Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Can I Stop Sexting Too Quickly?”

text message

I’m 27 years old and single. At times, I have no problem with this; I’d rather be alone than with the wrong person. Plus, only having to consider myself when making decisions is kind of a huge perk. But, obviously, at other times, it really bums me out and I think I’ll be alone and unloved forever, which is one of my biggest fears. It doesn’t help that I don’t have the greatest track record with maintaining relationships with friends and family.

Honestly, I’ve only had one relationship, not counting the boyfriend in preschool who gave me A Little Mermaid necklace and a bloody nose. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I got my first boyfriend, which in some ways felt like a failure because it took so long. I dumped him after less than a year. For many reasons, he was the wrong guy and I waited far too long to dump him.

It seems, more often than not, I’m the girl who’s good enough to sleep with, but not to date. When I meet guys (online or, say, at a bar), it seems like our texts get really sexual really fast, and I don’t know how to get myself out of this pattern. If a guy makes a sexy comment too soon, what’s a good way to shut it down while still keeping the lines of communication open? Do you have any advice on how I can change this behavior and move forward? I want to be able to date and maybe find the right guy for a relationship. — Tired of the Sexts

First of all, being single at 27 is not a definite precursor to spinsterhood. It doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat, or that you’re destined to a life of solitude, or that you’re unlovable, or that you’ve failed at life. Lots of people are single at 27 and go on to find lasting and fulfilling love at 28 or 38 or 40 or whenever. I was single at 27. I was single at 27 and I’d only had two real relationships under my belt. And I still managed to find someone to spend my life with. And even if I hadn’t — even if I were still single — that certainly wouldn’t mean that you don’t stand a great chance of finding true love sooner rather than later. And anyway, there’s no cut-off age for happiness. And there’s not just one way or one chance to get there.

That said, you do have a better shot at finding a satisfying relationship if you start setting some boundaries and quit wasting your time on guys who aren’t looking for the same thing you are. You want a boyfriend not a booty call, so stop acting like a booty call and start acting like a woman who’s “good enough to date.” How do you do that? Quit with the sexty texts, for one thing. Don’t even give a guy a chance to make the sexting a pattern. If there’s a pattern — and you say there is — it’s only because you’re participating in it, so stop. If a guy sends a sexty comment to you before you’ve had a chance to get to know each other and establish an emotional connection first, either ignore it, or say, “I’m sorry but I think you got the wrong impression of me.” Then, one of two things will happen: the guy will realize that he did, indeed, get the wrong impression and will change tactics; or, he will realize he got the wrong impression and will MOA. I know you think you want to keep the lines of communication open so as to cast a wider net and keep your options open, but sometimes you gotta throw your catch back in. Especially when it wants to get all sexty with you before even taking you out for dinner first.

Finally, I can’t help but think that if you focused more of your attention on maintaining better connections with your family and friends, you wouldn’t feel so alone (and desperate for attention). There’s much more value in established relationships with people who have known you a long time than in guys who just want to see pictures of your boobs.

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

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 wendy@dearwendy.com.

124 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Desiree March 6, 2013, 9:07 am

    WWS. And I definitely agree that you need to work on building your platonic relationships, too. Healthy platonic relationships teach a lot of the skills that can be applied to a healthy romantic relationship. And, the emotional support of great people around you might help you find the confidence to aim higher in your romantic experiences.

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  • avatar

    csp March 6, 2013, 9:17 am

    LW, I will tell you what worked for me and you can take it or leave it. In college and my early 20s, I partied, got drunk, and dressed like a hook up. I didn’t want a relationship but loved the attention. Once I wanted to move to real relationships, I changed my wardrobe and how I spent my nights. I started dressing like wife material and not hookup material. That doesn’t mean dowdy but meant preppy for me. I started going out to places that I could talk and switched the hours I was out. I didn’t hit the club at 10 but went to trendy places for happy hour. The difference in people at a club at 6 pm versus 2 am is amazing. I also flirted but kept it classy. So that is my advice. I would say look at the type of guys you are attracting and if you get a dirty text. say, ” You should save some of those lines for when you take me out to dinner.” <>. Or ” I am trying to remain a lady until you know me better.” it keeps it flirty, shuts down the talk, and opens him up to asking you out for a date.

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    • avatar

      ktfran March 6, 2013, 10:34 am

      I like those retorts CSP. Keeps it light. And if he doesn’t bite and ask you out on a date, he’s not worth any more thought.

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      • avatar

        csp March 6, 2013, 1:00 pm

        Yea, if you just want to turn the conversation back, they can be helpful.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser March 6, 2013, 9:19 am

    Maybe I’m completely out of the loop but meeting guys on-line and in bars? I have to think that meeting someone in a class you’re taking or a club of some sort (even if the club is on-line), gives you a chance to get to know the other as a person first. I’d be very curious to know how Wendy’s readers met their SO’s or spouses (if anyone cares to share).

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl March 6, 2013, 9:21 am

      I met my fiance at work (in a restaurant) but my soon to be sister-in-law met her BF of a year on Match.com.

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    • avatar

      Jenny March 6, 2013, 9:37 am

      I met my husband through mutual friends, and that seems to be how most of my friends have met their SOs as well.

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      • avatar

        6napkinburger March 6, 2013, 10:21 am

        I bet you that the LW would agree that his is the best way, and that she’s very very open to such types of guys. However, potential-laden (take that as you will — I don’t even mean “meet my standards”) “friends of friends” are not as prevalent as would be nice. I am open to set ups and just hanging out wiht mixed groups of friends, but no one (including my friends’ SOs) just do’nt seem know that many single guys theyd recommend.

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      • LK7889

        LK7889 March 6, 2013, 1:22 pm

        All of my female friends are either married, engaged or in serious long-term-heading-for-marriage relationships while all of my male friends are single and looking for someone. The sad thing is that even if I knew any single ladies, I wouldn’t set them up with my male friends. None of them are really boyfriend material in my opinion.

