Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I’ve Fallen In Love with a Man in an Open Relationship And I Want Him All To Myself”

I’ve got three letters for you today:

I met a guy, “Robert,” who I have fallen head-over-heels for. He is in a long-distance open relationship with a girl, “Rachel,” whom he has not seen in over eight months. He and I just started doing things together like hiking and going to the movies, and one day I realized I was in love with him; he admitted he was in love with me, too. I told him that I do not do open relationships and that I can be quite needy. He informed me that all his previous relationships had been closed and he got hurt in his last one, leading to his meeting Rachel, who was a one-night-stand first. He told me that he approached her a while back and wanted to close the relationship, but she was not interested. He is not interested in sharing a girlfriend, but she is seeing other guys. They have been together a total of two years.

Rachel has called me and told me she and Robert are in an open relationship. I told him this would not work, I can’t do it, and I would need to let him go. He begged me to stay, promising that he wants me and he will figure a way to end it with her. His family members all know Rachel, and while they don’t like her, they have accepted her. He wants to break it to his family first and then have them meet me, before they find out from her. So, in a few days I’m meeting his entire family. He still has not figured out a way to explain me to them, though. He says that he wants to be with just me, that we are a better fit, and that he cannot go back to sharing a girlfriend. He does not bat an eye when she goes out with her boyfriend every weekend, but he cries when I tell him I should go out and date, too. It hurts him to think about.

My question is: am I just being conned like every other girl out there whose guy says he will leave the “other” girl? Since I’m meeting his entire family, should it count for something? I should mention that she originally planned to move here in August to live with him, but he told her on the phone in front of me that it was no longer possible and that he could not live with her. Please give advice. — Not Into Sharing

I absolutely would NOT meet any of his family, let along his entire family, when the state of your relationship with him is so ambiguous and he’s still involved with another woman. Why on earth does he need to “break it to his family” in the first place? I am assuming you all are adults here; there’s no reason to pull moms and dads and aunties and whomever into your love life, especially when a relationship hasn’t even begun.

Honestly, there are enough red flags here that you should be pumping the brakes pretty steadily. The whole “I’m so needy” line is bullshit, too, and it sounds like you’re both using it. His tears over your saying you want to date someone are disingenuous. Your “neediness” is disingenuous. Everyone needs to grow up and say what you actually mean: “I don’t have the emotional wherewithal to date someone who is also dating someone else.” It’s not needy to express your boundaries, and if your boundaries don’t include open relationships of any kind, you sure as shit should not be heading to some family reunion as the new girlfriend of a guy who’s in a relationship with another woman, stop the madness.

I’m not sure I understand why Robert hasn’t broken up with Rachel? He says he’s in love with you and wants to be with you and that he does not want an open relationship or to share a girlfriend with other men, so there’s literally no reason for him to still be with Rachel. If he can’t dump her, he’s not being totally honest with you about something, and you should run fast away from him. If he CAN dump Rachel, and you two pursue a relationship together, you need to give it some time to develop before you commit to him and before you go meeting his whole family.

Five years into a relationship with the woman I thought was the love of my life and whom I was engaged to, I found out she cheated on me with a guy she used to date who had just gotten out of prison after 12 years for sexual assault on a minor — you can’t make this stuff up! I am still hurt from that, but I love her and so I forgave her and started moving past it. Three years ago our first son was born. Afterward, she confessed to me that for most of our relationship she has used meth. Now I knew she had her past with drugs, but I thought she had been clean for years and years. She told me she hadquit six months after cheating and wanted to tell me but couldn’t. Again, I was hurt but it was over and she isn’t using now, so I forgave. Our second son was born 10 months ago. This last pregnancy was hell and she started drinking a lot, causing fights so bad the cops were called. Now she has gotten her second DUI and the state has seized my car. She could be locked up for up two years in prison.

So, my question is: Should I take my sons and run or continue to fight it out? We are not married but I know that, without me and her boys, she will fall into drugs and die or just kill herself straight out. Is it right to stay for the love of my sons and to keep them with their mother? She is a better mother than spouse and none of this has affected them. — Desperate Dad

You are in denial if you think their mother’s being an addict and an active alcoholic with DUIs and the threat of imprisonment isn’t affecting your sons! You’re in denial if you think the cops being called to your home on a regular basis doesn’t faze them. It absolutely is having an effect on them, and just because you can’t or won’t see it, doesn’t mean this behavior and environment isn’t damaging them. It is.

