Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Am I ‘Cheating’ on My Boyfriend When I Check My Ex’s Facebook Page?”

From the forums:

Computer_snooping

I’m almost 24 been in a long distance relationship for the past nine months (we haven’t met in person yet). We have no secrets from each other and always tell one another about everything in each of our lives. We love each other so much want to live together soon (he is going to move to me and live in my country in a month).

The thing is, I started dating him a few days after I broke up with my ex, and during these nine months I keep checking my ex’s profile in any of his social media accounts. I do it out of curiosity. Some people say that I can’t move on by doing this, but I don’t have contact with him anymore since I respect my boyfriend and I want this current relationship to last.

Recently, I found out that checking an ex’s profile is an issue that might ruin a new relationship. I never cheat on my partner because once I’m in a relationship I’m faithful, but it scares me that this — checking my ex’s profile — might called cheating. I asked some people whether it’s cheating or not, and they say no because I have no contact at all with my ex — we sometimes run into each other in our community but we don’t talk each other anymore — so I don’t know why I feel guilty.

One time my other ex texted me asking how I was doing and replied and then told my boyfriend because my friend said if I love him I should tell everything related to my exes, and he seemed to be a bit jealous. I explained to him that we were just texting a little and I stopped because my ex seemed to expect more. My boyfriend understands this and even trusts me more now because I want to tell him this kind of thing. But I’m afraid if I tell him that I’m checking the other ex’s profiles, I will give him something to worry about.

Is checking an ex’s profile cheating, even I do not have contact with him at all? Do I need to tell my boyfriend about it? Or should I just stop? Sometimes I think this guy might beat me or dump me for something wrong I do. Or worse, I don’t know. I guess I need to get to know him before we share a place together.— Define Cheating

The fuck? No, checking an ex’s Facebook page is not “cheating.” And, no, you don’t — and shouldn’t! — tell your boyfriend every time you do check an ex’s profile. But there are three important things we need to address: 1) If you are checking an ex’s social media pages regularly “out of curiosity,” then you really aren’t over that person (and by “regularly,” I mean anywhere from once a week to once a month; don’t even get me started on “once a day”); 2) if you’ve never met your boyfriend in person, he’s not your boyfriend; last and most certainly not least, if you’re seriously worried that this guy might abuse you for something wrong you’ve done, that’s for real messed up and you need to MOA immediately and seek some therapy.

Reading through your forum thread, it seems clear you aren’t in an emotionally healthy place to have a boyfriend. Beyond sounding naive for an almost-24-year-old, the idea that two days after ending a relationship you’d start “dating” some guy in a foreign country that you met on the internet and seriously entertain thoughts of letting him move in/to you to start a real-life relationship before even meeting him all while you’re regularly checking your ex’s Facebook profile to see whether he’s with the girl who has a weird stare is bizarre to say the least. Get off the internet, get yourself some help, and put the brakes on your dating life until you get your head screwed on straight.

***************

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

123 comments… add one
  • avatar

    artsygirl April 16, 2013, 9:03 am

    WTF – there is not enough coffee in the world to have me prepared for a letter like this in the morning

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    • avatar

      ktfran April 16, 2013, 9:15 am

      Right. My immediate response was WTF too. I mean. Wow. Just wow.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Steph April 16, 2013, 12:08 pm

      Completely agree. It was all very bizarre until I got to the ” he might beat me” part and then I thought why on Earth would you invite this guy to come to your country if you think he might beat or kill you?

      Also, I’m so tired of people having relationships with people they have never met. ITS NOT A RELATIONSHIP!

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    java82 April 16, 2013, 9:05 am

    You’ve never met him, ergo, he’s. Not. Your. Boyfriend.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    Temperance April 16, 2013, 9:14 am

    1. NOT.YOUR.BOYFRIEND.
    2. Looking at a Facebook page might be weird and obsessive, but it’s not cheating unless it’s code for some kind of sex.
    3. If you’re worried that he might “beat you” for looking at your ex’s Facebook page, you should not move in with him, you should not meet him, and you should run in the other direction.

    Reply Link
    • dabbler

      dabbler April 16, 2013, 10:01 am

      I’m trying to figure out how to word this, but I think it feels like cheating because the entire “relationship” with the “boyfriend” is online. By looking at his profile, which seems intimate when she looks at her boyfriend’s, with other guys, feels wrong because that is the same/only interaction she has with the boyfriend. Did that make sense?

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      • avatar

        temperance April 16, 2013, 11:26 am

        Wow. That actually does make sense, and now I’m sad. Thanks for explaining. lol

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 9:17 am

    Sorry, but if you haven’t met yet, you’re not in a relationship. (but that’s just my opinion, curious to see what others have to say)

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 9:18 am

      Also…”Recently, I found out that checking an ex’s profile is an issue that might ruin a new relationship.” Well, its an issue that might ruin you too. Its just not healthy.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 9:19 am

        Third, I don’t really get issues like this. If you don’t want to do something, for whatever reason, just stop doing it. Problem solved!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 9:39 am

        Oh God, I didn’t finish reading.

