Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Shortcuts: “He Has Photos of His Ex on Facebook”

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, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I started dating my boyfriend five months ago. He is three years younger than I am and a really great guy. Before me, he was in a relationship for five years, during which his ex cheated on him numerous times and finally left him after he wanted to get married. They broke up a year before we met, or so he says. When we started dating, he had tons of pictures on Facebook of the two of them kissing, and he said they had remained good friends. After a short time I told him he needed to take them down or take a hike, and after two weeks he removed the photos.

Shortly after, I learned they were still sleeping together three weeks before we got together. He promised to cut ties, which I think he has, but every time he tells me something about their past relationship I feel so insecure. I mean, this girl is just the most carefree person ever. She had a threesome with him and went to a prestigious school, was always fun and exciting. I feel like I can never compare to what they had. I am a single parent.

I have talked with him about this and he says he is happy and loves me, but I can’t get over this. I don’t feel like myself anymore, I am sad and feel like I am no fun. This is the only thing we fight about, but it is becoming more frequent. Should I cut my ties and mend my heart or work through this with him and hope I can move past it? — Sick of Being the Consolation Prize

 
Word to the wise: never date someone who still has photos of him/herself on Facebook kissing someone else. LW, trust your gut on this and, if you feel like your boyfriend is still hung up on his ex, then he probably is and you should MOA. You’re a parent, so quit it with the drama and stick with relationships that don’t make you an insecure mess.

I have been dating my current boyfriend for a little over a year now. From the get-go, his family wanted us to marry (or at least they liked me bunches) and his mom even said she wants to be in the delivery room with me if we have kids. She is an extremely generous person — giving me their leftovers, extra birthday cake, or items she’s found in her garage/attic/storage she thinks I could put to good use. The problem is, I have trouble telling her “no.” Sometimes it brings me to tears even thinking about saying the word and leaves me shaking in my boots. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but I don’t spend much time eating at my apartment, and I hate wasting food if I know I will not have a chance to eat it. When we went out to dinner once on a holiday, I gathered up my courage and I told her I did not want their leftover salad, but she later got it boxed up and plopped it down in front of me. Is this a sign that she will not listen to my “No’s” in the future? Am I seeing this from a wrong perspective, and should I learn to appreciate what she gives me? — No-No Dancer

 
Oh, my Pete’s sake! Practice saying “no” in the mirror or to your pet or to the television or to a good friend if you have to. Then say “no” to your boyfriend’s mother the next time she pushes her old leftovers onto you — which, by the way, isn’t really my definition of “extremely generous,” but whatever — and, if she won’t let up, say, “I really appreciate you looking out for me, but I won’t be home to eat this and I’d rather it not go to waste.” And if she still won’t accept your refusal, take the damn leftovers and pitch them when you get home. As for the crap she finds in her attic or whatever, just take it and put it out on the curb the next day. This is what I do when I get hand-me-downs I have no use for. IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL.

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

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

    kerrycontrary January 25, 2013, 9:04 am

    Can I ask what’s up with people demanding to be in the delivery room when they aren’t the other parent of said child? We’ve seen this in multiple letters and it’s really weird to me. I wouldn’t even ASK if I could be in the delivery room with someone, I would wait until they decided who they want there. That’s such a personal experience I could never imagine my boyfriend’s mother (or even my own mother) being there!

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    • avatar

      MMcG January 25, 2013, 9:07 am

      Seconded. I’ve known friends that had both sets of parents, etc in the room, and I can’t imagine anything more private that I wouldn’t want to share with a large group!

      My feet in stirrups = no visitors

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh January 25, 2013, 9:08 am

      I’m wondering if she has all boys and it’s a ‘dream’ of hers? Aside from that she sounds like my Grandmother. She shows love by the amount of leftovers and useful things she can give you every time she sees you. Sometimes it’s overwhelming but I try to remind myself she’s being sweet, in the way she knows how.

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      • avatar

        Vathena January 25, 2013, 2:20 pm

        In the case of LW3, the boyfriend’s mom could be “sweet”, or she could be “lacking any kind of boundaries”. Given that she ignores polite requests to not receive leftovers, along with having already announced she’ll be in the delivery room if/when the LW gives birth, I would lean toward the latter.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 9:13 am

      I completely agree. It’s also crazy to me that people think they have a right to just touch a pregnant womans belly or give her unsolicited advice about x, y or z. People seem to forget there are still the “normal” social boundaries when interacting with a pregnant woman.

      I agree with you about just the father and the medical staff being in the room. All those people watching my labor? Weiiiiiiiird.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary January 25, 2013, 9:16 am

        I think I’m going to be super rude back to people if/when they are super rude when I’m pregnant. Like “Fool! Stop touching me! I don’t know you!!”

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 9:20 am

        Do that. Seriously. And since all pregnant women are cranky bitches, you can get away with it easier. Amiright?!

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 9:24 am

        I’m totally going to be like “wtf mate- ever heard of personal space???”

        My best friend is pregnant and since she lives super far away I haven’t gotten to see her with a bump yet. I’m already mentally reminding myself that I can not just run over and rub the belly/talk to the kid. I’ve also sent her a few articles that I’ve found really interesting about breastfeeding and cloth diapering and someother topics we’ve talked about on the phone; the other day I realized it might be coming across like I was trying to push my opinions on her and I felt SO bad. I sent her an e-mail appologizing.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 9:31 am

        I think there’s a balance in there somewhere though. If my friend or sister were pregnant, I’d probably send them some interesting articles. I’m careful not to give advice, but you can still act interested by sending articles I think.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 9:37 am

        She said I was totally fine and not doing anything rude/annoying, which made me feel so much better. I just LOVE baby stuff and we have similar ideas as far as parenting so when ever I see something cool/interesting/insiteful I send it too her.

