An Update And Question From A Former Third Wheel

Now is the time to ask a question about your relationship (or the relationship you’re looking for). Email your question to [email protected] or fill out this form. And based on today, it’s clear we love an update – with a new question! Former letter writers from all years, please tell us how you’re doing and what you need to know (if anything). Email your update to [email protected] with “UPDATE” in the subject line. Make sure you include info about which letter you wrote.


Hi Meredith,

I wrote this letter.

A few days before it was published I realized things were pretty hopeless, and maybe no matter what she said I didn’t want to be with someone who could be so unkind. So I came home one day and told her I wished her well but it was clear she was more invested in her friendship than in our marriage, and that I thought we should separate. We decided relationships required work but it was too much to compromise when we were starting at different ends of the spectrum. It was surprisingly amicable.

For financial reasons we (all 3 of us!) had to stick it out in the same house for a few months until they moved out. That was not great but we survived. However, a week after they moved out, the ex was over to see the dogs and “just wanted to let me know before I found out elsewhere” that they had, in fact, started a romantic relationship some months earlier.

I’m now officially divorced but still struggling to shed this past relationship. COVID probably didn’t help. I find myself insanely angry that they got to post “quaran-team” photos while I spent over a year completely alone apart from occasional outdoor activities with friends. They were the unkind ones but landed on their feet and I’m the one who suffered financially and emotionally. I have regular dreams where I have it out and scream my anger at them but I’m more than a thousand miles away, and that would accomplish nothing in the real world. I wish I was above it. I wisely unfriended/unfollowed everything to avoid giving myself more grief.

I’ve been in counseling through most of the last year working on how to trust again. I’ve been on a few dates with people I’ve met through dating apps, but even when they seem great, my subconscious freaks out and I run away. I hate to admit that I ghosted someone recently because I panicked. It’s been more than two years and I just don’t seem to be getting over it. Rationally I understand, value myself, and believe future relationships won’t all end with the other person “getting sick of me,” but emotionally I don’t believe it. Part of me wants to just focus on being happy with the rest of my life and accept being single forever. However, being a lesbian where I live, the numbers are not in my favor, so I can’t really just go with the flow and hope I meet someone; it takes some work (usually online, maybe through friends) to find prospective romantic partners. Do I just give it more time and hope I’ll somehow learn to trust again?

– Former Third Wheel


Please give it more time. Also, surround yourself with friends who love your company. Honestly, what happened with your ex is not a pattern. It doesn’t foreshadow what will happen in any other relationship. I know you know that, of course. I understand why your heart can’t catch up with your brain.

If there are apps that give you the option to make friends, do those. Also, join groups that put you in the right communities without every activity feeling like a date. It sounds like you’re not quite ready, and that the past year has been awful – and of course it has! You ended your relationship in 2019 and we all know what came next. It was a lot to process at once. Give yourself a break and remove any deadlines. You say it’s difficult to find romantic partners where you live, but you found someone to ghost. That means the women are there.

Continue to get the help you need. Talk to that professional about life outside of dating, too. There is so much to you, beyond partnership.

Honestly, it’s OK that you’re still upset and a little skittish. You’re working through it. Sometimes that’s easier to do by hanging out with the people who already love you and easing up on the pressure.

– Meredith

Readers? Is it OK that it’s taking a while to get over this anger and fear of trusting someone new? Was it difficult to move on from anything in 2020?

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