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 “College Sweetheart” whose letter appeared in a shortcuts column last year. She wrote:
I’ve been dating a great guy for just over six months. We’re both college students, so we’re coming back from being long distance all summer. It was a challenge, but lots of Skype and texting made it work. We’re exclusive, but we haven’t defined what it is we’re doing. He’s met my parents, and a few of my friends but when we spend time together it’s just us. What we’re doing makes me happy but I would like to figure out where on the serious scale we are, especially since he graduates in the spring. I don’t want to feel crushed if come May it turns out I thought we were more serious than he thought we were. Help!
Keep reading to see whether they ever defined their relationship, and more importantly, whether they’re still together post-graduation.
Listen to your gut. It’s usually smarter than your heart. Have some serious discussions with your boyfriend about his feelings for this woman and let him know his friendship with her unsettles you (and give him reasons WHY you feel unsettled). Pay attention to his response. Does he help you feel more settled, or does he leave you feeling anxious? DO NOT make long-term plans with this guy until you feel comfortable and confident that he only has feelings for you. You’re so young and to commit your life to someone will take unwavering commitment to each other and confidence in your relationship. Doesn’t sound like you’re there yet.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at [email protected] 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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Cara October 2, 2012, 1:22 pm
WWS! Also, I´ve seen this played out with friends; they fell for some girl who was very religious. It´s so sad, the way religion is in the way of love, sometimes.
dabbler October 3, 2012, 10:41 am
I disagree. She’s doing exactly what Wendy and so many other commenters have said to do. Being with someone who doesn’t share her religion is a deal breaker for her. Better to never start than to wait until two years into a relationship, when they’re both invested, to break up because they’re incompatible long-term.
Julia October 2, 2012, 2:14 pm
Not to sound all dramatic, but this…
“But then I saw some pictures on Facebook of them together — they were with other people but there was just something about the way they were that sparked my anxiety anew.”
..just about made my heart stop. A few years ago someone took a picture of me, my girlfriend, and a mutual friend of ours. When I saw the photo for the first time a few weeks later, I could practically see the chemistry between my GF and Mutual Friend in the photograph, and it was like a punch to the gut. We broke up soon after and — SPOILER — GF and mutual friend were an item within days of our breakup.
Fabelle October 2, 2012, 2:41 pm
Yeah, it sounds paranoid, but there’s something to this. My current boyfriend & I had been in a big friend-group together before we started dating, & when I look back on old pictures, you can kind of see how things would later go.
TaraMonster October 2, 2012, 3:07 pm
Yup. My ex and I were best friends before we started dating. At one point we were both dating other people and we couldn’t understand what they were so jealous about. We were just friends! It was plutonic! DELUSIONAL THOUGHTS. We wound up dating for 7.5 years (as you know haha).
painted_lady October 2, 2012, 4:54 pm
ITA!!! There’s a difference between irrational jealousy and having a rational reaction to something you can’t explain. Jealous people think they’re perfectly rational. However, that gut feeling that you find yourself doubting because you can’t rationalize it? LISTEN TO IT. 9 out of 10 times, even though I had no idea why I felt the way I felt, that instinct has been dead-on.
copacabananut October 2, 2012, 6:14 pm
When my ex was breaking up with me, I asked if there was another girl (I didn’t tell him this, but I asked because I’d seen a picture of him on OUR graduation day with his best friend’s now-wife’s little sister). I have no idea what it was about that photo, but I absolutely HATED Ex’s Best Friend’s Sister-In-Law when I saw that picture of them and KNEW IN MY GUT something was off. To date, I can’t pinpoint what it was about it that made me feel so uneasy in the weeks leading up to our breakup. Ex swore that there was nobody else. A few months later, it was confirmed: he’d dumped me because he’d been “getting to know” this girl in the weeks leading up to our breakup. This was a little over a year ago at this point, but if I think about that situation too hard (and how many lies about my relationship I uncovered in the months following our breakup), I still feel sick to my tummy. 🙁
(Luckily, I got the last laugh. Ex broke up with me to be with Ex’s Best Friend’s Sister-In-Law (EBFSIL, if you will) and swears EBFSIL broke up with her now-ex to be with him because of the Passion they felt for one another (and when I capitalize passion, I’m actually making fun of poetry that he wrote about her and posted to the internet — it’s chock full of arbitrary capitalization and just awful stuff — awkward). Turns out, EBFSIL was chatting up two guys: my ex and her now-boyfriend. Within a couple months of my breakup, EBFSIL told my ex that she never wanted to speak to him again because he’d apparently creeped her out (hee!) and has been dating her boyfriend for just over a year now. Funny how that Passion worked out for my ex. And the best part is, he still swears EBFSIL was just overreacting and truly wanted him. Umm. OK!)
g33klvr October 3, 2012, 10:15 am
Totally know what this is about. Your gut will always know more than what you’re willing to accept.
Had a 2-yr BF in grad school, he IM’d a lot with his female best friend, telling her repeatedly that he loved her. I had this gut feeling that the way he talked about her, that there was something going on there… but kept trying to ignore it.
When he came back from winter break, he broke up with me because ‘I was graduating, and he didn’t want an LDR, so better to cut it off sooner than later’. I figured out about a day after that he had left me because he had cheated on me with said best friend.
The What-goes-around-comes-around moment came about 3 months after: She dumped him to go back to one of her exes!
If anyone speaks Spanish here, here’s the best description for it: “Quien a hierro mata, a hierro muere”. Best translation would be ‘Who kills by iron, by iron shall die’.
Jess October 2, 2012, 3:48 pm
Wendy, is it me or is it a new thing where you include a portion of the original letter in the update? I like this. Saves me the trouble of clicking back to the original letter. Usually a few lines of it are enough to jog my memory.
katie October 2, 2012, 3:53 pm
Haha I totally agree! I always had to go back to the old letter lol
Wendy October 2, 2012, 4:18 pm
Not always — just when it seems appropriate.
kizzy October 2, 2012, 8:38 pm
Though it’s not the same situation, a month ago I gave my boyfriend an ultimatum. Me or his exgirlfriend. Their relationship got to the point where I couldn’t deal with it anymore, and it’s a big whole long story that doesn’t need to be explained her.
Now, that being said, I think you might be a bit quick to say that you don’t like your man’s relationship with a female friend. Don’t freak out until you have honest details from him. Just have an open and honest conversation with him about it. Trust your instincts, but give him a chance to explain himself and his feelings (or lack of) before you write him off. Of course, if he does have feelings for her you should just quit while you’re ahead. Don’t waste your time on someone who is not fully into you like you deserve.
but also, I don’t think you have the right to be offended by his feelings for someone else if you’re not even his girlfriend. Figure that out along with all that other junk.
kizzy October 2, 2012, 8:41 pm
I probably should have said in my original reply that I only bring up that tidbit about my ex because as other people have said, instincts are usually right. You’ll know in your gut what the deal is. but of course talk to him about it first. 🙂