Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Shortcuts: “His Ex-Girlfriend’s Stuff is Everywhere!”

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.

My boyfriend of three months (we’ve been “seeing each other” for about seven) had a nine-year relationship before me with a woman he was engaged to. They’ve been broken up for about two years and he’s never done anything to make me question his feelings for me or that he still has feelings for her. But the thing is, he still has a ton of her stuff in his house. It’s not displayed or anything, but it’s everywhere. The bedside table on the side of his bed that I sleep on still has a lot of her stuff in the drawer. He still has tons of old cards, notes, letters, photos, etc. People tell me that it’s normal to keep all of that stuff, but it kind of bothers me because he still talks to her a lot. She lives far away and has a boyfriend of her own, but that is of little comfort to me. I’m just having some trouble dealing with the fact that they have such a history together and she’s still present in his life in more ways than one. — The New Girl

 
He may not even be aware that so much of her stuff is still around or that it bothers you as much as it does, so it’s time to clue him in. Say, “Hey, do you mind if I clear some of your ex-fiancée’s stuff out of this drawer? And while we’re at it, would you mind maybe boxing up the mementos of your relationship and putting them somewhere out of sight? I’m sure you don’t even realize it, but there’s still so many reminders of your ex and it’s awkward for me and makes me feel like there isn’t quite enough space in your apartment or your heart for me and our relationship yet.”

In May, I’m getting married to my boyfriend of the last six years. I was wondering if perhaps you could weigh in on what rules/guidelines you might recommend for people in marriage to prevent affairs, emotional or otherwise. My fiancé recently owned up for the first time to having poor judgment on boundaries in the past (he has toed, and even crossed “The Line” before) due to his need to be needed and his long-standing reluctance to open up to men. We talked calmly and without hysteria about transparency with cell phones (his primary medium of transgression) and email, not visiting opposite-sex friends overnight without each other present, and not having friendships with people that exclude the other person. Do you have anything to add? What is your stance on flirting once married? Should I advise him to confide more in male friends? Perhaps your readership might care to offer comments? Is it ever okay for your husband to be a woman’s only “true friend”? I’d like to protect my marriage’s future by doing ample research now. I believe in the two of us, but I also understand that no one is immune to such things. — Cautious Bride-to-Be

 
My advice is to not marry a man you think needs guidelines and rules to follow in order to stay faithful to you. Couples/ Pre-marriage counseling would also probably be a good idea.

I am 20-year-old college freshman and I’ve been in a long distance relationship for about three months and it seems like everything is falling apart. I don’t know what to do. I sent her flowers already, put in so much effort as in texting her often and calling her and most of the time she ignores me. Everything was good until last month when my girlfriend started avoiding me. She used to be happy with me even if it was long distance. Since she started ignoring me, I feel clingy, depressed, anxious and lately my depression has gotten worse. I even tried talking to her about what is going on and what I can do to fix it but she doesn’t seem to care. I’m not one who gives up, but its devastating me. — Freshman in Love

 
See, Bitter Gay Mark? It’s not just women who act pitiful when their hearts are broken. LW, this relationship is over. MOA and get yourself to your campus wellness clinic to find help dealing with your anxiety and depression.

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

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.

145 comments… add one
  • avatar

    ktfran January 18, 2013, 9:13 am

    I heart Wendy’s response to LW#1. I think it was perfect and LW, you should say exactly what she said to your boyfriend. As a side note to hopefully help ease a little worry –

    When people have good relationships with exes – people they once loved or cared for – I think it speaks well of their character. Barring some awful behavior and a horrible breakup of course. Also, I still have a box filled with letters and mementos of the very first boy I loved. I harbor no feelings for him other than the lovely memories that helped shaped who I am today. Finally, I still sleep with the stuffed monkey he gave me, but no new boyfriend has to know. But whatever, it’s a comfortable stuffed animal.

    I agree with Wendy on the other two LW’s as well. But I have nothing to add. Both of you, MOA.

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  • avatar

    TheTruth January 18, 2013, 9:22 am

    To the Cautious Bride-to-Be:

    1. stay thin
    2. give blowjobs (a lot)
    3. spice it up
    4. don’t nag
    5. act like you need him

    If that doesn’t work, nothing else will.

    Reply Link
    • avatar

      Amanda January 18, 2013, 9:24 am

      Somehow, WTF doesn’t seem like enough….

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 9:30 am

        Come on, people, she was joking! (Or did I get it wrong?)

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      • avatar

        Amanda January 18, 2013, 9:37 am

        Hmmm maybe AP. Typed sarcasm doesn’t always translate.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 9:40 am

        My new rule in life: assume everything is sarcasm. … When it suits you better that way.

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      • LM

        LM January 18, 2013, 11:24 am

        I TOTALLY read it as sarcasm.

        I also had this to add:

        6. Watch porn with him to entertain his brain.
        7. Threesome?

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    • avatar

      ebstarr January 18, 2013, 9:25 am

      I miss the dislike buttons.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 9:29 am

        I thought it was funny! I think TheTruth is being sarcastic…. I tend to read things in the way I want to see them, haha.

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      • avatar

        ebstarr January 18, 2013, 9:31 am

        Haha idk, from his other comment further down he sounds like an MRA. But TheTruth, if you were being sarcastic, then your comment actually was very funny!

