From the Mailbag: “Your Advice Causes Unnecessary Anxiety”

I’ve been getting some interesting feedback from readers lately and thought you guys might get a kick out of reading some of it. Here’s a letter from a woman who felt my response to “May-December,” created unnecessary anxiety.

I enjoy your writing and feel you give wonderful advice to readers who are really struggling with some issues. I have never felt compelled to write an e-mail like this, but one of your responses is forcing me to.

A woman wrote in about a May-December romance and her uncertainty about the relationship given she might want to have children (while her 50-year-old partner is considering a vasectomy). This was part of your response:

But let’s say you give it a few more months, break up, and you actually have no trouble getting over him. Great. But you’re still 29 or close to it at that point and time is beginning to feel a little tighter. You still need to find someone to fall in love with. That could take years! And then you have to get pregnant and have it stick. If you’re lucky, it happens right away, but the older you get, the harder it is to get pregnant and successfully carry a healthy baby to term. What if you break up with your boyfriend when you’re 29, take a year to get over him, and then don’t meet anyone you really click with until you’re, like, 32 or 33? And then you want to date him for a couple years before you have kids, so then you’re close to 35. And you know what happens when you get pregnant at 35? You’re considered “high risk,” as in high risk for having a baby with birth defects, because you’re an “older mom.”

I am going to completely project my own anxieties and fears here, but please hear me out, as I am sure I am not the only reader you have with the same issue. I am in my mid-20s and have ended a relationship with someone with whom I had planned a future. I was completely devastated, but I am proud that I have picked up the pieces and have become much stronger because of it. In the time since the break-up, I have played these number games quite often. Okay, I hopefully meet him at 27..then we date for a few years…okay 30. Then get married and enjoy some time..okay 32..then and then and then. Women do this all the time; it’s almost natural. However, it causes great anxiety.

I know your reader needed someone to have a practical discussion with her about timing. What I feel happened in this response is you have managed to not only scare your reader (you did say you wanted to scare her a bit), but also scare other later 20-something women who read your letters. I understand this probably wasn’t intentional. But I am very upset you didn’t consider this. “You still need to find someone to fall in love with. That could take years!” How can you not think of other 29-year-old women who are telling themselves this every day and are freaking out. I believe we single women need to approach love from a place of peace and confidence. This just causes insane anxiety.

I understand you are doing this for a specific audience, particularly the letter writer. I’m sure you wouldn’t say the same thing to a 29-year-old woman freaked out she will never have time to meet someone and have babies before she is at-risk for birth defects (I know you’re a proud mama in the world of motherhood, but come on…too much on the scare tactic side). I am completely projecting here. It didn’t seem like the women commenting had any issues, but this really upset me. I know you’re a smart, level-headed woman who could read this rant.

Thank you for your time and your wonderful responses to readers. This letter was more about me than it was you, if you get what I mean.

Well, no, I don’t exactly get what you mean. I guess you needed to vent? You felt anxious and decided to unload some of that anxiety on me since I was the one who unnecessarily caused it by not considering the effect my words would have on you and other readers like you. But the things is, when writing a response to letters, I do almost nothing but consider the effect it will have on the LW and other readers. In fact, my intention in this particular response was to scare women — particularly women in their late 20s who may think they still have all the time in the world to spend hoping the guy they’re currently seeing eventually changes into the guy they want to spend their lives with. In reality, that doesn’t work. If the guy you’re dating doesn’t have what you’re looking for — including a desire to start a family — you need to MOA. Time is finite — especially the time in a woman’s life that she is most fertile. Yes, of course, women in their late 30s and early 40s can have healthy babies the old-fashioned way (I hope to be one of them!), but it is a fact that a woman’s fertility drops dramatically after the age of 35, and it would be a shame for a young woman to waste her best baby-making years on a guy who isn’t long-term partner/father material if she knows she wants to have a kid eventually. If that scares you or creates anxiety, I can’t take the blame for that anymore than I can take the blame for the cancellation of “Bored to Death,” which was an awesome show on HBO that I miss.

In short, I don’t believe the anxiety you’re feeling is “unnecessary” if it propels you to make sharper decisions and avoid wallowing in relationships or situations that don’t help you reach your goals in life.


  1. I have to agree with the reader who wrote in – after I read Wendy’s response to the LW I just about wanted to crawl up into the fetal position. At 27 and single, I do have some anxiety that I will never meet someone I want to start a family with. That said, Wendy is not wrong and as usual, she gives it straight, even if the reality is hard to hear.

    1. You’re only 27. Your eggs haven’t expired yet! Just think of all those women out there who married the wrong guys, and be happy you’re not them.

      1. THIS. I’d rather be happily single than co-parent with a horrible father. Thats just unfair to the child who did not ask to be born into that situation. The best thing I can do for my future kids is give them a good father. I can’t help it that its taking me so long. But I guess I should add that I am absolutely cool with adoption as well, as long as I have a great partner who will make a great father. That comes first, before any kids.

      2. I agree with you, Lili (as usual)!

        I always thought that I never wanted kids, but then my ex said he definitely wanted them… and for some reason I could definitely picture us as good co-parents. And that made all the difference in the world. For me, whether or not I have kids definitely depends on who I end up with (if anyone).

        And now that I’m 30, I think my biological clock is ticking. After spending yesterday with a bunch of kids and 3 pregnant women, I have a strange longing that I’ve never felt before. I’m kinda freaking out, actually, because it’s a new feeling. BUT – I also know that I can be happy with or without children. If it doesn’t happen for me, then I will be A-OK.

      3. But I regularly feel a similar type of “yearning” for kittens. So maybe it’s nothing.

      4. TheGirlinME says:

        I keep having “baby-fever”, but it’s for a Doberman, or a Belgian Malinois.

      5. I’m with you on that one, I call it being ‘cat broody’. Really would love a new kitty, but it wouldn’t be fair until we live somewhere bigger 🙁 A girl can dream though…

      6. So true. I know too many women who made huge mistakes rushing into bad relationships, trying to beat a self-imposed deadline, only to royally screw themselves in the end by settling. Life’s a journey, not a destination, and really, you can’t schedule when you’ll fall in true love. Relax, live life as best as you can, and whatever will be, will be…

    2. Sometimes I feel the same way and I’m not even single! I am in a happy relationship, but I’ve often been afraid that if this guy turns out not to be the one, I’ll end up childless! But as you said, Wendy is not wrong!

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        Same! Recently I’ve been having baby fever and I feel like I’m going against my biology for not reproducing at my age (24). I logically don’t want a baby and know its not the best time for one, but it’s like my body wants a baby right now.

      2. Yep, I’m very soon 26 and I keep having all these dreams about being pregnant. Every time I see a baby I’m like OMG I want one!!! Now!! Meanwhile, I’m living in my mother’s basement while desperately trying to pay off my student loan and get my credit score up high enough to be able to buy a house one day… LoL!

      3. I’ve had dreams about puppies the last couple of nights, and I really want one! Especailly after seeing the bulldog puppies on Ice Loves Coco last night.

      4. those bull dogs might have been the cutest thing ever! ahem not that i watch that show or anything. you know i saw them while flipping channels 😉

      5. Haha yeah me neither, and I also don’t watch Khloe, and Lamar. Which this is their last season.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I didn’t weep in a corner when they announced the cancellation of my favorite Kardashian show.

      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I think it means you’re ready for babies!

      8. Hmm, time to poke holes I guess then!

    3. Avatar photo MaterialsGirl says:

      As the LW said, she thinks she may be projecting many of her own fears into this. I would definitely agree, and I want to let the LW know something: You’re going to be OK. You’re already a step ahead of the “May-December” relationship because you’ve MOA’ed from a relationship that, while you planned a future, maybe it wasn’t a future he envisioned as well. Or perhaps you knew deep down it just wasn’t what you wanted. That’s okay! It seems you’ve already taken the advice yourself.
      Of course, now, in the aftermath of the relationship, you’re worried about the future because the unknown can be SCARY. Again, it’s going to be okay. Take Wendy’s advice: put yourself out there. Know what you want. You’re aware of the general biological timeline, and you still have plenty of time to find the one you love.. you just don’t have SO much time that you can sit at home on the couch eating B+J’s or TJ’s cheese and wish the man of your future into existence. So stand tall, be proud of who you are, get back to doing what you love and what makes you happy. Go on dates! Make friends! Just recognize the worthwhile people from the wastes-of-space (friends or potential boyfriends)

      1. Love the positivity here 🙂

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        I think that this advice is very helpful.

  2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I remember Wendy’s advice to this letter and thought it was great – even though, all that counting backwards did freak me out. (I did the math and realized that, at 33, I needed to … marry George Clooney at least 10 years ago so we could have some “alone time” before I birthed our 5 kids.) It’s funny to me, though, how Wendy is damned if she give advice, damned if she doesn’t… Though, I do think Wendy could have tried harder to keep Judging Amy on the air, my favorite show of all time….

    p.s. I’m laying on the floor, eating cheese, and refreshing DW, a lot. It’s one of those days. But I’m thoroughly enjoying it, so no need to pity me (for the time being)!

