It’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 again not from a LW, but from the subject of a letter. In this case, it’s the sister of “Questioning my Sister,” who thought her sister was giving bad advice to her teenage sons and wondered if she should offer a different POV to her nephews. Her sister, the mother of the teenage boys, read the letter posted here and shared her response to that with us a couple weeks ago, which a lot of us felt changed the tenor of the whole situation. She was a bit… pessimistic about love. She considered our comments and emailed me this week, saying: “I have taken your and commenters’ responses to heart, and I don’t want to have my kids grow up cynical. I am thinking of revising what I told them and wanted your (and maybe commenters’) thoughts on if this is right? Here’s what I’m thinking of saying:”
I think there’s a much simpler way of saying what you want, and maybe there are important things to say that aren’t included here. I would probably say something like:
“I was wrong to tell you to plan for having a partner who will likely see you as disposable. I know I’m raising you to be wise men and have good judgment, and I trust that judgment to lead you to people whose presence in your lives will enrich yours in whatever relationship you may share together and in whatever form their love for you takes and shifts over time. It may be that sometimes for you that isn’t the case and someone turns out to be different than you thought, or they change, or feelings change. It may be that your feelings aren’t reciprocated in the same way or that someone stops loving you in the way you want them to love you. My hope for you is that you can embrace and enjoy love in whatever authentic way it’s offered to you, but also that if it isn’t offered at all or if it’s taken away or if you can’t accept it, that you take the opportunity to experience the depth of your strength, your capacity to heal, and the strength of the support system you’ve spent your life cultivating.”
Whatever you do say though, I’d leave their father totally out of it.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.