Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Conflicted in Love/Hate” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today, we hear from “Conflicted in Love/Hate” who was devastated to learn that, prior to dating her, her boyfriend slept with two sisters and even let her befriend one before letting her know about their past. “If I could go back in time, I would never have chosen a guy that did the disgusting things he did,” she said, but explained that it was too hard to leave now that she’d fallen in love. Keep reading to see how they’re doing now.

We are still living together and will be celebrating our four-year anniversary soon. I can’t say that I am necessarily okay with his past. I still can’t stand his past, but I do think we’ve worked really hard to move on from this together. The advice that you gave — to decide whether to stay or to leave — was the obvious one and a decision that would have to be made soon. I chose to stay for many reasons, but mostly because I did and do love him, and because we really are compatible. No matter how angry I’ve gotten with him over this, I still come back to my feelings of love for him.

I realize that we both aren’t perfect, but no relationships are. All relationships are work, but hopefully the good ones are worth it. I think we’ve both grown a lot and moved forward. I found it interesting that many of your readers immediately jumped on the idea that I was somehow looking for a virgin, or was religious and on some high horse, when my main concern was the fact that he lied about something I had made clear to him was a deal-breaker for me. This makes me wonder if some of the people behind the comments even read the whole letter in the first place. (For the record, I’m not religious whatsoever and don’t follow an organized religion). Also, the girl who he was friends with was not close to me, she was someone I met through him, and my boyfriend himself had resentment towards her due to their situation before we cut her off, so in the end it was actually the best choice for us to heal. I have enough good friends in my life where I don’t need to be friends with someone who slept with my boyfriend and who makes me uncomfortable.

The situation we were in at the time was toxic; there were many factors there and we’ve done our best to leave those factors behind and move on together. I think we are both in a healthier place now and are in a better environment than we were then. The thing is, everyone is different. Some people don’t care at all about their partners’ past, others do. Some people are cool being friends with a partner’s ex and others aren’t. I don’t think one way or another is better, and I don’t know why I was judged harshly when I happened to be uncomfortable with that particular situation.

So that’s the update. We are still together and we love each other a lot. Our relationship isn’t perfect; I know that he’s done things I don’t agree with or necessarily understand, but we have a good relationship now, and so I guess I am just taking it from there!

Thanks Wendy!

— Formerly conflicted in love/hate, currently not in hate anymore

 
Thank you for your update! Glad to hear you’re doing well and were able to work through the issues that were bothering you.

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

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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.

58 comments… add one
  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 1, 2013, 1:37 pm

    Eh, I said it before and I’ll say it again — it is fucking batshit crazy to get so bent out of shape about something that your lover did long BEFORE he even met you. And nothing is more absurdly pathetic or more insecure than those who can’t handle their significant others simply being friends with their exes. The LWs at DW seem to be hellbent on proving that women (in general) will always be — “The Insecure Sex.”

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    • Stonegypsy

      the_other_wendy April 1, 2013, 1:44 pm

      I agree, but I think she was more upset about him lying about it. Personally, I wouldn’t have a problem if my husband did something like that, but I detest being lied to.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed April 1, 2013, 1:46 pm

        I don’t know if I think she was more upset about the lying…she seems so grossed out and called him and what he did a bunch of names, that I think the lying didn’t help, but she would have been nearly as pissed if he told the truth.

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      • avatar

        rachel April 1, 2013, 1:57 pm

        This.

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      • katie

        katie April 1, 2013, 2:23 pm

        the exact words were “disgusting, wrong, gross and really slutty”

        yea…

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      • Lindsay

        Lindsay April 1, 2013, 2:40 pm

        Yeah. I was under the impression that she’d just have dumped him if he told her the truth. That’s not an excuse to lie, but I don’t think she would have gotten over his past.

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      • avatar

        Amber April 1, 2013, 5:47 pm

        Yep, and apparently sex-shaming is okay as long as it’s directed towards men.

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      • avatar

        Conflicted in Love/ May 22, 2013, 5:21 am

        Dear Amber,

        Sex shaming isn’t okay, but is it shaming if you make your wishes clear to begin with and then are not told the truth? It is not okay against either sex, but hopefully partners can be up front with each other. I was up front with him and had expected the same when all of it went down.