    1. Trixy Minx says:

      Im going to be 25 soon and i feel my clock ticking. Probably because im around my niece all the time. Now i feel like i make better decisions when it comes to choosing men.

      1. Trixy Minx says:

        I meant to say. Now i feel like i need to make better decisions when choosing men.

    2. Yeah Wendy, you totally should have kept Judging Amy on the air.

      I also blame Wendy for Lost jumping the shark, and the weird part of Grey’s Anatomy where Izzie kept sleeping with her dead ex fiance. (Actually, I guess I can’t blame Wendy for that. Had Izzie written in to Dear Wendy, we’d all have told her to MOA and stop sleeping with dead not Javier Bardem.)

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I would totally turn necro for Jeffrey Dean Morgan (is that his name?). I don’t think any of us can judge Izzie for that.

      2. painted_lady says:

        Oh weird. He was also Nancy’s dead husband in Weeds flashbacks and she kept dreaming she was having sex with him as well…apparently a lot of people would go necro for him.

    3. Addie, I don’t know how to break this to you but I’m pretty sure George Clooney had a vasectomy a long time ago. I’ve heard it from several creditable (gossip mags/E/the radio)sources. But you guys could always adopt!

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        That just means we’d have to try even harder getting pregnant, and I’m ok with the hard work and all the practice that will be required.

      2. TheGirlinME says:

        One of the ladies at Owen’s “Doggie Daycare” named her doggie “George Clooney” so that she could say she went to bed with him every night! 🙂

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        George Clooney, stop humping my leg!

      4. TheGirlinME says:

        “George Clooney, Come NOW!!”

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Oh, George Clooney, come have the sex with me all night long!

        (No, that doesn’t work.)

      6. TheGirlinME says:

        it does if you are addressing the celebrity vice the Labradoodle..

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        One of our cats is named prince charming.
        Where is prince charming? Prince Charming, stop clawing at me! Prince Charming ran away again.

  3. I understand this woman’s point, but Wendy would’ve been doing the LW a disservice if she didn’t caution her to carefully consider how she spends the last of her childbearing years. Yes, it’s scary to be 29 if you want kids and haven’t found a man yet. But that’s just a fact of life, and it isn’t Wendy or anyone else’s fault.

    1. Sue Jones says:

      At 29 I was still 12 years from having my baby… and GLAD I didn’t have one with the guy I was sleeping with at the time… let’s just say it took me 4 more years to meet my husband and another 8 years for us to decide to have a baby together… late bloomer here…

  4. kalloween says:

    I feel like Wendy’s comments have gotten more and more mean. I started coming here from the beginning. Everyday I would visit, but now I don’t come so often because of her comments and bossiness. She was also very bossy and choosy about the homes that she showed. This is her website, so she can do what she wants, but sometimes it’s all very negative.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Like when she put the gun to my head and made me submit pictures of my apartment? That was really mean of her. I remember lets_be_honest protesting the home tours too, but Wendy made her submit pictures too.

      1. ReginaRey says:

        Ugh, I know, right?! Wendy emails me at least once a day, haggling me about pictures. I’m scared she’s going to come knock my door down and take them for herself.

      2. kalloween says:

        And folks like you.

      3. kalloween, I hear you. I have almost never disagreed with wendy’s advice, and I think a lot of the LWs need a good kick in the pants… but I also think some of her responses and the commenter responses are a little harsh. Maybe we’re just too sensitive and should go find a warm and fuzzy advice site to hang out on :/

      4. ReginaRey says:

        I think to call Wendy and other commenters “mean” is downright ridiculous. Are we sarcastic, snarky and blunt at times? Yes. I mean, we’re humans. I don’t think it’s fair to expect Wendy and every commenter on this site to always provide sensitive, sweet, warm fuzzy advice. Sometimes people need a strong dose of reality, delivered with sarcasm. And yeah, I tend to think that if you aren’t a fan of it, then don’t read. I choose not to read a lot of sites, because I’m not a fan of the style. To each their own.

      5. No, that’s fair, and I certainly don’t expect to be handled with kid gloves. Snark and sarcasm are great, but sometimes— and of course I can’t speak to whether this is true for other commenters/LWs— I am legitimately afraid to write in with a letter or a comment because I don’t want to be snarked; because the sarcasm I get makes me feel even worse about the issue. People need honesty but they don’t need to be made to feel stupid. There is a fine line between sarcasm and condescension.

        Again, maybe this just means that I need to find a different site to hang out on, and I’m not trying to be mean, but this has been on my mind for awhile now and I wanted to get it out.

      6. I think it’s probably time for you to find a new advice site to hang out on. Thanks!

      7. My apologies. I am a long-time reader and fan of this site and my comment was not meant in the spirit of “shitting on” you or your site. If however this is not the sort of feedback you permit then I will remove myself.

      8. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        I’m not sure that Wendy can control what sort of people gravitate toward their site, or how the tone they take in the comment section. If it’s the snark from commenters that bothers someone, I do think they should go elsewhere. But if it’s Wendy’s occasional tough love approach that they take issue with, then I think it’s worth remembering that she is giving away advice for free to people who ask for it, which means that she gets to respond however she pleases. If LWs want a specific approach, they should spend the money on an IRL therapist.

      9. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Sorry about the mistakes like “their” instead of “her”. I’ve been super tired lately. I hope my comments are still legible.

      10. I’m sorry you feel this way. I wrote in even after being a long time reader and like others have said, Wendy and the commenters are very good about judging what tone needs to be used for each letter. I admit I had a bit of trebidation first looking at the advice but I wrote in because I trust the site and the commenters and I got exactly what I needed out of it. Which is unbiased reality with a bit of snark. The key is to not get angry at assumptions made because there’s no way people can gather your whole life from one letter. YOU have to put the advice in the context of your life.

      11. FancyPants says:

        I really hate it when and advice columnist gives advice to the people writing in. This site would be so much better if Wendy just responded to every question with “Wow, that really sucks! :(“

      12. sarolabelle says:

        I’m going to like this because I think it is sarcasm.

      13. FancyPants says:

        You think right 🙂

      14. i think though Wendy does a good job of teasing out those LWs who can hear her advice given in a warm/fuzzy tone and those who need a more harsh approach. Some people no matter what you do will not hear you unless you really lay it out for them in a frank way. It’s just the way it is.

        And like others have said if you let her advice make you anxious, it is more about you than it is her advice. I don’t know if you’ve read comments on some other sites Wendy’s community is actually much nicer than they are.

      15. lets_be_honest says:

        I feel like Kalloween’s posts are getting more mean and negative. You used to be such a friendly contributor.

      16. In all fairness – you haven’t said how she is bossy and choosy even though jlyfsh asked for clarification. None of us know what you are talking about so either clarify… or don’t be surprised at being dismissed.

      17. ReginaRey says:

        Please read my comment below and find something mean about. I encourage and welcome it.

      18. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I read your post below, RR, and I think some of your comments like, “your mom smells like a poopy diaper” and “I hate your stinky poop face” come across as a little mean, not to mention childish and gross. No?

      19. lets_be_honest says:

        I have to assume you are just being childish and snotty, because I come here daily and have yet to read one nasty or snarky comment from RR. Sometimes I want to shake her she’s so nice.

        Why does it bother me that people come on here with nonsensical comments?

      20. lets_be_honest says:

        Made me submit? Yea, I wish. The woman broke down my door, had Drew hold me down while her and Jack furiously snapped photos of my home all the while telling me it wasn’t “white glove” clean. And Jack stole my diamond tennis bracelet. I even saw him wearing it as a chain in one of the pictures she is constantly posting of him. We get it, Wendy, he’s cute. Stop shoving your perfect life down our throats while making us all anxious that we will never have a family.

      21. I think this is my favorite thing you’ve ever posted. 🙂

      22. lets_be_honest says:

        Now I know how Addie feels when she gets DWlove. Thank you!

      23. Thank you for that visual! It made me giggle. Quietly. Because I’m “working.”

    2. How is she bossy and choosy about the homes she shows? Did she give you a schedule and tell you which ones she accepted and didn’t and exactly when she’ll run them?

      1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I’m not convinced that “choosy” is spelled “choosy.” I see that autocorrect isn’t correcting it, but I’m not convinced. It looks weird. Just like the word “informational.” Is that a word? I am feeling unsure about everything today. I hate to eat the entire block of blue cheese before I was sure it was not too rotten. No confidence in nothin’ today.

        God, I’m having one of *those* days.

        jlyfsh, how is your new house? I haven’t heard you talk about it. I think you should submit pictures to Dear Wendy. But not if W is going to be mean and bossy about it. And choosy. (There’s that made up word again.)

