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 longer Ecstatic” who wrote last month about her husband’s Ecstasy meltdown and the guilt she felt in hurting the relationship he had with his girlfriend (they have an open marriage). She wrote: “Several days after I found my husband by the toilet, I finally emailed her and told her that I was uncomfortable with their relationship […]. Things fell apart between Fred and this other woman after that. I have such a hard time not taking on the blame for that happening. I tell myself that I’m not the one who screwed that up, but that if I could have just kept her out of it from my end things would have been okay between the two of them.” Keep reading to see how they are doing.
As for how we are doing….things are plugging along. I’m still going to my counselor every couple of weeks, and I even got my husband to go to one of the appointments with me this last Friday. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when he walked out of that appointment and said, “That was certainly a more pleasant experience than the last 2 counseling experiences I’ve had. I’d be willing to go back to her to work on any issues that you and I have.” I’m sure that’s because we spent the appointment whipping my ass and not his, but it’s a good step. LOL!
Thank you for posting my letter.
Thanks for the update. And I think continued counseling is a great idea. What happened to the other woman?
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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@example.com.
Trina August 20, 2012, 2:04 pm
The relationship with the other woman is still non-existent. I’ve pulled her aside and told her that I know she had no clue that this wasn’t an okay thing and that she had thought that the cutting was okay with me and My husband when she responded. She was very apologetic and told me that she really wished she would have thought before saying that she thought it was hot. She then told me a lot of things that I didn’t know about what’s going on in her life right now and that yes the situation that happened between the 3 of us did make her take a step back, but more importantly all these other things is what really made her need to stop seeing my husband all together. Having this follow-up conversation with her really helped me to let go of feeling guilty. We still see her at community events (we are all a part of a pretty tight community) and hang out with her when there’s a group of us together.
bittergaymark August 20, 2012, 2:24 pm
To me this woman is definitely worth avoiding. Telling somebody that cutting is Hot is just too fucked up for words. I’d be politely civil — as it seems you already are — and just leave it at that. It seems that the issue here isn’t so much your open relationship (something I think is actually often VERY healthy) but the fact that your boyfriend has other issues that he should work.
Cutting is VERY serious. And should not be taking lightly. Your hardline stance on this is completely rational and commendable.
Trina August 20, 2012, 3:49 pm
Okay, my defensive nature just can’t let this one go. He’s not my boyfriend. He’s my husband, and we just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary and have been together for 16 years. 😉
MackenzieLee August 20, 2012, 2:37 pm
I still can’t find what assumptions Wendy made that made her advice bad. I thought it was pretty awesome advice on her part
Trina August 20, 2012, 3:58 pm
She mostly assumed that I wasn’t already listening to him, hearing him, and trying to make everything right. I didn’t take her advice because I was already doing most everything she said. Despite the title of the post (it was a catchy title wasn’t it?), I never wanted to know why he cut himself. I already had a pretty good idea as to the why because he and I had been working hard to be there for one another through all of this. I really was just wondering how to move past feeling guilty for the loss of one of his very close friends due to a behavior on my part. Right or wrong, I was feeling guilty and was truly looking for a way to get that self-loathing out of the picture.
MiMi August 20, 2012, 2:53 pm
way to flip wendy the bird, LW
we’re here because she gives us the opportunity to be, sos how about a little respect?
Liz August 20, 2012, 3:07 pm
Damn, these recent letters make me so sad/scared for society. Seriously crazy lately. Open marriages/relationships, all these crazy baby mamas, wanting to marry a sexual predator. Crazy! What is wrong with women today?! And why are the reproducing?! Its so selfish to have kids in some of these situations. I used to enjoy reading them because it makes me feel better about myself and my wackiness but damn this is some crazy stuff.
a_different_Wendy August 21, 2012, 11:01 am
How is an open relationship or marriage crazy or selfish, exactly? Just because it’s not your cup of tea doesn’t mean it’s bad. If it works for both partners, it can be a really good thing.
Kasper Hauser August 21, 2012, 6:01 pm
Because ultimately deary, it does not work.
I’m an old man. I lived through the 60’s and 70’s and 80’s and none of this is new. I’ve known many scores of couples who believed in “open marriages” and sexual freedom. Today, not a one of those couples is still together. They all broke up, mostly in bitterness and they left behind broken homes, damaged children and financial wreckage.
