Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy
My fiancé, “Jim,” and I have been together for over four years now. He was married before and has four adult kids with his ex-wife. He’s a great person and I love being with him, but there’s just one problem: We’ve never been intimate. Ever. There’s an age gap – I’m 24 and he’s 48, but we click so well and life is just so calm and sweet with him. I’m quite impulsive, but he’s always supporting me in anything I decide to do, and he really does show he loves me every day.

We’ve talked about the lack of a sex life, and when I say “lack of,” I mean I can count the times he’s touched me intimately on one hand. There has been no sex or sexual intimacy of any kind, however, for over four years. I just don’t know what to do or how to approach this. He’s not a physically affectionate kind of person. When he kisses me, he just kind of… puts his lips on mine? No feeling or anything and it’s over in an instant. I have to ask for hugs, and that’s about all I get.

When we started dating, I was 20, and it’s hard not to feel like I’m the problem. Am I not desired? Is something wrong with me? Am I not his type? When we first started dating, there was passion, but it fizzled out so fast, and I’ve been dealing with this privately ever since.

I love him to pieces, but I’m internalizing everything at this point and I’m so lost. I don’t want to ask him to take any pills as I’ve heard they hurt, and I don’t want him to be in pain at all! But now that I think about it, I don’t think he’s ever actually been aroused by me. I’m not sure what to do or where to go right now — any help is greatly appreciated. — No Intimacy

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CIRCLE ICON DW 0127145

Here’s what we’re discussing this week in the forums:

Friends with the Opposite Gender

“Should I talk my boyfriend out of taking his ex back to court?”

Boyfriend liking other girls pictures ok or not?

Coronavirus/ Covid-19/ At-Home Support Thread

Starting a romantic relationship without being at all interested in having one

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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My husband “George” and I have been together 15 years and married for 11 years. We have a son “Ed” who will be four this summer. Overall, our relationship is solid and we both adore our son, but there is one roadblock in our relationship and I feel a compromise is impossible. I do not want another child while my husband desperately does.

When we first got married, we agreed two children would be our ideal number. However, in 2014-2015 I had three miscarriages. It was traumatic, and I struggled with a lot of anxiety and self-blame. I felt like my whole life was on hold. George and I agreed we would try one more time and if the pregnancy did not work, we were done trying. Fortunately my fourth pregnancy ended with the healthy birth of my son. We agreed to wait a few years to try again because I felt like I had spent years trying to get pregnant, then being pregnant, then adjusting to motherhood. I wanted time to feel like myself again.

Now almost four years later, I feel strongly that I want to be a mom of one. While the baby and young toddler phase were overall enjoyable, I much prefer his age now as he is gaining independence. I love watching Ed develop his own interests and helping him learn about the world. He is fun to hang out with, and it is easy just to pick up and go with one. We live in a two-bedroom townhouse in a desirable area of our city with a lot to do in walking distance. Adding another child would most likely mean a move to a less desired area for more space. We have the extra finances to spend on activities and experiences for Ed, which we might not have if we had two children. George’s family lives nearby, and Ed sees his two male cousins who are close in age at least once per week, so he is growing up with family around. I feel like I have the energy to focus on my family and career while still having personal time for myself. George and I both work full-time, but he works more hours than I do with a longer commute. During the week most of the parenting is my responsibility with going to activities and pre-school (pre-pandemic). I love being a mom, but I do worry I’ll be stressed and overwhelmed if I add another child to the mix. Right now the balance is manageable.

After delaying and stalling, I finally had a conversation with George a few months ago about how I truly felt. He was hurt and truly can’t understand my perspective. While he said it is not a dealbreaker for him, he feels like this will be hard for him to get past and it will be his life’s biggest regret that he only has one child. George wants to give Ed a sibling as he can’t imagine life without his siblings. I, on the other hand, while one of four, do not have a close relationship with any of my siblings as we are spread throughout the country. I do not think having a sibling guarantees closeness.

I also strongly feel that with the current leadership in our country, a pandemic, and environmental concerns, now is not the time to bring a new child into my family. I feel this is the responsible choice for me. Am I selfish? I do wonder if I will regret my decision. Sometimes I think something is wrong with me because I do not know other women who feel the way I do. We are in our mid-late 30s so do not have the luxury to delay this decision for years. I worry George will resent me and it will hurt our marriage. I do not want Ed to resent me either when he is older. Most of my friends who have children around my son’s age already have more children or are pregnant. When I share my feelings with my friends, they do not get it and think I will have regrets. Wendy, what do you think? — One and Done?

