Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

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 “Scared He’ll Be a Schlub” whose boyfriend didn’t like the paisley shirt she bought for him to wear to her friend’s “electro-hippy psychedelic chic” wedding. They proceeded to have big blow-out arguments “that,” she wrote, “in his mind, are all my fault because I bought the offending shirt.” She continued:

“It’s not even about the shirt anymore, but rather about underlying themes in our relationship that I believe are navigable over the long-term. The short-term problem is the rapidly approaching wedding and the fact that he’s running out of time to find an outfit. I give it an 80% chance that he misses the window and a 100% probability that if he attends this wedding looking like a schlub, I will be so pissed off that not only will the shit again hit the fan, but also it will ricochet off it and rain fecal destruction upon our partnership. Can we survive it? Sure, maybe, but maybe not because I feel that the shirt is symbolic of our mutual stubbornness, and the odds ratio I’ve given him is emblematic of my simmering resentment that he’s pinning the blame squarely on me for “The Shirt That Launched a Thousand Ships and Broke the Camel’s Back.” What should I do?”

I reached out to her recently and asked whether he ever found something to wear to the wedding and how they were doing today. Her update:

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone (well, everyone American who celebrates)! Or as Joanie says: Hapee Sacse Giveen! What’s everyone doing for turkey day? Like a lot of people, we had our plans canceled kind of last minute, and it’ll just be the four of us at home today. I’ve been baking and cooking for the past few days, and today I just have the turkey, mashed potatoes, and a quick easy Libby’s pumpkin pie to cook and the heating up of the stuff I already made (or bought) while Drew is going to cook his fan favorite, mac-n-cheese. We’re going to watch the Macy’s parade (on TV this year), the kids are so excited for the dog show, and I hope I can squeeze in a long walk at some point, or even a short walk if that’s all I have time for (I’ve been trying to walk around five miles a day).

This year I am grateful for vaccines! I’m grateful that my kids will get their second doses tomorrow and that, in a couple weeks, we can resume a more normal life. (This means there will be no more threats of school quarantine, Drew and I are going to get babysitters and go out again!, and the kids can go to indoor birthday parties and play dates and sleepovers! In February, we’re leaving the country and taking a beach vacation nearly two years after we canceled our Mexico trip!) I’m grateful for friends and family and good food and a warm home and cats and dogs and everyone who has made sacrifices this year for the public good and helped me maintain same faith in humanity when there are often so many reasons to doubt it. And, as always, I’m grateful for YOU, for being here, for contributing to this little community, for making me feel part of something even during all those months I was/we were isolated at home. Thank you! And Hapee Sacse Giveen.

As a 30-something childless woman, I really want to have close, intimate relationships with friends and my boyfriend, who are like my chosen family. But I think I’m standing in my own way by being annoying! I’ve been aware of the issue for about five years, I have seen two therapists (who insist I’m not annoying and that everyone in my life is just focused on other things!), and I’m still struggling.

My boyfriend loves me, and I am close with my sister/best friend, but due to their own families/ different needs, I am the the emotionally needy one in all three relationships (but I help with my sister’s kids a lot)! I am a “double texter,” and my boyfriend’s recurring critique is I talk without checking in to whether he is paying attention and I am engaging him. So I work on just keeping things to myself, which usually works for a while, and then word vomit after a bad day or because I feel so lonely and disconnected! And then I feel annoying, and the cycle repeats. What’s hard is that I don’t find this trait annoying in others – I LOVE listening when someone is sharing, and even a monologue about topics I am not interested in doesn’t bother me (from loved ones, not a random guy at work!).

I figure I should stay in therapy, but any other tips so I can be less annoying and hopefully develop closer relationships? Based on my therapist’s suggestion, I have been trying to focus on relationships with childless people who are (at least at this stage of life) more likely to have time/energy, and this helps in a way to “spread out” my emotional neediness, but I haven’t really developed any intimate relationships. — Feeling Annoying

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Weekend Open Thread

Since the kids started back to school again in September, after a year and a half at home full-time, Drew and I have been trying to carve one weekday a week for a date day. We’ve gone to the beach, to museum exhibits, on long walks and lunches, and yesterday we went to a cemetery to scope out burial plots. And they say romance is dead. I didn’t think I cared at all about where I was buried until yesterday when I wandered through this cemetery and suddenly felt like it could be the right final resting spot.

