Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Dirty Little Secret” 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 today. After the jump, we hear from “Dirty Little Secret” who had been dating her new boyfriend for nine months and still hadn’t met his kids (whom he fathered with his ex-wife of 18 years). Keep reading for more information from the LW.

Wow!!! It was definitely hard to read some of the comments made, but I have read each and every one of them. Everyone has the right to their opinion. I appreciate that. But to set the record straight – “baggage” was his word to describe his situation. Not mine. I’ve never dated a man who is so protective of his children and so close with his former in-laws. I’m learning, too.

I would like to share a little more about me. I am not desperate to find a husband. I was married in my mid-twenties to a doctor whom I left because he cheated on me with a nurse at the hospital. I had a boyfriend who asked my father for permission to marry me, but I knew he was not right for me, which my family did as well. And I had another man, seriously discussing marriage, fall to the floor and die in front of me from a pulmonary embolism after surgery for lung cancer. I have loved and lost, and I have not jumped into anything fast. I am not desperate, but of course I would like to marry again.

My BF knows this. He sees himself getting married again as well. He has told me he does not want me to be a “forever girlfriend.” I know that can have many different meanings. Right now it means to me that we will be moving one way or the other. We are discussing travel plans for November and February of 2013. I know that’s a long way off and anything can happen, but we are talking about the future. And I have my own timeline in place that I am comfortable with. I know myself and I know how I feel.

Yes, I do want to have a child of my own. My boyfriend and I have talked about this. This has never been a secret. He will have another child if we end up together. I will not go to any extreme measures to conceive this child (medical issues on my part), but I want to try. And the alimony he pays his wife is for a total of six years, with over two completed.

Yes, I have met his one and only friend. And yes, I find it odd that he has just one. I have also met some of his co-workers when we have gone to a professional basketball game in his company suite. I have verified on county records that his divorce is final and has been for over two years.

I have introduced him to numerous boyfriends and husbands of my friends. They have all welcomed him and truly like him. Several of them have suggested they go play golf together. I am very encouraging of this, and he is excited too. (Especially because he is better than they are!!).

I have never said that he CANNOT spend time with his former in-laws. I have actually encouraged on numerous occasions that we meet his nephew (who is getting married) out for a beer. We both agree he would be the easiest one to break the ice with. It’s not a matter of him going to his nephew’s wedding; it’s the matter of me not being there with him. He said it is because his boys – and the ex-wife – will be there. He is going to the bachelor party in Vegas, and I have no problem with that.

When “ladygirl” stated that when the ex-wife finds out about me, she will have an urge to have him back, and “artsygirl” stated that once the former in-laws know about me, his relationship with them will change, I completely agree. Yes, and yes. I have thought both of these things, and I have discussed them with my BF. He doesn’t know for sure how they will react, but it is a concern for him. His ex-wife and former in-laws suspect he has a GF – especially the nephew. As far as I know, they have never flat out asked, and my BF has never offered. He is an extremely private man.

“Oldie” hit the nail on the head. He does not share much, if anything, with his mother regarding his personal dating life. She did not even know he was getting a divorce until he moved out of the house and the process was well underway. And he is in his early 40’s and feels (felt – 2 paragraphs down) that meeting my parents is equivalent to being engaged. This is different for me because I am very open and speak to my mom every day. My parents have always known my friends and boyfriends and even my co-workers.

He told me that I know him better than anyone else. I actually said “with the exception of” his ex-wife. He said no. They grew up together, but I know him as the single career adult dad that is trying to figure it all out. And I’m trying to figure it out with him.

I will be meeting his mother in less than 2 weeks. (She will be in town for his oldest son’s birthday.) She is absolutely thrilled. He will also be meeting my parents, sister and her family. He is still not ready for me to meet the boys. I’m truly okay with this. We are meeting each others’ parents and that is a huge step for him. And I feel it’s a step in the right direction. The change of heart came when my niece and nephew asked to meet my boyfriend. They are the same age as his boys, and it melted his heart.

I believe my discomfort with his former in-laws is simply that my BF’s ex-wife is their daughter. And, just like my boyfriend puts his boys first, my parents would put me first, and I am afraid that at some point they will put their daughter first and he will be even more hurt than ever. He was already shocked and hurt by the lack of birthday wishes he received from his ex’s family (in May), but pleasantly surprised by the wishes from my friends and family.

