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 “No Kissy Face for Me” who wrote in last week about her boyfriend of eight months, whom she lives with, suddenly becoming distant. Her response isn’t so much an update but more of a … clarification. Read on.
Thank you for the very blunt response. I guess I should’ve been more elaborate about my living situation. Yes, moving in with my boyfriend was a huge step, but to go into a little bit of detail, since it obviously became the big issue, I lived 40 miles away at the time we first called it “official.” I have known this man for years, just did not go on a date until eight months ago. We have been out together before that many times, but with mutual friends. We decided that me living 40 miles away was too difficult and wanted to continue the relationship. I own a house just a few miles away from him but was renting it out. This move is temporary until my tenants move out and I am in the process of doing repairs so my children and I can get back in there. I live out of a suitcase, I do not have my things at his house, and I am only there three nights a week. I work graves as a 911 dispatcher and rarely see the light of day.
Yes, this sounds unstable for my children, I realize that, but without changing topics, being a single mother period is unstable. Call me crazy if you wish; I would’ve stayed married to provide a stable family life if I could choke down a cheating husband while I was pregnant. And for the record, my funds are tight with my oldest daughter having a stroke and blind spots that are continually growing, so temporarily living rent-free with someone that offered and that we trust seemed like the best route until all of this passes.
As for the update on the relationship, I have none. As for the “kissy face” messages, that was used as an example of the changes I noticed. I could care less about getting a “kissy face” but I noticed a distance between us because of that, among other things. When I asked during a serious conversation if we were over or if he needed space, he said no, he is just going through some things. This man does not lie whatsoever, and he does not cheat. Trust me, a woman that has been cheated on looks for signs and knows. I didn’t go into this dumb and blind. I do not date just anyone. I have only had two serious relationships in my lifetime. I have dated a lot but have never come across anyone that struck me as this man did. I will give him his space, however. Mainly because with both of us, we have a lot of baggage and shit gets stressful and neither one of us fights.
Thanks again, you all have given me a lot to think over.
First, I’m sorry for your daughter’s medical challenges and for the financial stress you’re under. I do, however, think you probably rushed things moving in with someone simply because you trust him and free rent was offered. I stand by my list of 15 things a couple should do before moving in together and think that when children are involved, as they are for both you and your boyfriend, it’s important to be even MORE cautious about moving too quickly. I do wish you the best of luck and I hope, for your sake as well as your kids, everything works out for you.
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.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.
lets_be_honest August 20, 2013, 1:15 pm
“Yes, this sounds unstable for my children, I realize that, but without changing topics, being a single mother period is unstable.”
Gotta disagree with that.
But, sounds like you were in a tough spot and needed temporary help in order to provide a roof over your kids’ head, so you do what you gotta do. I can respect that. In the future, I’d try for the most stable situation for your kids whenever possible. Being a single mom does not mean are any more unstable than everyone. Hopefully once you get your feet firmly in the ground after dealing with the divorce and move, you will find more stability for yourself and your kids.
katie August 20, 2013, 1:59 pm
yea me too, actually. i mean i get how its objectively “harder”, but even still- there are tons of unstable two parent households and im sure plenty of single moms that have it objectively “easy”.
instability points to the parent, i think, not the circumstances so much.
theattack August 20, 2013, 2:05 pm
Katie, when you say circumstances do you mean any and all circumstances (like living with this guy or whatever) or do you mean the circumstances of how many parents there are?
katie August 20, 2013, 2:43 pm
i mean that adverse circumstances do not automatically equal instability, and preferred circumstances do not automatically equal stability. people, and how they react to things, are what can make a situation unstable.
lets_be_honest August 20, 2013, 2:09 pm
“instability points to the parent, i think, not the circumstances so much.”
iwannatalktosampson August 20, 2013, 2:03 pm
Is this another one of the cool kids popping in to give their token advice again. I’m over you and your single mom shit LBH, OVER YOU.
lets_be_honest August 20, 2013, 2:11 pm
You’re not the only one!
God damnit of course this has likes already. I hate you all too. Go join Iwanna’s club and leave me alone!
lets_be_honest August 20, 2013, 2:13 pm
Do I even count as a single mom anymore? 🙁
I’m losing my street cred. Damn Peter ruining everything.
iwannatalktosampson August 20, 2013, 2:17 pm
Hahaha. I don’t even know how things come out of my mouth sometimes. Remember that one time some random commenter came out of nowhere and tried to destroy your single mom power? That was weird.
lets_be_honest August 20, 2013, 2:18 pm
There were like a dozen. Can you be more specific?
honeybeenicki August 20, 2013, 2:19 pm
I think my life with my (single) mom was probably a lot more stable than when she and my dad were married and even more so than when she dated the same guy (off and on) for 10 years while I was growing up. So I’m with you on that. Single parent does not necessarily mean unstable. Besides, my mom is so damn awesome she was my mom, dad and grandparents all rolled into one!
lets_be_honest August 20, 2013, 2:20 pm
Your mom actually is so damn awesome. I agree!
honeybeenicki August 20, 2013, 5:11 pm
She really is. The bestest ever.
