Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Am I Obligated to Have the Same Bridesmaids as Last Time?”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss choosing a bridal party, dealing with an office crush, and what do do when a partner is just too busy for you.

I was engaged three years ago and had friends agree to be in my bridal party. I broke off the engagement nine months before the wedding date, fortunately before any bridesmaids’ dresses were chosen or purchased. Today, I am engaged to a different wonderful man and will soon need to start asking friends to be in my bridal party. There are two women who were in my previous bridal party that I do not plan on including this time around. We don’t talk or see each other nearly as much as we used to (although I suspect they both would still ask me to be in theirs – if not only because they’ve alienated many of their other girl friends). They will both still be invited to my wedding, but I don’t want to have to rely on them or worry about them getting along with the other bridesmaids. I’m wondering — would there be any expectation by them to be included in this one and if there would be any need for me to address it? It’s not like I’m going with the same wedding plans and swapping in a new man — it’s been three years, it’s a different man, and I feel like a new woman. So, does there need to be a talk about it? — Second Bridal Party

Only your former bridesmaids would know for sure whether there’s an expectation on their part to be asked to be a part of your new bridal party, but regardless of whether there is or not — and let’s face it: most women probably aren’t going to be heartbroken over not spending an average of $1600 for a friend they’re no longer close to — it would be bad form to actually address the issue with them. The only reason you’d talk bridal party with them is if you were asking them to be in it or addressing a direct question by them about why they aren’t included this time around. In the case of the latter, a simple and vague, “I’m going in a different direction this time, but I’d be so honored if you’d attend the wedding as a guest.”

How do you know if a co-worker is interested in you as more than a friend? There is a guy at work that I like a lot. We have a great relationship and we get along very well. I think there is a hesitancy on both our parts about getting involved at work, but I feel like (from my end anyway) that there is chemistry there. He has asked me to go watch him outside of work to participate in his favorite extracurricular activity, but I don’t know if he just wants me to try his favorite hobby or if he seriously wants to spend time with me outside of the work. The request was sort of generic, with no real time frame. I am thinking about asking him what day and time would be good. I guess I just don’t know how you tell if someone is open to dating at work and how to go about getting that started without humiliating myself at work. — Work Crush

There usually isn’t a surefire way to tell that someone is into you, but it seems like you’ve gotten a lot of good signals and it may be that this guy is shy or as concerned as you are about getting involved with a co-worker. If you’re really interested, that press him for a time and place to get together. Take the bulls by the horn. It’s not “humiliating” to ask someone out. Even if he’s not interested in dating you, he’ll be flattered.

I have been in a relationship with a man for the past ten months and we have overall a good relationship. He’s been wanting to open his own business for a while; he already did all the paperwork and is waiting for final details. He works as a tour operator so when it’s high season he is extremely busy. I’m fine with him working a lot, however, he distanced himself from so much that I have not seen him in two months. He eventually stopped calling / texting, and whenever we had the chance to talk I always brought it up but never got much of a response. He recently called and once again I brought it up and he said that he’s overwhelmed with work and trying to resolve other issues, but that’s not how a relationship works. My feelings have changed because I cannot understand that if someone is in a committed relationship they would neglect their significant other to the point of becoming strangers almost, just because one of them is extremely busy or overwhelmed with problems. What should I do? I feel like I shouldn’t stay with this man but another part wants to fix it. Any thoughts / advice? — Neglected and Forgotten

You can’t “fix” the relationship on your own. If your boyfriend is unable or unwilling to invest in your relationship in the way you need him to — and that seems to be the case — you have to move on. When one person has needs the other person won’t meet over an extended period of time, the relationship is essentially over and pretending otherwise will only drag out the inevitable and prolong the heartache.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

37 comments… add one
  • artsygirl August 26, 2011, 9:48 am

    LW1: Pick the people you want for your bridal party. I am sure they will understand since it has been three years and you are no longer close. If you want to feel better about not including them in your bridal party, you could always find secondary positions for them such as reading during the ceremony or passing out the programs. That way they will still have a job and get to come to the rehearsal dinner, but you can have the people who are closest to you at the altar.

    LW2: My advice would be to keep it casual, but ask him if there was a date or time to meet up with him. It is fine for women to ask men out in this enlightened day and age. (Also I would brush up on your company’s policy of inter office dating).

    LW3: God I hate the passive aggressive fade out – he has moved on, time you do the same.

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  • cookiesandcream August 26, 2011, 10:12 am

    LW #3: When your boyfriend says that he’s “trying to resolve other issues” is that supposed to be code for “I’m cheating on you”? Your letter reminded me of one of my exes because he would basically ignore me for days on end and brush me off whenever I tried to bring it up. I mean, come on… no one’s so busy that they can’t spend five seconds sending a quick text. Of course, I later found out that he was getting side action from more than one girl… I sincerely hope that’s not the case for you, but either way you need to MOA!

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    • SpaceySteph August 26, 2011, 11:07 am

      EXACTLY! “I’m too busy” is code for “I have other things I’d rather be doing.” Whether that is another girl, a job, a home renovation project… being repeatedly too busy to send you a text or see you is a bullshit answer.

