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After a death in her family, she disappeared

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  July 9, 2012 08:30 AM

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Q: Hi Meredith,

I have been dating this girl for about three months. Her last relationship ended in divorce about a year ago. Everything was going well, but a few weeks ago her uncle died. The same day this happened, I was supposed to meet her dad.

She was very close to her uncle. Ever since this happened, she has been very distant with me. I made it clear that I'm here for her, but she has just put up a wall with the world. I know everyone deals with death in different ways, but is this normal? I attended the funeral, which she appreciated. I have tried contacting her for the last week or two but no response. Before her uncle passed away, she was praising me to her friends, family, and co-workers and telling them what a good guy I am. I don't understand why she is not talking to me.

What should I do?

– She's gone, Fresno

A: It's difficult to know whether she's distancing herself because of the loss or because she just doesn't want this anymore, SG. I wish I could read her mind but I can't. All I know is that there are ways to be persistent without being intrusive, and that no matter what, you have to protect yourself.

You've probably called her a few times, but talking on the phone can be overwhelming when you're coping with a loss. I'd wait a few more days (just to give her adequate space) and then send her an email explaining that you're very worried about her and that you'd like to see her.

Tell her that if she wants you to go away, that's fine, but she has to give you some guidance -- even if that means replying to your email with a one-line response. Explain that you're wondering whether you should just show up. Try something like, "I'd just want to be there for you. Please, please tell me what you need."

I don't want you to burden her with your questions, but frankly, it's been a few weeks. She's a grown-up. She owes you some honesty.

I assume that if you put it like that, she'll respond. Just know that when she does, it might not be great news for your relationship. Prepare yourself for the possibility that she changed her mind about what she wants. It happens.

Readers? Should he just show up? Should he contact her friends? Should he give her a few more weeks? What does she owe him? What's happening here? Is this normal? 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.
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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.

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