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      • LK7889

        LK7889 March 6, 2013, 1:23 pm

        Of course, this doesn’t count my male friends who are attached to my female friends, haha.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 9:37 am

      Friends since childhood.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 6, 2013, 10:15 am

        Me too. Well, since I was 14 anyway.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 10:18 am

        Met in high school?

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      • othy

        othy March 6, 2013, 10:30 am

        I met mine in high school.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 6, 2013, 10:35 am

        Yes – though irritating husband will not tell me HOW we met since I can’t remember. Looking back he was always there…even though he was a different year and we had no classes together. I even tried to work it into the wedding vows… but no dice.

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      • KKZ

        KKZ March 6, 2013, 11:15 am

        Technically first “met” mine in 6th grade. Became friends, then a couple, our freshman year of high school. We were in Jr. ROTC together.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 11:26 am

        I love these stories! My first encounter with mine was when I was 4 or 5 playing video games together.

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      • avatar

        Taylor March 6, 2013, 11:29 am

        In the lunchroom at work!

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    • avatar

      Desiree March 6, 2013, 9:48 am

      Met in medical school with the help of our mutual friend playing matchmaker.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary March 6, 2013, 10:03 am

      He needed a date to a military dining-out dinner, and my roommate was dating his roommate. So…it was a blind date and then we started hanging out after that. If I was single though I would definitely do online dating, the majority people I know in their 20s are doing that. My brother met his wife on eharmony, everyone else I know uses Match.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 March 6, 2013, 10:22 am

      My best friend and her best friend are cousins, and we met through them. It wasn’t a setup, we just started by being friends.

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    • avatar

      bethany March 6, 2013, 10:29 am

      Online, but later discovered that we had some mutual friends. (Together 6 years, married 1.5)

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      • thewriteway

        thewriteway March 6, 2013, 10:37 am

        I met the last guy I went out with at work. I tried online dating, but didn’t get much out of it. My friend and his wife met at college at a mutual friend’s place. My other friend met her husband at firefighter training.

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    • avatar

      sarolabelle March 6, 2013, 10:50 am

      At a country western bar on the dance floor during the boot scoot boogie!

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    • rawkmys0cks

      Sarah March 6, 2013, 10:52 am

      I met mine on OKCupid but we found out the next day that our two best friends were already dating, and we were supposed to meet that night anyway (regardless of meeting online) when they both asked us to all hang out together.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 11:03 am

        Wow! That’s pretty cool.

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      • rawkmys0cks

        Sarah March 6, 2013, 11:21 am

        This happened in NYC, too. What are the chances, eh? 🙂

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    • avatar

      redessa March 6, 2013, 11:00 am

      My husband and I met in college. We lived in the same small apartment complex which meant we were also assigned to attend the same church congregation (private religious college). Pretty much everyone in the building hung out together and pretty soon, he and I were a couple. It was pretty organic.

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    • avatar

      csp March 6, 2013, 11:41 am

      I met my husband through a mutual friend (she was my sorority sister and went to high school with my husband).

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    • avatar

      Anna March 6, 2013, 12:49 pm

      I’m single right now but I met my first boyfriend at college and met my most recent ex at work (we were both drivers for Domino’s).

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    • avatar

      Pamplemousse Rose March 6, 2013, 12:51 pm

      We met online – I was thinking about taking a hiatus from online dating when he contacted me.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom March 6, 2013, 1:18 pm

      We both joined the chemistry fraternity in college. I joined a semester before he did so I helped initiate him.

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    • Lyra

      L March 6, 2013, 1:26 pm

      I met my ex at our summer job while we were both in college. I met my current boyfriend online. I was just looking to get out and casually date again after the breakup with my ex…and I managed to find a guy who makes me really really happy. 🙂

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    • avatar

      Ammie March 6, 2013, 5:12 pm

      Met my current boyfriend online and couldn’t be happier. All my other previous fellas were people I met organically (lived in the same dorm, had the same friends group, worked in the same department, met at a party, etc), but all of them fell apart for one reason or another. With this guy, we saw that we seemed like similar people online, we met up after about a week for a late supper and had amazing chemistry, and it’s been great ever since. Of course, after we met in person, we never talked online… we treated it as though we’d met anywhere else… so I think that helped.

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    • avatar

      BreezyAM March 6, 2013, 9:11 pm

      In university. He was president of the student society. I was the editorial writer for the student newspaper. We hated each other. I threw newspaper at him and banned him from my office. A year or so later I had to go begging him for a job (they were hiring a graphic designer) and he treated me with total kindness and class, and I got the job despite being such a bitch to him for two years previous. We became “civil” to one another after that. A year later we somehow accidentally became friends. Can’t remember how. A year after that we went on a trip together for the faculty we were in and ended up having an x-rated alcohol fueled make out session on the bus on the way there in the wee hours of the morning. Awkward conversations ensued, we assured one another we would never, ever want to damage our friendship, and agreed neither of us were in any shape for a relationship.

      Less than 4 months later we were engaged, and married a year later. It wasn’t exactly roses and butterflies but I’m glad it happened. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser March 6, 2013, 9:25 am

    Nice. I actually met all my boyfriends (in my 20’s) through work or through friends. Maybe the LW should focus on developing some friendships.?

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle March 6, 2013, 9:34 am

    I loved sexting in my single days, but also knew how to shut it down when I wasn’t feeling it/wasn’t feeling the person I was doing it with. It’s easy—just stop responding. There’s always a point where you can identify where the conversation goes from sexual tension-y & flirtatious, to overtly, off-puttingly sexual. Go through your memory (or message history…) & find that point. How did you respond? Positively? Kind of neutral? (Sometimes if I wasn’t feeling it, I would send a noncommittal “oh ya?” or something, & even that kind of half-assed response is enough to keep the conversation going sometimes)

    So, again. Don’t respond at all. Honestly, don’t even do the “I think you got the wrong idea” thing. If someone is initiating that sort of communication right away, he’s not looking for anything serious, anyway. It won’t matter if you temporarily pivot him into backing off—his head is still in that mode, even though he may not be showing it anymore. I know you said you wanted to “still keep the lines of communication open” but by doing that…well, it’s possible that you’d still be wasting your time.

