Readers revolted over a recent column that had a woman wondering what to do after her needing-to-go-slow boyfriend failed to drop the L-word six months in -- on Valentine's Day, no less. Wanda sympathetically suggested a sit-down chat to determine whether the couple was committed to moving forward. Wayne incredulously questioned the woman's inept listening skills and suggested we don't all move at the same pace. Reader reaction was fairly divided along gender lines -- surprise, surprise. Here are a few samples:
From a female reader:
"Wayne's advice is WAY off base. Did no one read this woman's letter? Six months is MORE than enough time to know if you love someone or not. Ridiculous. She's in her 30s already. She didn't say so, but if she has her sights set on marriage and kids one day, she really doesn't have time to wait for some guy to pull his head out of his rear end and decide what he wants. Biology waits for no man. Move on. This guy is not worth it. He's clearly comfortable in his single life and the fact that he's made it this far with no relationship lasting more than a year is a big red flag. He has definite issues and is clearly an immature man-boy who needs to grow up in a big way."
Wanda says: While it's true that biology waits for no man, it especially waits for no woman. And women who want kids and find themselves edging into their 30s with no mate locked down face a special kind of pressure -- the kind of pressure that makes otherwise rational women throw down hysterical ultimatums as that sickening sound of a clock ticks away in their brains.
It's a fair point. If you're female and of a certain age, and your partner is dragging his feet about making big time commitments, and having kids is very important to you, at a certain point it may be best to cut your losses.
Wayne says: Did no one listen to this man's words? Clearly communicating his needs and wants sounds pretty grown-up and mature to me.
Six months can be a lifetime for some and a blink of an eye for others. Biology might not wait, but Wanda and I are in business because so many people don't wait for the right partner or mate.
The letter writer is on a different timetable than her not-so-ready-to-go beau. But rather than moving on and finding someone who is on her accelerated agenda, she continues to pressure a man who clearly is not ready. Sounds like a serious waste of time for someone who feels that time is so darn important.
And from a male reader:
"Hi, Wayne. Your response to "Unloved's" message was spot-on. I dated a woman over a year ago, and on our second date she asked me if I wanted to get married, and then again on our third date. I was so taken back by her forward "are you ready for marriage yet?" inquisition that I folded and followed her along on her desperate and hurried mission to get married. Of course, this led to her losing respect for me for not sticking to my guns (no, I wasn't ready to get married after the second or third date) and she ultimately dumped me. I wish I would have been able to respond to her with your message that ends in "TICK, TOCK, TICK, TOCK -- BOOM!" Excellent work, sir.
Wanda, I'm interested in your response to Wayne; or does your response to "Unloved" pretty much sum it up?
In any event, I enjoy following your column. Keep up the great work."
Wanda says: Well, sir, I have to admit, Wayne made some fine points. The boyfriend in this relationship was super clear about his need for taking his time, while his lady friend was watching the clock. Not a good combination.
My takeaway from Wayne's advice was, listen to your partner. They will tell you what they are capable of. Respect their words. But -- back to my original advice -- if you aren't getting what you want, or if what you want has changed, it's perfectly OK for two adults to have a grown-up conversation about it.
Wayne says: Finally, someone who gets me! High-five, brother! For a minute there, I thought I was the only sane one out here.
Well, Wanda gets me, too. And I get her. That's why this works so wonderfully. We both get that the secret to relationship success is communication. That means talking and listening. Sounds simple, but when we all have our own timelines, agendas and various ticking alarm clocks and stopwatches, it can make a mess of things.
Thanks for reading and sharing.
• Wanda is a wise person who has loved, lost and been to therapy. Wayne is a wise guy who has no use for therapy. Send them your questions and thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.