Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

RIP, RBG

I’m crushed. No one fought harder for us, and the absence of her guiding light through these next few months will be especially acute. Thank you for everything, RBG.

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Photographed by Franey Miller for Refinery29

A reader sent me a link to this essay,“The Dream Job Is Dead. Did It Ever Really Exist?,” and I thought it was worth getting a post of its own. The pandemic and resulting effect it has had on our economy and livelihoods has brought into sharp focus an idea that, especially for a lot of feminists who have fought for every career choice and opportunity and advancement they’ve been granted, might seem counterintuitive or in conflict with modern attitudes and behavior: our jobs are not our lives. Indeed, for many people, work is just… a way to fund their actual lives, and the idea of “dream jobs” is ridiculous because they don’t dream of labor. And yet, for those of us – again, especially women of a certain demographic – who grew up with a narrative that a dream job was something not only to aspire to but also a main way of measuring one’s success in life, not wanting a dream job, wanting a dream job but not having one or, even worse, not having any idea what your dream job might be has often brought with it a sense of, if not failure, a looming feeling of being different (and not “good different.”).
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Here’s what else we’re discussing this week in the forums:

I’m in love with my best friend

Dad has cancer diagnosis, but best friend not being supportive.

What to write in a card to our new neighbors?

My friend has been in love with my boyfriend for a year

Should I be worried about text boyfriend received?

I’m lonely. I love living with my boyfriend, but that is not enough for me.

Friend’s flirty boyfriend, what to do???

Coronavirus/ Covid-19/ At-Home Support Thread

Anyone going on awesome dates?

Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

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updatesIt’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 “On the Fence,” the woman who was dating a guy, “Carl,” who still had a drawer of his ex-wife’s underwear, despite telling the LW he loved her and wanted to be exclusive with her. She was concerned about other red flags she noticed about what she considered lax boundaries with his ex, like fixing things in her house and removing the LW’s stuff when the ex comes over (to drop off their kids). Having been in an abusive marriage, she was doubting her own judgment and wanted advice about whether these were, in fact, signs of a problem.

She updated us three months ago and said that she had become exclusive with Carl despite feeling like the relationship was only temporary and despite Carl’s still refusing to ask his ex to get her things from his place or his refusing to set any boundaries with her. She wrote: “I don’t want drama. I will say, though, that what I’ve gotten out of this relationship is more guidance in how it is to exist in a space where I’m treated well (outside of this) and am with someone who is genuinely nice. That’s been a breath of fresh air, and I very much look forward to taking those lessons into the next relationship.” Has she taken the lessons to the next relationship? Has she at least left Carl? Her latest update, below.

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Hi Wendy, you answered my question almost 10 years ago. Your advice, along with the insight of your readers, was so helpful! (The question and response are linked below.) I’m now reaching out with a different question, and I would appreciate your feedback very much. I have been a fan of your blog for many years. Thank you!

“When Should I Tell Guys I Was Raped as a Virgin?”

Updates: “Rape Survivor”

Dear Wendy,

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for six months and it’s going great – he is kind, smart, funny, creative, attractive, and good to me. We are on the same page about wanting to find “the one,” having kids, and our religion, and we share a thirst for life, travel, and new experiences. I feel a lot of potential for a future together.

My one concern is our financial compatibility. I have a high-paying job in software sales for which I earn roughly $260k per year. I went to a state school that was nearly free and then jumped straight into the workforce. Now at age 31, my net worth is over $500k. I have not shared any financial details with my boyfriend, though he knows I am well-off based on my lifestyle, which is modest but more lux than his.

My boyfriend took the academic and free-spirit route, attending a prestigious private university for undergrad, teaching abroad for a few years, and then getting a Master’s degree from an Ivy League university. For the last two years, he has been working at the same small company in a low-level position, making $60k per year, with no raises or promotions, while paying off student loans. I’ve made a few subtle comments encouraging him to explore other opportunities, but he seems to be happy where he is and has even implied that he thinks he makes a good salary.

I don’t expect my future husband to match me in salary, but it’s hard to imagine being with someone who doesn’t make at least $100k to pull his weight financially in supporting a family. I don’t seek an extravagant lifestyle; I want a 3-4 bedroom house with a patio and rooftop (~$600k in our city), I would like to work part-time once I have kids (or maybe even take one to two years off work), and I want to send my kids to a Jewish private school.

All of the above are well within reach on my salary and/or savings alone – it’s not an issue of having enough money. But I’m concerned about the following, given such a large discrepancy between our finances:

1. How my significantly larger earnings could impact the dynamic of the relationship. I don’t want to emasculate my boyfriend, and I also don’t want to “wear the pants.” I know that marriages in which the woman is the breadwinner are statistically less likely to last.

2. I fear that in the future I will have to “do it all” – make the money, put dinner on the table, and be super-mom (my first priority), which could build resentment.

Because I feel confident in my boyfriend’s ability to land a higher-paying job and advance professionally (despite his apparent lack of urgency to do so), I remain optimistic. However, as his girlfriend, I do not feel enthusiastic about giving him career advice, and I certainly don’t want to make him feel bad. He is anything but lazy in his hobbies and personal interests, but that ambition doesn’t seem to cross over into his career. Breaking up with someone over money just feels wrong (and unfair without a discussion first) and it’s simply not what I want.

Is this a situation that can be rectified with the right approach, or do I need to choose between accepting life as the super-breadwinner or breaking up due to financial incompatibility? Is my concern valid, or is it shallow for me to think this way? Your perspective would be greatly appreciated. — Not Interested in Being a Super Breadwinner

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