Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

20 Things You Can Totally Say to a Significant Other

I receive a lot of letters from people wondering if it’s okay to say certain things to their significant others that may upset or embarrass them. I say: if it will clarify where you stand in the relationship, help make your relationship better, or save your partner from worse embarrassment (or illness), it’s not only okay to say something, it’s your duty. In case you need a little extra nudge, here at 20 things it’s totally okay to say to your significant other, after the jump.


1. “That doesn’t feel good.”

2. “I’d rather spend Thanksgiving with my family this year.”

3. “Here’s a breath mint.”

4. “White socks with black shoes are a no-no.”

5. “I have HPV (or, fill-in-the-blank).”

6. “I hate that shirt.”

7. “Your best friend hit on me last night.”

8. “Should I be concerned that you’re still friends with your ex?”

9. “I think we should see a therapist together.”

10. “Isn’t it time for your annual physical?”

11. “This is the way I like to be kissed.”

12. “I’m really ready to get married.”

13. “I’m not ready to get married.”

14. “I never ever want to get married.”

15. “I never want to have children.”

16. “What can I do to get along better with your children?”

17. “Why don’t your friends like me?”

18. “I’m unhappy with the amount of time you spend playing video games/watching sports/drinking with your friends/watching porn/surfing the net/working out/ETC. and need you to spend more time with me.”

19. “I’m just not feeling it anymore.”

20. “Can you pick up a box of tampons while you’re at the store, please?”

24 comments… add one
  • ReginaRey March 15, 2011, 11:03 am

    YES to #3. I felt so guilty and embarassed to tell my boyfriend for the first few months of our relationship that his breath was none too good. Then I decided that disliking kissing him was going to do worse things for our relationship than me addressing his stank breath. Problem solved. Awesome list, Wendy!

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    • Jessica March 15, 2011, 11:08 am

      hahaha ‘stank breath’.. sorry just laughed pretty hard.

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    eel avocado March 15, 2011, 11:24 am

    Love this list, Wendy! ๐Ÿ™‚ I just wish you made this a few months ago. My boyfriend’s friend tried to kiss me (#7) while we were at a party and I was in turmoil trying to decide if I should tell him or not. Luckily, I got the guts to tell the BF what happened and he was 100% supportive of me!

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  • Naneenya March 15, 2011, 1:03 pm

    All so true!

    When my boyfriend gets all antsy about throwing in a box of tampons with the groceries, I simply remind him that I could NOT be having a period and a baby instead! Rarely is there arguing with that!

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    • camille905 March 15, 2011, 1:12 pm

      LOL! Very good point!

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    • JennyTalia March 15, 2011, 2:49 pm

      That’s my favorite argument.

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    • SpyGlassez March 15, 2011, 5:18 pm

      One of the perks of dating an only child who was/is fairly close to his mom is that my BF has never had a problem with me tossing pads in the cart. We alternate grocery weeks so I try to buy them on my week, but if it’s an emergency, he’s never batted an eye.

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      • Anna March 15, 2011, 6:49 pm

        You mean your man is willing to go grocery shopping?! How did you get him to do that? Mine doesn’t start work til 3 pm but I still have to do all the grocery shopping when I get out of work at 7 because he can’t get his butt out of bed to do anything before work!

      • cdubs December 16, 2011, 5:13 pm

        My husband and I have a deal. I DETEST grocery shopping, so he does the grocery shopping and I do the laundry (since I actually like laundry somewhat). Although now he just uses Peapod so it’s not like he has to go anywhere ๐Ÿ˜›

  • cdj0815 March 15, 2011, 2:35 pm

    I thought I was the only one who did not like to see white socks with black shoes. This ensemble always look like Archie Bunker to me. LOL.

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      EscapeHatch March 15, 2011, 4:45 pm

      Ugh, I’m guilty of it today. Stupid laundry day.

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    • SpinningJenny March 18, 2011, 12:33 pm

      Guilty, too. Except that I like to think that my white socks with black ballet flats is more of a spats look. Like Mr. Peanut. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • silvii March 15, 2011, 2:38 pm

    For some reason #20 never works, I have to go with him to the supermarket and pick the box myself. Same with condoms, he gets all flustered with buying them and it’s me who has to take the reigns and take them to the checkout. I don’t understand how a harmless box of whatever gets not only my boyfriend but other guys I know into a tizzy.

