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 “Heartbreaker,” a 23-year-old computer science major who couldn’t stop all the guys from falling in love with her, and even started dating one of the students whose class she was TA-ing. “Please teach me to set boundaries,” she wrote. Keep reading to see what she’s learned.
Dear Wendy and all the commenters,
Thank you so much for all your comments. You really kick-started some growing up that I maybe should have done a long time ago. After I read all your comments, I was honestly shocked. I did not recognize myself in your assessments at all and for some time I kept my bad patterns up – the difference being that now every time I did something stupid I realized how it was preventing me from being the person I actually wanted to be and having the kinds of relationships I wanted to have.
I started focusing on my friends and my education, but I also joined online dating to get my “drama” other places than where I hang out every day. I met a lot of sweet, attentive guys and I realized that I am not emotionally available for a serious, mutually-respectful relationship without any drama. Every date I went out on either went too fast or he was too clingy or not smart enough–and, frankly, I was a real snob about men.
I was really lucky to meet an amazing guy and fall in love during the summer. Unfortunately, I did not pursue that relationship since it would have led to a long-distance relationship. Having already had a long-distance relationship for two years this is a deal-breaker for me. He did, however, remind me what it’s supposed to feel like. So on some level I probably pursued a lot of the men who liked me for validation, but, the minute they showed any interest, I’d lose interest. I suspect I don’t actually feel worthy of a good guy’s love. It’s weird, because I know I am pretty and cool, but I do not feel pretty and cool.
And you were totally right – everybody knows about me and the student. I’ve been so incredibly lucky that it has transformed into a wonderful friendship. In fact, I’ve been lucky with a lot of things from my time of major screw-ups. I would list them all, but there are a lot.
When I wrote the original letter, I was in a really emotional state and I felt very sorry for myself that I couldn’t just do whatever I wanted without any consequences. I was a privileged, spoiled brat. I try to wake up every day thankful for where I am in life: I have amazing people in my life and I love what I do. I was so afraid that I would stop meeting new people if I wasn’t open and initiating, but I still continue making new acquaintances, while also forming tighter bonds with my friends (many of these are actually women; I know — crazy, right?). Maybe one day the perfect guy will show up and knock me over with how wonderful he is, but right now there’s not room for anybody other than me. I have also taken my profile off the dating site, since I am actually not looking to date anyone.
I am still not quite there, not quite sure of myself, but taking my focus off men has really helped immensely. Now if only I could get laid regularly…
Thanks for the update! There’s nothing wrong with taking time to focus on YOU and your personal and professional goals. Your early 20s, before you have the kinds of responsibilities many people ten years older have, is a great time to be a little more self-involved than at other times in life. Just don’t forget that, when you’re ready for a real relationship, you’ll need to compromise and not make yourself and your needs the center of your world anymore.
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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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].
MackenzieLee November 5, 2012, 12:14 pm
Oh my! An LW that was wrong and we told her she was wrong and she actually agrees and isn’t back peddling and telling us we were wrong about what she said? IMPOSSIBLE!!!!
In all honesty, congrats LW. You seem to have learned so much about yourself and truly be in a happier place. You might want to look into therapy still for your self worth issues at some point.
And enjoy doing you!
ktfran November 5, 2012, 12:18 pm
I liked this update. Every year, I learn a little bit more and I’m a little bit happier. I think it’s fantastic that this LW recognized a problem with how she interacts with people at such a young age, sought help and is actively trying to improve her life. This shows a lot of character. Awesome LW.
Also, you take criticism really well. That doesn’t happen often anymore.
Violet November 5, 2012, 12:19 pm
I appreciate the self awareness here. Humble and accepting and also proud of the changes she has made. Keep up the good work, LW. 🙂
GatorGirl November 5, 2012, 12:22 pm
Hoy smokes, not the update I was expecting!! Keep working on yourself LW, it sounds like you’re starting to make some progress.
Iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2012, 12:27 pm
I love this update. I think learning about yourself is a lifelong journey. (Cheesy, I know, but I’ve been doing a lot of yoga in case you haven’t heard). I wish more LW’s would react to the advice given this way.
Side note – I just reread the advice given on the site and if I didn’t see IWTTS written on my comment I would have had no idea I wrote it. I swear my advice could be black one day and white the other depending on my fiesty factor. Does this happen to anyone else?
lets_be_honest November 5, 2012, 12:39 pm
That’s interesting. I’m going to go back and read mine now.
I wonder if the change in what advice you’d have given has to do with the tone of the first letter as opposed to this update. If I remember correctly, the first letter sounded VERY different than this one.
Also, you do yoga?
bittergaymark November 5, 2012, 12:42 pm
Hah, that was one of the first times LBH and I ever agreed on something, I think.
lets_be_honest November 5, 2012, 12:45 pm
Really? I’m still skimming, but this is also when I learned about brag-plaining, which I now do as often as possible. And I said I liked dick jokes, but now I only like pussy jokes. Weird how much I’ve changed in a few months 😉 How you been Mark?
bittergaymark November 5, 2012, 12:51 pm
Eh, not great. Just hanging in.
Well, I still stand by my opinion that some were cutting this LW wayyyyyyy too much slack for making out with one student while secretly dating another… (How could she not? She was hot!) That said, I will now give the LW mad props for realizing that she is not yet ready to date guys without all the drama… Clearly, she thrives on the drama. So bravo, to her being self aware.
lets_be_honest November 5, 2012, 12:54 pm
Yes, ditto. Also, it proves tough love is useful sometimes.
Keep hanging bgm.
lets_be_honest November 5, 2012, 12:52 pm
Finished reading the comments. This was def one of my favorite letters/discussions…classic DW. Now I’m wondering if it was because we were agreeing! Haha.
