Dear Wendy Updates: “Not Naturally Selected” 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 “Not Naturally Selected,” who wondered when and how she should tell a new guy in her life about a genetic disorder she suffers from that, among other things, would make it nearly impossible for her to ever carry a baby to term. Did she tell her new guy about the disorder? If so, how did he take it?

First and foremost, thank you for the encouragement and advice, Wendy, from you and your readers. Sometimes, being a biologist, I tend to look at my disease too much from the scientific perspective. Sitting through talks on evolution and genetics, you can’t help but realize that you are a biological mutation not favorable to natural selection. It’s hard to put a positive spin on that. Then again, while statistics say I should be dead, I’m not. It doesn’t get much more positive than that.

Ultimately, my motives behind not telling him would be selfish. Honesty is the best policy. I don’t believe I could expect to build a good and honest relationship with someone who has stated many many times how important it is to him to have a family, without being truthful about my condition. He has the right to make an informed decision about what my disorder means to him, as it will affect nearly every part of our relationship. Yes, I care about the outcome, but ultimately it is his choice. And I do believe it needs to be a conscious choice. If our lives were reversed, I would want that kind of honesty from him. Frankly, I need someone strong enough to deal with the cold hard truth, because there will likely be a lot of it in my future.

I told him on our fifth date, before I received a response from you. The guilt was killing me, and if I’ve learned anything about living, it is that life is too short to wait to be honest with people. I started with my bracelet, and I explained everything to him. I began with the easiest parts and worked up to the hardest. He hugged me, and told me he would never hold something like that against me, and that there were plenty of alternative options available. He said it didn’t change how he felt about me, that it didn’t change who I am or what I want. And now I know he is the kind of man who would not run at the first test of loyalty. I am too much of a realist to believe in the quintessential happy ending, but I have great hope! Even if we crash and burn, I’m glad I told him. Life really is too short not to be honest with others, and especially not to be honest with yourself. Sincerely, NNS

I think I speak for all of us who read your original letter when I say we we’re sharing your cautious optimism over this budding relationship and wish you all the best in the future! The grace in which you seem to handle yourself and your disorder is a real inspiration.

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at {encode=”[email protected]” title=”[email protected]”} with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

Follow me on Twitter and get relationship tips and updates on new Dear Wendy columns!