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 “Over the Crisis” who wrote in a couple months ago saying she was sick of her boyfriend’s ongoing existential crisis in which he seemed undecided about what to do with his life. “My opinion,” she wrote, “is that he should go a more traditional, business-minded route that I think would make him (and to be completely honest, us) the happiest and the most secure.” Keep reading to see whether he’s still undecided.
I’m not going to go into how I didn’t particularly appreciate being called a gold-digger, because it’s the internet and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.
Reading everyone’s responses to my letter made me see that I wasn’t being fair to my boyfriend and it got me thinking about what I needed to start doing in order to be a better girlfriend. I came to the realization that this existential crisis of his was beginning to suck up all of the air and space in our relationship and that I realized that my needs were being shuttled aside in favor of his. For example, when I would have a bad day and want to decompress, he would immediately tell me that my worries were not at all important, especially in comparison to his, or he would demand my full attention to help him deal with this crisis during moments when I was unable to do so, like in the middle of drinking my morning coffee, crawling into bed, or at the end of the day when I was just coming out from under my stack of reading for grad school and was looking, bleary-eyed, for a glass of wine and an episode of 30 Rock.
So, in the end, I realized that I was becoming resentful of him and his needs, and so I approached him and we decided on a system that would work better for both of us. I would agree to set aside time in my day when I could be fully alert and responsive and we could really talk about him and his problems, and, in response, he agreed to stop downplaying my issues as unimportant and to not spring big important discussions during moments when I’m unable to give him my full undivided attention.
As a result of these changes our discussions have become much more positive and I find that given this forum I am much more responsive to all of his ideas. I think that my desire for one career path over another was partially as a result to end the discussion, end the fighting and end feeling kinda shitty about how I was being treated; now that we’re acting more respectful towards one another, I’m far more open to different life plans.
I guess I’m less over it?
Thanks for the update and good luck with everything. If I could caution against one thing though, it would be this: be careful about compartmentalizing your life in such a way that you designate certain times in the day when you’re a good girlfriend, able to give your boyfriend undivided attention, and certain times when you need to be left alone. It’s fine to need time to study and decompress, but flexibility is essential. Perhaps you already have that and I’m just reading your update wrong, in which case, carry on.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.