At 1 on Wednesday.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I am a man in my early 20s who is attending grad school in Boston. I met a wonderful woman, who is a fellow student, at a party and we hit it off. She had been in a long-distance relationship for two years and was looking for a way out. A few weeks later, she broke it off.
We began dating immediately after her breakup. We've had a lot of great times, but she still gets very sad and misses her ex now and then. It's really held back our relationship from developing further. We took a break at one point because of it, though it didn't last long. I know she loves me and I love her too.
She is working on the West Coast for the summer while I stay here. I'm supposed to visit in two weeks for her birthday, but last week she fell into one of her "sad"' cycles and became distant.
It's rough because we have great chemistry and I feel she could be the one. At the same time, I'm not sure if continuing to date her is helping either of us -- or if it's just a sign I lack self-respect.
Should I continue to brush off these cycles? How long should I expect this to continue? And is there anything I can do to help her?
– Stuck in Confusion, Boston
A: I don't mind that she has "sad cycles." I do mind that they're about her ex.
Your girlfriend doesn't appear to be over this guy, and her moods are making you feel bad about yourself. If she's had more than a few of these cycles, I'd guess that she just isn't ready for another serious relationship.
We all have moments of sadness about losing our exes, but we're not supposed to burden our new partners with that information. I appreciate her honesty, but really, how are you supposed to help? Call her ex and invite him to see her? Just stay away until she tells you to come back? What are you supposed to say to her about all of this?
If she doesn't want to see you this summer, consider letting her go. She started a relationship with you before she was sure about her breakup, and now you're putting up with the aftermath. She should be having sad cycles about alienating you. She should be panicked that she's pushing you away.
Readers? Should he stick around? Should she be telling him about her sad cycles? What's happening here? Help.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I have been talking to/hanging out with James for a few months. We're both in our mid-20s, have mutual friends, but only met recently. Our first night together, I had no idea he was even into me until after we got home from the bar. Our two mutual friends had made plans to hang out and we got dragged along. Others were supposed to come, but it ended up just being our mutual friends and us. Throughout the night, he made no advances and I also didn't make any. After we got home that night, our mutual friends retired to the bedroom and James and I were on the couch. I assured him I'd be fine on the couch and that he could go to bed. Instead he suggested we watch a movie in bed together. I agreed (and was somewhat shocked because I didn't think he was interested). We ended up spending the entire weekend together and I slept in his bed (without sex, just fooling around) for the next couple nights. We also spent the following weekend together (from Friday night through Sunday). That weekend we did have sex and I knew I definitely wanted to see him again.
Fast forward to today. We text everyday (literally) but have only hung out once in the last two weeks and it was on a weeknight. He constantly asks me what my plans are for the weekend and on Friday and Saturday I receive an inevitable text asking me what I'm doing for the night, where I'm going, and what time. However, he never seems to follow through. I have stopped initiating contact. I don't text him at all unless he texts me, but he has continuously text me (as I stated) asking about plans and just making general chit-chat. I should also mention that he is not very straightforward about his interest. For example, I didn't know he was interested in me that first night until after he propositioned me to the bedroom, and every other time we have hung out, he's not very physical at all. He usually initiates kissing, but then it's me who initiates everything else. Obviously I am very confused. Why text me and ask me what I'm up to if he doesn't have any intention of hanging out? What is up with the physical part? Why wouldn't he show me affection if he asks me to sleep in his bed?
I've thought about being forward with him and just asking him if I'm misreading signals, but I'm not exactly sure that would be the best thing to do. Maybe he has just been with friends the last couple of weeks and timing didn't work out the way he thought. Maybe he's gay and he’s just putting on a facade for others in his life. Maybe he doesn't want to hang out but is too nice to stop talking to me. Whatever it is, I'm pretty sure I can handle it. I don't know him that well and, although I am interested, I'd get over the rejection pretty quickly. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I just want to know what is what so I can either keep devoting some attention to this or let it go.
For the record, my upfront text was going to read something like, "Hey, can I ask you something? We talk all the time, but don't really hang out. Am I misreading things or has it just been conflicting schedules?"
– Confused and Confused, Boston
A: Two things:
1: Sometimes we're so confused by a person's intentions that we forget to decide how we feel about them. Your whole letter is about decoding the mystery of James. But are you into James? What makes him worthy of this work? Is this about trying to partner with someone you really like or about avoiding rejection? Please don't forget that you should be deciding whether James is an appropriate partner. If his actions are annoying and making you feel bad about yourself, you're allowed to move on without answers and let James wonder what happened.
2. If you confront James -- and you should -- please don't do it by text. Call him. Show him that there are other ways to communicate. I fear that he's going to receive your text and write back, "Just been busy. It's cool," and then you're stuck waiting again. You need to ask, "What are we doing here? Do you want to see me?" That's a conversation that requires hearing someone's voice.
Really, you never tell us why you like James. You're just trying to figure him out. My gut tells me that your energy is better spent looking for a guy who wants to see you -- and get it on with you -- when he has the chance.
Readers? What's up with James? Is it too soon for her to be annoyed by his behavior? Does she really like him? Should she confront him and if so, how? Did they just move too quickly when this started? Help.
Q: Hello Love Letters,
I'm writing this because I do not know where else to turn. To summarize: My relationship with my girlfriend started toward the end of her freshman year of college. I was a junior at the time. We did not go to the same university but our schools were close. We were both athletes and shared a lot in common. She got me through all the rough spots and was incredibly supportive from my graduation to finding my first job.
Fast forward from last May to present and I've seen her a few times since graduating, but not as many as I would like. She has been struggling -- she doesn't have many friends and she is having a hard time doing well in school. I can't see her often. She admitted to me that she feels depressed but can't give any reason as to why. She thinks "she's crazy" and has gone to a therapist to talk about it.
I love her with all my heart and I want to help her. We talk all the time, but lately she has become more distant and disinterested. We recently had a conversation that alarmed me. She doesn't know about the future; she doesn't know how we can live together. She admitted to me that she loves me but not the way it was when things were simpler. I paid for an air ticket about a month ago for her to come see me over a weekend. She said it would be a "turning point in our relationship." We ended up having a great weekend, but I could still feel that she was off, a bit different. I think the medication she's on might be affecting her behavior. I feel like I'm on an emotional roller coaster; she seems fine one week and then the next I feel she would just like to break up with me. I love this girl so much. I don't want to lose her.
– Mr. Lonely, Pennsylvania
A: I believe that you love her, but this relationship isn't good for either of you. She's dealing with depression and you're walking on eggshells waiting to be dumped. And on top of it all, this is a long-distance relationship.
You can't go on like this, questioning everything she says, waiting for good moods, and decoding the status of your relationship over the phone. You need to be good to yourself, especially as you start this new, post-college life.
