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Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Fiancé Acts Like He Doesn’t Love Me Anymore”

For about two months now, my fiancé has been acting weird; he used to call me “babe,” call or text randomly during the day just to check up on me, kiss me goodnight, cuddle me sometimes when watching tv or sleeping, tell me sweet nothings like he loves me or appreciates me, take me out for dinner at least once a month, go on weekend getaways, and initiate sex, but now all that has changed. I’m the one who initiates the sex and the calls, and when I tell him I love him, his response is always “thanks.” When I ask him if I should book us a mini holiday, he always refuses, and the other day I found two packs of condoms in his first aid kit in one car and one pack in the work bag in the other car while the only place we have sex is at home or at hotels when we are holiday. When I asked him why he has condoms in the car, his response was that he bought them and just hadn’t brought them in the house yet. So, I took the ones that were in the car, but when I went to get the ones in the bag, they were not there, and recently I found three packs in the car again in a different location.

I’m not sure what to think. He’s now emotionally distant and he’s always on his phone (which he hides when I’m closer), and whenever I ask him if there’s another person, he always denies it. And he doesn’t seem to care about our relationship anymore. The other day he was supposed to join my family and me for my nieces’ birthday celebration and he canceled at the last minute, saying he was tired from the exam he had earlier. The next day when I came back home, there wasn’t any evidence that he’d actually even been home after his exam. But what’s confusing is that whenever I buy something for the house, he’s always telling me not to use my money – that he’ll do everything. And the funny part is he’s home 95% of the time (if he’s not at work) and he sleeps at home every night, but after saying he’s going out with his friend, he sometimes doesn’t pick up his phone.

Please advise on what I need to do. When I tell him his behavior upsets me, he’ll change for a day or two and then go back to being online or on WhatsApp all the time and not answering his phone when it rings in front of me. I’m frustrated/angry/sad/stressed because I didn’t expect such from him. Also, I’m three months pregnant. — Sad and Stressed

Ok, so what part is confusing to you (because it sounds clear as day to me)? Your dude isn’t into you anymore. See: the complete disinterest in you when you’re home together; the lack of calls to you; the disinterest in sex with you; telling you “thanks” when you say you love him; disinterest in going out or on vacation with you – and he’s having sex with other women on the side. See: lots of condoms even though he never initiates sex with you AND you’re already pregnant AND they’re in places you don’t have sex together anyway; repeatedly not answering his phone in front of you; and blowing off your nieces’ birthday party while making up a lame excuse that was easily refutable. What part is confusing here? That he tells you not to spend your money on stuff for the house? Let me guess – it was his home first and you moved into it, right? He doesn’t want you to spend any money on it because he doesn’t want you to feel any ownership of the space since he has no intention of continuing this relationship long-term.

The only reason he hasn’t broken up with you yet is because he’s lazy – breaking up with someone requires effort and he doesn’t want to give you any of his. But don’t take it too personally – it’s not like he’s giving anyone much effort at all if he’s home 95% of the time that he isn’t at work. It sounds like the only thing he’s putting much effort into is making hook-up dates on WhatsApp for the 5% of the time he’s out. I’m gonna guess that sex with him is really unfulfilling, right? “Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am” type? He’s only got so much time to spare, and making sure the woman is into it doesn’t really work in his time frame.

Look, it sucks that you’re pregnant and will always have that connection to this guy, but a baby is not a reason to stay in a dead relationship with a guy who doesn’t like you, who doesn’t respect you, and whom you cannot trust. It’s time to find a new place to live, line up your support system for help when you become a single parent in a few months, and focus on the next chapter of your life, which should only include this guy in as much as he’s interested in being part of his baby’s life (and NOT part of your love life). I know this is a hard lesson to learn, but the faster you can accept that your fiancé no longer loves you and has been cheating on you, the faster you can move on to something better. Also, please make sure you get tested for STIs.

All my life I have struggled with maintaining relationships with men. I hate the sex and feel disgusted most of the time. I always knew I perhaps liked girls, but I pushed it out of my mind as my family is on the more “traditional” side.