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Illustration by Josie Portillo for The Guardian

Today marked the last day of the school year for students in NYC. Three and a half months of remote learning finally over – hooray! Among the thousands and thousands of lives lost to covid over these months were several members of our school community, including a third grade teacher early on, at the end of March. So the end of this school year feels very bittersweet, and especially so as we watch cases surge in other parts of the country where it seems people didn’t take heed of the warning our loss should have signaled for them. I’m relieved we’ve flattened the curve here, but I’m concerned what the summer will look like as we continue re-opening (we started phase two on Monday) and how many more American lives will be lost.

Please, please don’t let your guards down, even if you’re in an area where the risk seems low, where you don’t know anyone who’s been sick let alone anyone who’s died. Outbreaks can happen anywhere, no one is immune, there’s still no treatment, and things progress so quickly that once cases are surging for many days in a row in an area, it will likely take weeks to get the outbreak under control. So, please continue wearing masks, do your socializing outdoors, keep your quarantine bubbles small, wash your hands – all that jazz. We don’t have to sacrifice all the joys of summer – we can still dance and swim and eat ice cream and drink margaritas in the sunshine – but be smart and be careful and take care of each other.

I hope you have a restful weekend, and here are a few links you might find interesting:

The coronavirus backlash: how the pandemic is destroying women’s rights

What Makes Some People More Resilient Than Others

Tiny Love Stories from the NYTimes

‘What Is Owed‘ is a powerful and thought-provoking look at what the country owes Black people in order to achieve justice and equality

If you haven’t heard the name Elijah McClain yet or are unfamiliar with his story, please take three minutes and read about it here, and then consider joining me in making daily phone calls to demand justice for his life.

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I am a pediatrician and mother of two daughters – one is a 23-year-old medical student and the other, 17, is still in high school. I do not work full time and lately I have been home quite a bit due to the pandemic. My daughters are also at home doing virtual online classes. I admit that I am not the best cook and I do struggle with it, but I love to clean like crazy. I never restrict my daughters from anything – whether that want to eat out or pick up food – it’s their freedom to do whatever they please as they are grown up now. Despite my efforts to keep them happy, they constantly scream at me for no reason and make me feel like a total “loser mom” (in their words). They tell me that I never “do anything” worthwhile, and whatever I have accomplished in my life they put down as being insignificant and irrelevant. They criticize me for everything – be it my cooking, my way of dressing, my choice of friends, and my creative projects (including medical and non-medical video making). The younger one screams at me so loudly that my two cats run away when they hear her talking to me. The older one is apathetic towards me, feeling no sense of pain and totally devoid of empathy when it comes to my feelings, yet is able to feel extreme levels of empathy when it comes to strangers; to cite an example, she attended a protest and cried on a radio show for victims of the BLM Movement.

A few months ago I fostered a beautiful tabby cat who unfortunately passed away due to a chronic illness, and I was totally devastated. For days I was in tears but would purposefully try to hide my pain because I knew that I had zero emotional support from either daughter. Rather, they would both walk past me when I was sobbing and would sneer at me in an evil manner while saying, “Okaaayy… awkward!”

Just last night my older one screamed and scared the “bejeebers” out of me while I was mopping up the poop stains from the floor of the room where HER poodle sleeps. She was mad because I had used some of her makeup and had failed to tell her about it. I was going to mention it to her soon but then never got a chance, and I really didn’t think she would care that much about it. I told her that I simply wanted to try some of her sample products that she had received in the mail and that I was planning to return them. However, she had nothing to do with that. She was fuming and her voice was shaking with rage. I quietly returned the three small items to her and just stood there with the mop still in my hand – totally numb and feeling like the piece of shit that I had just cleaned up.

These are just a few small examples – there are many more far worse ones….believe me!!!

They have all the money in the world and have the best of everything that her dad and I have provided them with, yet quite obviously they seem so unhappy and hateful when it come to dealing with me. Sometimes I truly feel that if I did not exist in their lives, they would be delighted. However, they love their dad to the end of the universe and back, and they emphatically remind me about this. Unfortunately, their dad (my husband) doesn’t support me in this matter, and he says that it’s “all my fault” because I don’t behave the way a mature mother should behave. I seriously don’t understand what that means as I have always tried my best to be a good mother to them. After all, they are my own flesh and blood and I do love them despite their obnoxious behavior towards me.

At this point however, it has become very difficult for me to continue fostering feelings of love when I get only hatred in return. — Disrespected Mom

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