GatorGirl August 20, 2013, 2:29 pm
Yeah, my life was much more stable because my mom left my dad.
Classic August 20, 2013, 2:36 pm
I agree with lbh. I personally was a very stable single mother. Still am, but my son is a very stable adult now.
LM August 20, 2013, 5:41 pm
In regards to being a single parent – to be completely honest, as much as l love my husband, it was easier for me to be a single parent. I was very stable as one.
LW, I’m sorry to hear about your daughter and I wish you the best in your current situation.
MMcG August 20, 2013, 1:16 pm
“Trust me, a woman that has been cheated on looks for signs and knows.” No, they don’t, but if you think being cheated on previously gives you special spidey sense… go for it.
Overall, not a total revisionist history update… but close. LW, I’m sorry about your daughter and I’m sorry that you didn’t take some of the comments more seriously about your relationship situation. Instead all we got were justifications for doing what you wanted. The fact that you’ve only had what you would call 2 “real relationships” means that the one ended in cheating, and this is the other one!?! I’m confused… but good luck with everything!
Fabelle August 20, 2013, 2:06 pm
“Her response isn’t so much an update but more of a … clarification.”
Fabelle August 20, 2013, 2:09 pm
But okay, in seriousness, I agree with MMcG that this wasn’t a TOTALLY typical revisionist history LW (she would’ve had to be a lot more defensive for that). It’s still a bit… well, WWS, she still moved too quickly, & all of this info doesn’t change that.
Still LW, good luck with everything.
kerrycontrary August 20, 2013, 2:37 pm
I mean…when it comes down to it the LW moved in with this guy because she didn’t want the inconvenience of driving 40 miles. When really she could’ve waited a year to move in to the house she’s renting out. It’s 40 miles! And since you both have kids you’re probably pretty busy. So you could’ve seen each other on days off, or when your respective spouses had the kids. Those 40 miles would’ve actually been good for slowing things down. So I think you should stop blaming your life’s instability on being a single mom, and really own up to the fact that you dragged your kids to a new house for a few months because you wanted to hang out with your boyfriend more. Stability for your children means that they live in one place and any household moves are carefully thought out (which means they aren’t at the whim of their mother’s boyfriend of the week). Stability means they know who is going to be in their lives long-term and they don’t have a stream of stepdads rotating in and out of the door (and you DON’T know if this man will be in your life or your kids lives longterm. It’s only 8 months in and he needs space).
Skyblossom August 20, 2013, 2:52 pm
Stability also means not changing schools or babysitters all the time too. Stability means you don’t have to constantly start over with new friends because you lost the old ones due to a move.
kerrycontrary August 20, 2013, 3:25 pm
Yeh I agree. I do think that families who have to move all the time (military families, parents who work for the state dept, etc…) can provide stability because the children know that there parents are there to meet their emotional needs on a consistent basis. So I don’t want to leave those people out. But clearly this LW admits to her life being unstable, and it doesn’t have to be just because she’s a single mom.
MackenzieLee August 20, 2013, 3:00 pm
I get that your life is having challenges at the moment, but I cannot support the choice you made to move your children in with this man so quickly. Why couldn’t you just date long distance until your tenants moved?
I wish you had seen the responses as a type of wake up call instead of getting defensive and writing a whole new letter justifying yourself. You asked for advice. We all gave advice. If you didn’t want it then you shouldn’t have asked.
2_J August 20, 2013, 3:07 pm
Lyra August 20, 2013, 5:52 pm
I don’t think that 40 miles even qualifies as “long distance”…that’s less than an hour’s drive.
Kate B. August 20, 2013, 6:26 pm
REally. Around here you’re lucky to find someone in the same area code.
boredatwork August 20, 2013, 3:03 pm
Yea this letter screams “thanks for your advice but I was looking for you to reassure my choice not to actually give me advice”. Not really the point of writing to Dear Wendy.
Northern Mermaid August 20, 2013, 3:26 pm
Has anyone read http://thatbadadvice.tumblr.com/
She takes letters from other advice columns and then just validates the LW cray. It’s fun!
thatgirl August 20, 2013, 3:40 pm
I am dying….too funny!
thatgirl August 20, 2013, 3:36 pm
Did I miss something? I thought T-Rex ex was the issue?? Are you allowed around his daughter now?
Oh, that’s right, he already broke up with you, remember?