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    • avatar

      Conflicted in Love/ May 22, 2013, 5:19 am

      I wanted to say that it wasn’t long before he met me, this happened 3 months before he met me, the proximity to all of this also made me upset. And I understand if it seems crazy to you, but we all have different perspectives and for me it was something upsetting, I don’t know why having that opinion makes me batshit, that’s just how I felt.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark April 1, 2013, 1:48 pm

    Honestly, it’s NONE of her fucking business.

    And that’s what they always say… “It’s not that you did it–it’s that you lied about it.” Whatever. Fucking bullshit. Why? Because the poor guy or gal has totally been set up to lie about their past as the psycho they’re dating has repeatedly made it quite clear that they are judgmental assholes when it comes to sexual pasts…

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    • avatar

      rachel April 1, 2013, 1:56 pm

      I put this on the guy though too. She put her crazy right out there at the beginning and he just chose to believe it wouldn’t affect him.

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      • avatar

        ktfran April 1, 2013, 1:59 pm

        This is so, so, so true. I kind of don’t feel bad for dudes who put up with this kind of stuff.

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      • kare

        kare April 1, 2013, 2:41 pm

        I get that the guy lied about not sleeping with the friend, but she said she told her bf she didn’t want to be with anyone with a “crazy past”. Personally, a one-night stand between people with a mutual attraction and friendship isn’t all the crazy. I’m assuming since the girl was still friends with this guy, he didn’t do anything too deplorable. I’m guess this LW defines casual sex as “crazy”. Honestly, if I dated a guy and he said “well if you’ve ever had casual sex ever, I don’t want to date you”, I would say “well I don’t want to date someone with such a narrow minded view about sex ,and you will be missing out on this amazingness”. But to each their own.

        Re-reading the old letter, I’m not sure what is so “toxic” about the situation they were. I feel like the LW is working on being less dramatic, but there is still some room for growth.

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      • LadyinPurpleNotRed

        LadyinPurpleNotRed April 1, 2013, 2:43 pm

        I think that’s where a lot of people got the religious, she wants a virgin type assumption. That’s the way it came off.

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      • dabbler

        dabbler April 1, 2013, 2:56 pm

        This was my thought too. Regardless of whether or not people agree with this particular hang up, she owned it and put it out there in the beginning as a dealbreaker. I don’t see this as being much different than the marriage/kids debate, etc. it frustrates me that more often than not, when someone’s dealbreaker involves religion, being more sexually conservative, whatever, that person gets bashed. She told him flat out, in the begining, these were things she was not comfortable with, and he lied. She could have walked away if he had been up front with her, but now she’s invested, and has to come to terms with the fact that he lied, and the original fact that his past isn’t as “pure” as what she would have chosen in a partner.
        I may not agree with the issue, but I can respect why she feels the way she does.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM April 1, 2013, 10:50 pm

        I don’t think it’s unreasonable to tell someone their dealbreaker is ridiculous.

        BTW people, if your SO is “uncomfortable” with your exes not being totally strictly out of your life entirely, this is probably not a stable person. This is someone who never gets over people. That’s why they think you need to cut people off. Yeah I’ve heard the nonsense “no I am over them, that’s why they are cut off.” It simply doesn’t ring true. It just doesn’t. If you’re actually over them they should not merit anymore concern than anyone else you know casually, including a strict desire to avoid them at all costs.

        Does not apply in cases of abuse or toxicity obviously.

        That said, this LW has completely rewritten the originally described relationship with this other girl to serve her purposes. I feel sorry for her boyfriend.

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      • dabbler

        dabbler April 2, 2013, 8:09 am

        I don’t disagree with you, but I don’t feel like people should have to justify what they define a personal dealbreaker (in a general sense – not just this LW). It doesn’t make them wrong, but maybe it makes them wrong for each other.

        Any opinion that you could ever possibly have, there will be others that will disagree and tell you you’re wrong or crazy (especially on the Internet). I think our responsibility is to know what those things are, and communicate them when necessary. It sounds like she did that.