      2. i’ll be honest i looked it up on to make sure i was spelling it right. i hate when words look wrong but they’re right!

        oh AP my house is going. we haven’t closed yet, it’s been a bumpy ride. i’ve been drinking a lot of wine lately. hopefully in two weeks we will definitely be closing and i will submit pictures! after i actually move in of course 🙂

      3. and since i need to vent i just got a call from my realtor and the listing agent for the house i am buying sucks so much. the appraiser was supposed to go in one last time because they ‘forgot’ to have the utilities turned on in time for his original visit and now they have conveniently removed the lock boxes and turned power back off. who does that? our loan is approved all we need is to confirm that power is on and working and we can close. i hate this listing agent with every fiber of my being.

        my lender did send them a nasty gram which made me feel better. i’m eating chocolate covered raisins now and trying not to throw things at the wall.

    3. Temperance says:

      Uh, she’s an advice columnist. She’s supposed to be “bossy”.

      Not to mention that the word “bossy” is sexist, because we don’t call men “bossy” as an insult, we call them assertive and take-charge as a compliment.

      1. Really you have never heard a man called bossy as an insult?

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Way to be sexist, as usual Bagge.

      3. I try not to be, but Addie brings it out in me. I wish I was at home on the floor eating cheese! I like mine out of a pressurize can! But no I had to eat spinich, with baked chicken today, beacuse of my bossy mother made me take the leftovers home last night! Though I did take some kickass cookies home from the bakery after the cake tasting yesterday.

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        I didn’t realize they sold cheese independent of a can. I bet you one of those fancy food stores like Trader Joe’s came up with that idea. Sounds gross.

      5. I’m sorry but if it’s from a can it’s not “real” cheese…

      6. lets_be_honest says:


      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I’m sprawled out in the middle of my living room in my pajamas, still. I’ve watched last night’s Mad Men episode three times. I have stopped eating cheese though, mostly because it’s all gone now. Except I do have a can of cheese whiz in my fridge, thanks for reminding me, Bagge. I’ve moved on to ice cream. I poured the leftover coffee on it and then mixed it all together. It’s delicious. I’ve got leftover pizza in the oven warming up for dessert.

        You guys, I kind of think I’m going to throw up but the toilet is so far away.

        Being an adult is so much fun.

      8. You are my hero.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        Coffee poured on ice cream? I feel like I should pay you for that idea.

      10. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        It’s so good. Like, for 2 scoops of ice cream, poor about 1/2 a cup of cold coffee on it. Then devour. Then repeat 3 times or until out of ice cream. And it it out of a coffee mug so it doesn’t necessarily look like ice cream.

        I think I’m gonna be sick though. But not on account of the ice cream. I think it was the road trip food from yesterday followed by Arby’s followed by all that cheese for breakfast/lunch – there was really not time off from when I started eating until now.

        Do you think I’m experiencing a happy form of depression?

      11. Espresso on top of gelato is quite tasty. There’s a name for that concoction – affogato I think.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        Who brought fancy-pants into this discussion?
        I’m dropping the term affogato at dinner tonight to sound mature.

      13. Maybe I’ll come up with fancy food word of the day. They will be recycled. Monday’s, it is affogato.

        I couldn’t reply to your post, so I replied to mine.

      14. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I hear ya, Temp.

      15. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Ignore bossy bagge, lets, and budj!

      16. lets_be_honest says:

        Fine! We’re too busy on the 3 way date anyway.

      17. Holla!

      18. I hate it when I’m in the middle of the inevitable Eiffel Tower 🙁 Go easy on me guys.

      19. lets_be_honest says:

        My innocent self is trying to figure out what that means. :/

      20. umm way too graphic to describe it here….for British eyes only. (just keeping up with the international theme)

      21. I’m just wondering why he got to be in the middle, You need to switch with LBH NOW! I don’t care how much of a rock god you are. Oh and just think of two people facing each other with their hands straight up in the air touching eachother, and someone in the middle of it.

      22. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh my!

      23. switch with LBH NOW – made me laugh out loud

      24. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Normally I’d be jealous of all this activity without me, but, eh, I’m gonna let you 3 have your moment. I’m just not exactly sure what you’re doing.

        I just burped brie. And the gross part is that I kind of thought it tasted good.

      25. lets_be_honest says:

        I’m not sure what we’re doing either, but I’m game to try new things. I was going to make reference to a mansandwich, but now I think that’s wrong. When you said x-sandwich, is it the middle or the bread that makes up the “x” part. Like would it be a mansandwich if bagge was the meat? or do he and Budj have to be the bread making it a girl sandwich? Very confused.

      26. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        oh i think if you’re eating a bagge-sandwhich, bagge is the meat. i mean, who ever says “would you like a white bread sandwich?” No, you refer to the filling. That’s my deep thought on that.

        My other deep thought on that is yesterday for breakfast I had a PB and honey sandwich using waffles as the bread. It was delicious. But the last 48 hours worth of eating has really been destructive. I need a kick in the pants.

      27. Oh and na na doo doo, stick your head in poo poo.

      28. I think “bossy” is a pretty universal insult….plenty of women are assertive and take-charge in a non-offensive aka “bossy” manner…bossy is bossy.

      29. ugh I suck aka “not bossy”

    4. Temperance says:

      I wrote her a letter a few weeks ago, and it was published here, and her advice was kind, heartfelt and very, very useful. She wasn’t unnecessarily mean or mean at all.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Agreed. The one time I wrote in, I got perfect advice. If you are getting snarky advice, its because you write in with things like ‘should I stay with my drug dealing boyfriend who got 4 women pregnant or are they all just trapping him?’

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        lbh, I have so many questions I need answers to:

        1) So, when you say you don’t have a sense of smell, you mean you really can’t smell? Like, you are unable to smell?! Stinky bathrooms, the smell of bone being sawed in half (I saw a hip replacement once – that smell is distinct and TERRIBLE!), dirty diapers of formula-fed babies, cooked kale, smoky bars, … that those wonderful smells are lost on you? Or did you mean that you have bad taste (i.e., you like those smells?)

        2) Why aren’t we FB friends?

        3) Which letter was yours again?

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        1) I really can’t smell. Like there could be a pile of dog poop on my lap right now and I wouldn’t know. Well, I guess I would if it were on my lap, but nope, can’t smell. I think the pros outweigh the cons.
        2) I rarely go on facebook, so it’d be no fun. I did stalk yours once though and you are a hottie. For realz.
        3) I’m sure I’ll fess up to that one day. I’d have to be drunk though. That’s the only time I spill secrets, but MAN do I spill them then.

      4. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        Please tell me you gave an update – otherwise friendship over.

      5. “I’d have to be drunk though. That’s the only time I spill secrets, but MAN do I spill them then.”

        You and me both… :-/

      6. But then contradict themselves in the letter by saying that they suspect that he is untrappable…

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        All I know is Ma Man is untrappable with a capital UN.

    5. If you believe I’m bossy in my responses to people’s letters, fine,but to say I’m “bossy and choosy” in the homes I showed makes no sense since I showed every single home that was submitted. But, as the saying goes, “Haters gonna hate.”

      1. Sue Jones says:

        Some days are gonna be like this, Wendy. I have my share in my work too. Some days you are the queen goddess of the world, and other days everyone gets mad at you. Roll with it. It will pass… chalk it up to bad astrological alignment or something…

      2. It’s fine. I knew posting this letter would bring on some criticism. I can roll with it.

      3. landygirl says:

        You and Jackson need a matching pair of sweats with the words “Bossy Pants” on the rear.

      4. I think I need a pair of sweat pants with the words “Bossy Pants” on the butt.

    6. Trixy Minx says:

      I miss the dislike buttons right now.

  5. I think this was a fair letter, and I think Wendy gave a fair response. There are women out there, many of them, who aren’t proactive in working with their timeline to find what they want and need. Wendy’s advice to them is valuable and helpful. There are also women, like myself, who are very aware of the limited time we have to find the right partner to start families with, and its true that every reminder of this can increase our already painful anxiety. The fact is, advice needs to be clear and sometimes hard in order to benefit those who need it most. As long as it isn’t judgmental or insensitive, it can be expected that other readers can interpret its intention and degree of applicability to their own lives. Being reminded of painful truths can be as mobilizing and encouraging as it can be anxiety-producing or irrelevant to any particular reader, so its up to Wendy to be thoughtful in her advice, as I believe she truly is, and up to us to give the benefit of the doubt, and make our own decisions about what it says to us about our own lives. I think this LW reminds us of the variety of our situations as readers, and its always helpful to remember what a tough task Wendy takes on, and how well she does, in reaching the majority of us with kind and smart advice.

    1. I heart this response. Well stated convexed.

  6. LW, I am sorry you are feeling anxiety. That happens when getting older. Just wait until you realize how much you need to save for retirement, or your kid’s college. Time slipping by happens all the time.

    I will say this, your math is a little off. Relationships move faster when you get older. They just do because you are more confident in who you are as a person and both men and women are ready to settle down. Also,” the being in a good place” and “grieving an old relationship time” is a crutch for people. Don’t sit there wasting time mourning but get out there and start living.