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    • katie

      katie April 16, 2013, 9:21 am

      i agree, i think that should be a new rule across the board.

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      GatorGirl April 16, 2013, 9:24 am

      I think you can be friends with someone whom you’ve never met in person, but not a romantic relationship.

      But I’m saying that selfishly because I consider all you DW peeps my friends.

      Reply Link
      • katie

        katie April 16, 2013, 9:27 am

        haha, i feel the same way about you all, but… i mean, can you *really* be friends with someone without meeting? maybe. i dunno. i guess.

        i mean me and AP were like best friends forever as soon as we met, so… ok, yes. i say yes. lol

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray April 16, 2013, 10:34 am

        shhh, people will be jealous!

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      • avatar

        painted_lady April 16, 2013, 11:10 am

        I FEEL SO BETRAYED. AP, you are a beastie stealer.

        I’m kidding. I love you both and I need to move to Chicago.

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      • katie

        katie April 16, 2013, 11:33 am

        Oh PL don’t be sad. When you get here and we meet, you will also be my best friend forever.

        I have many best friends forever. I guess I’m a friend slut? Whatever.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle April 16, 2013, 9:41 am

        I refer to you guys (in my head & out loud) as “internet friends” though, usually? Which doesn’t make it less legit, but it is, at least, a distinction?

        So maybe LWs with boyfriends they’ve never met can just refer to those dudes as “my internet boyfriend” & then we’ll at least know that ~they~ know where it’s at, ha

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      • avatar

        Christy April 16, 2013, 12:43 pm

        Yeah, y’all are definitely my DW friends. Even kerrycontrary is “my DW friend from grad school.”

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 9:42 am

        Haha, yes ladies, I agree, but I do think its a different sort of friendship until you meet in person.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 16, 2013, 9:55 am

        Yup. I agree with all of you. I say my DW friends. It’s a different kind of friend then Sally who you eat lunch with twice a week. But a BF/GF online only? That is a penpal/cyber sex buddy (if you go there).

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      • avatar

        csp April 16, 2013, 11:19 am

        I actually when I relay stories from DW, I call you guys “the people in my building”.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray April 16, 2013, 10:05 am

      unless you “meet” on DW, then you can totally be in a relationship without meeting. right, budjypoo? budj? …

      chirp, chirp, chirp

      Reply Link
      • Budj

        Budj April 16, 2013, 10:48 am

        oh hai

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray April 16, 2013, 11:10 am

        hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi!

        i mean, hey. or not hey. i’m breezy.

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      • avatar

        MMcG April 16, 2013, 11:32 am

        keep it light and subtle AP – not obvious at all 🙂

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      • mrmidtwenties

        mrmidtwenties April 16, 2013, 11:11 am

        are you saying addie that dw people have the special privilege of being able to have online relationships but only with people from dw? Ok, who here wants to be my girlfriend? Any takers? Come on

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      • avatar

        HmC April 16, 2013, 11:14 am

        dibs! Oh wait would that be cheating on my IRL boyfriend? Or would it not be since you would just be a pen pal…

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 11:15 am

        skank

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      • avatar

        HmC April 16, 2013, 11:19 am

        I called dibs first, that’s how online exclusive relationships work. I think?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 11:22 am

        🙂

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      • mrmidtwenties

        mrmidtwenties April 16, 2013, 11:24 am

        she did call dibs, I really have no choice

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      • mrmidtwenties

        mrmidtwenties April 16, 2013, 11:25 am

        But if we follow online relationship rules properly, you have to be preposterously far away from me, so whoever is furthest from Toronto wins

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 11:27 am

        I won’t say anything if you don’t.

        Also, I’m in Antarctica.

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      • mrmidtwenties

        mrmidtwenties April 16, 2013, 11:30 am

        Ohhhh snap, internet mistress, I’m down for this….Don’t tell @HmC

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      • avatar

        HmC April 16, 2013, 11:43 am

        Dear Wendy- Is it cheating if my internet boyfriend says he’s “down” with another commenter? Also does it count as a break up if I just close my monitor really quickly on him without telling him?

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      • KKZ

        KKZ April 16, 2013, 2:08 pm

        This is the funniest thing I’ve seen on DW in weeks. Thanks guys.

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      • mrmidtwenties

        mrmidtwenties April 16, 2013, 11:16 am

        Wow that was quick, as long as you don’t look at your current boyfriend’s facebook, you can be my online gf, everyone knows in the world of online relationships, looking at facebook is cheating

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 11:15 am

        Mid 20s? I’ll take the younger man!

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      • mrmidtwenties

        mrmidtwenties April 16, 2013, 11:17 am

        Oh shit, I didn’t think there would be a battle for me

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  • avatar

    mainer April 16, 2013, 9:22 am

    The first sentence of your response was my sentiment as well. It was kind of you to elaborate on it, I would have left it where it was.

