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“Are All College Guys Jerks?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss whether college guys are jerks and when to MOA!

I’m a sophomore in college. Over winter break four of my guy friends from high school tried to kiss me. The kicker? All four of these “men” are in relationships. Even if I’m sending some sort of subliminal “open for business” signal, it hardly seems right that they would approach even the most sultry of vixens (which I am not…) with the intention of cheating. I’m currently questioning whether I can trust any man — at least any man under 25 — to stay loyal in a relationship when I seem to serve as an overwhelming example of their willingness to stray. — Confused in College


I promise that there are many college guys who are wonderful and trustworthy and deserving of your time and attention, just as I’m sure that being a jerk is not limited to youth or gender. What you need to do is develop a great BS detector — which it sounds you are well on your way to doing — and work on cultivating an open heart and an open mind so that while you detract the jerks, you actively attract the good guys to your life. I swear to God, good ones do exist even if the following letters would indicate otherwise.

A month ago I was snooping on my live-in boyfriend’s computer and found that he had an online dating profile. I confronted him, and he swore up and down that it was a joke that his friends created. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe his dumb friends really did make it and I was overreacting. Cut to a couple days ago I was snooping again and I stumbled upon his MySpace where he had a dozen or so friends — all female and mostly naked in their display pictures — with flirty messages to them. I looked at his Facebook and saw he was doing similar stuff there too. He said that these girls were friends and that he had just lost their phone numbers and was trying to get in touch with them. He swears he has never cheated on me, but I know that I can’t trust him again. Still, I want to believe him when he says that he loves me and really does want to be with me. What should I do? — Snooper Trooper


If you know you can’t trust him again, what on earth is their left to salvage of your relationship? Nothing! Move out (or, better yet, kick him out) and MOA! This guy is a megawatt dick, and you’re foolish for sticking around this long.

I have been in a relationship for four years now. Things weren’t great in the first three years due to some family issues, but there was still talk of marriage one day. After our third anniversary came and went, I started asking about a proposal, and to my shock I was told there will be no marriage and he doesn’t want one EVER. I was heartbroken and in shock. A year has passed since then, and I have brought it up once or twice to make sure he was telling me the truth and he confirmed he has no interest in marriage. I am 30-years old and I don’t want to give up on my dreams of building a family of my own but I don’t want to leave the man I love. Please help! — Dreaming of Marriage


Oh, sweetie, you need to quit wasting your precious time and face the reality that this guy is never, ever going to marry you. MOA before another fours years pass by without your dreams of marriage and children being realized. You still have plenty of time to find someone else, but the longer you stay with him, that window of opportunity is going to get smaller and smaller.

My boyfriend and I met in college and have been together for over three years. I graduated from college and am now attending law school and working part-time, but my boyfriend, who is three years older, has done nothing since he graduated college in 2009, and I mean NOTHING! He moved in with me last August and owes me a lot of money for rent and utilities as he has no job. He’s said that he wants to write screenplays, but he is doesn’t finish any of them! Do I end things when my lease is up, because I can’t afford my apartment by myself, or do I just try to work through it? My mom wants me to find someone with drive, who can help me, but I love my boyfriend and love being with him. He has a history of cheating on me, even though he won’t admit it, but I think we’re past that. Please Help! — I’m with Lazy


Do me a favor, and read the two letters above yours and think about what advice you’d give those ladies. Now, apply the same advice — which, hopefully, is to MOA!!! — to yourself because the essence of your letter is identical to theirs (you even have the same final sentence as the last one). Have enough self-respect to know that you deserve better and enough faith that you’ll find better and quit letting this loser take total advantage of you.

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

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{ 86 comments… add one }

avatar Lexington February 18, 2011, 9:19 am

Ouch. What Wendy says. All of you. Maybe some of y’all can move in together to save on rent.

avatar sarolabelle February 18, 2011, 9:21 am

It is better to be happy alone than miserable with these jerks. All of y’all may love them but they don’t derserve the love you give them and truthfully, I don’t think they love you. Move on and give your love to a man that respects, appreciates, and honors your love for him who also loves you back.

avatar Christy February 18, 2011, 9:26 am

Gentle typo notification: in your second response, you refer to “your foolish,” but I’m pretty sure you mean “you’re foolish.” And I love your MOA responses–you should publish another MOA formula!

avatar sarolabelle February 18, 2011, 9:27 am

I swear – one day no one will know the difference between those words. I’ve seen that mistake in best selling novels.

avatar SpaceySteph February 19, 2011, 10:43 pm

Sad but true. In 20 years, it’ll just be “ur,” either way.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 18, 2011, 9:33 am

Ugh, I HATE that one, too. Thanks for pointing out.

avatar Mainer February 18, 2011, 9:31 am

LW – college is an introduction into the world of no chaperones. As such, most are overwhelmed to the point they feel they can get away with whatever they want. It’s the really mature one’s who are able to maintain their composure and dignity in the face of independence. Those are the one’s to keep an eye out for. The rest will soon learn that there are people other than their mommy who can hold them accountable for the consequences of their actions. This will be evident later in life when, five years after they graduate, you still see them hitting on college girls.

