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I’m 32, a single mother (shared custody), and finishing my last semester of grad school. Two months ago I started talking to a man on the other side of the country who has ties to my current hometown. He visits here, and I recently visited him where he lives. Our perspectives on both trivial and major issues are so similar that he often verbalizes my exact thoughts. It’s uncanny. I have been reading your LDR posts, and they inspired me to think deeply not only about this relationship but also about being in ANY relationship right now.

I have started the job search and I have to complete a major project before my May graduation. Additionally, I am undecided if I want to remain in this city, state, or country to pursue my career after I graduate. I have always wanted to live, work, and raise a family abroad, and grad school is a means to that end. But, living abroad is a huge move for me and my son and would be easier with a partner. I also feel the ol’ biological clock ticking. I would prefer to have 1-2 more children before I’m 35, but maybe 36-37 is more realistic at this point! I live in a small town with few dating prospects. Between that and considering a move, an LDR seems almost inevitable.

Should I keep actively and intentionally dating, and hope that this man or another will give me the confidence and support to work abroad? Or should I drop the whole thing to focus on my child, school, and career and just hope that my eggs don’t disappear before fate brings a man to my door? — Trying to Have it All

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This was a big week in our household. We got a new sofa! I got some new rain boots! Jackson got a new watch! And Drew got a haircut! Ok, so the haircut is the least exciting because he gets one every two weeks, but I couldn’t leave him in the cold on our list of new things. Anyway, maybe not the most exciting week ever, but pretty good for a post-holiday, middle of January, spring-is-still-two-months-away week. Also, Jackson drew that ‘I heart U’ note for me above and that was pretty sweet, too. And he learned to tell time, too! Like, for-real tell-time (well, to the closest five-minute mark), which, as a parent, is such a cool thing to witness. He’s been obsessed with time and clocks for the last couple of months and my parents got him this toy clock (with corresponding time cards) for Christmas and he’s been watching a couple apps on the iPad about telling-time, like this one, and then we got him his watch and suddenly it all clicked, just like that. Watching your kid develop interests and passions (Jackson’s biggest passion so far seems to be learning, in general, and figuring out how things work) is one of the best things about being a parent. It helps balance out the boogers and toilet-training mishaps and public meltdowns and meal-refusals. Mostly.

How was your week? What are you up to this weekend? Who else is sick of winter yet? And who has upcoming vacation plans some place warm to make me jealous?



Here are a few things from around the web that may interest you:

“See How Much the “Perfect” Female Body Has Changed in 100 Years (It’s Crazy!)” [via Greatist]

TOMS isn’t the only company that gives back. Here are 22 others: “23 Charitable Companies That Actually Give Back” [via Buzzfeed]

In case you missed it when it went viral last wee: “What It’s Like to Date Your Dad” [via NY Mag] Ewww.
Related: “‘Consensual Incest’ Is Rape” [via Daily Beast]

“When terrible, abusive parents come crawling back, what do their grown children owe them?” [via Slate]

Do you agree with all of these? “21 Lost Lady Traditions That Still Apply Today” [via She Is More]

“21 Lost Gentleman Traditions That Still Apply Today” [via Good Guy Swag]

Thank you to those who submitted links for me to include. If you see something around the web you think DW readers would appreciate, please send me a link to wendy@dearwendy.com and if it’s a fit, I’ll include it in Friday’s round-up. Thanks!

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I’ve written you once before and your advice as well as the comments were really helpful to me in that situation. I’m struggling with a new family-related question and am hoping you might be able to provide advice one more time.

I’m struggling right now to figure out the best way to handle a situation with my mom. For back story, I was married for three years and have been divorced for almost five years now. My ex and I do not have any children which made this, in my mind, a clean split. My mom and step-dad did not see it that way at all. My ex actually ended up living with him for almost a year after our split. I get that my ex’s family is across the country, but also for me this is painful. To me, this is my husband who responded to my concerns about growing apart and not sharing anything anymore (he was traveling 45 weeks a year at that point and catering on the weekends he was home) with a “I’m not worried. I’m sure it’ll be fine.” And he was unwilling to try counseling or work on things.

I have done counseling with this on my own and thought I was in a better place until recently. My step-dad had a medical emergency that landed him in the hospital at risk of losing multiple fingers from his dominant hand. I visited him the day after the accident and before his surgery. My mom had told me not to worry about coming which I assumed was because I live about three hours away. On my way out of the hospital room, I ran into my ex. Evidently, he was the one my mom called to come clean up after the emergency and take care of things like taking out the trash. I didn’t realize they were still that close, and she had already indicated one of their neighbors was on top of all of that stuff.

I waited a few days to email my mom about how I felt. I didn’t want to add on to an already emotional situation any more than necessary. I just said that I had thought I was ok with it, but, seeing the close, family-like relationship she still has with my ex, I’m now realizing I’m not ok with it. It also hurts, almost more, that she lies to me about it. I get that my mom thinks she’s trying to protect my feelings, but, as I’ve told her, I don’t feel protected. I feel blindsided and lied to. This type of thing has come up in a few situations with the ex before. I know I can’t tell my folks whom to spend time with or not. And I honestly thought I was over it all until this last week. But it hurts. And I don’t know if it’ll stop hurting if their behavior continues.

