Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Mad at Match” 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 “Mad at Match” whose letter was featured in a Shortcuts column back in August of 2011. Her non-committal boyfriend of four months was still using Match.com, and I told her to give him an ultimatum to get off Match or she’s going to MOA. Keep reading to see what happened.

I gave him the ultimatum. He was honest in admitting he was still surfing the dating site, but said he was committed to me. We canceled the membership together. We then dated an additional 13 months — about 1.5 years total — before I had to break it off.

That year and a half together was wonderful, don’t get me wrong. We had some romance, a ton of fun, our families got along well, we supported each other in crucial moments (he had a near-death accident and I cared for him 15 hours a day). We were best friends who loved each other.

One major problem though: he never vocalized feelings of love for me. I got fed up waiting for his feelings to deepen for me … and thought they probably never would. It took me a year to face the fact that I was just a glorified FWB. It’s tiring being the understanding, carefree GF who doesn’t need to hear those words.

I had made it very clear how much I loved him without ever actually saying it (call me old fashioned in believing a man should say it first). It was finally on the day we broke up that he said he loved me. He didn’t “want to close the book.”

I was very hurt and without closure. He only confused me more with his half-baked feelings that left me questioning myself. It’s made it much tougher to MOA and I’m much more guarded with my feelings now, and I’m definitely not concerning myself with dating. — Formerly Mad at Match

 
Aw, don’t let this experience taint you. It sounds like you had a good, solid relationship. They aren’t all going to be “The One,” and, if you can learn something and leave a little better than when you started, that’s a success as far as I’m concerned. Good luck in the future!

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

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.

55 comments… add one
  • avatar

    GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 1:17 pm

    Wait so you broke up with him for never saying “I love you” but never said it to him? What?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest April 23, 2013, 1:23 pm

      Have you noticed yourself getting less, erm, patient with the LWs the closer it nears to the wedding?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 1:27 pm

        Yes, I have no patience for anyone lately.

        Especially LWs who don’t communicate with their partners their needs and expectations.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 23, 2013, 1:36 pm

        That reminds me…how was pre cana last night?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 1:43 pm

        It was pretty good. I think. Um, the begining was rough. And I sort of argued with the lady (who said multiple times she didn’t have any real training in couples counseling/therapy/no experience) because one of her points was “You can only change yourself.” Okay, fine point. But then when she gave her example (her husband always leaves his dirty clothes on the floor) and said that she needed to be the one to change her expectations…I was like what? Shouldn’t both partners want to change a little (He tried harder to make it to the clothes basket, and she didn’t freak out when he didn’t) and compromise, rather than her just letting everything go? But she didn’t like that answer.

        I was thinking of trying to find a link to one of the better handout things to put in the forums.

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      • theattack

        theattack April 23, 2013, 1:50 pm

        Oh lord. So yes, she’s technically right, but marriage is more complex than that. Life is not as straight-forward as that when you’re planning on being together for the rest of your lives. That’s sad that she’s teaching people that.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 1:54 pm

        Right, like of course I can technically only change myself…but if I know I’m doing something that drives my husband nuts…shouldn’t I want to meet him in the middle and ease tensions not just make him let it go? I was so annoyed.

        And they did that game where you sit back to back and ask questions and raise the yes or no cards…but the questions where impossible to answer with just yes or just no. Like “my partner will be the disciplinarian” or “my partner can go out once per week with our me” or “My partner will be the sole person resonsible for finances”. So much grey area!!

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      • theattack

        theattack April 23, 2013, 1:58 pm

        That is a pretty difficult game. Like, your partner might be a disciplinarian with kids, but you might be too, so saying THE disciplinarian just isn’t correct. Out of curiosity, why did you guys go to this class?

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 2:00 pm

        Well we didn’t do any religious based pre-marriage classes, etc but we have done a fair amount of “work” on our own. I saw this free county run 4 hour class and figured why not? It couldn’t hurt to get one more person/organizations advice. And some of the talking points on the one hand out I put in the forum are good. As is the communication handout. So, we really don’t have a good reason.