The rest: WTF are you holding on to? Maybe I’m just far to analytical, cold hearted, and logical about this, but it is nonsensical for you to not drop these guys like they were Home Economics. You’re treating them like an STD – a nuisance you have to live with. Is it a fear of being single? Are we so wrapped up in the fact that we MUST be in a relationship, MUST get married, MUST have kids, that we are willing to settle for a miserable life-drain in order to achieve this societal milestone? Maybe this is why I am single now, but I would much rather be alone and happy than with someone I can’t trust or is a drain on my emotions or finances.

avatar Natasha Kingston February 21, 2011, 11:13 am

I just LOVED this response. Beautifully written. I want to copy and paste it as my FB status today!

avatar ladiejoy February 18, 2011, 9:43 am

Here’s a thought: STOP SNOOPING! Seriously, if you feel you need to snoop in order to get information, you clearly don’t have the level of trust a healthy relationship should have in the first place.

avatar Tudor Princess February 18, 2011, 10:34 am

I was going to say the exact same thing. I was surprised Wendy didn’t mention it. I agree that what he is doing is wrong, but she’s no saint, either. Why was she snooping in the first place?

avatar absurdfiction February 18, 2011, 11:27 am

The sad thing is that since she found evidence of untrustworthy behavior, she probably now feels her snooping was justified. I hope this lack of respect for privacy doesn’t carry over into her future relationships — sure, this guy was a scumbag, but not all guys are, and someday her own issues with trust and respect may come back to bite her in the rear. LW, you definitely got burned on this one, but you should do some serious introspection before you get involved with someone new.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 11:22 am

Totally agree! If you feel the need to snoop in your BF’s email, facebook etc, then you already have issues, regardless of what you do or don’t find. This one seemed doomed from the word go!

avatar Amanda February 18, 2011, 11:25 am

Totally suprised the snooping factor didn’t come up in Wendy’s response.

avatar Amber February 18, 2011, 11:29 am

I guess my question about the snooping is was she friends with him on myspace/facebook, could she see his profile already? if she was and she just looked at his pages and saw notes from other girls that would be different. if she actually was logged on as him and reading his messages definitely wrong.

and i agree with above posters if you feel the need to snoop to the point of getting on their computer and reading messages, etc there’s something not quite right in the relationship.

avatar awendybird February 18, 2011, 12:26 pm

I don’t think she would have called it snooping if she was just looking at their profiles while logged in on her name.

And you can’t see people’s messages unless you are logged in under their name. She was definitely in the wrong!

avatar Amber February 18, 2011, 1:51 pm

yeah you’re right she did say she was snooping, i guess i was confused by the wording whether she meant messages or messages on the wall. messages in the inbox definitely means she was snooping!

avatar karmsgirl February 18, 2011, 12:59 pm

100% agree

avatar Kat February 18, 2011, 8:35 pm

I dunno, I had a funny feeling once (and only once) and I read my bf’s text messages and DID find out about something dodgy. Sometimes you know something’s up and not everyone is going to be wonderfully honest about it if you confront them with your feelings. And sometimes people get dodgy and they’re just having emotional insecurities or stress from work and stuff. Basically, sometimes snooping can open communication.

avatar spaceboy761 February 18, 2011, 10:25 am

I say we establish MWD as the new acronym for ‘megawatt dick’.

Skyblossom Skyblossom February 18, 2011, 10:29 am

My experience was that when I could no longer trust someone I couldn’t respect them and when I couldn’t respect them I no longer loved them. I think these situations are MOA.

Kristina Kristina February 18, 2011, 2:20 pm

Definitely agree.

avatar baby.blanka February 18, 2011, 10:31 am

Does anyone else think it’s strange that over one break four guys tried to kiss LW1? Don’t get me wrong, I am sure she’s a hottie but those are just above average odds (I think). Along with Wendy’s advice I would maybe advise her to look at herself and evaluate exactly what signals she IS obviously sending. You know these guys are in relationships, you might be confusing them just as much as they are confusing you.

avatar AnitaBath February 18, 2011, 11:56 am

I was going to say this same thing. I’m not saying she did anything wrong, but she does need to assess if she’s being extra flirty with them or sending the wrong singles, if only to avoid the situation in the future.

avatar baby.blanka February 18, 2011, 12:00 pm

Exactly – she probably didn’t do anything “wrong” but I feel like something has to give when signals are strong enough for four guys with girlfriends to actually make a move and try to kiss you (all during one winter break, not like… in a lifetime).

avatar Painted_lady February 18, 2011, 12:22 pm

Not trying to go with a “blame the victim” mentality, ever, but yeah, I wondered about that, too. I think there are a LOT of girls who are either unaware of the signals they send out or are aware of them but don’t take ownership of them.

I had a friend a few years ago who would openly and unabashedly flirt with every male in the room and then be completely shocked when about half the guys – single or taken – would try to make a move on her (she’s really cute). She was confused as to why she could never hang onto female friends (it’s hard to be friends with a girl who appears to be trying to steal your boyfriend), and she was always sort of hurt when she received unwelcome advances. I could never tell if she knew she was flirting with these guys but didn’t want to have to handle the fallout or if it was so unconsciously the way she interacted with the opposite sex she had no idea she was flirting. Either way, now might be a good time to evaluate how you come across in your interactions because it caused an unnecessary level of drama for my friend, who was otherwise a very sweet girl.

avatar Woman of Words February 18, 2011, 9:26 pm

You don’t think the guys need to be accountable for their own actions? Gee, you give a lot of power to womanly wiles and none to the willpower of men! No-one is forcing them to respond, even if she was heavily flirting.

I guess if she had been raped it would have been her fault too?

