Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “The Key Problem” 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 “The Key Problem” who wrote in last week about her uneasiness with boyfriend’s close friendship with his ex-girlfriend, especially how he still held on to a key to her apartment and was her go-to guy any time she locked herself out or needed help with anything. Keep reading to see whether he got rid of that key yet.

The update is that I told him that I was not okay with the extent of their relationship especially given she was the recent ex, and is, in my opinion, toxic and manipulative. He apologized for the stress I was feeling and told me he threw the key away. I did ask him how I’m to know that he did this because he wanted to or because he was trying to appease me. He responded that he was doing it for our relationship, for me, and for himself. I am happy with his response.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you said and many of the readers reiterated about my boundaries and acceptance of a situation I am not comfortable with. In my past, I was in an abusive relationship and could not speak up about my feelings without reprisal. I am not in that kind of relationship now, and I need to remember that it is normal and healthy to communicate my feelings, especially my discomfort. I do think he is a great person, and I am going to continue the relationship while setting better boundaries for myself and demanding respect. The reason why I am going to stay is because I am happy 90% of the time. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that it doesn’t work out: at least I will have given myself the opportunity to have worked on my personal boundaries and respect issues. This keeps in line with my motto that I am always trying to be the best version of myself and can only control the things in my life that I am responsible for: my actions and my decisions.

So…last night my boyfriend’s ex called him and asked again if he could unlock her place. This is the second time in two weeks! He told her that he no longer had the key and that she needed to call one of her good friends. She tried to object and asked what he was doing later because she might still need “rescuing.” He said we would be busy and that she should probably buy a hide-a-key rock in case this happens again. 🙂

Thanks again!

 
Good for him.
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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.

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11 comments… add one
  • avatar

    joanna March 31, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Personally, I think the boyfriend is lying but that’s just my take.

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    • Amanda

      Amanda March 31, 2014, 2:04 pm

      Yeah…I found it suspicious that the ex said she “might need rescuing later”.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar March 31, 2014, 2:29 pm

        why does that make the boyfriend look suspicious? To me that just says the ex’s contact with him is about him not about getting locked out but about maintaining a connection to him- which is exactly what the LW thought.

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      • Amanda

        Amanda March 31, 2014, 2:37 pm

        Not so much that the boyfriend is suspicious (he said no, after all) – that what was going on before is probably more sketchy than what she thought. I think things are most likely in the free and clear now. I just don’t think what was happening prior was as simple as just unlocking a door.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery April 1, 2014, 12:41 pm

      Yeah, I can’t believe that’s the first time the ex-gf would have expressed the need for an alternate form of “rescuing.”

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  • possumgirl

    Jenn March 31, 2014, 1:18 pm

    He might be thrilled to have a reason to tell the ex “no” as well. That said, you both have to work on “no” together. You both have boundary issues and the sooner you create a place of mutual trust and sharing, the better.

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  • LlamaPajamas

    LlamaPajamas March 31, 2014, 2:23 pm

    I was excited for the LW until I went back and reread the original letter – the boyfriend has been broken up with (although still hooking up and hanging out with) his ex for two years and dating the LW for two years, so it’s been four years since the boyfriend and the ex have officially been a couple. But the ex is telling the LW that she thinks the boyfriend still has feelings for her and he still (until last week) drops everything whenever she needs help? I hate to be a bummer but I’m not convinced that throwing out the key will solve much in terms of his relationship with his ex. It’s super easy to make a grand gesture but I’m guessing it’ll be much harder for him to change the dynamic after four freaking years of this. LW, can you give us another update in a few months?

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    • avatar

      Banana March 31, 2014, 3:11 pm

      Yeah, I didn’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but that sounds really rapid for everything to be neatly resolved, especially since the whole point of Wendy’s (and everyone else’s) advice was that the problem is a lot bigger than just having a key. This sounds like an update where the LW is afraid to admit the extent of the problem, so she’s eager to demonstrate that everything’s A-okay. I hope it all works out for her, but if he’s been disrespectful of the relationship for two years, it’s not all going to work itself out in a few weeks.

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  • avatar

    Lily in NYC March 31, 2014, 4:15 pm

    I have a feeling that the ex-GF didn’t lock herself out all of those times and was just looking for a reason to see the BF.

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  • avatar

    JoanJ March 31, 2014, 5:03 pm

    Yeah, I’m really curious about this constant locking yourself out thing. I’ve had about… let’s see… counting college dorms, and growing up, 12 or 13 different apartments/living spaces I’ve needed keys to, and I think I’ve only been locked out maybe 2 or 3 times, ever, in decades. Now, even allowing for some element of forgetfulness, I’d question someone who’s locked out more than once or twice a year, and that feels like a lot to me. Granted, she may have issues I don’t know about, but, on the surface, even that would feel like a lot.

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  • avatar

    Kaluu April 1, 2014, 12:55 am

    I used to lock myself out often due to the nature of that particular rental’s door (not to mention being careless) and I would call my landlord, looking back I’m surprised how nice he was, I guess he may have often been in the same area.
    This key lady makes me so angry. I hope she leaves LW’s man alone but i doubt it’s over and done with. LW I urge you to create huge Great Wall of china boundaries. If your man is not ok with that I don’t think he is worth your time. I’m not saying every ex of everyone needs a zero contact policy but with this key woman, she has earned it and needs to be completely cut off. It’s great that he told her what to do about her key. He should continue this attitude and when necessary, not even pick up/return her calls. Hope it works out for you.

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