    1. That’s what I was thinking.. A 30-year old woman should not need a year do decide if the man is right for her. And a year-long engagement?? That is something I will never understand. When you decide you want to marry a person, I don’t see a point in waiting a year, or any determined amount of time for that matter.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I didn’t understand a year long engagement either…until I got engaged. Fact of the matter is it takes time to save money, vendors book up far in advance, and you have to work around other people’s schedules (to some degree). I always said the same thing- we are two adults deciding to get married…why do we need to wait a year to do it? Well we have to wait because we have to pay for the wedding, vendors are booking 8-10 months in advance, and a cousin is getting married in October. BTW we’re 27.

      2. right, but you could pull together a backyard wedding within a month if you wanted to. This isn’t knocking weddings, it is knocking timelines.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I’m having a backyard wedding. Litterally in a tent in my parents yard. Our guests will be encouraged to wear flipflops. BUT It still costs money. You still have to work with your close families schedules. And you still have vendors (in different degrees depending on your preference).

        Our ideal engagement was 6 months- enough time to plan a decent party- but life happened and when all is said and done it will be a 14 month engagement. Due to money, other close family members getting married this year, and the fact that we are doing an outdoor wedding so about 8 months of the year are off limits. So, I’m just saying it happens and sometimes its not the couples “dream” timeline.

      4. Thanks for this GG. This was really informative actually –even though it’s also disappointing! I have been totally living under the illusion that I can plan a backyard wedding in 6 months. And maybe I still will but your point about saving is a big one.

      5. It’s possible! We’re planning a backyard wedding in 4 months because we didn’t want to wait till next summer. But like GG said, it just depends on how “life” works out and the circumstances around it. If you already have the money set aside (or if someone else is paying for it), and you don’t mind considering other options if your first-choice vendors are already booked, it can be done 🙂

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        It can definitely be done in 6 months! It just didn’t work out for us. My fiance’s sister and 1st cousin are both getting married this year which threw a major wrench in our plans. Plus saving takes time, our goal is to pay for the majority of the wedding our self.

      7. Jess of CGW says:

        I’m not even engaged, haha, but our wedding ideas/plans/talk have reached a fever pitch. We’re probably months away from that point but since our discussion is out in the open, I feel like doing some research now is not a bad thing. Because from what I have seen, once you ARE officially engaged it’s like someone fires the start gun and the whirlwind really begins. Am I right? I’d still prefer to elope but I don’t think my man is going to go for it. Actually, strike that, he’s been pretty clear about NOT going for that. haha. We’re talking about maybe a wedding/honeymoon combo for just us –then having a backyard BBQ to celebrate with friends after the fact. But even a backyard BBQ seems like it will require a lot of money and planning. *sigh*

        Sorry for drifting so far off topic here!

      8. GatorGirl says:

        You are right. My fiance and I had had about 427 conversations, give or take, before actually getting engaged. We’d talked to our parents both individually and together, our friends, each other, etc etc etc. But after that ring was on my finger it was like we had to have all of the conversations again between us and with each set of parents. Everyone does have a different experience, but I personally got so overwhelmed in the first 3 weeks of being engaged that I just took an entire week off of thinking about our wedding. Our backyard wedding is going to cost around $10k with 175 guests. *big sigh*

      9. SweetPeaG says:

        Was this sarcasm? I have trouble reading sarcasm on the internetz.

        But, what is wrong with a year long engagement? I am 30 and getting married in a year. I am pretty happy about it. He is who I want to spend my life with… and I am excited! But, we are taking a year to plan the wedding we want. Is that bad? LOL.

        And I am with every other woman on here that is stressed about her ticking clock. But, everyone… try to remember- having babies is WONDERFUL. But, it is not the only thing in life. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

        So much anxiety here. Who would like to form a dear wendy group therapy?

      10. No, that isn’t bad. But if you were panicking about timelines, you could do it faster, ya know. The LW is saying that she is running out of time. I was married almost two years to the day from meeting my husband. That was dating, engagement, everything. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out if you are worried about time is all we are saying.

      11. Yes, yes, yes, having children is not the only thing in life. If you want kids, of course you should try to make it happen. If you can’t or don’t, there are many meaning and wonderful things you can do with your life, and so if you do not have children, you can still have a fulfilled life.

    2. lets_be_honest says:

      Thanks for stressing me out, cpor. Jeez.

      1. yea, I know, the future never goes away.

  7. I think Wendy is trying to wake up women who are in relationships with men who are not the right fit for them. She’s basically saying, don’t waste your time wishing and hoping a guy will change. Because one day you will turn 35 or 40 and become a high risk pregnancy because you wasted 5 years in your twenties with a douchebag who never wanted to be father, delaying your hopes and dreams.
    That’s very different than dealing with a single woman without a boyfriend who just hasn’t found the right guy. It’s not your fault if you haven’t found the right guy.
    But the point is, try not to waste time if you can avoid it.
    I don’t think Wendy’s intention was to give a blow to anyone’s self-esteem.

    1. I love the line “because you wasted 5 years in your twentis with a douchebag who never wanted to be a father” Love love love.

    2. Exactly. It’s not “YOU’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!!!” so much as it’s “don’t waste your (limited) time on someone you know (now) is the wrong fit”.

      1. perfect

  8. But I do think Wendy might not have needed to be defensive at all. The letter writer was reaching back to Wendy with a point of view, and was very respectful and generally pleased w Wendys work. I hope Wendy can see this not as a ridiculous criticism or attack but a chance to hear feedback from a frequent reader…even if its flawed or overly personal feedback, it can’t hurt to get to know yr readers better. In some ways it was very trusting of the Lw to send in her thoughts, knowing they could be posted for our amusement, which seems kind of mocking, and I wish Wendy had just posted it for us to respond to without framing it as a joke or something to be annoyed about.

    1. No, the LW wrote, “You pointed out a biological truth and it gave me anxiety. Why couldn’t you think of me and women like me before posting.” Guess what, we act like with science we can have kids forever and that is a lie. If Wendy didn’t tell her this, her OB/GYN would eventually.

    2. I sort of thought this to begin with too, as the letter is very respectfully laid out and constantly reiterates that the LW is speaking from her own insecurities, not from a space of judgement. BUT then, I liked Wendy’s response. I like that she not only stood up for her advice, but explained it further. And I assume that this was Wendy’s purpose in posting this letter, not for us to mock (like that last one!) but to further understand what is a fact of life, and one that many readers, consciously and unconsciously, are dealing with.
      When I read the initial letter, I thought the advice was a bit harsh, but I like and trust the site, so I thought about it and read some comments, and came to understand it. As a woman in my early twenties who wants to have children at some point, I need to keep this in mind. I could not be in a relationship with someone who did not want children. The original LW is not in the same situation as the one who wrote this,she HAS a boyfriend, but he may not give her what she wants. Wendy always says it is better to be alone than to compromise what you want in life, and she has not contradicted herself with the responses to this letter, or the previous one, in my opinion.

    3. SweetPeaG says:

      I am with you that this letter writer generally meant well. For the most part, she seems to appreciate what Wendy does here.
      It may have come across as pure complaining… but it seems maybe she wanted to just open up the discussion. Or maybe get some reassurance. I know Wendy can’t tell her “It’s going to be okay, you have plenty of time”…. but sometimes we seek reassurance, even when there really is none to be found.
      I just don’t think she meant this letter in a bad way. I guess I can empathize with her… so I can’t hate on her!

    4. I didn’t post this letter to mock it or defend myself, I posted it to further explain the advice I gave. I don’t think anything in my response here was mocking, but maybe you’re interpreting it that way?

      1. TheGirlinME says:

        Wendy, I didn’t interpret your tone as mocking at all. Actually, I had the impression you were accomplishing a couple goals: 1-to present this letter as an example of respectful, albeit critical feedback. (I think the LW was careful to keep an appreciative tone) 2- to enhance your original advice. (Which, ftr, I found to be a dose of “good, plain common-sense.) I hope you don’t ask me to excuse myself from the site for butting in. Given how “choosy” you are. amirite? 🙂

      2. Nothing in yr actual response was mocking, Wendy. What I meant by ‘frame’, and should have made more clear, is the category caption above, ‘interesting’ feedback readers might ‘get a kick’ reading. I just thought that heading better fits those truly nutty, downright insulting letters you sometimes get, sort of trollish, better than it fits this one. The LW had a genuine intent, even if not a legitimate grievance in terms of what is or isn’t yr responsibility. As I wrote in my first comment, yr response was fair, and correct….I still just think its unfortunate that the first thing I read is a heading used to describe letters that are often truly ridiculous, whereas this one was merely misguided and a little reactive. Though she had no reason to feel isolated by the column she responded to, I could see how she might reasonably feel mocked by being categorized with obnoxious letters from jerks who wanna shut you down. Along with the great amount of useful feedback you must get is bound to be useless feedback, just as along with the advice that pleases the LW there might be advice that stresses her out.

      3. Ah, gotcha. The header is just a template I used and wasn’t thoughtful about how it would introduce the letter in this case. I see your point.

