Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Fiancé is a Terrible Kisser”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss bad kissing, dating etiquette, and dealing with an inconsiderate roommate.

My fiancé is a wonderful man and our relationship is amazing in every way, except for one thing: kissing during foreplay and sex. It’s really strange, because my fiancé is a great kisser otherwise, and used to be a great kisser while being intimate, but it seems that recently, his kissing skills have regressed. The problem is that when he gets really into the moment, he starts practically mauling my face off, which is not sexy at all, and, is painful when he has stubble, which is most of the time. I’ve usually been able to solve the problem by situating myself so that I’m above him when we’re kissing so that I can take control, but I felt compelled to write in when, the last time we were intimate, he just kept gnawing away at my face no matter what I tried, which was really frustrating. He hasn’t picked up on any of the nonverbal cues that I’ve tried to give, and I’m afraid that it’s gotten to the point where I’ll just start rushing through foreplay to avoid his terrible kissing. I know the problem is fixable, because he’s a great kisser in other situations; I just don’t know how or when would be best to bring this issue up. What would be the best way to delicately discuss this with him? — Avoiding the Kiss Off

The next time you’re alone together — but not intimate; that will put him more on the defensive — and are feeling gutsy enough to bring it up, simply say something along the lines of: “I’ve noticed lately that when we’re about to have sex, your kissing has become a more aggressive than it usually is otherwise. I really love the way you kiss when it’s not foreplay. That gentle kind of kissing is what actually turns me on, not the rougher kissing, so I was hoping you’d go back to the softer kisses during foreplay that I like so much.”

I am a recovering serial monogamist, so at 27 I consider myself experienced in love but not in dating. I recently reactivated my online dating profile and have a date planned with a nice a guy. However, there are a few other people I’m interested in, and to try and get out of the serial monogamy pattern I would like to go on a few dates with a few different people. So this is my question: How do you communicate whether or not you are dating exclusively? Is it safe to say that for the first few dates most people assume you aren’t? Is it safe to say that you’re not until you have that conversation where you decide you are? I don’t want to unnecessarily complicate things early on in dating with “By the way, we are not exclusive,” but I don’t want to be dishonest by omission either – Don’t Know Much About Dating

Only a total moron would expect exclusivity after one date and without a preceding conversation about it. And, really, unless you are having sex, in which case I would recommend a discussion about whether the sex — if not the relationship — is monogamous, there’s no need to push or discuss exclusivity until you feel ready to. That said, if someone asks if you’re seeing other people, it’s always best to be honest, and if you’ve been out a few times and feel like at least a mention of your status is warranted, go for it, but until genuine feelings have developed, it’s safe to assume that everyone is just getting to know each other and no one is pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.

I recently moved into a new apartment to save money since the rent went up on my last place. I moved in at the beginning of the month and everything seemed fine for the first week. The second week one of my new roommates asked me if her aunt and uncle could stay for a week and I said OK since they wouldn’t be in the apartment most of the day and were staying in her room. When they arrived they also brought their two kids in tow, without my roommate telling me. They ended up staying not for one weeks as promised, but for two weeks with a crying 1-year-old and a rambunctious 5-year-old. To add insult to injury, the roommate hosting them decided to go out of town for a few days with them still there without telling me. Everyone is gone now and my roommate will return early next week. So, I’m wondering: should I move right now? I’m on a month-to-month lease but I just moved in here not even a month ago. I told her how I felt but she seemed to just brush it off like it was nothing. Should I just stick it out for a few more months or should I just pack everything and go elsewhere? — Disgruntled New Roomie

Decide which would be the lesser hassle: finding a new place and packing up your stuff and moving, or indefinitely dealing with an inconsiderate roommate who will probably pull this kind of crap — or worse! — many more times in the future. If it were me, moving again would definitely be the lesser of two evils.

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

53 comments… add one
  • summerkitten26 September 2, 2011, 8:01 am

    LW 3 says “one of her new roommates,” implying that there are others. have you spoken to the others to gauge how they feel about the situation, or even if this is the kind of behavior you can expect from the offending roommate often? that might be worth looking into, since if everyone’s against her and her behavior, it can be raised with the landlord or a group session. look into what specifics on your lease or roommate agreement might have to say about the number of guests, how long they can stay, or whether they could be there without their host. if there is no roommate agreement, perhaps all of the roommates could sit together and work one out.