    That’s my advice for that issue! But I agree with Wendy & other posters that you should try working on some friend & familial relationships, too. Those kinds of connections are always good to have. And enjoy being single—it’s a good time once you learn to navigate things. I hate that whole “booty call vs. Potential Serious Girlfriend” thing (virgin/whore dichotomy, etc. etc.) but in the real world, there are certain ways a purely sexual relationship develops, rather than a “courtship” sort of thing.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 9:39 am

      I couldn’t sext if you offered me a million dollars to. What do people even say? (yes, I sound so lame and old right now)

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson March 6, 2013, 9:42 am

        Me either LBH, me either. There is nothing less sexy to me than typed words on a phone. Even pictures on a phone.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 6, 2013, 10:45 am

        “There is nothing less sexy to me than typed words on a phone.”

        Really? I don’t think just any words or just anyone could make it arousing, but when a person you like can sext well, it’s totally hot. Maybe I’m just easy like that.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 6, 2013, 9:48 am

        You should Google and see some examples that people have posted screenshots of – some are more innuendo, some are more sweet and romantic and some are extremely explicit. It really just varies based on the person, and to a certain extent, both people. The humorous ones are when the girl is obviously not really into it and not responding in kind, but the guy is still pushing it along, either oblivious to it or just hoping she’ll eventually participate.

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      • avatar

        Di March 6, 2013, 10:57 am

        Along the lines of innuendo, has anybody else received messages that are just Emojis?
        Banana + Peach + Tongue

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 6, 2013, 11:07 am

        I read that and thought “now I want a banana peach smoothie”. Sexting would so not work with me.

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 6, 2013, 11:16 am

        Oh god, no. Just no. That would kill it for me if that was a sext.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow March 6, 2013, 11:48 am

        Haha I’m pretty sure that would fly right over my head. Huh? Are you hungry?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 6, 2013, 9:51 am

        “please see attached a picture of my left boob” (<—- that's how lawyers sext I bet!)

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        Iwannatalktosampson March 6, 2013, 9:54 am

        bhaha making my morning a funny place right outta the gate addie pray, I like your style.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 9:55 am

        hahahahahaha

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 6, 2013, 9:55 am

        “I am in receipt of the picture of your left boob dated March 5, 2013. Please see the attached picture of my peen. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me. Best regards.”

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 9:57 am

        I can’t. Too funny.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle March 6, 2013, 10:00 am

        Not only is this hilarious, it might also be helpful to the LW—I bet talking like this would shut things down reaaal quick, haha

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 6, 2013, 10:41 am

        ha, so true. so would a “cease and desist” text or a “litigation hold” text regarding the unwanted sexts.

        Oh oh oh oh oh LW, respond with a CEASE AND DE-SEXT!!!!

        Ok, I gotta work. I’m ridiculous.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray March 6, 2013, 10:44 am

        C E A S E + D E S E X T

        ^ come on, that’s borderline brilliant, no?

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      • avatar

        PFG-SCR March 6, 2013, 10:47 am

        You made me laugh, AP!

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      • Jess

        Jess March 6, 2013, 10:54 am

        Freaking hilarious, actually!

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      • avatar

        Taylor March 6, 2013, 11:30 am

        AP, you are my hero.

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    • avatar

      bethany March 6, 2013, 10:10 am

      ITA. I’m friends with a guy who I used to be FWB with, and sometimes he’ll text me something and I’ll reply, and then he’ll write back with something that is basically fishing for a sext. I’m happily married and have no interest in that, so I either don’t reply at all, or I reply with something that can in NO way be considered as sexting, and then stop replying. It’s really not that difficult.

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  • avatar

    painted_lady March 6, 2013, 9:37 am

    When I was about the same age as you, I had a “Woe is me!” rant about how guys only seemed to see me as a hook up, and a friend was like, “Dude, if you want to date guys rather than hook up with them, why the hell are you hooking up with all these guys?” It was so simple, I felt like an idiot. I was settling for hookups, sometimes even hoping they’d turn into relationships, but always wasting time and energy on men who weren’t looking for the same thing I was. Instead of finding a guy and trying to shape him to fit your needs, or reshaping your needs to fit the guy, FIND A DIFFERENT GUY. It’s stupidly simple. Be clear about your needs so that other people can be clear about theirs, but then if they don’t match up, quit trying!

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    • sobriquet

      sobriquet March 6, 2013, 1:04 pm

      I learned this the hard way! First when I was 14 and had a huge crush on one friend, yet was fooling around with another. Then again when I was 21 and seemed to make it a subconscious goal to hook up with every guy I found remotely attractive. During both “lessons” I ruined my chances with a guy I really liked.

      Hooking up with random guys is totally fine and wanting a relationship is totally fine, but the two don’t mix well.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    Iwannatalktosampson March 6, 2013, 9:41 am

    Once again it appears texting is the root of all evil.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 6, 2013, 9:53 am

      See? This might be the only rule of mine that sticks.

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    • avatar

      Lindsay March 6, 2013, 11:18 am

      So, I’m very curious about all this. I always hear that texting + dating is bad news, but I’ve been reluctant to follow that because everyone I know texts all the time, which has made it hard for me to believe that it’s a red flag. Is the concept just that someone who texts ALL THE TIME is probably trouble? Texting has definitely been a problem for me in relationships before. (Like the guy who wrote me a two-text message to ask me out…ugh.)