Two years ago I kissed a girl for the first time at a party. It was like fireworks going off in my head. The girl and I parted ways amicably, but I couldn’t get the thought out of my head – finally, I felt like me! I confessed to my parents that I was attracted to girls. My mother nodded slowly and my dad … Well, he told me he was disappointed in me. I let it slide, knowing that maybe one day they’ll get used to it. I wasn’t exactly dating anyone at that point, but I felt I needed to share my preference for women.

Over the past two years, I have gone on two dates with women which never went anywhere. Now I’m 24 years old and have started meeting up with the first girl again. We realized quickly after the first meet-up that there had been an instant connection, something more than friendship alone. We liked each other.

I told my parents that I was dating, and they were quiet. My brother says he doesn’t care whom I date, and my mother says somewhat the same, but my dad says he will never accept me and never wants to meet my new partner. I feel defeated, torn inside and absolutely distraught. I don’t know what to do anymore as I cannot even mention my new girlfriend without it making everyone uncomfortable. I feel so happy, but yet I feel sad that I can’t share my happiness with anyone.

I need advice because I feel lost. — Lost Lesbian

 
I’m so sorry that the love you should feel from your family is conditional on your living inauthentically. That isn’t love. And, like the LW above, you’re learning a difficult lesson that I hope will bring you some liberation if you can accept and embrace it. Your dad doesn’t love you for who you are. What a loss for him. And I know it feels like a loss for you, but I think if you can reframe it as a “disappointment” rather than a loss, that’s actually a more honest version of what you’re experiencing. If your dad’s love for you was always conditional on your behavior and how you present your identity, I can’t imagine it’s ever been a warm and generous love. It came with strings attached – strings that you say held you back from exploring an early desire to date women. Just imagine what you can do and who you can be (yourself!) without those strings holding you down anymore. It’s so disappointing that your dad can’t love you for who you are. But a loss? His genuine love and acceptance were never yours to lose in the first place.

You say you have no one to share your happiness with now, but what about your partner? Share your happiness with her. Share it with your brother who seems to accept you just as you are. And, you know, your mother isn’t a lost cause either. She might come around as she observes you living authentically and happily. What about friends? Do you have any? Share your happiness with them! As I said in a recent column, “family” can be chosen, and if the family you were born into doesn’t love and accept you for who you are, then even more reason to choose family who does. If you don’t have many friends, make some. Explore ways you can connect with the LGBTQ community, which will allow you to shed the “traditional” expectations you were raised under and grow into the person you felt you had to suppress all your life.

You have so much to be excited about – exploring your true identity, loving and being loved by someone you feel really connected to, creating a chosen family of like-minded people who share your values, shedding the oppressive lens you’ve been viewed through your whole life. Wonderful things await! Hard, sad, and challenging things await too – life is still life, after all, even when we begin to live it as our authentic selves – but to experience the hard things alongside people who truly want the best for us is a feeling much better than the conditions you’ve been allowed to live in thus far. Let yourself feel the disappointment that comes from being alienated by a family member. Mourn the love and the relationship you wish you’d had with your father. But don’t let him keep you from thriving at the exact time you’ve finally given yourself permission to.

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

18 comments… add one
  • FYI November 17, 2021, 5:24 pm

    Love you, Wendy, but want to make sure LW1 knows: whether the guy is “interested in being part of his baby’s life” or not, he OWES child support. Do not let him shirk the responsibility he has for bringing that child into the world, LW. And watch out for the manipulative charm once he realizes he is going to pay actual money for this mess. He will try to convince you nothing happened, or that he changed, etc., etc. Too bad and too late. He’s dishonest, and you need to understand that — for your own safety and your kid’s.

    You probably want to see a lawyer about the child support. But don’t tell him that until AFTER you get a lawyer’s guidance.

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  • PDX816 November 17, 2021, 7:00 pm

    LW 1 – He is cheating, there is really no other explanation for anything. He is done with the relationship and is being progressively worse to you so you break up with him. He is a coward. I am so so sorry you are pregnant by this guy. If you are not 100% ready to be a single mom, please look into other options. Adoption can be a wonderful gift to someone. But he will not be your BF for much longer and he probably won’t be a great co-parent.

