We had some comment bashing yesterday. Please be nice to one another and try not to flag comments unless they're truly offensive. It makes too much work for our moderators. I'll quote the three "rules of the road," as explained by Patrick Swayze in the legendary bar-bouncer movie "Roadhouse": 1. Expect the unexpected. 2. Take it outside. 3. Be nice. I think those rules apply to Love Letters quite nicely.
Also, I noticed on Twitter that the Charles Hotel staff put out a note that said they're excited to serve us some grilled cheese on Feb. 12. How wonderful.
As you'll see, this letter's headline is pretty literal.
About 6 years ago, I met a guy from Manhattan who was in Boston visiting his family. We stayed friends over the years, meeting up for dinner or a glass of wine whenever he was in town visiting his family. About a year and a half ago, we started dating.
He's 43 and I'm 32, neither one of us has been married before. The relationship went well for a few months and then he seemed to start to lose interest in me. He wouldn't call or text as much. He was still very cuddly, but we weren't having sex. The relationship ended 8 months later when I got upset that he took a female friend to a Knicks/Celtics game with his niece and nephew. He told me he invited about three people before he invited this girl. I wasn't one of the people he had tried to invite. I was upset. He stopped talking to me. And that was the end.
I had a difficult time with the breakup, partly because he had just stopped talking to me. Every now and then I would have a weak moment, and send him a text telling him I missed him. And then I'd beat myself up for the next day or two. Eventually, it got easier.
Until mid summer -- when he started emailing me photos of the puppy he was getting. I responded telling him I was happy for him but that it was difficult for me to see photos of the puppy because it was something we talked about when we were dating and because I wouldn't be a part of it now. He told me he wanted me to meet her and invited me down to NYC.
I visited him a few times in the fall. We never talked about our breakup. The weekend visits were good. Again, he was cuddly, but that was it.
This past weekend he came to Boston with his puppy, who is now 7 months old. His plan was to get to Boston for dinner on Friday but he wasn't able to leave NYC as planned. He arrived at his parents’ house late Friday night. On Saturday, he came over to my place. We spent the day and night together. We went for a long run and stopped for food and drinks afterwards. Later that night we went out for dinner, had a bottle of wine and good conversation. He stayed over my place and the next morning and did more than cuddling for the first time in almost a year.
On Sunday, we spent the day at his parents' house. It was his brother's birthday so his brother's family was there and his mom made dinner and a cake.
When it was time to go to bed, he wanted us to sleep on the floor in the den so that the puppy could sleep with us. I refused to sleep on the floor and asked why we couldn't sleep upstairs in the guest bedroom like we have every other time I've stayed with him at his parents’ house. He insisted we sleep in the den. Still I refused and slept on the couch, which was a love seat. I woke up 2 hours later wanting to stretch my legs. He told me to go upstairs and sleep in the guest room. I walked up to the guest bedroom, but thought if I was going to sleep by myself, I might as well sleep in my own bed. I went back downstairs and told him I was calling a cab.
He called me stubborn and wanted to know why I was fighting about this. My feeling was that he can sleep with his dog any night. He hadn't seen me in a month and was going to make me sleep on the floor???
I said goodbye when the cab came. He didn't say anything or get up from the den. I have no intentions of calling, texting, or apologizing. I'm sure I won't hear from him either.
Was I right or wrong to leave in the middle of the night? Should I have just given in and slept on the floor? Did I make too big of a deal over sleeping on the floor?
– Eyes Wide Open, Boston
EWO, I don't think you left in the middle of the night because he wanted you to sleep on the floor. I think you left because this man has a history of doing whatever he wants to do and making demands without consideration for your feelings. He disappeared after the fight about the basketball game, resurfaced with no warning because he got a dog, and then reestablished physical intimacy without explaining what had changed.
If the two of you really understood each other, you probably wouldn't have freaked out at his parents' house. You would have given him a little floor kick, crawled upstairs to the guest room, and made up with him in the morning. But you guys aren't a couple. You can't have a quick fight, talk about it, and then make up. Everything means more than it should.
I think the floor-puppy thing simply pushed you over the edge. Some readers will tell you to let this guy go -- and I'm with them. He hasn't earned much from you. But if you want to feel like you did all you could, you might let him know how confusing this has been for you. Explain that you freaked out at his parents' house because you realized how little control you had over anything. Feeling powerless is overwhelming, and he has demanded the power in this relationship from start to finish.
Funny about the dog. I like dogs. Who doesn't? But pets have less emotional demands than humans (obviously). They don't need answers. They go with the flow. Perhaps at 42, this guy has finally found himself the exact right mate.
Readers? Was this about the dog? Did she overreact? Let’s do this thing.
Speaking of Love
"It’s amazing and beautiful and uniquely wonderful, but unfortunately, elusive and sadly ephemeral."
— Aziz Ansari, on love, in 2013
CAN’T HELP MYSELF is Meredith’s memoir about giving advice, learning from readers, working with an ex, and moms and daughters. It’s also a story about how an online community can become another kind of family.