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 9:34 am

        😉

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 9:36 am

        I’m the sarcasm patrol. I don’t know TheTruth so I can’t make any judgments about his/her prior comments. But I thought his comment was funny!

        Also, I have been laying in my underwear in bed since 6 am. … I DO NOT WANT TO GO TO WORK. but I probably should. But I don’t wanna. But I should. Here I go. First things first, pants! Where are they? I dunno. I can’t go to work.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 9:38 am

        Since were talking about pants, I’m wearing my new favorites, and very happy about it. Thought I looked good today, then ran into the store this morning and the stupid checkout lady was all, ‘you look so tired.’

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary January 18, 2013, 9:40 am

        Do you not want to slap people when they say “you look so tired” because I do.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 9:42 am

        Do they think I don’t know how to translate that to mean you look like shit. Ugh 🙁

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 9:42 am

        That’s the worst! But not as bad as this one: You know how sometimes you are faking being sick because you want to leave early so you tell your secretary “gosh, I feel really sick” and then she says “yea, you look really tired and pale…” …. Fuck you lady!

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      • avatar

        muffy January 18, 2013, 11:51 am

        hahaha I know exactly what you mean!

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      • avatar

        lemongrass January 18, 2013, 11:00 am

        I get that when I don’t wear makeup! Every single fucking time. “You look tired” “no, I just have genetic dark circles under my eyes, it’s not from lack of sleep.” “no, that can’t be it, you must be really tired.”
        “natural beauty” my ass. I should go slap my husband for lying to me 🙂

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      • avatar

        Beth January 18, 2013, 11:27 am

        The worse part of having a child was not the actual labor, it was seeing people a week or so later who had seen me in the hospital, and them saying “you look great for just having a child.” Wow, so basically I look like shit, but its okay because I gave birth? Stupid jerks.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 11:36 am

        Haha, fuck, I have said that. I will not say taht again!

        I have also said this a lot: “you look great for having had kids!” …. Kidding, that one I only say about moms behind their backs to other people.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass January 18, 2013, 11:47 am

        Oops I’ve said that too. Well, just the “you look great!” I leave out the last bit, so maybe that makes it okay. But people have been telling me “You look great!” with such a surprised sound in their voice for the last few months. It makes me wonder, why is that such a surprise? But now that I think about it, no one has said that for a few weeks….

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 18, 2013, 11:36 am

        WHO SAYS THAT? That’s so rude! I was running late this morning because I went to a birthday party last night and drank too much wine. So I put my makeup on while on the subway which I HATE doing. There’s always someone who stares the entire time I’m doing it.

        I feel gross today.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark January 18, 2013, 2:12 pm

        Oh, it’s obviously sarcasm. But it shouldn’t be. Its actually good advice. (No sarcasm.) Especially the part about blow jobs and staying thin. Look, I know nobody around here wants to hear it, but those two things certainly do wonders in all of my gay friend’s relationships…

        Continuing on down the list… Don’t nag? Again, good advice.

        Spice it up? Yep, seems pretty smart to me.

        Act like you need him? Um, guys LOVE it when you need them. And honestly? This entire list could be turned around as advice for men, too. Just swap blow jobs out with oral sex or maybe, I dunno, pretend once a month to really like shopping.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 3:01 pm

        Are you sure it was sarcasm? 😉

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark January 18, 2013, 6:12 pm

        Nope… Not anymore…

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 18, 2013, 3:06 pm

        I’ll take oral sex over shopping, thankyouverymuch.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 9:27 am

      6. do not poop.
      7. let him open all jars.
      8. never complain.
      9. tell him he is the best parallel parker ever.
      10. do not ever let him see how great you are at parallel parking.

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      • avatar

        ebstarr January 18, 2013, 9:30 am

        11. Never make more money than him.
        12. Smile all the time.
        13. Cook dinner every night.
        14. Don’t read too much – you might get ideas.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 9:31 am

        14 was pretty damn funny

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson January 18, 2013, 10:06 am

        15. Never ask him to discuss his feelings.
        16. Always cook naked and meet him at the door without underwear on.
        17. Keep the fridge stocked with beer.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 11:34 am

        18. keep the tub filled with beer.
        19. do not clutter the bathroom with your shit.
        20. for the love of god please please please please please do not make more money than him; just don’t do it.

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      • avatar

        Kelly L. January 18, 2013, 2:11 pm

        If he’s lost while driving, just let him drive around in circles for hours rather than emasculate him by telling him he missed the left turn at Albuquerque.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 4:00 pm

        Great one!

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      • avatar

        Kelly L. January 18, 2013, 4:03 pm

        There was a hideously bad self-help book in the nineties that suggested that. The Surrendered Wife, I think. I’m thinking, most men would probably actually be more annoyed to waste several hours when his wife knew all along which way to turn, than to not have his ego stroked. But I’m sure there are exceptions. 😉

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 9:31 am

        11. never ask him to shop during football season
        12. One word – cupcakes

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 9:32 am

        13. Five words – cupcakes while giving blow jobs

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 9:34 am

        And we have a winner!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 9:38 am

        I cannot eat cupcakes while giving head. I am not *that* coordinated.

        ….