    LW 2 – I am so sorry your family kind of sucks, but welcome to the alphabet mafia. I would encourage you to seek out other community spaces where you can feel much more accepted. It might be easier to deal with people who are less supportive if you start making connections with people who are. I have been out over 1/2 my life and my mom is still an asshole about it sometimes. I eventually learned how not to let her words stop me from loving me, but it was a hard won battle. Good luck to you, and never let the bigots stop your happiness.

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  • Ange November 17, 2021, 7:22 pm

    That first letter almost reads like some of the jokes we make about terrible relationships. I almost hope it is a troll because my goodness it’s clear as day it isn’t going to end happily ever after.

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    • Allornone November 18, 2021, 7:19 am

      I was thinking that too. It hits so many obvious flags that I really, really hope it’s a troll. Because, otherwise, yikes.

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    • Copa November 18, 2021, 12:05 pm

      I have never been in this exact situation or slapped in the face with this many red flags, but I have been cheated on and can say from experience that it’s amazing how we can lie to ourselves when we’re still processing something like this and don’t want to believe it.

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      • Allornone November 18, 2021, 12:14 pm

        Very good point, Copa. Never underestimate the power of denial. It makes you all but blind sometimes.

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  • Girl from Canada November 17, 2021, 10:04 pm

    Hi LW1,

    Also, do you want to have a baby (with your fiance that is cheating on you?). You can consider all your options – keeping the baby as a single mom, but also adoption and even abortion. I don’t know where you are from, and I know it’s a big decision, but think about what you want and can do for your life. It was your last sentence, as a p.s., but probably the biggest decision, more than what to do with your soon to be ex.

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  • redgirl November 17, 2021, 10:06 pm

    I just want to reiterate for LW1, in case it’s not perfectly clear in Wendy’s answer: Your fiance is 100%, beyond a shadow of a doubt, cheating on you. He is buying condoms that he isn’t using with you, he is hiding stuff on his phone from you, and he has lost interest in sex and affection with you. Any one of those things on its own would be cause for worry. All of them together is a definitive answer.

    Dump his ass yesterday. And if you decide to raise your child alone, make damn sure that cheating ass pays the support your baby deserves.

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  • Hannah November 18, 2021, 2:40 am

    LW1: I had doubts about whether my partner still loved me or not by the time our wedding rolled around. I married him anyway. Marriage didn’t fix anything and his behaviour towards me disintegrated further. After ten miserable years of marriage, and wondering why I was married to someone who didn’t seem to love me or like me – and even actively disliked me and treated me accordingly – he is my ex-husband.

    I deserved someone who genuinely loved me. You deserve that too. My ex and I have two kids together. Raising them as a single parent was tough, but still better than being in a loveless relationship. (And our kids turned out great.)

    Divorce is a horrendous process – it’s much easier to split from someone you’re not yet married to. Don’t marry him. Learn from my mistake.

    LW2: Wendy’s advice is spot-on. Much love to you, you deserve to love and be loved by whomever told heart has chosen. Unfortunately the word “family” isn’t a guarantee that your blood relatives have your best interests at heart, sometimes we need to build a new family.

    My situation is different to LW2’s but Wendy’s advice has struck at the core of me. I have been struggling for years with the behaviour of certain family members towards some of my choices in life (long story, another time). Eventually I cut off these family members, but I have always had a sense of loss about it. I will reframe this as disappointment, not loss, going forward.

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  • PassingBy November 18, 2021, 7:45 am

    LW#1
    Even if your fiance wasn’t cheating on you (and he is), would you want to spend the rest of your life with him the way the relationship is right now?
    DO NOT MARRY HIM.

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    • 000 November 18, 2021, 8:20 pm

      Great point. It’s totally obvious he’s cheating, but even if LW1 isn’t ready to recognize that, she can recognize the rest of this mess.

      He’s not willing to put in the effort to break up, and I might not want to bother either. If feasible, just pack up your stuff during the 5% of his time that he’s away (with other women) and leave. If he wants to contact you, including about his unborn child, he can. Honestly I don’t know if he’ll bother with that either.

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  • ron November 18, 2021, 9:40 am

    LW#2 —
    Are you living with your parents? If so, and you are able to be financially independent or share an apartment with your gf, then move out. If not, work on becoming independent. Once you are out on your own, you can ignore your father and live your life.

