Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend Gave His Massage Therapist The Same Gifts He Gave Me!”

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

I am 57 and my boyfriend, “Fred,” is 55. I left my husband of twenty years to be with this man. About five years ago, Fred bought me five or six things for Christmas, including perfume, makeup, and things like that. I found out that he gave his massage therapist the exact same gifts. I was furious. He still sees her for massages and he thinks I should not have a problem with it. Well, I do, and I think I am going to leave him over it. Am I overreacting and being petty? I think she should not have accepted those gifts and that it was very unprofessional. He said he has been going to her for fifteen years and is not going to stop. — Still Furious After All These Years


There’s more to their relationship than simply a therapist-client dynamic. Clearly, Fred has feelings for his massage therapist beyond feeling gratitude for her service, and in the five years (!!) since you became furious over the gifts he gave her for Christmas it doesn’t sound like he’s done anything to calm your feels or reservations about their relationship. Point blank: It doesn’t seem that your feelings are a big concern for him, and I’d be very leery about continuing a relationship with a man who had so little regard for me.

I’m 18 and my boyfriend is turning 32 soon. I love him to death but don’t know whether his intentions towards me are pure. We have been together for, like, one year and some months. He doesn’t like having conversations with me, but, when he sees my friends, he talks to them like they’re his friends even though he never tells me anything. We don’t go out together, and he rarely comes to see me (he says he’s always busy). I asked him if he wants this relationship and he said yes. I feel bad everyday. What should I do? — Dating Busy

 
MOA. The guy has no interest in having a true relationship with you. If anything, he likes having sex with an 18-year-old girl, like many straight 30-something men fantasize about. And, honestly, you should be asking yourself whether you want to be in this relationship, because it sounds totally shitty and depressing and something is off if this is what you want for yourself. Seriously, MOA and aim higher next time.

I have been with my boyfriend for two years now. Recently, (as of June as far as I know), there has been a female texting him every morning and every night. She adds all cute memes and emojis. He says that she is an older lady, in her 60s, and there is nothing to it. I haven’t pressed the issue. We are not together during the day due to our schedules, so I don’t know if she is texting him throughout the day. My boyfriend is 48. I am not sure if I should be concerned or if it’s ok to tell him that I am not comfortable with the situation no matter how old she is. What do you think?
— Concerned gal

 
I think that, regardless of anyone’s age, it’s completely appropriate to tell your boyfriend of two years that you’re uncomfortable with a woman you’ve never met sending him flirty texts every single morning and night and that you want to know more about how they know each other, what the nature of their friendship is, and and whether she knows about you. Frankly, I think it sounds pretty fishy and would consider it a red flag that you should evaluate within the larger context of your two-year relationship. Have there been other red flags? Has your boyfriend ever given you reason not to trust him or his intentions?

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

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

35 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Sara September 9, 2016, 9:26 am

    I’ve seen that one about the therapist receiving the same gifts before…

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    • avatar

      Ale September 9, 2016, 9:58 am

      Yeah, I saw it before too.

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      • avatar

        Bostonpupgal September 9, 2016, 10:51 am

        Me too. Maybe on Dear Abby?

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      • avatar

        Gwyneth6 September 9, 2016, 12:26 pm

        Me too, I only read here and prudie so must be one of them!

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    • avatar

      zombeyonce September 9, 2016, 10:57 am

      Me too, but I can’t find it anywhere (Dear Prudence, Ask Amy, Carolyn Hax). But the letter writer could have changed the words a bit. I think she got pretty much the same advice, though.

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      • juliecatharine

        Juliecatharine September 9, 2016, 11:41 am

        Yep I think it was Carolyn but might have been Prudie.

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 September 9, 2016, 12:19 pm

        I thought it was on here not too long ago actually. It might have been one of those that was put up by mistake and then taken down, or maybe it was in the forum.

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    • avatar

      bondgirl September 9, 2016, 12:59 pm

      It was from a Dear Wendy Shortcuts post from the end of August.

      http://dearwendy.com/three-in-one-my-boyfriend-of-eight-months-doesnt-financially-support-me/

      letter #3.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy September 9, 2016, 1:06 pm

        Oops, sorry about that! Clearly, I could use more sleep…

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      • avatar

        bondgirl September 9, 2016, 1:07 pm

        regardless of the reprint though, they were both smart and insightful replies!

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  • Kate B.

    Kate B. September 9, 2016, 9:41 am

    Can we please stop referring to women as “females”? We are not livestock. Unless you’re filling out a police report, find another word, like, woman.

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    • avatar

      Vathena September 9, 2016, 10:07 am

      +1000. Fair or not, my sympathy for any LW evaporates after the use of “female”.

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      • juliecatharine

        Juliecatharine September 9, 2016, 11:41 am

        I have no idea why that bothers me so much but it really does.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. September 9, 2016, 12:57 pm

        Sometimes, yes, it is appropriate to refer to someone by their gender (e.g., “my female coworker” as distinct from “my male coworker”) but people seem to use it this way a lot, and it’s mostly directed towards women, I’ve noticed. I rarely hear someone casually refer to a man as a “male”. It just bugs me. Maybe I’ll start calling men “males” to balance it out.

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      • avatar

        Kelly L. September 9, 2016, 2:14 pm

        Yeah, it’s fine as an adjective, but not as a noun.

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      • GertietheDino

        GertietheDino September 9, 2016, 3:44 pm

        I like to think it’s the LW’s way of saying bitch without staying bitch.