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      • avatar

        lemongrass January 18, 2013, 11:01 am

        But can you bake them while giving head? I think that would make up for it.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 11:04 am

        hmm i thought he was supposed to eat the cupcakes while you gave him a blow job? Now I’m confused 😉

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 11:14 am

        I was kidding…. So many misunderstandings today. One of my favorite “joke” formulas is like this: someone says soemthing capable of two meanings because they leave out the subject or something but it’s obviously what they meant but you pretend it was meant to be understood the other way and you go with it. …. If you analyze and dissect jokes you can see comedians like do 2 tricks! Ok, fine, I can only discern 2 tricks! I think it would be fun to go to comedy school. Do they do stuff like that or do I just do stuff like that?

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 11:17 am

        yeah i was joking about being confused, which is why i put the ‘;)’

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 11:22 am

        Fuck the side-ways emoticon! Always means a joke. Note: no sideways emoticon because I am not kidding.

        We are all on a roll today. <– sarcasm

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      • avatar

        Beth January 18, 2013, 11:28 am

        14. Always keep bacon in the house.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 11:31 am

        Keeping bacon in the house is not relationship advice, its life advice. Everything tastes better with bacon, whether your in a relationship or not.

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      • avatar

        Beth January 18, 2013, 11:36 am

        but you can get out of any argument by making him grilled cheese with bacon. Or steak wrapped in bacon. or bacon and an omelet.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 11:38 am

        steak wrapped in bacon fixes anything you ever did wrong with anyone, especially if you serve it with a port wine sauce. while maybe only wearing an apron? (last part not to be used on family and friends ;))

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 11:45 am

        can you wrap wine with bacon?
        bacon, bagel, wine. The 3 Bs! mmmm

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 11:51 am

        hmm i think you’d have to do a bacon bagel sandwich with some sort of wine sauce, maybe katie can come up with something 😉

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 11:53 am

        While I wait for katie, I’m just going to dip my bacon egg & cheese into a wine glass. Like au jus!

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      • katie

        katie January 18, 2013, 12:13 pm

        if you like beer, there is a maple bacon donut variety from voodoo/rough brewery.

        as for bacon and wine- i would make bacon lardons and just snack on them while i drink the wine. haha

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 18, 2013, 12:32 pm

        You guyssss why are you making me so hungry during my weight loss challenge? Talk about broccoli or something. But only if it’s broccoli without cheese. My stomach is growling SO LOUDLY.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 12:35 pm

        whats a lardon? sounds gross. lardon your face!

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 12:35 pm

        have you tried fiber one’s new chocolate cereal? 80 calories for 3/4 a cup and it tastes like what is it count chocula? it’s amazing and helps me get through the day!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 12:36 pm

        cats, what’s the challenge? i’m doing biggest loser! i’m down 8 lbs since january 1!!

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 12:37 pm

        special k chocolate pretzel bar! its like a candy bar, but 80 cal.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 18, 2013, 12:47 pm

        @I’m doing biggest loser too! I have no idea if I’ve lost any weight yet. We just started on Tuesday.

        @jlyfish OMG I LOVE COUNT CHOCULA. Actually I love all the monster cereals. You should see my pantry. I stock up every Halloween. I probably have 13 boxes. (which may be one reason why I am in need of a biggest loser challenge, come to think of it. 🙂 )

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 12:54 pm

        go buy the fiber one then! you could probably eat the whole box for the same number of calories in one bowl of count chocula. BUT, watch out it really does have a lot of fiber in it. ahem, i speak from experience!

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      • katie

        katie January 18, 2013, 12:58 pm

        a lardon is when you render out all the fat from something (like bacon, pancetta, duck skin) and it fries in its own fat until its crispy.

        i guess, aka bacon bits.

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      • avatar

        Vathena January 18, 2013, 11:40 am

        Only if you’re naked while you cook it.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 11:36 am

        I swear I am being dead serious right now… I got a blowjob last night and had cup cakes. Of course I made the cup cakes for my girlfriend which sort of helped inspire the bj… and I am madly in love with my girlfriend… so in love in fact, that if she left me, I would be just like that pitiful pining over his girlfriend. So I guess the moral of the story is the guy should of made more cup cakes for his girlfriend?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 11:53 am

        Can we have a frank BJ discussion? How often do you get head? Women, how often do you give head? Each time you ahve sex? Once a week? On birthdays only? I’m interested. Ok, share, please!!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 11:54 am

        (This is DW appropriate, right? I hope so. Ok, spill it.)

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle January 18, 2013, 11:59 am

        In my current relationship, it’s usually every time we have sex, but it’s not like, full on until he orgasms— it’s just a foreplay thing. My boyfriend usually needs more pressure than a mouth can provide though [in order to climax], so that’s why we do it that way (& he’s the only guy I’ve been with who’s like this, so it’s not my technique! sorry, I felt the need to defend my skillz, haha)

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 12:00 pm

        I’ll weigh in once someone else does…

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      • theattack

        theattack January 18, 2013, 12:01 pm

        I do it most times but not every time. Like Fabelle, it’s just a foreplay thing. He regularly gets them when I’m on my stay in the Red Tent though.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 12:06 pm

        the red tent is a great book!

        i would say often, but not every time. and like fabelle/theattack it’s used for foreplay almost every time.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 12:20 pm

        same. sometimes in the morning if i’m feeling extra nice. he’s so good in the mornings, gets her to the bus, makes us breakfast, brings me 2 towels and coffee and usually runs up and down the stairs at least once to get the clothes I left hanging to dry in the laundry room. how can i not?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl January 18, 2013, 12:10 pm

        Yeah, bj’s aren’t really that common in our relationship. I don’t enjoy giving them. It’s like a twice a year (to completion) thing. But it gets thrown into foreplay monthly. We have sex about 2.5 times a week. (3 times one week then twice the next)

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      • katie

        katie January 18, 2013, 12:14 pm

        confession:

        usually only when im drunk.

