Updates: “Reality Bites” 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 “Reality Bites” whose long-distance boyfriend confessed he never wanted to leave his hometown after leading her to believe he was prepared to move. They’d been ring shopping and she said: “I’m not young (35) and afraid, if I walk away because of location, I may regret it big time. My priorities are shifting and career/goals are becoming less important, but general happiness as an individual is really important to me, married or single, and I’m trying to be realistic about all of this.” Keep reading to see whether she decided to move for love or stay put and risk losing her boyfriend.

I decided to walk away from my relationship. It took three months of damn near begging, crying, and feeling worthless, but I eventually let go and, hopefully, I made the right decision. I think I did, but it’s still fresh so it’s difficult to see that from here. My hope is that a year from now I can look back (hopefully with an awesome new guy) and this will all be in the past. However, not moving to Detroit permanently was, I’m 1000% sure, the right decision!

I plan to start dating again soon and am optimistic about whatever is next in my love life.

P.S. I read an amazing book after the breakup called “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken” and it helped me TREMENDOUSLY!!

Thank you for the update and best of luck to you as you move on and move forward. I do believe that when we are courageous in making decisions, we don’t regret it.


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.

You can follow me on Facebook here and sign up for my weekly newsletter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].


  1. Hard to imagine your bf not being willing to leave Detroit. Great decision on your part not to go there. I don’t think you mentioned Detroit in your original letter. Doing so would have clarified your situation.

    1. Detroit just got BURNED!

    2. I remember people wondering what city it was and a whole little discussion about whether or not it was Detroit. I live in WI and we have a place called Beloit and everyone calls it Betroit.

      1. Friend of Beagles says:

        My parents’ GPS pronounces Beloit the French way, as in “Bel-WAH.” It cracks me and my husband up. The first time we heard it do that, though, we were confused as to what city it was talking about.

      2. I would have no idea if anyone said it like that. That’s hilarious 🙂

    3. It’s funny the loyalty places can engender. Mr. T. is from Cleveland and I’ve never lived anywhere where people feel this strongly about their city, including CO.

      1. Avatar photo shanshantastic says:

        I never understood Cleveland pride. I grew up in the suburbs and still live outside the city today, but when I was about 21 I went on a midnight drive with a friend of mine and just…fell in love with it. I wouldn’t mind moving one day (I hate NEO winter) but I will always call Cleveland home.

  2. Ha! I knew it was Michigan!!!

    LW, you did the right thing. It’ll probably take a while to really understand that and be ok with your decision to walk away, but it really was the right thing to do.

  3. kerrycontrary says:

    Oh, yeh you should’ve definitely told us it was Detroit. Like it can be difficult moving a career to a smaller city/town, but it’s damn near impossible to find any work in Detroit. Who wants to stay in Detroit? Best of luck moving on! Sometimes the things that seem like the worst part of our lives are actually the best thing that ever happened.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      Also, re-reading the original letter, it seems like this relationship was a bit on the rocks anyways. On-and-off relationships are always a red flag to me. Maybe things just weren’t meant to be and Detroit was a blessing in disguise.

  4. ha, im really glad the LW told us, because otherwise thats all anyone would have been talking about here…

  5. “I do believe that when we are courageous in making decisions, we don’t regret it.”
    I love that Wendy said this. Breaking up with someone really can be an act of courage!

    1. Bittergaymark says:

      Eh. My most courageous decisions ARE the ones I most regret. Seriously. Being courageous had left me, well, fucked.

  6. So it really was Detroit, wow.

    1. Imagine it wasn’t actually Detroit, & she just read all our comments speculating if that was it, & was like, “You know what, I’m gonna name drop Detroit in my update just so they STFU”

      (Sorry it’s almost 5 & I’m trying to amuse myself)

  7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    Sometimes the right answer isn’t always the easiest. Best of luck!

  8. TaraMonster says:

    Ah, LW, I feel ya. I am sending you all the hugs. My ex of 7.5 years, who I lived with, used a similar tactic to get out of our relationship (i.e. saying he wanted to marry me while his actions reflected the opposite: partying HARD, excluding me from big decisions, etc.) We even had a similar ring-shopping situation. He told me to go look at rings, and right before I left he picked a HUGE fight with me over nothing, which completely ruined the experience. I walked into Tiffany’s with my best friend and a huge knot in my stomach instead of a smile on my face. That’s the moment I’ve pinpointed as the beginning of the end. Our relationship just spiraled downward from there. When you’re with someone for such a substantial period of time and have so much of yourself invested in the relationship and vision for your future, your world can feel pretty shattered for a while. It fucking blows.

    I will tell you this, though- It’s been a little over a year since we ended things (though we dragged it out a few extra months by sleeping together and trying to be “friends”. Note to everyone, everywhere, forever: DO NOT DO THIS!) and I know I made the right choice by walking away. You may go back and forth over this in your mind, especially since you guys have done the on-off thing before (my ex and I did). Just find that point on the horizon that keeps you moving forward and focus on that. I was still in love with my ex when we split, so I chose to focus on something that may sound sorta negative: I thought about how awful I felt in our relationship and I asked myself, do I want to feel like this for the rest of my life?. The answer was a resounding FUCK NO. But the questions that inevitably followed that one were decidedly more positive, How do I see my life playing out? What will make me happy? The list of things I wasn’t doing because all my energy was being funneled into a dying relationship was ENDLESS. And thinking about doing those things (like a Eurotrip, which I just got back from and was AWESOME! And applying to law school, which I’m doing now) made me excited for the future. It’s slow going in those first [six… ok eight!] months, but it does get easier. One day in March I was standing on the subway platform with my headphones in and I actually caught myself smiling for no goddamn reason. This makes people inch away from you while giving you the side-eye in NY, btw. Because you look crazy. But I did not care! Not only was I no longer sad all the time, but I was happy pretty much everyday. Point is, it gets better. I promise. Just find that thought that keeps you moving forward and focus on that.

    I’ll leave you with one last piece of (solid gold, IMO) advice:

  9. It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken is the BEST breakup book everrrr.

  10. Married By Elvis says:

    Not moving to Detroit is ALWAYS the right decision.

  11. I feel bad because I feel like Detroit is trying really hard, but there’s no way I’d move there.

  12. I’m curious how many of the people commenting on this (and apparently the original) thread that they’d never move to Detroit have actually been there or know someone who lives in the area? I’m concerned that as soon as this letter-writer mentioned the name of this city the discourse shifted from finding the right fit for a city to general statements of “Detroit is hard/terrible, no wonder you didn’t want to move there!”

    I lived in mid-town Detroit for 8 years and although I eventually decided that it didn’t work for me, there are a lot of wonderful things about living in the city and I know a lot of people who couldn’t imagine living someplace else. Plus, I’m not sure where people get the idea that you can’t find a job there. The city of Detroit is struggling, that’s true, but the entire metropolitan area includes 3.7 million people, most of which do have jobs. In fact, most of the population lives in the suburbs, many of which are safe, well-populated and have great schools.

    Detroit is a place, just like any other place. It’s not for everyone. But neither is Denver, St. Louis, Sacramento, and many other cities that wouldn’t get such a knee-jerk reaction from people. Sure, it’s harder to get a job or find things to do in a smaller city versus New York, San Francisco, or Chicago, but in this respect the Detroit area is pretty similar to a lot of other places in this country that aren’t so maligned.

    I don’t fault the LW at all for not wanting to move there. There has to be a good fit with where you live, especially if you’re planning on settling there forever. But it’s hardly the wasteland that people seem to think that it is. I would move back to Detroit in a heartbeat before I moved to Manhattan, for example, and I’ve had family there my whole life.

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