    This is why we can’t have nice things. You take things like the internet and use it to relinquish any sort of rational or logical thought process and you let some hyped up, overly paranoid, borderline smothering concept you read on some forum that checking an ex’s Facebook page is “cheating,” and you use that to try and guide you on how you should act with your fake boyfriend who, as conventional wisdom would have us believe, is either 13 or 48 and, in either case, still living with his parents. Unless you refer to your ex’s penis as Facebook, and you check it between your legs, you’re in the clear. Furthermore, if you don’t want to be the subject of some cautionary tale in the form of a Lifetime movie, put the whole moving in together thing on hold until you get confirmation, either direct or through a source, that this guy does not like to prance around the living room in his roommates skin.

    Reply Link
    • Fabelle

      Fabelle April 16, 2013, 9:24 am

      I’m big fan of Wendy’s use of “the fuck?” as well, haha

      Reply Link
    • othy

      othy April 16, 2013, 10:23 am

      My husband isn’t on Facebook. Does this mean our sex life is doomed?

      Reply Link
      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 10:42 am

        Oh, you’re screwed.

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      • othy

        othy April 16, 2013, 1:30 pm

        Literally or figuratively?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 4:22 pm

        HA!

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    • avatar

      CG April 16, 2013, 9:28 am

      LMAO @ “unless you refer to your ex’s penis as Facebook …” 🙂

      Reply Link
    • findingtheearth

      findingtheearth April 16, 2013, 10:16 am

      Unless you refer to your ex’s penis as Facebook—— YES! I Love it!

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      MMcG April 16, 2013, 11:35 am

      This IS why we can’t have nice things!

      Word to what Mainer said. And WWS. For fucks sake people, it’s called the real world, pop your head up out of your prairie dog hole every once and awhile and look around… And by hole I mean the internet, which I use to waste time when in the workplace, which is entirely acceptable…to build my personal life around, not so much 😉

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  • avatar

    Miss T April 16, 2013, 9:22 am

    What the hell did I just read? 24 and in an online relationship–why do I feel like we discuss this so much on these threads lol, I didn’t know that still went on after 1998. I look at my ex’s Facebook sometimes because we had a great relationship and stayed friends–he helped my husband and I move into our first apartment and connected my brother with a job opportunity–and I am genuinely happy to see that he is happy and successful, whether with a new gf (he’s had several, which I admittedly found out about on my Newsfeed) or alone. I read through the LW’s comments on the forum via Wendy’s link, and I agree that her use of his social media pages is not healthy. She’s trying to compare herself to the girls he’s hanging out with now and as innocent as she tries to make it sound, she is really not moving on. But the real issue is the idea of her online relationship being “serious” because her parents are willing to meet him “on Skype.” I literally cannot express in English how unbelievably immature that is, and I don’t think she realizes that this says something extremely revealing about her character and her issues. There is no such thing as an online boyfriend–if you haven’t seen him face to face and actually gone on dates with him, he is not your boyfriend. This needs to be in the Constitution or something.

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    • avatar

      fairhairedchild April 16, 2013, 4:45 pm

      Also, wouldn’t her parents think its odd meeting someone on skype? If I was this girls parent I’d be very concerned about her health and her ability to form any sort of relationship with people face to face rather than just through a screen.

      Reply Link
  • Fabelle

    Fabelle April 16, 2013, 9:23 am

    I responded on the forum, but for here, I just want to say that although her actions/feelings imply naivete—obviously— I’m also guessing English is not her first language, right?

    Reply Link
    • katie

      katie April 16, 2013, 9:24 am

      yea, you can definitely tell english isnt the first language..

      however, if you changed the words to “better” english, would you get different results? does that really change anything in the letter?

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Miss MJ April 16, 2013, 10:14 am

      Random Q, not really directed to this letter: Does any one else think that it would be helpful if people for whom English is a second language or people whose question might have a cultural subtext, regardless of language, write in, they would include a general line about where they are from/background/something to let us know if there are cultural differences at play here? NOT that I’m suggesting that “cultural differences” in any way explain this letter, just to be clear. I’m just commenting in general. Several times, when LW’s have provided just a smidge more background information, situations that seem odd make more sense, and we often get a commenter familiar with that background or practice whose comments fill in the blanks. I find it fascinating when that happens and often learn something new that wouldn’t occur to me right away when I’m just reading the letter straight on through my everyday POV, and I’m sure it makes the advice to the LW better, too.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 16, 2013, 10:41 am

        I think it would be helpful, specially if the LW/OP is from say like Japan or Brazil or somewhere where the cultural expectations/norms are pretty different from the US/Canada(/GB?) where most of DWers are located.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs April 16, 2013, 9:27 am

    not sure what to say to the LW…i guess WWS….but this letter reminded me of a girl my brother was dating a few years ago who considered it cheating if my brother looked at magazine photos of women (e.g. there was a female wrestler…trish stratus…that was on the cover of a magazine at WalMart and my brother picked up the magazine to look at the photo)….and this girl lost her mind on him…she even called me and my parents to say that my brother was cheating on her….we couldn’t believe it when we found out that what she considered cheating was even just looking at pictures of people!