    However when it comes to pointing out his breath smells after eating plenty of garlic or there is something in his teeth, he’s very appreciative so that he’s not embarrassed if someone else points it out.

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    • Beckaleigh March 15, 2011, 2:46 pm

      My husband has tried to buy tampons for me in the past and I will never let him do it again, haha. I even described what the box looked like and he got some crazy brand that were horrible!!

      Sometimes I think he does stuff like that on purpose so that he doesn’t have to do it anymore ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • PFG-SCR March 15, 2011, 3:28 pm

      I asked my husband to get me some tampons for the first time a couple of weeks ago (and we’ve been married a long time), and at first, he thought it was a joke. When I told him I was serious, and I mentioned, “I’ve never asked you to do this before”, he replied jokingly, “Exactly, so why start now?” He did, though, even though he called me from the end of the aisle, and in his best stealth voice said, “Okay, I’m going in…what do you want?” He told me when he got home that he thinks he scared the other women as he flew down the aisle, grabbed what I asked him to get and hastily exited.

      So…there is hope for your boyfriend, silvii!!

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      • TheOtherMe March 23, 2011, 11:18 am

        I have never had a problem with any boyfriend picking up tampons for me. My ex-husband actually was proud to do it because ( in his opinion ) it meant that he was showing the world that he was in a serious relationship !

        My current BF also has 2 daughters so for him, pads & tampons are a very routine purchase.

    • Naneenya March 15, 2011, 3:56 pm

      I bought my own condoms to have in my apartment for a long time. He finally got over the fear of going to the counter because he hated the brand I always picked. It didn’t matter to me, but it did to him!

      Boys always get so finicky when it comes to those things. My boyfriend once asked me if I wanted to get a double bag when I bought tampons at the store!

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    • Kat March 16, 2011, 12:14 am

      My boyfriend is the same way about condoms. It’s so bizarre, I think before he was in a serious relationship he’d have to psyche himself up. I thought it’d be like some ‘bro’ thing where you’d high five the cashier because you both knew you were getting some

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    • _jsw_ March 23, 2011, 11:50 am

      I’ve always felt nervous buying condoms. I’m not sure why, although I’m sure a therapist could figure it out.

      On the other hand, tampons have always been a very easy purchase. I’m not sure how they could be an issue, since they’re clearly not for the man purchasing them, unless perhaps he is into kink.

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  • Addie Pray March 16, 2011, 12:27 am

    What about, “Will you pop this zit?” Oh come on, that’s happened.

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      fast eddie March 16, 2011, 7:48 am

      Leave my zit(s) alone please.

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  • evanscr05 March 16, 2011, 8:24 am

    If you are in a steady relationship, I don’t think there’s much you CAN’T say to them. My fiance and I are pretty blunt people, though, so we have no issue talking about anything with each other. I do mean anything. There are occasions when it’s best to keep your lip shut, and it really comes down to *how* you say something, but for the most part, I really don’t think a couple should be embarrassed to talk about most things with each other. What’s the big deal? The only things on this list that would be uncomfortable to say would be #9 and #19, and only because those indicate a problem with the relationship and bringing those things up is going to rock the boat even more, which is never fun. If you’re relationship is solid and you’re completely secure in how you feel about each other, telling your SO that his breath stinks or his friend hit on you or don’t like his shirt is NOT going to damage anything, so why sweat it?

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    • Addie Pray March 16, 2011, 9:42 am

      That’s a good point. There’s not much you CAN’T say. At least I’m the same way,

      Wendy, I’d be interested in a list of things you should NOT say. I mean, a list that does not include the obvious, like “honey, can I have sex with someone else?” A lot of people are timid to speak up, so this list is good…. But what about those of us that overshare?

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      • cdubs December 16, 2011, 5:15 pm

        Actually, that might not be a bad thing to ask if that’s the type of relationship you have ๐Ÿ˜‰ At least that means you’re getting permission first!


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