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    • avatar

      WAPS April 1, 2013, 2:06 pm

      I totally agree. If I think my sexual past is none of your business and that you’re going to be weird about it, why would I tell the truth about it (obviously discounting STD history, testing, or anything health-related)? I’d lie about it because who cares. I wish I could agree harder at calling bullshit on “It’s not that you did it–it’s that you lied about it.” It’s a classic technique to manipulate someone into being in the wrong for something they should never have had to lie about.

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    • Lindsay

      Lindsay April 1, 2013, 2:51 pm

      He didn’t HAVE to lie, and I don’t see him as some poor little victim. She said she asked him when they first started dating, so it’s not like all that much was on the line, and if he honestly thought she was that much of a psycho, then he shouldn’t have kept dating her. I think that whenever you lie, you have to accept that you might be found out and that likely the person you lied to won’t be happy about it.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM April 1, 2013, 10:51 pm

        where does this idea that we owe people we are barely dating the entire truth about our intimate and personal lives come from?

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle April 1, 2013, 2:53 pm

      Yeah, I agree with this. She’s focusing on the “lying” part, but if he DIDN’T lie about it from the beginning, then her problem WOULD be that he did it (because she clearly thinks what he did was “disgusting”)

      I mean, sure, lying is shitty. But telling someone that you’ve just started dating…”Oh, by the way, I’m not okay with you still talking to anyone you’ve ever slept with” is sort of a big set up. I know some people think it’s good to vocalize your dealbreakers—and it is—but that is sort of an unreasonable blanket dealbreaker to have, I think.

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      • CatsMeow

        CatsMeow April 1, 2013, 3:14 pm

        Plus if he hadn’t lied, they might not be together right now. And she says she’s happy. So what she thought was a dealbreaker turned out to not really be a dealbreaker, eh? Maybe in THIS situation the ends justify the means…

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    • avatar

      Conflicted in Love/ May 22, 2013, 5:26 am

      Dear bittergaymark,

      It may not be none of my business, but the point is I did ask at the point where we were moving towards being in a serious relationship. What I asked exactly was “if he had slept with anyone in his circle of friends because that makes me uncomfortable”, I think when I wrote the letter, it sounded like I straight out told him it was a dealbreaker and I would be out, which was not the case. Perhaps to you the past is no ones business at all, and honestly, if I had more experience I would maybe feel the exact same way, but when this all happened I was not at the place you are.

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  • avatar

    oldie April 1, 2013, 1:53 pm

    She also lied to him about something that she declared to be a deal-breaker to her, since he did it in his past and she is still with him. She says that she and bf were in a toxic situation, for many reaons, including this, and yet she is still with him. She also seems not to have put this behind her yet, so it’s time to belatedly MOA> BGM is right, you can only influence another person’s present and future. If the past is something that you can’t get past viewing as disgusting, then you should do the other person a big, big favor and MOA. Why so much work to preserve a relationship with what is apparently a corrosive issue that LW just can’t let go of sitting at its core.

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    • avatar

      ktfran April 1, 2013, 1:58 pm

      But didn’t you know that not every relationship is perfect?

      I lost count of how many times that was said in the update. As if the LW were trying to convince herself of this. I’m fairly certain most readers on here already know that.

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary April 1, 2013, 2:52 pm

        I feel like people only bring this up when their relationship is shitty, and they feel like they need to defend it with some broad statement. Like I never sit around and think about how my relationship is imperfect. I don’t think we are perfect because I’m not that arrogant, but that doesn’t mean I focus on the imperfections. The only time I ever say “no relationship is perfect” is when people look at a couple and say “oh their lives seem so perfect” and I’m like “eh, no relationship is perfect, everyone has their problems”.

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      • sobriquet

        sobriquet April 1, 2013, 4:45 pm

        It reminds me of the time I casually announced in front of my ex and our mutual friends that “everyone settles” to some extent. I meant it in the sense that we all settle on something, however small and insignificant, but that’s just not the kind of thing you say when you’re happy in your relationship. You just don’t talk about how imperfect relationships are unless you’re trying to convince yourself that your less-than-perfect relationship is normal and okay.

