Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Morning Quickies: “The Man I’m Seeing is Dating Other People”

I have been seeing this man for four years, and our relationship is physical but not romantic. He has been dating other women romantically – maybe even sleeping with them – but I am attracted to only him. We enjoy each other’s company, but we make no demands on each other. I am a 65-year-old widow and he is 70. We have kept our relationship a secret. But these days he has been talking about not wanting to grow old alone and how he would love to meet someone. This hurts me a lot. Should I stop this relationship and probably lose a chance to be intimate with anyone, or should I continue and just please myself. — Making No Demands

But you’re not pleasing yourself, are you? You’re with someone whose words and actions hurt you a lot. How is that pleasurable? And how is “not making any demands on each other” serving you at all if you’re this unhappy? Maybe it’s time to *start* making a few demands: demand respect; demand exclusivity; demand a relationship that is brought out of the darkness of secrecy and celebrated in the light of truth. If this man you’ve been physically intimate with isn’t interested in taking your relationship to that level, then this isn’t a relationship that has any kind of future in which you feel pleased. What is physical pleasure anyway if the emotional void leaves you feeling so hurt?
 

My boyfriend and I have been dating for seven months and exclusive for four and a half months. He’s 33 and I’m 22. We moved in together in March because of coronavirus, and I have been cooking and cleaning for him, have been taking care of his son regularly, and have generally been doing all the little things I feel show how much I appreciate him. I don’t expect loads back as he’s letting me stay at his place for a minimal cost, but he seems to run hot and cold with me, which makes me not want to do the nice things even though I don’t want the way I act to be affected by others.

We haven’t said “I love you,” but he keeps saying that I don’t affect his life and he’s pleased he can continue his usual routine. I feel like he’s trying to express something positive but maybe he’s not doing it right – I’m not 100% sure, though. I get that not everyone would be ready for a deeper commitment after the amount of time we’ve been together, but I also feel that, under the circumstances, we have had a lot of intensive time together and have hit a lot of milestones that I thought would have made our relationship closer.

So my question is: Does someone who’s hot and cold with you and hasn’t said I love you really want to be with you or are you just convenient to them? — Just Convenient?

 
It sounds like the very closest thing your boyfriend has said to expressing his feelings for you is that you don’t affect his life and he’s pleased that despite your living with him 24-7, he can continue his routine. Or, probably more accurately, he is pleased that despite the extraordinary circumstances of living through a pandemic with a small child who needs full-time care because schools and camps are mostly closed, he can continue his routine unaffected since you have moved in to take care of everything for him. That’s not love. That’s a transaction. He provides low-cost housing in exchange for free childcare, cooking, and housekeeping. He doesn’t even pay you – he collects rent from you! He’s getting an absurdly great deal. And you’re getting emotionally screwed.

Your problem is in not expecting “loads back” in return for everything you’re giving. Your problem is in not valuing your own worth—-and in seeking love in return for doing “nice things.” You should be loved for who you are and not what you do. Your boyfriend doesn’t love you for either reason. You are simply convenient to have around. Stop being convenient. You’re worth so much more than that.
 

I found out my ex is dating the same girl he told me not to worry about. After we broke up, they started dating and went public like three days after. Is she considered a rebound still (since they were basically together but just not public)? — The Ex

 
No one – literally no one except you – is attributing any kind of qualifier to your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. She isn’t a “rebound girlfriend”; she’s just his girlfriend, period. And you’re the ex-girlfriend who should move on and remove yourself from any avenue in which “public” announcements about your ex’s relationship status would be shared.

***************Follow along on Facebook,  and Instagram. If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.

8 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Anonymous July 13, 2020, 9:00 am

    “We have kept our relationship a secret.”
    WHY?! I can’t think of any circumstance under which this could be healthy. Why would you do this?

    Both letters are about women trying not to have needs in order to hang on to some guy who is perfectly content with the woman NOT having any needs! Wake up!

    Letter 2 was just sad. You’re cooking and cleaning and baby-sitting and (probably) teaching and GIVING HIM MONEY, and all he has to say is that you don’t affect his life at all?! And you’re hearing that like it’s a compliment!? WTeverlovingF?! Jesus, get out of there.

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    FYI July 13, 2020, 9:01 am

    “We have kept our relationship a secret.”
    WHY?! I can’t think of any circumstance under which this could be healthy. Why would you do this?

    Both letters are about women trying not to have needs in order to hang on to some guy who is perfectly content with the woman NOT having any needs! Wake up!

    Letter 2 was just sad. You’re cooking and cleaning and baby-sitting and (probably) teaching and GIVING HIM MONEY, and all he has to say is that you don’t affect his life at all?! And you’re hearing that like it’s a compliment!? WTeverlovingF?! Jesus, get out of there.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie July 13, 2020, 9:45 am

    LW#1 I have spent the last 6 months and several prior winters living amongst the happily retired. Single men who are relatively healthy are unicorns. They have plenty of women from which to pick and choose. Depending on their financial status, they pick either a purse (woman with money) or a nurse (women who will take care of them). Sounds like he hasn’t even put you in those two categories. Being alone is better than being someone’s secret fuck-buddy. You deserve better.

    LW #2 – you’re unpaid labor (sex, food, childcare). You’ve greatly misinterpreted his “compliment”. What he said is “It’s great that you’re willing to fit into my life without making me consider or deal with any of your needs. If you demand more from me, I will likely need you go away.”

    LW#3 – A rebound is someone a person dates when they’re getting over a failed relationship. He didn’t start dating her after you broke up, he started dating her before you broke up. This is not a rebound.

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  • avatar

    Helen July 13, 2020, 9:49 am

    LW 2 you are an unpaid nanny/housekeeper. How convenient for this dude that you came along right when schools closed & daycares closed! Why are you doing this for free when you could get a well paying job & not have to sleep with a creep who uses young women! Parents in my area are paying $18/hr + room & board for a nanny who will self isolate & help elementary aged kids with virtual school. Know your worth

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    • avatar

      FYI July 13, 2020, 10:17 am

      She’s not even doing it for free. She is paying HIM!

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  • avatar

    brise July 13, 2020, 10:04 am

    Perfect answers by Wendy!
    LW1: you don’t seem to love yourself this guy. You are with him to have some action, you say so yourself. But this is a very low bar. Do what Wendy said, ask for more and if he refuses, then break up immediately. And start dating, approach it as a game. Register on dating sites, or join groups around an activity that you like. Go out. You can get better than this . Don’t throw the towel like this, believe in your chances. Anyway, being by yourself, happy and active, will be much better than this.
    LW2: you are so exploited! So naive! You should focus on your own formation, think of your own future, instead of wasting your time with a guy who doesn’t even appreciate you, your efforts, your sacrifice, your free work. Unaffected? But he is mocking you in your face! Leave him today! Put yourself first. You will pay much less if you pay a real rent, believe me!

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  • avatar

    ron July 13, 2020, 11:33 am

    LW #1 — You are both senior citizens. He is dating other women. In the teeth of a surging pandemic. And that isn’t your main concern? Do you have a death wish? You are running this HUGE health risk to be with him and you aren’t even happy in your situation. Why? Just MOA and both be safer and have more self-respect in future.

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  • avatar

    MP July 13, 2020, 3:58 pm

    LW #2 your story makes me so sad! He’s treating you like a tenant and free maid/nanny. You seem like such a giving and sweet person and he’s going out of his way to make it clear he doesn’t care about you. Please move out and get some online counseling so you can move on from him. You deserve so much better.

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