Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

I’m feeling a little under the weather today, with a sinus infection and foggy brain, so I’m going to let you all handle this one and if I’ve got more energy later I will chime in in the comments.

Over the past four years we’ve had huge issues with my fiancés daughter, “Clementine.” She’s 22 and not in my life at all because of death threats, stealing, lying, manipulating, and disturbing legal violations against others. She occasionally contacts her father, usually to request money, which he denies. It was a very rocky road to get to this point. Dilemma: We are planning a small destination wedding. Despite all the dysfunction we’ve crawled through, he still wants to invite Clementine to come (if she can legally cross the border). His mom — who’s hard enough to deal with — and other family heard about the possible wedding and also insist that Clementine attend. “Blood is thicker than water,” they say.

I have three young adult sons who get along with my fiancé great. He has one other daughter whom he hasn’t spoken with in three years. I’ve met with her three times, thinking she’d maybe open up to him but no luck; I do like her, though. There’s no point in inviting her to the wedding since she refuses to talk to her dad.

The thought of having Clementine anywhere near — let alone our sharing a week together for our wedding — makes me shake. I thought of just eloping to avoid the issues, but my sons and fiancé’s mom/dad/brother, etc. are super excited to go, so if we elope, I feel we’re punishing everyone. My fiancé doesn’t want to hurt Clementine’s feelings by not inviting her and thinks I should give her another chance. Any suggestions? — Feeling Shaky

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

My boyfriend, “Robert” (32) and I (31, f) started dating in February, 2018. From the get-go, I had this feeling of doubt. During 2018, almost every month, I told him I simply couldn’t get rid of the doubt and then I broke up with him almost each month; we got back together a day or two after each break up.

In May, 2018, a lady friend from Robert’s hometown texted me saying that there were rumors that he and his ex (39) were still in contact, probably getting it on, but she had not seen them together and she had no proof. I confronted him and he told me that he would not entertain gossip. I broke it off as I believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

In December, 2018, we broke up for ten days. I was mad because Robert didn’t make plans with me for the holidays. I was working and he went to visit family in another town (his excuse being that he asked me what my plans for the festive season were and, when I told him I’d be working, he didn’t see it necessary to make plans with me). However, we continued having contact during this period and I eventually told him I’d clear my head during my annual leave.

On the 29th, I went on leave for two weeks. During this time, I had no contact at all with Robert as I had no reception where I was. He did send me text messages which I later read when I got home. One said, “I don’t feel like living anymore.”

On the 13th of January, 2019, he begged me for us to work on our relationship as he said he saw a future for us. I agreed as I do love him, but the doubt was still there. During the year, we’ve grown closer (only one breakup for three weeks, which was in April, and we made up as we usually do). But by the end of September, the doubt was back and I told him I’m out for good and that this is the final breakup. He suggested we try couples therapy and I declined.

A few days later, a “voice” told me to google-search his ex. To my shock, one of the first results was a brand new photo of her and Robert at their baby shower. I was devastated!!!!! I confronted him by phone, he denied it, and, when I told him I could send him the photo, he confessed. Technically, I was not supposed to care as we had split up for five days, but I had a meltdown due to the shock.

I asked him how far along she was and he told me that the baby is due in a week. He said that they hooked up and had a-one-night stand during one of our breakups (this was not a justifiable reason for me as he know we always break up to make up). He said he wanted to tell me in August when she texted him about the pregnancy, but a few days later I was in a car accident, after which he helped me to recover and we were happy together and so he didn’t wanted to hurt me.

He asked me to forgive him and I did, but I told him that I will not be able to trust him again as I did not cheat during any of our breakups. Surprisingly, I feel sorry for him. I told him that he needs to prepare himself for the life-changing experience of parenthood and forget about me, and he said he will wait and see if the baby is really his.

I offered my shoulder to cry on as he sounds down in the dumps. I do love him a lot. But I do not think we will get past this situation. I specifically told him when we met that I don’t date guys with children because I don’t have time for baby mama drama. Please, please, please: your guidance would be much appreciated. — Having Doubts

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This week in the forums we’re discussing:

How do I properly communicate with women?

“Am I Not Trying Enough with My Best Friend?”

It frustrates me that almost everyone but me can probably get into a relationship

I “bit the bullet” and broke up with him, but it still hurts

6.5 years, need advice and thoughts!

Making a Relationship with a Girl

Is it time to just move on?

“You go to college to find your bridesmaids” Yeah, right!

“Should I Marry Him or Move On?”

“His Parents Practically Live With Us”

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 an atheist in a serious relationship with a liberal Muslim, “Adam.” He was born in a country that’s an Islamic Republic, and he emigrated to the states when he was five. Though his parents belong to this same “liberal” sect, they are still conservative in their thinking. They left a lot behind in their old country that I imagine they miss terribly, and they probably feel isolated in a country that is increasingly hostile to immigrants, especially Muslims.

Adam and I plan to marry, but his parents want me to convert; I don’t want to. Even more important to them than my conversion is that their future grandchildren be brought up in the same religious tradition. This is deeply concerning: it’s too soon for me to think about kids, but I imagine that once I do have children, I will not want to cede any kind of “raising” to anybody but myself and my husband, especially if it means raising them in a tradition that I have a lot of fundamental problems with. Parenting is hard enough, but adding meddlesome, high-strung in-laws to the equation might make it more difficult than I can bear.

My compromise: our children should learn as much as possible about the religion to feel connected to their father and grandparents. They can go to mosque every so often and it could be one presence in their life among many others. However, the sect doesn’t permit people who are not part of the faith to enter their buildings, meaning neither I nor my children would be permitted inside unless at their births we agree to a covenant to raise them in the faith and call them Muslims. Even if I agree to this covenant, religion would never be a family group activity because I’m not allowed in the building.

I feel that my compromise is reasonable but that the rules of his sect demand something unreasonable. I believe Adam might agree to my compromise, but his parents won’t. I am set to meet them in a month and it’s already causing Adam and me a ton of stress. I want Adam to have the kind of boundaries with his parents that I have with mine, but I don’t know how it’s possible given their culture and religion.

Beyond the issue of children, members of this sect are expected to give 12% of their income to the religious leader in a process I find extremely dubious. Besides my misgivings with this rule, this is yet another way in which I feel excluded as Adam will be giving a large portion of his income to a club I am not allowed to be a part of unless I convert.

I am so in love with this man, but If his parents are part of the package, I don’t know if I can handle it; I have enough anxiety as it is. Do you have any advice? — Scared future daughter-in-law

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updatesIt’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Come and Knock on My Door,” the 39-year-old woman who was having a flirty thing with her next-door neighbor – usually across their shared backyard fence, but sometimes at one of their apartments, and even resulting in some kisses. And then this: “Today I was visiting some friends and when I came home at 8 p.m., whose car do I see parked outside??? His ex-girlfriend’s!!! So, I realized he is not really into me, or he’s a narcissist, or he takes advantage of the fact that I confessed feeling attracted to him! I now understand I have to keep my distance from him, but how do you that with your next-door neighbor? And should I tell him I need to keep distance from him? Should I tell him we should no longer share more time together? For the sake of my well-being, and the sake of his fractured relationship with his (ex)girlfriend?” Her update, below.

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