Q: Dear Globe Love Letters,
Nearly three years ago, I randomly met a girl while taking a walk one night around my apartment complex. This girl also lived in my apartment complex, and we instantly hit it off. By that January, we were dating regularly.
That spring, I inexplicably told this beautiful young woman that I needed time to myself, even though I knew I had tremendously strong feelings toward her. We remained friends but didn't see each other as often, and in the fall we tried dating again.
But when we resumed dating, I still didn't feel it was the right time for me to be in a relationship because of different personal issues, mainly that I was scared of how quickly things were progressing, and because of self-confidence issues, which I have since worked out.
Also, when we started dating again that fall, I was extremely unhappy with my job in Boston, so when I found an opportunity with a different company in another state, I quickly packed my bags and left. A large part of the reason I left so hastily was because I couldn't admit to myself the feelings I had toward this girl, and I literally ran away from the situation.
Although I think I made the right move vocationally, I could have definitely handled things better from a relationship standpoint. We talked a few times the first year I was away, and saw each other once when I visited that following summer.
While away, both of us saw other people, but I didn't meet anyone I liked as much as her. About a year ago while still out of the state, I went through some tough times at my job and became severely depressed and homesick. At that point, we stopped talking completely because I cut myself off from everyone.
This past spring, there was a job opening through my company back in the Northeast, and I willingly accepted. Right around the same time, the girl who I had left made it public on Facebook that she was in a relationship. I sent one email to her this past summer saying I was back in the area, but we haven't talked since. I don't feel comfortable contacting her because she looks extremely happy in all of the Facebook photos with her boyfriend, and I truly want her to be happy. I most definitely do not want to complicate her life any more than already did last year.
I guess I don’t really have a question. I would just like to use this column to tell this girl what I never had the courage to do before, which is that I loved her. I never knew what the emotion felt like with someone outside my family at the time, but I now have the perspective and relativity to know what I felt was real. On some levels I'm scared I'll never feel this way toward another human being again.
I know if it was meant to be, it'll be. I just wish there was something I could say or do that could convince her, that if she ever did let me back in her life, in any capacity, that I wouldn't run off again. Any thoughts?
– Loved Her, Boston
A: "I would just like to use this column to tell this girl what I never had the courage to do before, which is that I loved her."
No, LH. That's not what we're here for. You packed your letter with personal details so that you'd be recognizable to this woman (I assume she reads Love Letters), but I removed most of them. Telling someone you love them in a blog is a seriously passive move. If you want to tell her that you made a mistake, you must do it directly, like a grown-up.
My advice (because you need some) is to give yourself more time to get adjusted to Boston life. Your desire to reach out to this woman might be about loneliness. You shouldn't make any big decisions about your needs until you're used to living here again.
If you're still desperate to email her in a few more months, you can. Just be honest. You don't know for sure that you wouldn't run off again. I'm certainly not convinced. Just tell her what you know. As in, "I have no idea why I cut you off so many times. I feel like an idiot for letting you go. If you're ever single and open to trusting me again, I'd be thrilled to take you to dinner."
Don't make any big promises. Don't be passive. Give yourself time.
Readers? Should he reach out even if she has a boyfriend? Does he really want her back? Why did he leave her so many times? What should he tell her if he reaches out? Think she's reading this? 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 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.