And, you know, at a certain point you have to change the narrative from “I love her so I forgave her and I stayed” to “I love her, but I love myself and I love my kids and need to protect us and keep us safe and happy, so I am leaving.” And then you do your very best to create a safe and happy home for yourself and your children and let their mother focus on herself and maybe use a breakup and loss of her children as a motivator to finally, really get the help she needs to turn her life around. If losing her children won’t motivate her to do/be/get better, I promise you: your staying with her sure isn’t going to do the trick.

You have to prioritize the well-being of your kids, and their staying with a deeply, deeply troubled, out-of-control mother is not the way to do it. It’s time for you to end your romantic relationship with her, take her boys away, and focus on being the best dad you can be, relying on whatever support system you hopefully have in place to help you. You can’t control what happens to your sons’ mother, but you can control your own behavior and decisions, and your staying with with this and keeping your children in such a volatile environment is NOT the right decision.

Almost two months ago, a friend from out of town messaged me and asked me to send her some merchandise from the university I was most recently attending. In the message, she agreed to pay for the cost of the merchandise and shipping. I was a bit reluctant to make the purchase because of how expensive the items were, but I agreed, knowing that she would reimburse me. My friend has since received the items and is overjoyed to have them. She thanked me, she congratulated me on graduating, and she said she will send me a graduation gift, but she has made no mention of paying me back for the merchandise.

Recently, she has experienced a lot of difficult life changes which makes me think she may have forgotten about our original agreement. While I feel like it may be impolite to remind her, I also feel uncomfortable being out the money I spent on her request; it was more than what I can afford to spend on a friend. Do you think I should remind her to pay me back and risk things potentially becoming awkward in our friendship, or should I simply let it go? — Out Money and Uncertain

If reminding someone to reimburse you for items they promised to reimburse you for will threaten your friendship, then your friendship wasn’t strong enough to withstand much more time anyway. Shoot your friend a note or call her up and say: “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you because I know you’ve had a lot going on in your life and I hope you’re doing ok. I’m here if you ever want to talk. Also, with everything on your plate, you probably forgot about reimbursing me for those items I sent you a while back. Things are a bit tight for me financially, so when you have a chance, please send me Blank Dollars. My Venmo/Paypal is Blank. Thank you! And, again, I’ve been thinking about you and am here if you ever want to talk.”


Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

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

21 comments… add one
  • brise June 13, 2019, 9:32 am

    LW1: at the very least, I would request that Robert breaks up with Rachel before you meet his family. Why does he want you to see his family first? Is this a kind of test for you to take? Anyway, don’t meet them as his … what? what is your status? You have none, actually. No way. Don’t do that to yourself.
    LW2: go to a lawyer and request full custody.
    LW3: you don’t seem to want your money back. The simplest and most effective is to write her an email with this message: “hi, friend. For the merchandise I sent you, the total invoice is xxx. Here are my bank account data. Please do reimburse me by the … (next week), I can’t afford it.
    I hope you are ok with… , thanks, xxx
    So: indicate the sum to pay, your bank account, a deadline. Be clear or you can forget being reimbursed. A next time, ask for the money first before purchasing anything. Really, money and friends are no good mixture. So unlock that as soon as possible.

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  • anonymousse June 13, 2019, 9:41 am

    LW 1-I don’t understand why he has to “find a way” to break it off with Rachel. It seems he told her she can’t move in with him. That couldn’t be harder than a breakup. I joe agree that you should not go and meet his family. That’s weird, and it’s too soon. You aren’t even in a relationship, right? Take a step back and tell him to let you know when he has his life sorted out and is single.
    LW2-Yes, now would be the time to run. Contact a lawyer and take your young children to a safer place without drugs, excessive drinking and DUIs. Your children are not a crutch for her. If she decides to fall deeper to her off bottom, that is her choice.
    LW3-It’s not rude to ask for the money you were promised. It’s rude of her to not have paid you.

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    • anonymousse June 13, 2019, 9:43 am

      Not sure where joe came from. Oops.

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  • Essie June 13, 2019, 10:22 am

    LW1: This is ridiculous. Of course you shouldn’t be meeting his family. What on earth does he have to “break” to them? How would that even go? “Hey, fam, I was banging Rachel, but now I want to bang someone else, and here she is! Well no, she’s not actually my girlfriend yet, I haven’t broken up with Rachel because I’m a whiny dramatic coward.”

    Tell him that he can look you up when he’s broken up with Rachel. His actions after that will tell you whether you’re being played or not.

    LW2: No, she’s not a “better mother than spouse.” She’s not even a fit mother. She has major substance abuse problems and terrible judgement, and has lied to you over and over again. I wouldn’t believe for a minute that she’s no longer taking meth or drinking. Imagine if she’d had your kids in the car and crashed it while under the influence. And she was drinking heavily while pregnant? Take the kids and run, and go for full custody. She can have supervised visitation.