My advice is to talk to her about whether this relationship is too complicated to continue at the moment. If she needs to focus on her education and therapy, you don't want to be in the way. It doesn't mean that you'll disappear from each other's lives forever, but perhaps the pressure will be less intense.
You don't want to lose her, but you also don't really have her – at least not how you want her. You're trying to get back to the past, but that's just not possible. Do you really want to hang on to what you have right now? It seems to me that it's time for both of you to work on yourselves without owing each other anything.
Readers? Should he hang on? Let go? Is she going to end it for him? Would leaving mean abandoning a person who needs help? Discuss.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I recently reconnected with a childhood friend who lost his wife. "Peter" and I were somewhat “adopted” by his aunt and uncle from the time we were 10. We are not related but we were both from proximity-close, troubled homes. His aunt and uncle provided both of us with a safe haven as stable parental figures most weekends and school breaks until college. Peter and I grew up, and of age, together. Something I am just now getting and appreciating. In college we stayed friends and fooled around a bit with dating into our early 20s, but when he started to express real feelings toward me that included the L-word, I was not ready and bolted. There was no breakup drama or relationship lost here -- we just grew apart rather normally and respectfully. We kept in touch loosely (email, FB friends), moved away from each other, and he got married. I never met his wife but was happy for him, and his family still fills a familial role in my life to this day.
It's now years later, we're in our 30s, and I receive a call that Peter has suddenly lost his wife. I was stunned. It hit me hard and brought on that strong need to see him to let him know that he wasn't alone. I booked a ticket to go the services and made arrangements to stay with his/my family. I was nervous to see him and nervous that my going might be perceived as selfish, weird, or inappropriate (as I had never met his wife). That is, until I saw him ... and then, there were no words, because we didn't need them. We were us again -- kids, not kids, loving, familiar. There.
It's been five months since then. Only five months, I know. We have talked every day, and have visited each other with more visits scheduled. I try to coach and be supportive as best I know how and he's surprisingly been able to support me through some things, even while going through his own personal hell. But every day I am quietly choking on how much I love him. I know I can't tell him this. It's too soon and he's far from being able to reciprocate, even if he felt remotely the same way. I'm hyper-aware of me not just falling for the injured doe and him not using me to replace the role of his wife. I struggle with being supportive but not invasive, being "sisterly" while quietly wanting him in the most opposite way than that, giving him space but not wanting to let him go, and all the while never forgetting that he is going through a major loss and life upheaval. I very seriously respect the responsibility I have of not taking advantage of his state or emotions. And in the meantime I just stay as busy and occupied as humanely possible (all things I’ve learned from this board!).
But, I do love him. And I want him to know this only without applying pressure or expectations. Is that even possible? Or am I already showing this enough by being here for him? I keep toeing the line at friendship because I don't want to confuse or ruin things, but he's not just a friend to me anymore. For those of you who have gone through major loss, when can I trust that he’s ready and won't confuse love with loss? Is there any reality for him at this point in grieving? Or should I just let him go again and see if we come back around? I read a quote this week that summed it up for me -- "Just because we can't be together doesn't mean I won’t love you." Because I do. I love him but I know we can't be together. I'm just hopeful to can end that last sentence with a "yet."
– Love It or Leave It, Boston
A: You say that he's been a friend to you, but it sounds like most of this relationship has been you supporting him. This whole experience has been so monumental -- especially considering your history. Are you sure you'd love him as much if he wasn't going through this significant loss? You're trying to avoid falling for the injured doe, but ... if he's not that, what is he? What have you fallen for?
I'm not saying you don't love him. I just want you to think about why you love him. You didn't see him for years, and now it's only been a few visits. What's really happening here? Also, even if it's possible that you guys have a future together, you also share a family. Do you want to risk what you have with them? You need to be honest with yourself about what you really want before you get lost in fantasies that have little to do with an average day-to-day relationship. There's a lot on the line.
Spend some time coming back down to Earth and thinking about the practicalities of a relationship with this person. If you begin to doubt your deep love, be a friend and set some boundaries so you don't become the central source of support in his life. If more time goes by and you're still committed to the idea of this, come clean and tell him that you're confused. Not that you're sure that you love him, but that you're confused. Because in my opinion, that's what you are. It might be love, but I'm not convinced you know what to do with it, and it's very possible he feels the same way. You don't want to burden him, but he deserves to make smart choices about who he uses for support and how. He should know who he's talking to.
But think, please. How do you really feel ... and why?
Readers? Is this about falling for the injured doe? What do you think he thinks of the relationship? Should the letter writer come clean now or later -- or ever? Discuss.
Also, this person wrote in after reading that I lost my mom. He admitted that he wondered whether I might have some extra insight about his situation. I think my advice probably would have been the same two months ago ...
Q: Hi Meredith;
My girlfriend and I have an awesome relationship. We met two years ago and have basically been inseparable ever since. If we aren't together we are in constant communication through phone, email, or text. We're in our late 20s and we've talking about living together. Everything was fine until she lost a family member.
It was sudden and horrifically tragic. This person was a huge part of her life. I was with her through the process and helped her with everything she needed.
Since this happened, she has not been herself. She basically told me she needed a break to think. I totally get this and I know I need to give her all the space she needs. But I also know that she's not in her normal state of mind and maybe doesn't know what’s good for her at the moment.
All I want is for her to be happy, and I know time heals all wounds but I can't just back away from her at this point. I'm too involved w/ her family and can't imagine not being in contact with her if it's only just to hear her voice to make sure she's OK. She says my constant presence is making her feel overwhelmed.
Should I leave her alone? Or should I push back when she pushes me away? Should I just let her go and just hope that when and/if she gets better she'll come back to me? The thought of that makes me nauseous. We were just madly in love! But the world has changed since then and I don't know how to navigate this unknown territory. Please help!
– Lost in Boston
A: If she wants some space, that's OK. But if she's demanding a real break and it's been more than a few weeks, ask her whether she's really just letting you go. You need to know.
I can't even begin to imagine what she's thinking. We all grieve differently. What I can say (since you asked about me) is that losing a close family member (in my case, a parent) does make you think about who you want in your community and who brings you joy. It makes you think about who will be around in five or ten years. It's possible that your girlfriend loves you quite a bit, wanted to cohabitate, but never thought that the two of you would spend your entire lives together. Maybe that's a more important concept now.
It's also possible that your presence highlights the loss. You say that you want to be there for her and that you helped her with the grieving process. I'm sure you were amazing. I'm sure you doted and cuddled. But maybe she just wants to be normal now. Perhaps she's looking for a new audience -- people who aren't giving her sad eyes. Have you suggested hanging out and just doing something fun?
Again, I don't know what's going on here, and I will admit that after surviving the past four weeks, I've wanted alone time. I've wanted to just sit around and watch TV, read Love Letters, and look at old pictures. I've felt lucky that I haven't had to alienate a spouse during the process.