Maybe I am being naive at this point? I don’t know. But I do know what I feel. We have talked quite a bit lately, and we both want to continue this relationship and let it develop. Neither of us is perfect, and we are learning from each other…and we shall see.

 
You know, given all this new information — that you are introducing each other to members of your families — it seems like he’s moving forward with you. It may not be as fast as you’d like, and you should probably decide for yourself how long you’re willing to wait before you feel fully integrated in his life (including, of course, meeting his kids), but in the meantime, take some comfort in the steps forward your relationship is making. As for his nephew’s wedding, I’d really let it go at this point. Obviously, he isn’t quite ready for you to meet his kids or his former in-laws and that’s that. Putting pressure on him isn’t going to help. Respect that he isn’t ready and trust that his intentions are pure. Don’t think of him trying to hide you from the people in his life, but more that he isn’t sharing you yet.

As I said in my original reply, relationships are about timing as much as anything else. If you can stand to wait a little longer, perhaps he will eventually be able to meet your needs and invite you to be part of his whole world and not just a portion of that world.

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.

39 comments… add one
  • bagge72

    bagge72 August 2, 2012, 1:31 pm

    Geez, after all of this new information, I don’t see what the problem is at all. It seems like the only people he is keeping you from are his boys, which he can take as long as he wants to do that. Besides that you seem to have it really good, and it seems like he is making progress all of the time.

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    MissDre August 2, 2012, 1:48 pm

    It’s hard to read all of people’s thoughts and opinions when they don’t have all of the information. I understand because the same thing happened to me. I wrote in long long time ago because I was worried that I hadn’t met my boyfriend’s mom and sister, and people said it was likely because his mom and sister were really his wife and child. That hurt a lot. But Wendy’s advice to me was really great, so I don’t regret writing in.

    Anyway, we’ve been together more than 2 years now, and I did eventually meet his mom and sister. I’ve actually spent quite a lot of time with them now. My boyfriend just moves really slowly too, and that’s ok because I’ve figured out the things I can press him on and the things I can’t. You’ll figure it out. When there are things that are really really important to you, talk to him and if he’s understanding, he’ll compromise. But if it’s not a deal-breaker situation for you, just let it go and let him move at his own pace.

    I guess the point of my own little story here is to let you know that I totally understand where you’re coming from, and I understand how your boyfriend is too. Some guys are just cautious and they take longer. It doesn’t mean their intentions are any less honest, or that they love you any less than a man who moves faster.

    I’m really happy that things are progressing for you and I wish you all the best.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 August 2, 2012, 1:54 pm

      Yeah that seems to be the go to advice around here if somebody says they haven’t met there SO’s family. Everyone automatically thinks that he is married, or has another girlfriend, when 99% of the time that really isn’t true. I moved really slow with introducing my fiancee to my family, and if my aunt and uncle didn’t happen to be at the same restaurant then it would have been even longer!

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 August 2, 2012, 1:56 pm

        Actually there seems to be a whole lot of go to advice around here that really isn’t good advice, and it always has to do with cheating for some reason. Anytime a boyfriend has to work late, or has a friend that is a girl he is banging her, or his co-worker.

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        MissDre August 2, 2012, 2:00 pm

        Seriously. I mean, at the time my boyfriend was sharing a townhouse with a room mate, and I slept there all the time. Then when I got my own apartment, he practically moved in with me, staying over 5 nights a week. Why would I think he’s hiding a wife? It took close to 10 months before I met his mom. Before me, he had only ever introduced one girl to his mother and they had been together for 5 years. So it’s something he takes very seriously. Anyway, I had a serious talk with him and let him know how important it was to me, he made it happen, and now when I go over to his mom’s house she’s showing me all his baby pictures and stuff!

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      Jessibel5 August 2, 2012, 3:48 pm

      I didn’t meet my husband’s mom until almost 2 years after we started dating, and she lived between my place and his, only a few miles away from each. He just had to introduce me when he was serious and ready. Now she and I are great friends, and I’m glad he introduced us when he felt he was ready. Sure, it hurt when he was not introducing us, but he needed that time.