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki April 16, 2013, 10:27 am

      Was she like 13? That’s insane. My step-kids always call their dad and me out on “cheating” on each other (ie: we check someone else out or say something about someone else’s appearance in a positive manner). For example, Jessica Alba was on TV and my husband said something about how drop dead gorgeous she is and my stepdaughter (almost 16) said “Dad! You’re married! That’s cheating!” to which I just about fell over laughing. We opted to not explain how Jessica is his free pass anyway 😛

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      • avatar

        cdobbs April 16, 2013, 11:11 am

        No, she was 35!…the craziest part is I went to highschool with her and she dated my brother in highschool and cheated on him (not just looking, actual kissing)…they ended up breaking up over it and then years later got back together.

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      • avatar

        artsygirl April 16, 2013, 11:27 am

        I got married at 23 – a year younger than this LW. My mind keeps exploding when I think about that.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 10:46 am

      Your brother sounds like a cheating asshole.

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  • theattack

    theattack April 16, 2013, 9:43 am

    To answer the LW’s question here, no, most people do not consider occasionally looking at facebook profiles cheating. Most people think of cheating as crossing physical or emotional boundaries with someone else, but couples should always decide together what counts as cheating in their relationship. Regardless of whether it’s “cheating” or not though, it’s not healthy to obsess over someone, and it sounds like that’s what you’re doing.

    NO you shouldn’t let him move in with you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You should be able to trust someone 100% before you move in together. You will make yourself completely vulnerable to someone you barely even know, and you will have no safe zone. If you two seriously care about each other and want to make this work, spend a couple of years living apart in the same city first. Do NOT move in together!!

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  • avatar

    ktfran April 16, 2013, 9:49 am

    5:15 a.m. my alarm went off. I hit snooze three times. I wanted to get into work early, but my bed was just so damn comfortable.

    5:45 a.m. I left my cocoon, showered, brushed my teeth, put on lotion and makeup, dried my hair and finished making my steal cut oats for breakfasts this week.

    7:00 a.m. I hopped on the bus. It’s running late again. Annoying.

    7:15 a.m. I hopped on my second bus. This dude is totally invading my personal space when there is pleny of room around us. Maybe he likes me. I better not give the wrong impression so my fake boyfriend won’t get mad at me. Keep eyes down.

    7:30 a.m. I’m at work. Finally. Got my coffee. Checked DW. Read this crazy letter.

    Ok people, I read some of the forum. Can you imagine outlining your daily life for someone? I was bored typing that. Anybody who wants to know every detail of your life has serious issues. Don’t be in a relationship witht his person. Ever.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl April 16, 2013, 9:56 am

      man you get up early. Do you go to bed at like 7?

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      • avatar

        ktfran April 16, 2013, 10:21 am

        Ha! I normally get up at 6:15. I just wanted to get in early today. Bedtime is 10:30 though during the week.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 16, 2013, 10:55 am

        Ugh, I can’t function with out enough sleep. Also, i can’t make myself go to bed before 11. I want to but it just never works.

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      • avatar

        ktfran April 16, 2013, 11:11 am

        I would totally prefer to go to bad at 9:30, but that doesn’t happen either. I like sleep too! I’m pretty good on 7 hours though.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary April 16, 2013, 10:21 am

      Ok, serious question, do you make your steal cut oats and keep them for the entire week? Because I prefer steal cut oats, but the real ones take like 30 minutes on the stove. So if I could keep them in the fridge for a few days that would help….

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      • avatar

        ktfran April 16, 2013, 10:29 am

        I do keep them in the fridge for up to five days. Ok, here is my super easy recipe, that makes four servings, but I eat a lot so it could make five:

        Sunday night. Melt a little butter into a nonstick pot and add 1 cup steal cut oats (not instant). Toast for a few minutes. Add three cups water. Bring to a boil. Let boil for a minute or so. Cover overnight. Next morning, heat up a little and another cup of (either water, milk, milk substiture, whatever – I add milk or almond milk), mix and divied into four or five jars or containers or whatever. Then, when you’re headed out the door in the morning, you can grab and go. Or eat at home. Whatever. I heat for a minute and a half in the microwave before I eat, because who likes cold oatmeal? I also add brown sugar and either dried fruit or walnuts.

        It’s pretty awesome.

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      • avatar

        MMcG April 16, 2013, 12:06 pm

        @ktfran… I’ve been meaning to try this for ages (have the unopened package of steel cut oats in my pantry to prove it) and was debating between a slow cooker recipe I saw and the overnight thing. I’m definitely going to try this now – thanks for the inspiration!!