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      • avatar

        bethany January 18, 2013, 3:28 pm

        I second that.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow January 18, 2013, 12:29 pm

        With my ex I did it pretty much every time we had sex as foreplay. But to completion? I dunno… a couple times a month?

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      • AKchic_

        AKchic_ January 18, 2013, 12:36 pm

        When I’m interested in doing so. My SO doesn’t give two shits what I do or don’t do in the bedroom, so long as I leave his ass alone (which I’m a-okay with that!). He hates giving oral sex, so he doesn’t expect it. Depending on medication reactions with me, some days, it’s all I want to do. So, all he can do is sit back and enjoy it because he has no option.

        Of course, with four kids, work schedules, and everything else, we can go months without sex sometimes. On average, I’d say he gets it about 1-2x a month.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny January 18, 2013, 4:38 pm

        Pretty much every time we have sex. And he does the same to me. This is only 1-2 times a week since we don’t live together and that’s about as often as we see each other.

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      • fast eddie

        fast eddie January 20, 2013, 8:14 am

        I’m getting a hard on just reading this. She only played my skin flute 5-6 times in the early years and I didn’t get much out of it, but I frequently give her orgasms with my tongue which I enjoy doing. It’s very inequitable but that’s life.

        Her post breast cancer surgical estrogen suppressant decreased her libido and causes extreme vaginal dryness. Hand jobs are all I can get but that’s very enjoyable. I just wish it was more often. (sigh)

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary January 18, 2013, 9:28 am

      Yup, because infidelity is always the wife’s fault. Not her cowardly man who can’t speak up when there are problems in his relationship. *sarcasm*

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson January 18, 2013, 10:00 am

      I feel like we are kindred spirits, thetruth.

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    • avatar

      muffy January 18, 2013, 11:55 am

      I actually agree with this – to an extent. I would like to preface this with when someone cheats it’s THEIR problem – not yours, it has to do with them not you. That being said, I think you should try and keep yourself attractive for your SO and be generous in the bedroom and also be open minded to changing things up – marriage is a long time! And nagging almost never works, the better way is to get another man to do it for you or just let it sit there until he does it – men respond fast to those things. And lastly a lot of men (and women) like to feel needed, particularly when it comes to fixing things etc. Not necessarily “needed” in the sense of not being able to go out on your own without him but needed in some way because it makes a person feel important. So yes, I agree with these things.

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    • avatar

      Rachel January 18, 2013, 2:03 pm

      Pardon me while I:

      1. Eat a cupcake.
      2. Orgasm all by myself.
      3. Eat some Indian curry
      4. Nag my cats
      5. No need to act, I don’t need him!

      😉

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      • avatar

        FMae January 18, 2013, 6:45 pm

        Ugh!

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 9:23 am

    LW1 – Have him box up the mementos, throw away the old hair ties and brushes, but maybe you can keep the jewelry, DVD’s, scarves, etc….

    LW2 – Wendy’s response is perfect!

    LW3 – How long were you in a relationship before it became an LDR? Or did it start that way? I know it’s hard but… if you’re looking for a girl to love and appreciate you, I am sure there are hundreds on campus…. Go for one of them!

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  • avatar

    Amanda January 18, 2013, 9:23 am

    LW1: WWS

    LW2: WWS. Please don’t marry this guy since it’s clear that you don’t trust him. Go to couples’ counseling if you both want to stay in this relationship.

    LW3: If you are a man or a woman, it really doesn’t matter because having a relationship end when you don’t want it to end SUCKS. I’m really sorry. We have all been where you are now LW, and the only things that will help are ceasing all communication with your ex and the passage of time. Please, please please go see your doctor about your depression though. Depression is a serious medical condition and needs to be treated accordingly. I’m wishing good things for you

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 9:25 am

    For LW2 I agree with Wendy. I think that agreed upon rules/boundaries for couples are fine, but not if they are the only thing preventing you from cheating on the other person.

    And personally I think people of the opposite sex can be friends, as long as being friends doesn’t effect their romantic relationships. And it seems that your (fiance, not boyfriend,right?) fiance has some issues with drawing a line with his friendships. So for him, yes it seems to be a problem. I agree that premarital counseling sounds like a good idea. Luckily you still have some time!

    And LW3 you sound really adorable. It’s very sweet that you sent your gf flowers and are trying so hard. But, it’s over. Luckily you’re a freshman in college, and spring semester just started (I had more fun my spring semester than fall when I was a freshman, was that just me? Or is that typical?). Go have fun and buy flowers for someone who deserves them!

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  • avatar

    TheTruth January 18, 2013, 9:25 am

    To Freshman in Love:

    You are in college… unless you are a complete putz… (which you are acting like), you will never have so many women available at one time. Go enjoy the hook up culture dude… then again, any college freshman that asks for online relationship advice, is probably doomed to be a lifelong beta anyway.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 9:31 am

      You always have the best advice.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 9:32 am

        Totally… right! I should I have my own advice column.

