Shortcuts: “After Two Years, He Still Wasn’t Ready to Meet My Family”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I have been in a relationship with a man for almost two years. I’m 27 and he is 43. I’m divorced and he’s never been married before. We met online. He’s a doctor. I’m a teacher. I asked him to meet my parents and he got mad and said that he didn’t like that I told them about him without telling him first. Then he said, “I’m way too far from any stage of meeting them anyway,” so I left him. I deleted him and I stopped talking to him, but I really love him. I want to know if what I did is right or wrong. Please advise me. Thank you. — Teacher In Love

Leaving him absolutely was the right decision. You may be in love with him, but it’s clear the feelings are not mutual if, after two years, he is “way too far from any stage” of meeting your parents. Obviously, there’s a reason why, at 43, this man has never been married (or, hell, maybe he IS married and that’s the reason he wants to keep such a distance from you), and leaving him before being dragged along for years and years was a wise choice, for sure.

I am recently engaged to a man I adore, but I am frazzled by the high amount of anxiety I have post-engagement. In particular, I have been wondering if I need to tell him everything. For example, I had a drink with a male co-worker one night (completely innocent), but am I hiding something by not mentioning that? Any advice would be appreciated. — Post-Engagement Anxiety

Well, no, you don’t have to tell a fiancé everything, but is there a reason you aren’t telling him about the drink with a male a co-worker? Do you think he’d get upset or jealous? Or, do you not know how to mention it without seeming like you’re confessing to something that isn’t worthy of a “confession.” (I’m taking your word here that it was, indeed, “completely innocent.”) A simple conversation of what you both did with your days would be an easy enough way to say, “And then after work, I grabbed a drink with one of my colleagues, Jimmy. He’s the guy who helped with that merger project a couple months ago.” If you’re marrying a guy you’re afraid might freak out over your grabbing a drink with a colleague after work, you might want to reevaluate whether marriage is the right step for you. You could also consider premarital counseling to work through expectations and anxiety.

My youngest daughter is getting married next week and I’m terrified of going to the wedding. Her dad and I have been separated /divorced for twenty-five years. We still get along though. My ex has relationships, but he is discreet. I have been in a relationship for the past seven years, and I feel like the bad woman with the boyfriend. He is also a bit manipulative and acts like a sad victim in front of people. I’m having so much anxiety. — Bad Woman with the Boyfriend

Oh, honey, no. Your relationship ended twenty-five years ago!! You are entitled to have new love and you don’t have to be discreet about it. Unless you’re harboring secret hope that you and your ex-husband may reunite — in which case you need to address those feelings with yourself and with him, there is absolutely NO reason your having a boyfriend twenty-five years after separating from your husband should be a conflict of interest. I would seek more distance from the ex so that you are no longer affected by his manipulative behavior or worried about his reaction to your having a boyfriend twenty-five years after your divorce.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Avatar photo Raccoon eyes says:

    *HeadDesk* I cant even.
    WWS!! Wendy, the fact that you even could understand the 3rd letter is proof of how amazing you are! I thought She meant that the long term bf was the manipulative one…because it really makes not sense either way….Yeah, nevermind. Goooo Wendy!!!!

  2. Addie Pray says:

    LW1, breaking up with that asshole boyfriend was your best move! What a controlling ass. Expecting you not to talk to your parents about him without talking to him first is super odd/controlling/shitty … So I guess in his view you’re at the stage of the relationship where he can control you but not yet where you can introduce him to the parents … Glad you moved on. Don’t look back.

      1. Addie Pray says:

        Hi, I’m good! I’m enjoying motherhood and maternity leave. The first 7 weeks I was super lazy – I binged watched Friday Night Lights and watches a lot of Fixer Upper and Family Feud. … I vowed to be more productive my last 7 weeks; so the Babe and I have been taking more walks, I’m organizing closets and all that fun stuff. Good times! And the baby, oh he’s so sweet. He’s smiling a lot and it makes me go weak in the knees.

      2. The smiling is the best 🙂 Just wait for the giggles! I think that’s about how my maternity leave went – lazy for the first half, productive for the 2nd. Pretty sure we should have a meetup to get babies together.

  3. My brain can’t process these letters this morning. I don’t know if its the cold or that I haven’t had enough caffeine or that there’s an uneaten donut on my desk.

    1. Ladyinpurplenotred says:

      How is it uneaten? I’m so impressed.

      1. I was seriously considering finding something healthy. That didn’t last.

      2. Ladyinpurplenotred says:

        Oh good. I’d hate for the donut to go to waste!

      3. We’ve had donuts magically appear in our office every day for the last 3 days. I’m never going to lose any weight this way. No self control.

      4. Ladyinpurplenotred says:

        Well you can’t just ignore the donuts. That would be rude.

  4. PumkinSpice says:

    To LW 1, you definitely did the right thing. Not to bash anyone who is a doctor, because the work docs do is lifesaving and amazing, I have worked with many doctors over the years, and a lot of them had someone on the side. I worked with one in particular that would sleep/try to sleep with every new medical assistant that worked in the practice. And the senior medical assistant would get angry bc she was holding out hope that he would stop the nonsense and be with only her. Ugh, so much drama in doctor offices. Sorry just had to add this.

  5. Ugh LW3 makes me think of what my potential future wedding will be like, not the same situation but my parents have been divorced for 18 years, separated for 22, and my mom still makes snarky remarks about my dad’s girlfriend (he’s had a couple, but I really like the most recent one who he’s been with for 5 years). She’s even insinuated that his gf shouldn’t attend my wedding (if there ever is one). Meanwhile, my mom has never dated since the divorce. I’ll be the one who’s stressed. Anyway, LW3, don’t worry about it. Just go to the wedding and do your thing. And DON’T tell your daughter about your worries.

    1. bittergaymark says:

      Tell your mom to get off the fucking cross already — somebody else needs the wood.
      PS — to K’s mom, sweetie, if you are still fucking bitter about your divorce nearly two decades later — do the world a favor and fucking kill yourself. Mankind has ENOUGH problems without your petty bullshit. Oh, and if your bitterness is mainly due to that fact that you (somehow?) NEVER married again… well, surprise fucking surprise.

      1. What a f*ing drama queen! If some one does not want to date or attend a wedding they need to kill themselves ? News Flash. People exist for reasons other than dating.

  6. LW2: I would do a little research into OCD, especially ROCD, to see if this might apply to you – it sounds as though the anxiety of becoming engaged/major life commitment has possibly triggered some obsessive anxiety. It doesn’t mean the relationship is wrong! But some natural nervousness about getting married paired with tendencies towards anxiety could be increasing/manifesting in this way.

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