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      • KKZ

        KKZ March 6, 2013, 11:30 am

        It’s such a generational thing. And while AP’s rule seems to hold for the most part, I think it’s down to personal preference. Generational differences show a trend, but I know plenty of fellow Millennials who “text all the time”, and plenty who dislike texting and avoid it.

        Each group is puzzled by the other one’s preference. Heavy texters see it as normal to prefer texting and are dumbfounded that anyone would disagree. Anti-texters have a pretty negative view of heavy texters as being immature, poor communicators, and overly reliant on their devices.

        My brother in law and sister in law don’t text and barely ever answer their cell phones. The relationship is strained anyway due to unrelated family drama, but even so, we gave up trying to get a hold of them a long time ago. Messages get passed through my parents-in-law or sometimes Facebook, when they get passed at all.

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  • avatar

    EricaSwagger March 6, 2013, 9:51 am

    “It seems, more often than not, I’m the girl who’s good enough to sleep with, but not to date.”

    This is all on you. People treat you how you let them treat you. If you act like a booty call, why would a guy treat you like a girlfriend? Phrasing this the way you did puts the blame on the men, which isn’t cool.
    Men call it like they see it. If you’re dressed or acting in a way that makes them think you just want to hook up — unfair as it may be — that’s how they’ll see you. You should probably alter the way you’re dressing and acting. CSP above said it perfectly. Apply “dress for the job you want” to all of your goals and dress for the relationship you want.

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    • avatar

      EricaSwagger March 6, 2013, 10:10 am

      Oh, this worries me too: “It doesn’t help that I don’t have the greatest track record with maintaining relationships with friends and family.”

      I get approached by men the most when me and a girl friend go out together.
      Are you going out alone? With guy friends? Girl friends? It sounds to me like you have no friends at all, which says a lot about why you don’t have a boyfriend. It’s one thing to have a loving family and friend network but just not have found the right person yet; it’s an entirely different thing to be more or less alone in life.

      the impression that I get is that you crave attention. So much so that you end up competing with your female friends which drives them away. So much so that you will go along with sexting with someone you don’t know (or even like!) yet, just so that he continues to talk to you.

      I’ll tell you, when I first met my boyfriend, it was really hard to ignore other advances… Until I realized that the right attention from one guy was way better than the wrong kind of attention from several. Attention craving usually comes from low self-esteem. You have to get to a point where you respect and appreciate yourself before anyone else will want to.

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    • avatar

      Lindsay March 6, 2013, 11:13 am

      Definitely good points. But I will add that (as written below in my novel of a comment), I’ve had similar problems as the LW in the past and I definitely dress more like someone’s mom than someone who wants to hook up. I’m the person who can’t handle skirts above my knee. So, I’d put more emphasis on how the LW may be acting, and not just in an “acting like a booty call” sort of way — also in a “I don’t think I’m worth a good guy” sort of way.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 11:25 am

        Is there really no in between on dressing skanky and dressing like an old farty mom? 🙁

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl March 6, 2013, 11:46 am

        Nope 😉 I personally dress like an old farty mom. Cardigans and undershirts to boot!

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      • theattack

        theattack March 6, 2013, 1:10 pm

        I had no idea that cardigans and undershirts or pearls and sweaters (mentioned below) were mom-like. That’s like all I ever wear. I don’t even know how to dress differently. Yikes.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser March 6, 2013, 9:55 am

    EricaSwagger, true. “people treat us the way we demand to be treated”. Don’t know who said it but I think it’s true.

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  • bagge72

    bagge72 March 6, 2013, 10:08 am

    If you agree to be that person, that is who you are going to be. Stop being that way if you don’t want to be, it really seems to be that simple. If you don’t want to sext, and sleep with somebody too soon, don’t. The ones who are looking for the samethings as you are going to stick around, the ones who just want to see you naked are going to leave.

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  • avatar

    canefan March 6, 2013, 10:28 am

    So this is probably incredibly cheesy, but this letter reminded me of the scene from “Perks of Being a Wallflower” where Sam asks, “Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?” and then Paul Rudd/the teacher replies, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” I think if you want a guy to treat you like a lady, you need to start believing that you deserve to be treated that way. If you think you deserve to be treated like girlfriend material instead of a potential hook up, not sexting guys would be a good way to start! And I agree with the other commenters, maybe you need to change the venue. Ask friends to set you up, or even ask family members if they know anyone. Picking up guys at bars or online can work for people, but its clearly not working for you… As Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Change your game, girl!!

    Also sorry for the superfluous quotes haha

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    • KKZ

      KKZ March 6, 2013, 11:21 am

      “We accept the love we think we deserve.” That is such a great line.

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  • FireStar

    FireStar March 6, 2013, 10:29 am

    I’m always a little confused with the letters that ask “how to stop” a certain behaviour. You just stop doing it. You aren’t a leaf falling from a tree that has to go where the wind blows it. You choose. You choose not to sext. You choose to ignore a comment that goes over the line and then see what the buddy does. Does he take your lead? Does he walk away? Does he keep trying? That is how you figure out if YOU even want to spend any time with HIM. I always loved the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” No one can make you feel ANYTHING about yourself without your consent. Not undatable, not unlovable, not worthy of a real relationship. So stop consenting and start charting your own course for the life you want.

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    • avatar

      Lily in NYC March 6, 2013, 1:18 pm

      That’s not very fair. She’s asking how to end a behavior that she finds difficult to stop. If it was that easy for her she wouldn’t have written to Wendy.

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      • FireStar

        Firestar March 6, 2013, 2:57 pm

        How to stop a behaviour? The answer is that you choose to. We are responsible for our actions. No one is making her do anything. No one can make her stop. It is all on her. It’s part of being an adult.

