Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

From the forums:

My husband used to be married before. He and his ex were married a couple of years and divorced in 2015. We have been together since 2016 and got married this past May. When we first started dating, he accidentally called me by his ex-wife’s name and didn’t even realize it until I told him. He apologized, but it’s happened again a few times since. When talking about my mom, he has called her “Denice” (which is his ex-mother-in-law) when my mother’s name is Janice. He has “brain farts” all the time and can’t remember my middle name. Tonight we were driving around and being goofy and asking each other questions and I couldn’t think of anything else so I said, “What’s my middle name?” Of course, he said the wrong one – his ex-wife’s middle name. He instantly got mad at himself when I told him that wasn’t right. He apologized, but this is getting old. Why can’t he remember simple things about me? He’s had no communication with his ex for over four years. Does this happen to anyone else? — The Second Wife

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I’m not sure what to say about what happened yesterday. There was the victory in Georgia – a Black preacher and a Jewish man winning Senate seats in a state that has been pretty deep red for a long time. And, of course, there was the attempted coup by a bunch of racist thugs storming our Capitol, who easily got inside when cops opened the gates and literally welcomed them in and took selfies with them and gave them free reign of our most sacred spaces. My family watched stunned, not that a mob was exercising its right to express themselves, however backward and misguided their opinions are; we were stunned that their violence and lawlessness was not met with even a fraction of the force we’ve seen in other recent occasions of people assembling and fighting for what they believe is right. And that all of this happened against the backdrop of a pandemic that has been allowed to rage out of control in our country and to claim nearly 4,000 lives yesterday – in one day! – is simply too much. It is too much! My dry January plans were out the door by 4 pm.

I don’t know what to say about all of this. I don’t know what to tell my kids when they ask what is happening, or what I think family members who helped put Trump in office must think about what’s happening. This – the politics, the civil unrest, the toll of ten months of an unrelenting pandemic – has been such a sad, dark time in our country, in our personal lives and in our personal relationships, and even despite recent victories and so much to feel hopeful about, it feels heavy today and sad. And for all of you feeling similarly, you aren’t alone. We’ll get through this. I still think good will prevail and the year will end on a much higher note. But we have some very difficult months ahead. Hang in there, guys.


Here’s what we’re discussing this week in the forums:

Advice on living arrangements

Should I contact an ex-ish?

How do I make a fulfilling new life and include my partner?

I Ignored Red flags

When I focus on myself, my husband says it pushes him away

Need new relationship advice

Worried my partner isn’t fully over an old love

Anyone going on awesome dates?

Coronavirus/ Covid-19/ At-Home Support Thread

Follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

I am writing to get your help to resurrect my friendship with a work colleague who works for me. Basically, she and I (a male) got to know each when she had some problem at work and I helped her resolve it. She also had some issues with her neighbor. Hence, she decided to look for a new house. I gave some practical and first-hand advice based on my recent move. We talked in person and over the phone, texting about a variety of topics in a purely platonic sense. I was sort of trying to help her with the above issues and I genuinely wanted her to be happy. Then one day, since it was getting busy at work, I called her after hours. I confirmed with her that it was OK to do so. I had done so several times in the past and she was fine with it. On that particular day her phone went to voice mail, which I found rather odd. Thinking that there was a network problem, I tried her about five times. Then I sent her a text just to check that she was OK (I had sent texts several times before and she did not object). That day she took offense to the multiple calls and the text. That apparently caused her agony as her partner possibly took offense though I can’t confrm.

Since then, she has been rather business-like and abrupt in conversations. This is despite my profusely, humbly, and unreservedly apologizing to her (on a few occasions) and making it clear that I had no intention of hurting her feelings or hounding her. Those multiple calls were merely out of concern and genuine care for her well-being. But she claims that looking from outside, things appear different and she continues to cast doubts on my perfectly honorable intentions. I am amazed that she was fine with our communication until that day. Not sure what happened that caused her to suddenly changed her attitude.