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  • silver_dragon_girl August 26, 2011, 10:12 am

    LW3: Buy a ticket for one of his tours and constantly raise your hand to ask, “Why haven’t you called your girlfriend in two months? Why are you such a tool? Why do you have the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old?” etc.

    -The immature, but gratifying, response

    Seriously though, that sucks 🙁 I understand the desire to stick it out and “fix” things, but sometimes you just can’t. It doesn’t sound like he wants to fix things at all, so it’s time for you to move on.

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    • cookiesandcream August 26, 2011, 10:36 am

      hehehehehe… I laughed out loud when I read your idea…

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    • Quakergirl August 26, 2011, 10:43 am

      Might I suggest we make “the immature, but gratifying, response” a weekly post-baby column? Take all the letters where you really just want to give the jerk what’s coming to him and suggest the least mature but most fun ways to make sure he gets it.

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      • TheOtherMe August 26, 2011, 10:45 am

        It’s already on the way to becoming a weekly post isn’t it, silver_dragon_girl ? If I remember correctly, you had one also last friday 😀

      • silver_dragon_girl August 26, 2011, 10:49 am

        Yep, I did, which is why I did it today 😉 After a week of playing nice, sometimes I just can’t be polite any longer…!

      • TheOtherMe August 26, 2011, 10:57 am

        See? I pay attention 🙂

      • Quakergirl August 26, 2011, 11:32 am

        We should take it one step further and make it an actual DW post– like Shortcuts, but even snarkier.

      • TheOtherMe August 26, 2011, 11:37 am

        YES! “even snarkier” is even better !!!

      • Quakergirl August 26, 2011, 11:50 am

        That’s always been my philosophy.

      • cookiesandcream August 26, 2011, 2:50 pm

        YES!!! Best idea ever! 🙂

    • ReginaRey August 26, 2011, 10:23 am

      I almost spit out my drink when I read your first paragraph. AWESOME idea.

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  • LTC039 August 26, 2011, 9:27 am

    LW#3: You haven’t spoken to your “boyfriend” in two months & you’re only wondering if you should MOA?!?! Advice? MOA MOA MOA! There’s no excuse, NO EXCUSE, for your s/o to not contact you for two months, unless he got kidnapped & is somewhere in the middle of Zimbabwe… Here’s the real issue, this guy does not want to be with you he’s just too pussy shit to tell you. Dump his ass yesterday & please be have a little more self respect next time.

    LW#2: Take him up on his offer to accompany him to his fav. extracurricular & take it from there.

    LW#1: You are not obligated to have the same girls as your bridesmaids from 3 yrs ago. If you truly don’t see them that much & they aren’t very good friends, I’m sure they’ll understand, if they don’t, oh well…Do you care?

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  • ReginaRey August 26, 2011, 9:41 am

    LW#3 – Can you really call someone your boyfriend if “he distanced himself from me so much that I have not seen him in two months. He eventually stopped calling/texting.” Boyfriends don’t just go two months without seeing their girlfriends, nor do they stop communicating altogether. I’m not sure that this guy was really EVER your boyfriend, considering how easy it was for him to stop communicating with you, and he certainly isn’t now.

    Everyone has a busy life! If you care about someone enough, you make time for them. You communicate with them. It’s really that simple. If they aren’t doing it, it’s because they really just weren’t into you enough to put in the effort. Don’t waste another second trying to “fix” a “relationship” that no longer exists. It shows very little self-respect to cling on to something that the other party CLEARLY doesn’t care all that much about. Show yourself enough respect to move on (it should be easy – he already has!) and find someone who thinks it’s IMPOSSIBLE to go 2 months without seeing you.

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    • kerrycontrary August 26, 2011, 9:44 am

      Yeh I think her boyfriend basically broke up with her without telling her…

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      • BecBoo84 August 26, 2011, 10:14 am

        Ummm… yes… I’m surprised none of LW3’s friends have pointed out to her that he appears to have just done the fade.

      • ReginaRey August 26, 2011, 9:50 am

        Agreed. He seems to be one of those dudes who doesn’t have the balls to just end it, and hopes if he ceases all communication and ignores her she’ll “get the message.” I think he’d be very surprised to learn that she’s still calling him her boyfriend, after 2 months of not seeing each other.

      • DS August 26, 2011, 11:34 am

        My favorite radio morning show refers to this move as “going ghost”

      • 6napkinburger August 29, 2011, 1:36 pm

        I call it “stealth dumping.”

    • Quakergirl August 26, 2011, 10:41 am

      Yeah, I think we need to give LW3 a refresher course on the terms “relationship” and “committed.” …And of course the guy could use a refresher course on common courtesy and having the balls to just break up with someone when he’s no longer feeling it.

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      • moonflowers August 26, 2011, 2:34 pm

        Noo! Accidental thumb down! :'( Sorry about that.

  • Budjer August 26, 2011, 9:49 am

    LW 1: No. And you have no obligation to feel guilty.