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  • Allornone June 13, 2019, 10:41 am

    While it’s WWS on all accounts (and LW 2- OMG get the eff out), I will say meeting family early isn’t ALWAYS a bad move. My mother, ecstatic that I was finally liked someone other than my toxic ex, wanted me to invite my not-even-boyfriend-yet to my nephew’s birthday party which would have the ENTIRE family. I jokingly did so thinking there would be no way he would say yes. He did. I told him that while I would like him there, I had in no way expected him to agree, but he still wanted to go. So three weeks in, he met everyone. Like everyone. Three weeks. It was nuts. But he impressed, we’re still together, and they all love him, so it worked out. By contrast, it was two years before I met anyone in his family. Timelines can be weird.

    But yeah, usually a red flag bad idea, especially in a situation like this.

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  • MP June 13, 2019, 11:01 am

    LW #1 – considering Rachel is his LDR girlfriend he’s in the perfect position to make a clean break. Think about it – they don’t share a home or pets or children or have a chance of running into each other. Don’t listen to his words – pay only attention to his actions, and his actions state he doesn’t want to give you what you need.

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  • Vathena June 13, 2019, 11:30 am

    LW1, your situation is totally baffling to me. What exactly is the obstacle to breaking up with someone he hasn’t seen in 8 months, who has another boyfriend/side guys, when he’s already told her he won’t live with her, and he’s in love with someone else? He claims his family doesn’t even like her, yet he needs to “break it to them” before she does? Why would she even tell them? Why does he want to parade you in front of his family BEFORE he breaks up with her? I really don’t understand the family dynamics. Here’s how that conversation goes: “Hey mom/dad/grandma/drunk uncle, I just wanted to let you know that Rachel and I have parted ways, but I’ve started seeing someone I’m pretty excited about. I’d love for you to meet her soon.” The end. Something is seriously amiss for this much drama to be happening.

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  • Avatar photo

    Bittergaymark June 13, 2019, 11:34 am

    LW1) Clearly. He wants to have his Rachel and eat you, too.
    LW2). So your wife abused Meth all through her first pregnancy and yet you believe she’s such a great mother you had another baby with her? Um… sure. Yeah, right.
    LW3. NEWSFLASH: She didn’t forget. She outright fucking conned you. Demand your money back now — but be prepared to sever this friendship after little Miss Mooch offers up excuse after excuse to NOT pay you back. PS — this is why non-dimwits ask for the cash up front.

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    • Allornone June 13, 2019, 11:51 am

      “He wants to have his Rachel and eat you, too”

      This sentence brings me joy.

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    • LisforLeslie June 14, 2019, 8:51 am

      I too would like to bask in the cold glow of this perfect comment.

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  • ele4phante June 13, 2019, 11:50 am

    LW1 – Something is amiss here. There is no reason this should be this complicated – he cares deeply for you, you care deeply for him, you are local, neither of you wants an open relationship. If all that is true, why hasn’t he broken up with Rachel then? Why is he continuing to belabor this emotional drama when what he allegedly wants (a monogamous relationship with someone local he’s crazy about) is right there in front of him for the taking?

    There is a reason, some reason, that he doesn’t want to excise himself from this situation. Why? I don’t know. I could speculate that actually he does want to be non-monogamous but doesn’t want *you* to date around so he’s got this whole whoa is me routine to emotionally manipulate you into staying in line. Maybe he really does want to be with Rachel more and is therefore unwilling to break it off, but she won’t meet him on his terms so he’s keeping you around as a placeholder. Maybe he is just a sociopath that loves drama.

    I dunno.

    But – I do know is that he doesn’t want a monogamous relationship with just you. Otherwise, you two would be in one. There’s literally no reason not to be, if it’s truly what he wanted.

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  • ron June 13, 2019, 11:57 am

    LW #1 — You are being conned by this guy. He’s in an LDR with a woman he hasn’t seem for 8 months (so all he has to do to break up is a quick phone call, about the easiest breakup possible. He can even do it by e-mail, if he is a coward). It just doesn’t ring true. The bizarre meeting with his whole family? Really, that makes him sound like a child, with zero separation from his family.

    LW#2 — You have to leave her. She’s awful and she will ruin your children. Are you really that desperate for sex?

    LW#3 — you also have been conned. She could have ordered this merchandise on-line or by phone, but then she’d have to pay for it.

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  • louiecorr61M June 13, 2019, 3:25 pm

    When I was a young guy I would do the same as my friend on Friday night run around like aheadless children after woman my age my life only started when I was 51yr I work part time at local pub 1day a lady called Liz moved near pub we hit it off from day one,eventual I said Liz you know I’m 51yr guy your absolutely gorgeous love 70yr lady and I fancy you why should weend up in evings alone she told me to get lost why would you a 51yr guy want to be with me a 70yr woman who had a breast remove your ether go to rob me or con me out of my cash I told her we get on grate your my best friend,who company I enjoy she said your drunk,I said drunk or sober every chance I get tto speak to you itell you I fancy you want you in my arms and in my bed first 1 see wen open my eyes and last person I see when I close my eyes, she was away at her daughter for Xmas and new year eve I sat in local pub bored,so I said my good by to every one walk out side & Liz came out of the shadow say god never thought you was coming out of pub I know we both go ing to regret this in the morning come on home to mine For a new year drink I didn’t need ask twice she shock me when we was in the lift she stopped it between floors and we both had hand all over each other slowly gently kissing each other she says bet you do a runner in morning and every one in pub look at her laughing said no way I no hidden agenda I don’t want your cash or try con u out of your cash I want you why should we both end up alone in our home when we get on so well together she had my zip down her hand inside my boxer shorts gasped say oh my god that so big I said told you after kiss you just once you’d are stuck with ME & it you who gotme turned on she was right in morning I sneaked out of her home to go to work at 6am until 10:30am but by 6:30am I was back inside her house she was the only woman I told I love her and ment it she was sat inside the lift same as the night before stop between floors and was tearing my clothes off, I was 51yr she was 70yr this is to your older female readers who I read that since they got old once firm body now sagging and thy are invisible to men I am a man husband who tel them don’t find them attractive anymore or do 1 with a young girl some 1 see them & have the nerve to them like I told Liz &. Guy who think same way there a woman or guy out there for them sadly last xmaseve she passed away in my arms but two night before she pind me down resadeble washing machine room strip me off and made love to me like a woman posed she was my best friend my first ever woman who told i love her and ment it and i hope it true about the after life because we be together again for all itternaty sorry going on

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    • ron June 13, 2019, 7:07 pm

      I guess you know your post relates not at all to any of the 3 topics.

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    • Allornone June 14, 2019, 1:32 pm

      At least post this nearly-incomprehensible drivel on the forums, not in response to another post.

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  • dinoceros June 13, 2019, 6:59 pm

    LW1: Yes, you’re being manipulated.

    LW2: I think you’re telling yourself that you’ve stayed so your sons can have a mom, when in reality you are either just scared to be alone or you just want to be with her romantically. Any sane parent should understand that hanging around a mom like that is detrimental. Try to limit how much additional negative effects she has on your kids.

    LW3: There’s nothing wrong with asking someone to pay you money they owe you.

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  • Selene June 14, 2019, 2:45 am

    LW1: He hasn’t broken up with Rachel yet because he actually wants to be monogamous with her and is just using you to make her jealous. He’s hoping that taking you to see his family will be a wake-up call for her to leave her other boyfriend and be with him. There really is no other reason why a man who wants a monogamous relationship will not break up with someone who he hasn’t seen in 8 months and who will not give him what he needs, while also being in love with you, is not actually with you already. He’s not giving you the full picture here.

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    • Vathena June 14, 2019, 9:00 am

      Aha… ding ding ding! I think we have a winner. This is the only explanation that makes sense of it all.

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    • ron June 14, 2019, 12:40 pm

      Selene — you are probably correct, but that is unlikely to work for him, because Rachel doesn’t want to be monogamous with him. I think she’ll cut him loose and find another guy, rather than accept monogamy. She knows that’s what he wants. Him dating another woman will please her, rather than making her jealous and willing to commit to monogamy. That just doesn’t seem to be her thing.

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  • csp June 14, 2019, 8:02 am

    LW 1 – So, I think you are getting conned. He likes you but doesn’t want to give up the other women.

    When I met my husband, he was dating a woman. They had a complicated relationship because they were both friends of a mutual friend that died. They leaned on each other and comforted each other with this loss. However, that is where they ended. He met me and wanted to date me. He broke up with her. It took a little time to unhook for this relationship but he did it because he wanted to be with me. I tell you this because sure, there are complicated situations. But he could leave this woman within a week if he wanted to.

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  • LisforLeslie June 14, 2019, 8:55 am

    LW#2 – if I boil down your problem: My gf is an addict. If I leave, she might die. If I stay, my kids might die. What should I do?

    Would you ever forgive yourself if your kids were harmed because your gf was high?

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