      4. parton_doll says:

        THIS is why I continue to come back to your site, Wendy. Writing here is not like a conversation where you write something, we respond, you respond, etc. So we may not get the full picture of where you are coming from when you post things. I really appreciate that when someone gives you a well thought out comment that shows a different point of view, you are open to it and respond in a respectful way. It has to be difficult to create and monitor the material on this site. I agree that you set the tone and I feel that you do set a positive tone by always reinterating to us how much this whole site means to you and by doing things like this you’ve done with this comment … taking into consideration another point of view and accepting it.

      5. My apologies for any perceived negativity, but the very first thing you wrote when publishing this letter is that you thought your readers would “get a kick out of it.” I interpreted that to mean that you were posting that particular letter solely for the amusement of your readers, and I would find it difficult to believe that you were unaware that the LW would be slammed by the regular readers of this site. It seems a rather juvenile and vindictive response to criticism, and I can only imagine how painful it was for the LW to read all of the spite on this page directed at her when she was obviously already in emotional pain. Grow up, Wendy.

        That being said, yes, I *will* go effe myself now and find another site.


      6. Trixy Minx says:


      7. actually no one slammed her. they all said it’s not pleasant to think about, but it’s true. she didn’t actually ask for advice either, she was complaining that Wendy’s advice basically made her uncomfortable. So Wendy now has to think about not making people think about their own situations when writing responses? Is she supposed to fill it with caveats to calm people down? I think the real problem here is that people don’t want to hear the truth because it’s not pretty or comfortable. And why email an advice columnist or send her a question if you’re afraid of what a few commenters are going to say?

  9. It is not a disservice to be reminded of a painful reality from which you are successfully hiding. Reality exists, no matter how much you convince yourself that it does not. Calm and lack of urgency do not necessarily lead to success in searching for a mate. They may equally lead to drift in an unworkable current situation and prevent you from making the changes that need to be made. Frantic and desperate are romance killers, but the way you reach frantic and desperate are to lull yourself into a false sense of having ample time to wait for your present relationship to change and then coming bang up against the point where reality can no longer be ignored.

    If you want to calm yourself, realize that it is possible to have a very happy life and a great marriage without having children. Not the first choice, but not a worthless consolation prized, either. Wendy’s message was not to panic, but rather not to just sit and drift expecting your current bf to change into someone he is not. That is good advice, regardless of age. People usually do not change fundamentally and it is a very bad gamble to convince yourself that you can change a SO. Your SO may try to change, may fake having changed, may even change for the short-term, but fundamental, ingrained philosophies of life and habits/vices seldom change over the long term.

    A guy of 50 who wants a vasectomy isn’t going to suddenly wake up and decide he wants to start a family. Wendy is right. If LW strongly wants kids, she had to MOA pronto. To do otherwise is destructive self-delusion.

    It is easy to fall for someone early on and convince yourself that the parts you find unacceptable will change. Dating is a sorting out process. As you get to know each other better you may run into a deal breaker. Time to MOA. The odds of a substance abuser, commitment averse, pedophile, felon, serial cheater, liar, grossly juvenile, just plain gross, or lazy person changing his spots for you is close enough to zero to be not worth your effort, if these things are deal breakers for you.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      …or Wendy could just tell the LW to wisely move to CA, get one of those legal pot prescriptions and toke the F up. That’ll calm ’em down.

      1. brilliant plan 🙂

      2. landygirl says:

        Another reason to love California.

    2. artsygirly says:

      There are also other options for people out there including adoption and surrogacy. When I was 6 I wanted to be a ballerina-doctor-astronaut and when I went to college I realized that the course load would be too steep to also allow for important social interactions (i.e. drinking) so I chucked that plan and came up with a new one. People have to be realistic about decisions that they make and if you are expending lots of energy hoping someone will change then you have to be willing to change your plan or MOA.

  10. ReginaRey says:

    You know, I think there’s an important point to make here.

    The person who wrote this anxiety-ridden letter to Wendy is single, and worried about her timeline. Wendy was giving advice to a woman who was already IN a relationship, with someone who wasn’t sure that he wanted kids. Wendy was completely right to remind her that if she DOES want kids, she has a limited amount of time to make that happen.

    Maybe Wendy inadvertently scared single 20- and 30-somethings out there by reminding this already-coupled-up woman about her timeline, but that was NOT the purpose of her response. I think it’s drastically unfair to take Wendy’s advice out of context, apply it to yourself, and then get upset with her for it. The woman meant to hear this advice was already in a relationship with an older man who wasn’t sure if he wanted kids. She had CONTROL over whether or not she would stay with someone who may not have wanted kids, and Wendy was reminding her that it might be time to exercise that control.

    Single women don’t REALLY have that same control. You can’t control when you meet someone, or when you fall in love. Wendy knows that. And, in fact, I think she’s a great example of someone who accepted that with peace and grace and let the universe take care of it (which it did, and wonderfully so). So to blame her for giving you anxiety about a situation that she already knows you can’t control; when she was trying to give advice to someone who DID have some control over her situation, is again, unfair.

    And quite honestly, to write to Wendy and tell her that she’s caused undue anxiety is slightly ridiculous. Wendy didn’t cause you anxiety over your timeline. You were already anxious, saw Wendy’s letter, and took the opportunity to jump on her about it. And you know, I get it. I’m not quite there yet, at almost-24, but I get it. I do the calculations, too. I think, “Well, hopefully I meet a dude in the next few years, then we date a couple years, get married by 30ish. Then have kids.” It’s hard NOT to do it.

    But you know what? The only surefire way I know to be happy in life is to focus on yourself. Make yourself happy, and let the universe take care of the rest. I’m not going to worry about finding someone and I’m not going to obsess over my timeline, because I have faith that if I’m making strides to live my life how I want to live it, that eventually the right person will fit into my life in some way. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,” and all that. And if you’re not content to accept things, then figure out something you CAN accept. Go to therapy. Go to Meetup groups. Make an effort to expand your life. But for God’s sake, don’t waste your time being anxious about it. The only thing that will do is give you heartburn.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Show off. Don’t you sometimes want to just say “shut up because you’re wrong!” and *not* follow up with spot-on, heart-felt, constructive words of wisdom? (Tell me when you get tired of me singing your praise, ok?)

      1. TheGirlinME says:

        But Addie, if she said “shut up because you’re wrong!” would that be considered, “argumentative and inflammatory”? – sorry I’ve just always wanted to say “argumentative and inflammatory” to a lawyer & I have never met one 🙂 (sorry for butting in at the popular kids table… carry on.)

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        First of all, there’s no popular kids table. Second of all, if there were, RR would not be invited because she’d psycho analyze us and sometimes self-awareness is a bad thing… Third of all, you have a standing invitation to the table.

      3. TheGirlinME says:

        I <3 u! RR is scary smart! I have all the self-awareness I want at 42. I kinda prefer my delusions these days. She would force me out of my comfort-zone and tell me you are never too old to try new things, and make a big, successful and satisfying life! Then I would come back with "I DID try a new thing! Today, I mixed my vodka with Diet Moxie instead of club soda & lime". I'm thinking she would say that didn't count…

  11. I followed Wendy over from TF and I enjoy her advice as much as ever (which is quite a bit). Gives me a case of the sads that she’s getting hatemail (which is compounded by Addie Pray so insensitively reminding me that Judging Amy is no longer aired).

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Was that not the sweetest show ever? I want Maxine Gray as my mom, and I want to marry David McClaren. I don’t want Lauren as my child though, haha. Though, my favorite Amy Gray boyfriend was… Oh, I’d say, no, I’ll stick with David.

  12. I remember the May-December letter, Wendy’s response and all of the readers. As a 32 year old single woman who may or may not wand kids, I thought Wendy’s response was great as usual. Did I momentarily freak out about her timeline? Yes. But she didn’t make that timeline up. What she wrote is true give or take a couple of years. In the context of the letter, I completely undersand where she is coming from. Basically, she’s saying don’t waste your limited time if you aren’t on the same page as your partner and if you’re never going to be on that page.

    You know what else? Even though I had a momentary freak out, I’m glad Wendy spoke the truth. Also, I know myself well enough to know that no matter the scare tactic, I won’t rush to the alter. I won’t settle. I’m waiting for the person I want to spend my life with. And if the baby gene kicks in and I want children, I’ll explore options then the time comes . . .

    Put yourself in Wendy’s shoes. Imagine getting all kinds of crazy letters. I would go nuts. Oh, and I need to add one more thing. I love Wendy’s snarkiness. It’s one of the reasons I love this site so much.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Did you also like my SODA PRESSING joke in the comment section of that letter?

      1. Crap. I need to go back and read it. I don’t remember. Generally, you make me laugh though. You probably suck in person . . . I said with complete sarcasm.

      2. AnotherWendy says:

        Every time I think of that joke it makes me LOL!

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Sofa king funny!!!

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        (Except I’m mixing punch lines now.)

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        I tried to repeat your soda joke last night. I messed it all up though. No one laughed. Ok, that’s a lie, a few people laughed at me, not with me, just at me. I suck at joke telling.

