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 from “Cat and Mouse,” the woman who continued an on-and-off friendship with an ex-boyfriend who broke up with her three years ago. Things came to a head when she ran into him and his new girlfriend and told the new girlfriend not to feel threatened by her. Her ex was pissed, drama ensued, and the LW wondered whether she should even continue the friendship. Keep reading to see where things stand now.
It’s been a few months since I told my ex to stop contacting me for good. Except for one suspicious blocked late night call (that I suspect was from him but did not answer), he has kept his word and I have been able to truly move on from that chapter of my life.
I would like to clear up some things from my previous letter though. For one, I think the DW audience focused waaaay too much on what I said to the new girlfriend when we were introduced. I didn’t say “oh, don’t worry about me” with a wink and a swish of my hips or anything. I simply said what I said because the girl looked annoyed to meet me (arms crossed, frowning, etc.). So maybe what I said could have been misinterpreted during this awkward introduction (which happened in the middle of my work shift, mind you) but I had nothing but good intentions. Also, my ex, during this introduction, did not help the situation — he fidgeted, giggled nervously and eyed us both like there was going to be a catfight.
Another thing that I didn’t mention was that during our break-up and while he was dating new girl, he frequently called me for support during his fights with her and asked me on at least five different occasions if he could come over to my place and vent with me. I didn’t mention it before because I thought it would cast him in a bad light, but I do want to give DW readers a better understanding of how he was the one to always reach out to me.
One important thing that I have realized is that I was creating most of this ex drama simply by letting it in my life. After cutting him out, I have become a much happier person and more drama-free. I have learned from this experience that some things are just not worth the trouble, especially an ex. I thank Wendy and the DW community for helping me to realize that this kind of drama was not worth it and that the best thing I could do was move on from it completely.
While I don’t have a new boyfriend or fiancé to brag about in this update, I have been dating and have met a new guy with potential. I am also planning to study abroad next year in the country of my dreams and graduate from college a year after that. I can’t wait to see what else the future holds for me.
Thanks for the update and best of luck to you in the future!
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at email@example.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 12:53 pm
Well… Another update for my theory that ONLY GAY GUYS have not only the wisdom and maturity — but sheer ability to remain friends with their exes. Honestly? I don’t even get why this is so hard… But LW, you might want to give up the ghost that each and every blocked call is from your still smitten ex.
landygirl November 21, 2013, 1:05 pm
I know many gay men who can’t stand their exes. The breakups were drama filled and the aftermath has been drama queenish. I also know straight couples who maintained a friendship after a break up, myself included.
The problem with your generalities is that they are biased by your delusional thinking that men are superior to women because they can fuck and run without emotion.
Let me restate…men aren’t better they are just different. Women aren’t inferior because they don’t act like men.
Bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 1:44 pm
Actually, I would say this letter illustrates that straight men are often rather lousy at this, too. At any rate I would suspect that my pool of gay men is perhaps somewhat significantly larger than yours… This theory isn’t mine alone. Dan Savage had mentioned it before himself and HIS sample is collosal, I would suspect.
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 1:55 pm
Its funny how many times you and others cite Dan Savage as though he literally knows everything and is always right. I don’t know much about him, but I imagine he can’t possibly know everything and always be right. Then again, maybe that’s a similarity between the two of you… 😉
Bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 1:59 pm
He’s only one of THE most successful, most revered, and most influential advice columnists who had been at this for well over twenty years… But with regards to THIS issue — I have also personally witnessed a couple of hundred times…
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 2:06 pm
200 times? You have been close with enough couples and seen them through over 200 breakups AND kept in touch with them long enough post-breakup to know they are all still friends? WOW, color me impressed.
Does Dan Savage have any other credentials other than being a popular advice columnist?
Milla November 21, 2013, 4:21 pm
Dan Savage has the credentials of being a douchecanoe, at least. And I wouldn’t say he’s universally revered— a lot of queer folks I know protested his speaking engagement at my university for his biphobic and transphobic statements.
And from my experience, it’s the bi ladies/lesbians who are able to keep being friends with their exes. Although I might suggest that it’s often because the queer community is smaller and more insular that if you *aren’t* friends with your ex, then you’re going to end up alienating a big part of that group.
bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 4:58 pm
Talk about protesting the WRONG fucking people.
Dan’s comments about both have been addressed by him at length. I suppose I am admittedly rather biased in that my own love life with bi-guys soured me greatly on them. But you get dumped hard for women three times and see just how willing you are to hand your heart off to yet another and then get back to me. Conclusion: the only way I would ever date a bisexual again at this point would be in a very casual, very fun and very open relationship. Yeah. They tend to go straight in my experience. Only to want to see me on the side later. It is a big part of why I am Bittergaymark, I suppose.