Perhaps women side with this sort of thought as they don’t want to imagine themselves in a position of powerlessness (ie the ‘other’ woman). Much easier to blame another woman than address their own relationship issues, and what might be causing their men to stray. Even if that reason is that they are MWDs…

avatar Painted_lady February 18, 2011, 10:59 pm

Absolutely not; I’d never say that. I’m not saying those guys forced themselves on my friend and justifying that. Nor will you EVER hear me say that. I’m saying it’s better for ANYONE to be aware of how they come across. It’s similar to checking behind you in the mirror to make sure your ass isn’t hanging out – if you want it to hang out, fine, that’s your right. But you should probably check to make sure it isn’t if you don’t want it to be.

This girl was not what I’d call a tease (hate that word in that context, actually), but there was a lot of confusion about her amongst the people we hung out with. And I wish someone could have made her aware, but it could never have been me because it turned out we were fooling around with the same guy, and it would have looked like sour grapes. But I did always wonder if she was aware of how she came across. If so, you know, good for her. She was good at it. I just wish she would have been more up-front about it. And if she wasn’t, she should have at least been made aware that it was how she came across, so then she could choose to be the flirt-happy sexpot (and I mean that with the greatest admiration) or she could choose to be less…I don’t know…extreme.

I’m not saying this girl “deserved” to be kissed, or have these guys attempt to kiss her. I’m saying, if it’s happening a lot, and you don’t like it, MAYBE there’s something you can change. The only common denominator there seems to be her. These guys are dickwads, and perhaps that’s the only thing all this has in common, so yes, absolutely. Fucking pricks. But while I think these guys should be responsible for their actions (and if you read my response further down, you’d know I think this), she should be responsible for her actions, too, or at least aware of what they are IF there’s an issue.

If she’s a jerk-magnet, well, a lot of times there are signals that a woman gives off that bring in the jerks – NOT THE RAPISTS – and she will hopefully learn to give off the signals that the guys who aren’t just looking to pick up a piece on the side will pick up on. And that takes some practice.

But DO NOT accuse me of being a rape-apologist. I’m sorry if you feel like women should be absolved of any responsibility in anything, ever, and that my even suggesting that a woman takes some responsibility or at least some cognizance into some distant relative of a similar situation to the one you described equates to blaming any woman for her own rape. I think, however, that we are also thinking, feeling beings with some agency of our own and therefore a right to take ownership of our own actions.

And

avatar Woman of Words February 18, 2011, 11:38 pm

Painted Lady, my response wasn’t to you in particular, just the thread in general. My response just happened to be under yours. It was nothing personal.

The LW said she was not knowingly the ‘most sultry of vixens’; I’m taking her word at that.

On a personal note, I have been on both ends of this: as the partner of someone who was shady with a friend. While I am no longer friendly with her, I put the responsibility squarely the feet of my partner, as he was was of sound mind and had every opportunity to say no, regardless of her agenda. We had our own issues however, and those needed to be addressed to sort it out. She was merely the vehicle.

Also, I am a recent survivor of rape perpetrated by an acquantance, and I can assure you that I went through an endless amount of guilt initially, trying to figure out the point I gave off signals that I was open to such a situation. In fact I did not, not in anything I said, wore, or they way I acted. However while everyone agreed that the rape was terrible, there were women friends who said I was ‘silly’ for putting myself in such a situation (lunch with a friend!) and that I should be more careful. Never mind the 10 months of grooming by the attacker beforehand to gain my trust. I think perhaps those women weren’t being malicious, but rather looking at it from their perspective, and it’s much easier to believe you would never be a victim yourself; that you would be smart enough to see it coming. I understand that thinking, but it is still hurtful nonetheless.

Of course I know you don’t condon rape – most commenters said as much, and I would be surprised if anyone here felt like that. It’s just that we are so hard on other women leading up to that point. I agree from a general humanity point of view that we all need to be responsible for our actions, and that also means if someone is out of line it’s not always ok to blame it on someone else. You have the ability to say yes or no. Just man up and accept you acted like a douche.

avatar Painted_lady February 19, 2011, 12:14 am

I *am* really, genuinely sorry you had to go through that. Of COURSE you didn’t do anything to merit such an awful experience. I can only imagine how much confusion and pain that would bring up, and I can’t believe – well, I can, but I hate that I can – that anyone would place any blame on you.

I’ve always been more on your side of the fence (which is why I got all up in arms at you), so seeing my friend, who admittedly “stole” a guy I was seeing (he was a total horndog and it was a summer fling), wonder out loud why Tom, Dick and Harry all took her seriously and none of the girls we ran around with wanted to be friends with her. I loathe “girl on girl crime” on principle, and it bugs me to no end how awful women can be to each other. Therefore I felt like I had to be really honest with myself as to whether my frustration with her was entirely frustration of a friend or bitterness, and because I couldn’t tell which was which, I kept my mouth shut. In retrospect, I’m simply curious as to what part of it she was aware of, if any. If she was completely unaware, you should be made so if you’re unintentionally offending your friends. And heck, if she was aware, I wish she’d owned up. It takes a lot of courage to be openly sexual as a woman, but I think that fear in ourselves breeds fear of seeing it in others. So maybe she’s braver now. I don’t know – she eventually was so exhausting to be around I ended up dropping her as a friend(the only people who could stand her for long were men and she would absolutely monopolize every male in the room, her skills were that alarming).

Anyway, point is, thank you for clarifying. And I hope my stance seems less judgmental. And you seem to have enormous strength to even bring up what you’ve been through. And fuck those bitches who blamed you. I hope you find an easier road ahead of you.

avatar Woman of Words February 19, 2011, 1:05 am

Aww, thanks… Things are different for me now but I have a great counsellor.