      6. What is it!?

      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I can’t remember that joke, but I know it ends with SOFA KING RETARDED. I think what it is is you have people say this out loud several times really fast “I’m sofa king we tard did,” and then you laugh. It’s not as funny as the SODA PRESSING joke.

        Here’s a joke I heard this weekend that had my belly aching:

        Q: How do you know if someone is vegan?

        A: Oh don’t worry, they’ll fucking let you know.

      8. OH I know what it is! You hand them a peice of paper and tell them to read it, and on it says ” I am we todd did sofa king we todd did”

      9. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        That’s it. And don’t you like the vegan joke? Yes?! (I need positive feedback.)

      10. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        I really liked the vegan joke! Unfortunately I don’t know how to work it into a conversation.

      11. … was that an intentional pun? quit your job at the soda factory and now you’re mixing punch (lines)? 🙂

      12. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        now honestly i have no idea what i’m saying. words are pouring off my fingers onto this website but my brain has turned to cheese. i have mushy camembert brain.

        except for i know that i’m thirty now and i would like some punch. but, once again, i have no one to fetch it for me.

      13. as long as its BOOZY punch I’ll get you some!

      14. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        * thirsty, not thirty. i’m not thirty. i’m thirty-three, but i forget that. you guys, my half birthday is in less than a month.

      15. My actual birthday is in less than a month.

  13. I get the LW was upset – but this is just a shooting the messenger type of thing no? I remember reading that response and thinking – well no…life doesn’t always work that way – it might – but it always doesn’t have to. LW – I think you might need to build up a little thicker skin in general. Just because someone says something, it doesn’t make it so. (I feel there is a joke about Star Trek in here somewhere) If you felt the timeline didn’t apply to you – then discount it. If you feel it does apply to you – then how wonderful of Wendy to give you perspective and good luck to you into adjusting yourself accordingly.

  14. Wendy is correct. Yes, women have babies at a later age and sometimes without an issue. However, many older mothers are not open about the fact that they use fertility drugs, etc. I know of two incidents that relate to this…I have a friend who is 32 and has been dating this guy for a little over a year..She has been very open about how much she wants a big family (at least three kids) and marriage. This guy is like, “I’m not sure I want to get married EVER, you have to give me time.” She wasn’t asking for a proposal, just where the future was heading… I think she should MOA because she’s the one who is running out of biological time unless she decides to adopt, but when I said that a friend got all huffy and said I was being anti-feminist. WTF? From a scientific, and not emotional point of view, it is much more difficult to have children once you hit you move past your early 30s. That is a fact. I don’t get how mentioning that is wrong. Several of my friends have mentioned that they don’t want to have kids until they are in their mid 30s or made snarky comments that an acquaintance and her husband (28 and 30) was ruining their best years by having a kid. I have to hold back my eye-rolls at this.

    1. artsygirly says:

      The Lancet just released a study that showed that maternal deaths are on the increase possibly due to the rise in high risk pregnancies attributed to older mothers, obesity, fertility drugs which can cause multiple births, fewer prenatal and antenatal care, etc. While it is still a very low number, it is something to be aware of.

      1. Sue Jones says:

        Maternal deaths are on the rise in the US because of an increase rate in C-sections, many of them unnecessary, some even elective and “scheduled” at the mother’s and doctor’s convenience but necessary for the Ob/gyn to avoid a malpractice lawsuit… most practicing docs in the US do not know how to do a vaginal breech or twin delivery anymore because it is “too risky” as dictated by the doctor’s malpractice insurance. The US has the highest maternal death rate of all of the developed countries due to its obscenely high C-section rate. Check out the statistics. It has not much to do with age since women in Europe are also having babies later. C-sections have their place and can save lives, but they have become so routine lately that if you vary from a very narrow parameter of “normal” during your birth, you are on the express train to a medical intervention and probably a C-section… which is why I chose to have a homebirth with a midwife. Not for everyone, but it worked great for me. I asked myself where I would be more relaxed giving birth, home or hospital, and I decided home. (For the record I would have been totally willing to go to the hospital if things were not going well.) I <3 Ricki Lake!

  15. YouGoGirl says:

    I am sorry that the LW feels such anxiety, which is not surprising given her difficult situation. She wants marriage and children but she is in her late 20s with no immediate prospect of marriage and no control over if or when she will meet a suitable man. The best advice I can give her is to get on with her life as much as possible with work, travel, family and volunteering. These activities are not a substitute for marriage and a family, but will keep her happy and fulfilled until she does meet the right man. At the same time, she can try online dating or other ways to meet men.

    Wendy made a very important point. Women who want a marriage and family need to be proactive and not waste their time with a man who does not want to get married, even though he may be a very nice guy.

  16. ele4phant says:

    My reaction to this is it was truthful but perhaps also a bit alarmist advice. Wendy was also 100% correct that biologically, there is limited time.

    However, the unnecessary alarm comes in with the assumption that having children is the only way to be happy, or that having children guarantees happiness. There are plenty of examples that show that either of those situations can be untrue.

    Of course, there are some women who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that being a mother is a must, is non-negotiable. But should a woman who would *like* children, but is willing to consider a life without them given a wonderful partner who makes her happy necessarily bolt? Um, I don’t know. Should she grab whoever she can just to start making babies by 30? Obviously not. And if you leave a great relationship for a so-so relationship just to have babies, that’s not really a recipe for happiness, IMO.

    So I think Wendy gave valid advice if the LW was a woman who absolutely, no exceptions for anyone, wanted children. But in a more nuanced situation, if the LW was someone who wanted children but could imagine happiness without them for the right man, perhaps the advice was a bit too simplex and hasty.

    1. “And if you leave a great relationship for a so-so relationship just to have babies, that’s not really a recipe for happiness, IMO.”

      This is a really great point. Although, it reminds me of my friend I mentioned (possibly on that letter). If not having kids really is a dealbreaker, being with someone you love dearly, but can’t or won’t give you the life you want only leads to resentment, and affects the overall health and strength of that relationship. But then, it’s a gamble to leave that otherwise happy relationship in hopes you’ll find another great guy, that also shares your goals, in the timeline you want/need. It’s a really tough situation, and I think that’s kinda the point Wendy’s getting at. To learn, early on, whether or not you’re on the same page, and if you’re not, walk away before you find yourself in that situation.
      It’s not always so simple, but the point is, if you know *now* that you don’t have the same life goals, it’s probably not going to change 5 years down the road when you’re much more invested.

      1. ele4phant says:

        I agree. I mostly enjoyed and agreed with Wendy’s advice, but I wish she had said “Evaluate, really evaluate what’s important to you, having children or staying with this man you love”. There’s no need to mull that over for months, but I did think it was a bit premature to say “Leave now.” Leave soon, if you’re going to leave, but do consider whether you could be happy or not without babies.

      2. I think the original LW had done that analysis and wanted babies. She was stuck on ‘can I change his mind’.

      3. Yeah, that’s what I had gathered. The entire point of the letter was that she wanted children and he didn’t, so I assumed that if it weren’t super important, she probably wouldn’t have written in. And if kids were, in fact, not as important as Wendy interpreted, then I’m sure the LW is smart enough to realize that the advice no longer applies.

  17. As one of the readers in the past who needed to be told to MOA (even though it was very difficult to hear), I appreciate the straight forward aspect of Wendy’s response. When I think of the DW community, I think about a group of individuals navigating life and relationships and empowering one another to make choices that are best for them, and I think that’s exactly what Wendy promoted. If you definitely want to have kids, your ideal partner must want the same thing!

  18. It seems a lot of people took Wendy’s response the wrong way. I don’t think she is saying, hey your in your late 20’s go out and find a husband before its to late. She is saying don’t waste what precious time you have on on somebody you aren’t sure about, or that you pretty much know isn’t right for you, because some people do waste that time no matter what other people say to them, and what’s right in front of their face. I think the advice works even better for people who do have a plan like the original letter writer who know’s that she definitely wants kids, and she is with somebody who probably doesn’t. If you were in that situation, and you hung on for years, you probably would have wanted somebody to give you Wendy’s exact advice a long time ago.

  19. Of course there are some exceptions, but as a whole this site is the most respectful and sensitive atmosphere of any web site I’ve ever come across, and that applies anonymous commenters as well as Wendy herself. Wendy pulls out the brutal honesty sometimes, but it is usually warranted. If you can’t read this site without projecting your own fears into other people’s situations (which likely have a very different context than yours), then I think you have a lot of maturing to do. If you allow the opinions of other people, who don’t know you, to change the way you feel about yourself, then I think you need to de-sensitize a little or the internet, nay, the world, is going to cause your head to explode one day.

    And that’s not to trash this LW or anyone else who gets overly sensitive sometimes, I certainly was that way when I was first exposed to the harsh world of online commenting. But you’ve got to know who you are, be confident in why someone’s advice maybe doesn’t apply to you, OR take the advice without letting it make you a mess. It kind of reminds me of Kat Williams the comedian, who talks about women who complain that a man has killed their self-esteem. “Women, it’s called SELF-ESTEEM. Esteem of your mother f*cking SELF!”