But no matter what, I've wanted to remain accountable -- and so should your girlfriend. This loss doesn't excuse her from communication. Part of celebrating life is being good to the people around us. If she wants a break, you can ask her for answers. If she wants a break up, you have to take that seriously, walk away, and protect yourself. Her loss doesn't entitle her to ask you to wait. You can't assume that she's going through a phase.
Readers? Is she in her right mind? Should he wait? Does she want to break up? Help.
Chat at 1 on Wednesday.
Q: Three years ago, while on a business trip, I happened to meet a very interesting man. I will call him Man #1 (see where this is going). Being a highly-selective, unusual person myself, he seemed like a dream come true. He was always exceptionally kind to me, brilliant, funny, and extremely good-looking. Though there was some distance between us, we texted constantly all day, and I went to visit him several times. However, there were a few things in our way. The main one being he was younger, still in college, and wasn't able to move to be with me for varying reasons. Long story short, he broke up with me, but was adamant about the fact that we remain close friends. He said he was depressed and felt incapable of having a relationship at the time. So we continued to talk just as before but stopped seeing each other. I was very sad to lose him as a lover, but still happy to have him in my life. We had a very close platonic friendship after that.
Soon after that relationship ended, I began talking online with someone I had admired since my childhood. I would call him a childhood hero of mine. We hit it off exceptionally well, having a great deal in common and excellent communication. Again, there was a distance involved, but after I visited him several times, he took the leap and moved in with me and my young child.
As soon as man #2 moved in, things changed dramatically. He became insanely jealous -- accusing me of some of the most terrible things, all untrue. He badgered me incessantly, deprived me of sleep, and invaded every type of privacy I had in the hopes of finding evidence of cheating. Additionally, he insisted that I cut off all contact with man #1, which made me sad, but I did see his point there. Man #1 was kind and supportive in regard to me not talking to him during this time.
Over the course of a year, man #2 effectively tore me and the relationship apart, piece by piece. I became extremely depressed. All the while, though, man #2 was receiving professional help and promising to change. These days, he appears to have changed and is no longer accusing me of the things he did before. He is trying his best to be good to me, but I don't trust him. I should mention that he has always been exceptionally nice to my child, and he has grown very attached.
Back to man #1. Man #2 created an email account in my name and proceeded to write man #1 a horribly insulting email, saying terrible, personal things about him. When I found out about this, I wrote man #1 an email, apologizing profusely and telling him how afraid I was. I did not expect a reply at all, since man #2's email made it look like I had betrayed man #1's confidence in the worst way. Surprisingly, though, he did reply. He replied with the kindest, most sincere words. Telling me I deserved better than to be afraid, and that he would always be my friend. He said he would help me any way he could. Most importantly, he believed me and said he trusted me completely. He honestly cared for my well-being, unlike man #2 who seems to want to own me, regardless of the cost.
We exchanged a few (illicit in my current relationship) emails after that, and it came out that he has always been crazy about me but felt inadequate as a partner because I make considerably more money and am more established than him. Well, I am older, so that is the case. I never cared about that, however. I have always been very independent and was looking for companionship and not material security. I agree that when we first met, the timing was very wrong, but now I am wondering if we have a chance.
Man #2 wants to marry me. He is behaving himself. I am very attracted to him. My kid is crazy about him. But what if the bad behavior returns? I am afraid for my mental health and well-being.
Man #1 makes me feel so good about myself. He has never hurt me intentionally, and has remained a good friend for three years, even through long stretches without talking to one another. Every time I hear from him I feel better. I feel happy. I feel at peace.
Obviously, I am torn. Should I break apart my current situation and take my child's friend away? Should I throw out a man who moved to be with me? Or keep with the status quo, remembering that all long-term relationships have issues. There is still a distance issue with man #1, but there is always a chance that it could be resolved. There is a possibility. Should I entertain this possibility?
Do extremely jealous, psychologically abusive people ever change for the long-term?
– Desdemona, MA
A: I don't see this as a choice between man #1 and man #2. For now, I'm just focused on #2 and whether you'd want any part of this relationship if he wasn't close with your kid. Are you in love with this man? Was your romantic relationship ever healthy? If you could go back in time, would you still choose to move in with him? Do you get the sense that it's difficult or unnatural for him to behave?
You tell us that you're attracted to #2, but you don't seem to think he's a good partner. Your reasons for keeping him around are more about guilt than love. Meanwhile, you're lining up someone else. You've already jumped into a new, imaginary relationship in your head.
To me, the answer is pretty clear. You want out, but you're afraid to be alone. Unfortunately, alone time is going to be part of the breakup process no matter what. It's a bad idea to jump from #2 to #1 without processing what happened and giving your kid a stable routine.
As for your last question, sure, I believe that anyone can change, especially with professional help. But in your case, it sounds like no matter how #2 behaves, you're looking for an escape. That's fine, as long as you're as honest and healthy about your choices. Talk to a professional about how you can end this without feeling unsafe. Find out how to explain this to your kid. Tell man #1 that you have a lot to think about, and that for the moment, he can't be in the way.
Readers? Is this 1 vs. 2? Does she want to be with 2? Has 2 really changed? What about 1? Should he be in the picture? Help.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I am a woman in my early 30s. Six months after amicably splitting with my fiance of four years, I felt ready to try dating again and signed up with a website. A woman I had known casually for years came up as a potential match. She is smart, creative, and funny, so I sent her a message asking her out. She was extremely receptive, and we dated for about two weeks before she called it off. She explained she felt very serious about me, and had an enormous crush on me the entire time we had known each other, but that she realized that she wasn't ready to date so soon after her own breakup. She claimed she wanted to date me seriously in the future, but needed time to pull herself together. After she laid it out there and I had time to think about it, I decided that I wanted to give things with her a real shot once she was ready. I told her that, and she seemed relieved and excited.
Three months passed without contact. I've casually dated a handful of other people in the meantime. She reactivated her profile on the dating website, and I received a notification because of our previous interactions. After a few weeks, I sent her a message saying I would like to reconnect, but she didn't respond. Since then, we have run into each other multiple times. All I get is the cold shoulder. We're talking wicked cold. Like, tonight she waited until I'd gone up to the bar, then ran over to say hi to our mutual friends, then fled back to her posse when she saw me on my way back.
I (almost) accept at this point that she has no interest in having anything to do with me. What I am struggling with is the fact that she spent years flirting with me, then gave me this huge speech about how much she wanted to be with me. At the time, when she was going on in great detail about how much she cares for me, I told her (and meant it genuinely) that she didn't need to feel obligated to say that stuff, and that in fact it was fine to be honest if she wasn't feeling it. She vigorously insisted that she simply needed a brief break so that she could fully commit to the kind of relationship with me that she wanted.
Perhaps it is because I have been out of the dating scene for so long, but I find this bewildering. What is the purpose of leading someone on when you know you don't want to see them again? Is there a way I can improve the situation so that it is not totally awkward when we inevitably run into each other? Finally (and pathetically), do you think there is a chance that she is still "pulling herself together" and she will eventually be ready to date me again?