        And LBH, since you’ve had a baby I think it’s more ok to give advice. You’ve been there. I haven’t so I didn’t want it to be weird. Regardless she isn’t upset with me, which is the most important thing!

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      • avatar

        bethany January 25, 2013, 9:49 am

        If it’s your best friend, I”m sure she’s not going to find your interest in her pregnancy annoying. When my BF was pregnant the first time, I was all over that baby. I used to send the baby emails (which my friend read out loud to her stomach- it was cute). I loved feeling the baby kick, and I’d talk to it. I also got her some books and sent her articles. She’s your good friend, she’ll know your intentions are good! So long as you don’t say something like “this is what you HAVE to do”, I’m sure it’s fine 🙂

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      • avatar

        Riefer January 25, 2013, 12:15 pm

        I’m pregnant and don’t find it weird when friends/family/husband’s friends want to touch my belly. To me that seems perfectly normal – they know me, they’re excited about it, and it’s going to be an addition to their lives as well. I’m happy that they’re so happy about it, and it’s fine with me if they go ahead and touch/talk to it. So far I haven’t had any strangers try to touch it, but if it happens, they are getting a smackdown. I might have lucked out since it’s winter here and it’s not as obvious with a big coat on. 🙂

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 25, 2013, 10:40 am

        I was fantasizing yesterday that I’d like to make people as uncomfortable as possible. Like if they ask an inappropriate pregnancy question, rather than trying to smooth things over I will loudly and rudely point out how ridiculous that question is.
        “Were you trying?” “I’m sorry, did you just ask me how often my husband and I were having unprotected sex? How often do you and your [SO] have unprotected sex?” or “No, this baby was a total accident. Actually we’re thinking of giving it up for adoption since I missed the deadline on abortion.”
        “Are you going to breastfeed?” “I don’t know. I have very tender nipples so I’m not sure it’s going to work out for me.” or “Were you breast fed? [wait for answer, not that it matters] Do you think that’s why you’re so stupid/ugly/hairy/asking rude questions?”

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      • avatar

        MMcG January 25, 2013, 10:47 am

        I love the notion of asking the inappropriate question right back to them… Why let’s talk about your sex life now? Does he need Viagra or are things still working down there? 🙂

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 25, 2013, 10:57 am

        It sounds great in theory, but I will probably find that coming up with a quip is more trouble than its worth since I’ll be busy, you know, growing a human being in my body.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 10:51 am

        At a family gathering over the holidays there was a big discussion about who would have the next baby. The whole thing made me super uncomfortable because you’re basically talking about how much sex a person is having. And everyone was saying it would be me and my fiance (which is probably true) but it was SO uncomfortable to have like the entire family talking indirectly about us having sex.

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      • katie

        katie January 25, 2013, 10:54 am

        it is so weird that everyone is so uptight about talking about sex, but so open about when babies are conceived… haha. ive never really thought about that.

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      • avatar

        MMcG January 25, 2013, 10:58 am

        I don’t think of it as uptight so much as there are things that I would prefer to keep between my husband and I, and what goes on between the sheets is definitely in that category 😉

        I would feel differently if it was a discrete conversation with my mom or aunt or something… but while passing around the dinner rolls? No thanks… not to mention the enormous pressure it can put on a couple if they have been trying with no success. This is what happened to my in-laws… they were trying for years while the parents kept on them about grandchildren, and you know what doesn’t help with conception? Stress!

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 11:03 am

        Tha’ts what I was honestly concerned about- we have a couple cousins who have been married for 2-5 years with no babies yet. So I sort of wonder if they are having fertility issues but aren’t sharing it with everyone (you know since it’s private!!). It made me feel bad.

        We’re also not married yet so it was weird that they would assume the two of us would have a kid before everyone else. We will probably TTC pretty soon after the wedding but still. We don’t need the pressure of family expectations before we’re even married!

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      • katie

        katie January 25, 2013, 11:49 am

        oh, i dont mean uptight like *you* dont want to share things- i just mean in general. its not polite to talk about your sex life over dinner, right? but, apparently, it is ok to talk about when/if/how you are going to conceive a baby over dinner, as referenced by all the people here who have talked about it (today and in the past).. its just so odd. like, the addition of intended conception makes the sex not icky/impolite anymore, or something…

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      • avatar

        redessa January 25, 2013, 2:07 pm

        My inlaws are totally weird about baby conceptions. My husband is the youngest in the family so the last to get married. All his siblings had already started their families and apparently had figured out amongst themselves that all the boy grandchildren had been conceived in Utah and the few girl babies had been conceived out of state. One sister who lived out of state even went so far as to come for a visit to Utah to conceive one of her kids because she wanted a boy.

        Well I did not know about all of this until I got pg with my first. We found out I was pg while visiting my parents in the south. Of course, he called his parents to tell them the good news and by the time we got back home, they had all been debating amongst themselves whether we conceived out there or before we left. They thought they had it figured out but felt the need to ask us to be sure. I was totally uncomfortable with the whole idea of them trying to figure out when and where we had sex!

        But in a funny twist, I had the first granddaughter conceived in Utah. I always did run a little askew of the crowd. 😉

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 25, 2013, 10:59 am

        Hehe I put my plan (point out the inappropriateness of the question) into effect over thanksgiving when my grandmother asked me when I would be having kids (not even married yet) and I told her “Well if you’re so keen on it, I ought to just start right now” and pointed at my bedroom.
        Unfortunately it didn’t work, because she said “Don’t tempt me Stephanie. You’ll be married before you start to show.” Whoops!

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      • avatar

        shanshantastic January 25, 2013, 2:53 pm

        I totally did this. We announced VERY early (like, 8 weeks) and I already had the beginnings of a bump because I carry all of my extra weight in my stomach area. This random woman butts in while I’m talking to my friend about it, looks over my shoulder at the u/s picture, and is like, “HOW far are you?”

        Me: “8 weeks, I’m just fat.”