I understand your situation with your ‘friend’ and that guy. There’s lots of grey in life; all we can do is try to do our best and negotiate through the bad stuff. And be kind to each other.

avatar AnitaBath February 19, 2011, 10:36 am

Wooooow. No one is saying that AT ALL. Were you so keen to jump down someone’s throat that you completely skipped over the things we said like, “Along with Wendy’s advice I would maybe advise her to look at herself and evaluate exactly what signals she IS obviously sending. You know these guys are in relationships, you might be confusing them just as much as they are confusing you” and “I’m not saying she did anything wrong, but she does need to assess if she’s being extra flirty with them or sending the wrong singles, if only to avoid the situation in the future.”

We didn’t say she did anything wrong! We said MAYBE she needs to ASSESS that she COULD be sending the wrong messages. From the tone of your comment, you’d think we would have said something like, “Damn, that bitch needs to stop going over taken men! It’s all her fault!”

avatar AnitaBath February 19, 2011, 10:43 am

And, I think, in addition to possibly considering if she’s doing anything, maybe she needs to look at her surroundings as well. Four guys is a lot, and it could be a pure, douchebaggery coincidence, or maybe she has a friend/acquaintance that has said things about her or perhaps the guys have heard something through the grapevine that isn’t true and are assuming she would welcome their advances. Hell, maybe they’ve heard something that *is* true that makes them think that, but regardless they’re in the wrong and I think knowing if there is another possible source might help things in the future. I feel like I should wish the LW luck on spring break.

avatar Amanda February 18, 2011, 10:44 am

LW1: There are good guys under 25 out there. The four you speak of are not them. Since you’re just a good girlfriend and not their SO I would say tell them off for doing what they did. And, while you’re at it, let them know they’re making other 20-something guys look bad!

Lw2:Your boyfriend definately shouldn’t have kept three profiles to contact other women (mainly half-naked women at that!). But you also shouldn’t have been snooping so much. Snooping leads to hurt feelings no matter what you come across or if the snoopee knows you did it. Stop snooping, geez. But, please do MOA.

LW3: I am so sick of these 30+ year old men not wanting to get married. Do they really think it makes a lick of difference if you’ve already been living together, sleeping together, ect. Some couples already have children by then. So what’s the big deal if you are common-law or married. If it came down to a possible seperation it all works out the same way; you still split everything down the middle between the two of you, share custody of the children, ect. Either face that he is dead set on never getting married or MOA and find someone who will.

LW4: Kick his lazy behind out and MOA.

avatar sarolabelle February 18, 2011, 11:08 am

it’s just hard for me to understand that it took her 3 years before she talked to him about how he sees his future. That’s like a 4th date question. “So do you ever see yourself getting married?” If the answer is anything but “yes, I would love to get married and have a family one day” then MOA. But don’t wait 3 years to ask him that!

avatar Amber February 18, 2011, 11:19 am

4th date question? i mean i guess if it comes up naturally. but, really if you’ve only been on 4 dates with someone it might not be that serious. are you really ready at that point to ask whether or not they want to be married? and for some guys they might NOT be ready at the 4th date but a year later they are. i just don’t think it would be wise to move on from a guy on the 4th date if he said he didn’t want to get married.

now waiting 3 years is a little different, if you haven’t talked about your future by that point i think that points to problems in your relationship.

avatar Amber February 18, 2011, 11:22 am

and i didn’t mean married to YOU specifially but have a desire to get married at all. i don’t think guys think about marriage like girls do, i think at the 4th date girls do sometimes think could i marry this guy and the guy is more like do i want to keep hanging out with her. questions about marriage that early on might spook them. even if they are just general questions.

avatar sarolabelle February 18, 2011, 11:39 am

yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with discussing your views on what you think about marriage early on. For me it is a dealbreaker if a guy is against marriage so I’d rather know as early as possible what his views on it are. I’m not asking if he wants to marry me but just want to know what he thinks about it.

avatar ladiejoy February 18, 2011, 11:48 am

But guys aren’t going to know that… I think if you bring it up too early, the guy is not going to take it as a “general” question, even if that’s what you SAY you mean. They are literally going to hear (no matter what you say) “Do you think you could marry me in the future”. Way too intense too fast.
Let’s face it – if a girl is asking that question, in her mind she is considering THAT PARTICULAR GUY as marriage potential. That’s scary to said guy.

avatar Amanda February 18, 2011, 11:22 am

I don’t get it either. Three years is a long time to wait to ask something of that significance. Especially since she was 27 three years previous. To me that is an age where if you haven’t figured out what the future may hold and what you want out of said future by that age then it should have been the time to start.

avatar ladiejoy February 18, 2011, 11:29 am

Wow if I was a guy and a girl brought that up on our 4th date I’d run like the wind!

avatar sarolabelle February 18, 2011, 11:40 am

it’s a standard question on many online dating sites. What do you think of marriage? If a guy is going to answer that question with “it isn’t for me” well then he isn’t for me. And I’d rather know that sooner rather than later.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 11:30 am

It DOES make a lick of difference if you’re married or living together, and it DOES NOT work the same if you split…”You still split everything down the middle between the two of you” Wake up Amanda, b/c you are living in a dream world fantasy if you honestly think it’s that simple. There is nothing, I reapeat NOTHING simple about divorce, people need to realize what they are getting into before diving in so easily. It’s flippant attitues towards marriage like yours that lead to astronomical divorce rates.

avatar Amanda February 18, 2011, 11:36 am

Please don’t tell me I am living in a “dream world fantasy”. I went through my parents divorce at 11, and my mothers second at 16. I know it is not that simple, okay.
I am saying that I don’t get the guys who won’t go through with it “just because”.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 11:41 am

