual dating).

In the past few months, however, I’ve been feeling more open to flirtation and talking to men again, and one night, while out with girlfriends, I met a guy who really piqued my interest. I was instantly attracted to him, and after laughing all night we traded numbers. After that he texted me every day for two weeks, seeming interested in getting to know me more. We went on a date I really enjoyed, and he said he had a great time and wanted to plan another. But a few days after the date, he abruptly stopped contacting me. I sent him two texts (spaced out by a few days) and he never responded. No explanation, just totally ghosted me. I was disappointed and felt stupid for getting excited and giddily regaling my friends with the date details.

I know that I can’t let fear of disappointment/rejection limit me. It has been awhile since my ex, and I would like to move on and find somebody. But a few weeks ago when a male acquaintance (whom I’ve met twice in group settings with friends) asked me to dinner, I hesitated. I’m not really attracted to this guy and didn’t feel a lot of conversation “spark” either time we met, but he does have a lot of great qualities and is a really nice guy. I felt that I should give it a chance to see how I connected with him one-on-one, and also I’ve been trying to “say yes” more. So I asked if we could make it lunch instead of dinner, explaining that I’d prefer something a little more casual, and he said that was fine. We had a decent time, and I could tell he’s very interested in me, but again there was zero chemistry for me.

It’s a shame because upon talking more, I realized he really fits a lot of the things I would describe an ideal partner as being (our mutual friends say we ‘make sense together’). But regardless of that, I still felt very platonic towards him. I’m seeing him again at another group event, and he’s already told our friend he’s eager to hang out one-on-one again, but I’m not sure how to handle it. On the one hand, I believe you can’t force chemistry. On the other, this guy is nice and perhaps I should see if attraction could develop? I mean the spark was there with Mr. Long-term Ex, and Mr. Ghost, but look how well those worked out.

I don’t want to ask my friends’ advice since some of them are trying to set us up, so I sort of feel like there are expectations on me. I guess I’m wondering if anyone you know, or readers, have a success story with someone they started out feeling “eh” with. - Confused Casual Dater

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

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In lieu of reader recs today, I’m trying something a little different. If you notice over in the sidebar, there’s a new widget called “Wendy’s Picks.” It’s a slideshow of different images, and ,if you click through them, you’ll see a few things I found and liked while doing some online window shopping. The items are all part of a new affiliate program I recently signed up with and I’ll earn commissions on any shopping you do through any of the links you might click. This new affiliate program features tons and tons of stores, and since I love online window shopping as much as the next person who is procrastinating (on packing, cleaning, organizing, what have you) and torturing herself with images of things she shouldn’t buy/ can’t afford/ doesn’t need, I will be changing up the widget each week, as well as featuring some of my favorite finds in occasional posts.

Here are a few of the items I found while looking around this week:

I love this Fringed Cardigan for under a hundred bucks (Use code EXTRAEXTRA for an additional 25% off)

I’ve been looking for a pair of mid-calf cognac-colored boots, but these ankle boots have me re-thinking my priorities.

The perfect skinny pants to show off an awesome pair of boots.

Because the emperor isn’t the only one who needs a technicolor dream coat. (Use code EXTRAEXTRA for an additional 25% off)

Great price, so I think I will have to get this midi skirt.

This is currently my favorite color for a sweater or top. It’s universally flattering and, on someone fair-skined like I am, it instantly refreshes, sort of having the same effect as pinching your cheeks a couple of times, only this lasts a lot longer. (Use code HAPPY for 25% off)

These are the jeans that several DW readers have recommended and they’re marked down 30% AND you can save an additional 25% on that with code EXTRAEXTRA.

Also! If you’re interested in doing a Reader Recs some time, and you’re especially interested in recommending items that might help me earn some commission to support DW, you should know that almost every clothing and home goods store you probably like is part of this new affiliate program. So, recommend away!

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