Milla November 21, 2013, 5:06 pm
I will seriously never understand why bad personal experiences are considered valid for writing off entire groups of people. It’s gross, and it’s offensive. And— personally— I don’t understand how being left for a woman is any different than being left for another guy. I would personally think it would suck either way. But hey, I’m a bi lady ten years into a relationship with another bi lady, so what do I know.
bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 5:20 pm
It’s VERY different. Especially when one claims the ONLY reason he is dumping you is it’s simply TOO HARD to be gay. Admittedly, in his defense it WAS extremely hard to be gay in 1996. But I wonder how you would feel if your lover dumped you for a man and publicly played Happy Family — complete with kiddies — all the while pestering you with drunken late night calls of missing you love of my life bullshit…
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 5:21 pm
So I take it you have not stayed friends with that ex?
Milla November 21, 2013, 5:54 pm
BGM, it would suck! Absolutely it would, and I would be devastated. But I still wouldn’t make generalizations about an entire group of people based on it. The guy didn’t leave you because he was bi, he left because he had serious problems.
Wendy November 21, 2013, 5:09 pm
Dumped for a woman three times as a gay man? This explains SO MUCH!
bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 5:38 pm
LBH. We are friendly enough for me to know that he is still “happily” married. Friendly enough for him to routinely and I suspect drunkenly bug me on Facebook messenger every couple of months about old times. Fortunately, he lives on the East Coast. But I have had drinks with him fairly recently. No sex now for over a decade. My choice. It is just TOO DANGEROUS. He remains the best sex ever — which is maddening.
Best quote ever? Him to me on the phone post Brokeback. “The problem is I somehow DID know how to quit you.”
Ugh. Oh well. And here we are.
Something Random November 21, 2013, 5:56 pm
BGM, I love most of your comments. You certainly live up to your name but at this point anybody posting on dear Wendy should know by now that your comments are sharply pointed, somewhat exaggerated, usually offensive, and seriously funny.
sorry for the assholes in your life. I doubt he’s really happy. I don’t know if that helps or hurts.
bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 6:12 pm
Yeah. I remain amazed how few ever seem to notice that my posts tend to be deliberately over the top and thus often prone to broad, sweeping generalizations. Somehow, only a select few seemingly ever grasp this. Honestly? I don ‘t know how I could be more obvious about this. But thanks for being among that — apparently — very select group.
ele4phant November 21, 2013, 10:04 pm
So just throwing it out there as something to think about…if a large number of people are misinterpreting your comments, perhaps the issue is your writing and not everyone elses reading comprehension skills.
A lot of people who comment here are intelligent and well educated, so its more likely that one person isn’t communicating well than it is that a big group of people just can’t read properly.
bittergaymark November 22, 2013, 12:19 am
Eh. Nobody got Swift’s modest proposal either…
Lindsay November 22, 2013, 9:17 am
Well, that’s definitely a new and clever tactic to use on online discussions.
Ele4phant November 22, 2013, 11:58 am
Are you honestly comparing yourself to one of the most skilled writers of his era?
Also, if I recall, the last few paragraphs of A Modest Proposal had a change in tone were Swift made it clear the essay was satire. So, it becomes abundantly clear to the reader (should they read the whole thing) that he is not advocating cannibalism of poor babies, but instead criticizing society for ignoring poor Irish children. I can’t say I remember anything like that in any of your posts.
landygirl November 21, 2013, 3:04 pm
So my opinion isn’t valid because I’m not gay and you think I don’t have enough gay friends. Just ignore the fact that I lived through my friends breakups with them and witnessed the behavior with my own eyes.
You just keep digging your hole deeper and deeper.
Bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 3:58 pm
Your opinion is valid. I just am saying my own experience conflicts with it. Obviously there are gays who hate their exes. I can think of four off the top of my head. But those were the exception rather than the rule — in my experience. Likewise, my chum Juliet remained friendly with many an ex. For GOD’s sake I remain amazed that everybody still takes my posts at face value. I thought my tone here was clearly sarcastic. With a grain a truth to it though… Lord knows enough people cherrypick evidence to prove their theories. Hell, that is why studies are constantly debunked…
landygirl November 22, 2013, 11:12 am
How else are we supposed to take your posts? Irony doesn’t really translate here.
ktfran November 21, 2013, 1:09 pm
I’m pretty sure I have only had good break ups with serious boyfriends and we’re still friendly / in touch, including the ex-fiance.
ktfran November 21, 2013, 1:10 pm
Also, I’m pretty sure her ex was the one making it weird. Not the LW.
muchachaenlaventana November 21, 2013, 2:12 pm
who cares? like you are correct I am not friends with my exes, not because I don’t have the emotional maturity, wisdom, or ability to do so, but rather because for the most part I was not friends with them before and have no desire to be friends with them after. It is not hard, for a lot of people it is simply a choice. I could choose to invest time in friendships with exes, but would rather not. I am sure this is the way it is with any number of people, regardless of sexual orientation.