GatorGirl November 5, 2012, 12:58 pm
I went back and read through, surprisingly I didn’t comment. I have really strong opinions on student teacher interactions, I can’t beleive I didn’t offer my two cents. (And my two cents is that this LW is all kinds of in the wrong and that she shouldn’t even be in the same bar as a student let alone dating/hooking up with them!) Anyways, I”m glad there was some personal growth here.
Iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2012, 1:38 pm
LBH I’m on a 60 day yoga challenge right now! Today is day 28. I have enormous guns… you can’t really tell because they’re hidden under a layer of fat…but trust.
lets_be_honest November 5, 2012, 1:45 pm
Awesome! What is it? Just that you do yoga every day?
Iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2012, 1:50 pm
Everyday for 60 days! But it might end up becoming 75 days because I want to end of a good day… and if I did 75 days that would take me right up until the 22nd of December…which is the day before I leave to spend Christmas with my parents.
Yoga is bringing the much needed stability to my life since everything else is in shambles 🙂
Lindsay November 5, 2012, 2:21 pm
Did you do much yoga before? What sort of yoga is it? I’m sort of curious because I’ve been thinking about doing something similar. I’ve done yoga before, but not super consistently. My problem is that I’m so terrible at it that it makes me not want to do it, but I think that if I got a good jump-start (like by committing to a month or more), it might help me get in the habit.
iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2012, 2:48 pm
Ha Ethan says what I do is not yoga at all… and he has a point. Where do you live? I go to a chain yoga place called CorePower Yoga. They have them in Seattle, Colorado, Chicago, Minnesota, California, and a few other states. The room is heated to 98 degrees with about 50% humidity. Then you do lunges, pushups, ab work, and use free weights during a regular yoga flow (dog dog, horse, standing splits, all that jazz). It’s hard to be bad at it and it’s hard to ace it – which is what I like. As soon as I get really good – like can do all the repetitions – I’ll just up my weights. But it’s hard to be bad at it too – you can always stop if you get light headed or whatever.
I did the challenge for a lot of reasons. A big one was that I needed some stability in my life. Before I started the challenge I would do yoga maybe 3 times a week and everytime I left it I was in aw that I didn’t do it more often because I leave feeling so mentally and physically amazing. So I figured I needed to give myself the motivation to gift myself yoga. And voila – a challenge was born.
Lindsay November 5, 2012, 3:00 pm
That sounds awesome! I think I’d like that a lot better than the regular yoga classes I’ve been to. I live in New York, and it looks like there aren’t any of those here. But we have some of everything, so there must be something similar…
It sounds like it’s really working for you!
Fabelle November 5, 2012, 1:26 pm
This happens to me sometimes! Not for this LW, but others– I’ll go back, search for my name, & wonder what the hell was going on in my life that I was all extra philosophical, or leaning towards too-nice, or a little too harsh. It’s interesting.
Iwannatalktosampson November 5, 2012, 1:35 pm
Yeah it is really interesting! I didn’t even recognize my writing style…which was strange. Even though I still agree with my original comment – it just doesn’t resemble the way I would say it today.
Regina Chapman November 5, 2012, 2:14 pm
Imagine how together Wendy is:)
Lindsay November 5, 2012, 2:58 pm
Yeah, one time I found a comment by “Lindsay” and was convinced it was another Lindsay until I realize that it was something I’d written…
temperance November 5, 2012, 2:55 pm
Yoga really is life-changing.
And …. YES.
MsMisery November 5, 2012, 1:03 pm
Possibly the most self-aware update we’ve ever had!
Taylor November 5, 2012, 1:03 pm
Woohoo LW! Love this update.
Fabelle November 5, 2012, 1:24 pm
This is a great update. I like how she admits to not changing IMMEDIATELY, but actually learning as time went on. Realistic & awesome & like others have said in so many words…a nice change. Yay!
landygirl November 5, 2012, 1:36 pm
Good on you, LW.
Lindsay November 5, 2012, 2:11 pm
I want to do a little dance to celebrate that the LW appreciated everyone’s feedback. Especially remembering that a lot of it wasn’t super nice. It is hard to hear what people are saying at first, especially when it’s sort of harsh and when you have a different view of yourself. But I’m glad that she let it sink in and has learned more about herself. Good luck in the future!
MMcG November 5, 2012, 2:42 pm
Did I fall back too far and lose my mind over the weekend, or did a LW actually take what we said to heart, do some self-reflection, seemingly improve her situation and her outlook — and provide an update about 6 months later demonstrating some personal growth.
IT WORKS PEOPLE!!! LWs will take our advice, we aren’t just the evil and judgy commentariat… it’s all going to be ok 😉 And congratulations to you too LW – sounds like you are on a wonderful path – but now back to congratulating ourselves for our collective wisdom!!
LK7889 November 5, 2012, 4:52 pm
Now, THIS is the type of update that I like to see! No defensive tone, no changed story, just an appreciation of the community’s advice and true growth/learning. I’m so glad that this LW changed the update letter trend we’d been seeing here lately. I was really starting to get annoyed with the defensive, changed story, cray-cray updates we’d been getting.
spark November 5, 2012, 6:57 pm
Wow, really great update!
Caris November 5, 2012, 10:34 pm
is this the best update ever or what?
E November 6, 2012, 1:05 am
Good for you, LW. It’s strange, but as someone in her mid 20s it is interesting to me how much some of my friends/acquaintances have changed and matured since their early 20s. While there are the people who are out there at 19 being full fledged adults, a lot of us don’t really make the transition from young adult to adult until we are a few years out of college. All you can do is own your fuck ups and learn from them. I think LW’s past will help her so much as she considers her future relationships. She’s done the drama filled relationship, and realized that it results in nothing but negativity for her.