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      • avatar

        MissDre March 6, 2013, 3:49 pm

        But sometimes we need guidance to figure out what the best choices are. In this case, people have offered her advice on what to do when guys sext her and how to shut it down in the moment.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay March 6, 2013, 4:49 pm

        But when the behavior involves communicating with another person, there are a lot more choices than just ceasing to speak to the person. As all the advice here shows, you can ignore the messages, change the subject, call them out, etc. You can stop something, but you also have to decide what to do instead.

        Also, the LW’s questions were much more complex than just “how do I stop doing this thing.” The simple “how do I stop doing it” was just Wendy’s headline…

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  • Jess

    Jess March 6, 2013, 10:42 am

    Patterns exist because of something we’re putting out there. My guess is that the guys who starts off sexting are the wrong guys to begin with (the wrong guys for what you are seeking). Shutting them down or trying to redirect them isn’t going to solve the problem. The problem starts earlier with how you are attracting the same type of guy again and again.

    My feeling is that you might want to reconsider what your profile looks like and then, as other said, how you present yourself in person. This is not about sex-shaming or getting puritanical. It’s simply about asking for the thing that you want (commitment) instead of asking for a sexy time. It’s a mindset too. You have to be ready to throw lots of fish back in the sea and recognize that good relationships are special BECAUSE they aren’t easy to come by.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle March 6, 2013, 11:00 am

      “My guess is that the guys who starts off sexting are the wrong guys to begin with (the wrong guys for what you are seeking). Shutting them down or trying to redirect them isn’t going to solve the problem.” <–this.

      Also, to jump-off, sort of? Your comment reminded me of something else I wanted to say: LW, instead of thinking ~you're~ the one not good enough, or not worthy of a relationship, why don't you try turning that feeling outward? Once a guy starts getting sexty with you, YOU be the one to say to yourself, "Oh, this guy's a joke. This isn't what I've been looking for; I don't want to be involved with this sort of thing." That might help you shut it down before getting to a point where you've been in a back-and-forth for a while & realize you don't even want to be.

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        6napkinburger March 6, 2013, 11:55 am

        Totally agree. Changing my mindset to whether I like HIM rather than just if HE likes ME has made my dating life so much better. Then who cares if he doesn’t call, and guys just seem so much more interested in asking me out when during the convo I am looking for signs that I like him and not trying to get him to like me

        stupid confidence. why does everything have to be about you?

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    SuzyQ March 6, 2013, 10:48 am

    It starts before you even have your first conversation. It’s in how you carry yourself and how you dress and act. It’s having confidence and showing it. It’s being yourself and having someone who is intrigued by that want to get to know you better. It’s allowing yourself to be vulnerable – sexting deflects someone from seeing the real you – and accepting that not everyone will want the real you. But that is okay – you only need one person for it to be a success. And on the other side, who are you picking? The guys you really want may not be getting your attention because they aren’t all over you. Maybe your chaotic upbringing has made you seek out guys who give you the wrong kind of attention. You can find what you want – good luck!

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    Older and (hopefully) wiser March 6, 2013, 10:57 am

    My step mother is a pianist and spends most of her free time at the opera or concerts. She’s having trouble meeting someone (she’s a widow) who lives in her world. I was thinking someone should put together an on-line dating service for musicians, artists, and those who appreciate the arts.Bet there wouldn’t be any sexting on that site.

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    • kare

      kare March 8, 2013, 10:35 pm

      Or the sexting would be very creative. Sign me up!

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    Lindsay March 6, 2013, 11:05 am

    I know how you feel. For a while, I’ve been the girl who’s “good enough to sleep with but not good enough to date.” However, I do realize that it’s not actually the truth and my dating history isn’t a reflection of my worth as much as it is a reflection of how I behave while dating. That’s also true for you. Part of my problem was that I didn’t have a lot of dating experience either, so I didn’t understand how things worked. I thought that all guys generally acted the same and that some of them would turn out to want a relationship and some wouldn’t. Though that’s abstractly true, I can’t imagine that a guy who starts sexting you immediately is actually looking for a relationship, with you or otherwise. So, I wouldn’t worry about keeping the lines of communication open. Like Wendy said, you can ignore it or say something, but I just honestly don’t think it’s going to turn into anything if that’s his mode of communication so early on. And that’s on him, not on you.

    Another thing I realized about myself is that though I tend to come across as fairly innocent (you don’t know how many guys have asked me if I’m a virgin when I’m not), I think I do give the impression that I am not serious about dating or that I’m not really into commitment. That seems to result from me being super laidback and not demanding much of the guys, which is partially my personality, but partially because my only knowledge of relationships had been from TV or movies, where you get portrayals of the cool girl vs. the uptight shrew, so I drew my own conclusions from that.

    On the other hand, shady dudes don’t necessarily go after just shady ladies. They like all sorts of women, just like anybody else, and they may just happen to like you, unrelated to the fact that they don’t want something serious. The difference, though, would be that whereas other women would be like, “WTF did you just text me? Go away,” and forget about them, you (and me) go along with it and instead of some forgettable guy from the bar, they turn into our pseudo-exes, which could make it seem like they target you when they may not.

    Anyway, I’d just work on getting some boundaries. Don’t sext back or encourage it. Be willing to insist that you go on real dates and not just “hanging out” with a guy (not that he has to pay, just that you’re not simply going to his house to “watch movies”) or that he make plans with you a few days in advance, and not after the bar. And chances are, guys who want relationships are going to act like good people early on.

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    • avatar

      Lindsay March 6, 2013, 11:19 am

      Also, I’m 26, so you’re not alone in being single without much relationship experience.