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    • avatar

      bethany January 18, 2013, 9:34 am

      Am I a jerk because I legitimately thought this was good advice?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 9:41 am

        I guess it wasn’t the worst. Just didn’t like the presumption that in order to be normal, the guy should be out hooking up with girls left and right.

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      • avatar

        Desiree January 18, 2013, 9:52 am

        Yeah, I agree with that. Even in the male population, that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Plus, as a health professional the words “college freshman hook-ups” strike terror in my heart, because too many individuals that age are so cavalier about not using safe sex practices.

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 9:58 am

        Lets be honest… if any guy needs to hook up a few times, it’s probably this one. It would probably do wonders for his confidence… which he definitely needs.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 10:04 am

        So bedding lots of girls … makes guys confidant? Gross, and doubtful.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 10:11 am

        I mean seriously, you think I guys confidence by sticking it in a lot of girls and then dropping them for the next one? … Those kind of “confidant” guys are usually arrogant asses. Do you think girls who go out and sleep around will gain more confidence the way? Or only dudes?

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      • avatar

        No_Clever_Name_Yet January 18, 2013, 3:06 pm

        Confident may be the wrong word. I think a better word is “practice?”

        Will it be considered “looking for what she wants” if the person doing the sleeping around is a young woman?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 10:04 am

        Maybe you weren’t being sarcastic above!!

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      • iwannatalktosampson

        iwannatalktosampson January 18, 2013, 10:10 am

        Ha I took this as sarcastic too. Addie listen to your own rules!!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 10:12 am

        Fuck. Fine. I keep violating my own rules.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle January 18, 2013, 10:14 am

        I thought it was basically good advice too, haha, except for the beta male thing, but I’m also of the mind that TheTruth is being at least partially satirical.

        What is that saying? The best way to get over someone, is to get under someone else…?

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle January 18, 2013, 9:42 am

    LW1: Ehhh, you’ve only been “seeing each other” for 7 months, “official” (I’m assuming?) for three? I’d actually wait a bit longer to see if this doesn’t resolve itself. Yeah, they’ve been broken up for 2 years, but (to generalize) I think men can take a bit longer to completely expel everything ex-related from their life. Especially if they were dating for nine years.

    I’m sure others will disagree though, because I tend to be a bit looser with the boundaries regarding exes.

    LW2: I know this is Shortcuts, but I feel like I’m going to give you a long-as-hell answer to this because your letter endeared you to me—I dunno, I just like that you’re trying to go point-by-excruciating-point in this totally analytical way. With that said, however…this method will never work. Although I think the rules you bring up are totally reasonable, relationships are not a series of rules.

    As an example, my boyfriend & I have something similar where we *know* sleeping over with opposite sex friends is something to be avoided. But you can’t just have a blanket “rule” about it, because sometimes there are exceptions! Like, when I recently took a trip to visit a friend—a girl I know through a past FWB. We’re all still friends, & the old FWB went, too. Obviously, this involved sleeping over together in the same place.

    I had to ask my boyfriend to trust me, & I would’ve felt resentful if he’d been all “But…we have a RULE about that!” Fuck rules! Relationships are about making judgment calls, & you do it every day. If there’s a list of hard rules, I think each person can become lazy & complacent. You have the false security of some drawn up, agreed-upon list, & you forget to be “present” in the relationship on the daily.

    So your fiance, what? Slipped up in the past (with you, I’m assuming)? You chose to forgive him, right? (I mean, you’re about to get married) So you need to fully commit to forgiving him. Yes, I DO think talking about boundaries would be beneficial, but please drop the idea of “ample research” and “rules” & go with “guidelines” (a word you *do* mention, so I’m not completely dismantling your plan, don’t worry!)

    Okay, I’m going to try to answer some of the questions you posed, now. “What is your stance on flirting once married?” Look, some people are flirty. What is YOUR definition of flirty? My boyfriend is flirty as hell, & I personally can’t draw a straight line between what I feel is “okay flirting” & “I am uncomfortable with this.” The line is wavy & makes no sense; that’s why you can’t really draw a permanent one. Example: At my college graduation party, he was a little upset at me because I sat at a different table than him, & I was running all around with my old friends most of the night. When we finally met up at one point, he was like “Where have you been?? I had to flirt with the bartender girl, because you abandoned me.” He was being joke-y & dramatic, but I’m sure he totally WAS flirting with the bartender in my absence. And I was cool with it!

    On the other hand, one time he was texting his coworker in front of me, & the conversation was something like “Her: I love you. I hope Fabelle doesn’t mind!” (he’d brought her a soda, or something). His response? was a joke about me & her wrestling it out in a tub of pudding. And I was kind of WTF about that (I mean, first of all, what a fratty joke, Boyfriend). But I’ve met this coworker & everything, & she’s around his age, so I know their conversations hover on that inappropriate line. (Inappropriate the way of young-ish peers surrounded by older coworkers tend to be) I get that, but in this instance, I did make sure to be like “Um, why don’t you tone that down a little next time?”

    Anyway, the point of this way-too-personal (especially now that you all know me on FB :(!!) story, is that… your “line”, when put into practice, isn’t always going to be the same. You don’t want to get too attached to any of the “guidelines” you try to set— because it could result in either 1.) over-reacting to a situation, based on an arbitrary guideline, or 2.) forcing yourself to under-react to something that makes you uncomfortable, just because maybe you forgot to create an arbitrary guideline for that particular circumstance.

