Mornin'. Here's a letter:
Q: Hi Meredith,
I love your column and read it every day. I am hoping for some great advice. I apologize in advance as my story/question is a little long winded but I think the background is needed.
I am in my mid 40s and was married for 10 years and have 3 great kids. My husband left me last summer for a younger woman and we have been separated since then. He and the other woman broke up shortly after he left, and he wanted to come home. I tried hard to forgive him but his lies and general treatment of me for so long makes this impossible so we have decided to divorce. I struggled and was quite sad and depressed for a while but do feel better and stronger each day. My self-esteem was pretty shot but this is getting better too. My kids seem to be doing OK as well. They see their dad often and though I haven't totally forgiven him, we are generally civil and courteous with each other.
Last week an old boyfriend/ friend was in town for a few days. We dated almost 20 years ago and have remained friends since then. We dated exclusively for a couple years, had a couple of years as friends with benefits, and for the past 15 years or so have been just friends. Before I was married and had kids, I would visit him out west and we would even go on group vacations together with other mutual friends. Our exchanges for the past 5 years have been very informal and have been kept to a minimum (a few calls a year or see each other at a wedding).
When he was here last week, our relationship took a turn. His first night in town, we went out for drinks and I went home with our normal platonic good bye hug and kiss. His 2nd night in town, we went out with some of his college friends and had the same platonic ending except that when I got home, he had texted me he didn't want me to leave at the end of the night. After some pretty flirty texts back and forth on his last day, and a couple of drinks, we spent the night together.
We kept it pretty PG-13 and it was great night. We have texted back and forth a few times and he called me over the weekend when he got home. He is single, never married, and lives 3000 miles away, and as I said I have 3 kids, so the prospect of anything more than just some fun is out of the question.
So, my quandary: I am going to CA to see an old girlfriend and want to spend another night with him. Should I just call him and tell him this or should I see if I see him out there and see what happens. I don't want to put any pressure on him and am not sure if I call him I will put him on the spot asking to see him. I want to see even if he isn't interested in another night together and want him to know the strictly friends option is great, too. If I hadn't just been with him, I would absolutely have called him and tried to see him but this new twist in our friendship makes me uncertain.
One other thing which confuses the situation but may help with the comments/advice -- when he was out here, I did ask him why he never married and he gave me the best answer. He said he feels that out of all the people he has dated/loved, I was the only one he could have imagined marrying but the timing wasn't right since neither one of us was ready back in our 20s. So, while this was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me it also complicates things as I don't want to read more into a fun night between friends than just a fun night.
Thanks for any thoughts/comments etc.
– Friendsormore, Framingham
A: Um, Friendsormore, you're definitely more than friends. Call him. Make plans. See him again if you want to. I know this whole thing is scary, but he has given you every indication that hanging out wouldn't be an inconvenience. It sounds like it would be his pleasure.
Yes, there's a small chance that he said over-the-top things about his feelings for you because he got caught up in the moment (I'm not so convinced that you're the reason he avoided marriage), but, if it turns out that he's being disingenuous or has bad intentions, so be it. He lives on the other side of the country.
Your stress seems to be about managing expectations, fear of rejection, and becoming a burden, and I'm sure that has a lot to do with how your marriage played out. This guy isn't your ex. Don't assume he'd rather be somewhere else. And please, don't be afraid to tell him what you want. If you want to see him, make it known. If you want to be more than friends despite the distance, make it known. If you're secretly hoping that he might be open to something more, make it known. Keeping silent about this stuff doesn't help anyone.
And consider that reconnecting with this guy means that you're ready to date in your own hometown. If he can't offer more than a long-distance flirtation, perhaps there are some local options. It does sound like your self-esteem and home life might be repaired enough to try.
Readers? Should she see him or will it be just another let down? Is it possible he's open to more than just an occasional meet-up? Why does she fear that he might not want to see her? Is she ready to date? Share.
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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 novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.