      His friends once told me the story of when he broke up with his live-in girlfriend before I came around. He had grown to hate her and wanted to break up with her so he broke the news that he was breaking up with her at a bachelor party. One of his friends asked him “Have you told your mom yet?” When he said he hadn’t, the friend said “I’ll believe it’s real once you tell your mom”

      So basically he in all his scared of commitment glory had to make sure he was committed to me before introducing me to her. Everyone’s timetable is different, and I guess you just have to communicate in order to find out why they’re acting that way. I think that this LW is in a really good place and I’m glad she’s meeting his mother and he’s meeting her family.

      And WWS. Sounds like they’re making some movement, and that’s great!

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      Riefer August 3, 2012, 3:13 pm

      My now-husband introduced me to his mom almost immediately. Something like 10-12 days after we’d met. He gave me a key to his apartment after like 3 months. But, he didn’t propose until we’d been dating for almost 3 years. Given that we were both in our 30s, that’s a really long time (in my opinion). To the point that I was giving myself a deadline for how long I should wait before breaking up with him. He was terrified of marriage because of his parents’ breakup, and because of the horrible marriage/breakup his brother was going through.

      Anyway, it just goes to show that there’s no “timeline” for these things. Everyone’s different with what they’re comfortable with, and when. The most important thing is to communicate and make sure you both understand where the other is coming from, and that you both know that if one of you is unhappy, the situation can’t stay that way forever. It’s going to either have to move forward or end, eventually.

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  • avatar

    Muffy August 2, 2012, 1:59 pm

    Why did you write in again if everything was going so well? I really don’t understand what the problem was since you seem fine with the way everything has been moving and apparently… in your original letter you said you were worried that you hadn’t yet met certain important people in his life (kids and former inlaws) but now you defend that by saying you’ve met so many other important people so it’s ok.

    I guess with the whole kids issue it depends if you truly feel he’s serious about you the way you are about him. Since you wrote in a part of you must have had doubts as to his seriousness because he hadn’t introduced you to his kids given that you’ve pretty much met everbody else. Do you think he’s serious about you? Are you genuinely happy with the pace or are you full of anxiety?

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      MissDre August 2, 2012, 2:05 pm

      Because sometimes, people write in asking for advice on how to handle one particular issue that’s bothering them, and then commentors dissect a person’s letter and throw out accusations and try to weed out issues that aren’t even there, and it makes a person defensive because often times, the conclusions people come up with have nothing to do with the original issue. And just because an LW is seeking advice on handling that one issue, it doesn’t mean that their relationship is full of anxiety and ready to fall apart. Sometimes, things are great, but there’s one little thing that nags you and you’d like a third party opinion on how to deal with it. That’s why people write in to Wendy.

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        spark_plug August 2, 2012, 2:24 pm

        It’s only natural that if you leave out pieces of information that people will speculate to fill them up. If the LW had sent the second letter, I’m sure responses would have been different. I mean, if the ONLY thing that you know about this random stranger is that her boyfriend is not willing to introduce her to his family.. it’s only natural to assume that something is off.

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        MissDre August 2, 2012, 2:39 pm

        Yet if you write out a long letter including every piece of background information, Wendy will either edit it out because it’s too long, or people will tell you that you sound like you’re trying to convince yourself of something. You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. Sorry, for some reason I just really feel like I need to stand up for this LW.

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        Ally August 2, 2012, 5:16 pm

        Plus this is an update, I read it that she’d talked to him and this was progress they had made since then and the progress made her less worried about not having met his kids.

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        Muffy August 2, 2012, 5:17 pm

        The tone of this update is very different from the original letter – it’s not just the extra information. This update shows how great the relationship is besides the one flaw. The original letter was focused on the one flaw and used words like “dirty secret”. I can’t remember if I commented on the original letter or not but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had jumped to the conclusion that she was just a good time gal and not a long time gal given the difference in tone. It definitely is a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation but the tone of this seems much more upbeat than the original letter which was all anxiety…

        Anyways good luck LW!

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      • katie

        katie August 2, 2012, 9:15 pm

        exactly what i thought- this is like two different letters!

