“I’m Afraid He’ll Leave Me if I Don’t Marry Him Now”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss being ready or not for marriage, a long distance online boyfriend whose phone always goes to VM, and a woman catching her boyfriend “in the act.”

I am a 23-year-old lady. My boyfriend, 25, wants to marry me in December. My mother and step-father said I should wait until I finish college, which is four years from now. I am afraid that, if I wait that long, I will lose my boyfriend to someone who is ready for marriage. — Only 23

Marrying someone you aren’t ready to marry — for whatever reason — simply because you’re afraid you’ll lose him if you don’t is one of the worst reasons to get hitched (it’s right up there with moving in together so just you can save on rent). Wear a promise ring if that helps you feel more committed and wait until you’re actually ready for a husband to get married. If you lose your boyfriend because you aren’t there yet, then he wasn’t good husband material for you anyway.

I met a man online and we have been talking now for five months, and we talk a lot. But now, every Saturday night until late at night, all I get is his voice-mail. It’s been that way for about three weeks now. We are supposed to finally meet in person, or so he says — like real soon, within the next week or two. I’ve asked him before about why on Saturdays nights I can reach only his voice-mail, and his reply is that it’s the network. What do you think? — VM Every Saturday Night

I think he’s probably doing something on Saturday night that he doesn’t want a phone call to interrupt. What that something is, I have no clue — maybe he’s sleeping or maybe he’s at the movies or maybe he plays D & D with his buddies, or maybe he’s out on a date. I’d say that if you haven’t even met the guy in person yet, it’s really none of your business what he’s doing every Saturday night and you’re in no place to start making demands that he be available to talk on the phone all night long.

Last night we went to bed and my boyfriend of almost six years wanted a blowjob, so I gave him one but not to where he got off. I fell asleep and about an hour later I woke up to the bed shaking. Without thinking about it, I said, “What the hell are you doing?” He didn’t answer and acted like he was asleep. I went over to him and kissed his back, and he was hot and sweating. I’m afraid to ask him if he was masturbating because I don’t want him to get upset that I caught him. Any pointers on how to go about this? — Need to Know

Why on earth do you need to ask him what he was doing? He probably was jerking off, but what difference does it make? If you’d rather he not do that while lying in bed next to you, then next time finish what you start and don’t give him a reason to take matters into his own hands, so to speak.


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


  1. LW1: Don’t get married. You’re not ready, and marrying him just so you don’t lose him? Colossally bad idea.
    LW2: So three Saturdays in a row you get voicemail? BFD. Relax, meet up with him, and see where it goes.
    LW3:Um…I got nothin’.

    1. Avatar photo fast eddie says:

      I totally agree with you about anyone not getting married until both parties are ready. Perhaps she’s looking to use school as an excuse not to?

      1. And her mom and step-dad. In three sentences she gives two reasons/excuses. The only reason she says she “wants” to is fear of losing him. I’m not blaming or faulting her…it just doesn’t seem like she’s giving this idea a ringing endorsement…

  2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    LW3: I’m such an idiot, my first thought was – earthquake! Also, just to clarify, you fell asleep WHILE giving a blowjob?

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Ok, I re-read your thing. I’m not sure why I left your letter the first time thinking you fell asleep while giving a blow job. I’m having reading comprehension problems today. It’s going to be a a tough day at work for me, I already know. All of this to say: WWS.

      1. I thought that too… Must’ve been a boring blow job.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        i need to re-take that blow job class i took a couple of years ago. i can’t find my notes.

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        You know, you post shit like that and *then* you remember: Wendy’s Dad and Wendy’s Mom READ THIS STUFF – ALL OF THIS STUFF. Fail.

      4. Wendys Dad says:

        Of course I read it and laugh my ass off. But I do have to say that my first-born certainly has a way with words. “Take matters into his own hands”. Gotta love it.

      5. Avatar photo fast eddie says:

        You have an awesome daughter Ed, but you already knew that.

      6. There’s a class? Did you have to do an internship too or something? My mind is blown.

      7. …Perhaps a poor choice of words.

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        There is a class! Pretty detailed and serious too. We learned 10 moves with the hand and 10 moves with the mouth. I know, I know. I went in with like 2 moves tops under my belt, so to speak.

      9. I’m guessing this wasn’t through community ed.

      10. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        It was through the anthropology department of Northwestern University. Kidding, some sex shop had a program. It cost like $30 and there was finger food.

