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 “Cooling Off Girlfriend” whose boyfriend of six months was showing serious signs of depression and becoming irrationally hostile. He infamously even blew up over one of her exes liking a photo she posted on Facebook. Of a cupcake. Keep reading to see whether they’re still together or if the cupcake was the last straw.
I had written to you about how I was becoming very turned off by my boyfriend’s depression and, of course, the cupcake fight. I really appreciate you giving me some great advice about my relationship, and the comments definitely helped me realize that I’m not over-reacting and even pointed out some things I might not have noticed without an outsider’s perspective. So here’s my update on what has happened since then:
I really liked your idea of the “three strikes and you’re out” rule, and I agree that, since we had only been dating for six months at the time, it was ridiculous and not a good sign to be having so much strife, especially over a cupcake (I know it was really not about the poor cupcake). I had a serious talk with my boyfriend. I told him that I understand we all have tough times in our lives, but if we don’t ask for help from professionals when we need help, then there’s nothing that someone else can do for us. I also wanted him to get how disrespectful, crazy and plain-ass dumb I found his reaction to my ex liking a cupcake picture on Facebook. I told him that being clingy and controlling is emotional abuse, and that is a deal-breaker.
He apologized for taking his problems out on me and apologized for his comments. He doesn’t want me to think of him as a controlling and jealous crazy guy. I told him that if I had repeated his comments to my friends (I left out the part where I wrote to you), that people would be telling me to flee. He admitted that he was feeling very insecure and sad and not good enough for me, and I told him he was sabotaging himself and was pushing me away.
Right after our talk, he got a job that he had been wanting since we had met. It was a big opportunity for him. He has been there for three months and is already getting a promotion, is making new friends, and has started working out and dieting. He has lost a lot of weight and feels better about himself.
Now, we have been together for almost 9 months, and we’ve been very happy and have treated each other with kindness. We really are best friends, and he has helped me deal with issues with other friends and a family friend dying, and he has been very supportive of my career and grad school endeavors. He takes care of me when I’m sick, cooks for me and has been an amazing boyfriend.
BUT…I still have a nagging feeling that it’s not all rainbows and puppies. I agree with many of the commenters that I saw how he handles stress and it’s not good. When he is happy, he holds his head up high. But, he got a ticket the other day, and his depressed, clingy side showed itself for a second. He was ranting, and I had to remind myself to let him vent. Then, later, I went on Facebook just to check something real quick, and I received a mopey message saying: “Well, I guess I can just talk to you later if you don’t have anything to say back. Love you though”!
Okay, I know this seems like a very small thing, but I was already kind of on alert and this felt passive aggressive/whiny/clingy/everything that annoys me in one sentence. Even though it’s been going well and he has gotten his act together, I feel like I’m waiting for it to slip, and I don’t know if I’m being fair or if I am just paying attention to what some of the commenters were warning me about.
But since he did change a lot after our talk, I want to continue to give him a chance, but I also want him know that my personality, my pet peeve/borderline deal-breaker, is clinginess. He admitted again he was feeling depressed about money and the traffic ticket and is trying to get it together. He apologized if he had been weird. I accepted his apology (it was not like he fought with me over a cupcake), and I am still going to see how he does.
I have finished writing this and feel CONFUSED again. Sorry if my update is all over the place. It’s still a To be Continued…
-In Love, but still always Worried Girlfriend
Part of being in a successful relationship is accepting flaws in a person. Obviously, every single one of us has flaws. But if the flaws of the person you love happen to be your pet peeve, then it probably isn’t going to work in the long run. He’s better off finding someone who can tolerate a little clinginess now and then, and you’re better off finding someone whose particular flaws aren’t deal-breakers for you. Good luck.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.