– Frustrated to the Hilt, Boston
A: This woman is bewildering, FTTH. And immature. This isn't how adults are supposed to behave ... but dating can be like this.
My guess is that she knows she came on too strong, decided that she couldn't live up to her own hype, gave you a less-than-honest breakup speech, and is now trying to undo it by making it clear that she's not interested.
My advice is to lead by example and be kind when you see her. Assume that you will never (ever) get back together because she's simply incapable. Instead of waiting to find out what she'll be like when she pulls herself together, take the reins and decide that no matter what, you don't want to be with someone who's this wishy-washy. You're ready for something real. She doesn't know how to handle herself.
She'll probably resurface in a few months to make more speeches and promises. At that point you'll have to decide whether any of it matters. For now you should be back on that dating website looking for women who know how to communicate.
I'm sorry that this didn't work out, but it sounds like you were spared a relationship with someone who fears honesty. All you can do is clean up the mess by defining what happened, making peace with it, letting it go, and showing her how to behave among friends.
Readers? Is there any hope here? Is this woman still "pulling herself together"? Why did she say all of those things if she wasn't interested? Is this just what dating is like? Help.
Q: Dear Meredith,
About five years ago I made a move for a specialized, two-year training program. While there, I met a great guy who moved from the other side of the country for the same program. We hit it off and dated for about a year, both realizing our love for our respective coasts, and knowing that our "relationship" probably wouldn't develop too far. Once our training program ended, we parted as friends and kept in contact with occasional phone calls and emails. He told me about girls he's dated since then, and vice versa.
Fast forward to last week. We hadn't spoken in a few months, simply because life was busy for both of us. During our conversation last week he said, "It's too bad we don't live in the same area. I still think we're a good couple." I sort of laughed it off and agreed in a half-hearted manner. Personally, I think that line of conversation doesn't get us anywhere and it leaves me irritated (which I've told him before) knowing his job requires him to live on the West Coast, and I LOVE Boston.
The problem came the next day when he texted me, asking if I would dump my current boyfriend (a term I use lightly since it's only been a couple months) and date him if he moved to the same area. I told him I couldn't answer that question, and it's pointless for me to think about unless he's actually moving (which he's not -- and can't). To that he replied, "I just want to know how you feel about me."
When I told him that line of questioning was irritating me, he got upset, called me a tease, and has refused to talk so we can discuss things. I guess I always assumed that our friendship was just that, a friendship and nothing more. But now I'm getting the feeling that he's held onto feelings all this time. Or maybe he's having "girl-trouble" and wants to know he's wanted by someone? I don't know, but without talking to him I can't figure it out.
My question is: Should I continue trying to talk to him about this? Should I wait for him to contact me? Am I out of line to get irritated by those "what-if" questions? This isn't a lost love I'm trying to hang onto, it's what I thought was a friendship with a person I care about. How hard should I try to hang on?
Thanks for your (and all the readers') help!
– Irritated, Boston
A: He wants to know how you feel about him, so tell him. And maybe tell me while you're at it, because I can't figure out what's going on here.
Do you have romantic feelings that you compartmentalize because of distance? Or do you really just want him as a friend? There are no wrong answers here. It would just be good to know how you feel so you can make smart decisions about how to move forward.
If your answer is, "We're friends, but if he lived down the street I might want more," maybe this relationship too confusing for him to continue. Maybe having you around -- even just on the phone -- is making it difficult for him to connect with other women.
I don't like that he called you a tease, and I certainly don't enjoy his passive-aggressive method of trying to get answers out of you, but he's struggling and wants to know where he stands.
Take some time and think about your feelings. If he lived here, would you want more? How do you see this friendship evolving if you both find other partners? After you come up with some specific answers, send him an email spelling it all out. Be clear about what you want and ask him if he's up for whatever you can offer.
Instead of getting irritated by the "what-if" questions, try to answer them. It's the only way to keep this relationship honest -- and to figure out whether this is a relationship worth having at all.
Readers? Should she answer the what-ifs? What is causing him to ask these questions? If she knows he's never going to move, should she just drop the friendship? Is there a friendship worth saving here? How does she feel about him? Help.
I received this letter while the writer was giving her guy "space." By the time I went to answer it, that space was over. Let's see if we can help her make sense of what happened. (I put the updated info in italics.)
Q: Hi Meredith,
We are both in our late 40s and the gentleman I've been dating for the last 4 months is currently finalizing his divorce papers (court date set for June), despite being separated from his ex for a year and a half. He was married less than a year and he filed for the divorce, stating they were not compatible. I met him online 5 years ago and then lost contact with him for a few years. He re-initiated contact this winter.
His ex is living in another state now but keeps in constant contact by phone and email. He says he needs to maintain open communication until the divorce is final as he does not want any troubles to arise.
He and I had been spending just about every weekend together, at his invite, as we live a few hours away from each other. He had been calling several times a day during the week, consistently. The relationship was growing, and we were enjoying each other's company.
Abruptly, after having a nice dinner, he states he needs his space and is feeling overwhelmed. He gave no indication that he wanted to end the relationship, just that he needed some space.
He eventually (more than two weeks later) reached out to thank me for a favor and was wishy-washy about what would happen next. I told him I needed to stop by and get my things, and when I did, he said things that were not true and that seemed fabricated in a way to have an excuse to break off the relationship. I did not feel he had the ability to discuss things openly and honestly.
And, yes, as for the divorce, I do realize I should have waited until the paperwork was completed, and I do know he filed because I made the trip the court with him.
I'm extremely disappointed this happened, and sad because of loss of the "good things" we shared, but glad I did not discover his true personality after investing several years in the relationship.
We should all try to get thru this life being a little more compassionate toward one another.
Shouldn't it be easier when you get older?
Thanks, Meredith. Appreciate your column and your responders!
– Older Boulders, Westborough
A: You're right -- this is just a case of you seeing someone's true colors after four months, and you're lucky he didn't keep this going for eight months or a year.
As you get over this, though, please don't beat yourself up over not seeing the signs or putting up with the unfinished divorce paperwork. It's kind of weird (and dramatic?) that you went to court with him, but you weren't wrong to date someone who was just about divorced but not quite there. That wasn't the issue here.
The issue was that he's someone who gets excited and invests, perhaps too quickly. Then he gets overwhelmed and can't maintain his interest. Too bad ... but how would you have known?
This just goes to show you that it doesn't necessarily get easier as we get older. (Sorry.) In some ways it does, because we can judge people for who they are in the moment instead of wondering what they'll be like when they grow up, but people are people, no matter how old they are. They can be stubborn, controlling, evasive, noncommittal, scared, and defensive, and they tend to be all of those things when a relationship ends. We never age out of the awkwardness of saying goodbye.
The good news is that you're free to move on. Just make sure you're kind to yourself. And maybe focus on finding someone who lives nearby. The dating process is much easier -- and involves less investment -- when everything is a short drive or T ride away.
Readers? Should all of these divorce issues -- and their own history -- have stopped her from starting this relationship? How can she make sense of what happened? Is it easier as you get older? Discuss.
We chat at 1.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I am having a moral dispute with a family member, "John," whose treatment of the women he dates I do not find decent or acceptable. He believes his behavior is normal and justified. Here goes: He spends most of his time in a country in South America where there is a high incidence of poverty and unemployment. Also, there is a lot of machismo in this culture. Women bear the brunt of the dire economic situation and the patriarchal values. John dates a lot women, a few at a time, and he is polite to them, takes them out, makes them feel special when they are together, so forth. When he is out of the country, he keeps in touch in a flirty manner via Skype and email.
Yes, he is sleeping with them -- which is what he is primarily after. He feels that because he tells them that he is not interested in a relationship, he is not leading them on or even using them. From what I understand, these women very much want a relationship with John. They don't have a lot of options in life, and having an American boyfriend who is handsome and charming (and has some money) would be a dream come true. John knows this, and I feel he is exploiting the situation. It seems to me that his charming manner is sending mixed signals to these vulnerable women, giving them a false hope that John might actually be interested in them as people, not just as sex objects.
Perhaps they are not used to being taken out to nice restaurants and clubs, and they interpret that kind of treatment as truly heart-felt and romantic. One woman went so far as to have his name tattooed on her arm. John revels in this attention, and feels that he is morally off the hook because he has verbally expressed his intentions (or lack thereof). He refuses to accept that he is doing anything wrong, and, in fact, believes he is being good to these women.
I have no problem with consensual adults having casual relationships as long as they are on equal footing -- which is not the case here. The women are putting out because they want a boyfriend in John, and he is well aware of this, and taking advantage. Yes, they are responsible for their decisions and they are running a risk by getting involved with such a man, but I don't think John is blameless, either. And, I don't see why he can't limit his dating pool to women who are likewise just looking for NSA fun. Please weigh in, and please consider the cultural and economic factors that are at play. Thank you.
– Indignada, Boston
A: You seem to be looking for an ethicist, but that's not what I do. I deal with relationships, so my question is: Why does John need to be worshiped? Why is he avoiding a real relationship? Why would he want to be with someone who tattoos his name on her arm?
I could spend all day debating John's behavior, but I'd rather talk about how you should deal with him. This letter is really about you, right? On some level you're asking how you can put up with a close family member/friend whose romantic choices have become offensive.
If I were you, I'd tell John that you can't talk about this stuff anymore. You don't find it entertaining. It makes you sad. We all have to hear from friends and family who do questionable things, but in this case, it's becoming a moral/political argument with no end. All it does is depress you. Sometimes we have to set boundaries with loved ones. You're not going to change John's mind, so you might as well give your brain a break.
For the record, if I were an ethicist, I'd probably come to few conclusions about John's behavior. I can't make assumptions about how these women perceive John (isn't it possible he's being used for nice dinners and entertainment?). I just don't know enough about his situation. I could also argue that many men -- and women -- keep a similar pool of potential, hopeful partners at bay here in Boston, and that serial dating can be gross and misleading, even without the socioeconomic and cultural questions at play.
The point is that all of this offends you and makes you feel bad about John. It's time to drop the subject and distance yourself from his behavior. Perhaps that's the most effective statement you can make about his actions.
Readers? Is John right? Wrong? Does it matter? How should she deal with a family member whose behavior offends her? Help.
Than chat at 1 on Wednesday.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I met "Jason" about three years ago through a friend of his that I was seeing. I ended up introducing him to one of my girlfriends and they started seeing each other. Both relationships ended after about two months but Jason and I continued being friends. We spend that whole summer talking every day and hanging out. Occasionally we'd spend the night sleeping next to each other, platonic and innocent for the most part. He ended up confessing that he had feelings for me, which deep down I kind of knew, but I didn't do anything about it or own up to my feelings for him because I felt guilty (my girlfriend was still bitter about their casual relationship ending).
At the end of the summer, Jason and I had a huge falling out over a complicated situation between our two groups of friends getting into a physical fight during which the police got involved. We didn't really blame each other but decided it would be easier to put some distance between us. We ended up not seeing each other for two years and only speaking very rarely.
About a year ago I realized he was still on my mind a lot and decided to test the waters about reconnecting. He was apprehensive about it, and would often agree and then change his mind. About three months ago we finally met up for drinks and had a great conversation. We talked for about three hours, just catching up. We even joked about how stupid all the drama was surrounding our friends. I was really hoping something would come from that, but he texted me a few days later saying he couldn't start anything between us and wasn't looking for anything serious. I was pretty bummed and confused but tried to move on with no hard feelings.
About a week ago, he was still on my mind a lot, and after a few too many drinks I texted him. He agreed to meet up and we talked again, this time less catching up and more about our feelings for each other. I told him that in three years I never met anyone that I felt that strongly about, and he said that although he was aware of something special between us, he's been in relationships since he was 15 and is not looking for that right now. We ended up staying up all night talking and spent the next night together as well. I was walking on clouds and thought that finally, after three years of bad timing, fights, and wishful thinking, something was finally happening between us.
Since then I've texted him twice and received nothing but a lukewarm response that he's busy. I thought I'd made it clear that I didn't want to push him into a relationship and just enjoyed his company like I always have. What bothers me the most is what could've been, and what I at least think could still be. Should I try once more, being as blunt as possible about my feelings for him, or should I let this one go and after three years try and move on for good? Does the fact that I waited for him and couldn't forget about him for two years mean anything at all?
– Bummed Out in Boston
A: It sounds like you've been pretty blunt about your feelings, BOIB. You've reached out multiple times. You've told him that you're drawn to him. You've sent texts. You've tried to make plans. His response? "Lukewarm," you say.
This is about unrequited affection as opposed to legit connection. He's one big "what if," and you've written up your own fictional happy ending. Isn't it possible, though, that a relationship with Jason would end with a fizzle just like it did with your friend? And really, if there's such an intense connection between the two of you, why didn't he reach out during the last few years?
Let this one go. No more waiting and pining for Jason. He says he's not looking for a relationship. Meanwhile, it's clear that you want much more than his casual company. At the very least, you want him to be excited to see you, and he can't even get it together to be consistent about that. It's time to find someone who wants to seize the opportunity to spend time with you. That's the point.
Readers? What's up with Jason? Does she need to give another blunt confession? Does he understand where she's coming from? What's happening here? Discuss.
We'll kick it off with a short one ...
This is the third letter I've received about this sort of thing within just a few weeks ...
Q: My relationship ended because I looked up his ex on Facebook. He calls it stalking. All I wanted was to see what she looked like -- curiosity only, no bad intentions. He didn't even allow me to explain and said he needed a break because I was passive-aggressive. I have never been called that, and all I did was look at her page to get a glimpse.
I realize its sounds creepy. But in all fairness, isn't it called a social network? If you don't want to be seen then you shouldn't be there, right? Please advise. I am very upset about the breakup.
– Facebook Snoop, Boston
A: I don't think he dropped you because you snooped on Facebook, FS.
I suppose it's possible that he saw it as a passive-aggressive, immature move, but who ends a relationship over that kind of isolated incident? It seems pretty forgivable to me. Really, the whole thing is kind of silly.
What else has been happening between the two of you? Has the relationship been easy? Turbulent? Fun? I have to assume that there are other problems, and that this "stalking" accusation is about something else. Is he open about his past? Does he trust you? How much does he talk about this ex? What have you asked?
My guess is that he's been thinking about ending this relationship for a while and used this Facebook fight as a way to do it. And if I'm wrong, and this decision really came out of nowhere, you're better off without this guy. You shouldn't be with someone who won't talk about problems and overreacts about a peek on Facebook. It wasn't stalking. It wasn't even passive-aggressive. It was just ... human nature. You're allowed to be human.
Readers? Is this really about the Facebook incident? Was the letter writer wrong to look up the picture? What's happening here? And is this break a breakup? Discuss.
Q: I've been with my boyfriend for almost two years. We lived together for about four months until he left me. I moved to a different state, and he recently moved to the same state. We do not live together at the moment. It tore me apart when he left. My father had left me a bunch of times when I was younger, so being abandoned is nothing new to me. My boyfriend says he is sorry and that he won't do it again. He wants me to move in with him.
On top of that, he cheated on me when we were in different states. I was even more torn. He says he is sorry about that too. During video chats and phone calls, I've heard and seen him cry. He says he messed up and made big mistakes and has learned his lesson.
I just want to know someone's opinion. Would he ever do any of those things again? Would he ever leave or cheat on me again if we were married?
– How do I know he won't hurt me again?, California
A: I have no idea whether he'll do these things again. There are no guarantees in life and I am not a fortune teller.
I can tell you that even if you didn't have a history of abandonment in the family, you'd be devastated by all of this. He left, cheated, and now he's weepy and wanting you back. That's a roller coaster for anyone, dad or no dad.
I'd love to know what lesson he believes he learned from this experience. Is it that he doesn't want to live without you? Or that he makes impulsive decisions? Do his explanations make sense at all? How has he evolved?
My advice is to avoid moving in with him. That shouldn't be on the table. Frankly, it doesn't sound like you should be with him at all, but I really don't have enough information to determine why you think any of this should be salvaged.
Assuming you have great reasons for wanting to try this again (do you?), you guys have to take this slow and learn to trust each other. No quick moves. No cohabitation. No leaving and coming back. It should just be about spending time together and establishing a routine.
Again, I can't tell you whether history will repeat itself, but if your gut tells you there's no trust in this relationship, that's all that matters, no matter how much he cries. If your gut wants you to try again, that's fine, but please try slowly.
Readers? Will he mess up again? Why does she want to give him another chance? What about the crying? Is her family relevant? Help.
Q: Hi Meredith,
My ex-girlfriend Charlotte broke up with me about 10 weeks ago. We had been dating for over six years, and I've known her (and loved her) for close to 10 years.
As a 27-year-old, that's quite a long time. More than a third of my life. I built my future up around this woman, and I truly felt we could have been happy together. We were even engaged at one point.
Both of us have some depressive issues and other things that have made our highs that much higher and our lows that much lower. It's not the first time she's broken up with me either. It certainly hasn't always been easy. I feel like we both matured as the relationship progressed, but I do recognize that I have shortcomings that got in the way at times. I'm trying to better myself as a person every day. I also acknowledge that she ultimately gave up on us. She stopped trying and cut me loose.
I'll be honest, after putting myself out there for such a long time and watching as love and attraction just died without my partner fighting for it, it makes me not want to ever put myself out there again. Perhaps people will say that this is typical, but it's all relative.
I know that this is final. I have to believe that. (She's also seeing someone else at present, and no, it didn't start before we broke up.) So how do I stop thinking about her? Yes, I can be busy and with friends and all of these things, but is there any way to halt the bad thoughts when they start or when I'm in my alone time?
I hear many things said on message boards and from friends when it comes to these types of breakups. (S)he's awful, (s)he's selfish, you can do better ... or plenty of other empty statements about how great the dumpee is or about how terrible the dumper is. I don't necessarily find those blanket statements helpful. So what can help me? I've been keeping myself busy, but we work in the same building and I'm reminded of her frequently and it's just not getting any easier. How do I change my thoughts from false hopes of reconciliation to acceptance?
– This Is It, Massachusetts
A: Ah, message boards. I can't knock them (this column is kind of a message board, I guess), but I can tell you that if people on breakup-specific message boards knew the cure to the common breakup, they would not be on message boards. Right?
You had a six-year relationship during some pretty important, formative years. Charlotte helped you become the person you are -- the guy who's smart enough to know that it's over. It's only been 10 weeks. That's less than three months. Please don't expect miracles here. Charlotte is dating someone else, but trust me, she's still processing her loss.
One thing you can do to move this along is to change your routine a bit. Reminders are inevitable, but if you try going somewhere new after work, you might create some independent memories and find some unfamiliar buildings and faces.
I also recommend falling in love with a book series or television show, something you'll discuss with your new inner-circle, not her. And please, if you have a history of depression, make sure that you're getting the right treatment/meds. This is a difficult time. Get all the help you need.
You can do little things here and there to make your life better, but you really have to just ride it out. Go find some routine changers and get off the message boards, please. Writing here is one thing, but Googling this stuff every night will make you crazy. Really, your time is better spent watching good TV.
Readers? Is it too soon for healing? How can he stop the bad thoughts? Any advice for this breakup? Help.
Q: I met this girl in college. She was an out-of-state student and was seeing someone at home. We became very good friends and started flirting with each other. Eventually, we started sleeping together. I was still mourning the end of a serious relationship and was not even considering dating this girl. I started to pull back when she seemed to want more attention than I wanted to give her. She started to go out with another guy (while still seeing the guy in her home state). It was at this point that I realized that I liked her -- because I was jealous.
I told her how I felt and she said the feeling was mutual so she stopped seeing the new guy. The last time she went home, she broke up with her boyfriend, so now it's just me. Thing is, this girl flirts with every (or almost every) decent looking man, she lies or tells half-truths, and she gets violent whenever we argue. The worst thing is that she is in denial about all of these things. She has had 13 boyfriends in her past. She's very nice, pretty, business-oriented like myself, and we definitely have a connection. Even though my gut feeling tells me to dump her, something within me thinks she has changed. She has confessed to a crazy past (being boy crazy, always getting drunk). Do people change?
– Do People Change?, Nashua
A: People change and grow up over time, but they can't be transformed into someone entirely new. This woman flirts, flights, and lies. If she's been that way from the start, that's just who she is, at least for right now, and right now is what counts.
To be fair, your "right now" is also a bit questionable. You started dating her while she was seeing someone else. You didn't commit to her until you were jealous. You seem drawn to the drama and admit to ignoring your gut. Are you ready to be in another relationship?
I don't care about her past (the 13 boyfriends don't bother me), but her present is a mess. If she's truly in denial about your relationship problems and sees no need to work on your issues, you're dating the wrong person.
Again, people can evolve, mature, and change, but only if they want to. Does she want to? Do you?
Readers? Anything worth saving here? Why is he drawn to her? What about the overlapping with the boyfriend back home? What does this have to do with him mourning his last relationship? Help.
Inimitable Love Letters blogger Meredith Goldstein will be back in the driver's seat this Wednesday, taking your questions on all things love and relationships. Log in to the chat below. We'll get rolling at 1 p.m.
Q: Hi Meredith,
I dated Jimmy for only a few months and we were friends for a bit before. In our friendship and relationship we always got along well and had a lot of fun. We were crazy for each other, or so I thought. During our relationship he was struggling with depression, money, family issues, finding work, etc. I was there for him and even helped him find a job.
He met someone at work who gave him her number. The next day he broke up with me. We didn't talk for about two years. Fast forward to today and we've started talking again. He caught me up on everything that happened in those two years and it was a lot, to say the least. But he's in a better situation than before, having a job in his field, saving money, and paying off school loans. He has spoken to a therapist to help with his depression and family issues and found a good circle of friends. He confessed he still loves me and was so stupid to let the best thing in his life walk away. He's taken responsibility for all his actions and wrong doings and apologized for everything. He wants another chance.
When we were together he would talk about marriage and our future. But let's not forget he ended it. I still have feelings but I'm not sure if I should try again. I'm scared of history repeating itself. Any advice?
– Confused, Boston
A: I'm stuck on the fact that you only dated Jimmy for a few months. In that short time, you managed to fall in love, talk about marriage, and experience epic heartbreak. Jimmy sounds intense. That's not always a good thing.
You're more than welcome to try it again with Jimmy (you obviously want to), but please keep him in perspective. In many ways, you barely know him. You'd just be dating him to find out whether he has any potential. There shouldn't be talk of love and marriage. Keep it simple, at least for now.
Also, you wrote a lot about Jimmy in your letter, but told us very little about yourself. And it seems that when you reunited with Jimmy, all you did was talk about his issues. Perhaps that's just how you framed it, but I'm concerned that Jimmy only cares about Jimmy. You're just as important. If you don't feel like a main character in this story, please bail.
My gut tells me that Jimmy is temporary, but I understand why you want to try. Just pay attention and remember that he's just a guy who walked away after a few months. This second chance doesn't have to be so monumental.
Readers? Does Jimmy deserve another shot? Is he important? What's happening here? Help.
Go celebrate Memorial Day.
But if you're stuck at a computer, here's some Love Letters spam, also known as the letters that come in a bit too vague, short, nonsensical, off-topic, over my head, or obvious for me to answer. Enjoy and help. - Meredith
I am in love with a coworker but she doesn't know it. We are friends. I want to be more than friends but she just told me she went back to an ex. I feel so awful and confused! Do I tell her how I feel or just sulk?
I've been dating a guy few months ago and he is a very loving, caring, romantic guy, im start falling ti him but he said as of now we dont have any commitment and falling in love is not allowed, but i cant hide it im totally fall in love with him and he said also we need to enjoy each other company, and now i can feel it that he wont need me anymore bcuz he wont reply all my texts and dont answers my call it really hurt....what shall i do i dont want to lose him.
i cant forget about my ex but he moved on is he the 1,or am i just wasting my time
about 6 months ago i met this guy. He was everything and much more i ever looked for in a guy. The first question he asked me was how far i was from getting married. That was weird and it stuck to my memory. We got to know each other more and he would keep skimping for me to kiss him. I kept telling him i wasnt going to make it that easy for him. He kept telling me how much he liked me and got jealous if other guys gave me attention and stayed near me. I finally agreed to go visit him and we had a great time! He told me i was a great kisser and i decided to allow things to go their way. Then he started ignoring me and avoiding me. After a while i asked him what was going on and he told me it would be better if we were just friends. I respect this but i have no idea what made him change his mind...hes going away for a while and he has issues, but who doesnt? I dont know what to do. I miss him so much and i dont get to see him anymore. I never did anything bad to him except to tell him how special he was to me. And i truly meant it. Why did he change his mind? Did i put him off?
Stella, South Africa
Thought you might like to know Meredith, that some of us can no longer read the comments at all. Operating on a Macbook Pro, using OSX 10.5.8. No problems for years, just recently.
My boyfriend of 2 months told me the thought something was missing in our relationship, although he cares for me very much, he said he was hurt real bad in a relationship just before we met and is having a hard time to love again, what is your perspective on this, and how can I win his heart, we get along so well.
Ive been comingiling with my significant other for two years now. we first started off as booty call partners. then i left my significant other and began a manogamist relationship with him. before we became only lovers to each other he kissed me. then one night i guess i enjoyed the kissing a little to much. that was the last time he kissed me or even pecked me on my neck or back or anywhere else. ive been asking him why. i ask him what is the reason. he says im paraniod. what do you think?
Tear Drop, Florida
I am currently facing what feels like the worst problem I've faced in my life and with no idea where to turn, I'm asking for your guidance and compassion. I've been married for two years to the love of my life, but for the past year or so, our life together hasn't been what we dreamed about when we got married. My husband has serious anger issues and it has felt like he is angry about anything and everything. When he's angry, he yells, shuts me out, and says incredibly hurtful things about our marriage and me. He's been depressed and seeing a therapist, but his anger has been tearing us apart. I've seriously considered divorce several times over the past year.
Then, about six months ago, I did a terrible thing. My husband and I were at an event and drank way too much. We befriended a lesbian couple seated near us and continued to drink with them at a nearby bar after the event ended. At some point during the very hazy drunken night, one of the women and I kissed briefly in the bathroom. I have no idea why I did something like that. I woke up the next morning with a hangover and an indistinct memory of what had happened. I didn't tell my husband.
He recently had to take a trip without me. While he was there, we began emailing each other during the day and something about the distance and writing instead of talking allowed us to be honest about our feelings about our relationship without arguing. We both expressed sadness at how badly our marriage had broken down and we talked about how to fix things. We talked about how to change the patterns we've fallen into when fighting and how to rekindle our love.
For a long time I was able to pretend the kiss had never happened, but recently it has become all that I can think about. I am consumed with guilt and regret. I'm having trouble concentrating at work and I want to cry every time I look at my husband. Things are slowly getting better between us, but I feel awful every second of every day. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and I think the kiss happened because I was so unhappy for a long time and just wanted to feel loved/desired. I've barely looked at another man since I met my husband, so something about this woman felt safe or better somehow. I was drunk, confused, and very sad. I know I can rationalize my behavior all I want, but it doesn't erase what I've done.
Which brings me to my questions: Should I confess this to my husband? Will the amount of time that it took me to tell him ruin my marriage? Will telling him just hurt him and make things worse? If I should tell him, how do I go about doing that? How do I move on from this?
– Horrified and Terrified, Massachusetts
A: If you're feeling awful "every second of every day," tell him what happened. Confess during one of your relationship talks, when you're both in a good mood and really listening.
But please don't let the kiss become too important. You guys are focusing on what counts -- your communication skills. If you let a drunken bathroom kiss become too much of a red herring, you'll begin to forget the point. I'm pretty sure that the kiss is not the point.
It's not that I condone the kiss, but I do want you to put it in perspective. Are you still thinking about it because you're unhappy with your physical relationship with your husband? Are you obsessed with it because you're confused about your feelings for women? Or are you simply freaked out by the idea of a cheat? Please spend some time defining your angst because your husband will have questions, probably more about your feelings about the kiss than the kiss itself.
I also recommend that you get your own therapist. I'm thrilled that your husband is seeking professional help for his depression, but you also have big questions. You're also in need of a safe space.
And maybe I'm overreacting here, but if you have any fears about how your husband will react to your kiss disclosure, please make that confession in therapy (a couples session) where you'll both have help processing his feelings. There's no need to go through this alone.
Readers? Is the kiss a big deal? Why is she thinking about it so much? Should she tell him and if so, how? What’s happening here? Help.
Q: Dear Meredith,
I have been feeling very frustrated with the dating scene as of late. I'm 25 and after taking about a year off from dating, I decided to join an online dating site in March. I had used this particular site in the past, and while I didn't end up with a long-term relationship, I did meet a few nice guys along with one guy who I really seemed to click with. Unfortunately, after a few dates, I got the whole "I'm just not ready to be dating" speech, so that was the end of that. That was really what spurred my year-long break from dating, during which I decided to focus on myself and have fun being single.
This time around, I have communicated with a couple of guys who seemed interesting and had a lot in common with me. However, I seem to keep coming across the same issue with all of the guys I have been in touch with online. Initially, these guys come off in their messages as intelligent, confident, and interesting. With all of them, it has progressed to the point where they ask me out on a date, and then ask to text prior to the date. I don't know what it is, but it's like the second we switch to texting, they are completely different people. I'm not just talking about them texting like tweens, but more specifically, their behavior comes across as odd.
For example, one guy I was planning on going out with didn't call me to finalize a date/time to meet (which he specifically said he would do), but instead made a bizarre excuse about a plumber being at work, followed by two texts contradicting themselves about him being confused as to what time he was supposed to call. This was just one of example of a series of bizarre texts and excuses. Needless to say, I did not end up going out with him. More recently, I had made plans to go out with a different guy this past Saturday. On Thursday of last week, I asked him to let me know where and when we would be meeting as soon as his plans were finalized (he is from out of state and was planning on being in town for the weekend and staying with a friend). I didn't hear anything from him until 5 p.m. Saturday night, and even then, his text to me was basically just a "Hey you."
I guess my questions are: Do most guys wait until the last minute to set up date plans? I don't mind not hearing a confirmation until right before the date, but when there is no time/place agreed upon, I think it's rude to make plans at the last minute. Are my expectations unrealistic? Does this all boil down to these guys being afraid to take things offline? Should I just give up online dating? Since I have had some success with online dating in the past, I feel like I should stick with it, but it frustrates me that this time around it's just been one disappointment after another.
– Over the Dating Scene, MA
A: There's a lot of nonsense in the online dating world, OTDS. There's also a lot of nonsense in the off-line dating world, so it's difficult to avoid. Some people are rude. Some people don't know how to communicate. And yes, some people would rather send a bunch of weird text messages than actually see you in person. But there are good catches out there, which is why you have to keep at it.
You can benefit from your negative experiences by setting some rules for yourself. You now know that you should avoid texting before a first date. Don't give anyone your phone number until you've already agreed on the specifics of a plan (time, date, place, etc.). Some of these people will flake out no matter what, but hopefully you'll cut out some of the ridiculousness by confirming the details of a date before there's any off-line communication.
For the record, your expectations are fair. It's rude to make last-minute plans, especially for a first date. Just keep working at it and balancing your dating life with friends and good television. If you don't take time off from the hunt, you're bound to lose your cool.
Readers? Have people stopped making plans? Does texting complicate the process? When do you give someone your number? Should she continue online dating or try something else? Help.
Meredith Goldstein returns to take your questions about love and relationships today at 1 p.m. Log in below.
We'll chat at 1. Finally.
Q: Hi Meredith,
I have a bit of an issue. I am a senior in college, soon to be moving to D.C. When I was looking for jobs in D.C. I stayed with a friend I have known since childhood. While out one night, I met one of his friends and we instantly hit it off. We like the same music, shows, have the same aspirations in life, and he is extremely close to his family, as am I. He also makes me laugh like no other, and we have the same humor and outlook on life. I have never felt that type of connection with anyone before. After I left D.C. that weekend, we began texting, emailing, and Skyping constantly every day. He asked me to visit D.C. again two months later and I did. We had had an amazing weekend (or so I thought), holding hands, getting dinner, etc.
I left and all of a sudden he started acting weird. He didn't text me or call me the whole day when I got home, and the rest of the week we barely talked. I finally asked him what was up, and he told me that he thought some of the conversation was forced when I came to visit the second time, and he just thought it wasn't the same as before.
So here I am in limbo. It might also help to add that I am moving to D.C. this summer, and am very close with my friend that is also his best friend, so I will most likely be seeing him often. What do I do? Do I ask him to give me another shot? I am heartbroken over someone who I really thought was the one. I want to be with him, but it just seems he is completely over it I guess.
– Lost in Translation, NY
A: Don't beg for another shot, LIT. You shouldn't have to convince this guy that you're worth his time. You have too much to do right now. Be selfish and focus on your move.
I'm sure that your two weekends and Skype sessions were great, but you barely got to know him. I believe that you fell for him quickly because he made your big move to D.C. seem a lot less scary. You fantasized about having a new life with a boyfriend who was already waiting for you. It was a nice thought, but you're making this life change on your own. It's a bold move and it's all yours. And frankly, when you get down there, you might be thrilled to have your options open.
My advice is to tell him that you're disappointed but that you understand. Focus on your new home, and if you happen to see him in D.C. (and you will), let him worry about whether you'll give him another shot.
You're allowed to be a little bit heartbroken, but shake it off. You don't have time to let this guy bring you down.
Readers? Should she ask him for another chance? What happened here? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.