The year drew to a close on such a sour note while a year earlier we were on great terms. Since we work together and because I genuinely care about people’s feelings, I really want to get back to how things were before. I can’t help but kick myself for unwittingly upsetting her. I pride myself in looking after my work colleagues – male or female – of any cadre but the above incident has left me deeply traumatized. I get on so well with all my colleagues because of my high sensitivity and emotional quotient as well as my spiritualistic attitude.

My conscience is clear that my intentions were perfectly above-board rather than to harass or hound someone. I would value your advice as I cannot think of anything else to do apart from perhaps hoping for divine intervention! I really want a second chance, which I think is quite a fair thing. My colleague had previously and repeatedly told me how considerate and caring I am, so I really do not want this friendship to end this way if it can be helped. — A Caring but Concerned Male

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This was a dumpster fire of a year and while I’m under no illusion that things will magically get better the minute the clock strikes midnight on Thursday, I do think we’ll collectively be in a much better place this time next year, and for that bit of hope I am grateful. And I also want to make a little bit of effort to usher in the new year in a way that might help open space for more joy and indulgence. To that end, I ordered a fancy dinner for two from a neighborhood restaurant that was a favorite when we moved to Brooklyn – it sits just at the end of the block of our first apartment, and before we had kids, we’d eat there at least once a week although we haven’t visited in recent years. It reminds me of easier, simpler times when we could make spontaneous dinner choices without securing a babysitter, and before similar restaurants sprung up all around our neighborhood, vying for our business. We’ll have filet mignon, a chocolate tart, plenty of champagne – albeit, in the comfort of our own home, alongside our kids, who will probably be eating re-heated empanadas or pigs-in-a-blanket.

Drew asked if we should get dressed up and I said, “Hell no, look what happened last year!” He asked what happened last year and I reminded him that we got all dressed up and then 2020 was shit. This NYE we will dress as we have nearly every day for the past almost ten months: leggings, sweats, slippers, I may or may not wear a bra. We’ll watch movies, although I’m not sure which ones yet. Something the kids will like until 9-ish when we’ll convince them – well, Joanie, anyway – that it’s midnight and we’ll play the New Year’s countdown on Netflix and put her to bed. Jackson will be harder to convince that it’s time for sleep, so he’ll probably stay awake until we bore him to sleep with an old black-and-white movie or whatever Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen are up to. And around 9, I’ll break out some fancy snacks, like this one I’m excited to make.

For New Year’s Day, I plan to make some homemade cinnamon rolls, a quiche, and some soup and a salad for dinner. I want to continue our week of R&R with the family – it’s SO NICE not to worry about remote school this week!!! – with puzzles and games and hiding in my bedroom when the kids start screaming at each other. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and we can get a long walk in – or, if my kids have their way, a short walk. Whatever, they can be bribed.

I have missed so much this year, and grieved for people and places lost forever. But I won’t miss much on New Year’s Eve. The quiet, cozy ones have been the norm since becoming a parent nine years ago, and some years I’m in bed long before midnight. I’m past the stage – or, maybe in the middle stage – of NYE high jinks, and I don’t long for the days of more. Not on NYE, anyway. But I am longing for a better 2021 than the 2020 we got, and that’s exactly what I’ll toast to Thursday night – over my filet mignon, wearing my sweats and maybe a bra or maybe not.

Happy almost New Year, everyone! We’ve made it. How do you plan to usher in 2021?

And, if you’re missing the drama, here are a few posts from the archives that deliver up some NYE angst.

“My Boyfriend Is Spending Christmas and NYE with His Wife and Family Instead of ME!”

“He Still Hasn’t Made NYE Plans With Me”

“My Boyfriend Didn’t Kiss Me At Midnight on New Year’s Eve!”

“My Boyfriend is Ditching Me on New Year’s Eve!”

“A Friend Groped My Wife At a New Year’s Party”

“My Boyfriend Left Me On New Year’s for a Vacation with His Friends”

“Should I Spend New Year’s Eve with My Friends or My Boyfriend?”