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 “Paranoid about Being Paranoid” who was bothered by her boyfriend’s online behavior on social networks. “He sometimes makes sexist remarks,” she wrote, “and uses language I find really rude and disturbing. He said online he was an atheist when in real life he is a Christian who used to work for a church, attends church regularly, discusses scripture and spirituality with me regularly, etc.” Hmm. Keep reading to see whether the mystery has been solved.
He was very reasonable about it all, never got defensive, and realized that his online persona and real-life personality didn’t match up. He said he didn’t like how he acted online and wanted to work on it. I personally made a commitment to as much as possible being paranoid and snooping. My therapist and I — for those who brought it up in the comments, I regularly see a therapist and participate in group therapy as well — have been working on these issues and evaluating my behaviors and worries.
Fast-forward to yesterday. In order to provide an update for Wendy, I did a little checking up on his online profiles and comments. Not only did he change all of the things he told me he wanted to change, such as his language, but he has consistently been calling out commenters who are sexist and misogynistic, even though he gets downvoted for it like crazy. He has also been intelligently and kindly defending his religious and political beliefs, as well as taking to task commenters who are nasty to other users. All in all, I am very happy with him and our relationship.
Thanks for the update and here’s to continued success in therapy and your relationship.
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.