Updates: “Practicing Self-Love” 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 today. After the jump, we hear from “Practicing Self-Love” who was pissed off over her husband’s secret, ahem, self-love practices.

A few days before the letter posted, I actually did confront my husband about his activities sans me. I want to first clear up to the readers that I don’t ask my husband his masturbation activities. I actually would have never known except for the fact that I found evidence of his activities. I don’t mind that my husband masturbates but I felt like he was replacing masturbation with having sex with me. And he actually admitted, in not so many words, that’s what he was doing. He felt terrible and reassured me that he still found me attractive and just wants me to be happy with who I am. Since then, we have tried to make quality time with each other if it means me joining him in bed early or having our time together after the kids are in bed.

I do expect my husband to masturbate, so I have no illusions that he doesn’t. But when he told me he gave it up after we were married, I believed him. After I had my first son, we couldn’t have sex for 5-6 weeks. The man was hurting! I even told him to masturbate but he refused. Of course, that was years ago, so maybe he has since then realized he needs to when we can’t have sex regularly.

In regard to losing weight and many comments about that: I would love to lose weight but have no motivation. I do believe I am a bit depressed. We do not live close to any family. I also moved away from many of my friends to be with him. It has been hard for me to make friends here because a lot of social aspects are church-based (I live in the south). We do not attend church mainly because my husband does not like organized religion, and there are no churches for my own religion. We really have no close friends or family nearby. I am hoping to talk to my doctor soon to resolve this issue.

Thank you to all the readers for the comments.

Thanks for the update. I hope you take a more active role in making friends, though. You could look for Meetups in the area centered around activities you enjoy. You could take a fun class. Get involved at your children’s school and make friends with other parents. Having a community will do wonders for your mental health. And, of course, it’s great that you’re going to talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling, too. Good luck!

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.


  1. I grew up in the south and I have friends who have moved to them as adults, so I totally understand where you’re coming from with the difficulty of making friends and meeting people outside of church. In addition to Wendy’s suggestions, which are great, I’d also recommend joining an exercise class or a beginner’s yoga class or something similar to make friends. (And don’t worry if you’re not very good at it at first; no one is and no one judges!) Particularly with the yoga classes I’ve been to, I’ve noticed that most of the people are very friendly and it’s a pretty non-intimidating place to start talking to strangers. Or, if you are interested in losing weight, why not look into Weight Watcher’s groups or something similar? Again, you might meet people who you like and you at least have something to talk about when you see them. Good luck!

  2. LW: You can meet other moms at park district (local recreation center) classes, preschool, music classes, the park, moms clubs (http://www.momsclub.org/), etc.

  3. I lived in the South for 3 years and it is hard meeting friends outside of church. I was asked what church I went to so often (none), that I felt the need to lie that I was looking for one so I would fit in. lol Yoga classes or exercise classes are definitely a great place to meet people, especially beginners because it’s easy to find something to talk about when you’re figuring out the new moves.

    Also, the little town we lived in had mom groups and had “art night” on certain days of the month to drum up interest in the local arts scene, so maybe you could try something like that. It’s a little more difficult to meet people in smaller towns, but I’m sure you could find a group somewhere that you feel comfortable and can meet people!

  4. SweetsAndBeats says:

    The Catch 22: too depressed to exercise, but exercise is well-known as an anti-depressant. Why not just try to force yourself to get outside and walk around for half an hour while listening to music? That’ll get the serotonin and dopamine to start flowing.

  5. I would also like to add if you are interested in church and your husband isn’t go alone. If he’s ok with it, take the kids. I only say that because the wording you used made it seem more like you not going was because of him not wanting to. If you’re not interested either then ignore my advice 🙂

    I would also check out the public library where you are. Even though I’m in a small town our library still has two or three mornings a week where they have story time for the kids. And a book club on the weekends for the kids as well. You might be able to meet other Moms and Dads there.

