Wanda and Wayne love helping people. They also love when their readers tell them how right, wrong and ridiculous their advice is … and then offer their own right, wrong and ridiculous advice. Here's a collection of comments from popular recent columns.
Last week, a writer had all but given up on her boyfriend of a year who clearly wasn't over his decade-plus marriage and was struggling with divorce and separation from his kids. Exasperated, our writer felt she was just "boosting his ego" and disappointed in herself for not moving sooner. Wayne and Wanda were aligned in that she shouldn't be so hard on herself while she also should exit the relationship and get away from the boyfriend's messed-up situation.
The majority of readers were sympathetic and in agreement. Kelly H. wrote, "I'm with both of you here. He's a typical human who won't get help and is also willing to string someone along," and Luke T. added, "Sounds like she was afloat, to keep him from drowning in his own pain, keep his mind from sorrow and a breakdown." Mike D. wrote, "Poor girl, you'll find another," and Myra M. simply wrote, "Rebound relationship."
But Wade H. offered a fresh perspective, some understanding and a big picture view of long-term relationships, noting, "People in general don't forget a 12-year relationship that gave them children. Nor should they. People gotta learn to accept their partner and the baggage sometimes. It's all about love and understanding. Dude didn't seem like a bad guy from what I read."
Mary P. added that it was the writer who needed to get some clarity on life and love, adding, "I wish I could talk some sense into this woman that has clearly never been married. Stop thinking everything is about YOU, letter writer."
Wade and Mary added great points — especially Wade, in that everyone has their baggage and it's up to us, as partners, to accept it or even help carry it or move it to the curb. But baggage is one thing — having your world spinning, emotions bubbling over and heart shattered from the end of a long-term relationship is another. One day, that will all be baggage. Today, it's a hot mess that he needs to take care of before he can commit to being a partner with someone else.
I appreciate the simplicity of Mary P.'s advice: It's not all about you. A lot of people have read "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. In the second agreement, "Don't take anything personally," he simply suggests nothing anyone does is because of you. So often we do perceive others' actions has happening to us. But really, they're living their own lives and making decisions — or not — often based on their own needs, based on what they know. Approaching life with this general mindset can help people take control of their own circumstances and be less affected by others' actions.
One of our most read and commented on columns recently came from a desperate woman who was increasingly crushed that her boyfriend wouldn't share a bed with her at night. She then mentioned a lot of other things he doesn't like doing and sharing with her, but she remained conflicted on what to do.
Wanda and Wayne said the bed was just the beginning, recommended disappearing from his life ASAP and holding out for someone who enjoys her company and time in bed with her.
The readers agreed unanimously. "Are you determined to be miserable?" Susan S. asked. Darcy NC added, "Looks like he has you fooled … He is a childish little narcissist who will eventually have you thinking there is something wrong with you while you do everything and anything to please him. … Cut him loose and run like hell." The hits kept coming: "Get a real man," "Deal breaker I think," "Get New boyfriend," "DUMP HIM……." and the always welcomed, "Yes Wayne exactly."
Thank you. I'm here all week. And thank you for helping Wanda and I help boost this woman's confidence and steer her clear of this guy who clearly doesn't care about her. Sometimes we can get a little deaf, dumb and blind when we're neck-deep in a fiery relationship, good or bad. And sometimes a little tough love and a few helping hands to pull you out of it are exactly what you need to move on.
I wouldn't presume her dude didn't care about her at all, but I would wager he doesn't care about her enough, and herein lies the difference. It's so great when we find someone we enjoy and click with, and human instinct is to try and lock that down and make things work. But sometimes it simply isn't enough — not enough communication, not enough passion, and in this case, simply not enough buy-in and commitment. It's cliche, but we really need the partner that's 100 percent in. Sometimes even when someone clearly likes you, and comes around just often enough to remind you that he (or she) is an option, it's best to note that it also isn't the best possible option — and to walk on.
Finally, a letter writer reached her breaking point with an awkward living situation and her boyfriend, who quickly changed from doting to distant, caring to cold after the pair moved in together at his parents' home. She felt trapped after a recent fallout with her parents. As the relationship worsened, she decided to end it. That's when the boyfriend said he would kill himself. Yikes. Wanda and Wayne said to tread lightly or even guide him to counseling or a help line, but to ultimately do what's best and healthiest for her — leave.
Many readers — seemingly all men — agreed with departing, but weren't quite as sympathetic about helping the boyfriend on the way out. Shawn D. wrote, "I had a ex like this and I ended up saying do what you want. She is ok." Leo K. echoed that comment, writing, "It sounds like the lady's got a self-correcting problem. Let mister drama do whatever he wants." Jeremy added, "Let him go. His actions will be his own." WKWalker wrote, "Call his bluff. You can't build a relationship on a threat of suicide …" And Robert R. wrote, "Disagree that you need to concern yourself about him killing himself. He hasn't accomplished anything even with prodding. He won't kill himself either."
Thankfully, Amylou jumped in with a well-thought and urgent message to the writer. "Be careful! threats to harm himself can quickly translate to harming you. maybe consider getting a restraining order?"
I'd love to believe that this guy is all hot air. I'd also love to believe that our letter-writer was smart enough to move out, while also compassionate enough to tell him to find help. But ultimately, as I wrote at the time, I really hope she's smart enough to ignore him moving forward. Forever. And if he doesn't leave her alone, take Amylou's advice, too. We all deserve to be loved and safe.
Yes Wayne exactly! This letter-writer clearly has a lot of compassion and sensitivity to contribute to a relationship — with someone else. And this guy she hopefully was with doesn't need a girlfriend; he needs a nanny, or, as I suggested, professional help. His controlling and manipulative behavior and words absolutely could be gateway actions to a more intense and abusive dynamic. Run, girl, run. And don't look back.
Thank you letter writers, commenters and readers! We appreciate your time, letters and feedback.
Want to respond to a recent column, point out a dating trend, or ask Wanda and Wayne for wisdom regarding your love life? Give them a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.