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  • avatar

    6napkinburger March 6, 2013, 11:44 am

    Ok, I know I know, but I recommend you read “why men date bitches.” I’ve read it before and im reading i again and I think she oversimplifies a TON and is just dead wrong on some stuff, but it reminds you that guys want to pursue someone worth pursuing and the only way that they know that you are worth pursuing is if you indicate that to them. (I am 28 and single too)

    The one thing I am realizing she leaves out of the book is that, while she keeps mentioning that it isn’t about game-playing, her recommendations read like how you should pretend to feel. I say, do a lot of what she recommends, but own it and make it real. Don’t just pretend to be so busy that you didn’t notice when he didn’t call, BE so busy that you really DONT notice when he doesn’t call. Don’t be over available because you REALLY ARE Doing other things.

    On this issue of sexting too fast, I have two recommendations that stem from one mindset. When I get like this, its because I’m planning SUPER short term (aka that night). Forget about THAT night or anything super quick — there is time and no rush. So, to that end, when he starts something too sexy, don’t respond that night. Respond the next day, and if it was a could go either way question (e.g. “what ever do you plan on doing drunk and now all alone in your apartment?”), respond normally (e.g. “read a few chapters in Life of Pi”); if there’s no going back from the sexy question, but the sexy question wasn’t necessarily insulting given the lead up, just steer it back and abruptly be normal (he said: “I’m sure your looking sexy tonight”; the next day, you respond “pretty much. how was your meeting this morning?” asking a normal person question, to get it back on track (but don’t apologize for the delay!)

    The second recommendation is to just call him out. My (maybe? maybe not? gay/bi/who knows) guy friend took my phone when that happened recently and went to town on the guy, I am using this convo as a guide for guys who Id like to go out with, but dont necessarily see a future with (the future with guys get the above treatment): [background, we met at a bar while I was waiting for my friend on valentine’s day, and he asked for my number, the next night, I text him to tell him I went to this bar he recommended, and he says:
    him: “you should just come with me”
    me: Where is that?
    him: my apt… on my couch with my boxers as a blanket… so much better than [the bar we were discussing]
    my friend as me: “what kind of girl do you think I am?”
    him: WoWo… easy! I was just playin around [note: gaslight much?] … because I am home on the couch
    my friend as me: “I need to be wined dined and respected”
    him: As u should
    my friend as me: “good. don’t forget it”
    him: “ok”
    him: have fun tonight… Maybe I’ll get a chance to wine and dine u
    my friend as me: I’ll think about it
    my friend as me: and consider it
    him: keep me posted

    He texted again the next night.

    Turns out he was shitty and I let things stay in texting too long and it got too flirty too fast, and nothing came of it, but talk about the right way to play it. Go my friend!

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    • avatar

      *HmC* March 6, 2013, 1:17 pm

      “The one thing I am realizing she leaves out of the book is that, while she keeps mentioning that it isn’t about game-playing, her recommendations read like how you should pretend to feel. I say, do a lot of what she recommends, but own it and make it real. Don’t just pretend to be so busy that you didn’t notice when he didn’t call, BE so busy that you really DONT notice when he doesn’t call. Don’t be over available because you REALLY ARE Doing other things. ”

      That is exactly my issue with that and so many other supposed dating help books. Instead of raising our daughters (and sons!) to be confident and have full lives, we’re teaching them how to pretend to be busy and pantomime being happy. No. The goal is to be happy, not to land a relationship at all costs. For fuck’s sake.

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  • avatar

    GatorGirl March 6, 2013, 11:44 am

    I’ve been pondering this for a little letter for a little and, well I guess I’m kind of torn. On one hand I want to say “well just stop acting like that!!” but on the other I understand where the LW is coming from. My best friend is 27, a young professional, dresses trendy but not slutty, and has tried online dating, set ups from friends, meeting randoms in a bar/gym/club/library/etc. She has the exact same problem. She’ll go on one or two dates with a guy and then it just become about sex or hooking up. She’s not a prude or anything, and is definitely putting herself out there in the “right” way to appear to be a woman looking for a relationship rather than a hook up- but it appears that guys just want the hook up.

    So I really have no advice other than to just keep chugging along and don’t have sex on the first date! (For the record- I’m totally fine with sex on the first date, but I think in this situation it will be giving off the wrong vibe.) You will find a person to have a relationship with, and nothing about your situation seems odd to me.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser March 6, 2013, 11:52 am

    Addie Pray, you are hysterical! Have you and Bittergaymark ever thought about hosting a talk show together? You should!

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson March 6, 2013, 2:14 pm

      Oh god. That would be my absolute favorite thing on earth. I am squealing just thinking about it. Also if you two kids want to have kids I wouldn’t object either.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray March 6, 2013, 11:49 pm

      Oh my god that would be my dream. Getting paid to talk?! I wouldn’t have to read statutes and interpret and argue. I could just read US Weekly and interpret and argue! And behind the desk I wouldn’t have to wear pants! … How can I get this started *now*?

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  • avatar

    ebstarr March 6, 2013, 12:06 pm

    A lot of people are assuming that she dresses slutty and is somehow therefore attracting all these booty calls. That assumption is totally faulty, in my opinion, and I’m sure we ALL know people who dress “slutty” and have super successful relationships all the time, and people who dress like frumps and get treated like hookups. But even if the assumption is correct, why would she want to be in a relationship with someone that doesn’t want to date the person she is — aka, a person who wears whatever she’s been wearing?

    To the LW: I think Wendy’s right and you should learn to set boundaries with guys, rather than dress like (shudder) “wife material” as someone said above. If someone sends you a text that makes you uncomfortable, SAY it makes you uncomfortable (say it lightly if you want to keep the flirtation line open, but be clear). Either he is a cool dude who will back off, or he’ll ignore your wishes and keep going, in which case he sucks and you should shut it down. Not every guy is nice, not every guy is interested in a relationship, and not every guy will be interested in a relationship with YOU, but by setting boundaries you can weed them out quicker without pandering to dumb stereotypes about what “kinds” of girls are good enough to date.

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      lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 12:08 pm

      I can’t believe it took so long for someone to point this out! I agree, however, I do think that if you dress over the top “slutty” you are attracting a certain type of attention. That’s not to say she should have to change the way she is.