Bittergaymark August 20, 2013, 4:14 pm
It must be handy to have a daughter with a stroke to wield like a weapon to defend your questionable decisions… Somehow, me moving in with somebody for debatable convenience is not so easily explained away by my ailing snake plant.
I kid, I kid.
But honestly, I don’t think this update negates everybody else’s good advice. But you didn’t want peoples advice. You wanted people to agree with you. Few did.
lets_be_honest August 20, 2013, 4:16 pm
You’re killing a snake plant?! Of every plant I’ve ever had, even those stupid ones that claim to need no care and are in a terrarium, the snake plant is the only one I’ve kept alive.
Bittergaymark August 20, 2013, 4:25 pm
It’s NOT me. But the friend who housesat kept watering it even though I specifically told him NOT to bother…
Classic August 20, 2013, 4:26 pm
Phew! That makes more sense.
Kate B. August 20, 2013, 6:27 pm
I killed an air plant. I am ashamed.
artsygirl August 21, 2013, 9:04 am
I was a florist and killed a cast iron plant – I went down in infamy at my work for that one.
TECH August 20, 2013, 4:37 pm
I am so sick of getting updates from LW’s who say, “Oh, I forgot to include a bunch of pertinent information, so let me tell you all now, AFTER you all gave me advice that I am clearly not going to take.”
I think Wendy should institute a new policy: “I am not going to publish your letter unless you agree that you included all important information. Don’t come back a week letter with adendums defending your decisions.”
Let’s stop wasting everyone’s time.
iwannatalktosampson August 20, 2013, 5:57 pm
Well the thing is this “pertinent” information changes nothing. If anything it makes her look worse.
HmC August 20, 2013, 8:24 pm
I dunno what are we all doing here if not just wasting time anyway? Sometimes you don’t realize what info. is important or you’re upset or you don’t want to ramble. I like the updates they add to the drama, like a soap opera where I get to yell at the actors.
Lindsay August 20, 2013, 9:15 pm
Haha, that’s a good way of looking at it. A part of me can relate to the clarifiers because I’ve posted forum topics before where people went off on tangents about something they said they were going to assume about me that wasn’t true at all, and it was causing the advice to be really not relevant to me. And nobody wants to get bitched at for reasons they think they shouldn’t.
Of course, when people update and it doesn’t change anyone’s opinion, it’s pretty entertaining, because YOU KNOW they are wanting everyone to be like, “Oh, JK, I totally agree with you.”
AKchic August 20, 2013, 4:48 pm
Having kids with medical conditions should be the top priority, not a relationship. I get wanting to live somewhere rent free, but honey, the relationship is only stressing you out, which isn’t helping you any.
As soon as your tenants move out, YOU move out. Take a step back from the relationship and focus on your kids. Really. If this guy is worth it, he will understand that you need to focus on your kids and your medically ill child’s needs first. Not a budding relationship. Then see where the two of you go.
Communicate your needs with him. Both now and after you move out. He can’t change something if you don’t tell him that it’s not working for you. Likewise, you can’t fix something if you don’t know it’s not working for him, right? He may be feeling awkward and hesitant towards saying anything because he invited you to move in. Make the first move.
Good luck and I hope this is all temporary.
Lindsay August 20, 2013, 9:07 pm
OK, I don’t fully understand the situation. I get that you can’t move into the home until the tenants move out, but couldn’t you have stayed in your old home until they moved? Could you not put up with the 40 miles for a little longer? I know that you have a lot more going on in life, but I’ve known plenty of people who have managed long distance for a long period of time. I mean, MOST people do have to deal with running out a lease or finding a job in a new city or whatever — it’s NOT the norm to be able to pick up and move to someone’s town as soon as you decide you want to. It may suck, but it’s doable, and I’d say preferable in almost any situation to moving in with someone before you actually are ready. Moving twice in such a short time, including in with a guy they barely know who lives in a different town, is way rough on kids who already had to deal with a divorce and a medical scare.
I’m not sure if you’re looking for new advice or just want to clarify, but mine still stands. And with the extra details, I can definitely see why his ex would be concerned about the instability of the situation.
bagge72 August 21, 2013, 8:53 am
As grown up Josh Baskin from the movie BIG woulds say “I don’t get it”? So why couldn’t you just stay at your place that was only 40 miles away? That is not far at all, and I don’t think most people would consider that long distance, especially if you are going to be moving your family around. I actually think it probably would have been best to stay that 40 miles away, get that extra rent from your tennants, and try and see where this relationship is going. Now you are stuck living with this guy, and it seems like it isn’t going to workout, and now instead of having that extra income from rent, you are going to have more bills to pay, all while moving your kids around again, and taking your daughters away from this other girl they were living with, and friends with.