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      • avatar

        Conflicted in Love/ May 23, 2013, 1:52 am

        you got me pegged, saying my relationship is imperfect just compelled and absolutely means that I am lying to myself..thank you for broad overarching analysis

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      • avatar

        Conflicted in Love/ May 22, 2013, 5:29 am

        Dear ktfran,

        I said it exactly twice in the letter, hardly sounds that convincing to me…though I could see if I had repeated in numerous times that it would seem like a red flag.

        Also…not every relationship is perfect 😉

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  • katie

    katie April 1, 2013, 2:25 pm

    im sorry, but you just cant say that your arent judgemental when you use words like “disgusting, wrong, gross and really slutty” when talking about something you dont like.

    i mean, at least own the judgement. its easier if you just come out and be honest about it then to try to be all politically correct or whatever you were trying to be…

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    • avatar

      HmC April 1, 2013, 2:43 pm

      ha! It’s like when people (usually middle schoolers) preface a statement with “no offense but…” and then say something really mean. It’s like, do you even know what the words you are saying mean?

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle April 1, 2013, 2:48 pm

    I was pretty nice to this LW; I must’ve been in a good mood, that I decided ~not~ to shit on her because “differences in values” or whatever. LW, the reason people said you were judgmental & speculated that you must be a religious nut was due to your wording— you kept saying that what he did was “disgusting”, “slutty”, “wrong”. Those are judge-y words.

    But yeah, anyway. Look. If you’re still with this guy, you’ve got to change the “I still hate his past” to “I don’t give a fuck about his past”. You can’t be with someone while actively hating the things they’ve done. Especially sexual things.

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    • avatar

      6napkinburger April 1, 2013, 5:55 pm

      Didn’t he sleep with two sisters in a sketchy, lying kind of way? I don’t remember the details but I would think banging two sisters (if it was sketchy, lie-ey or way too back to back) is gross.

      I don’t get the backlash. What your partner did before you met them is in someways none of your business, but in some ways, it says a lot about who they are. If you found out that your partner used to only sleep with married people where the spouse didn’t know, that would tell you something about your partner. If you found out that your partner only dated people who had a parent just die, that would tell you something about your partner. And people do do things that some people find disgusting and gross. I was cheated on by an ex, down the hallway from me, with my then-best friend. I will forever think that that act was disgusting, gross and crazy slutty in a bad way, and I think I am justified in judging them for it. But if his next girlfriend found out? She would be totally justified in considering it when forming an opinion about him, even though he didn’t do it to her, and she’d be justified in thinking it was disgusting and gross.

      We can be sex positive without thinking that ALL sex is only positive. I don’t get why judging someone based on their prior actions?

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      • avatar

        Hobbesnblue April 1, 2013, 9:12 pm

        I don’t think people are saying that finding it distasteful is the problem. I think the problem is her inability to move forward. If his past actions will forever brand him “disgusting” and “slutty” to her, then she shouldn’t be with him. That sets up a dynamic beween them of her disdaining him, which can’t be healthy. Nobody’s saying she has to think what he did is A-OK, but still actively “hating” it means that she’s fixated on something he can never rectify, rather than focusing on the present.

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      • avatar

        oldie April 1, 2013, 10:32 pm

        THeir background may well say more about whom they were than whom they are. But if what he was bothers LW, then she should have moved on as soon as she learned about his past. It’s not like his past is awful. Consensual sex with women who weren’t in relationships at the time. So this girl’s ex who was his roommate didn’t know. Big deal! When he broke up with this woman, he forfeited any right to care whom she dated or had sex with. So he later had sex with this woman’s sister. The woman doesn’t seem bothered by this, why should new gf be? There seems nothing sexy nor gross in this guy’s background.

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM April 1, 2013, 10:53 pm

        Nope. He slept with one just ya know, cuz that happens, and the second one he slept with AFTER he dated someone else, and that sister was his roomate’s ex, and they had broken up a MONTH prior according to “more info” LW put in the comments. There was nothing shady. They were drunk and in a sad mood.