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        ebstarr March 6, 2013, 12:19 pm

        Yeah, I mean, I think it’s about authenticity… she should dress the way that makes her feel good and expresses her personality/sexuality/mood/whatever, and not dress “slutty” just to get guys’ attention, NOR start donning pearls and sweater sets in an attempt to “get” a boyfriend.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow March 6, 2013, 12:16 pm

      Haha, thank you for pointing that out. I was thinking that if one more person said to act like a “wife” or a “lady” I was going to puke.

      LW, I think if a guy jumps straight to the sexting, then he’s probably not looking for a relationship. If that happens, and you want more than a hook-up with the dude in question, I’d probably just ignore it and move on to the next guy.

      If it seems like a lot of guys jump straight to sexting, it’s probably just because a lot of guys happen to be looking for hookups and not necessarily something you are doing “wrong.” Are you messaging guys online first, or waiting for them to make the first move? I find that online I have the most success when I initiate a conversation with someone who interests me. Also, I don’t respond to anyone online that seems like he’s creepy or just out for sex and therefore avoid the to-sext-or-not-to-sext conundrum.

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        ebstarr March 6, 2013, 12:23 pm

        Great advice! Especially ignoring creepy people. It’s both easier and harder than it sounds, especially if you’re used to somewhat creepy guys.

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      GatorGirl March 6, 2013, 12:32 pm

      Yeah…the “wife material” comment really rubbed me the wrong way too but I was trying to bite my toung and not be rude. Dress the way that makes you feel the best.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary March 6, 2013, 1:26 pm

        I wanted to say something but I didn’t know how to write it…Glad other people have. You guys should see some of my outfits from college! And then all of the corresponding pictures with long-term boyfriends….

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    • katie

      katie March 6, 2013, 1:15 pm

      jesus thank you.

      seriously, all she needs to do is just dress different and not go out to clubs???? why arent you people all writing books- you have cracked the “how to get a husband” code!! share your enlightened knowledge with the rest of humanity!!

      but seriously, thats bullshit. if you just change the way you dress and the places you frequent, you are just going to change to an objectively modest person who hooks up and sexts all the time. your problems have everything to do with your own behavior and seriously nothing to do with how you dress or where you hang out.

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  • avatar

    Trixy minx March 6, 2013, 1:07 pm

    This lw could easily be me

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  • avatar

    6napkinburger March 6, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Guys thinking of you as “hookup” material versus “girlfriend/wife material” has very very very very very little to do with the sluttiness of your clothes. (Sure, skankiness affects it, but you can dress skanky while still being covered from head to toe in non-tight clothing. ) But other than not being the kind of person who doesn’t take pride in her appearance, people here are putting WAY to much emphasis on the look as being the reason for the guy’s approach. A girl in a teeny tiny miniskirt can make it known quite quickly that she’s not looking for a hookup. Though it may scare off some of the guys who are in the right place with #1 and #2 from approaching her in the first place, and so it should be considered regarding what type of guy she is attracting, it has very little to do with how the guys will treat her once they’ve approached.

    It has everything to do with (1) the life-circumstances of the guy (just broke up with his fiance? 6 months out of a relationship) , (2) the immediate circumstances of the guy (drunk? horny? met a girl he liked the day before but who won’t put out?); and (3) how he interprets you. Once he gets the number, the sluttiness of the clothes don’t matter that much. (I would say it might affect whether or not he asks for the number).

    While #3 is affected by your behavior, you have no control over #1 and #2, which are going to have the largest effect. Which is why it’s all a numbers game. But with regards to #3, that’s where confidence, self-respect, self-restraint and self-esteem all come in.

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      kerrycontrary March 6, 2013, 1:25 pm

      Thank you for this! I get kind of annoyed when people are like “don’t dress slutty if you don’t want men to get the wrong impression”, but I didn’t know how to express it through words so I didn’t comment until now haha. I’ve worn plenty of revealing clothing and had plenty of successful, healthy, long-term relationships thank you very much.

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        GatorGirl March 6, 2013, 1:47 pm

        Me too! When I met my fiance I dressed more revealing- short skirts and tube tops, stilettos etc. I managed to get him to marry me even though I wasn’t dressing in a “wife”ly way. 5 years later I do dress like a little old lady but that was my personal style changing…not for him.

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        Nadine March 6, 2013, 2:06 pm

        Me too! I have nice legs, I’m going to show them, regardless of whether someone has access to whats up the top, or not.

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        ebstarr March 6, 2013, 2:19 pm

        Me four! I don’t show my legs but boy do I show off the cleav…

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow March 6, 2013, 3:48 pm

        Haha, I’m not shy with the cleav either.

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        bethany March 6, 2013, 4:30 pm

        If I had boobs (bigger than my A cup), I would NEVER wear a shirt. Never!!

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        GatorGirl March 6, 2013, 4:37 pm

        It’s all I can do to keep my boobs IN my shirt half the time. I’m only a full C but man I have a hard time keeping them undercover.

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        bethany March 6, 2013, 4:46 pm

        Only a full C?! Please. I’m barely an A. I’d sell my firstborn for a B cup!

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        GatorGirl March 6, 2013, 4:53 pm

        Well, compaired to a lot of women, my boobs are still small!! But they are pretty awesome. I second LBH’s comment- the firstborn will most likely give you the bigger cup size- at least for a little!

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        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 4:59 pm

        Mine gave me Bs or Cs, but only for like 3 days. You know what’s worse than never having big boobs? Having the tease of them from 3 days and then watching them deflate. (but this is bc I didn’t breastfeed, if you’re wondering)

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow March 6, 2013, 4:52 pm

        Same here! They can’t be contained.