    I agree with the LW that the first reaction to such disrespect is to cut losses and move on before getting in too deep, but she has rights as a roommate paying rent as well. I wouldn’t move without trying to work it out, but if it seems as if it won’t get better, or if you’ll get some basic courtesy at the cost of a decent roommate relationship, moving out could be an option, and at least you’re on a month to month lease. good luck! (apologies for typos; I’m on a phone)

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  • PFG-SCR September 2, 2011, 8:25 am

    LW1: Don’t worry, once you guys are married, both kissing during sex and foreplay will be nonexistent. Problem solved!!

    (It’s a joke…!)

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    • Wendy September 2, 2011, 8:27 am

      Tee-hee. Don’t scare the unmarrieds!

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  • JennyTalia September 2, 2011, 8:58 am

    LW1: Next time he’s kissing you the way you like it, tell him, and tell him that’s how you want him to kiss you all the time because that turns you on more than the aggressive foreplay kissing.

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    • Anna September 2, 2011, 4:20 pm

      Exactly. Go about it as positive reinforcement rather than negative. With men it seems they are allowed to put you down as much as they want but if you say something negative about them it’s the end of the world and you’re a big meanie.

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  • Bethany September 2, 2011, 9:19 am

    LW3- If I were you, I’d start looking for a new place to live right now. You’re on a month to month lease, so you really have no reason not to leave. It sounds like this girl has little to no respect for you, why subject yourself to that if you don’t have to? You have no obligation to these girls- Just leave!

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  • Jena September 2, 2011, 9:53 am

    It really worries me that someone is marrying a guy who she isn’t comfortable enough with to discuss something as non-dramatic as “kissing.”

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    • amber September 2, 2011, 10:01 am

      It didn’t sound like she wasn’t worried about approaching him in general, just wanted advice on how to delicateley bring it up. Even though it’s just kissing the way you approach it could like Wendy said put some people on the defensive. It’s not like you’re approaching them about the way they do they dishes. It’s better that she asked for advice than doing what she said which was just ignore it and rush through that part. Hopefully she takes Wendy’s advice because it does sound like it’s fixable and since she hasn’t brought it up yet the guy probably thinks she likes it!

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      • Jena September 2, 2011, 10:33 am

        Again, just the idea that she cannot communicate her sexual preferences about something as simple as kissing, to someone she intends on spending her entire life with, is a bit alarming. What about the inevitable bigger issues they will face as a couple?

      • Jena September 2, 2011, 10:39 am

        Yup, thumb me down, cool. There’s a reason the divorce rate is 51%, though. Just sayin.

      • amber September 2, 2011, 10:43 am

        many people are able to communicate about bigger issues and have a harder time approaching their significant other about sex. it’s something they definitely need to work on. but, I think the reason a lot of people have issues with this is that they feel like they are attacking the person when they say something about this and sometimes the other person feels attacked depending on how you approach it. like i said before i think talking to your spouse about issues outside of sex are often easier because those things are not about them personally. at least that’s how i used to feel. i wasn’t the best communicator about sex and had to work on it. other issues in the relationship i could approach fine but i was always hesitant when it came to sex. and i’ve just learned how to be a better communicator in that area, but it took some time. it’s great that the LW is even trying to get advice. lots of people just don’t say anything.

      • LW1 September 2, 2011, 11:08 am

        You hit the nail right on the head, Amber. It’s definitely much easier to communicate issues not dealing with sex with each other. When my fiance and I started having sex and we were getting to know each other’s preferences, I had no problem communicating to him what I like and don’t like. But that was 3 years ago, and we’re WAY past that “getting to know you” stage. But this problem has been recent, and it’s like, WTF??? How do I handle this?! I ABSOLUTELY want to communicate this to my fiance, but because kissing and sex are SO personal, I know my fiance is going to be really hurt when he finds out that he’s not been pleasing me 100 %. Whenever we have an issue in our relationship, we have no problem voicing those issues to each other. Our communication has always been really good, which is why I definitely wanted to bring this issue up with him, but I was stumped on how best to do it. I really appreciate Wendy’s advice and all of the suggestions in the comments! 🙂

      • krisstr September 4, 2011, 2:14 pm

        gee, I wonder who thumbed you down.

    • MissDre September 2, 2011, 10:17 am

      Do you ever have anything positive to say?