    And ditch the traditional conservative religious denomination of your parents. That’s where your problem comes from. Religion-spawned lies that we can choose whether to be gay or straight, that gay sex is sinful, that God hates gays. ‘Traditional’ men love these conservative denominations, in which God apparently insists that they be the family patriarch. Just ignore all of this sexist nonsense.

    At least your father is the only family member who feels that way. Maintain your connection with the rest of your family.

    Be comfortable being yourself and enjoy your life and your new relationship.

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  • LisforLeslie November 18, 2021, 10:21 am

    Oh LW#1 you know the truth here. You’re trying to find reasons why it’s not true, but you know it is. When did you find out you were pregnant? When did he find out you were pregnant? This may be the wormiest way of saying “I don’t want this life with you”. Everyone else is right – you need to make decisions but know that if you choose to have and keep this baby, he owes the kid child support and you will be tied to him for the rest of your life.

    LW#2 – Sorry your dad sucks. Sometimes people just suck. Your mom sounds like she just needs to reset her view of the future she envisioned for you. Give it a little bit of time. I think she just needs to realize that all of the things she wanted for you are still possible, it’s just that fewer penises will be involved.

    With regard to your happiness, share it with your partner, your friends and your brother. And while I normally recommend that people be considerate of other people, in this case, fuck your father’s feelings and fuck his discomfort. He’s a bigot and a homophobe and deserves little, if any consideration. You talk about your partner if it’s relevant to the discussion.

    You do not need to make bigots comfortable.

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  • Kate November 18, 2021, 10:44 am

    If your partner is acting like he doesn’t love you, he actually doesn’t love you. Folks need to be aware that some guys will stay with you for years and not be that into you, cheat on you, talk shit about you to their friends, feel like they could do better. Do NOT assume they will break up with you if they’re not feeling it. YOU have to break it off if you’re not getting what you need, have communicated that, and nothing is changing. And come on, this guy is 100% cheating and doesn’t care if you know it. That’s really blatant. End this shitty thing, get child support, and go live your life.

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    • Hannah November 19, 2021, 4:08 am

      This, this, THIS.

      I stayed with my ex for years, thinking that if he was prepared to stay with me, there was a bit of him that must still love me. I convinced myself that was a good enough reason used to put up with some truly crappy behaviour. I convinced myself I didn’t deserve any better, that I was unlovable, that the problems in our relationship were all my fault. I basically lost ten years of my life this way!

      I had to break it off in the end, when I realised that I deserved to be with someone who actively liked me. (Spoiler alert: I am now!)

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  • Fyodor November 18, 2021, 12:37 pm

    LW1 in addition to everyone else’s advice, please speak to a lawyer about securing child support.

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  • brise November 18, 2021, 6:39 pm

    LW1: if your fiance changed so much for two months and you are three months pregnant, the situation is clear: he doens’t want to have a child, he isn’t interested in having a family with you, he isn’t so serious about you and he is not ready to be a father (he seems super selfish). He feels caught in a situation he doesn’t want to be in, resents you and checked out of the relationship. He doesn’t leave you because you are pregnant, but he is treating you with contempt. A “fiance” who tells me “thanks” when I say “I love you”? God, what a jerk. You have to consider your options, but NOT a wedding. You have to find out how you will get out of this relationship, which is dead walking, and what you actually want to do regarding your pregnancy. Go see a lawyer, but also Planned Parenthood and talk there about your situation, single parenting, breaking up with the father. Try to figure out in the most realistic way what your life will be and how you can be your best agent in it, for your own good. It is difficult and super-disappointing, so please reach your family and your friends, rely on your support system. The fact you speak only at the end of your post of your pregnancy is strange, like an afterthought. But this is the central point of everything now. Don’t be dependent on him, stop checking on him. And focus on your reality which will change massively in half a year.

    LW2: dont focus too much on your father. It seems you won’t be able to have anymore a relationship with him, unless he accepts who you are. But your family is not only about your father. Ignore him and continue your relationship with your mother and your sibling, seek the company of people who are good to you. And there are families of friends. It is hard, I hope the best for you.

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  • David Fønsbo November 25, 2021, 10:20 am

    Of course, he is cheating. And he ain’t man enough to wake up and make a choice! This is not a man…

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