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One of the biggest themes in the letters I get from people asking for advice is trouble with exes. Specifically, one or both members of a relationship have remained friendly with exes much to their partner’s chagrin. There were two letters in last week’s Shortcuts column regarding friendships with exes, and a commenter called me out over conflicting advice to each LW: “It is kind of ironic that in the first letter it is a legitimate problem that the boyfriend is still in contact with his exes but in the third it should be no concern at all.” The situations were entirely different and, therefore, called for different advice. But, I suppose a blanket tip for anyone who still keeps a friendship/relationship with an ex, for whatever reason, is to make sure whoever you date is cool with it.

Anyway, I’m curious: have you stayed friends with your exes?

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Dear Wendy, You had a “Your Turn” column entitled “My Hot Wife Refuses to Dress Sexy.” Some of the responses were quite troublesome and irresponsible. I am the “wife” in a situation like this. My husband says I don’t dress up, I won’t have sex with other people while he watches, and I don’t care about his feelings, etc., etc. Which is all bull! What he means is I won’t do it every single night or on demand.

Women have a right over their own bodies. They have a right to say no and all this post did was highlight how many people out there believe that, once you are married, your body belongs to your husband to do what he wants with and that he has the right to complain and ask and beg for everything he wants, just like a three-year-old begging for lollies before dinner.

If you are a “professional” psychiatrist, then you are doing a disservice to your readers by allowing some of these “readers” to post misogynistic “rape culture” responses. Dangerous–very dangerous! — Not Giving In To His Lollies On Demand!

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updatesIt’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Birth Mother” who was struggling in her relationship and personal life after giving her baby up for adoption, saying that, because of her depression and stress, she and her boyfriend were at a “breaking point” and she wasn’t sure how to proceed. Keep reading to see how she’s doing now.

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no babies

I’m getting married in April and I’m having a kid-free wedding. I have six sisters who all have children (ages 2-20) and have had no problem with me having a small wedding with no children to save some money. However, my fiancé’s sister, Julie, has suggested several times that she and her husband will be unable to attend because we are not having kids at the wedding, and, in fact, the venue does not allow children. We have found and offered to pay for a babysitter for my Julie’s five-year-old child, but this sister still is suggesting that she may not make it. I’m becoming very frustrated because we’ve already paid for Julie, and we really wish her to come to the wedding because we love her very much.

My fiancé and I do not have children but do absolutely love kids; we have my nieces and nephews over nearly every weekend to stay the night although Julie’s child has never been allowed to join. Julie’s daughter has never had a babysitter outside the family, and any time she has been watched by us or by anyone else it has been for less than an hour. My question is: Am I being selfish by wanting to have a kids-free wedding? Or is she being selfish by refusing to use a babysitter for a few hours? — Hopefully Not a Selfish Bride

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Back when Drew and I started dating, we listened to Jenny Lewis’ album, “Rabbit Fur Coat” all the time. Drew didn’t really know who she was until he met me, and then he became an instant fan and, whenever we hear her first solo album, it reminds us of that time very early in our relationship when everything was sweet and the only challenge we faced was whether and when one of us was going to move to the other (I did, a year and half after we met). Last night we got to see Jenny Lewis perform that album at the Beacon, our favorite venue, during her 10-year anniversary tour. Ten years! That’s (just about) how long it’s been since Drew and I met.

Anyway, before the show, we stopped for dinner at a little tapas place, and on our way to the theater afterward we saw this couple arguing. The woman, who was late 20s/early 30s, was visibly drunk and screaming at her boyfriend.
“I hate your family!” she yelled. “I can’t stand them! I hate your mother, I like one of your sisters, I hate the other one, and I’m indifferent to your father!” I was riveted.

“You’re drunk!” the boyfriend replied.

“I tell you I hate then when I’m sober, too! I don’t understand why my sister has to meet your mother. I hate your mother! And I don’t know why you still live with her!”

“Oh, girrrl,” I said to her.

“I know!” she replied.

I was sad when we got to the theater and I couldn’t watch their show any more. But then, during the first intermission, I went to the bathroom and, as I was walking back up the stairs, I heard a couple yelling at each other. As I reached the top of the stairs, there they were — my old friends! He was yelling at her to hurry up and that he was going to wait for her right there, under the lights, while she went to the bathroom.

“I don’t care!” she screamed as she passed me on the staircase, swinging her purse over her shoulder. And then, as we bumped shoulders and I gave her a sympathetic smile, she looked at me and said, “He’s awful!!”

As much as I wanted to see Jenny Lewis, I kind of wanted to camp out on the stairs and watch the rest of the crazy couple show. I was rooting for the woman, for no better reason than she seemed like someone who wouldn’t have hangover shame the next day and I always respect those people (I mean, provided they aren’t, like, abusive or putting anyone’s lives in danger or whatever). But, alas, I went back to my seat and will likely never know how the story ends. I bet they get married and the woman writes in for advice one day when she’s pregnant, asking how she can keep her mother-in-law away from her baby. I can’t wait.

And on that note: I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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