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 2:17 pm
Hm, I have only been friends first, never thought about why you would be friends if you weren’t friends first. Good point.
Plus, I’m not one of those people with “too many” friends, but I know people like that who barely have time to maintain the friendships they already have, so that would be another good reason.
starpattern November 21, 2013, 2:44 pm
Exactly! I have never had a reason to want to remain close friends with an ex. I am still friend-LY with most of them, because we have mutual friends or whatever, but it’s like a passing, “How have you been?” at social functions. I see most of them less than once a year, and that’s fine with me. It’s not that I hate them or that I *can’t* be friends with them, I just… don’t particularly want to.
Nookie November 22, 2013, 10:41 am
Not to be an ass but I’m pretty sure Dan Savage said the exact same thing: If you weren’t friends before, why would you be friends after? True dat.
Lily in NYC November 21, 2013, 2:27 pm
I was just in my ex-boyfriend’s wedding. I am good friends with all of my exes except the two that were total dicks. You know what Mark? I actually think Dan Savage would rip you a new one if he read a list of your comments here. He knows how write without disparaging an entire sex like we only come in one flavor.
bagge72 November 21, 2013, 2:35 pm
You guys realize that non of your stories are valid, because Mark has seen the opposite personally happen 315 million times right? What ever happens in Mark’s personal life is pretty much what happens everywhere with every other person out there. Mark knows a guy who fucks dolphins, so guess what all guys fuck dolphins, Mark also knows this girl who shit her pants on the subway, so guess what, every girl in the world who rides on the subway shits her pants. He has it all figured out…
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 2:36 pm
I know a guy who fucks dolphins too! Wonder if its the same guy.
Seriously, I almost spit my coffee out on that one. Thanks!
Fabelle November 21, 2013, 3:06 pm
This is off-topic, but do you know that sometimes when humans & dolphins are in the water together, the dolphins will try to have sex with the humans? I’ve seen the videos, & I wish I haven’t. (Sort of.)
bagge72 November 21, 2013, 3:09 pm
It’s like that video going around of that dolphin masturbating with the dead fish head, they seem like pretty creep dudes I guess.
Copa November 21, 2013, 3:12 pm
Is it weird that I want to find these videos? I’m at work so I cannot. 🙁
Fabelle November 21, 2013, 3:15 pm
They are really crazy—also, dolphin dicks are disturbingly human-looking??
Okay I will stop now.
Copa November 21, 2013, 3:19 pm
I disconnected my phone from our company’s guest wifi & naturally I am now watching a lot of weird YouTube clips, and all of the “Related Videos” keep luring me in!
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 3:34 pm
Ok, I just watched one. I think I’d rather be eaten by a shark.
TaraMonster November 21, 2013, 3:28 pm
Well. It’s probably weird because, um, me too. Just thought some solidarity was warranted in the Curious About Dolphin Sexuality camp.
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 3:16 pm
Whaaaa? Like a dog humping you? That’s nuts!
Also, thanks for destroying me dream of wanting to swim with dolphins.
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 3:32 pm
CassieB November 21, 2013, 9:56 pm
Yeah I saw one of those, too! This gal was visiting an aquarium and sitting on the side playing with the dolphins, and all of a sudden this one flopped right on top of her and started going at it. He didn’t even buy her dinner first! How rude.
Nookie November 22, 2013, 10:43 am
I’ve seen that same video and yes, I also wish I had never seen it.
bagge72 November 21, 2013, 3:08 pm
No problem! Barney from HIMYM speaks dolphin so maybe it was him.
Imsostartled November 21, 2013, 3:46 pm
I feel like this could be a Chuck Norris thing! 😀
For instance, BGM knows 2 couples who like to have threesomes with a chair. So all couples must like having threesomes with chairs!
bagge72 November 21, 2013, 3:51 pm
Did you know that Mark knows a girl whose farts smell like roses, so all girls farts must smell like roses!
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 3:52 pm
Not true. My farts don’t smell and my shit don’t stink.
bagge72 November 21, 2013, 3:54 pm
BGM is that you?
Addie Pray November 21, 2013, 4:36 pm
Lately my farts have been smelling like crackers and sharp cheddar. I have no idea why.
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 4:39 pm
Not to be gross, but when I was a kid someone said that all shower farts smell like popcorn. Anyone ever experience this?