      11. Finger food included? You’ve sold me on it. 🙂

      12. karenwalker says:

        I have notes from the blow job class I went to. Anyone want me to share them? I can put it in a forum.

      13. Avatar photo fast eddie says:

        Several books on the subject are available at Amazon. Use the link at the top of this page to get there.

      14. something random says:

        Okay Addie,

        Time to submit a getting personal piece. No seriously, we all want to know.

      15. I thought the same thing the first read-through.

  3. LW3: Why would you ask him if he was masturbating? Why would you have that conversation?
    “Darling, were you masturbating at 11PM on wednesday ? While I was sleeping?”
    “Maybe ?”

    There’s no point really. People masturbate. Your boyfriend masturbate. A lot of people in a six years relationship would have had masturbated in front of each other, or in close proximity to each other by that point. Maybe your boyfriend would have not pretended to be asleep if you had said “hey there, can I help ?” instead of “what the hell are you doing?”
    I’m just imagining the other possible situation. You wake up and see your boyfriend laying still, starring at the ceiling. “What’s wrong? Why are you not asleep?” you ask. “Because I have a really bad case of blue balls and it’s kinda painful by now.”

  4. So LW1 how did your bf choose December 2014? Is that how he proposed, will you marry me in December on a specific date? Knowing what your parents want and what your boyfriend wants, what do you want? Do you want to be married? Do you work while going to school? Is your boyfriend prepared to support you if you live together after getting married until you finish school? So many details left out of your letter, which makes me think you’re not at the right stage to get married. You’re both so young, better to wait or move on.
    Are you upset that you caught him? Do you guys not discuss masturbating? I would leave it alone like Wendy said, seems kind of a small thing to be so stressed over.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Oh hey good question – LW1 never said what SHE wants. Her comment “I am afraid that, if I wait that long, I will lose my boyfriend” led me to believe her motivation for getting married now would be to keep him and not, say, because she wants to get married now. But maybe she does!

      1. Yeah I don’t get the feeling from her letter she wants to get married, but there are so many details missing!!

    2. Avatar photo fast eddie says:

      If you get married by Dec. 31 the IRS considers you married for the entire year.

      1. That is an absolutely terrible idea to get married! If that’s his only reason he’s not ready to get married either, haha.

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        i dunno, sometimes i’d like to get a whole lot of dependents on dec. 31 for tax purposes. i could have so much extra money!

      3. haha ok ok! but, man not a good reason for a 23 and 25 year old to get married quick!

      4. I was looking for reasons for/against marriage, so good to know…

  5. LW1: Don’t be pressured into getting married. You aren’t ready and that is perfectly okay.
    LW2: If you haven’t met him, he isn’t your boyfriend. So, he doesn’t owe you anything. Meet him and see of you two hit to off. If so, then you can wonder why he seems to sketch out on Saturday nights. (But, no, it isn’t the phone network!)
    LW3: What’s the point of giving half of a blow job? Why would you do this? I’m so confused. Is this a thing?

    1. Right? I wondered the same thing. And then…is it a “job”? Isn’t it more of a blow-effort?

      1. “Blow-effort!” Hahahahahahahaha!!

      2. “Blow effort” nearly caused me to spit coffee on my keyboard. Thank you!

    2. Well you can give half a blow job then have sex. Like in every mainstream hetero porn ever. Or have sex then give the other half of a blow job. That can be a fun alternative to the pull out method for birth control.

      1. Well, sure, but the LW just…stopped.

      2. Oh I know. Not cool LW, not cool.

      3. stickelet says:

        It just says that he didn’t get off. Not that she just stopped in the middle. Maybe he stopped her. Maybe he knew he wasn’t going to be able to get off in that moment so he stopped her. Lots of people are saying she just stopped out of nowhere and it’s possible that’s not what happened.

    3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      wait, people give FULL blow jobs? my penchant for half blow jobs (come on, it gets so boring down there) may be why i’m single. haha.

    4. Maybe it was taking a really long time and she got tired? A lot of times I’ll offer up a blowjob when I’m not really in the mood and he is, but I can only last so long… I mean, I get tired? My guy doesn’t offer one-sided oral as often, but if I’m taking too long, I’ll also be like, never mind. I don’t know, these things can be fickle…

      1. I think it’s completely fine to stop midway if you’re tired – him masturbating to get off could be a good solution in that case. I just don’t understand why she had a problem with that.

      2. Especially because it sounds like the poor guy had to wait until she fell asleep to finish the job. I’m guessing she really hasn’t heard of blue balls.