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      • Jena September 2, 2011, 10:29 am

        Occasionally, but should you really need to write in to an advice column about how your soon-to-be-husband kisses? If you can’t communicate your sexual preferences (with something as basic as kissing) how are you ready to share your entire lives, which will be FULL of bigger problems than bad kissing?

    • *HmC* September 3, 2011, 11:44 pm

      I see where you’re coming from, but I think that simply asking for some input and advice on a minor relationship hiccup is a sign of maturity more than immaturity. Admitting you aren’t perfect and inquiring of trusted sources is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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  • lets_be_honest September 2, 2011, 10:32 am

    LW2 – WTF is a “recovering” serial monogamist?

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    • amber September 2, 2011, 10:39 am

      someone who has finally broken the cycle of seriously dating people back to back. sounds like she took a break from dating for awhile and is ready to try again.

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    • Fabelle September 2, 2011, 10:42 am

      The term “serial monogamist” usually describes someone who puts themselves in serious, long-term monogamous relationships constantly– one after the other. Every relationship tends to be perceived as “the one” and they always have a need to be in this kind of relationship. So “recovering” probably just means LW2 recognized her issue and is trying to be single now, dating people non-exclusively.

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      • Fabelle September 2, 2011, 10:43 am

        Didn’t see Amber’s reply– but yeah, same thing!

      • amber September 2, 2011, 10:55 am

        i thought the same thing when i saw yours, they showed up at the same time for me!

      • lets_be_honest September 2, 2011, 11:02 am

        I don’t see how thats a bad thing, though. What’s so wrong with monogamy if that’s what type of relationship she wants to be in? I’m not saying she should think after a first date that she has found “the one,” but I don’t think you have to recover from or recognize it as an issue. Maybe she was just kidding a bit? For Amber to say she’s finally breaking the cycle, as though she’s been in a cycle of using drugs, or being in abusive relationships is weird to me. Thoughts?

      • amber September 2, 2011, 11:09 am

        Haven’t you ever met someone who is NEVER single. They date people who are not right for them, stay with them for too long, etc just so they don’t have to be alone. Monogamy isn’t bad and I’m not saying itis, but what is bad is being with someone just so you’re not alone. Which is why most people who are serial monogamists do. They’d rather be with anyone and often convince themselves they’re the one rather than be alone.

      • lets_be_honest September 2, 2011, 11:18 am

        I totally agree with you on all of your points. Maybe it would’ve made more sense to write ‘I’ve been in a string of bad, long-term relationships with the wrong guys for me.’

      • amber September 2, 2011, 11:21 am

        and here’s the urban dictionary definition, silver_dragon_girl gave the best description i think!


        one who spends as little time as possible being single, moving from the end of one relationship to the beginning of a new relationship as quickly as possible

        although the relationships in which many serial monogamists find themselves are also often short lived, the defining aspect of serial monogamy is the desire and ability to enter new relationships very quickly, thus abbreviating any period of single life during which the serial monogamist may begin to ask questions of an existential nature

      • silver_dragon_girl September 2, 2011, 11:25 am

        Ahh, yes, those existential questions…what am I doing with my life, what is the point, where am I going, why don’t I feel like I have any direction, why is everybody else all happy and settled down and coupled up and getting married or engaged, why am I still alone, will I ever find a purpose? Etc.

        Ugh. *opens a beer*

      • lets_be_honest September 2, 2011, 11:34 am

        Cool. I obviously did not realize it meant immediately jumping into another relationship. And, yes, I know what serial means…just didn’t realize it was immediate. Anyway, thanks!

      • silver_dragon_girl September 2, 2011, 11:11 am

        I used to date a guy who was a serial monogamist, and I suppose some people might call me one. Yes, in a way it’s a good thing, if you’re looking for a long-term romantic relationship…the problem is that people who do it to excess develop a very real problem with jumping head-first into relationships. They tend to fall in love quickly, deeply, and then after less than a month alone they’re onto the next exclusive relationship, where they again fall in love quickly, and deeply. I’ve known people to go for years like this, never taking more than 2-3 weeks to be single before getting ultra-serious with the next person.

        I think the biggest problem with it is that you’re not taking time to fully process any of your breakups, or figure out why they ended. It’s an important step in finding “the one:” figuring out what you DON’T want, what you AREN’T willing to negotiate on, as well as what you MUST have in a romantic partner.