        The look on her face was PRICELESS.

        I almost want people to start asking me rude questions so I can dish it back…

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      • avatar

        shanshantastic January 25, 2013, 2:55 pm

        My parents and in-laws will be in the room until delivery starts, then it’s just my husband and the medical staff. They’re all very understanding, fortunately.

        As for unsolicited touching, they have a shirt with an awesome saying: If you didn’t put it there, don’t touch it. That’s my new motto.

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    • avatar

      csp January 25, 2013, 9:47 am

      I feel that is wierd but I also think posting delivery room pictures of a nude child is wierd too. I don’t know if we know what privacy is anymore

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary January 25, 2013, 10:23 am

        I totally agree.

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    • katie

      katie January 25, 2013, 9:56 am

      i dont get *demanding* to be there either, but i understand why people *want* to be there… its special. and for women, specifically the grandmothers, its kind of a passing of the torch-ish, ive been there so let me coach you there kind of thing.

      personally, i wouldnt care who is in the room if i ever have a kid. the more the merrier, the more love in the room the better. also, i would especially like other mothers to be there- they might have done things that others hadnt to like alliterative pain or whatever, that i wouldnt have known to try unless they were there and suggested it. my only rule would be do not go out of your way to look at my vagina, please.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson January 25, 2013, 10:23 am

        Ethan will be lucky if he’s allowed in the room.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 10:29 am

        I found that when you’re in labor, you are so used to your legs being spread for strangers (doctors) that you really don’t even notice who is in the room. I’m sure other people feel differently, but I felt like a parade could’ve come through and it wouldn’t have noticed. My mom was in the room, along with a friend, but I didn’t have a man/husband labor coach, so they filled in. It was a great moment to have my mom there for.

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      • katie

        katie January 25, 2013, 10:36 am

        thats exactly how i imagine it is- you are so preoccupied with you know, birthing a baby, that the people there you really arent going to give a second thought to- thats why i dont think id care. if you want to come, sure come, i dont care, but im going to be birthing a baby, so please dont stare at my vagina.

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      • avatar

        redessa January 25, 2013, 2:40 pm

        It’s true. I had packs of med students observing when I gave birth to a couple of my kids. And a couple had meconium in the fluid so there was a second team of Drs & nurses just hanging around to make sure the babies were okay. One time a lady from church was my labor nurse. She asked if I would be more comfortable switching but I didn’t care.

        But I did have a friend who mentioned she would like to witness a birth when I was pregnant with my last and I didn’t call her. 1) It was the middle of the night. 2) She was also due with a baby just a few weeks after me and I wasn’t sure she really wanted to watch a delivery right before having to go through it herself. And 3) I felt like it would be awkward to have someone I was semi-close to just hanging around watching me push a baby out. If she were a Dr, nurse or doula, I probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it. Or if I were unmarried/my husband couldn’t be there and she was my support person. But something about a non-medical, non-support person who I would be seeing on a regular basis staring at my nether regions just for the fun of it…. turns out I wasn’t so much cool with that.

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    • becboo84

      BecBoo84 January 25, 2013, 10:11 am

      With our first one, it was just my hubs. With our second one, it’s going to be my hubs and our 4 year old. I do absolutely understand why mothers, MILs, sisters, etc want to be there, but I just can’t imagine that being a real fun time. However, I think that also depends on the relationship between all parties invovled.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 10:39 am

        Whoa, you are going to have your little one in the room? What an experience!

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      • becboo84

        BecBoo84 January 25, 2013, 11:31 am

        Haha, that’s the plan anyway. She’s pretty into it, and has been to all of my appts, and we’ve talked to her about some of the more gruesome details (like the fact that baby brother will be covered in slime and mommy’s blood when he comes out). I’ll report back on how this actually works!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 11:42 am

        Please do. I’m so curious.

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    • AKchic_

      AKchic_ January 25, 2013, 1:10 pm

      It’s part of the helicopter generation combined with the social media generation. We see EVERYTHING shared on social media, so we figure that because everything is shared online now anyway, why wouldn’t we be allowed front row seats to these things? Everyone else does it (or so it seems).

      Then add the helicopter parent factor. Helicopter parents have been hovering over their children since birth and have been trying to run those kids into their own mini-me’s. They live vicariously through their kids.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 9:18 am

    Sometimes it brings me to tears even thinking about saying the word and leaves me shaking in my boots.

    Oh boy.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh January 25, 2013, 9:22 am

      yeah, for some reason i don’t think her problem with the word no is attached to this mom 😉

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    • avatar

      redessa January 25, 2013, 2:43 pm

      No kidding! A simple “No thank you” or “I don’t think I could use that” should not be an anxiety producing thought.

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    • Heather

      Heather January 25, 2013, 3:47 pm

      For real! I’m a Minnesotan and definitely have a hard time saying no because I’m impossibly polite but… I hope she’s just exaggerating when she says it brings her to tears and leaves her shaking in her boots.

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      • avatar

        Sunshine Brite January 25, 2013, 4:43 pm

        Minnesotan here too! No’s hard but not that hard. I tell my mother no regularly regarding leftovers, etc. She always wins despite my no. It goes in the garbage 3 days later when it’s gone bad. No shaking in my boots or nothing of the sort.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs January 25, 2013, 9:25 am

    LW1 this is what bothers me about your letter: ” but every time he tells me something about their past relationship I feel so insecure”…in my experience guys who still talk about their ex are not over them…i say give yourself a break from this relationship…maybe in time he will be ready to move on…and i agree with you…there is not worse feeling in the world then when you love someone and you feel like you are only there as a second choice….whatever happens i hope you feel better soon 🙂
    LW2 i kind of see where your coming from…i am the most non-confrontational person on the planet and i hate saying no to people (don’t want to hurt their feelings)…it is annoying when you do get up the courage to say no and they still force things on you (big pet peeve of mine!)…i say just accept whatever she gives you and then either throw it out when you get home or give it to someone else who actually wants it

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  • avatar

    Lo January 25, 2013, 9:41 am

    Can IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL become like another MOA on this website? I mean how many of the lws just need to be told to stop wasting energy on dumb things.