    Oh god, I need to wrap this up. “Is it ever okay for your husband to be a woman’s only “true friend”?” I actually would say YES for this. I believe your partner should be your #1 confidante, & you both should know that—at all times—you have the other’s back. But both you, & your fiance, should maintain other friendships. You say he has a problem opening up to men? That’s something he must work on, but in the meantime, don’t make it so he has NO other friends, just because he doesn’t have any male ones.

    Anyway, with ALL OF THAT said, I do agree with Wendy that you guys should get at least one session of pre-marital counseling, to make sure you’re on the same page.

    LW3: I’m exhausted from writing that^ Wendy, I love how you sometimes call out BGM in the letter replies 😀

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary January 18, 2013, 9:59 am

      I think its all about making judgement calls depending on the situation. I know I got bashed the other week for saying my boyfriend and I have “rules” about going out for drinks/dinner with members of the opposite sex, but obviously this is flexible. Would my boyfriend mind if I went to lunch with a male friend from college? Not at all. Would he mind if I went for drinks with a random guy from the coffee shop…probably. And I think you need to be open to communication. Like my boyfriend is NOT flirty at all, but we were at a party in December and he started acting the way he acts with me with another girl there. A few days later I talked to him about flirting with her in front of me and he apologized and said he was sorry for making me uncomfortable. End of story. You just need to TALK about things. I don’t think this LW trusts her fiance though, so they need to work through those trust issues.

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    • avatar

      Desiree January 18, 2013, 10:00 am

      I disagree on “Is it ever okay for your husband to be a woman’s only “true friend”?” I agree that both members of a couple should have great friendships with people of both genders. However, if the fiance is another woman’s “only true friend,” that probably means that the other woman is WAY too emotionally dependent on the fiance, and that is always a bad idea. Something I had to address with my fiance is he has this “knight in shining armor” complex that used to cause problems for us in terms of boundaries. I let him know that it is great for him to be there for his female friends when they are having difficult times, but I needed him to stop trying to “save” his female friends from their problems.

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        haggith January 18, 2013, 12:14 pm

        thank you! i’m going through this right now with my husband. he’s the “knight in shining armor” trying to “save” his female coworker from a bad break up… while we’re in the middle of a rocky patch. i asked him to put that relationship in the back burner while we work on our relationship issues. in other circumstance, i would have minded him reaching out to this friend but i think in this moment we need to work on us; all the effort and emotional investment should go straight to our relationship

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        haggith January 18, 2013, 12:15 pm

        sorry, *wouldn’t have minded

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    • SweetsAndBeats

      SweetsAndBeats January 18, 2013, 12:03 pm

      #3 could be a lesbian. Just saying. There is no gender-identifying phrasing of the LW ANYWHERE.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 12:10 pm

        Wendy identified him as a male in her response, I’m going to assume the name/email led her to believe it was a male.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark January 18, 2013, 1:44 pm

        Eh, I dunno. LW3 SCREAMS overly clingy lesbian to me. And it’s very hard to tell the sex of most people from their email addresses… 😉 Frankly, I am annoyed that SweetsAndBeats beat me to this brilliant point. There goes my pithy post for the day… The other two letters don’t inspire me all that much. Although I did take LW three quite differently. Perhaps I shall expound forth on that a bit below…

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 1:56 pm

        I’m still going to stick with Wendy’s use of pronouns!

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh January 18, 2013, 1:57 pm

        or actually since she didn’t use pronouns in this response i’m going to use her response to you 😉

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  • avatar

    cdobbs January 18, 2013, 9:56 am

    LW3…you poor guy…i know you are hurting right now, but believe me it will get better…your girlfriend is doing the phase out, instead of doing the honorable thing and telling you that it is over…now you get to make the decision…free yourself from this girl and move on to someone who will appreciate you…it takes two people to have a relationship, if you are the only one trying then i say it is not worth it and it is time to find someone who will treat you the way you deserve…keep your chin up 🙂

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    • avatar

      MissDre January 18, 2013, 11:58 am

      It’s possible that she was turned off by how much attention he showered on her. That’s happened to me before. Met a really nice guy, moved sorta quickly into a relationship, and he became SO overwhelming that it freaked me out. Texting constantly what I guess he thought were romantic things… but to me he just seemed desperately clingy and obsessive.

      It’s all about balance. This guy is depressed and insecure. He needs to get help and learn how to deal with that first. Then, next time he gets involved with a girl, he needs to find a balance between being romantic and having his own life.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 10:14 am

    ATTENTION ATTENTION ATTENTION ATTENTION. I have put on pants. I am now going to go catch my bus and go to work. Ok, carry on.

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    • Kate B.

      Kate B. January 18, 2013, 10:40 am

      It’s funny you should mention pants. Just the other day I was talking with one of my colleagues and the gist of the conversation was: before you leave the house, always put on pants. Rule to live by.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 11:37 am

      UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE. I am at work, in pants. Ok, carry on.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 11:48 am

        how far do you live from work? that seemed quick.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray January 18, 2013, 11:50 am

        I live about 5 miles from work, but it takes me 30 minutes to get here.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass January 18, 2013, 10:57 am

    You want to prevent affairs in your upcoming marriage? Don’t marry a guy you think would have an affair. Seriously. You may love him but marriage is so much more than just love. And you can fall in love again! I promise, it can happen. Love isn’t this tangible thing that you can only give one person and then it’s gone.

