It's an update day. We'll take Monday off for Labor Day.
The first update is from a June letter writer who wanted more time.
Compartmentalized in NH, here.
We ended up having a talk about the time we spent together. He readily agreed, said he was being too stringent with his schedule, and said he wanted to spend more time together, too. He said I was the best thing that's ever happened to him, that he's never met anyone like me, and was so lucky to have me in his life. Throughout the conversation, he made me feel so safe, and was so easy and reassuring to talk to – it honestly felt like I'd be worrying for no reason whatsoever. We went on to have a great weekend (we were together for one extra night, but not every day that weekend).
Five days after the talk, he came over and dumped me. He said he thought that I was ready for things he isn't ready for, and that I'm the most perfect match he could ever imagine being with, but that the timing is wrong. What kills me (and what I didn't mention in the last letter) was that he was always the guy that talked like he was not afraid of commitment. In fact, every relationship "milestone" we hit was initiated by him – he asked me to be in an exclusive relationship right after we started dating, he said "I love you" first, and was even talking about moving in together soon. I never asked for any of those things, and I never asked him to give anything up. The only thing that I actually did ask for was at the end, when I just wanted to spend a little more casual time together that wasn't always a "date."
Needless to say, I've been completely blindsided and hurting. He never reached out after that night. I reached out once over email to ask if we could maybe talk and he could pick up his things, and he said that he couldn't see me right now, and that this has been really hard for him, too. I know that I should be trying to move on and find someone who wants to spend a little more time with me, or at least has the courage to come talk with me about his concerns instead of choosing the nuclear option and bailing, but I've been stuck. I feel like I still can't believe he's gone.
Your advice made sense, as did so many of the comments. Logically, I know that I had to say something since I was starting to feel unhappy. I actually saved a few of the comments so when I'm having a particularly rough day, I can read them and remember that I did have a valid concern, despite the rose-colored glasses I have on right now about the relationship. Some of the comments made me laugh because they pointed out something that was so true that it was funny hearing it from a stranger. I kept those too. I wish more than anything I had a more positive update for you, and that the outcome wasn't what it is.
Now an update for someone who met a guy on Tinder.
Even though the initial break-up slapped me across the face, I tried my best to move on (thanks to Meredith's advice, the reader's brutal comments, and my lovely therapist). Within weeks he had moved on to another victim, and unfortunately I left the line of communication open. Not only did I become the "other girl," but it caused me intense emotional turmoil, hooking me and releasing me like it was no big deal.
Nine months later, we ended up reconnecting — hanging out, talking daily, and hooking up frequently. I finally felt like "I won" and our relationship progressed at a pace he was comfortable with. He felt sorry for the way he treated me and continuously told me that I was his "best friend" and "the most important girl in his life." Unfortunately (are you surprised?), as soon as I mentioned the word commitment he froze and ran the other way, reiterating that he wasn't sure what the future held and he didn't want to hurt me in the process. I quickly realized I was just filling a void for him and that I will never truly get what I want from him, which is a committed relationship that will develop and mature. If anything, it's pretty clear he's not even capable of one at the age of 31. I built up the courage to finally cut ties (even blocking his number!), which he agreed was best. Not even a month later, he was dating another girl (thanks, Facebook) and seems to be happy. As much as I think he is treating her differently and giving her what she deserves, I am fairly certain he is not because as they say, people never change (unless they are willing, of course). I wish him the best but am secretly sad for any girl that meets him, falls in love, and believes they have a chance. Not only did I leave that relationship knowing exactly what I don't want in a man (or shall I say boy), but I leave that relationship convinced that there will be people you meet in life that just aren't capable of loving someone as much as you do.
Thanks for your help, M!
This one's from someone who had distance issues.
I was going to leave in April, then May, then June. I let go of my apartment and got rid of my furniture, but I'm still in Massachusetts. I stood on the precipice, then chickened out, at least for the time being. I kind of like my life the way it is: I love New England (in the summer), love my job, and love going to TX to spend time with him. Of course I want it all- I don't want to give up my New England life, but don't want to give him up, either. I love him and he loves me.
Of course, something's got to give, I just don't know what.
Our last update is from a guy who watched "Frozen." Lesson from this letter: When you write to Love Letters and use a fake name for your partner, don’t use their middle name. Because ... that's still their name.
This thank you comes late. Thank you for your advice – it was to the point and a sober nudge. I also thank you for your kindness. As the comments fairly proved, it is not the natural reaction to my (in hindsight) pathetic letter. I am happy to report that things turned out well.
I would start by saying that by the time I was able to see and talk to her, a friend of hers forwarded her a link to your page. I was traveling for work early in the week when my email made it to your column.
The detail was enough for her to figure out it came from me, referring to her. Most evident would be referencing her by her middle name.
We have now been seeing each other exclusively for over three months. We have been slowly easing into it, partly out of circumstance, with my work travel during the week and her share of activities. It will get even busier in the fall when she starts graduate school on top of her job.
We have met some of each others’ friends and family. The age gap I worried about is appearing to be a non-issue. We recognize that we have different dispositions and family backgrounds, but what we enjoy and value have so far been comfortably consistent. While our start could not have been any more awkward, we are enjoying the phase we are in right now.
If it mattered on this update, Some Guy was her ex. As you pointed out, I had to get over that quick and focus. She also was the one who decided on defining the exclusivity shortly after.
My weekly routine with my niece is still the same and a parallel existence — partly since it is a requirement at her work to compartmentalize that.
Thank you again for your help. Wish us luck!