    PS: My grandma has given me 29 years of bday gifts and Christmas gifts that don’t fit, tons of hand downs I don’t need and I leave every dinner with bags and bags of leftovers everytine. And I love her to pieces for it.

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  • avatar

    bethany January 25, 2013, 9:45 am

    LW2- Seriously, you can’t say no to leftovers? You need to grow a pair and assert yourself. Do what Wendy said- Politely say “No Thanks”. If she pushes, then add the additional bit about not being home and not wanting them to go to waste.
    You need to learn how to say no to these little things now, or else you’ll get pushed into all sorts of stuff later down the road.

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    • avatar

      Biskit January 25, 2013, 3:48 pm

      This so much! Little things are no big deal, but really the LW is teaching her possible FMIL how to treat her and she’s not going to like it down the road when pushy boyfriend’s mom is up in her business all the time

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle January 25, 2013, 9:48 am

    LW1, the guy downplayed his relationship with his ex & basically lied about how recently they were involved. That’s already a bad sign. Add on how badly you feel when he talks about her (which, yeah, might be a sign he’s not over her yet) & the time you spend feeling insecure—it’s time to move on.

    LW2, you need to set boundaries with this woman now, before she becomes the MIL that’s always stopping over with boxes of junk. “Oh no, I’m sorry— I don’t think I’ll *ever* use/eat that!” is fine. And I agree with Wendy—she’s not being “generous”, she’s just trying to get rid of stuff.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl January 25, 2013, 11:14 am

      I also noticed the line:

      “he was in a relationship for five years, during which his ex cheated on him numerous times and finally left him after he wanted to get married”

      If he is going to put up with crap for 5 years and still want to marry this woman, there is something wrong with him. The LW needs to MOA.

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      • avatar

        Vathena January 25, 2013, 2:29 pm

        X 10000000000

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  • katie

    katie January 25, 2013, 9:49 am

    these are weird.

    LW1, im pretty sure there are still pictures of me and my ex, probably even some kissing, buried in facebook. i have 1,932 pictures and there are 898 pictures of me. so… yea, its probably in there somewhere. i dont think so much stock should be put into facebook. but anyway, if he doesnt make you feel good, then end it. its simple. your boyfriend should make you feel good.

    LW2, you need to grow up. seriously. if you cant even say no to the people in your life who are supposed to love you and accept you (like a future MIL should), how are you ever going to say no to people who dont even matter, like credit card companies or telemarketers or those stupid carts at the mall that try to sell you lotion? learning to say no is a HUGE part of being an adult. on the flipside though, if she really does get so much enjoyment out of giving away stuff (a lot of mothers/families do- my boyfriends family is like this as well), just take it. why does it matter?

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 25, 2013, 10:27 am

      I have pics of my ex too! And I know there is a kissy one in there. And he has pics of me still up, as well as his other exes. I don’t think this is a big deal at all. We were together, it happened, there are no hard feelings between us, so what’s the point of deleting it? It was a part of my life.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 25, 2013, 10:49 am

        I agree about the ex pictures. I think it might be more a sign of a problem if he were to go through there and delete or untag every picture. Like why take that time out of your day to hunt down and banish your ex unless there’s some deep feelings there?
        For example when my last ex and I broke up I was heartbroken and did go angrily/tearfully delete a bunch of pictures of us. Doing that is a sign you care too much. Ignoring or not noticing is a sign your over it.

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      • avatar

        Kelly L. January 25, 2013, 10:49 am

        I feel the same way. I had no idea deleting your ex pics from Facebook was A Thing. I mean, my facebook is not a shrine to my exes, but if you scroll back through the years, you’ll find some pictures where we I was still with them. If you go back through my current boyfriend’s pictures, you’ll find some pics from when he was with exes. Obviously, it would be a red flag if there were thousands of ex pictures and no pictures since then, or if they were explicit or something, but these relationships did exist and I just kind of see those pictures as the fossils in a lower layer of rock. They’re just a record of the past. Is this a generational divide? I’m 35.

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  • avatar

    Anna January 25, 2013, 9:55 am

    LW1: It does sound like your boyfriend isn’t over his ex but I gather that from the fact that he still talks about her and didn’t tell you he was still sleeping with her just before you got together, not from Facebook photos. If you click on someone’s Facebook photos, you’ll find tons of them dating back as long as they’ve been on the site. It seems pretty silly to go back through all the years and strategically delete every pic that has your ex in it. It’s just as likely to have old pictures with friends who you don’t see anymore or had a falling out with. The fact that you don’t have a relationship with them anymore doesn’t change the fact that they were once an important part of your life. I would be kinda mad if some new guy I just started seeing demanded that I take down every pic that has my ex in it. They are good memories from my life and most of them are pics with friends in them also that remind me of vacations, party weekends etc. I guess some people hate their exes and can’t stand to be reminded of them, but that’s not the case with everyone.

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    • katie

      katie January 25, 2013, 10:00 am

      i agree- it would be such a chore to go through everything… and, even more, i scrapbook, so i have books of my past relationships all done up with hearts and love-y sayings and stuff.. do you want me to get rid of those too? because thats not happening.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 25, 2013, 11:04 am

        Same here. I was with my ex since like 5 minutes after FB was created and we only split up 5 months ago. He’s in like 90% of for the last 8 years. Not to be all ‘those were good memories’ but those are ALL my memories from my adult life. So yeah- not happening. I’d kind of understand the kissing pictures, but there are pics on there that I think show more intimacy than kissing, and again, I’m not going through my entire FB photo album. It seems kind of insane to me. People have pasts.