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  • kare

    kare April 1, 2013, 3:40 pm

    Can we please stop throwing around “dealbreaker”? I mean, it is highly possible you grow and evolve and the things that once bothered you are less important. Or you are compromising a major part of yourself, ultimately setting up the relationship for a painful demise.

    Still, it irks me when someone says “this is such a dealbreaker, I could never be with someone that does x,y, and z”. Then they are in that predicament and stay, yet bitch how they don’t like it.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl April 1, 2013, 3:56 pm

      YES.

      I personally think you can say “X was a dealbreaker” like, it was the event/thing that broke the deal in the past, not “X is a dealbreaker” because if you’ve never been there, you really don’t know how you’ll react.

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      • avatar

        oldie April 1, 2013, 4:23 pm

        Then some people, like LW, have been there, have stayed with the guy after learning of the dealbreaker, continue to call the thing a dealbreaker, and can’t let go of it. She’s just going to torture this guy for something he did, which wasn’t wrong and wasn’t even her business, for the rest of their time together. You shouldn’t stay with a guy thinking ‘maybe I’ll eventually get over this dealbreaker’. If it really is a deal-breaker, you gotta MOA. This isn’t even as sane as the normal letter where the LW expects the dealbreaking behavior to change over time. The guy can’t change his past. He deserves a lot better. And what is wrong with sleeping with sisters, serially and months or years apart. I have a friend who has been happily married to two sisters. His first wife died and he then married her sister. Both strong, strong marriages. Wife number two doesn’t view it as icky at all. Also, the thought that it’s too gross for words to ever meet someone your SO has slept with prior to your knowing him is more than a little odd. LW would never survive the current college dating/hookup scene.

        I’m guessing LW’s bf got the impression that LW had issues and preferred not to know that one of his friends was a woman he once had sex with.

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        GatorGirl April 1, 2013, 4:32 pm

        It’s like that update we had a little while back about the couple who disagreed about going to a Christian church. They just swept the issue under the rug and planned to deal with it later. NOT a good way to deal with relationship issues.

        I don’t really care who my fiance slept with in the past. I know about all of them and we are pretty open about our pasts but he’s truely the one who has to live with the fact that he slept with X. You know? But yeah, this LW sounds like she would be much happier with someone who has a more vanilla sex background. (Which I think it totally fine but don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re okay with something by not dealing with it!)

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      • avatar

        Conflicted in Love/ May 23, 2013, 1:55 am

        Dear Oldie,

        When exactly did I mention the word “dealbreaker” in the new letter? I am not exactly sure what you are referring to..are you still referring to the old letter? I did not continue to call this a dealbreaker, obviously it wasn’t. I really wish that you had read the new letter before jumping to make irrelevent comments.

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        Conflicted in Love/ May 23, 2013, 1:59 am

        also, I don’t think dating sisters is gross per say, but the person you mentioned had fallen in love with them and the first wife died..in this case he just randomly banged two sisters three months apart and according to him, neither he nor they had any feelings for each other at all

        Also I am not that far out of college, and I survived it fine…one does not necessarily need to be part of a hook up culture if they don’t want to be, it’s a choice

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      • avatar

        ktfran April 1, 2013, 4:24 pm

        I third this motion. I think hard set rules are a little silly.

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    • FireStar

      Firestar April 1, 2013, 4:29 pm

      At least stop throwing it around if it never broke the deal.

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    • avatar

      iseeshiny April 1, 2013, 5:11 pm

      Yes! If it didn’t break the deal, obviously it was not a dealbreaker.

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  • avatar

    Boosker April 1, 2013, 4:48 pm

    I think commenters on the previous letter asked if the LW was religious or a virgin because the reaction to his past, which is not that crazy at all, seemed like it might have been influenced by some hang-ups the LW had…and people often get those from church.

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  • avatar

    Amber April 1, 2013, 5:54 pm

    This LW sounds completely nuts.