If you supposedly know it’s not that simple, then why say that it is? “it doesn’t make a lick of difference” and “you just split everything down the middle” and “what’s the big deal” Those are YOUR words. If you don’t mean them, don’t post them.

avatar Amber February 18, 2011, 11:36 am

i definitely agree, i don’t think people realize how being married changes your relationship even if you are already living together. and i have seen more than one friend/family member get divorced and they are messy and emotionally draining no matter how simple or easy they appear on the outside. and they’re not cheap either which i don’t think people realize.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 11:42 am

Amen sister!

avatar Amanda February 18, 2011, 11:43 am

I also don’t appreciate being told I have a disrespectful attitude towards marriage.
Marriage is beautiful and should be treated as such but at the end of the day I see no difference.
Woman and Man have been married for 15 years, share a house and two children. They divorce.
Woman and Man have been together for 15 years, share a house and two children. They seperate.
How are these situations not going to end the same way once everything is said and done??

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 11:47 am

There are too many reasons and not enough time to explain to you how it’s different. If you honestly see no difference in living with someone and being married to someone, then you AREN’T respecting the sanctity of wedding vows, and it IS flippant towards marraige.

avatar Amanda February 18, 2011, 11:51 am

Perhaps it is due not being one of those women who NEED to be married to be happy.

I thought this site was for people to communicate and get advice. Not accuse others of feelings you don’t know if they have. Especially something as heavy as not respecting the sanctity of vows.

Dear Wendy Wendy February 18, 2011, 12:11 pm

I think it’s time for every to take a deep breath and do a TGIF dance.

avatar Amanda February 18, 2011, 12:29 pm

Agreed :) Happy Family Day Long Weekend to any Canadian’s out there!

avatar awendybird February 18, 2011, 12:37 pm

Maybe Amanda is not respecting the sanctity of the way *you* view wedding vows. They mean different things to different people.

And honestly, I think you saying “There are too many reasons and not enough time to explain to you how it’s different.” is a cop out.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 2:11 pm

Nope, not a cop out at all, I could type all day long about how painful my life was during the demise of my marraige and how merely breaking up with someone is not the same, and I still wouldn’t have exhausted the topic.

After the pain I suffered at the thousand daily insults dircted at me during my divorce by my Ex’s family who felt they had a right to attack me because we were “family” and felt they had the right to attack my family as well, I know that marraige is much different than having a boyfriend. This is just one of the many many ways, I could go on.

It makes me physically ill to be told that I’m a little more upset about being divorced than I would be if I just broke up with my BF because I didn’t get the material things that I desired.

Making a Promise (that’s what a vow is, it’s a promise) to stay comitted to someone until you die is more than just a “beautiful thing” and it’s more than just living with someone…it’s a promise, period. There aren’t two ways interpret a promise. You either mean it when you say it, or you don’t.

I refuse to stand idlely by and listen to ignorant remarks about marraige and divorce made by people who haven’t been married or divorced. Yes, I spoke up for rationality, and yes, I got heated because it touches me personally. It makes me dissappointed in my sex to see/read some of the comments on this site, so I’m peacing out!

avatar awendybird February 19, 2011, 1:50 pm

I’m sorry about the way you were treated during your divorce, but you are projecting your situation onto every other situation. Do you really think that people have never been talked about or made to feel like shit by other people after a breakup?

I would never say that every breakup is like a divorce, but I also wouldn’t assume that a breakup with a long term boyfriend could not be comparable to a divorce. Do you think Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins breakup was just a breakup between a girlfriend and boyfriend? They were together for over 20 years, so yeah, I’d say it was similar to a divorce. I’d say they were committed to each other even without the certificate to prove it.

Also, if you are so easily offended by random strangers on the internet maybe you shouldn’t read comments. No one is trying to offend you and you shouldn’t be so eager to offend back. You are “disappointed in your sex,” calling people ignorant because you assume they have never been married or divorced, and saying some are “living in a dream world fantasy?” Those things are more offensive than anyone comparing _a_ divorce, not _your_ divorce, to a breakup.

avatar sarolabelle February 18, 2011, 12:00 pm

It is MUCH harder to just pack your bags and leave a marriage. But you are right…when everything is said and done, two people are no longer together. Though, the married people who got divorced might be a little bit more unhappy because they didn’t get what they want (the house, the car, custody of kids, etc). Hence the reason for the marriage – so people will not divorce easily.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 12:32 pm

Ok, said I wouldn’t post again…but that makes me ill. “married people who got divorced might be a little more unhappy because they didn’t get what they want” WOW I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so personally offended by a total stranger…Thanks!

avatar Amanda February 18, 2011, 12:35 pm

Then I guess we’re on the same page now.
30 minutes ago I felt the same way. Thanks to you.

avatar sarolabelle February 18, 2011, 12:44 pm

You’re welcome!

MissRemy Ally February 20, 2011, 8:45 am

I think in some situations a break up can be just as difficult as a divorce. For example, my friend has just broken up with her partner of over 7 years, they owned a house together, had merged finances and had built a life together. Now it’s over for whatever reason and my friend has had to get her lawyer involved because her ex is behaving horribly. She has to prove what is hers down to the very last teaspoon (luckily she’s good at keeping receipts) and is having to live on the kindness of friends because he threw her out of her home and has been lying to her mother for months. (Including that all of her friends are drug addicts!)