    Hopefully your Dr will have some advice and like others have said sometimes it’s about taking the first step. Making yourself go for a 5 minute walk one day. It might not always work out but try and put the kids in the stroller and take them with you if you can’t get some time alone.

  6. Avatar photo theattack says:

    I’ve lived in a small town in the South my whole life, and I don’t go to church. While church is a big social place here, it doesn’t exclude non-church goers from socializing. Not everyone is so judgmental about your practices, even in the South. My first advice is to see if there’s a Unitarian Universalist church anywhere near you, because those people will be more accepting of non-Christian beliefs. Besides that, look for other things: volunteer work (if you’re more progressive, try looking into more progressive arenas), getting involved in the happenings in the town, classes, etc. If you took part in something extracurricular in high school, maybe you could help out at the local school. (ie: if you were in band, see if you can get in with the band moms and help out.)

    The thing about the South is that because there are so many uber Christian people here, those of us who aren’t usually take an interest in one another. If you can get in with one or two people similar to you, be honest that you’re looking for some other similar people and see if they can introduce you to anyone, or if they know of a place where those types of people congregate. In my home town, there’s a coffee shop where most of the non-Christians hang out. There’s usually at least one place like that in most towns.

  7. now for the truth says:

    Start exercising. Google “Power 90 DVD”, and then buy it. It is simple, it is quick, and it works. You will lose dramatic weight in 90 days and your depression will – poof! – be gone. The 30-minute-per-day workouts are not easy, and at first you will hate them. But somewhere around Day 10 you will start to enjoy them, and somewhere around Day 30 you will start to look forward to them. I have done every exercise regimen/gym membership/fad diet known to man and this was the only one that worked fast and effectively. I am not a shill or a paid spokesman, and if you don’t believe me you can go to YouTube and see the before/after results of literally hundreds of others who have done Power 90 (not to be confused with P90X). This will change your life, and it sounds like you need it.

  8. bittergaymark says:

    It’s interesting that the update and NONE of the comments here really has anything to do with the actual issue that was at hand in the original letter, and that was the fact that she couldn’t handle the fact that he still liked to jerk off… An issue that seems woefully unaddressed here. And maybe most of you (including Wendy) shied away from this aspect of the letter because the LW made precious little sense in her curious remarks on this issue. Vague and convoluted, they were very hard to follow. Impossible, one could even say.

    But I will speak to the larger issue at hand here. Guys jerk off. Guys like to jerk off. Guys always have and always will jerk off. If you honestly can’t handle that truth, then you probably can’t handle being married. It’s really truly that simple.

    1. I got the impression that the issue was resolved. They have talked about it, she’s more comfortable with it, and they’re communicating and working together on solutions. In the process she’s figured out that the real problems are her weight, her depression, and their social isolation. Which is serious, but knowing the problem is the first step to solving it.
      This all sounds like progress.

    2. I don’t think she had a problem with him jerking off in general, but rather with him doing instead of having sex with her.

      1. Exactly – it made her feel worse about herself because the perception was that he didn’t find her attractive. I’m glad they’ve worked it through. I now hope the LW can find activities that help resolve the depression she’s feeling, and additional help if that depression requires it.

    3. That’s not the larger issue. The larger issue is her depression and body issues, that are leading to less sex and/or him choosing his hand over her, and leading to her self esteem being wrecked by what, like you say, is a normal thing. I’m in a long term relationship, and I’m sure my boyfriend masturbates, though I don’t really care to ask. That’s not a problem, but if he were choosing it over me, that would mean something was wrong.

      It sounds like she’s making an effort to spend some alone time with her husband, and work on her issues, so both problems are being addressed.

  9. bittergaymark says:

    The issue sure didn’t seem resolved to me. Not with the way she just glossed over it in such a rambling way that made precious little sense… But maybe you are all right… Hope so.

    1. To be fair, I said addressed, not resolved (though others used that word). It just sounds to me like she’s begun taking steps in the right direction. Of course the problems won’t solve themselves overnight.

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