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 today. After the jump, we hear from “Dealing with Clueless” whose guy friend was dating a younger girl whom everyone in their circle of friends considered “clueless” and made fun of. The LW wrote: “When things go over her head, should I continue to clue her in or just let her remain ignorant and mocked? Elise grates on my nerves something fierce, but I hate seeing someone made fun of. Yet, I don’t want to be attacked for helping her out either.” After the jump, find out where things stand with with the naive girlfriend.
While I don’t think I was cluing Elise in to make myself feel superior, I do agree with the commenters that I was doing it for my benefit instead of hers — basically so I wouldn’t have to listen to her whine.
I would like to say that no one initially ganged up on her or was mean to her. And the snarky comments weren’t malicious attacks, but usually pent up frustration. Someone plans a get-together and Elise complains, “This is stupid,” “I’m bored,” or “I’m too cold/hot/tired,” the entire time. Finally someone snaps and says, “Oh my God, my five-year-old doesn’t complain as much as you. Grow up/shut up.” While I think there’s a more diplomatic/mature way to deal with the situation, I honestly don’t think any of my friends say mean things to her just for the purpose of hurting her or embarrassing her. I have talked to them about finding better ways to express themselves.
As for Ken, about five years ago his fiancé (they were the same age) left him (partly because of his immaturity) and married someone else six months later. He took the breakup hard and ever since, the women he dates keep getting younger and younger. I don’t know if this makes him creepy, sad, or both. I tried to talk to him once about how he ignores Elise in a group setting, but I was told point blank that his relationship was none of my business. I butted out immediately.
I absolutely agree that Elise deserves better than Ken.
I no longer clue her in during conversations. Now that I’ve stopped, Ken has finally stepped up and will explain things to her — at least some of the time. I suggested to Elise that she invite a friend or two with her when we went to a haunted house last weekend. Ironically, we all got along really well. Both girls were also twenty. While Elise still whined about the haunted house being stupid, her friends called her out on it in a friendly, teasing way that seemed to work, and we all had a really great time. Except for Ken. He seemed annoyed by Elise’s friends and how her attention was focused on them instead of him. My thoughts: good for Elise.
Thank you to everyone who commented!
Thanks for the update. Sounds like you mean well for Elise and I do hope, for everyone’s sake, that she MOAs from Ken sooner rather than later.
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.
AKchic November 17, 2011, 11:56 am
I agree with Wendy that the problem seems to be more Ken than anything.
From your expanded description, Ken does sound immature, and so he does seek out younger women so he can be the “mature” one in the relationship. Mostly because he wasn’t the mature one in the one relationship he DID really care about.
He chose an immature and younger person for a reason. You pointed out that the females her own age called her out on her behavior. Eventually, she will grow up. She will get tired that his maturity is stunted. She will move on and get mad that she attempted to stunt her own emotional maturity to match his.
Continue to stay out of it. If nothing else, pity her in the slightest, and maybe him for their emotional immaturity and inability to move forward.
Carolynasaurus November 17, 2011, 11:58 am
That was a brilliant solution!
And I’m also glad to hear how you place most of the blame on Ken and not Elise. Yes, someone like Elise would probably annoy the crap out of me, but if Ken kept bringing her around and his lack of attentiveness was causing the majority of the problems, then he is definitely the one who should have to deal with it.
John Rohan November 17, 2011, 3:46 pm
Why should either of them get the “blame”? It seems they both have some issues to work out, but neither of them are really doing anything wrong, if the LW is to be believed.
Monica M November 17, 2011, 12:41 pm
LW you seem like a really good person and insightful about people.
bittergaymark November 17, 2011, 12:56 pm
Wait, wait, wait. Ken’s fiance dumped him and then rushed out and married somebody else a mere six months later? Meanwhile, Ken is supposedly the immature one there? Um, that is a crazy thing to say actually.
PS — I have so been there with the whiney, complaining, spoiled brat of a friend’s significant other who is too young and dumb to get the jokes, much less spell them. Keep doing what you are doing, I guess, LW. Frankly, my opinion is that those who constantly act like whiney, spoiled brats don’t get much sympathy from me when their feelings are hurt after getting called out on their outlandish behavior. In other words, LW, you certainly are the better person here than I would be. That said, it’s not exactly winning you any medals, is it?
CollegeCat November 18, 2011, 10:43 am
It’s not immature to marry the right person when you find them. It is immature to stay in a relationship that doesn’t fulfill you. After coming to the realization that Ken was not the right person for her his ex-fiancée may have opened herself up to finding the person with all of the right qualities. You can’t help when love finds you (whether its 6 mos. after a break-up or 6 years). If I found the right person I would not hesitate just because other ppl may see it as a rebound, I would do what felt right. I can’t see how that makes anyone immature (except maybe kim kardashian).
Jiggs November 18, 2011, 11:44 am
Whether his fiance’s behaviour was immature or not, at some point Ken has to stop acting like a douchecanoe. It was five years ago, so I think Ken’s past the time where we can excuse his behaviour as “he’s just in a weird place because his fiance left him”. And if that’s still the case, then brother needs some therapy.
Painted_lady November 17, 2011, 1:18 pm
Fantastic solution to a really awkward problem. I totally get the weird position you’re in; one of the guys in my circle of friends has a girlfriend who makes everyone cringe. She’s sweet, but she monopolizes conversations, talks forever about things it’s impossible to really engage in (she’s a costume crew head at a local theatre and she once gave me a really detailed story about how she got make-up stains out of a costume piece). Her boyfriend, my friend, was so madly in love with her he couldn’t see how much everyone avoided getting stuck sitting by her and thought we were just excluding her because we’re snobby.
Eventually we started avoiding being around her so much that he got stuck with her on nights out and she started to irritate him. That’s when he finally talked to her, and he would swoop in and change the subject when she started rambling, or stick by her long enough she started taking his lead as to how to talk with people rather than at them. The result ended up that she’s now much easier to deal with, he’s more considerate of her and of us, and that they’re closer. So maybe Ken will grow up a little as well through all this and actually be someone she deserves. If not, hopefully she’ll come to her senses.
lk November 17, 2011, 2:33 pm
This is a really funny story. I will definitely stop telling people about my amazing stain-removal skills now… unless asked, of course, or if there is an actual stain that I can help with : )
honeybeenicki November 17, 2011, 3:06 pm
That reminds me of the people who say “oh, have you ever watched XYZ show” and when you say know, they just go ahead and continue on with whatever they were going to say.
katie November 17, 2011, 8:00 pm
atleast your friend was able to kind of “correct” her behavior- just make it a little easier to hang out with her. i feel like that situation usually doesnt go so well!