Updates and more updates

As promised, today is an update day.

Thanks to the letter writers for keeping us posted.

Our first update is from the recent letter writer who was trying to decide whether he should take a cross-country trip with a new suitor.

Here's the update:

Given that the response to my letter was fairly overwhelming, I decided to heed the majority's advice and go on the trip. The Lumberjack (my friends' nickname for him is LJ) began his trip alone. I met up with him in Colorado and we drove to California together. It was great because I had extra vacation time, and had a few friends I wanted to visit on the West Coast, so I killed a few birds with one stone.

Turns out, he wasn't nuts at all. LJ was great. The trip was great. Everything was great. I had never been "real camping" before, and it was quite the experience, where rugged meets romantic. We actually got to California fairly quickly, and once there, spent some time hanging out with each other, and even introduced one another to our respective friends.

As for now, we still talk fairly often. I've been on a few other dates with other people since returning to Boston, and by no means consider LJ and I exclusive. We say things like "maybe we'll be in the same city again," and in the back of my mind, I'd like that, but in reality, things have returned to normal as far as my dating life is concerned.

How nice. The next update is from a woman who wanted to know if her old friend was more than a friend. Here's the update:

Hi Meredith-

I am the LW who was separated last summer when my husband left me for another woman. In February, an old friend/boyfriend was in town and we spent a few nights out as friends and one as more than friends. I went out west to visit another old friend and had written to ask advice about asking him about another night together.

My friend and I spent a lot of time together including two nights that included lots of snuggling and kissing but no more than that for a few reasons. He said he wanted to be intimate but didn't want to do more until the divorce was final and I decided that my feelings for him are probably too confusing for me to just fool around with him and not want more. He told me several times how much he loves me and how great and beautiful person I am. He also said I should start dating here. So the signals were a little crossed as he definitely acted more than friends, went of his way to spend time with me, and was very affectionate, but indicated that we don't have a future other than maybe a fun weekend here and there.

So, for me the weekend still ended OK. My self esteem took a beating from all the lies, manipulations, etc. my husband pulled last year and being with this guy definitely makes me feel good. I think the world of this guy and realize he does me as well (as friends) and this is good- even if nothing else ever happens.

So tell the LL ladies no bridesmaid dresses in the near future.

Very good. The next update is from a recent letter writer who wondered if she should be dating her ex-husband. The letter really got to me. The update makes me want to cry to a Joni Mitchell album. Here's it is:

I wrote to you about a month ago about trying to get back with my ex-husband. Many people, including you, asked me to please update when I had some news. So, I am writing to give you some news, and to answer some of the excellent questions you and your readers asked.

1) Why did we get a divorce? We were both very young, argued about money, child care (we had children right away), and there was a fair amount of jealousy on both our parts. We both originally thought we wanted the marriage and family aspirations, but it wasn’t as easy as we thought. I can't speak for him but it seemed to me it just wasn't as much fun as he thought it would be. And though I loved having him as a husband and was very attracted to him, he rejected me over and over. I became lonely and attention-starved. I began to go out dancing with my sister who was also married. Neither one of us cheated on our husbands, but the activity and music was thrilling, and I loved the attention I got on the dance floor that I didn't get at home. This really took the last breath of life out of our marriage.

2) Other readers asked if I had recently broken off with my last boyfriend. The answer is no, it has been a year and I was more than ready for it.

3) Am I lonely? Sure, I'm lonely. But, I've always loved my ex -- he just can't see it, though I think he loves me as the mother of his children. I can see now that it is not romantic. We did try getting back together at least twice in the past. He's not comfortable with physical closeness.

4) You said to try flirting with him. I did and got either no response or a pulling away type of response. In other words, I touched him a few times while I was talking to him and he acted like it stung. I could tell he was very uncomfortable with the physical closeness (nothing new in our relationship).

5) A reader said, "maybe he's like an old pair of slippers" -- just familiar. Well, he certainly is familiar, I admit that. But he's also someone I’ve loved for more than half my life.

6) What would my family and friends think? I think they would be mostly happy. My sons are very nice people and if they thought that I was happy, they’d by happy. And they’re both very close to him, too.

7) Another reader asked poignantly, "why would I use a Joni Mitchell song as my sign off, one that dealt with heartache, devils and deeds." That's a great question. In our early relationship, he introduced me to Joni Mitchell and we both enjoyed her music very much. I was once a professional singer and I can "cover" Joni Mitchell pretty well. That song was one I used to sing to him. This is probably not fair, but he reads this column sometimes, and I thought that he might see it and know it was me talking about still loving him. (Sigh.)

8) A reader also mentioned how romantic it would be if we actually worked it out after all these years. He or she said, [you could use that song – Save the Best for Last]. How ironic because I’ve dreamed of getting back with him and using that as "our song." It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

So, anyway – I tried everything I could except for the negligee, which I think would only serve to make him run out the door. Also, I've asked him out and he blew me off. And the last few times I asked him if he wanted help with his remodel he said he was all set. It didn't work. He's very nice, I love him very much, and he has great qualities. I think he loves me as a friend, but unfortunately that's all. I’m sorry I could have had a nice fairy tale ending to give you all. One thing I do know is that I'll have a dear friend for life. And I’m happy with that.


I Wish I had a River I Could Skate Away on

I'm sorry, IWIHARICSAO. I'm thinking of that Joni song ... how does it go? "I know that I miss you, but I don't know where I stand." I suppose there's some relief in knowing where you stand. The next update is from a recent letter writer who was dating someone new and losing a family member at the same time. Her update is a thank you.

My mother, in fact, passed away shortly after I wrote the letter. It was hard, it was tough, but it was nothing we couldn't handle. She was fortunate, as is my family now, to have robust support system and so many caring friends. As for my guy pal, he's continued to be a wonderful friend -- not only was he there for me (and continues to be) he told me that he expects me to be there when things are both rough, good, annoying, lovely and boring ... even at the car dealership. So, moral of story? Keep the good ones around.

I read the letter in the newspaper when it was published -- I didn't even see it online -- and was floored! I just didn't expect it, and I forgot all about it because I was so caught up in everything. I then logged on and read each and every insight people shared. Those collective remarks, observations and commentary (even the contentious ones!) have provided so much comfort.
So, thanks again,

Sincerely, the Mess

We're with you, Mess. And so sorry for your loss. Now one more update -- a happy ending from a writer who wrote a happy letter last summer.

Hi Meredith,

I know you like both updates and happy endings, so I'm sharing mine. Last July I wrote to you for advice. My previously long-distance bf was about to move halfway across country to live with me, and I wrote in to ask you and the readers for advice going into cohabitating so that we would not crash and burn. You, as always, had spot-on, helpful suggestions, and there were lots of good comments from the readers. Well, almost a year later, everything is going fantastically. We've had a lot of (external) bad stuff happen over the last year, but we have been very supportive of each other and become closer. We are still very happy, and now are planning to get married next year! We're both almost 31, if that is helpful for your readers -- we both waited a long time, and dated some pretty bad choices, before we found each other.

So, thanks again for your advice last year, it helped me a lot! Keep up the good work :)

I'll post a new letter tomorrow. Enjoy this perfect day.

-- Meredith