Addie Pray November 21, 2013, 4:59 pm
No. But you know what I hate? Farting RIGHT AFTER showering. I always think, oh man this sucks because if there were any hershey squirts i won’t get it cleaned for like another 24 hours.
Anyone else think that? No? Ok me neither then.
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 5:00 pm
Gross! Go home and fart in the shower tonight and then report back to me.
Addie Pray November 21, 2013, 5:02 pm
am i looking for a buttery popcorn smell? a movie theater popcorn smell? what? just want to know it when i smell it. maybe i’ll just sniff for *any* popcorn smell? what about kettle corn?
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 5:03 pm
Any popcorn will suffice.
Addie Pray November 21, 2013, 5:06 pm
Skinny Pop probably won’t do.
Addie Pray November 21, 2013, 5:05 pm
Also, so I have two showers. One functions as a steam room too. This means the shower walls go all the way to the ceiling – you know, to keep the steam in. It also means that if you fart in that shower, it echos really loud. I love farting in that shower just to see how loud the fart can be with the acoustics. In my mind I think “this is probably what an ogre fart sounds like.”
Do I share too much?
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 5:10 pm
rachel November 21, 2013, 5:08 pm
No, but sometimes I think my pee smells like cheerios.
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 5:11 pm
One time Lil’s poop was bright blue (thanks to icing). She wanted to play with it. She was like 2 guys, give her a break, ok?
bagge72 November 22, 2013, 9:03 am
I think my pee actually smells like popcorn!
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 12:59 pm
Good update! Sounds like you learned a lesson. Honestly, while you sounded pro-drama in your first letter, he sounds it now and so does the new girl, although who knows if she didn’t like you because of things he told her. I guess who cares though. Some exes can be great friends, and some you are better off walking away from and just wishing them well.
Bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 1:40 pm
Yes. It is amazing how some so often come across oh so much better in their updates.
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 1:53 pm
I’m sure many times its because they are just trying to make themselves sound good, but I hope that some are also better because they actually learned something from Wendy’s advice.
Bittergaymark November 21, 2013, 2:48 pm
This — I would bet — is one of those times. Does nobody remember pretty much everyone’s reaction to the original letter?
lets_be_honest November 21, 2013, 3:15 pm
I do, and I remember chewing her out. I mean, whatever. She’s either blowing smoke up our asses, or actually means what she said. She didn’t really defend herself like most updaters do.
rachel November 21, 2013, 3:12 pm
I think a lot of times people are frantic or pissed when they write originally, so by the time they update they’ve had time to think about things and calm down.
Fabelle November 21, 2013, 1:01 pm
“One important thing that I have realized is that I was creating most of this ex drama simply by letting it in my life. After cutting him out, I have become a much happier person and more drama-free.”
That is a good lesson to learn! Glad you’re in a better place, & good luck to you in the future 🙂
Kate B. November 21, 2013, 2:34 pm
Yes! I was going to say that learning this makes the whole experience almost worthwhile.
GatorGirl November 21, 2013, 1:37 pm
For the future I would avoid ever saying you’re not a threat- regardless of someone’s body language. It’s just icky.
WAPS November 21, 2013, 1:47 pm
Yeah, I completely agree. It seems presumptuous and condescending to think that she looked annoyed, therefore she must feel threatened. I’m not sure why the LW thinks that just because she didn’t wink or swish her hips, that statement doesn’t come off as rude.
GatorGirl November 21, 2013, 1:53 pm
right? Should could have just been in a bad mood generally speaking. And if that was the case I could see why this snowballed. Which frankly it all sounds realy juvenile.
bethany November 21, 2013, 1:58 pm
Right? She might have just had Bitchy Resting Face!
TaraMonster November 21, 2013, 3:30 pm
+10 for bitchy resting face reference.
Fabelle November 21, 2013, 2:04 pm
I did laugh at the “I didn’t swish my hips” thing, though.
WAPS November 21, 2013, 4:46 pm
Haha I did too. I’m trying to imagine what that would look like. Like, “Oh don’t worry, I’m not a threat” followed by hip gyrating? That’s even more threatening!
TaraMonster November 21, 2013, 3:38 pm
Exactly. Don’t get me wrong, I think LW does realize how she was contributing to the drama and has extracted herself from the situation, so kudos to her for that. However, there is no scenario I can think of in which saying you’re not a threat to your ex’s new SO is ok. Maybe if the new girlfriend was ready with the fisticuffs? Maybe?
Ele4phant November 21, 2013, 3:45 pm
Yep, it’s never really going to out someone at ease by telling them not to be threatened, and doubly so if it appears they might actually *be* threatened. The best way to explain you’re not a threat is by showing, not telling. Be super nice and interested in her, don’t be super friendly or flirtatious with him. You know, be normal. If she is still hung up or threatened by you, well that’s on her.