Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Paranoid about Being Paranoid” 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 “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.

We’re still together and our relationship just keeps getting better. I confronted my boyfriend about all the worrisome things I found and in many instances (such as the remarks I thought were sexist) I totally misunderstood what he was commenting on. The atheist remark and one about being out with his friend when he was actually going to bed were to make a point, and he regretted saying both.

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 protected] 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 [email protected].

24 comments… add one
  • kare

    kare November 5, 2013, 3:39 pm

    Guessing this guy isn’t on /b/.

    But glad all is well and that you are having success with therapy.

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      bethany November 5, 2013, 3:50 pm

      what’s /b/?

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle November 5, 2013, 4:03 pm

        It’s a thread (thread?) of 4chan

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      • avatar

        bethany November 5, 2013, 4:22 pm

        what’s 4chan?

        I’m old.

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      • avatar

        starpattern November 5, 2013, 5:10 pm

        It’s terrible, never ever go there.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle November 5, 2013, 5:12 pm

        It’s an image-sharing site, at its most basic… but starpattern is right, it’s like everything that’s terrible about the internet

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      • avatar

        Matcha November 5, 2013, 5:28 pm

        It’s an online forum. The different subforums are all named /[letter]/. /b/ is the image board subforum and is pretty much known as the face of 4chan. All the commenters are anonymous (there aren’t even user names, just randomly generated numbers that change all the time) and people get pretty … uh, sexist, misogynistic, racist.

        But since she mentioned downvotes, I’m guessing reddit.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl November 5, 2013, 4:08 pm

        It’s where maturity goes to die.

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        starpattern November 5, 2013, 5:11 pm

        It’s where humanity goes to die.

        There, fixed it for you 😛

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      • landygirl

        landygirl November 5, 2013, 8:19 pm

        Thank you.

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    • kare

      kare November 6, 2013, 12:56 am

      Yeah I was thinking reddit too. But the thought of someone trying to bring morality to /b/ is entertaining since /b/ is beyond hope. My ex was obsessed with 4chan…scary.

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  • avatar

    Callifax November 5, 2013, 3:54 pm

    I’m going to guess that he’s probably a Redditor. As someone who visits Reddit daily, I get how easy it can be to get swept up in the posturing and sometimes overly critical culture of the site, especially depending on what sub-Reddits you subscribe to.

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    • Fabelle

      Fabelle November 5, 2013, 4:04 pm

      Yeah, my guess (after this update) was Reddit, also.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl November 5, 2013, 4:10 pm

      Or Huffington Post or yahoo. Lots of sites have commenters.

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      • othy

        othy November 5, 2013, 5:18 pm

        My father is a Huffington Post commenter. And he’s also very conservative. Which means he just posts on Huffington to disagree (and troll) liberals. It’s disturbing, and best for his relationship if I avoid any/all of his posts.

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      • avatar

        MsMisery November 6, 2013, 1:59 pm

        Jeez, my dad can barely operate his laptop or his email half the time (and he’s not new to this). I can’t imagine him, like, POSTING SOMEWHERE. Or even what he’d say….. Well, no, I can kind of imagine it. But it would be typed with one finger.

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  • avatar

    redessa November 5, 2013, 4:39 pm

    “I personally made a commitment to as much as possible being paranoid and snooping.”

    I sure hope that was supposed to say “… stop being paranoid…”

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    • avatar

      rachel November 5, 2013, 5:38 pm

      Haha, glad I’m not the only one who noticed that.

      Reply Link
  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark November 5, 2013, 5:13 pm

    “I’ve made a real commitment to stop snooping — and it’s working!! Today, I snooped and everything is just great!”

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    • avatar

      Matcha November 5, 2013, 5:30 pm

      Is it even snooping if it’s a public online profile? It’s unnecessary, but I wouldn’t call it snooping. (FYI, this isn’t specifically directed at you BGM, the thought just popped in my head when I read your comment.)

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark November 5, 2013, 5:40 pm

        Eh, I am only using her terminology here. She said — I’ve done all I can to stop X. Today, I went ahead and did X… Look, if I had a lover who was policing my Dear Wendy comments, I’d run for the hills.

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      • avatar

        bethany November 5, 2013, 5:46 pm

        True that. It’s one thing to look at your significant other’s FB Page or instagram account. They’re putting that out there, with their name on it, and have allowed you to have access. It’s another to go onto a site you know your wife reads/comments on, and look through the posts to see what she’s written. If my husband snooped on me on here, I’d be pissed. And he’s specifically been told he’s not allowed to read DW, too 🙂

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      • avatar

        Matcha November 6, 2013, 2:09 am

        Yeah, I agree it crosses a boundary. Forum posts are semi-anonymous so there’s an aspect of expected privacy. On reddit, you can add your friends so they can follow your posts, though I’m assuming the LW is just creeping his profile. It’s just …weird.

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  • kaluu

    kaluu November 6, 2013, 3:11 pm

    I still don’t know why he said he “was with his best friend” / “an atheist?” Unclear!!
    Would you maybe (lie and) say you’re an atheist if you wanted people to think your opinion wasn’t biased by your religion? That would make sense. The best friend thing not so much…

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