How do I adjust my expectations of my relationship with my mom and and step-dad? I don’t feel like this is something worth ending any relationship over, but it does affect how close I feel to them.

Thanks for any advice you can share. — Blindsided by Mom and Stepdad

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After three months of dating this guy, I was at the point where I needed something to be at least defined as exclusive, but he wasn’t and so the relationship ended. That was two months ago. I’d never had such easy, natural chemistry with someone. We really seemed like a match–interests-, personality-, and values-wise. He gave me indications from the start that he was fearful of commitment (and has a very indecisive nature), but his actions seemed to indicate that he was serious about dating and not just something casual – he kept in constant communication, primarily texting, made a lot of effort in taking me out on dates, and sometimes talked romantically about “how we met” in a way that seemed like he knew we were headed somewhere. I was cautious at first, not wanting to jump into a relationship too quickly myself, and wasn’t even sure I was attracted to him at first, but there was no doubt that he was very into me – I felt so and had several friends comment so. While I never brought it up for fear of scaring him off too soon, I was fairly certain he was not seeing or pursuing anyone else (and he later confirmed that he wasn’t).

So then things changed in a way I still struggle to understand, based on how great things seemed to be between us. The short version is that I could sense him pulling back, which I tried to respond to by giving him that space and being cool, but eventually I snapped and drunk-texted him that I was frustrated with him, which prompted him to text me that he liked me a lot but wasn’t ready for a serious relationship (but then he followed up the next day saying how unsure he was and that I’m amazing.)

Despite being infuriated by his handling of the situation via text and silence, I asked him to get together to chat, because I wanted more clarity about what happened. I learned that his initial pulling away was actually because of an embarrassing temporary health issue, but my drunk texts indeed freaked him out and made him realize I was ready for something that he wasn’t ready for. What made it harder though was that he seemed torn even in this conversation, saying how great I was and acknowledging that he’s immature and probably foolish. He said he wished he were meeting me a few months down the road and hopes maybe we could have something again in the future, but he would never want me waiting around for him either. What it came down to was that he hasn’t dated much and feels like he needs to date more women to figure out what he really wants in a relationship. A part of me gets that, but there’s also a part of me telling me I’m a fool to think it’s simply timing and his not being ready, because if he really thought I was as amazing as he said and if it were meant to be, then he wouldn’t have the need/desire to start going out with new girls.

I should mention how amazing this conversation was, despite not being the outcome that I wanted – it was by far the most honest conversation I’ve ever had with a guy about relationships/dreams/desires/feelings – all while falling into tangents and laughter – and, ironically, I felt even closer to him despite the fact that we were ending things.

He told me he wanted to keep in touch as friends (which I said was cliché and doomed to failure) whether I liked it or not, but the moment we started chatting via text one day, he started saying things about how he still thinks about me and hopes I’m still open to something in the future (and that I haven’t made my Marine brother hate him). After some reflection, I wrote back to him somewhat angrily saying it wasn’t fair of him to ask me those things while offering nothing in return, and that I don’t want someone who has to see what other options are out there before he knows he wants to be with me, and that while perhaps he could try to change my mind someday, I was adjusting my mindset to close myself off to the possibility right now. He said he just wanted me to be happy and not hate him, and that was that.

I haven’t heard anything from him since (over a month), though he still “likes” things I post on Facebook once in a while, and always reads my Snapchat “story” (sighhh the evils of social media). I have a feeling he’s pretty active on Tinder (one of my friends actually stumbled across him), and he has a new Snapchat best friend who’s clearly a girl (and yes I know this is creepy, but I saw that he wasn’t Facebook friends with her – read, hoooookup – nor was she very attractive, which makes me feel better in a way, but also even more frustrated/confused, feeling confident that he can’t do better than the match we had).

I have enough sense to know that the best thing for me to do is move on, and that’s what I’m trying to do – focusing on my career, friends, health (I’ve lost 8 lbs. and toned up, and must say, I’m looking awesome), and being open to going on dates, though I haven’t met anyone who excites me yet. I definitely think less and less about this guy as time goes on, but I can’t help wondering about him sometimes and feeling like he’s going to come back into my life (although I’ve determined that it has to be completely initiated by him and I should not ever reach out to him first).

I guess what I want to know is, am I a fool to completely believe everything he said about me and perhaps wanting something in the future? How much does timing and maturity/not being ready really factor in, or is it all just a sign that it’s not meant to be/he just wasn’t into me enough? I know I can’t expect him to come back around ever (nor does he deserve to), but do you think it sounds like it might happen? On the other hand, might I have deterred him with my last message about shifting my mindset, and, if I’m still feeling this way in a couple months (again, after plenty of time with zero contact), might it be worth it to reach out to him in a small way? I’m trying not to be a crazy obsessive girl, and I truly AM moving on, but I just know that unless I happen to meet someone else even more incredible (not likely in this city, haha), I’m always going to feel like there’s something really worthwhile there that we still need to explore.

I know you can’t truly know what’s going on in this guy’s head, but I would really love your take on it, the issue of timing and not being ready, and whether I should hold out any hope . . . and if there’s anything more I can do (besides just living my life) to spark something, or if I should just accept that I’ve scared him off enough and should never bother him again! — Hoping for Better Timing

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