Updates: “Ex Effect” Responds

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 “Ex Effect” who wondered if she really was as stupid as her friends, family and Google said she was for dating her ex again. Keep reading to see whether they’re still together and if she’s made peace with her decision.

Thank you so much for publishing my letter and giving me some solid advice. And thank you DWers for your insightful comments. You all are right, I really do rely on outside opinions much too often, and — something that stuck with me — know that I won’t be considered an adult until I can make my own decisions and be confident in them, whether or not my family (or the internet) agrees. I repeat that to myself now, and that I am allowed to make my own decisions and stick with them, even if they are mistakes. Life is about learning. And I’m sure my family has made some mistakes in the past, too.

I have decided to continue to date my ex-boyfriend, and things are still great. I think some mentioned that I wasn’t telling you guys all the details (red flags, etc.), but I really am! I think there haven’t been any red flags because my boyfriend and I really only dated long enough that it was still “happy happy sparkle sparkle” all the time, and we didn’t really face any true problems since it was still a honeymoon phase. So, with this round, we’re discovering some road bumps, but we’re both willing to work on them. And so far, I am excited to continue dating him now and after college. Even if things don’t work out, I’m telling myself that the world doesn’t end and we really did have a good time knowing each other.

As far as my family goes, therapy, and reading this post over, has given me a lot to think about. They are very nice people, but they are really overbearing. I’m going to therapy to try to help myself stand up to them, not only in this issue, but many others that I’ve had trouble with (like going to a big city after I graduate, which they are adamantly against).

I did tell them recently that I am dating my ex. This did not go over well at all. One of my brothers is very mean to me now, and my parents constantly tell me how disappointed they are. When I asked them why and tried to sit down with them about it, there was no solid response. I wanted to know what the reason is for their disapproval, let them know that I value their opinion, and really sit down and hear their concerns in case I am truly missing something about my ex that I have been blocking out. But the only SOLID reason they could give me was, “He broke up with you, he has the upper hand from now on. You should break up with him first to spite him.” Also, variations of, “Because I told you not to, and I think it’s disrespectful that you are not listening to what I think is best.”

But that’s it. I am sticking to my guns, but it is stressful to have your family seemingly hate you for a choice of who you date. The holidays are going to stink. At least my friends are supportive, and at least I have my therapist to talk to. Thank you for all your help though, Wendy and Co. I’m taking small steps in a direction that I chose.

Thanks for your update and here’s hoping as you grow more into adulthood, your family will loosen the leash they think they have a right to hold on your life. Good idea to see a therapist to help you stand up to them. Good luck with everything.


If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.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 wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. Geez, sounds like the LW is more mature than the rest of her family.

  2. You are now on the correct path to adulthood. We all have one life to live and it is our own. Don’t let your parents live vicariously through you by controlling your life. That can only lead to a very stunted existence, followed by extreme resentment as you realize that you have sold out, for the sake of keeping family peace, on your right to make some of the most important decision is your life — the decisions which will shape the essence of your future life. Surrender these decisions and you will forfeit the ability to be the woman you hope to become.

  3. LW, it sounds to me like you have a good head on your shoulders and are capable of making good decisions. I know we grow up thinking our parents know best- and a lot of times they do, but in this situation, yours don’t. I think it was great that you wanted to talk to them to see if they saw something you didn’t. And it sucks that they basically want you to play games. It’s your life. Live it the way you see fit. Hopefully they’ll learn to respect you as an adult sooner, rather than later.

  4. Good for you for trying to find the tools (i.e. therapy) to stand up to your family. This is YOUR life, & they have no right to keep inserting their opinion & then letting their discordant opinion influence their feelings about you.

    As a side note, remember how in the original letter, we all thought this was buttoned? Where IS buttoned?? She hasn’t been around in a while, & I’ve been wondering how her parallel situation turned out.

    1. ha, yea, thats all i remember from this letter.

      that and googling about milk digestion. which ended up awesome.

    2. I agree – I’d love to see the parallel update since this update seems to be going so well. This girl even writes similar to Buttoned!

    3. Wait, this isn’t buttoned??

  5. tbrucemom says:

    Dating an ex depends on the reasons you broke up and the LW’s seem like the timing was wrong. However, what concerned me about her original letter was that she felt suicidal because of her family’s disapproval. That’s very extreme. Glad she’s in therapy but could it be that her family is justified in worrying about decisions she makes if she feels that way? Also, rule of thumb, NEVER tell your family about disagreements you have with your SO. You usually end up working things out but they love YOU and have a hard time forgetting the things you told them.

  6. I’m glad you’re seeing a therapist to help you out. Your family will either come around or they won’t. If your family can’t be happy for you, perhaps you should skip holidays with them until they can at least ACT happy for you? I don’t know, that’s something you need to decide for yourself.

  7. You Go Girl says:

    Recently my uncle said some very cruel things to me about how disappointed he was in me that I supposedly did not see problems in my relationship with my boyfriend sooner. My boyfriend and I had a lot of fun together, and in many ways our relationship was good. But he did not want to get married and there were other areas of incompatibility, such as his messiness, sarcasm and reluctance to spend money.

    Now I realize that I am entitled to make my own decisions about who to date. Mark and I were not destined to be together forever, but we had fun together and I learned a lot from him. He did not abuse me, or steal my money or do anything awful. I enjoyed my time with him, and have no regrets. Congratulations to the LW for sticking up for what she believes to her overbearing family. She is entitled to make her own decisions about who to date. She may ultimately decide that her boyfriend is not the one she wants to marry, or their relationship may last and they do get married. This is no longer the Middle Ages where a woman loses her “purity” if she dates more than one man.

    The LW sounds fairly young, but I am 55 and just learning this now. So good job, LW.

  8. LW, good job being a grownup since it sounds like no one else in your family is. That’s actually a pretty impressive accomplishment. Also, you could consider that if people are going to act like jerks, they give up the right to know what’s going on in your life.

  9. Lily in NYC says:

    Whoa, and I thought my family was bossy and controlling! Your parents take the cake. I get the feeling the main reason for their reaction is that they are realizing that you aren’t going to be as easy to control as you mature. They will probably step-up their bad behavior for a bit and then will start to come around eventually. My mom started easing up on me when I told her there would be consequences for trying to control me and then I didn’t back down when she did what I asked her not to do. I actually left a vacation early after she tried one of her usual tricks and she was flabbergasted. It really works.

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