        However, it does kinda sound like LW1’s bf isn’t over his ex (understandably, I think. 5 years is a long time!), and some of LW’s insecurity probably stems from that fact. Though she did strike me as a bit insecure all on her own. So this guy is probably not a great match for her to begin with.

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  • avatar

    VanillaBean January 25, 2013, 10:00 am

    I’ve never felt compelled to comment here because Wendy’s answer is pretty much always spot on and says it all. However, i have to say that i wholly disagree with the response to LW1. Here is the thing, not everyone puts a lot of weight on Facebook. Is it possible that it just never occurred to him that the next move would be to go in an untag those photos? Absolutely. My friends and I were very into Facebook in college, putting god-knows-what up there. As we get older and busier with work and life, its losing its sparkle and no one is very active on it anymore. My point is, please don’t put too much weight into anything that happens on Facebook. And he did take them down when you asked!

    Secondly, what you’re describing is a problem with your confidence, not with his actions. He was still hooking up with her BEFORE he was with you. He did nothing wrong! And it sounds like he is very happy with you. You need to stop being so hard on yourself. She may have been fun and carefree, but there is a reason he is with you now and not her. I’d bet he really enjoys your maturity and stability, things he clearly didn’t have with her. If you dwell on this, it will start getting in the way of your otherwise happy relationship. Stop thinking about her and stop comparing yourself to her! He is with YOU because he loves all that you bring to the table.

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    • avatar

      Foxxdye January 25, 2013, 12:56 pm

      I agree with you. It sounds to me like LW1 is getting worked up over nothing, and projecting her own insecurities. While it’s possible that Wendy’s assumption is right and he’s not over his ex, it sounds entirely plausible to me like she just comes up in conversation, as someone who was a part of a large percentage of his life is bound to do. And I know many of us have photos with our exes up on Facebook, getting slowly buried by time. There’s no point in getting all 1984/Stalinist Russia about it, and pretending she never existed. It’s also possible that LW even goes fishing for info, consciously or not. And as far as sleeping together so recently, being in a relationship and having ex sex are two totally different things.

      I guess what I’m saying is, someone could at one point have written Letter 1 about me, and I never had any unhealthy attachment to my ex.

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG January 25, 2013, 10:10 am

    LW 1- I don’t know if you are exaggerating or not… but I would also say trust your gut. I do think it is disrespectful for a person to constantly bring up an ex to a current love interest. Why deal with that? But, I would pose yourself this question: Is this a common pattern for you with other boyfriends? Do you often feel overly anxious in a relationship? That might be something to think about. For now? Move on. Don’t stay in a relationship where you don’t feel like yourself. Don’t stay with someone that makes you that sad!

    LW2- I am one of those that has trouble saying no. I hate conflict. I hate letting people down. I am an absolute people pleaser. It is exhausting, isn’t it? But, do TRY anyway. You can be polite when you say no. It is very possible. But, the world will not end if you end up with the food and have to trash it. It’ll be okay… I swear. I am not sure how old you are. But, I do think these sorts of feelings you’re having get better with age. The older I get, the less I care about what people think.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson January 25, 2013, 10:18 am

    LW1 and commenters – Am I the only one that doesn’t think pictures on facebook are inappropriate? I mean they were together for 5 years. And who doesn’t continue banging post-breakup? Anyway I’m sure you should listen to your gut feeling because that’s what they’re there for. And if the relationship is turning you into someone you don’t like (clingy, needy, insecure, etc) then it no longer serves you and move on!

    LW2 – I mean this with all the love in my heart – you need to get medicated stat. I have a feeling your anxiety isn’t just about saying No – but about everything. I am getting a pre-anxiety attack just listening to the language you use to describe the panicked feeling you get having extremely normal interactions. I’ve been there. And you need to go see a doctor about this. They make pills for what you have going on. You don’t need to live life like this.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle January 25, 2013, 10:29 am

      I don’t think the pictures are inappropriate— I’d probably have all my ex’s pictures still up & he hadn’t deleted them & blocked me, haha— but I think it’s weird that this guy talks about his ex, & it’s sort of shady that he was deceptive about when they were last together? Although I agree that it’s normal (if not always smart) for exes to continue sleeping together after the break-up (at least, that’s what I always did…)

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 25, 2013, 10:37 am

        Yeah, I think it’s normal to keep banging after a break-up too, although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Sometimes letting go is a gradual process. And I also understand why her boyfriend wouldn’t tell her that they kept having sex. I mean, that’s a weird thing to bring up when you first start dating someone, isn’t it? When past relationships come up, I usually will say how long I dated the last guy and when we broke up, but not the last time I had sex with them (or anyone).

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle January 25, 2013, 10:43 am

        Yeah, that’s true— I wouldn’t tell somebody that information either, unless they were specifically asking. And since this LW seems to be fixating on the ex, it’s probable she only found this out later because she asked the question.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 25, 2013, 10:45 am

        Yeah, I guess once you start to get serious with someone those things tend to come up. But I don’t think it was “misleading” if he didn’t disclose that information when they first started seeing each other.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 10:37 am

        I didn’t think he talked about the ex any more than answering her questions about the ex. Could be wrong.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle January 25, 2013, 11:02 am

        You could be right— it’s hard to tell. She does seem to be obsessing over the ex, so it’s possible she’s grilling him over every little thing, & then getting upset at his answers (& obsessing some more). So maybe he’s not actually as hung up as the letter makes it seem—but either way, I think she’d be better off with somebody whose ex is in the more distant past, as she doesn’t seem to be handling this order-of-events very well…

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG January 25, 2013, 10:33 am

      I think there is a happy medium with the facebook pictures. A few “memory” pictures of a five year relationship are bound to be there. No big deal. But, “tons of pictures of the two of them kissing”? I don’t know. That would make me uncomfortable if my fiance had crap like that of his ex up. As I am sure he would think the same if I had that stuff. There is just a level where it looks like the person hasn’t moved on. Just my humble opinion!