I know some divorces are worse than this situation, however I just wanted to highlight that sometimes there are amicable divorces and break ups too, while either also has the potential to become a very nasty situation for all involved.

avatar elisabeth February 18, 2011, 11:08 am

In the second and third letters, all I’m really reading is, “the relationship isn’t good or fulfilling, but I love him anyway!” If it’s not good or fulfilling, then maybe your affections are misplaced. =/

avatar Rei February 18, 2011, 11:15 am

To LW1: This is one of my pet peeves. It is something I like to call the “One Equals All” fallacy. This is where a person stereotypes a large group of people based on a few experiences with that group. In your case it would be stereotyping “college guys” as cheating jerks based on your experience with four of them when that is such a small portion of the group “college guys.” (Note: it is not this fallacy when the trait ascribed to the group is inherent to being part of the group. Examples would be things like, “All college guys are in college,” or, “All Nazis are racist.” In order be a college guy, one must be in college; in order to be a Nazi, one must subscribe to the racist Nazi philosophy.)
Oh, and not all college guys are cheating jerks.

avatar Lexington February 18, 2011, 6:31 pm

Um, maybe you should have used a better example than the Nazi one. I’m not disagreeing with you on the overall fallacy, but how precisely can you be a Nazi and not subscribe to Nazi beliefs?

avatar Rei February 18, 2011, 9:25 pm

I was saying that it is not this fallacy when the trait given to the group is inherent to being part of the group. So saying “All Nazis are racist” is true because all Nazis believe in the Nazi philosophy which is racist. “All college guys are cheating jerks” is false because being a cheating jerk is not necessary to being a college guy. Hope that clears some things up.

avatar Kate February 18, 2011, 11:45 am

The fourth letter almost seems fake, but if it’s real the LW should just read it over out loud. It sounds like the guy is a total DB. MOA!!!

avatar Rachel February 18, 2011, 6:26 pm

Ugh, this is so true. I think back on my longest relationship often and wonder why I stayed in it so long (It ended 3 years ago – after over 5 years together). If I had written a letter to an advice column back then, I’m sure it would have sounded just as obvious as LW4′s. Unfortunately hindsight is always so much clearer, but fortunately that means I won’t make the same mistake again.

landygirl Landy February 18, 2011, 12:00 pm

Sometimes I wish that they made computer screens with an extendable arm that could reach out and slap some sense into these people. “I love him” is never a good enough reason to stay in a bad relationship.

avatar AnitaBath February 18, 2011, 12:00 pm

LW3: I almost thought it didn’t necessarily sound like the guy was against marriage, just that he was against marriage with *her*. She said the first three years of their relationship weren’t great, and after 3 years of a “not great” relationship she asked him about proposing, and he said it wasn’t going to happen. I wouldn’t marry someone who I didn’t have a good relationship with for the last three years, but I think the bigger question is why are they even still together?

avatar awendybird February 18, 2011, 12:42 pm

Yeah, it’s hard for me to understand why they stayed together for 3 years if the relationship “wasn’t great” in the beginning.

avatar ReginaRey February 18, 2011, 12:09 pm

LW 1 – I PROMISE from experience that there are good guys in college, and everywhere! I dated one jerk in particular, and one great guy (who I’m still with!) in college, and I totally understand your plight. I think the biggest point to remember is to have certain standards that you would like to see in a partner (not an unrealistically long checklist, but certain qualities that you won’t compromise) and don’t settle until you find someone you feel is worthy of your love. Guys in college are sometimes particularly douchey because they CAN be – there are so many girls, especially in college, who settle for being treated badly by these guys (clearly all of the girlfriends of those dudes who tried to kiss you!) that it’s too easy for them. A truly nice, worthy guy won’t see any problem with trying hard to be with you (and only you), behaving like a gentleman, and treating you with the respect you certainly deserve.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 12:17 pm

I seem to be on a bit of a marraige tear today, and my tone is coming off as very harsh, but I honestly feel a little harsh on this. I am really really really sick of people judging someone for not being ready to get married, viewing that as immature, seeing it as some kind of fault. Marraige is a big deal – taking vows to be with someone until you die shouldn’t be done lightly. It’s not the same as living with someone, and if you think it is, then to me, it’s a sign that you aren’t ready for marraige. Guess what, it’s OK to not be ready for marraige! It is much better to be single and not ready to get married (regardless of your age or situation) than to be married to someone for the wrong reasons or married to someone you don’t really intend to love, support, cherish till the day you die. If you’re ready to be married to someone, and he/she isn’t ready to be married to you, then you have two choices: 1) Wait for him or her to be ready, and go into marraige on equal footing, not forcing it or 2) move on. Blaming someone for not being ready, saying I don’t know why they aren’t ready, we live together, it’s practically the same, etc is NOT an option! You can’t force someone into makeing that kind of commitement to you. Either they are ready and willing to commit thier life to you, or they aren’t.

Marraiges end for many many reasons. Some end because people didn’t really realize what they were getting into, and should have waited before taking such a huge step. Personally, when I said “I do” I fully beleived and intended for it to for the rest of my life. I tried like crazy to keep my promise to love him forever, I gave him more chances than he deserved, and in the end, he gave me no choice but to leave in order to protect myself. I say not because I’m better or worse than any other divorced person, b/c I’m not…I say it because Divorce is awful, painful, and much much more than just “breaking up”. My BF and I plan to get married and start a family soon, we’ve been together for almost 4 years, lived together for 2 of them. I love him more than anyone I’ve ever met, I’m happier with him than I’ve ever been in my life and yet I still get waves of fear and doubt washing over me from time to time at the thought of being married again because I NEVER want to go through a divorce again.