    LW2: You are correct to be cautious about work relationships. Try and remember the context it was brought up in…for example: if you were both directly talking to each other about things you like to do then he was probably hoping you would ask when you should get together – when – he brought it up….so do it…but if he was already talking about it in a group, you were a late addition, and he is kind of flaky then take it with a grain of salt.

    LW3: This is called a fade-out….he said he was getting busy and then he faded out his communication. It’s over…MOA…I’m sorry – keep in mind that not all guys are this douche-y and use this experience to vet a guys personality for this trait.

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    • TheOtherMe August 26, 2011, 10:00 am

      I nominate Budjer as a guest writer 🙂

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      • ReginaRey August 26, 2011, 10:02 am

        I agree! Budjer and Spaceboy would make an awesome tag-team.

      • Budjer August 26, 2011, 10:13 am

        Thanks to you both. However….my expertise is very limited to guy perspective’s…haha…there are a lot of issues on this website I don’t want to touch because I’m unqualified.

      • Skyblossom August 26, 2011, 3:30 pm

        Sometimes what we really need is a guy’s perspective because we’re awash in estrogen at times here at Dear Wendy.

      • Blitzen August 27, 2011, 12:31 pm


  • CMF August 26, 2011, 10:56 am

    LW 3: I hate the “I’m overwhelmed” crap-out. It’s such nonsense. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s got a lot to deal with. That’s called being an adult. If you were one of his priorities, you’d know it. Sorry to be so blunt. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard, er, read, was on this site. I believe it was Wendy who once said, if a guy wants to be your boyfriend he won’t waste any time acting like anything else. It seems really obvious when you read it, but damn, it hit me like a slap upside the head. Someone who can go two months without seeing you isn’t someone you need in your life. Just my opinion.

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  • bagge72 August 26, 2011, 11:16 am

    I still find that $1600.00 amount to be total BS. Most of that you would spending on just being invited to the wedding anyways, because you would most likely still be going to the Bachelorette party, and the wedding, you would still need traveling, and lodging expenses, and you would still need to buy a gift. That article makes it seem like bridesmaids are the only ones paying for these things.

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    • GatorGirl August 26, 2011, 2:27 pm

      I completely disagree. I was a bridesmaid last May, which included over $1500 in costs (dress, bachelorette party, showers, shoes, hair, make up, lodging, multiple rounds of present buying). As a wedding guest this June, I spent a little over $250 and had to travel 450 miles. Being part of a wedding party is way more expensive and time consuming. And, in my experiance, the bacelorette party is mainly limited to bridesmaids.

      LW#1- If you don’t want them in your bridal party, don’t ask them. It’s your day not theirs.

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      • AndreaMarie August 26, 2011, 3:03 pm

        Being a Bridesmaid is a huge financial commitment! As a Bridesmaid for a very dear friend of mine last summer I spent: $350 on the dress, $70 for alterations, $40 for shoes, $60 for hair that day, $580 for sligh/hotel in vegas for bachelorette party, $650 spent at Vegas bachelorette party, $100 for bridal shower gift, plus a host of misc expenses. Over $1800. Needless to say I didn’t do much of anything that summer…

  • Amber August 26, 2011, 12:06 pm

    1. No

    2. Ask him to hang out outside of work.

    3. He’s not your boyfriend.

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  • AndreaMarie August 26, 2011, 1:45 pm

    If someone is truly interested in someone they will make time. The “I’m so busy” is a cop out. There is always time to send a quick text. Christ, he could send you a text while sitting on the toliet. If he wanted to communicate with you, he would. And he’s “working through issues”? If you were really his GF you would not only know about these issues but he might even come to you to help/support him in whatever it is he is dealing with.


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  • katie August 26, 2011, 9:06 pm

    LW1: no, you dont need to feel guilty. three years is a long time…. things change. if these girls aren’t as close to you as they once were, that is ok. its just a change, its not bad or good, just change.

    LW2: look into your work’s relationship policies.. that can get into messy territory.

    LW3: the only, ONLY reason i would think that cutting off communication for two entire months would be if there was clear communication about it beforehand. as in, hey sweetie, i am going to be opening my new business next month. i know that we dont live together, so i can pretty much gaurantee that i won’t be able to see you for like two months with all the crazy stuff i will be dealing with. but i promise, after its all set up and done, we will ____. AND, even that would piss me off. people make time for people they love, period, end of story. i know how hard it is to own your own business- i did an internship at a bakery that was just starting out, i was there when they got their first store, i saw it firsthand, and it is serious hard work. the two ladies who owned it closed after 2 or 3 years because they were putting in as much as 100 hours a week, and they just didnt have a life anymore and they werent happy. but i clearly remember that when there were important things to be done with their family and husbands, they were there. they made time. this guy is a loser!!!

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  • Andrea Briceno August 27, 2011, 10:54 am

    Well….long before I got a respond from the advice column I decided to ended the “relationship” every comment I read here was helpful to gain insight on what was already obvious. Im happy to report that, though single I find myself happy and at peace.

    No longer neglected and forgotten.

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