Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I know it can seem like I’m a big fan of consumerism, what with my weekly (monthly?) picks, and my gift guides, and my book wish lists — and it’s true, I do enjoy cool stuff. But I consume less than it may appear (I “window shop” a lot more than I actually shop), and I really appreciate the trend of buying less and sharing more. A few months ago I joined my community Buy Nothing group, which I found on Facebook. Buy Nothing is an “experimental hyper-local gift economy” started a couple years ago by two women friends in Washington. It has since become “a worldwide social movement, growing to over 280,000 members in eighteen nations with 1300 groups and over 1700 volunteers.”
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Last week I reminded my husband that his mom’s birthday was on Sunday. Then he mentioned that his sister had called and said the adult children were planning on taking her out to dinner. I said that would be great, but he didn’t know any details about time or place. After a few days I asked my husband if he had heard back from his sister yet, and he said no. So I texted her and let her know that we were looking forward to celebrating Mom’s birthday and to let us know the time and place. After no text back, I called and left the same message. By the end of the day, she texted me back and basically said that she had told my husband that it was only the four kids who were taking their mom to dinner, and that’s when I realized that I wasn’t invited.

I was confused. I’ve been married to my husband for 33 years and I always look forward to celebrating with everyone. It’s been years since we’ve all been to dinner. The next morning I told my husband about the text and said I wasn’t invited to his mom’s birthday. He said that wasn’t right and that he wasn’t going either then. On her birthday, we took Mom a beautiful hanging basket and my husband did some yard work for her. I was there for a short while and my husband stayed longer to continue working. Before he left, his mom asked if he was going to the her dinner and he said he wasn’t because I was excluded.

The next day his mom texted me and apologized. I’m not mad, but I’m hurt that my sister-in-law obviously doesn’t value me or my friendship. I’m just so tired of putting myself out there! I’m blessed that my husband stood by me. Even though my mother-in-law apologized, the damage is done. I now feel differently about my sister-in-law and mother-in-law as I don’t feel they value me. Please give me some suggestions on how I should respond to my mother-in-law (I don’t think my sister-in-law even cares). — Left Off The Invite List

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After having my name on a waiting list at the library for months for a copy of Handmaid’s Tale, I’ve decided to just bite the bullet and buy myself a copy before the series starts on Hulu (actually, I don’t even have to buy it — just found out it’s free on Amazon with Prime Reading!). There are a couple other books I’m also waiting for: You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life and Textbook by Amy Krouse Rosenthal (the woman who wrote this lovely and heartbreaking Modern Love essay a couple months ago). The other day I asked my followers on Facebook what books they were currently reading and would recommend. Their replies ran the gamut from young adult to sci-fi, graphic novels to thrillers, self-help to historical fiction. Here are some of their wide-ranging picks:
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A friend of mine sent a friend request to my husband after our wedding four months ago without mentioning it to me. Then she proceeded to “Like” all my husband’s posts from 2008 onwards! I found out about this because other friends started asking about her. So I was surprised…and finding out the way I did wasn’t cool.

Please note that my husband has many female friends, very attractive at that, but I see nothing excessive or inappropriate in their behavior. I know his exes and even have a soft spot and liking for some of them. But this classmate of mine irks me for some reason.

When I asked questions, very kindly and politely, pointing out that other friends had questions too, my classmate acted resentful. She even made me look like I was a bully!!! So, my husband got mad at me too. How could he know I wrote to ask her things if she didn’t tell him? Or forward him my texts? I knew because my husband would talk about things she and I talked about, even using some phrases from those texts. I believe she manipulated him and I also feel like they “ganged up” on me. But I stayed very kind. After all, the woman in this case is my friend/classmate. Yet she made me look like I was so mean when I never was in my queries or approach. It hurt a lot.

Anyway, it caused a rift between my husband and me, one that escalated into my crying for a week. My husband berated me as if I were so horrible to her when I truly was not. After that bad time, he kept his distance from her for a while. He cannot have forgotten how I felt, so why is he going back this month to liking her posts, and even commenting too, after what he and I went through just weeks ago? And the woman is liking his comments as well. How can they be so forgetful and insensitive?

They BOTH know I was very uncomfortable, so why are they being like this? I have since stopped going on Facebook so I don’t have to see their reacting with each other. I’m also afraid to bring it up again to my husband after how I was treated the last time by them both. — Wishing They Weren’t Friends<

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Yesterday was my birthday and I don’t usually like a fuss, so I spent the day pampering in a spa and asked my on/off boyfriend of two years to spend the evening with me, which he agreed to. The day came, and there were no plans made by him. He wished me a happy birthday in the morning, but made no mention afterward about the plans for that evening. I asked him through text about what the plans were when it got to be evening, and he said there’s no rush. At this point, it was getting very late so I wished him a good night and went to sleep. The next morning I messaged him stating how disappointed I was that he didn’t come to see me on my birthday and how I had felt stood up. He said that I shouldn’t feel this way and that he had had a surprise for me but then did not do it because he knows I do not like surprises. I replied that I didn’t want to be disappointed by him either; he has not responded to this. The reason I broke up with him before was because I consistently felt disconnected and let down — there was always an excuse as to why he did not show up when he said he would, call back, or make the effort he knew he should. After four months apart, he got in contact to see how I was and to say he missed me and wanted to start again. I took another month to think things through and then told him I agreed. We were in good communication for the next few months, but now he seems distant and preoccupied again. I’m very confused as to what to do, and I’m not sure if I should leave again or wait to see if my constant disappointment will make him change. — Lonely in my relationship

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67 comments