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      • theattack

        theattack April 23, 2013, 2:05 pm

        Oh, gotcha. We haven’t done any counseling either. I wanted to do it, but I’m picky about who to take marriage advice from, and there just isn’t much secular marriage counseling around here. Even secular counseling can enforce religious ideas since so many people are religious. We’ve just been reading books and discussing things constantly. It’s a cool idea for the county to offer that though. I’m sure it helped a lot of people who don’t have the advantage of learning from DW.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest April 23, 2013, 1:58 pm

        Whoa. I guess I had a whole different understanding of what goes on at those things!

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 2:02 pm

        I don’t know if it was a “normal” one. It was run by the county, across the street from the correctional institute, in a building on the airport grounds. So yea…it was weird.

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      • Cassie

        CassieB April 24, 2013, 8:36 pm

        Did you find the ad on Craigslist?

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      • FireStar

        FireStar April 23, 2013, 2:01 pm

        Just hold up both signs and tell her married life is about compromise. Dumb exercise.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 2:03 pm

        I did that for a lot of them. Because we compromise all the time!

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      • theattack

        theattack April 23, 2013, 1:49 pm

        I don’t either, GatorGirl. I’m not dealing with anyone’s BS right now. I’m firing our wedding coordinator 11 days out because of her crap.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 1:51 pm

        Go you! I’m sure you will feel very liberated after cutting the BS out!

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      • Jess

        Jess April 23, 2013, 3:15 pm

        GG, when is your wedding again? We have 2 months to go and the waves of stress (the “to-do” list) are slowly mounting.

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      • avatar

        GatorGirl April 23, 2013, 3:22 pm

        Memorial Day weekend. I can not wait to get this over with!!

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      • avatar

        Taylor April 23, 2013, 4:24 pm

        Wow! Sounds like a story…

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest April 23, 2013, 1:26 pm

      You know, I agreed with you at first, but if that’s just how she is and how she wanted it to be, and when it wasn’t, she MOA’d, then I don’t see anything wrong with that.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar April 23, 2013, 1:59 pm

      I’m with you GG. If you never told him how important it was to you and you are of the camp that believes in “showing your love” as opposed to articulating it then what is the point? If he didn’t make you feel loved – that is one thing. But if he just didn’t say it – and neither did you? Well. Good luck with that.
      Reminds me of a girl my friend was dating. She expected a proposal 6 months in and when she didn’t get it she left – but never told my friend that was her time line. He would have been willing to work with her but we all told him consider it a bullet dodged.

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      • avatar

        tbrucemom April 23, 2013, 6:26 pm

        It took my fiance 2 and a half years to actually tell me he loved me and I had to say it first. However, he SHOWED me he loved me all the time and still does and is very infrequent with it verbally. My ex-husband told me he loved me literally all the time and his actions never backed it up. There’s a reason for the saying “actions speak louder than words”. I think this LW made a mistake by not talking to her BF about how she felt and it sounds like she regrets it and rightly so. Not sure if there’s any chance of getting back together, but she definitely should learn from this if they don’t – speak your mind and don’t assume he can read it!

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      • avatar

        Ammie April 23, 2013, 8:49 pm

        6 months?! Wow, that gal moves fast!

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  • mylaray

    mylaray April 23, 2013, 1:20 pm

    While it sounds like the LW made a good choice for herself by breaking it off eventually, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with not saying the words for a long time. My boyfriend and I have been together for a year, and neither of us has said it yet. We’ve certainly talked about our feelings, and even more so, express them in other ways to each other, but saying it is not easy for either one of us, and I know, for me, I’m okay with that. Our relationship has slowly become so much stronger in other ways, and I’m willing to be patient, as is he. I understand that some people really need to hear it (I always thought I needed to hear it in the past) and that’s okay. But I still feel odd about the LW’s choice, since she says she is so hurt by it still.

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    • avatar

      MissDre April 23, 2013, 1:45 pm

      Welcome to my world. Took my boyfriend 3 years to say it, but he finally did last month.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar April 23, 2013, 2:02 pm

        Could you imagine if you were like the LW? You guys wouldn’t be planning your future together now.

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      • avatar

        MissDre April 23, 2013, 2:08 pm

        I know! I had my moments of uncertainty in our first year together, but ultimately I decided that as long as I felt loved, then I could wait for the words (even though they are important to me). And now here we are talking about having Indian food at our wedding (now I just have to be patient and wait for the proposal).