    “his need to be needed and his long-standing reluctance to open up to men.” What the hell is that? Some pretty way of saying that he wants his ‘ego’ stroked but only by hot women? Phrasing it nicely doesn’t make it any better.

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    • katie

      katie January 18, 2013, 11:10 am

      i am sooo confused about the “opening up to men” line. all i got from it was very homosexual OR very homophobic undertones. i dont even know what to do with it.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle January 18, 2013, 11:19 am

        I think she just means he’s worse at making male friends? Which *is* a legitimate thing, BUT it could also just be that he likes attention from women more than he likes having male friends.

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        lemongrass January 18, 2013, 11:24 am

        It’s a total bullshit line he fed her about his cheating on her. “I just can’t open up to men the same way I can with women, that’s why I have to be friend’s with all these women. Don’t suspect anything is going on, but if you catch me then it’s not my fault, it’s my need to be needed.” They put their bullshit in a pretty little package and some women just eat it right up.

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      • katie

        katie January 18, 2013, 11:34 am

        yuck i hate that explanation. i almost *wish* he was gay, amiright?

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      • avatar

        TheTruth January 18, 2013, 11:42 am

        You are absolutely correct. It was my thought when I read it… he is totally playing her. She should hook up with that guy who is getting dissed by his girlfriend instead.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 18, 2013, 11:52 am

        Yeah. I thought the same thing, and I just kept thinking about my friend’s ex boyfriend. He had NO male friends and he was cheating all over her with some of the women he was “friends” with. When she called him out on it he lied and whined and cried. He was such a baby and a huge manipulator. Can you tell I didn’t like him? Lol. I was so relieved when they broke up!

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      GatorGirl January 18, 2013, 12:07 pm

      Seriously, don’t marry a guy who you think will cheat on you!! It’s that simple.

      And, I know I’ve talked on here in the past about having “rules” in our relationship, and I still think rules are good. But they have to be mutally agree upon and the same for both people. Not one person dictating to the other.

      And flirting is perfectly fine if that’s what you and your partner agree upon. In some relationships flirting isn’t fine.

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      • avatar

        lemongrass January 18, 2013, 12:34 pm

        I don’t think of it so much as “rules” but there are boundaries in my marriage. It’s not something that is explicitly stated though and you kind of learn them as you go, discovering what is okay and whats not with each other. Every relationship/marriage is going to have different ones and you make up your own ones.

        I’ve said it before- I flirt, my husband doesn’t. No big deal to us.

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        GatorGirl January 18, 2013, 2:02 pm

        That’s why I put “rules” in quotes! But yeah, it’s a learning experiance and rules/boundaries are constantly evolving.

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  • avatar

    Jenniferw January 18, 2013, 11:36 am

    The worst part about LW#2 is that her fiance just provided the excuses for cheating in the future. I can hear him now “Honey, I told you this before we married.”

    Run for the hills.

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      Lindsay January 18, 2013, 12:07 pm

      It’s also weird that they put it in such technical terms, like talking about the “primary medium of transgression.” It reminds me of when people say that once their child is old enough to ask for a diaper change, it’s time to potty-train. (I don’t have kids, so I don’t actually know anything about timings for that.) If your SO lays out his path to cheating like a guidebook, I think it’s a bad sign.

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  • avatar

    Beth January 18, 2013, 11:42 am

    When I was in college, I probably had more male friends than female. However, as I got older and got into serious relationships and so did my male friends, I began to find it appropriate and worked on making more female friends. I am probably more a stickler about boundaries than my married friends – I refuse to have a married couple’s husband’s phone number in my phone. I will not usually be friends with just the husband in a relationship on facebook, etc. There are exceptions, as I do have some really good male friends from high school that I don’t know their wives as they live out of state now.

    It’s all about trust. And bacon.

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    • katie

      katie January 18, 2013, 12:17 pm

      yea, the thing with that is if you are friends with the husband, doesnt that make you friends with the wife by default? i always assumed that.

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      GatorGirl January 18, 2013, 12:27 pm

      Wait…you won’t have a female friends husband’s number in your phone? That seems crazy to me. I have my only married female friends husband’s number and plenty of my fiance’s guy friends numbers. Some times you need to talk to them! Surprize parties or gifts are great examples.

      But you are right, it is all about trust. And setting mutally agreed upon boudaries with in your relationship.

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        lemongrass January 18, 2013, 12:41 pm

        The number thing seems OTT to me as well, but whatever works for you. I have my husband’s friend’s number in my phone but not his wife. We’re kinda couple friends with them but they live far away so we only see them a couple times a year. Plus they’re assholes. Not to us, but in general and that bothers me but it’s an old friend of my husband’s so whatever. He texted me the other day though and I didn’t think anything of it- my husband never answers his calls/texts so often people will go through me to get info 🙂

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster January 18, 2013, 12:48 pm

        Yeah. I have all my friends’ husbands in my phone, or most of them. I mean, how else was I supposed to help pick out engagement rings?! We’ve all known each other for years and there’s been a reason or other to have to call them, though I wouldn’t call my friends’ husbands just to catch up or anything. THAT would be weird. I agree about trust thing, though. And boundaries.