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      • avatar

        ktfran April 16, 2013, 12:52 pm

        You’re most certainly welcome. It’s so easy! You don’t have to do the butter thing, but I do to enhance the taste a little. Oh, and I add a pinch of salt while boiling. I’ve seen recipes that add four cups of water at night and nothing extra in the morning. I do the cup of milk in the morning because I like the consistency better.

        It looks kind of effed up in the morning, but once you add the extra liquid, heat a little and stir, it’s perfect. So, the first morning you prepare, it might take an extra 5 or 10 minutes. But after that, super easy.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary April 17, 2013, 8:52 am

        Thanks for this! Just saw it because I forgot I asked yesterday. Maybe I’ll try it this weekend/next week. My work makes steel cut oats in our cafeteria (actually like really good), but I don’t want to pay 1.25 for them every day 🙂

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    • lemongrass

      Lemongrass April 16, 2013, 10:50 am

      I was thinking “you did that all in a row? Nice!” But that could be my morning went like
      4:30 – E cries and I soothe him back to sleep
      5:00- E has a poopy diaper. I then change and feed him. I lay him down and he spat up enough to cover his ENTIRE head. I was scared! He’s okay, changed his outfit and sheets. My husband rocks him back to sleep.
      6:45- E wakes up and starts cooing.
      7:15 I get up and shower
      I am now feeding him with just a towel in my hair because there was no time to dress. We’ll see how makeup goes.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Addie Pray April 16, 2013, 9:49 am

    I read the first sentence only. Actually, I read just 1/2 of the first sentence, the part that said, “been in a long distance relationship for the past nine months (we haven’t met in person yet)…” I’m going to go off on a limb and just say, if you haven’t met yet, you’re not in a relationship, he’s not your boyfriend, and you’re not his girlfriend. You’re nothing. Well, you’re penpals at best.

    That should render the rest of the letter moot, right? Ok, gonna go read now…

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray April 16, 2013, 9:59 am

      “We have no secrets from each other and always tell one another about everything in each of our lives.” … Liar! You haven’t told him that you’re checking the other ex’s profiles! Dun dun dun! You probably also didn’t tell him about how you didn’t finish your cereal this morning, or about how you found a penny that one time, or about how you need to pick up some toothpaste at Wallgreens. You are a very bad girlfriend!

      Reply Link
    • avatar

      Wendy's Dad April 16, 2013, 10:03 am

      I love it when someone knows how to use “moot” instead of “mute”. But you’re a lawyer. I’d expect you to get it right.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed April 16, 2013, 10:05 am

        Moot is one of my favorite words! I love when people use it correctly. Go Addie!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray April 16, 2013, 10:07 am

        not gonna lie, i had to pause for a second and consider all THREE options. moot? mute? or moo (a cow’s opinion)? no, moot.

        haha.

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      • avatar

        rachel April 16, 2013, 10:17 am

        Silly cows. No one wants their opinion…except maybe on grass.

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      • avatar

        Taylor April 16, 2013, 10:19 am

        Best ever line from Friends!

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      • avatar

        MrsRainey April 16, 2013, 11:28 am

        It’s a moo point. It’s like a cows opinion, it doesn’t matter.

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      • avatar

        Taylor April 16, 2013, 4:34 pm

        You’re my hero =)

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      • findingtheearth

        findingtheearth April 16, 2013, 10:18 am

        I love “moot.” I work for a lawyer, and it one of my favorite legal terms. That and “fruits of the poisonous tree.”

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  • avatar

    bethany April 16, 2013, 10:08 am

    Step away from the computer… Seriously. Do it.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray April 16, 2013, 10:11 am

      Great advice! I will add to it: After you step away, go outside, take a walk, maybe go grab coffee at a local cafe, and interact with live people. It’ll be amazing!

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    • avatar

      Hobbesnblue April 16, 2013, 2:00 pm

      Sing it with me! “There is life outside your apartment/But you’ve got to open the door!”

      Reply Link
  • Heather

    Heather April 16, 2013, 10:09 am

    ಠ_ಠ

    What everyone else said. Good god.

    Reply Link
  • avatar

    iseeshiny April 16, 2013, 10:24 am

    If you’re worried someone is going to beat you up before you meet them, it’s probably not a great idea to meet them.

    But this is a fake, right?

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay April 16, 2013, 1:56 pm

      I was kind of thinking so. It was the “Or worse” that really got me. A little dramatic there.

      Reply Link
  • avatar

    Taylor April 16, 2013, 10:25 am

    Hey there LW ,
    You know the issue here because you ended your letter with it. It’s this –> **I guess I need to get to know him before we share a place together.** <—

    You also know that this is a problem: **Sometimes I think this guy might beat me or dump me for something wrong I do. Or worse, I don’t know.**

    I suspect that your anxiety is not really about whether you are cheating (you aren't), but about this uncomfortable situation you are in. Don't let this guy move to your country to move in with you. Dating and relationships involve seeing someone in person. Think about being single for a while – it's a good way to be when done correctly!