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      • FireStar

        FireStar April 23, 2013, 2:27 pm

        awww

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      • avatar

        sarita_f April 23, 2013, 4:31 pm

        MissDre, I forget – you would tell your BF all along that you love him, right? You weren’t just waiting for him to say it first?

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      • avatar

        MissDre April 23, 2013, 4:40 pm

        Yes, I told him. Not as often as I wanted to (I’m the type of person that’s very free with I Love Yous) because I didn’t want him to feel pressured. But around the 1-year mark we had a discussion about it. I had said it a few times without him saying it back.

        I said to him, “I don’t know if you love me. I FEEL like you love me, but I don’t know for sure because you’ve never said it” and at that point he told me that it’s a huge step for him and it took him years to be able to say it to anyone, but that he was very happy with me, very committed to me and saw a future together.

        So I just let it go. I tried not to say too too often so as not to pressure him, but after around 2 years I was just like whatever, I don’t care anymore. I love him. If I feel it, I’ll say it. So I did. And one night he finally said it back.

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  • Classic

    Classic April 23, 2013, 1:38 pm

    Random. I think it would be funny if Wendy would change the Like button to Love, instead. Chaos would ensue. Some people would never click Love unless the post clicked Love first. Some would be sad if they clicked Love and the post didn’t Love them back. A few would click Love and then go off and make a baby with some other post and then come back and click Love again; then they would be surprised that it didn’t count this time.
    OK, sorry, I’m going now.

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  • avatar

    Liz_Kruck April 23, 2013, 1:58 pm

    It makes me a little sad that you never told him your feelings. Especially after his near death accident — seems like that would’ve really brought your feelings to the surface and wanting to share them. But I guess the same could be said on his side. Good luck in the future and I hope you find a guy who will show you the kind of love you want!

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet April 23, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Why are you going to be more guarded with your feelings now? It sounds like that’s where you went wrong in the first place.

    Listen, guarding your feelings does NOT make for successful relationships. That’s how you play games. That’s how you end a 1.5 year relationship with confusion. That’s how you put yourself through more pain. I’ve seen so many people do this. They go through one particularly bad breakup and vow to guard their feelings and not let anyone in when instead they should focus on being more honest and open about their needs. The man of your dreams is not going to come along and try to decode you. He is not going to find you mysterious, he’s going to find you uninterested and move on (or find you confusing and mean and move on).

    Maybe a better lesson to take away from this relationship is that if you have to force your boyfriend to cancel his active dating site membership, you probably shouldn’t waste anymore time.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle April 23, 2013, 2:49 pm

    I pretty much sat my boyfriend down (in a restaurant) a year into our relationship and said “I don’t want to play pretend anymore. If this isn’t going anywhere can you please let me know so I can find someone that is going to go somewhere?” He simply said “Okay” A week later he told me he loved me and now we are married!

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    • avatar

      honeybeenicki April 23, 2013, 4:09 pm

      Imagine that – communicating openly and honestly without hostility (I assume you weren’t hostile?) gets you somewhere! And the fact that you weren’t pushy and forcing him to deal with it right that instant might have helped too.

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  • Lindsay

    Lindsay April 23, 2013, 3:13 pm

    I’m not going to fault the LW for wanting someone who is willing to share their feelings unprompted. I personally don’t have the patience or interest in a guy who has to be prodded to express himself. And I’m not sure how much I’d believe someone if they only told me they loved me when they thought I might break up with them over it. But deciding that you won’t tell someone how you feel until they go first is kind of unfair. Men aren’t some other species. They’re people, too, who might think that YOU don’t love THEM if you hold back as well. Being old-fashioned is fine, but you have to realize that you might men who aren’t old-fashioned who are still nice guys.

    Anyway, I’m going to assume that the LW just wasn’t into the relationship or that there were other reasons for her to doubt his commitment. Because I’m not sure how you can jump from “not saying I love you” to “glorified FWB” without more to the story…I hope?