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    • Stonegypsy

      Stonegypsy September 9, 2016, 2:27 pm

      Always makes me think of Quark from Deep Space Nine

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover September 9, 2016, 2:37 pm

        Hahahah yes! And happy 50th to Star Trek! 🙂

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover September 9, 2016, 2:28 pm

      The only place it’s acceptable is in the Kimmy Schmidt theme song: “…but FE-males are strong as hell!”

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    • avatar

      Baccalieu September 9, 2016, 4:03 pm

      As noted, it is used in police reports (and medical records) and tends to convey scientific detachment. In this case I think the LW uses it deliberately to express her suspicions about the woman. Interesting that she labels herself a concerned “gal”

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    • Chaotonic

      Chaotonic September 9, 2016, 6:49 pm

      In defense of the use of the term “female”, in the military that’s what we must refer to each other. It’s not men or women, girls or boys, it’s male and female. So even though I’ve been out for a year I still find myself saying female or male instead of man or woman.

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  • avatar

    Essie September 9, 2016, 10:00 am

    LW2, look around you. Look at the relationships of your friends and family members. Do they look anything like your relationship with this guy?

    I’m guessing that they don’t. Aim higher next time. Find a boyfriend who likes to spend time with you, who wants to go out on dates, who likes talking to you. That’s kind of the minimum requirement for a boyfriend.

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  • Cleopatra Jones

    Cleopatra Jones September 9, 2016, 10:31 am

    Um, are we not going to call out BF#2 for dating an under-aged woman? He started dating her when she was 17? 16 1/2? He’s a scumbag. He was knocking down the door at 30 when he started dating her. I’m not saying he’s a pedophile but he ain’t messing with any women his age. I think he’s ‘talking’ to the friends because he may be looking for his next prey.
    LW#2–Run! Seriously.

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    • Amanda

      Amanda September 9, 2016, 10:49 am

      I was thinking the same thing! The timeline skeeved me out.

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      Cheesecaker2911 September 9, 2016, 11:30 am

      Yeah, I was thinking that too. He can’t come around all the time cause it was ILLEGAL.

      I agree on the prey thing when it comes to her friends. For all she knows, that could be who/what he’s busy doing.

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      • juliecatharine

        Juliecatharine September 9, 2016, 11:44 am

        Yep he’s using her to scope out her friends I think. Ew ew ew. LW-there is something severely wrong with a 30 year old who goes anywhere near a teenager that way. Dump him like yesterday’s garbage and aim way higher.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover September 9, 2016, 2:35 pm

      17 is actually legal in most states. 16 in a lot of them too. But even if it’s legal, a normal 30-something guy would never be interested in dating someone that young. Generally speaking, it’s men with issues who date that young, because women their own age won’t put up with their stupid crap. Or they’re losers and it’s obvious to women their age. It can happen, like say if two people meet and they never mention ages and the younger one has been through a lot and is pretty mature and they just click. But that’s by far the minority, and clearly isn’t the case here. MOA.

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  • avatar

    wobster109 September 9, 2016, 11:04 am

    I disagree on LW1 because the gift was nothing substantial. Perfume and makeup are generic and impersonal. It sounds like Fred is just really bad at giving gifts. I’ll bet he gives the same gift to his sisters/cousins. If the massage has received a handwritten note and an iPhone, that would be much more concerning. He didn’t care a great deal about the massage therapist, rather he cared very little about your gift.

    I think you should tell him how disappointed you are that he didn’t put any thought into what you’d like, and then ask him to make his gift to you personal. A heuristic I’ve heard is he should spend an hour thinking of gift ideas. It sounds like gifts matter to you and don’t matter to him. Neither of you are wrong, but hopefully if you tell him he’ll be sympathetic and see your perspective.

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    • avatar

      wobster109 September 9, 2016, 11:05 am

      *if the massage therapist had received

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    • Stonegypsy

      Stonegypsy September 9, 2016, 12:58 pm

      That was my thought, too.
      I imagine if he’s been seeing this massage therapist for 15 years, they probably have talked a lot and are close acquaintances, at least. Massages are not impersonal, and you definitely develop a relationship with regulars over time. So it’s not that surprising that he would get her a gift. And if he has a hard time shopping for people, he might just get all the women in his life the same thing.

      And honestly, I don’t blame him for not wanting to stop seeing his massage therapist. She’s familiar with where he tends to have the most muscle aches and where he holds tension and what pressure he likes. It can be hard to find a really good massage therapist.

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    • avatar

      dinoceros September 9, 2016, 3:22 pm

      Really?! 5 or 6 gifts seems like a lot of gifts to give to someone with whom you have a provider-client relationship. I’ve never given that many gifts to any of my loved ones before. Is that seriously normal? Am I just stingy?

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      • redessa

        redessa September 9, 2016, 4:28 pm

        To me, it depends on how they were packaged. If they were all individually wrapped, I agree with you. But if was like a gift basket then it seems less odd.

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      • Stonegypsy

        Stonegypsy September 9, 2016, 5:30 pm

        Well I also think it’s very likely that after getting massages from the same person for so long, she probably feels closer to a friend than simply a service provider

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  • avatar

    Holly September 9, 2016, 12:18 pm

    I have DEFINITELY read the first letter somewhere else before, because I remember the person giving the advice saying “it’s been five years!”

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark September 9, 2016, 4:36 pm

    Honestly? Is there ANYBODY on the planet more needy, clingy, desperate, and pathetic than a DW Shortcuts LW? All three of these letters just exhaust me… AIM HIGHER. Or don’t. Stay single. REALLY. It’s NOT that fucking bad…

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