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    • avatar

      Riefer August 3, 2012, 3:17 pm

      I think the fact that she’s meeting the mother soon is new information, which happened after the original letter was sent. So she has some evidence that he’s actually moving forward, albeit slowly for her.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh August 2, 2012, 2:11 pm

    i feel like the letter you wrote today is completely different than the information you presented the first time.

    however, if the only issue is the amount of time it’s taking to meet his kids, i wouldn’t worry. meeting kids is a big deal. especially to someone who is so new to re-entering the dating world after 18 years of marriage. he probably is going to move slower than other people. and like wendy said only you know if you’re comfortable with the pace at things are moving. however, you can’t force him to change that. you can encourage, but ultimately you have to learn to be happy with the way things are currently progressing. without trying to force him to change his pace.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl August 2, 2012, 6:12 pm

      Yuo, it seems as if there is some backtracking.

      Regards,
      Ladygirl

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    Iwannatalktosampson August 2, 2012, 2:16 pm

    I think this is the first time I actually gave advice on a letter and it’s the same after the update. Slow your roll. Which it seems like you’re fine doing. So yay me and yay you.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle August 2, 2012, 2:38 pm

    Yeah, I kind of wondered why everybody was jumping on the “dirty secret” thing in the original letter. I guess because the LW said she FEELS like one, but there wasn’t any actual evidence her boyfriend was, say, still married or whatever. Anyway– LW, I’m glad you gave a long, detailed response! It sounds like things are going well & you both are adjusting YET still progressing the relationship in little ways.

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  • avatar

    AliceInDairyland August 2, 2012, 1:51 pm

    “It sucks, and I’m sure it feels unfair. But that’s life. Sometimes we meet the right person at the wrong time. Sometimes we fall in love with someone who isn’t emotionally available. Sometimes, the right person falls in love with us before we’re ready to open our hearts to him or her. This is what makes finding a long-term/ life partner so difficult. It’s not enough to find someone you click with and really like and are attracted to and share common values and goals and interests with. You have to be ready for that person at the exact same time that that person is ready for you. It’s almost like catching lightning in a bottle, which is why, when it does happen, it’s so very special.”

    Ugh. Not to make every post about me (but I probably will for a while…) but this totally made me start choking up at work and need to go cry in the bathroom for a while. I tend to be a person who thinks that if you work hard enough, everything will work out… especially if you set stuff up correctly. But Wendy is so right. Sometimes hard work can’t solve the problem, even if there is so much going for a relationship. It’s just not the right time, or the right place, or both.

    Anyways, LW… I am sorry for all the love you have lost in your life but you do seem like a strong amazing person who has got it together (maybe because of that). Good luck, I have a feeling you will do what’s right for you.

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    • Lili

      Lili August 2, 2012, 2:29 pm

      How are you holding up Alice?

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      • Lili

        Lili August 2, 2012, 3:27 pm

        Oh, and can I get an invite to the blog-I liked reading it, even though I never commented! Pretty Please. I loved all your farmers market hauls 🙂

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        AliceInDairyland August 2, 2012, 3:39 pm

        I am doing alright. Little things keep popping up and making me sad, but I think I am going to get through it just fine. I closed the blog down at the moment because the whole thing revolved around the goats, the farm, and the veggies that my boyfriend bought me/ran/sold. Sooo… those farmer’s market hauls? He grew those, and since I am not really a part of that anymore I won’t have a lot of pictures… 🙁 🙁 It was making me sad thinking about it so I temporarily closed it.

        I may put it back up eventually, if I find I have something to photograph/blog about. It just sucks because the goats are due to have kids any day now, and I am going to feel so awkward coming over to the farm to see them. He let me be in charge of all the health stuff, and now that we are broken up I just don’t want them getting caught in the middle. But I really think I will have trouble going back to the farm. Especially because he has already gone out on a date (5 days after he broke up with me).

        Ugh.

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      • Lili

        Lili August 2, 2012, 3:51 pm

        Aww Alice, I’m so sorry. Yeah, the goats are more than ‘shared’ pets, they’re like kids (pun intended!) at this point given their current state and care needed.

        PS-he told you he’d been on a date, after dumping you unexpectedly?! Ass.

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      • katie

        katie August 2, 2012, 4:07 pm

        aw. im sorry.

        about him already going out on a date, just remember that he has had more time to process the breakup then you have… so try not to take it personally. i know its hard, but try.