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      • avatar

        Lindsay January 18, 2013, 1:07 pm

        Yeah, I have the numbers of my married friends’ husbands because of various times in the past when it was needed. I had to be let into their home to prepare for a party I was throwing for my friend, or just in case when I was getting picked up at the bus station. If you think it’s important not to have the numbers, then that’s fine. But having a friend’s husband’s number isn’t going to mean the difference between me having an affair or not. And none of my friends find it worrisome.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark January 18, 2013, 1:58 pm

    LW1) Boring. Who cares? People REALLY need to write in about this trivial b.s?

    LW2) Stop being so whiny and insecure. Clearly your husband has female friends. Does he sleep with them? No, apparently not — as his main means of “transgression” is the telephone. Ahem, newsflash, he will have female friends. I am so tired of the fucking bullshit that passes for an emotional affair. People bandy that term about willy nilly just so they can keep their lovers on a tighter leash. Look, simply being friends with somebody of the opposite sex DOES NOT an emotional affair make. And you know what? Friends confide in one another all the time. Friends even (GASP!) discuss their relationship troubles with friends… Doing so DOES NOT equal an emotional affair. It equals fucking friendship. If you can’t handle your spouse being friends with members of the opposite sex, then you can’t handle being married. Go buy yourself a cat. Only then we’ll probably get letters from you about the cat seems to spend an awful lot of time at the neighbors or something…

    In conclusion, unlike Wendy, I am flipping this around. I simply WOULD NOT marry somebody who insisted on GIVING me guidelines to avoid affairs (emotional or otherwise) because it would be patently clear to me that said person was an fucking insecure mess and that, frankly, yes, I could definitely do better. Why? Because I don’t want to spend my life having somebody demanding to see my phone every five minutes. If I wanted to spend the rest of my life in a fucking prison — I’d go out and kill somebody. God, knows, I am tempted enough.

    LW3) A) as brought up from above, this could very well be a woman. And B) This really isn’t THAT pitiful. Lets revisit this issue when we get a letter like this… “Dear Wendy. My girlfriend doesn’t work. I support her and pay her child support. She won’t sleep with me and I suspect she is sleeping with others because she is a heroine addict? Did I mention she is a heroine addict? She went to jail and I stood by her all through that because I love her. And deep down, I know she loves me. All this bad behavior, it’s NOT who she TRULY is… Some suggest I should leave her. HOW DARE THEY?! And yet, do they have a point? Gee, Wendy. I don’t know…”

    Now that’s pitiful. And that’s just but ONE of the letters we received here this week…

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 1:59 pm

      I would like to have an emotional affair with you.

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        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 2:01 pm

        Almost died laughing about the slutty cat.

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      • katie

        katie January 18, 2013, 2:14 pm

        i wish i had a slutty cat.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest January 18, 2013, 2:16 pm

        We call our cat a heat slut. I swear it can see heat and will rub up on you if youre warm.

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      • katie

        katie January 18, 2013, 2:21 pm

        cat do love to be warm! but, mostly, cats rub on you to “claim” you with their pheromones. so thats probably more of what it is.. haha

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark January 18, 2013, 6:22 pm

        Lets start it up. Right here. Right now. You. Me.

        Lets forget your life…
        Forget your problems….
        Administration. Bills. And Loans…
        Come with me. Come with me…

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser January 18, 2013, 3:44 pm

    Secrets to a happy long-term marriage (I’ve been married 25 years). Sex? Yes. Every day. All the time. Bj’s? Yes . Every day. All the time. Things you see in porn? Yes. Every day. All the time. Why? You rarely fight (especially about trivial stuff). Neither of you will cheat (too busy and exhausted). He may not even look at other women (too exhausted). You won’t be tempted to nag (he’s still your boyfriend). The kids are happy cause mom and dad are so happy and their world feels safe.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser January 18, 2013, 3:48 pm

    Okay. I’m exaggerating a little but you get the point.

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny January 18, 2013, 4:36 pm

    I gotta agree with Wendy on all of these!
    And LW3 totally made me go, “awwww.” Because I feel for you and you seem very sweet. But it’s time to face facts: it doesn’t look like your gf is interested anymore. And as much as you don’t want to, you are going to have to give up sometime. (After all, you’re only 1/2 of the equation here.) I’d focus on how awesome college is, how many friends and fun experiences you are having/going to have, and maybe you’ll meet a different girl who will love to get flowers from you. 🙂

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  • avatar

    wendykh January 18, 2013, 7:58 pm

    Wow. I can’t describe how much I disagree with the advice to LW1.

    No one gets married thinking they will cheat or be cheated on. It happens during bad times in marriages when you don’t have appropriate boundaries and allow “friendships” to go too far.

    I’m less concerned about their rules or that they have them (hubby and I have our own!) but more that she seems very concrned about this, which I think is her gut screaming this guy is not legit. Disclaimer: If she is recovering from being betrayed (I am unsure if she was the gf he cheated on; it’s not clear) her reaction is perfectly normal.

    That said… I would wait till I was less paranoid and he had proved himself before marrying.

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  • avatar

    TheTruth January 19, 2013, 2:49 pm

    How did I not put this together earlier… dude with the girl doing the “Fade Away”

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