Updates: “Cross Cultural Divide” Responds (Again)

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 “Cross Cultural Divide” a woman from Belgium who originally wrote in when her Croatian fiancé wanted her to spend her entire two-week vacation with his family in Croatia. She complained that his friends and family don’t try to speak English with her even though they can and that she works hard and would like to spend part of her vacation relaxing by herself or with her own friends. She updated us once the vacation was over, and now she has a new update.

Things have progressed and in a very good way. Shortly after the holiday, we decided to stop working together as a team. Once we went our separate ways, it became clear how much being colleagues had put a serious strain on our relationship. Sure, we have a great creative vibe between us, but the romance was suffering since we were working or talking about work most of the time. We also had a sexist boss who didn’t ever give me any credit, further adding fuel to my stress (I would get angry and my boyfriend would try calm me down, making me wonder if he truly understood what I was up against). I also think, looking back now, that the need to be alone with him on the holiday itself stemmed from these problems.

Right now, he’s working full-time and I am working freelance, which means that, at times, I don’t work at all – the crisis in Europe takes a toll on creative professions. But I keep myself busy by writing a blog (in Dutch, so I won’t hawk it) and planning our wedding in March! When we come home now, we get to talk about our day, gossip, relax, have a drink and laughs. It’s great.

We also talk a lot about those working-together days, putting things in perspective. We can laugh about it now – though I never want to see that sexist pig again!
Browsing through the comments of the update, I’m again thrilled it sort of sparked a debate about mayo and french fries, two of my favourite things in the world. To address a comment on how I flip between calling him my boyfriend or my fiancé: I feel that mentioning the word ‘fiancé’ all the time is kind of obnoxious (and frankly, pretentious) to listeners. It reminds me of an early Seinfeld episode where some woman at a party keeps asking everyone if they have seen her FIANCE. It’s a temporary term that just won’t grow on me. I even feel weird about calling him my husband in a few weeks, but I guess I’ll get used to that one in time!

Thanks again, Wendy, and the Dear Wendy community. You’ve got a good thing going.

Thanks for the update. I also felt funny about using the word “fiancé” when I was engaged and ended up just referring to Drew as my “boyfriend” most of the time. It was a much easier transition calling him “husband” once we got married. Maybe because it’s not a French word. Anyway, congrats on your upcoming wedding!


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.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].


  1. So with you on Fiance. Boyfriend is cool, husband is cool. I just felt like a jerk saying fiance!
    I’m glad things are going well! Good luck with the wedding!!

  2. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    Yup, fiance is dumb. Boyfriend and husband are great. I love when I get referred to as a girlfriend (probably because I don’t wear my ring a lot) it makes me feel young. Kind of like when I get Id’d at bars. Crazy sexy cool.

    So in summary, you win my favorite LW of the month award.

  3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    I feel dumb saying fiance too. I use it all the time because I think boyfriend sounds silly too.

    Good luck with the wedding!

  4. Jessibel5 says:

    I felt totally pretentious saying fiance as well. But at least when we got engaged it got his mom to stop introducing me to people as her son’s “special friend” and introduced me as his fiancee instead!

    You may already be married because it’s the end of March, but good luck if you aren’t and congrats if you are!

  5. I totally want to read your blog – it will give me a change to practice my Dutch =)


    1. I’d also like to read it! Though I’m a native speaker of Dutch and don’t need to practice it. 😉

      (Also, Taylor, my name links through to my own Dutch language blog, if you’re interested – and Wendy, feel free to remove this if you think it’s too much like hawking my blog)

      1. Cool! I checked it out, a realized how much of my Dutch I’ve forgotten =( I need to pull out my Harry Potter in Dutch books!

  6. SisiSodaPopinVegas says:

    Darn! I missed the french fry / mayo debate! LW, so glad to hear that everything is wrking out well for you. And just for the record, I LOVE to dip my fries in mayo; but it has to be real mayo, not that miracle whip stuff.

    1. Nancy Pants says:

      I with you on that Miracle Whip stuff. That should be banned for its pure yuckitude. (Yes I made up a word).

  7. I love this LW. Actually, most the updates have sounded mature and well thought out as opposed to the “Omg but you dont know this, this, and this. And everyone is mean!!!”. It also seems like these are updates after a longer period of time….so yeah.

  8. Love this update.

    And love french fries in mayo. Had it for the first time in Switzerland with a Euro brand of mayo that’s not nearly as bland and yuck as Hellman’s, and instant love.

    I’ve told my husband before that while we work together as a couple, we should never work in the same office/business together. We got in a fight trying to do a puzzle once; I can’t imagine going head to head with him in a professional setting.

  9. With as many times as I’ve been married, “SO” has always been my go-to term for anyone I’m paired with. Whether we’re dating, engaged, married, or pair-bonded. This goes for my female partners as well. I have female SO’s that I’ve been with throughout my 3 marriages. *laugh* That’s why everyone says I have a harem. *shrug* We’ll be at the rally for equal marriage rights tonight 🙂

  10. Did anyone else pick up on the whole I quit my job without a new one lined up so that my boyfriend could keep his job and keep me undertone? I know thats a cynical way of looking at it and everyone makes choices blah blah but thats seems like a pretty intense long term professional sacrifice.

    1. It sounded (to me anyways) like she was unhappy with her job and working with her boyfriend just compounded it. This way she doesn’t have to deal with a horrible boss and can enjoy bouncing creative ideas off her boyfriend without butting heads. It sounds like the pros outweigh the cons.

  11. Fries dipped in Mayo : YES. YES ALWAYS. In fact, I even grab McChicken sauce at McDonalds to eat with my fries.

    Also, as a French-Canadian I always struggle to find the right term for “boyfriend’ in French…there are many variations, cultural/regional and otherwise and I can never find the right one appropriate for the right social situation. GAH. #Frenchpersonproblems

  12. Ha – when we were engaged, we referred to fiancé as “the f word.” Hate it.

  13. Avatar photo bittergaymark says:

    The only thing worse than Fiance’ is being introduced to someone’s betrothed…

  14. Lily in NYC says:

    I sure hope a dingo doesn’t eat her fiance! Anyway, I vote a huge YES for fries and mayo. I put mayo on everything that people usually put catsup on – burgers, hot dogs, you name it, I will put mayo on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *