Dear Wendy: “I Accidentally Said ‘I Love You’!”

It’s time again for “Shortcuts.” For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss accidentally dropping the L-Bomb, what’s appropriate contact between two exes, and when it’s time to MOA.

I have been seeing this guy for about a month now. He is really nice and we have a lot of fun together. Last night we were exchanging Christmas gifts and I meant to say that I loved my gift, but it came out “I love you”! He just replied “that’s nice.” The rest of the night was totally awkward. Now I am totally mortified. I don’t know what to do! Should I tell him I said it by accident? Or should I just forget about it and hope he does too? — L Bomb Accident

Your course of action kind of depends on whether you do love your boyfriend and whether you’re ready for him to know that yet. If you don’t love him yet or aren’t ready for him to know that you do or haven’t even yet figured out how you feel, I’d say something like this: “Hey, that other day when you gave me my Christmas gift, I got caught up in the moment and said something I wasn’t ready to say yet. I like you a lot, and I may have felt love in that moment, but I didn’t mean to indicate that’s something I feel all the time just yet and I hope we can keep going as we have been because I really like exactly where we are.” If you do love him and don’t mind him knowing, I’d just let it alone and not say it again until he says it to you.

My boyfriend of 10 months still keeps in touch with some of his ex-girlfriends by exchanging Facebook messages or wall posts a few times a year. I don’t have Facebook so really am out of the loop with that. Plus, I only have one ex-boyfriend whom I haven’t spoken to since we broke up three years ago and have no desire to get in touch, though I wish him the best. My boyfriend explained that he and some of his exes, most particularly the one he was with right before me, broke up amicably and decided to remain friends. I just don’t see the need to remain in contact with someone you once had an intimate relationship with once it’s over. I know that I’m a cynic but I can’t help thinking that’s a way a lot of people end up cheating. The girl he dated prior to me has relatives in the area and I’m afraid while she’s comes home for the holidays they’ll want to get coffee or something and I really don’t not how I should handle that situation if it comes up. I know I’m being insecure, so any advice will help. — Lost in Ex-land

If you’re really afraid that a couple messages on Facebook a few times a year and a quick coffee catch-up with an ex might lead to cheating, you’ve either got serious issues in your relationship, or some serious issues in your head. If it’s the former, you may want to MOA because no relationship can last without trust, but if it’s the latter, you need to chill out and be thankful you have a guy who respects you enough to be honest about his friendship with his exes. Pick your battles, be cool (not crazy) and don’t get wound up over harmless stuff that has no bearing on your life or relationship.

I love my boyfriend, I think, and we have been together for almost three years. I had a small breakdown when we were first together and quit school, got a full time job and started trying to find what I wanted to do with my life (I’m 22 so I think this is completely normal). Since then I have gone back to school part time. The problem is that my boyfriend has quit school and is trying to figure out what to do with himself as well, but he’s being really lazy about it. He has not gotten a job of any kind nor has he thought about or taken any steps towards narrowing down his interests. He recently enrolled in a different school (after his parents and I bugged him for weeks about filling out the application), but has not picked a major or tried to take relevant classes towards the degree he was formerly working on. He sits around all day while I’m at work smoking and playing video games or reading. He has ADHD and uses it as an excuse for why he is so unhelpful around the house and cannot be relied upon to do anything. He also is lazy with his personal hygiene and sometimes will not shower until I get home and yell at him. We live together, have pets together, and casually talk about marriage and the like but his laziness is driving me crazy. It permeates every part of our relationship and I don’t think I can respect him the way he is. I don’t want to break up but I need him to change. How do I motivate him to be more responsible and ambitious? — I’m With Lazy

Relationship 101: If your happiness with someone is contingent on him changing, you do not belong together. You must be happy with who he is RIGHT now or the relationship is doomed. You cannot force anyone to change and you shouldn’t hold out for him to change if he’s shown no sign that he wants to.

I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend coming on two years now. For the first five months of our relationship, things were great. I held off pushing boyfriend/girlfriend status because I didn’t want to seem like I was rushing anything. He made sure we were exclusive within the first few weeks, so I felt comfortable letting the labels take their time. When I flew out join him in Hawaii on a work vacation at the five month mark, I was hoping he would broach the topic then. When he did not, I did, and he replied by stating that he just “wasn’t ready yet.” This made me upset because he didn’t elaborate, and at this point we spent all our time together, met each other’s friends, etc. Several months later, he did ask me to be his girlfriend, but out of hurt I delayed it. Eventually I said yes, but we’ve been suffering from trust issues ever since. We’re now at the two year mark and I’m trying to elicit long term plans from him but he says he can’t even think about them because he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. We’re attracted to each other, and have similar interests. Should I be patient? Or MOA? — Two Year Itch

Yeah, you should MOA. But, hold on, I have a question. Can someone please tell me what the difference is between being exclusive with someone and being his girlfriend?!

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