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      Conflicted in Love/ May 23, 2013, 1:44 am

      so anytime someone has a hangup that you don’t agree with or relate to, it makes them completely nuts? Then I suppose we are all judgemental here

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  • avatar

    oldie April 1, 2013, 5:57 pm

    I’ll give a totally different take on this, which likely is a function of my age and out-of-touchness. In my youth, the bf’s lie would have been regarded as the honorable thing to do. A gentleman did not have sex with a woman and then reveal that fact — at least he didn’t back in the day. If you were asked about your sexual past, you answered honestly in general terms, but you wouldn’t say you had sex with a woman who was currently a part of your circle of friends. That just leads to the next question ‘well, which friend was it?’. Refuse to answer than and you’ve poisoned the well with your whole circle of friends, who will all be suspect in the mind of new gf. Also, a new gf is exactly that — new. She is not deserving of knowing the ins-and-outs of the sexual history of you with your friends, before you knew her. She may be gone from the scene in another month. The friends presumably will remain friends and they deserve to have their sexual privacy protected. As the LW was inevitably going to be introduced to her bf’s friends, it would have been very unfair for her to enter that circle of friends with the knowledge ‘Lucy slept with my bf a year ago.’ LWs sense that her new bf owed her that particular truth at the start of their relationship is unfair to all.

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      BreezyAM April 1, 2013, 10:56 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. If I was The Girl He Banged, I would have been LIVID had he gone and told some woman he started dating 10 minutes earlier that we were together once several months previous!

      Maybe it’s my circle but the people I know, if you sleep together and it goes nowhere, or you break up, it’s like a reset on the fuckometer; it never happened and you don’t get to allude to it ever again.

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        Conflicted in Love/ May 23, 2013, 2:02 am

        but you cannot deny that not EVERYONE is okay with hanging out with their partners ex hook ups, why is it wrong to feel uncomfortable with that? I didn’t bring him around my hook ups because I actually knew that it would make him uncomfortable as well and I wanted to respect that

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    HmC April 1, 2013, 7:32 pm

    “Also, the girl who he was friends with was not close to me, she was someone I met through him, and my boyfriend himself had resentment towards her due to their situation before we cut her off, so in the end it was actually the best choice for us to heal. ”

    I’m sure it was the best choice for her as well. Imagine from her perspective… you have sex with a single guy friend, and his new girlfriend comes along and has a problem with YOU because her boyfriend chose to have sex with you. When he was single. Ick. I’d be glad to be cut off from the unnecessary drama.

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      Conflicted in Love/ May 23, 2013, 1:46 am

      considering that my fiance admitted to me that she basically used him to get back at her ex than dumped him, which subsequently killed the close friendship they used to have and the fact that she also cheats on her current boyfriend, I’d say my drama was the least of her problems

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        Conflicted in Love/ May 23, 2013, 1:48 am

        also, I did stop contact with her the next day after I found out. We actually had a civil conversation about it and I told her that I just wasn’t comfortable being around her and she agreed that I should do what I feel is best. It wasn’t a dramatic blow up in that sense.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie April 1, 2013, 8:31 pm

    She’s stuck it out for 4 years and plans to continue. He was less then brilliant for allowing her to know but must have wanted her very badly to risk deal breaker status. I hope this dialogue will help her move past it because she can’t change what already happened. I’m well acquainted with some of my wife’s former lovers and she knows some of mine. We don’t hide our sexual history from each other, rather it provides some comic relief. As long as you don’t flout it, live and love in the forward direction.

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    • fast eddie

      fast eddie April 2, 2013, 8:40 am

      After considering my glib comment for a bit, I must admit to retaining some years long resentment for stuff she’s done since we’ve been together, all of which were financial blunders. That leads me to wonder if I value money over love. Perhaps I should heed my own advise.

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  • AKchic_

    AKchic_ April 1, 2013, 8:46 pm

    An okay update. You say “was a dealbreaker”, meaning it no longer is one. Good. If it were still one, you’d be gone.

    After four years together, if you’re still having trouble with this – perhaps a couples counselor would be something to consider.

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      bcamber April 2, 2013, 12:11 pm

      If a couple already needs counselling before they’ve hit the real-life challenges (sickness, unemployment, in-laws, infertility, whathaveyou), then they probably aren’t meant to be together long term and should just save their time and money and break up instead.

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