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  • avatar

    llclarityll April 16, 2013, 10:29 am

    Woah and woah.

    I think it’s time for another list, the “When to consider someone your Boyfriend” list. Amiright?

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    • Alena

      Alena April 16, 2013, 10:46 am

      I’m thinking a “15 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Calling Him Your Boyfriend” might be a good list.

      Or “15 Requirements for You to Be Considered A Couple” might work, too.

      I like Wendy’s lists.

      We already know number one!

      For reasons why you shouldn’t be calling him your boyfriend:
      1) You haven’t even met in person, you’ve only talked online.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones April 16, 2013, 10:33 am

    You cannot be cheating if you aren’t in a real relationship. If you have never met, then you are not in a real relationship.

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    • Lady_Red

      Red_Lady April 17, 2013, 12:15 am

      Now that’s some sound logic!

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  • Alena

    Alena April 16, 2013, 10:36 am

    “You. Just…. Aghhhhgh!”

    ^My thoughts upon reading this letter.

    People have gone over this: talking, flirting, telling secrets online does not constitute a boyfriend. What happens when you meet in person and you realize the way he talks to you, the way he touches your shoulder, everything he does just skeeves you out? But on your timeline, you won’t know until he’s officially living with you!

    I’m 23 too. I dated a guy for four years, then got dumped in October because he wanted to live in the UK and basically had a quarter-life crisis. We had a life together planned. It was hard to handle. In December I needed to take a break from everything relating to him. I still was holding onto the hope that someday we could be friendly, even if we weren’t actually friends. I prevented anything about him from showing up on my facebook. I unfriended most of his friends from the UK. I made a point not to check his facebook at all. At the start of February I finally realized I couldn’t be friendly, I couldn’t chat with him online, it was never going to be “okay.” Even if it was years until he started dating someone, I knew that would just cause me a lot of pain when it happened. Maintaining a friendship of any capacity was setting myself up for too much pain. I’m not willing to do that to myself, no matter how much I miss him occasionally.

    I still miss what we had. However, completely avoiding mention of him on facebook has made my life so much better. The few times I slipped up between October and December and checked his facebook, I felt much worse for several days. I can’t imagine how much you must be affected if you’re essentially stalking him EVERY DAY. That doesn’t exactly scream “over” your ex. It’s not going to help make your new relationship last. Block your ex if it’s the only way you can keep yourself from checking his profile.

    You seem to be really caught up with being trustworthy and sharing all information. Which suggests there might have been some sort of trust issue in your past (either your fault or an ex’s) or your “boyfriend’s.” I understand holding trust in high regard. It’s incredibly important to me too. But do you possibly take it too far? I can’t imagine hearing all about your texting with an ex would make him feel too warm fuzzy, but there’s a difference between saying that an ex texted you, but you stopped it, and detailing every little message between you. I just wonder because I know a few people who think trust means that their partner knows every single detail that might make them feel shitty.

    But all of that didn’t really matter (in my opinion) once I read the last paragraph: A relationship with someone who makes you wonder if he’ll dump you for any little thing you might do “wrong” is not healthy. A relationship with someone who makes you wonder if he’ll BEAT you for any little thing you might do “wrong” is something you should RUN AWAY FROM at top speed. Good people don’t beat their partners for any reason. Partners of good people don’t fear that they’ll be hurt if they screw up.

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey April 16, 2013, 9:36 am

    Jesus. Not ONLY would I second the fact that this guy IS NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND, but I would also inform you that you DON’T REALLY KNOW HIM and that you should NEVER share a place with a boyfriend you’ve never met!!!

    That said, I’m getting the strong, STRONG feeling that your very, very worrisome lack of ability to see this situation clearly means there’s a whole lot more going on than what you’ve said. I’m suspecting that you’ve had, at the very least, some very unhealthy relationships in the past…if not some more serious traumas. For that reason, your best course of action is therapy. And being single.

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  • avatar

    Amanda April 16, 2013, 11:01 am

    “3 universal signs that you are NOT in a relationship”

    1) You don’t know the other person BECAUSE
    2) You have never met in person AND
    3) You are currently too immature or emotionally unbalanced for a real-life, healthy relationship with another human being

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth April 16, 2013, 10:14 am

    Wowser. I got to the end with some serious thoughts, but the part about beating her possibly made me just burst out laughing. I am a horrible person.

    You are 24? And think this is a relationship? You are pen pals. You have never met this guy. He might be some creepo. If Catfish has taught me nothing- always meet people online in real life before you label something.

    Weird.