If you’ve never been married (or are married but have never been through a divorce personally) than all I can say is: You had better be damn sure before you walk down that aisle, because the pain and cost (emotional and financial) of divorce is more than you know.

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 12:20 pm

I’ve said my peice, I’m not commenting on this topic anymore, and I’m doing my TGIF happy dance as we speak!

avatar ArtsyGirl February 18, 2011, 2:46 pm

Wolvie – I don’t disagree with your point. America is wedding obsessed and people rush to the alter to meet some artificial time line rather than letting the relationship develop organically. Oftentimes we bow down to outside pressures of friends, family, and even the entertainment industry which states that crazy cat ladydom is just around the corner if we are not married by a certain age – or that the unsuspecting woman is going to wake up one morning and find that her SO has run off with his 20 year old trainer and because you have no legal commitment.

My one point of digression is that in LW3′s case she is not trying to force her BF into marriage – rather they agreed to get married in the past and now 4 years later he has put the breaks on and stated unequivocally that he NEVER wants to get married. Now the fact that she wants to marry this guy after 3 years of a rocky relationship is slightly beyond me, but given his stance and the fact that she wants to get married and thought that was the direction they were heading, she should move on.

avatar ArtsyGirl February 18, 2011, 2:46 pm

altar** sorry realize typo as soon as I submitted

avatar Wolvie_girl February 18, 2011, 3:09 pm

Actually, I agree with you ArtsyGirl, my comment is directed more to fellow commenters than to LW’s boyfriend. There has just been this general attitude abounding in the comments that “hey, if it’s been x amount of time and he hasn’t proposed, you need to MOA” and I’m like WHOA!

I agree that LW’s situation is a little more complicated, but I would still advise people to respect someone’s claim that if you aren’t ready to be married it’s ok. We should all be allowed the space and opportunity to err on the side of caution before making such a huge commitment!

avatar sarolabelle February 18, 2011, 4:54 pm

I guess I really do not see a point in having a serious relationship with someone without the posibility that one day entering into a marriage. If after 4 years my boyfriend doesn’t know if he wants to be married to me then I’ll need to MOA because I’m not going to waste my time working on a relationship that has no future. And yes, him not wanting to be married, is a death to all future with the guy. It will be sad. I would be confused as to why he doesn’t know without a shadow of a doubt he wants to be with me forever after 4 years. In the end, I would rather be with someone who wants to marry me and knows he want to be with me forever then waiting on someone who is unsure. Unsure after 4 years is too long to be unsure.

avatar ArtsyGirly February 18, 2011, 8:32 pm

For me marriage was an important step in my relationship with my husband. We were together for 8 years before we took that step mostly because I was finishing an advanced degree in a different state – but for us it was never a question of ‘if’ rather it was ‘when’.

Now I have a number of girlfriends who do not plan on getting married. One is in a decade long relationship with a man – she is doing it out of solidarity with her gay brother who cannot get married in our state. Another friend is a successful college professor and she dislikes the idea and history of marriage so she and her partner have decided that it is not something they want to pursue. They also do not plan on having children either so they are not following a traditional model of behavior.

Now in both these cases the couples came to the decision together and this works for their life choices. For me marriage is necessary to start a family, and I believe that if I had a SO who did not value me enough to officially announce it to the world (no matter how long it takes for us BOTH to be ready to take that step) I would MOA. The LW situation is just so weird – it sounds like from her letter that her BF does not want to get married to anyone – she doesn’t specify but that was how I read it. I still think she should move on because obviously marriage is important to her.

Jess Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com February 18, 2011, 12:36 pm

Awwwh, well all of these situations just make me sad. All the LWs should read the quote right now on Wendy’s home page about how being alone is less lonely than being in a bad relationship. These women will learn so much about themselves and their ability to create their own happiness if they MOA. And better to do it of their own volition than to wait for these men to find another offer and leave them high and dry. It’s never to late to MOA and find REAL (i.e. mutally-respectful and fulfilling) love.

avatar Painted_lady February 18, 2011, 12:52 pm

LW1 – Here’s my two cents: yes there ARE good guys in college, but I think they’re more rare than later on in life. That doesn’t mean they all magically become great guys, after college or ever, but it takes some maturity to be a genuinely good person rather than a good-enough-to-keep-getting-laid-on-a-regular-basis-by-my-girlfriend person. Most guys by that age are attractive still (or some of them, thanks to campus rec centers, for the first time ever), and most don’t have the life experience to understand what real hardship and pain are, so empathy isn’t high on the priority list. Also, impulse control – especially if you haven’t encountered any real consequences to the lack thereof – is low. Which comes down to a bunch of self-centered jerks who want what they want when they want it, consequences be damned. And it isn’t malicious at all, and it’s far from all of them, just more than you’re going to encounter later in life. So the good guys exist – I knew some of them – but they’re a little harder to find. The ones who aren’t may eventually become good guys, just not yet. The nice thing about that is when you get out of this stage in your life, you will be able to spot them faster and appreciate them more.

LW2 and beyond – Please find all those writers who are moaning about women being too picky and send them your stories. Obviously it’s only certain women who are picky, and it definitely isn’t you three. When a man lies to you and you give him another chance, and he lies to you again, whether it’s about a relationship or boning someone else on the side or actively pursuing gainful employment, HE WILL LIE TO YOU A THIRD TIME. And if you let someone take advantage of you, whether it’s over a promise of marriage, or your trust, or your money, and you continue to let him, HE IS PLAYING YOU FOR A FOOL. If you don’t mind, fine. But don’t tell everyone how great the relationship is, or how much he loves you, or that you’re happy, because it isn’t, he doesn’t, and it’s pretty clear you’re not because you’re writing Wendy.

avatar AKchic February 18, 2011, 1:05 pm

LW 4: I want you to prepare for this. Start a spreadsheet (if you haven’t already), detailing all of the expenses he was supposed to pay since the beginning of his tenancy with you. List all of the payments (including dates that he paid) that he has given you. Any “loans” that you have given him for personal items such as personal grooming, hair cuts, clothing, etc. List all of the things he has borrowed, the groceries you’ve bought, etc. Give a LOW estimate on the amount of money you’ve spent in take-out, groceries, and household items that he SHOULD have helped pay for.