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG January 25, 2013, 10:36 am

        But, also… I don’t take closeup pictures of me kissing my significant other and post them on the internet. Those are weird to me. I see people do that and think “No thanks”.

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      • avatar

        Trixy Minx January 25, 2013, 10:39 am

        I moved all the pictures of my ex and I into a private album that only I can see. I never look through it but I know someday I will. I mean he was a huge part of my life for I’ve three years I’m defiantly going to keep sine pictures to remember the good times.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 10:42 am

      I have removed all of the FB pictures of my ex and me. We also never slept together after we broke up. He was also an abusive asshole so my opinion is skewed.

      I didn’t sleep with any other ex’s after we broke up though. FB didn’t exsist back then haha.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 25, 2013, 10:50 am

        Yeah, I deleted all evidence of my relationship with my evil ex because I didn’t want to be reminded of it in any way. But that was all before facebook anyway…

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 10:53 am

        Every now and then he tags me in an old photo he’ll upload to FB. It is super creepy.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 25, 2013, 11:13 am

        Yikes!

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 11:18 am

        Yeah. He terrifies me to this day. I do not put it past him to show up at my wedding.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 25, 2013, 11:26 am

        That is creepy, I just keep my ex-girlfriends pictures on the shrine in my basement wall.

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      • avatar

        Amanda January 25, 2013, 2:21 pm

        🙂

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 25, 2013, 11:09 am

        After reading this, it sent up red-flags. I just asked my girlfriend to take down all the facebook pictures she has up of her deceased-husband. I will ask her kids to do the same when they they get home from school.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson January 25, 2013, 12:22 pm

        GG you’ve never slept with an ex after breaking up? You’re missing the 8th wonder of the world!

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 25, 2013, 12:25 pm

        Nope. Never. I never had good enough sex with an ex to want to go back for more!

        They were all like flopping walruses or something. Gross. Thank goodness that’s not a part of my life anymore.

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      • MELH

        MELH January 25, 2013, 3:06 pm

        I just have to say I really enjoyed the flopping walrus description

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 10:49 am

      I keep all my sex tape videos on facebook. Should I untag the exes?

      Reply Link
      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 25, 2013, 10:51 am

        hahaha

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 25, 2013, 11:10 am

        FB friend request is on its way.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 11:24 am

        Nice one!

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  • avatar

    MMcG January 25, 2013, 10:42 am

    Many commentors have rightfully pointed out that LW2 has some problems that go beyond this relationship… conflict avoidance or fear seem to be controlling this poor LW and I echo the suggestions for counseling and to begin to learn to stand up for yourself.

    HOWEVER – a woman who is trying to insert herself into your delivery room before her son has even put a ring on it, well that raises some major red flags to me. If it was just the food or giving away stuff I would agree with Wendy that it’s no big deal, but I woman who is already projecting herself into your future when you’ve only been with her son for a year!?! That just sounds crazy. What does the bf say? Does he have any boundaries with his parents??

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 10:51 am

      I have to assume it was a playful conversation and not serious.

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      • avatar

        MMcG January 25, 2013, 11:11 am

        Playful or passive aggressive?

        Perhaps I’m just a little sensitive because my MIL starting talking about my need to talk prenatal vitamins, almost a year before my wedding (because I’m old and should start early)… and she tried to make it light and playful, but it wasn’t. I felt it was really rude to insert herself like that into my relationship with her son… but at least it was after we were engaged for over a year!

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      • avatar

        MMcG January 25, 2013, 11:12 am

        *to take prenatal vitamins. FFS, I really do know how to type too… maybe I need more coffee.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 11:19 am

        Idk, maybe I’m just more easygoing? (which I’m not really, so I don’t know what word I’m looking for). That wouldn’t bother me at all. So someone who cares about you is saying hey, you should take vitamins. What’s wrong with that? I don’t see that as inserting themselves into your relationship.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 11:20 am

        I guess if that’s your biggest In Law problem, then consider yourself lucky maybe.

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      • becboo84

        BecBoo84 January 25, 2013, 11:29 am

        I actually think the MIL might possibly have been trying to be helpful if she had just generically commented on the fact that it’s important to start taking prenatal vitamins several months before you start trying to get pregnant so they can fully by in your system by the time you’re actually trying (I think a lot of people actually don’t know this). However, if she actually said “b/c you’re old and need to start trying ASAP,” that’s a bit too much, regardless of whether it was cloaked in a “joke.”

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        MMcG January 25, 2013, 1:42 pm

        It would have been helpful, if I had asked for her advice or let her know that her son and I were thinking about having kids. But we aren’t right now, my age be dammed, and she’s just adding pressure.

        Did I mention my FFIL telling my husband, 3 minutes after he happily announced our engagement, that it would be ok if I was pregnant at my wedding? Yeah. I may have some projection issues here, fully admit. I just don’t like my personal health choices being monitored by people that I am not very close to (my parents and I haven’t even had this type of conversation, it just gets the hairs on my neck up).

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      • avatar

        MMcG January 25, 2013, 1:39 pm

        That’s not my biggest problem… trust me, this is a world of boundary issues and a very overbearing mother with her precious baby boy. I guess I looked at it in the larger context of our relationship, and what really ticked me off was that we were not and are not close (have never had another conversation about any medical issues EVER) plus all the assumptions that were built into it:
        1. I’m old so we must start trying right away
        2. that her son and I even wanted to have our own children
        3. that if we did “start trying” that she would be involved somehow
        4. constant references to my looks make me feel like I’m nothing but a breeder for her

        etc. etc.

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    • avatar

      jlyfsh January 25, 2013, 10:56 am

      I get the feeling LW2 first needs to learn to pick her battles. In the battle of delivery room vs leftovers (I feel like I’m channeling one of the many Food Network shows when I said that, can’t remember which one though!), there is obviously a winner. Delivery room should be the battle that is fought.