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  • avatar

    oldie April 16, 2013, 11:17 am

    You can’t tell that an internet-only bf is another country ‘tells me everything’. You know he tells you ‘stuff’. That stuff may or may not be true. It may or may not be the most important things from his life. How can one be so dominated by a person a country away. He’s obviously accused her of ‘cheating’. She thinks he may beat her. She’s apparently enough alright with that that she is still spilling her guts to him over the internet and expecting him to come live with her. That sounds very dangerous to me. Also, what does she mean by internet dating? Do they watch each other masturbate over Skype? The concept of an internet date just seems weird. All those months wasted on a guy LW has never met and is likely nothing like she imagines. In the low tech days, we called such a guy a pen pal.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 April 16, 2013, 11:18 am

    Since it is an online relationship, than anybody you look at online would be cheating amiright!

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser April 16, 2013, 11:20 am

    Wouldn’t it be fun if the whole DW community got together and we had to guess each other’s identities?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 11:23 am

      I’ll start. I’m guessing you are old, wise and curious.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy April 16, 2013, 11:37 am

      Come to the first annual DW picnic in NYC on June 1st and we will do just that.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray April 16, 2013, 11:40 am

      Great idea! You’ll never guess me. I’m actually a 59 year old father of 3. Weird, eh?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 16, 2013, 11:42 am

        GatorGuy always jokes that I have a secret idenity on DW and pretend that I’m a man. IDK why he thinks that.

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  • Jess

    Jess April 16, 2013, 11:23 am

    Based on the forum thread especially, I believe this is a fake.

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  • avatar

    csp April 16, 2013, 11:27 am

    So LW, I just quit facebook. It was scary and hard, and I had no idea how much I checked it, especially from my phone. But what I found about myself was that I checked people I didn’t like or ex boyfriends more than I should have. I also felt that comparing myself and my stage in life to people I would have forgotten about in High School wasn’t healthy either. So I quit and once I got over the initial reflex to check, it was ok.

    Moral of the story, I think alot of people check people they shouldn’t. but does that make it cheating? no. Would I want to tell my husband that I checked my ex? no. So when a line is blurred like that, my gut is to not do it.

    PS – listen to everyone here and don’t let this other guy move in. Please meet first and tell loved ones where you are going.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 11:46 am

    Am I the only thinking how weird it is that this LW (in the forums) was so agreeable to the advice given, even while being pretty damn crazy!!, yet a sane DW regular is so far from agreeable to the advice?

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    • LadyinPurpleNotRed

      LadyinPurpleNotRed April 16, 2013, 11:55 am

      Well to be fair, the DW regular has never been agreeable when it came to advice about the boy she loves that disagreed with her viewpoint.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow April 16, 2013, 12:18 pm

      Are you surprised?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 16, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Frustrated? Not that there are too many similarities at all, but I keep thinking of my sister, the one who finally left her dirtbag boyfriend of 5 years. All those years of us giving her advice, even very angrily at times, she never once reacted this way.

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      • avatar

        Boosker April 16, 2013, 7:09 pm

        Wait, what are we talking about here? I guess I need to start reading the forums on the regular.

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    • KKZ

      KKZ April 16, 2013, 2:24 pm

      The impression I got from the forum was that she instantly saw the sense in what we (well, everyone else, I lurked) were saying but was so naive, she could have never gotten to those conclusions herself, she needed someone else to point them out to her.

      Like with the “he might beat me” thing, it wasn’t because he had ever specifically threatened her with violence, she came up with it as a worst-case scenario, “This is just something men sometimes do when they’re upset so it could happen to me!” The way she reacted when people pointed that out as a red flag … she seemed genuinely confused, like she needed someone to spell it out for her that if he’s shown no sign whatsoever of being violent/abusive, and if she herself has no back history of abuse, it’s not normal to fear that consequence. To everyone else it was common sense that she’d only come to that conclusion if there were evidence for it.

      That, to me, signals someone who hasn’t been out in the world much, who takes things at face value, and who strings together conclusions on the loosest pretenses (some guys hit when angry, he’s a guy, I might anger him, therefore I might get hit).

      I’m really glad Oldie mentioned above that she doesn’t *know* that he “tells her everything” and “has no secrets,” because with the very small slice of each other’s lives they get through web communication, she has no way to independently verify anything he tells her, from the random minutiae of his day to whether he’s actually even single, for instance. This seems to me like just the kind of common-sense info that she needs pointed out.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser April 16, 2013, 12:08 pm

    Let’s Be Honest- Lol. I chose this name when I thought this community was primarily in their 20’s. Now that I know better, I really should change my name to “Not Much Older or Wiser But Very Opinionated”. I would LOVE to go but unfortunately, June 1st is a Saturday and it’s my Sabbath so I can’t travel.

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  • Alena

    Alena April 16, 2013, 12:13 pm

    What is it that makes some people in online-only “relationships” convinced that the other person told them EVERYTHING?

    Is it just because they have told this other person everything, and assume the other person has done the same? Is it because the other person has told them terrible things that they’re “not proud of” but are claiming to tell them to be totally transparent? Or maybe their facebook has kind of matched up with things they have said? Is it just that they so desperately want to believe someone trust them like that? What is it? Can people clue me in here?