      3. I agree–I find it kind of weird that everyone is saying “finish what you start!” etc, that’s reminiscent of an old wifely duties idea. We don’t exactly have a full play-by-play here (and I’m not asking for one lol), but it could have been 2 hours of them fooling around and he just didn’t get there. At that point I would have been all about him taking matters into his own hands, but I think the key here is that she’s bothered about him masturbating, or at least bothered that he did it next to her on the DL. In that case, I agree with everyone saying to get over it, everyone does it. Definitely do not bring this up unless it’s to tell him you don’t care and he doesn’t need to be secretive about it, if your concern is because you think he’s embarrassed. Or if you’re super uncomfortable with him doing it next to you while you’re sleeping, let him know that you’re cool with it, but if he didn’t mind taking it elsewhere in that case you’d appreciate it, since you don’t want to wake up fearing you need to drop to the floor and cover your head, stat 🙂

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        what Samba said!

      5. Yeah I think it’s also important to remember that there are times when one or both partners won’t have an orgasm for whatever reason and that’s fine, too (kinda calling BS on the blue balls btw, I don’t think it’s useful to have this idea that guys must always get off, especially because they can sometimes be too tired themselves or not as turned on as they thought they would be etc). I’m getting the impression that LW was somehow mortified that she didn’t get him off and he then masturbated, and that he possibly didn’t dare to suggest that he could just masturbate to orgasm if she was tired of giving him a bj. So he masturbated secretly. If that’s the case I think they should have a conversation where they make it clear that a) it’s OK to stop midway, and b) it’s OK to masturbate to get off, but also OK to just leave things be.

      6. I agree that it’s no big deal, but I think it should probably be a conversation, if only to avoid situations in the future where she wakes up confused. I’m a somewhat light sleeper and wake up to movement, so I’ve had to have this conversation to not masturbate in bed when I’m sleeping. Because I want to continue sleeping. (Drinking coffee late in the day also makes him roll around at night, so he knows he’s on the couch if he does that, same basic rule.) If it’s that she doesn’t want him masturbating at all or next to her… I’ve got nothing.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, also, its fine to stop midway…for no reason at all! You’re allowed to do that too.

    5. Avatar photo fast eddie says:

      The thought of getting half a blow job with no follow up to having an orgasm by other means is mind numbing.

  6. LW2: Wendy’s right; it’s none of your business why he doesn’t answer the phone on Saturday evenings. That said, “it’s the network” sounds like a lie. And, if it is a lie, then he is already lying to you (instead of giving you either (i) an honest conversation or (ii) telling you that it (rightly) isn’t important at that stage of your non-relationship) is probably not good for you longterm.

  7. My boyfriend masturbates in front of me. I never thought it was weird. Everyone likes orgasms.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      i know, i don’t understand what the issue is.

  8. Avatar photo fast eddie says:

    LW1: Unless he’s expecting you to be a Better Homes & Gardens housewife going to school and being married aren’t exclusive to each other. If he’s fully supportive of you getting your education it would ease your time management burden. Four years is a long time to wait for someone that isn’t ready to fulfill his wants and I’d advise him to look elsewhere for it.

    LW2: MOA this guy is not giving you anything you want.

    LW3: Spot on Wendy! Finishing is goal from the get go for men, a hand job will do nicely when your oral efforts become tiring and a hybrid of the two is very satisfying. Men don’t want to admit to, or be caught masturbating. Illogical as that is, that’s life.

  9. lets_be_honest says:

    I can’t escape this! Last night we were playing charades. Lil was trying to have us guess banana…I’ll stop there.

  10. Laura Hope says:

    Lw1–Marry him
    LW2–Stalk him
    LW3–Kick him out
    It’s opposite day, right?

  11. About the phrase, “Finish what you start”: Those to me are kind of trigger words… They’re used in many situations to get someone to do what they no longer want to do, whatever it is. But is it not all right for anybody to stop any sexual act whenever they want to? I agree that she then could be more understanding of his solution, but making her feel she had any kind of obligation to work it until completion if she didn’t want to it is not fair, in my opinion.