      Second, I kind of think you’re on to something with boundaries. Perhaps the mother always wanted a daughter and only has boys. Maybe she is the first ‘serious’ relationship her son has had and she wants her to son to get married and have kids she got a little over excited. Or it could be that it’s going to turn in to Everybody Love’s Raymond. Even then Debra eventually learned which battles to fight and how to love her in-laws even though they never stopped driving her crazy 😉 And the bf needs to learn to help too.

      However, I did notice in the last letter she never mentioned the bf at all. They might not even last and then there would be no reason to fret at all 🙂

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      • katie

        katie January 25, 2013, 11:28 am

        ah what did someone say in the forums about inlaws…? no matter how good your inlaws are, they will always do some shitty “inlaw” thing… something like that.

        its true though, i really liked it.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson January 25, 2013, 11:16 am

      Yeah I think the boyfriends mom lacks boundaries. I’m assuming she only has boys.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay January 25, 2013, 11:00 am

    When I read the first letter, I got the impression that when she asked him to remove them (and gave him an ultimatum) that it was the first time they’d talked about it. I honestly don’t think about what photos are posted of me on Facebook on a regular basis, so I don’t think that it’s necessarily a red flag that he hadn’t removed the photos yet. It would make me slightly wary if my boyfriend had been hooking up with an ex so soon before we got together, and if he does, in fact, talk about his ex a lot, then that may be a problem. But I feel like the LW may have some confidence issues of her own.

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      MMcG January 25, 2013, 11:16 am

      What would make me wary was that my bf still wanted to be with someone who had cheated on him repeatedly. He doesn’t sound like much of a winner, and likely would be better off taking some time to himself to figure out his self-esteem issues.

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      • katie

        katie January 25, 2013, 11:25 am

        that was a thought i had too- he wanted to marry someone who cheated on him? yea i bet he is a real confident, great guy…

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson January 25, 2013, 11:40 am

        Maybe he’s just really selfless and when he’s in love he’s IN LOVE. So maybe he’ll make a great husband. Who wouldn’t want to marry someone that would let them run rough shot on everything?

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      • landygirl

        landygirl January 25, 2013, 1:12 pm

        Or he’s a masochist.

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  • avatar

    TheTruth January 25, 2013, 11:02 am

    Sick of Being the Consolation Prize – Wendy… re-read the letter… the dude did remove the pictures for his insecure girlfriend…. girlfriend, the answer is to obviously have a threesome with him… duh! Now if I could only talk my girlfriend into having a threesome with me…

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson January 25, 2013, 11:10 am

      Maybe just start talking about how carefree and fun your ex was.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 25, 2013, 11:18 am

        I tried that, but she just countered with her gourmet chef super rich professional masseuse neat freak and does all the ironing ex-boyfriend.

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson January 25, 2013, 11:25 am

        Oof. Tough break.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 25, 2013, 11:26 am

        You guys are pretty funny today!

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  • avatar

    TheTruth January 25, 2013, 11:23 am

    No-No Dancer – just go back and re-read some old DW columns about GF’s with bat-shit crazy mothers-in-law to get some perspective. My advice is to relax, and when it comes to delivery time, simply talk to your doctor and nurses about your wishes. As far as the left-overs are concerned, smile, take them, say thank you, then dump them into the nearest trash bin on your way home (or drop them off with me).

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  • Lyra

    L January 25, 2013, 11:39 am

    LW 1 – I agree that your ex is not completely over this girl but at the same time I think you have a lot of insecurities right now. I still have pictures up of my ex and myself on Facebook. I took down the cutesy/kissy pictures but there’s still a lot of the two of us up because he was a big part of my life. Since it bothers you this much, I’m guessing you aren’t in the right relationship right now. In a healthy relationship you should trust your significant other completely and it sounds to me like you really don’t have that. Since it bothers you so much whenever this girl comes up, I’d seriously recommend moving on from the relationship and spending some time being single so you can work on facing your own insecurities. Once you face those things head-on, then you’re ready to let someone else into your life.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark January 25, 2013, 12:24 pm

    Egads… Talk about a couple of weak willed ninnies.

    LW1) This is precisely why I feel that if you have had kids and your marriage or relationship soon epically fails — you really should simply remain single until the kids are all grown up because (far more often than not) your brilliant attempts at dating only bring chaos and confusion to the lives of your poor children whom you are already barely focusing on as it is.

    LW2) Learn to say “No.” While you are at it, learn to be a grown up. Really, it’s NOT that hard.

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite January 25, 2013, 4:49 pm

      I wonder if she is downplaying the kids in this relationship to have as few reminders as possible for him to realize she had a past, haha. I just think it’s ridiculous that she expects him never to talk about his ex ever. Yes he may be hung up on her, but mainly there’s a good possibility that in sharing himself he will share something of the last 5 years, which would likely include her.

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  • avatar

    Biskit January 25, 2013, 3:56 pm

    I have to say, it actually kind of bothers me that people delete everything on their FBs after breakups. I get de-friending the person, and whatever, but it’s not as if you can pretend the last 6 months, year, five years didn’t happen, that you didn’t exist. Maybe if your ex was a horrible violent individual, or something… idk.

    I even got in trouble once for having a group picture in my home that was from a trip that was taken with a bunch of friends, and one of my friend’s exes happened to be in the picture. So, I’m not supposed to remember or have a memento of this great time that WE ALL had together because YOU had bad judgement in who you wanted to date / bring along on the trip? It just seems childish to me, and totally Not A Big Deal.

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    • avatar

      HmC January 25, 2013, 5:03 pm

      “I get de-friending the person, and whatever, but it’s not as if you can pretend the last 6 months, year, five years didn’t happen, that you didn’t exist.”