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        lets_be_honest March 6, 2013, 4:49 pm

        Haha. I too wish I had boobs, but ironically I don’t think I would ever show cleavage. I’ve gotten sick of seeing unsavory cleavage over the years. I would love to play with my very own pair of big boobs though.

        p.s. your firstborn might just give you those Bs, so you might not have to sell him after all (look, you’re having a BOY! I said he!)

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        AliceInDairyland March 6, 2013, 2:20 pm

        Best comment of this whole thread. 🙂

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      • kare

        kare March 8, 2013, 10:44 pm

        My married friends that are a bit older always say things about what I wear when we go out. But honestly, I’m young, actually in a place where I feel comfortable with my body, and was never a fan of clothes in the first place. Especially in the summer in Texas. If a guy thought I was a slut because I’m wearing short shorts or a tight dress, then obviously he will never get the benefit of having sex with me. And he will deeply regret it. Hahaha.

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      Lindsay March 6, 2013, 2:55 pm

      OMG, yes! I’ve been cringing every time I’ve read a comment telling the LW to stop dressing like a slut. We don’t know how she dresses. And it won’t matter how she dresses if she doesn’t learn to stand up for herself and what she wants (and vice versa).

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  • avatar

    *HmC* March 6, 2013, 1:12 pm

    Dude who cares about keeping the lines of communication open with someone who just wants a booty call. I say just ignore if they get sexual. You don’t owe someone you don’t know an explanation. Try to think more in terms of what YOU want. Do you really want a guy who sexts someone he barely knows? Not a value judgment, but yeah, if he’s doing that then he’s not looking for the same things you are, so YOU shouldn’t want HIM. Unless he then changes things up of course.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl March 6, 2013, 1:21 pm

    Here’s an idea…when someone sexts you, don’t sext back. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel about yourself when you don’t give in to every base notion that you need the approval of by some strange dude looking to hook up with you.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland March 6, 2013, 2:19 pm

    Okay, here are my thoughts on this and you can take it or leave it. First, I want to know what you are talking about with these guys before you trade phone numbers? Are you exchanging niceties only, or keeping things really superficial? When I was meeting guys, regardless of location (this goes for all people) I tend to delve right past the superficial topics into something more interesting for me and I ask a lot of open ended questions. What is your job, what do you like about it, do you have hobbies? You don’t have to go SUPER deep like religon, politics, etc… but try to really get to know the person before you trade phone numbers and start texting. I have a feeling that the sexting would not be as instantaneous, because after those sorts of discussions you are no longer a blank canvas of sexual availability. You are a person. (Just my thoughts, I always do this and haven’t been exposed to really any sexting).

    One of my favorite singlehood past times was going out wearing something insanely short and tight and way too much make up, and then when I got approached I would instantly try and have a really deep conversation. Guys definitely weren’t expecting intense discussion or telling a childhood story, but I learned a lot of really interesting things about people that I wouldn’t have expected.

    Second, you could always just say that you really only use texting for setting up plans or random times. Or that you don’t have an unlimited texting plan. I hate texting, and only use it for when I am planning things or if something reminds me of that person. Otherwise that’s it, and I haven’t had it be a problem in my dating life. Then if that guy truly does want to get to know you, he will call you or facebook you or email you. OR, you can email or facebook or call him!

    Both of those are for avoiding sexy-time texts. But as for dealing with them when they happen… All I can say is that this is your life and you are in the drivers seat. If you don’t want to respond, don’t respond that way. Switch to a neutral topic or just stop texting and see this guy in person. If you do want to respond, genuinely for yourself because you are in a sexty mood then do it and don’t feel ashamed. You are in control! Good luck.

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    BettyBoop March 6, 2013, 7:36 pm

    My favorite way to derail too sexy texting or questions is to respond with something along the lines of “I’m enjoying getting to know you, but we aren’t there yet. I’ll let you know if that changes!” It’s an easy way to potentially keep the lines of communication open if it turns out you’ve misinterpreted his comment or if it was a case of false intimacy that often comes with getting to know somebody. If they’re just looking for sex, it will turn them right off and save you the trouble of wondering what’s happening. Create some scripts that you can just send out immediately to derail anything too sexy and remove the trap you’ve set yourself. Good luck!

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    BreezyAM March 6, 2013, 9:20 pm

    I think you need to think long and hard about whether you ACTUALLY want a relationship, or feel like you should want a relationship. I think sometimes women feel they need to act all “oh woe is me men only want me for sex boo hoo” when the truth is that’s all THEY want as well. But saying that makes a woman a very bad naughty trashy girl in respectable society.

    I think if you wanted to date and be mature and responsible, you’d be behaving that way. You wouldn’t be sexting right away. But you’re horny and want some sex so you’re participating. Own that. It’s okay. Seriously.

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      BreezyAM March 6, 2013, 9:25 pm

      Wait. There is nothing immature or irresponsible about wanting Just Sex Please. Let me rephrase that. If you wanted to be all relationshippy, you’d be behaving in a manner that would achieve that. You’d be more reserved, meeting men through common interests, clubs (as in like photography not the Boom Boom Room) and mutual friends. Work. That sort of thing.

      Work on being the best YOU that you can be. While you’re doing that, the kind of men you want will notice. Also, please get out of this “good enough to fuck but not date” mentality. It has nothing to do with “good enough.” It means they’re not interested in you for a date but they do find you sexy. This could be about you, but it’s likely more about them, and even if it IS about you it doesn’t mean someone they do want to date ranks “higher.” It’s like how I have some friends I want to bowl with and others I like to shop with and others I like to drink like a dirty sailor with. It doesn’t make any of them “better” or worse, and you aren’t either.

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  • avatar

    Boosker March 7, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Aw, you’re on OK Cupid, aren’t you. If you are really serious about finding a long term relationship, maybe you should look into one of the less booty textish sites like Match or eHarmony. When I saw the headline, I really thought you were dealing out money shots to your whole contact list, so I’m glad that’s not the case.

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