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        AliceInDairyland August 2, 2012, 5:04 pm

        Thanks guys. It’s definitely going to be a process, but I am looking at it in as positive a light as possible. It got me in therapy! I can travel wherever I want after school! I am going to have a lot more free time to pursue my other hobbies/my career because I won’t be working on the farm.

        And katie you make an excellent point about that. I think he processes things a lot differently than I do. And he is 27, and wants kids in the next 3-5 years so there is that need to find someone that I don’t feel as pressing. Not to mention he isn’t sure if he made the right decision (I am starting to lean towards yes, myself) so he wanted to “see what was out there” as soon as possible.

        …but really, NO MORE FREE ORGANIC VEGGIES?! 😉

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      • katie

        katie August 2, 2012, 9:14 pm

        dude i hear you on the free organic veggies. that would be a huge loss for me too!!

        and wow- what pressure he must have put on himself.. i couldnt imagine that. a hard and fast timeline for that. yikes.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow August 2, 2012, 7:21 pm

      That’s what stood out to me too! The lightning in a bottle thing. I was “working” really hard to make a relationship work and recently realized that it’s just not going to happen. I thought with enough effort, we could get back to “how it used to be.” Oh, well. You live and learn.

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      • avatar

        Trixy Minx August 3, 2012, 12:59 am

        I’m sorry cats I really hoped thing would work out between you two.

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        AliceInDairyland August 3, 2012, 10:19 am

        🙁 I’m sorry too. Moral of the story: Just keep wandering around outside during thunderstorms…

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  • landygirl

    landygirl August 2, 2012, 3:03 pm

    Does this mean I need to change my profile name to Ladygirl now?

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    • parton_doll

      parton_doll August 2, 2012, 3:26 pm

      Nah. Just use ladygirl as you “down low” alias.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet August 2, 2012, 4:11 pm

    Well, all right then. New day completely new update letter, but I’m glad to see that things are really not bad and your relationship is progressing fine. I’m gonna be a stickler, though, and say that “baggage” WAS your word, since you wrote it, so don’t blame us for jumping on it. But don’t mind me here. Carry on.

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    • call-me-hobo

      call-me-hobo August 3, 2012, 7:58 am

      Hey, sobriquet- how have you been doing? Just wondering how everything has been holding up.

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    Violet August 2, 2012, 7:19 pm

    Perhaps I’m misreading this or something, but it is fairly annoying when the LWs ask for advice, then immediately return to “update” with a host of previously missing info or justifications. If you were set on the path, anyway, why bother writing for help?

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      GTR August 2, 2012, 11:50 pm

      Agreed, Violet. I found it interesting that most of LW’s update was to snipe and lash out at the Dear Wendy commenters. Sadly it follows an age old pattern:

      1. Her: I have doubts about my man.
      2. Us: Your doubts seem entirely valid.
      3. Her: How dare you doubt my man! He’s doing his best!

      And off she trots, congratulating herself on being a loyal and loving girlfriend who stood up to those mean strangers who cast aspersions on her man.

      So LW, keep offering excuses for your boyfriend’s disrespectful behaviour (like banning you from his nephew’s wedding!) if you like, but please don’t look to us to be your scapegoats.

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        Violet August 3, 2012, 12:44 am

        Thanks, this makes me feel like I am being unreasonable or crazy. I need to write into Wendy:

        Dear Wendy, I am increasingly frustrated with LWs who unload catastrophic burdens on you, pleading for advice to fix their miserable (their words) lives, only to lash out at the DW community when the response isn’t what the LW wanted. Or, in this case, adding all kinds of new information to change our perceptions.

        Ugh, maybe I am a cranky pants today.

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  • fast eddie

    fast eddie August 2, 2012, 9:12 pm

    This screams that he’s afraid that his family would make him miserable if he introduces you to them and he risks the relationship with his kids being sabotaged by the family. I lived with my GF for 7 years with my parents extreme DIS-approval. Dad died during that time and I was relieved, but Mom was still on the “your going to hell” lecture circuit. I did invite her to the wedding and made nice but our relationship remained strained until she expired. She even stirred from 6 feet under. I do hope you fare better but I have no idea how. 🙁

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    • fast eddie

      fast eddie August 2, 2012, 9:30 pm

      Opps, I forgot to mention that my bride to be and mother never meet until 2 days before the wedding by my design.

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