Q: Dear Meredith,
I just spent the weekend with a wonderful man. We had a great time together -- kayaking, beer tasting, festival-attending, and hanging out with friends. We can talk about anything or nothing, we enjoy similar activities, he is a social creature and gets along with anyone (which is a huge plus for me), and we're very attracted to each other.
The catch? We've already dated. For five years, almost entirely long-distance (we went to different colleges). And he broke up with me because of the distance and he was tired of the commitment.
It's been over three years since the break-up and we've kept in touch. I've dated and he's dated but we're both single right now. A few months ago we chatted and he mentioned wanting to visit me (he lives in another city) and we made the plans.
My conundrum is this: He's an amazing person and does have many of the qualities I'm looking for in a man. For the past few months I've been thinking about him and wondering what we could be if we got back together.
There are still sticking points: He's Catholic and I'm not religious, he used to be a little selfish but that may have changed, he used to be a bit of a commitment-phobe but again, that may have changed. And he lives in this other city.
Am I simply experiencing some serious FOMO? Am I just imagining what he could be? Is there reason to find out what might be there? I have a lot of friends in his city right now and I'm having a very difficult time finding a job in the Boston area. Moving might be an option, but is this a good reason?
– Wondering, Somerville
A: This has nothing to do with FOMO (fear of missing out). This is about you having feelings for an ex whose intentions are unclear. You miss him and never got over him. Now you're rediscovering each other. That's fine ... but you can't sit around wondering about it for too long. And you can't pretend that a weekend vacation is real life. Do you guys want to talk to each other on a random Wednesday? Would the weekend have been as fun if you hadn't packed it with activities?
My advice is to tell him what's going on in your head. He'll either look nervous and excited or he'll say, "Woah, woah. It was just a weekend."
After you ask him some questions, ask a few of yourself. Your strong interest in the ex and your thoughts about the move suggest that you're just not thrilled with your place in life right now. If he wasn't in the picture, would you be thinking about moving anyway? Are you feeling stagnant? Where is your dream job?
I want you to figure out some ways to improve your situation on your terms. Your ex seems to represent a better and more exciting life, in general. Figure out what you want and how you can work toward that life with or without him. Then, if he (or someone else) comes along for the ride, it's just a bonus.
Readers? Am I right to say that the ex represents an escape from stagnancy? If he's selfish and afraid of commitment will he be honest with her about what he wants? Should she consider moving either way if she's unhappy here? What are his intentions? Should she tell him what she's thinking? Discuss.
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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.