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  • avatar

    haggith April 23, 2013, 3:34 pm

    maybe he was exactly in the same position as you: i won’t tell her if she doesn’t first. it is not the case you let yourself be vulnerable and told him at least one; neither of you had the courage to do it… i definitely prefer someone who takes his time to really mean what they say to someone who just says it to get over with it.

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  • avatar

    sarita_f April 23, 2013, 4:53 pm

    LW – I’m sorta with the camp that wants to take you to task for not just ovary-ing up and telling him you loved him. But I can also see Lindsay’s point about not wanting to entangle yourself long-term with someone who’s rather reticent with their feelings. And DEFINITELY I’d give the side-eye to someone who only pulled I Love You out when they didn’t want to end the ride.

    But please don’t guard yourself. Don’t do that to yourself. 13 years ago I dated a guy end of college/early 20’s, for 3.5/4-ish years. I told him I loved him 3 weeks in (we had been close friends for a couple of years before, it totally did not feel rushed to me). He sputtered then and I waited 3.4 years to hear it back and never did, although I do think we loved each other and showed that we cared about each other. Actually, there were times where I SWORE up and down he said it to me as he thought I was asleep, but still- guard up on my part, for many many years after that. Next serious boyfriend came along and wow, I really did love that guy. And he, I think, tested the waters a few times on the ILY thing, but I always stuffed down the urge to encourage him and I think that really derailed any momentum on my side and we did end up breaking up. I wish I had been more open with him, even if to just get a better read on where he was at.

    At any rate, I think I’ve really closed myself off a lot. I haven’t had a mutual “I love you” in about 14 years, since my first BF. I’m nearing 33 years old and I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot and wonder if I can even recognize love for myself. I had a very close friend unexpectedly die about three years ago, and it really woke me up to the depths of feelings I could actually have. Honestly, her death rocked me to my core and turned out to be amazing and life-affirming, even through the horribleness, and made me realize I probably CAN love fiercely and deeply if I just let someone in. And that I spent too many years holding men at arms’ length.

    At any rate, probably none of the above makes much sense but I just want to encourage you to stay open and hopeful.

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson April 23, 2013, 6:09 pm

      Sarita! Open yourself up to loving my brother! He’s an engineer and owns a condo downtown and he’s fun and on two drinking kickball leagues and the nicest guy. But he’s short. So get over that and then marry him. I really want a sister in law.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f April 23, 2013, 7:37 pm

        IWTTS – how short? Is he on your FB? We’ve talked about him before, I know that…

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      • avatar

        trixy minx April 24, 2013, 12:25 am

        Dw matching!

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  • avatar

    Muffy April 23, 2013, 5:01 pm

    I usually feel more comfortable when the guy says it first – makes me feel more desired (that’s a whole other discussion why something like that should make me feel important enough – but it does). That being said you need to communicate that you want a real relationship with love and I applaud you for moving on when you sensed this wasn’t the one. Even though I usually like the guy to say it first one of my boyfriends I said it first because I loved him and didn’t want to wait anymore and I wanted to find out his feelings for me – we had been dating about 9 months at that point. He said it back, and then he took it back! He said I like dating you and stuff (real charmer with the words) but don’t want something serious. So I just dumped him. With my boyfriend now I was upfront on the fact that I wasn’t looking for a FWB or a glorified FWB as you called it (love that name!) and we both love each other very much. That guy’s love style just wasn’t for you and it’s good to recognize that and know what you like – there are so many people out there that lots will match your style

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  • katie

    katie April 23, 2013, 6:01 pm

    wtf? its old-fashioned to want a guy to say “i love you” first? no, its not, its just ridiculous.

    you will never, ever be happy or successful in relationships if you are not honest about your needs, wants and intentions. period. yes, you are going to have to be vulnerable at some point. yes, you are going to have to learn how to speak your feelings. you are going to have to learn how not to bottle things and how to be open and honest, ect, ect, ect… but you wont be happy until you do this, i guarantee it.

    so im glad that your happy now, without this guy, but you more then likely threw away a good thing because you werent able to communicate.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle April 23, 2013, 6:18 pm

    Okay, I have to say I’m a bit uncomfortable with people telling this LW she fucked up or whatever—she wasn’t happy & she ended it. She tried things out for a while & he wasn’t giving her what she needed. It doesn’t really matter if anybody thinks “what she needed” should’ve been communicated before she broke it off…because she already broke it off. And I’m guessing—like Lindsay said—there were other things factoring into her whole “glorified FWB” thing. I’m GUESSING that if her situation was more like, say, MissDre’s, where he showed her ~with actions~ that he loved her, maybe she would’ve been more comfortable bringing it up, & then being patient? (sorry to use you as an example, MD!)