        Plus, when you end one relationship and jump immediately into another, you tend to project your old feelings of love and contentment with your ex onto the new person, whether they’re deserving of it or not. You want so badly to be in love with someone that you end up falling for some people who are very wrong for you.

      • Caris September 3, 2011, 11:04 pm

        Had a friend at school that did this, I don’t know if she still does, we are not friends anymore. Sometimes she would not even let a week go by! As soon as she broke up she would be “over” it and asking people if they knew any guy whom she could date with. *sigh* . She was so scared of being alone that she even went back with her ex after only like 2 weeks of breaking up even though, he had cheated on her.

      • MissDre September 2, 2011, 11:21 am

        I think it’s more about the fact that the person can’t be single. They HAVE to be in a relationship and will find a new relationship to enter before an old one ends. That’s why it’s a negative thing.

  • McLovin September 2, 2011, 9:33 am

    LW1, just tell him, bring it up in whatever quirky way you can think of. It doesn’t have to be a “gentle” conversation at all, talk to him like he’s a grownup instead of a child that needs to be talked down to. I’m like 99.9999999% sure he will be receptive to your thoughts and desires and he will fix his foreplay faux pas. Dude just needs to know, you know? After all, a change in his technique will ultimately lead to more boom-boom, right? He will understand that part, trust me.

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    • iseeshiny September 2, 2011, 9:49 am

      I’m with you on this. If your method of communication up till now has been “nonverbal cues,” try just saying “Ouch” next time. If it’s this whole big sit down thing you might make him insecure. My fiance is blond and so thinks he only has to shave once a week (since you can’t see his stubble) and while I haven’t tried to get him to shave more often than that, I have successfully imparted to him that I don’t like beard burn and he’s got to be more careful when his face is made of sandpaper.

      Or you can do what I did with my dog, which is smack him on the nose and say “No bite!” in a gentle but firm tone 🙂

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      • moonflowers September 4, 2011, 5:03 am

        My ex didn’t realize how bad beard burn could be until I asked him to run his stubbly chin over his own inner forearm. He grimaced. From then on he was very diligent about shaving.

  • hammerdan September 2, 2011, 10:39 am

    The girl I’m dating bites the holy hell out of my lips when were being intimate. It really kills it for me because, well it hurts like hell and I actually get a fat lip the next day. I brought it up once and she credited me with being a good lover. Damn now what do I do??

    I simply said during a very intimate moment when she was gnawing on me, I would REALLY appreciate it if she would not bite my lip. She was cool with it but gave me that deep long look you women do to see if there’s another meaning behind it. It all worked out, but I can tell she wants to do it every time but is sweet enough to stop.

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    • lets_be_honest September 2, 2011, 11:36 am


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    • Mainer September 2, 2011, 11:39 am

      Bite her back.

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  • SpaceySteph September 2, 2011, 10:40 am

    I can see where LW 2’s concern is coming from… after all it wasn’t too long ago that we had the LW who’s boyfriend was completely pissed that she went on ONE date with a guy after they also had one date. I think that by the time you’re in your late 20s though, exclusivity is not assumed. In fact, I think non-exclusivity IS expected until several dates in.
    I think the best way to handle it is to wait a few dates, or until real feelings or sex develops and then have an exclusivity conversation. Then you have a marker for when official exclusivity started and nobody freaks out about a few additional dates a few years down the line.

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  • RoyalEagle0408 September 2, 2011, 10:40 am

    LW3- From personal experience, move out now. My old roommate (I was subletting) brought her mom to live with us for “6 weeks” while her house was being remodeled. She kicked me out 8 months later, and her mom was still living there. She also disappeared for a few weeks during that time, leaving her mother in the apartment.

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    • JK September 2, 2011, 11:14 am

      Wow, I never had roommates, so the things I read about them (here and on thatsmyroommate.com) never cease to amaze me!!!

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  • JK September 2, 2011, 11:12 am

    I can totally relate to LW1. While my husband and I have always enjoyed a bit of rough stuff during sex (pretty vanilla though, nothing extreme), lately he’s gotten into th habit of biting my earlobes way harder than before, to the point that they’re still sensitive a few days later! In the heat of the moment I don’t really notice it too much, but later on, ouch!
    It’s really hard to talk to my husband about lots of things (esp sex), so last tie when he homed in on that area I just shifted my head and got him to focus on something else.
    Sorry if this is TMI, but maybe that approach could work for LW until she works up the courage to talk about it. There’s nothing wrong with talking durind foreplay/sex to get him to change what he’s doing, either.