  20. AndreaMarie says:

    Yes its anxiety inducing but its a reality. I just turned 28 last month and recently ended my relationship with my boyfriend of almost a year. I never really put much thought into kids and timing. I just always knew I wanted them. But now that Im approaching 30 and not in a “real” relationship Ive started to get the anxiety. I don’t want to be an “old” mom and I don’t want to end up having issues with fertility because Im past my prime. But Im determined not to settle with someone based on timing.

  21. I think this LW projected her own anxieties on Wendy’s response way too much. I don’t Wendy was trying to alarm people in an “oh my god! Quick, get married and pro-create before it’s too late!” She was trying to give the hard advice people *need* to hear in a situation that may be heading nowhere, and that wastes precious years that you can’t get back. If the original LW wants children, without a doubt, she should not stay with a middle aged man who wants to ensure he can’t have children anymore, period.

    I feel like sometimes when people ask for advice, they want to hear what is “comforting”, because they are not ready to face the truth. If someone is in a dead-end relationship, they don’t want to hear it because they hope its not true. If someone is in their late 20’s and wants to be a mom and is in a relationship with a man who doesn’t want children, they might not want to hear they should leave because they are wasting time. And in this LW’s case, she’s anxious about finding someone, and with Wendy validating those fears slightly, it freaked her out.

    It’s okay to have fears or anxiety about things, we all do! I want to start a business and I know a large amount of small businesses fail, so the cards are stacked against me, but I’m not going to write in to every journalist or blogger who writes about failing businesses, and blame them for causing me anxiety. It exists with or without someone pointing it out, and I’m the only one in control of how I feel.

    1. And for the LW, if you are very anxious to be married with children, in your late twenties, and have yet to find a guy with whom you’re willing to settle down, it may be time to consider changing something. Are you looking for guys in the wrong places? Too passive? Internet dating wasn’t for you? Well what you’re doing now isn’t working. You’ve dated lots of guys and none was right? Every relationship has failed? Are you looking for the right things?
      If you screened out dozens and dozens of guys after a first date and had a half dozen unsatisfactory short relationships — consider what made you chose the particular guys you chose to start more than a couple date relationships with? Are you choosing in the moment based on things you later find superficial, while ignoring big red flags, which will cause you to chuck the guy six months later?
      Same advice goes for guys. In both cases, you’re the one choosing whom to date, whom to start a relationship with, when to break it off. If you’ve spent half a dozen years seriously seeking a mate, rather than a casual dating partner, and haven’t found anyone, then you have to change something. The common denominator in all of the unsuccessful relationships is you. Maybe you don’t want what you think you want.

  22. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    Frankly, it’s always been my position that most vapid twentysomethings could USE a good scaring… Seriously, this website is an endless parade of bad choices… It’s about time Wendy sends everybody a real wake up call… Waste all of your 20s on horribly unsuitable boyfriends? Yeah, NEWSFLASH! You very well might end up forever childless. It’s not exactly rocket science here, folks. Wendy isn’t being mean, she’s pointing out the obvious… Apparently to those too stupid to see it.

    1. Life’s too short to waste ANY of it on a horribly unsuitable boyfriend.

      1. landygirl says:

        No no no, it’s “But I loooooooooooooooooooove him.” He treats me like crap, beats me and cheats on me but I loooooooooooooove him.

    2. this is kind of an amazing response.

  23. evanscr05 says:

    Honestly, it’s pretty sad to get so worked up over something to the point that you need to write a ridiculously long email to criticize/vent about your own lot in life. There have been times that I’ve come on here and not particularly enjoyed the advice or the commentary, and sometimes it’s because I see my own life in their criticisms, but instead of adding fuel to the fire, I read it, disagree, and go on with my life. I love this site, I think the blunt advice given by Wendy and her readers is honest, compassionate, and comes from a place of truly wanting to help someone. If you disagree, well, don’t read any further. Writing out emails like the one above is so incredibly immature I have no words. You really need a thicker skin if people you don’t know, talking about things that aren’t about you or your particular situation, bother you this much.

  24. Speaking of snark, we need a “His Take” column. Those always crack me up.

  25. The person who wrote this letter may not like this, but the truth is it’s not even easy to get pregnant in your 20s. If a woman is under 30, she has roughly a 35% chance of getting pregnant during any given month. For a woman in her 30s, it reduces to about a 25% chance. And for a woman in her 40s, it is around a 10% chance for any given month. I’m not saying you have to go out and marry some guy in your 20s. But people have to be realistic. You may have anxiety now about settling down and having kids, but honestly, I think people have to be more proactive about what they are looking for at younger ages. I’m 21 and definitely not ready to get married anytime soon, but I would not date anyone who doesn’t fit my expectations of someone I could possibly marry and have children with. And my boyfriend does fit that. Why would I waste my time with someone who I could never see myself marrying? And also, just because you may want kids and a husband doesn’t mean you will get them. It’s a sad truth.

    1. landygirl says:

      The ones who do get pregnant easily are usually the ones who shouldn’t be having children.

      1. It certainly seems so.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh come on now. Not nice.

      3. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        But so horribly, horribly true….

      4. landygirl says:

        I just read that the Octomom filed for bankruptcy. Here is a woman with 14 kids who has no business having even one child. Granted the way she went about it wasn’t the way most women do, but she did carry 14 embryos to term.

        It is now up to taxpayers to support the results of this unbalanced women’s desire to procreate.

      5. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        In octomom’s ironic defense, it was VERY hard for her to become pregnant… thus, reckless invitro… 😉

      6. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        There was also an article that showed that she paid over $500 for hair treatments when her house’s plumbing system isn’t even functional. She receives $2000 a month, I believe (that number was thrown around a lot, idk), from the government as social assistance. So she literally spent 1/4 of the government’s monthly assistance on her fucking hair do. Seriously? People like that have the “right” to breed??

      7. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

        The crazy thing is that she STILL has her fucking kids. Frankly, I would have taken charge of that case — done a late term abortion and solved the whole fucking mess. Trust, not a one of those kids is going to turn out a winner.

      8. Did you see the pics that were with the article? The kids outside in just tshirts, the house all spraypainted inside, a doors wth a chair holding it closed (supposedly with the kids inside)…

  26. lets_be_honest says:

    I think everyone could use a reminder that you can plan all you want, do all the right things and life may not turn out the way you wanted. That’s ok people. Sometimes it turns out worse, sometimes insanely better. Maybe you aren’t “meant” to have kids. You won’t know what your life is “meant” to have or be until you are on your death bed and have finished life. Analyze then, don’t waste time doing that now.
    The best laid plans…

    1. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

      Few people that I know have had lives that turned out insanely better than they ever hoped. In fact, that would be, uh…. no one.

      1. kerrycontrary says:

        Really? Like you really know NO ONE who has been pleasantly surprised by the way their lives turned out? Because I’ve met plenty of people in their 40s and 50s who are surprised at how well their careers went, the amount of wealth they accumulated, the experiences they’ve been able to have. In t=heir broke 20s they never expected to have such great lives and they couldn’t imagine not struggling to pay all the bills. Or take my grandma who got married at 16 and dropped out of high school. But she then ran her own beauty salon and had all of her children AND her grandchildren graduate from college. She can’t believe her luck. It’s all about perspective.

  27. AndreaMarie says:

    Wendy’s advice was directed at the specific situation in that letter, she wasn’t trying to make a vast statement to women on fertility. Wendy’s advice was spot on. If you KNOW you want children then why are you wasting time with someone who is mostly likely not going to want to have children? And the guy in question seemed pretty wishy-washy on whether or not he wanted more children. So where wendy’s advice comes in is this LW could wait around another 3 years only to find out the guy does not want children and she’s back to the beginning, only now she’s in her 30s. People should not write in if they truly don’t want the truth

  28. landygirl says:

    My biological clock never ticked very loudly and it stopped all together about 10 or so years ago. I think many people make poor choices because they are so desperate to procreate that they’ll choose the wrong mate in order to accomplish their desire to have a baby.

    I say this goes for both men and women.

    1. TheGirlinME says:

      Landy, mine wasn’t very loud either. Then “mother-nature” decided I needed it removed. I like this point you’ve made. Now I just think everyone should get a puppy! 🙂 (They don’t borrow your car)

      1. landygirl says:

        Dogs are the best!! They’ll never lock themselves in their room and listen to heavy metal music, they’ll never go emo, and they’re always happy to see you.

      2. TheGirlinME says:

        OH! We could start a forum..”I’m glad I have a fur-baby because”… 🙂 Owen never bitches about the healthy food I give him.

  29. I have a lot of time, but I still have a backup plan. I know I want to be a mother, so if I pass that prime baby age and I’m not married, I’ll explore adoption options. And if that doesn’t work out, I’ll just get more cats. Cats don’t scream “I hate you’ when you don’t get beyonce to perform at their sweet 16. It’s all about perspective.

  30. Go Wendy! I’ve read a lot of things recently about how women don’t understand fertility and think they are a lot more fertile for a lot longer than they really are. Then they try to have a baby and realize that it’s really, really hard to get pregnant.