Maybe it’s the age I am and the general feeling of settling into a stage that I know/think/hope will last a while. The excitement of the past 15 years (meeting Drew, moving to NYC, getting married, moving to Brooklyn, having babies, buying a home, living through a pandemic) is mostly in the rearview mirror now and while I’m not ready for things to be, you know, boring, I am ready for the excitement to be less “Big Life Moments” and more “cool experiences I feel lucky to have.” How does picking a burial plot relate to that? I’m still thinking on it, but I suspect it’s the feeling of being liberated from a big decision that was kind of hanging over us so that I can focus on the now, now. And I like the now, now. It’s good to be here. I hope I get to be here for a while (and that my need for a burial plot is a long, long way off, but it feels good to have the ball rolling on committing to something so I can be freed-up to enjoy my life in the meantime!).

Anyhoo, I hope you are enjoying where you are now, too. I hope the stress of the past nearly two years is lifting a bit for you or will be soon. I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and happy and looking forward to a holiday season that’s a bit more festive than last year’s. I hope that a balance can be found in your work life -for those whose jobs have been dramatically altered lately – that you’re satisfied with, if not immediately, then maybe soon in the new year. And I hope that this Thanksgiving in a few days (for us Americans, anyway) brings a reminder of all the things you have to feel grateful for, and that maybe it’s a little bit more than what you felt grateful for last year.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and here are a few links that might interest you:

I’ve heard this one before: He Cared About Me, So I Broke Up With Him

Why do humans keep trying (and failing) at monogamy? Here’s what science and history says

Interesting: The Home is the Future of Travel

Where Are Young People Most Optimistic? In Poorer Nations. (See also: richer nations already peaked; here in the US, the baby boomers ensured that their offspring’s generation would generally be worse off, unfortunately…)

Well, here’s one result of the pandemic I hadn’t considered: NYC Sex Clubs are Better than Ever

The grand slam of covid dating: This couple fell in love, moved in, had a kid and got engaged — all during the pandemic

For about two months now, my fiancé has been acting weird; he used to call me “babe,” call or text randomly during the day just to check up on me, kiss me goodnight, cuddle me sometimes when watching tv or sleeping, tell me sweet nothings like he loves me or appreciates me, take me out for dinner at least once a month, go on weekend getaways, and initiate sex, but now all that has changed. I’m the one who initiates the sex and the calls, and when I tell him I love him, his response is always “thanks.” When I ask him if I should book us a mini holiday, he always refuses, and the other day I found two packs of condoms in his first aid kit in one car and one pack in the work bag in the other car while the only place we have sex is at home or at hotels when we are holiday. When I asked him why he has condoms in the car, his response was that he bought them and just hadn’t brought them in the house yet. So, I took the ones that were in the car, but when I went to get the ones in the bag, they were not there, and recently I found three packs in the car again in a different location.

I’m not sure what to think. He’s now emotionally distant and he’s always on his phone (which he hides when I’m closer), and whenever I ask him if there’s another person, he always denies it. And he doesn’t seem to care about our relationship anymore. The other day he was supposed to join my family and me for my nieces’ birthday celebration and he canceled at the last minute, saying he was tired from the exam he had earlier. The next day when I came back home, there wasn’t any evidence that he’d actually even been home after his exam. But what’s confusing is that whenever I buy something for the house, he’s always telling me not to use my money – that he’ll do everything. And the funny part is he’s home 95% of the time (if he’s not at work) and he sleeps at home every night, but after saying he’s going out with his friend, he sometimes doesn’t pick up his phone.

Please advise on what I need to do. When I tell him his behavior upsets me, he’ll change for a day or two and then go back to being online or on WhatsApp all the time and not answering his phone when it rings in front of me. I’m frustrated/angry/sad/stressed because I didn’t expect such from him. Also, I’m three months pregnant. — Sad and Stressed

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