Two months before the lease is up, tell him that it’s coming up. Tell him that you are looking for a new apartment because you cannot afford the current one any longer. More than likely, he will want to help. That is when you tell him that he has no say in the apartment choice whatsoever. When he asks why, this is when you bring out your spreadsheet. Show him just how much he is costing you. Remind him that he promised that he would be carrying his own weight while living with you and has failed to uphold his end of the agreement.
Expect him to get angry. Expect him to consider this a break-up conversation. Tell him that this is not a break-up conversation. Yet. This is merely a financial and living/moving conversation. Tell him that there is still time to change your mind on the idea of moving together.
Give him a timeline. He has 30 days to find a job. After that, he will not have a chance to move with you. Depending on how he handles that situation will decide your relationship status.

Either way – find an apartment that YOU can afford by yourself and have it in YOUR NAME ONLY, that way, even if he does get a job and moves with you, if he “loses” the job and falls back into his “rut”, you can drop him like a sack of garbage in a dumpster.

I did the same thing with my first husband. Granted, there were some other issues (physical and emotional abuse, as well as kids) that were going on as well, but he was able to manipulate and control everything by refusing to work and stay home all day.

avatar ReginaRey February 18, 2011, 1:26 pm

@AKchic – I totally agree that she should itemize the money he owes her, because she may very well need that kind of list (as well as bills, reciepts, etc) if she ever wants to legally take action against him to reclaim money owed. BUT – doesn’t some of this seem to be more work than this guy is worth?? He hasn’t had steady job for three years, has no drive or ambition, and has a history of cheating on her. I say make that spreadsheet for sure and try to get back the money, but then get the hell out of there! He doesn’t seem to be worth any more second chances.

Heather Heather February 18, 2011, 4:18 pm

This is so ridiculous.

If you do not want to get married/don’t see it as necessary, or it doesn’t mean anything to you and your SO, then you don’t have to!

If you do want to get married and it’s important to you and meaningful to you, that’s great!

There are no right or wrong answers here. And it is so silly that anyone would attack another person for simply disagreeing when it is strictly a personal matter. I personally want to get married someday, only if I were to find the person I knew I wanted to (and could handle) spending the rest of my life with. I have a friend who has been with her SO for about 7 years, they are perfectly happy and have no intentions to get married. I guess I just don’t see the problem. I would never look down on someone for their own personal choice if it made them happy and was beneficial to those involved.

avatar AnitaBath February 21, 2011, 1:09 am

I think the problem is when you have one person in each camp….

avatar Elle February 18, 2011, 5:05 pm

LW1 – fast forward 10 years later. All those guys have broken up with their girlfriends / divorced, with 1-2 kids, and will tell you that they only want to sleep with you, no strings attached. (Hope everyone detects the sarcasm here). On a serious note though, although I didn’t accept any of the offers, I tried to look at it on the bright side – hey, at least I’m hot. Maybe one of these guys changes their mind, and will want to date me. Nope, no such luck :). 2 years later, after a dozen such ‘proposals’, I start to wonder why guys that I meet, around my age (30-35), no longer want to be in a relationship… (Notice that I’m not generalizing here – the guys that I meet, not all guys out there. I know mine is waiting right around the corner. I just need to find that damn corner!!!)

LW2-4 – MOA. You try to lie to yourself that it’s not that bad, you focus on the positive side, force yourself to accept it and deal with it. But eventually, you’ll run out of steam. And those little negative things you managed to ignore for a while turn into the ONLY thing that matters to you. And then you’ll regret for not MOA sooner.

avatar _jsw_ February 20, 2011, 11:41 pm

@LW1: Are there any men under 25 you can trust to remain loyal? Sure. But, generally, the more options a man has and the less serious he is about his current relationship, the more likely he is to cheat, regardless of age. In _general_, college isn’t going to be rife with men ready to settle down, and if they’re not ready to settle down, they don’t have a lot of incentive to be loyal to someone they assume they won’t stay with forever anyway. Some will be loyal anyway because it’s the right thing to do, but most won’t. One point regarding the rape comments above: it is an _enormous_ leap to go from a guy trying to kiss someone to discussing rape. Suggesting that someone _might_ seem to be “inviting” a kiss is not even _remotely_ the same as blaming someone for a rape.

avatar Woman of Words February 21, 2011, 12:18 am

The point I was trying to make was that women are the worst critics of women, whilst assigning no responsibility to men. I think some men take advantage of that, and women don’t call them on it. I mentioned rape because that is where we seem to draw the line: at that point most people believe that women do not deserve it. Anything prior to that however is fair game.

avatar _jsw_ February 21, 2011, 12:53 am

If a man had come up out of the blue and tried kissing her, I’d see your point. But when four different guy friends she’s known for years all try to kiss her in a period of a week or two? She _did_ have _some_ role in that, intentional or not. She didn’t do anything wrong, but she influenced those events. That’s just too many different occurrences in too short a time for her to not have something to do it.

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