      Why do you equate having a bunch of pictures of someone on Facebook to them existing? As if taking down the pictures means that experience never happened? I have lots of people and experiences that I have enjoyed immensely in my life and I feel no need to memorialize every moment on Facebook. That doesn’t mean I’m pretending they didn’t happen, it just means I don’t need a picture up on a web site to remember and appreciate my life. And if I don’t want to have dozens of pictures floating around the internet of me and my ex, because it’s painful for me to look at them and probably a little weird for any new partners, what is the pay off of leaving them up? Maybe I’m too old school and I just don’t put much emphasis on documenting my life online.

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      • avatar

        kate January 25, 2013, 7:38 pm

        omg THANK YOU. Just because it’s NOT on the internet doesn’t mean it never happened/doesn’t exist!!!!

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed January 25, 2013, 7:41 pm

        I agree that just because it’s not on the internet doesn’t mean it never happened, but I just don’t see the point in spending the time taking down pictures.

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  • avatar

    Trina January 26, 2013, 3:40 am

    But….but…aren’t the shortcuts suppose to be 3 posts long? Am I the only one who feels jipped?

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  • avatar

    baccalieu January 16, 2017, 1:20 pm

    I wonder if Wendy would still feel the same way about LW1 four years later. I’m glad that some commenters said, “what’s the big deal with having old pictures of you and your ex on Facebook?” because I felt the same way. I’m not a big Facebook user but it seems to me that many people use their Facebook account as the modern equivalent of a photo album and it would be just as bad as asking them to destroy all old photos from their albums.

    If he seems to be hung up on his ex, that’s one thing, and she probably should leave a relationship of nine months, but that’s not really clear from the simple fact that he had pictures of them together on his Facebook when they met, or that occasionally the name of the person he spent the last five years with will come up. (Ever been to Jamaica, Tom?” “Yes, Suzie and I went there for a week in 2012.”)

    To me, it seems more like her problem. If I am understanding her correctly after only two weeks, she asked him to take down all the pictures (she may be saying that it took him two weeks after she asked him to do it, but even in that event she asked him “a short time” into what has only been a five month relationship). It seems like too short a period of time to be exercising control over your guy’s Facebook account. And she didn’t say, “Honey, it would make me more comfortable if you took down those pictures.” She gave him an ultimatum, “Take them down or we are done.” If someone gave me an ultimatum that early in a relationship (at least in that tone) we would be done even if I didn’t have a problem with what she was asking.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy January 16, 2017, 1:50 pm

      Having pictures of an ex on FB is one thing. Photos of you kissing the ex after you’re broken up and have started dating someone else? truly tacky. I stand by my advice from four years ago.

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      • avatar

        Kate January 16, 2017, 1:59 pm

        I see both points, but here’s the thing, on Facebook you can clean up your photos and put a bunch of them in an album that’s only visible to you. Neither my husband or I had any kissy pics of exes, just like “together at a party or something” pics, but if I did, I’d have cleaned those up. I have albums from trips and things that are visible only to me because we were all acting crazy or whatever. Or albums of “old pics” that I wanted to save but not share.

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    • avatar

      ktfran January 16, 2017, 2:04 pm

      When the fiancé and I first started dating, I mentioned a misleading photo he still had on FB of him and his ex-wife staring longingly at one another. He promptly took it down. We weren’t even FB friends yet, but I came across the photo when I “google stalked” him.

      A photo of them hanging out, fine. The kissing, showing major affection, etc…. yeah. I think it’s respectful to take that down off a public site. However, I’m not one to advertise my personal life for the world to see.

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  • avatar

    baccalieu January 16, 2017, 2:27 pm

    Photos of you and your ex taken while you two are together are quite likely to include some photos of the two of you kissing. I’m not sure I see the difference. If they were hard copy photos kept in his photo album would you insist he destroy the kissing photos? Now, if he was giving them particular prominence (like if he had a picture of him and his ex kissing as a profile picture) that would be a different thing, but just in among a lot of other photos on Facebook. I really can’t see the problem. (I suppose it depends on how you use your Facebook. Some people only keep up a few current photos. Some people rotate them. Some leave everything up and have a dozen or more albums. She said he had lots of photos of them kissing. I assume that he had lots of other photos. If his Facebook consisted of nothing but photos of him and an ex of over a year kissing then that would truly be weird.)

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy January 16, 2017, 2:38 pm

      You really don’t see a difference between photos kept discreetly in a private album at home (probably in the back of a closet or a box in the basement…) and photos posted in a public social media account? I’d be really embarrassed if I were dating someone and any of my friends of family who might check out his profile could see photos of him kissing an ex. It wouldn’t happen. I wouldn’t get serious with someone who didn’t understand that basic rule of modern-day etiquette. Take down intimate photos of you and exes. This is kind of a no-brainer.

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      • avatar

        Kate January 16, 2017, 2:47 pm

        Agree, it’s social media etiquette. For me, putting them in a private album is like keeping them in a shoebox. And I see a big difference between a group photo at a NYE bash that we are both standing in, and one of us making out at midnight.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy January 16, 2017, 2:57 pm

        Exactly. I think of photos on a social media page as a sort of display, like photos you might have on display in a home or office. And leaving up intimate ones, or even photos of just the two of you (versus your example of a group photo you’re both in) is akin to leaving displayed in your home or office intimate photos of you and your ex. Guests and co-workers would surely side-eye such a thing, especially if said person had theoretically moved on with someone new.

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 16, 2017, 2:55 pm

        Yep. There is a huge difference, to me, between photos for public consumption and private photos.

        If the fiance made that and similar photos private for his memories or prosperity… totally cool. Just like some photos I have in a box from years past. I’m not going to take those out when we have company over and say “look at me and my ex and how happy we were.”

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 16, 2017, 3:00 pm

        *posterity.

        Sorry. On a boring call.

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