    I think the assumption Wendy and the rest of us have to make is that people who write in (or read) do so at their own risk. I imagine that a lot of advice given here is a wake-up call, not only to the LW but also to readers. This could easily apply to any other topic. For example, if I have a crappy boyfriend who cheated on me and Wendy tells someone to MOA, then theoretically it could cause me some anxiety because maybe I should MOA too.

    Point being, the anxiety stems from the actual problem, not the fact that Wendy is bringing it up. If fertility isn’t something the LW is worried about, she can disregard, and if so, I’m sure she’s already thought of it — and if not, maybe this will give some perspective.

  31. pamplemousse says:

    How hard is it to just click the little X on the corner of the browser if you don’t like a website? I feel like if the people who write these letters really didn’t like Wendy’s advice they would just stop reading it. But they don’t, they write defensive letters brimming with insecurity like this. It’s like they don’t want to hear the truth (the LW admitted that everything Wendy said was true, just that it was too ‘scary’ for her), so they try to bully her instead. No one is making you read this or any other content on the internet, so step down from the ledge. Some of us (maybe even most of us?) read this website because we support this kind of practical advice. And if you don’t, why are you here?

  32. I think timelines in general are anxiety producing and I’m only 19. But I’m also not the original LW. So as much as that timeline stressed me out (and I realize that was probably less than women out their 10 years older than me), it wasn’t directed towards me. Wendy’s job isn’t to coddle every one of her readers. Her job is to give advice to the LW. I can almost guarantee that if an LW had written in with you situation and was just saying I’m worried about being able to biologically have kids because I’m in my late 20’s and haven’t found a guy yet, Wendy would not have responded with the same timeline.

  33. I am the LW!
    I never expected Wendy to read that letter…I figured it was going to be buried among the many letters in her inbox! I forgot about it until now…oops. I have learned a lesson! It’s wild to have something posted online…never had that happen before hahaha.

    It was a selfish rant about me easing my anxieties…it was cathartic. Obviously, at her expense, and I feel bad about that now. So sorry!

    Boy, do I wish I hit delete on that one!! Won’t be back here…I have learned to save my ranting for real life…and for the right people 😉

  34. Long-time lurker who followed Wendy over from TF here. I may be the only one, but I’m not a fan of this new feature. Something about Wendy and the band of active commenters criticizing other reader’s (in my opinion, reasonable and not unusual) reactions rubs me the wrong way. Snark and sarcasm can be great and funny, but the general tone of these posts has crossed into the territory that I define as less-than-good-spirited. Maybe my definition is off, but I really hoped that we could accept each other as people with frailties and insecurities while being truthful and honest. I feel like the desire to be funny and tough and sound-byte quality has overwhelmed that spirit.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I’m just not seeing any of us attacking this LW, so I’m confused why people are saying this. Wendy posted a great response I thought. And I think all the commenters acknowledged that while it sucks to hear, it is the truth. Wendy didn’t post this and then laugh in her commentary. I thought it was a kind response, and applicable to everyone who read that first column and freaked out about their own bio clock.

      1. exactly. it’s not like wendy said how ridiculous is she. she wrote out a thoughtful response about why she wrote the advice she did. and most of the commenters are saying, it sucks but it’s true. we only have but so much time to live our lives. it’s not like wendy was saying anything controversial. she was speaking a truth.

  35. laxhaxtax says:

    Have not read all the responses but feel, as an older woman, I have some bits of info that might help. My daughter and her husband postponed having a second child until she was in her mid 30s. At 36 she went to her dr to get another year of birth control pills and to discuss what he thought about her having another child in a year or two. He did not even discuss it. He told her point blank that if she wanted a second baby to go home and try immediately. She did and another wonderful baby was born. The info he gave her was right to the point. After age 35 a woman’s hormones take a nose dive and getting pregnant after that is a real crap shoot.
    I saw a female ob/gyn on Oprah several years ago very angry that women were being encouraged by fertility clinics who make millions off older women…..that giving birth after 35 is iffy and after 40 is nearly impossible. Don’t know whose eggs are showing up in the bellies of those women in Hollywood but they are the exception rather than the rule.

    1. While fertility obviously declines as you get older, it’s not as bad as you are presenting. This chart from babycenter looks about in line with what I saw when I worked in OB:
      The likelihood of getting pregnant within a year for women 40-44 is 36%, not exactly what I would call impossible. It does however take a steep nosedive after 45. I was diagnosed with endometriosis at 19, told by my OB at 30 that I needed to start trying right away if I wanted to have a child, and that I would more than likely need fertility treatments. I had unprotected sex one time in the next month and was pregnant. Three years later took about 3-4 months of trying and conceived twins naturally. I realize this isn’t usual, but at the same time I feel that I was pressured into trying to get pregnant sooner than I would have chosen. It’s not a good idea to stay in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want children if you do, but it’s not a good idea to panic over some timeline in your head either. Everything has risks, educate yourself and make the decision that’s right for you, rather than getting all anxious about something that might never even happen…it will be good practice for motherhood 😉

      1. laxhaxtax says:

        Since I am not a fertility doctor I am only going on what my daughter was told and the ob/gyn I saw on Oprah. Her take on the issue was the idea that getting pregnant when you are older is just much more difficult and usually involves help from a clinic etc. Most women cannot afford the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to get pregnant if they need help doing so. I don’t hold that every woman should have children but those that want them should consider all their options. The young woman who started this discussion was worried about waiting around for a man to make up his mind. She needs all the facts she can get.

      2. Well I’m a nurse and not a doctor, but I am going by published research and not an Optah episode. For women 35-39 risk of infertility is 15%, and for women who are 40-44 it goes up to 32%. That doesn’t indicate “usually”. If it “usually” took $1000s in fertility treatments to become pregnant after 35, the world would be a much less populated place. And I agree that the LW needs facts, that’s why I used them in my post.

      3. laxhaxtax says:

        Not trying to “one up” you. Really just feel that this very emotional decision for women is related to their ability to produce viable eggs. I know that the ob/gyn my daughter used was concerned about a pregnancy after 35 because of Down’s Syndrome and because her chances of success went down with each birthday. She chose not to have the test because it can be somewhat dangerous and she was committed to the baby regardless. She and her husband knew that her age did bring some issues that were not present for her first pregnancy. I know that 35% sounds ok to some but to me it means that a couple has to get very lucky to conceive. I just want the young woman who started this discussion to have the very best advice available and I think a visit to a regular ob/gyn would be first on her list. I somewhat distrust fertility clinics since they may be money driven. Once she has facts in front of her she can make some long term decisions for herself.
        I will bring up someone that has been in the news recently….the daughter of Martha Stewart who spent untold amounts of money to conceive and had to finally use a gestational surrogate. Not many people have that option.

  36. BeckyGrace says:

    What nailed it on the head for me is that Wendy was trying to make the overall point of why wait around HOPING for something if it probably isn’t going to happen. I mean really… so sick of seeing 10 year relationships based on a HOPE or a PRAYER. Go get what you want and stop HOPING to get it. Love Wendy’s advice!

  37. Avatar photo says:

    That really sucks Wendy. Haha

    You kind of strike a tone with your thread here and another one you posted late yesterday or early this morning. I kind of scaled back my commenting as well, to kind of clear my head. Reading all the different letters about relationships, kind of wore me out, and it didn’t help that my own dating life has been less than stellar. I think the combination of trying to give tough love, which in my book is just being realistic, and reading so many different letters, comments, and advice threads, it made me have a negative outlook.

    Now that I’ve scaled back, I feel better about things. I think too much of anything can be bad, and everyone needs to take a step back and get some clarity. I find myself checking a letter or a thread now, and if I feel it going a certain path, I just click back to the homepage.

    I think you are right in everything that you say Wendy, because tough love is just needed from time to time. And everyone else is right, you just can’t control how someone is going to take your advice. In the end, you have to speak your mind, even if it does potentially hurt someone’s feelings. All of this has to be done within reason as well.

    I also think you brought up a really good point about being a woman that is 28 with no kids, but wants them in a stable household. I’m a 28 year old male, and even my clock ticks and I don’t have to birth that child; I just help create it. When you are talking about starting a family, the older we get, the more scrutiny is involved in every new relationship we start. You will naturally start looking for the more put together person and have less time to fool around with immature men and women. Quite frankly, it’s just the nature of the beast. I think your comment wasn’t meant to create anxiety, but to settle in and really make a woman think about the type of man she has or hasn’t been attracted too. Which is the decision that many of us should be making in our day to day lives.

    For me, keep up what you are doing Wendy! I like the advice that you offer, and it’s for free. You are saving a lot of people from having to go see a therapist, so I think your tough love is warranted. I would believe a therapist would whip you in to shape, if you were thinking outside the norm as well.


    Plz. If you want to vent you do it on your blog, or you call your bff, or make an appointment with your shrink. This…. this is just the crazyness. JUST CLICK THE LITTLE X THAT IS MAKING YOU CRAZY AND GO LOOK AT LOLCATS OR SOMETHING.

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