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  • Foots September 2, 2011, 11:48 am

    I am surprised that nobody addressed the implied question about the stubbly face. I think she should just ask him kindly to shave when it gets like that. That’s what I have to do with my husband.

    That can be a big turn-off, too, so I felt it was worth addressing.

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    • iseeshiny September 2, 2011, 12:16 pm

      I dunno, I dated a guy once who had always had stubble immediately after shaving. Dark, thick hair and fair, delicate skin. He shaved daily with a good quality razor but it made no difference. He eventually just grew a nice goatee. Some guys are just hairy.

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    • Anna September 2, 2011, 4:27 pm

      If kindly asking a guy to shave, put on a shirt with a collar, etc were that easy we would all do it!! Unless you date metrosexual guys, you are going to have to put with stubble, shaggy hair, and an endless wardrobe of nothing but event t-shirts!

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      • theattack September 2, 2011, 9:46 pm

        hahahhahaha, “…and an endless wardrobe of nothing but event t-shirts!” That’s hilarious, and soo true. But I can’t pretend I’m no wearing an event t-shirt right now, so..

  • GatorGirl September 2, 2011, 12:13 pm

    LW1- I agree it’s a hard subject to bring up, a lot of men’s ego’s can be easily bruised when you critique their skills in the bedroom. Maybe you should ask your fiance what he is looking for. He may be wanting to try something new/different and too shy to ask. Bringing up the subject that way would allow you to express what you find arousing…and give him an oppertunity to express what he is interested in.

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  • budjer September 2, 2011, 11:30 am

    Why are so many boy friends sensitive sams about sex stuff? I don’t know too many guys that need to be handled with special care if they are doing something their s.o. doesn’t like in the sack. Gf: “I don’t like that.” Bf: “cool, thanks for telling me now so I don’t continue to do it the next 12 times we have sex thinking you actually like it.”

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    • lets_be_honest September 2, 2011, 11:39 am

      All boys are not as perfect as you. I write that with a smile/smirk on my face and not snarky. From your comments, seems like you are a normal person. Rare!

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      • Mainer September 2, 2011, 11:42 am

        Budjer’s Guide to Sex: Take the Kink out of Kinky.

        It’s a good read, suggest you pick up a copy.

    • SpaceySteph September 2, 2011, 11:46 am

      I think most guys would agree with the sentiment, but as lets be honest says, not all guys are that understanding in practice.
      Sure no guy wants to keep doing something you don’t like, they do want to please you. But some have delicate egos where “please don’t eat my face” is taken as “actually I dont think you’re attractive.” If the LW knows her fiancee well enough to know she needs to tread lightly, then good for her for asking the question!

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    • amber September 2, 2011, 12:25 pm

      i think sometimes it has to do as much with the person who is saying what they do or don’t want as much as it does the person who they’re telling it to. i don’t think it’s always the case of the significant other being sensitive as much as the other person being worried that they will react badly. at least that’s how my thought pattern used to go, turns out my husband didn’t think a thing of it. just changed what he was doing and i freaked out over nothing…

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  • Renee September 2, 2011, 4:14 pm

    My husband is tongue-tied, terrible kisser and always will. And when I read the title, that’s what I thought it was about.

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  • katie September 2, 2011, 8:40 pm

    lw2: i think that you dont owe anybody exclusivity unless they ask for it. also, as a fellow serial monogomous dater, it probably will feel very weird doing what your about to do, and so the whole exclusive/not exclusive arguement may very well be in your head…. as in, not everyone you meet is having these same feelings about if the other one is dating other people. i would guess (although, being a serial long term relationship girl as well, i cant really say for sure) that when people just “date” they are not exclusive, and are dating maybe just you, but maybe 3 other people to.

    i would tell you to do what you feel, but that will just land you in another 2 year long relationship again (haha), so just do what you think is right for the new kind of dater that you want to become. and if something happens? if you offend anyone or hurt their feelings? oh well. that happens. its just dating.

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  • Betty Boop September 3, 2011, 9:58 am

    LW1: I’ve just always said a quick little something in the middle of things. Just a quiet “Too rough” or “Gently please” works great. It doesn’t pull anyone out of the moment and you get the point across easily.

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