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He can't spell

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  June 28, 2012 08:41 AM

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Q: I dated a guy five years ago for almost a year. I broke it off because I no longer found myself attracted to him and for some reason everything he did irritated me. However, we have stayed in touch over the years, talking at least once a month. Lately I have been spending time with him and find myself starting to have some of the old feelings from when I first met him.

My problem is that I can't seem to get over the fact that he can't spell. I find it a huge turnoff that every single text he sends me has misspelled words. It makes him look stupid, but I know he is not. He does have a form of dyslexia that I think contributes to this problem, but he refuses to even attempt to get help. He is also extremely socially awkward to the point that he embarrasses me.

I feel horrible saying all this because he is the kindest and most generous guy. I know he loves me and would do anything for me. He always has. I love being with him and he is my best friend. I don't want to hurt him again. We are about to go on a vacation together and I'm hoping my feelings will continue to get stronger. We both want a family and he would be a great father and family man. I just have trouble overlooking these problems.

Am I being too critical?

– Confused, Mass.


A: I'm so glad that someone finally wrote a letter about misspelled texts and emails. They can be quite a turnoff. We're so dependent on writing these days. It's a necessary skill, especially for people who are dating online.

Many people have asked me whether bad writing is a deal-breaker -- whether they're allowed to reject someone for putting an apostrophe in the wrong place or writing "there" instead of "their." I always tell those people to consider the spirit of the message as much as the writing style.

In your case, this isn't a new relationship and you understand the spirit of the messages. You know this guy well and you love him -- just not enough. You find him socially awkward and embarrassing. You want him to get help for a problem he doesn't want to fix. You're hoping that you can bring yourself to love him more, but it's just not happening naturally.

My advice? Take that vacation. Immerse yourself in him. It's a good way to figure out whether you can actually do more than just date this guy. Can you see yourself living with him? Do you want to see him every morning for the rest of your life? If the answer is the same as it was five years ago, bail as soon as you can. Better to break up with him than string him along. Just be prepared to really lose him this time. You'll need to find a real best friend.

Readers? Are you bothered by misspelled texts and emails? Does it matter more when you're online dating? Is spelling really the problem for this letter writer? Is there hope here? Is she being too critical? Help.


– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

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.

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