    But anyway, that’s just my perspective. Personally, in my relationships, I *do* like it when my partner says “I love you” first & like Lindsay said above, wouldn’t want to be with somebody whose feelings needed to be pulled from their mouths.

    Basically,

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle April 23, 2013, 6:19 pm

      What. I do NOT know where that “Basically,” came from! AH

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    • iwannatalktosampson

      iwannatalktosampson April 23, 2013, 6:29 pm

      I agree. Fuck it. She wanted out. They weren’t married. She doesn’t owe him anything.

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    • avatar

      painted_lady April 23, 2013, 9:36 pm

      I love this, Fab. We tell LWs all the time that if they’re not happy, they don’t need a “good enough” reason to end it. And yet, when a LW ends a relationship for reasons we find suspect, it’s all, “That reason wasn’t good enough!” She felt like a FWB. That’s not something that happens unprompted, and feeling like you’re not important to someone (or that they don’t respect you, or whatever) is a good enough reason for me.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl April 24, 2013, 8:10 am

      Fabelle, I do agree with you for the most part. But isn’t one of the things we say all the time is that “your partner isn’t a mind reader”? I totally agree that you should leave a relationship when your needs aren’t being met, but if you never communicate the needs, then how is your partner supposed to know how to met them?

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      • avatar

        BreezyAM April 25, 2013, 5:20 pm

        I understand the thought behind this, but I need my partner to have enough mental skills to know some basic things I want. Like an ILY within like, a year or so. I don’t want to have to tell him these things. It’s just not meaningful to me if I need to tell him to call me while on vacation or to write me an email on my birthday while he’s at work, say ILY. I want a guy who does that naturally. If he can’t, he’s not the right guy for me.

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  • avatar

    Older and (hopefully) wiser April 23, 2013, 7:17 pm

    I didn’t get the feeling from this letter that she broke up with him because he didn’t tell her he loved her. She broke up with him because he didn’t love her. If she felt like a glorified FWB, it wasn’t working.

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    • avatar

      painted_lady April 23, 2013, 9:30 pm

      Yeah, I had one of those. And that guy told me he loved me on a fairly regular basis, but I felt so massively unloved. I actually even referred to it as feeling like a FWB. Honestly, part of the reason I hung on for six months longer than I should have was because he was *saying* he loved me, he just never wanted to do anything for me or with me that inconvenienced him in the slightest. And one day it finally hit me, hey dumbass, it’s because he doesn’t love you.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark April 23, 2013, 8:11 pm

    Some people do ALL the can to guarantee that they wind up all alone… And yes, LW, it’s you I’m talking about and NOT your boyfriend…

    PS — the faster you get a man to say I love you the less he truly and sincerely means it. Few realize this. Instead most want the instant satisfaction of the mostly empty words… And it always works out just… swell.

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  • avatar

    Kelly April 23, 2013, 9:19 pm

    This is kind of sad. Your families got along, you had loads of fun, you nursed him through a near death experience, yet you couldn’t at some point sit down and have a serious talk
    wih him about your expectations, where your relationship was heading, your feelings and so on. You simply broke up with him? He told you he loved you, but since he isn’t psychic, it was to little to late. Maybe he is better off.

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  • avatar

    Sasa April 24, 2013, 8:21 am

    I really, really doubt that this breakup was just about him not saying ILY. She was questioning the depth of his feelings for her, not just his way of expressing them. There probably were a lot of other signs, too. I’m not surprised btw that he finally did say ILY when she left him – at that point, talk is cheap because you know the relationship is over. And EVEN IF he truly loved her and it was all some huge misunderstanding, then they obviously had such terrible communication problems that they still should have broken up. It’s not enough to have the feelings, you have to be able to get them through to your partner. If this isn’t possible in a couple, then that doesn’t bode well for their relationship.

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