    Also, because of this post I’m now thinking of that 17 year old who posted in the forums wayyyy back when they were started, about wanting to go visit her online guy friend who lived in Texas. (Found the link!

    I wish we knew what happened to her…

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow April 16, 2013, 12:17 pm

      Yeah! I wonder about that one too.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 16, 2013, 1:13 pm

    Dear Wendy. I recently painted my apartment orange. I love it. Still, sometimes I can’t stop looking at old pictures of the my apartment from before I painted it. Does thus mean I regret making this change? Would my wonderful walls be upset if they knew? Please help me, Wendy. I am so confused…

    PS. Oh, by the way, my apartment is on fire… Wow, talk about flames! Who knew there could be this much smoke?! But how can I stop sneaking peeks at my older, pre-orange pix? Cough. Cough… Oh, I feel dizzy…

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  • avatar

    AKchic April 16, 2013, 1:19 pm

    One phrase comes to mind here… “train wreck”.

    Are you a social hermit who can’t stand the idea of healthy dating? Doesn’t seem like it since you appear to have had a real boyfriend.
    You have spent the last 9 months flirting with an online penpal from a foreign country. You’ve also spent the last 9 months semi-cyber stalking your ex-boyfriend on Facebook. You feel that checking his profile constitutes cheating and therefore your flirty penpal will actually physically harm you if he were to know about it.

    What the fuck is wrong with you?!

    You aren’t dating the online guy. You’re having flirty internet talk. You’re scared he’ll physically harm you, therefore he is not a candidate for dating. Period. Do not let this guy use you as a meal-ticket to whatever country you are in. Or as a home/sex toy.
    Stop checking out your ex’s social media pages. Move on.
    Get therapy for whatever issues you’ve got going on. Low self-esteem is only one aspect, and can be a byproduct of other issues, or be causing other issues. Get to the bottom of it and work it out, otherwise you will be doomed to continually repeat these poor dating decisions for the rest of your life.

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  • Tracey

    Tracey April 16, 2013, 1:36 pm

    I was hoping against hope this was a prank letter, then I saw the forum posts. I think everyone’s covered this (internet guy is not your boyfriend, you need to get some therapy, step away from social media), and I do hope you take the advice given to heart, LW. You are setting yourself up for a world of emotional hurt if you keep going down your current path. And let’s keep it real – in today’s world, you could be putting yourself at risk of physical harm as well because all you know about internet guy is what he’s told you.

    Stop, slow waaaaaay down, and get yourself some help. Please. You need it and you deserve to be healthy.

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  • avatar

    Rangerchic April 16, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Yeah…just what everyone else said. Really.

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  • avatar

    Marjoralynnia April 16, 2013, 2:06 pm

    Everyone else has already covered the whackiness of the letter, but I want to take a little exception to this:

    “If you are checking an ex’s social media pages regularly “out of curiosity,” then you really aren’t over that person (and by “regularly,” I mean anywhere from once a week to once a month; don’t even get me started on “once a day”)”

    I don’t think that’s necessarily true (although in this letter’s case it definitely is). I am totally and healthily over my college sweetheart, but I check his Facebook a handful of times a month, because I care about whether he’s doing well and like having a sense of what he’s up to, but prefer to keep the door shut on a friendship IRL.

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  • avatar

    John Farrier April 16, 2013, 2:29 pm

    As other commenters have pointed out, there are so many problems in the letter, but I’m curious: why would anyone stay Facebook friends with an ex?

    Facebook came along long after I got married, but if I was single and dating, I’d consider mutual unfriending/unfollowing/unsubscribing to be normal and expected.

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  • mylaray

    mylaray April 16, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Well, I definitely agree with what Wendy and the others said. That situation is a little crazy, to say the least.

    It also reminds me that I occasionally check an ex’s Facebook (usually once every few months, sometimes once a month, but not all the time). We broke up 2 years ago, and I am completely over him now (I definitely wasn’t at first), but I find it entertaining when I do check his profile. He left me for someone who is nowhere near as pretty as me (I’m truly not saying that to be mean-he always felt like I was out of his league-but I’ll admit, it makes me feel better about the situation), and really, now I’m able to realize just how weird he is. And it’s hard for me to see what I ever saw in him. I don’t have a desire to be friends with my ex, but I like to see what him and other random people in my life are up to from time to time. To me, it’s just curiosity.

    I wouldn’t necessarily want my boyfriend to know I occasionally check an ex’s profile (though I’m not trying to hide anything), and if he ever wanted me to unfriend him, I certainly would. But I don’t see anything inherently wrong with keeping an ex as a friend online/checking his/her profile from time to time.

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  • avatar

    Alecia April 16, 2013, 5:18 pm

    Wendy you killed that response. As soon as I saw they haven’t met yet? I was like here we go again…

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