Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy
I am engaged to the love of my life and, thankfully, have a very good relationship with the majority of his family, including his mother. She is a generous and warm-hearted woman who has been nothing but welcoming to me in their family. She is also extremely judgmental about body size. At present, this causes no friction between us: I am a size 0 long-distance runner and she frequently compliments my figure. I’ve been inviting her on bridal gown shopping trips (only because we live in the same city and my own mother doesn’t) and she gushes over how wonderful I’ll look in the dresses while disparaging her own daughters’ bodies the whole time in comparison (they are both heavy). I’ve also heard her make frequent critical remarks over the body sizes of strangers and others in her life.

Part of me thinks that because I’m not currently a target of this, it’s not my fight to fight. But I can’t promise to be a size 0 forever, and I want to know that as I age and have children she will continue to love and accept me as much as she does now. Is this something I need to address now? Or never, if this is something a child can address but a daughter-in-law can’t? My husband-to-be has his own scars from growing up in this environment (men are not exempt) but his opinion is that if I gain weight and she starts making nasty comments about it, so be it- I’m marrying him, not her. I would hate to lose the warm relationship I have with her over a potential future 15 pounds, but I’m also a person who thinks that no one should be judged for the size or shape of their body. — Not Exempt Forever

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Fyodor is organizing another DW Zoom call tomorrow, September 10th. Email Fyodor if you’d like him to send you the invite link.

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

Moving on after two years his spouse passed away

Friend’s flirty boyfriend, what to do???

My daughter is stealing from my girlfriend

How to be social after being isolated for 6+ years?

Skin: am I obsessive or are they just rude?

Is it lying?

I’m lonely. I love living with my boyfriend, but that is not enough for me.

Am I a bad person? What do I do? HELP!

Struggling to move on from the person I thought would be my future partner

Long hairstyles?

Family mental health

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].


Today is my 44th birthday, so I’m extending the holiday weekend an extra day and saving the advice-giving for later in the week. In the meantime, I was wondering: Do you have favorite podcasts you like to listen to? Last weekend Drew took the kids to his brother’s in New Jersey to hang with their cousins and I had 50 blessed hours of solitude, which I used to do a puzzle, read a book, watch “Indian Matchmaking,” cook and eat whatever I wanted (which is more often than not sourdough toast with ricotta, sun gold tomatoes, one sliced hardboiled egg and a little salt and pepper—show me a better meal!), and I finally listened to a few podcasts I’d been meaning to check out. Because I don’t commute and I prefer listening to music on my walks and I don’t ever really have alone time at home, I don’t usually have the opportunity to listen to podcasts very often. Last weekend I listened to a few episodes of Call Your Girlfriend, Nice White Parents, and Michelle Obama’s new podcast. My favorite was Call Your Girlfriend. I could actually see listening to that one on a walk occasionally in lieu of music.

What about you? Do you listen to podcasts? (And if so, when is your preferred time for tuning in?) What are your favorites?


Francesco Ciccolella for the NYTimes

It’s Labor Day weekend here in the States – or maybe more accurately this year: Covid Super-Spread weekend, on account of all the college kids that will be heading home from their infected campuses and the large gatherings that are sure to take place in back yards, living rooms, and lake fronts across the country. I think it’s a Labor Day – sorry, Labour Day – weekend in Canada, too, and they likely won’t have super-spreading there because they don’t have a totally fucked-up government like their neighbors to the south do, telling everyone Covid’s no big deal, it only kills people whose lives aren’t of value, and it’s going to magically disappear any day now just watch. Anyway, happy end of summer, everyone! May I suggest you make a blueberry clafoutis before the season is gone in a flash?

Wedding announcement goes viral after groom’s ex publicly reveals he cheated on her when he met the bride

I feel attacked. We’re All Socially Awkward Now

I Don’t Know If My Relationship Will Survive the Pandemic

‘Is This Dick Really Worth Dying For?’ Single People Talk Pandemic Sex

This essay, “The Summer of Staying Put,” about some of the silver linings of quarantine, resonated with me and gave me a little hope.

This isn’t related to relationships or anything, but it was one of the more powerful pieces of (photo-)journalism I’ve read this year, and I think every American needs to see it: America at the Edge of Hunger


I received a different kind of email the other day from a reader who asked some questions that may be on the minds of others these days. She wrote:

Hope you’re well. I read your “Why I’m ‘Living in Fear‘” post and was sorry to hear about how you’re feeling and hope you’re coping as best you can. A lot of people are struggling for different reasons, and I think it’s great you had the courage as well as the literary talent to explain your own situation.

So I don’t know if you care to comment on this aspect (or even if it fits within the range of things you care to discuss on your blog), but I’d be curious / interested in knowing your take, as a New Yorker, on the future of New York (as discussed in recent viral essays here and here), and whether the current situation has brought your family to consider moving, or has that not been a thought?

Coming from Montreal, which has nothing to do with NY, we are seeing this “city vs. countryside” debate pop up as well. Just curious to hear your thoughts – on the future of NY, on your own thoughts about staying or moving, about how working from home (as a working from home expert) is here to stay or not – if ever you were so inclined to share them.

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