Sure, the same thing happened to some of the “closed marriage” couples as well, but usually only after one the spouses went out and cheated on the other.
I’m not making a moral argument here, I’m making a practical one. “Open Marriage” is a nice utopian ideal for those who want a stable relationship AND the ability to play around. Unfortunately, like all utopian ideals, it is doomed to failure.
John August 21, 2012, 6:40 pm
Kasper, it is not doomed to failure. My wife and I have been married for 34 years, we have many friends that have been married for over 25 years; and we are all swingers. My wife and I have been in the lifestyle for 16 years. Sexual freedom can work. In fact, the divorce rate is higher among our non-swinger friends. Does open marriage work for everyone? No. Will it work Trina? I don’t know. I do know that can, and does work. The relationship issues can be dealt with like every other issue that comes up in marriage by being open, honest, and negotiated (just like money, in-laws, child rearing, etc.). Yes, you are making a moral argument.
Kasper Hauser August 21, 2012, 10:07 pm
John, if your story is true, the congratulations. 34 years is a long time and you are to be congratulated. (As I said, I was not passing moral judgement–far from it.)
Still, that has not been my experience.
Steevo August 21, 2012, 6:19 pm
Geez I know. Feeling guilty because your husband isn’t making it with his other lover? It’s Jerry Springer fodder.
submandave August 22, 2012, 9:39 am
We are reaping the fields we sowed with “if it feels good, do it” and “don’t judge me.” As has often been observed, common sense often isn’t. This is the reason societies have long had societal and cultural mores and taboos, to provide guidance and discipline to the members who otherwise would have none. Don’t misunderstand me, I would never support legislatively encoding this sort of thing, but I don’t see anything wrong with people and society criticizing and even ostracizing someone who has five kids by five different partners (male or female) to make the point to the next idiot who, otherwise, might not have realized it’s a bad idea.
Lindsay August 20, 2012, 3:57 pm
I’m not sure why the LW would be surprised (or dismayed?) that the relationship fell apart after telling the other woman she was uncomfortable with it. Isn’t that the point? I assume by telling the woman that, you’d be looking for some sort of action on her part (otherwise, why do it?), and that seems to be the most reasonable response.
As for Wendy’s advice, it’s hard to get the full picture (as we see here a lot), but her and our understanding of the situation is directly related to how the letter is written. So, I wouldn’t blame her for it if you think she made bad assumptions. The situation in the letter sounded somewhat out of control anyway.
Trina August 20, 2012, 4:00 pm
Oh good grief folks! I certainly didn’t mean to be mean to Wendy. I didn’t mean to blame her, flip her the bird, or any other vindictive thing.
llclarityll August 20, 2012, 4:55 pm
My only advice is to make sure he follows up on going to more, regularly scheduled marriage counseling sessions. One-and-done isn’t enough to show commitment to changing. It’s good news that he found it productive!
Kasper Hauser August 21, 2012, 6:02 pm
At least until he finds the real woman that he wants to spend the rest of his life with.
landygirl August 21, 2012, 12:23 am
Question, how did he hide the cutting from you? You said there were photos of cuts all over his arms and abdomen.
Trina August 21, 2012, 1:45 pm
He didn’t hide anything. The photo only had his arm, but the rest was something I gently rubbed antibiotic ointment into for a couple of days to help speed the healing. It would have been impossible for him to hide it from me.
Kasper Hauser August 21, 2012, 6:04 pm
But what exactly is wrong with him that would lead him to do that?
(I’m assuming that he is older than 13 or 14. The only people I’ve ever known to do this sort of thing were 13 or 14. After you get to be 15, you’re too smart to do something like that.)
rachel August 21, 2012, 7:00 pm
Wow. Really? Plenty of people cut themselves. It is often a result of depression, or various other illnesses. It is a sad thing and it has nothing at all to do with intelligence.
Kasper Hauser August 21, 2012, 10:10 pm
I think “too smart” in my post clearly meant “too mature”.
Still, you observations is correct–people who cut themselves have “depression or various other illnesses” and are not “mature” enough to handle it.
And my question remains unansered-What is wrong with him?
Rachel August 23, 2012, 5:36 pm
It may not be any of our business. Self-harm is a very sensitive and personal topic. If the LW doesn’t feel the need to divulge this information, I think the readers should respect her decision by not prying.
MarieDC August 21, 2012, 3:06 am
Glad things are getting better!