    1. Avatar photo Dear Wendy says:

      I see your point, but I think you kind of twisted my words around a bit. I didn’t say she should always finish what she starts or that she — or anyone else is obligated to to fulfill any and all sexual acts once started; I said if she’d rather her boyfriend not masturbate while lying in bed next to her, then, yes, she should finish what she started. If she doesn’t finish, then she should be understanding when he finishes off himself.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        I sort of read it similarly to LM actually. Like, well, that’s the “consequence” of not doing your “job”. (not that I think jerking off is a bad thing/bad consequence!)
        Knowing enough about you from reading all the time, I know you didn’t mean it to sound that way though. But I was thinking whoa! its no one’s job to finish someone off. Anyway, glad you clarified.
        If she really doesn’t want him jerking off next to her while she sleeps, shouldn’t she be able to say that too?

  12. Sue Jones says:

    LW3 – All men masturbate. Get over it. Oy!

    1. Avatar photo fast eddie says:

      Virtually all women do also.

  13. I took the story as LW3 blurted out “what are you doing?” without thinking, obviously realized what he was doing and intended to join (hence: “I went over to him and kissed his back”) and was rebuffed out of embarrassment.

    I’m going to go out on a wild limb here and suggest that what s/he is asking is how to bring up the issue without embarrassing him further and let him know that’s it’s alright. They say this was “last night” so either they haven’t spoken to their boyfriend yet and they don’t want it to be awkward, or he’s already acting awkward and they want to remedy this.

    REALLY not into the flat-out assumption that s/he “just stopped midway through and fell asleep” ??? and/or is in some way a terrible partner. I think they’re just looking for a way to communicate through an awkward first-time. EVERYONE MASTURBATES GET OVER IT!!!! Like, yeah the LW doesn’t seem grossed out at all or unaware of this concept in any way…

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Yes, and I think all LW needs to do is communicate. If telling him its cool to masturbate will embarrass him, then maybe he shouldn’t be dating, let alone masturbating. Lw, just tell him whether you are ok with him doing it next to you in bed or not. You guys have been together for quite a while. You should be comfortable discussing that with him.

  14. Married by Elvis says:

    Oh my god! These letters and the answers made my day!

    True story: I was at the grocery store with my 10 yo and she asked me what almond butter tasted like. I told her it tasted like almonds just like peanut butter tastes like peanuts. She said, “What?” kind of horrified so I repeated it. She said, “Oh. I thought you said penis and I wondered how you knew what THAT tasted like.”

    Moments like that are why I had a kid.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Hahahahahaha. I want a kid so bad for moments like this! And other respectable reasons like “need someone to take care of me” and “they’re so cute” and “need an excuse to go see kids movies.@

  15. Am I the only one that finds it weird that LW 1calls herself a “23 year old lady”? I´m quite a bit older than that and I would never describe myself as a lady. Heck, even calling myself a woman feels weird sometimes.

    1. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      is that because of how old you are though or because of how crass and inappropriate you are? 😉

      1. A little of column a and a little of column b 😛

      2. Seriously though, it´s like sometimes I feel What!? When did I become a grown up?

      3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I hear ya. I always have said that I’ll know I’m a grown up when I refer to women my age as women. I mean, as in, oh, “a woman I know and I are grabbing lunch” – and that woman is my age. You know? I refer to female friends as “girls” still. “Oh I met this girl walking her dog and she invited me to a happy hour.” If I were to say “woman” it would sound like an adult, right? But she’s not, she’s like me – mid 30s. Haha. This makes sense, right?

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Oh and I never say “lady” because somewhere along the lines I was taught that’s disrespectful and now every time I hear someone refer to someone as “lady” I cringe because it sounds so 1950s and sexist. I don’t know why though.

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        And by “taught” i just mean picked it up. I don’t remember my mother ever saying “refer to the woman as a ‘woman’ and not ‘lady'” or anything, I just, … picked it up. Why? Where? Anyone else feel the same? Like, instead of saying, “Oh the lady said they don’t open until 10” to say “Oh the woman said ….”?

      6. Really? I tend to think of lady as more proper. Maybe because of Lord and Lady. Interesting.

      7. something random says:

        I actually remember discussing this Waaayyy back in the day in a class. We were discussing The Awakening. The question was posed why some women would be offended by being called a “lady”.

        Strangely I’m not offended when someone just says “lady” (“lady, get off my property”). But I’m slightly less comfortable when someone says “a lady”. (” She knows how to be a lady”).

        I see the latter as a term used to exalt traditionally acceptable female behaviors and subtly put down less acceptable emotions and behaviors such as anger, free expression, sexual awareness, etc.

      8. ficklishjlo says:

        I totally agree. I feel uncomfortable being referred to as a ‘lady’ or ‘girl’ in the workplace as they feel demeaning.

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