Still interested in the bartender

Join us at Wellesley Books tonight. Bring book club friends. We will have fun.

Also, this is not our first bartender letter. In 2009, we had this one and this one.

Hi Meredith,

Years ago, I was frequenting a fancy bar with a close female friend and noticed that the bartender was interested in me. I know they flirt, so I humored him but then continued about life.

But in the months to follow, the more we casually chatted at the bar, the more we connected. I had never found myself having so much in common with someone. Our majors, our experiences, our hobbies ... even our humor seemed to match. And just as I caught myself really falling for him, a ring showed up on his finger and I found out that he'd been married for two-plus years. As it had never been anything physical, we continued the friendship – until he suddenly became distant. Within weeks, he moved away with his wife.

Fast forward to present – when he returned a few months ago. Through discussion (and other people, to be safe) I found out that he is in the process of divorce, and though he seems more guarded, we are slowly reconnecting whenever we see each other. When he sees me in person, he's obsessed with me and my attention; he even seems jealous if someone speaks to me while we're talking.

But because work has me extremely busy, I don't have as much free time to visit him. I initiate conversation on the phone (via text), but he's unresponsive, and I feel like I'm bothering him. I know the divorce process is an emotional one, and I have been forewarned that this may be a reason for the mixed signals. And I don't want to scare him off and lose his friendship a second time.

Should I give him a wide berth because he's going through a lot? Wait to see if he makes an effort to contact me? Or just put it all behind me and move on like he never came back?

– Waiting


"Or just put it all behind me and move on like he never came back ..."

I like this option best. This man has been the king of mixed signals since you met.

He's also someone who only gives you about 49 percent of the information you need to make decisions. Massive plot points are left out of his story – including a two-year marriage. Why would the communication be any different if he were your romantic partner?

You're busy with work, and he's made it clear that he has no interest in seeing you if it's not on his schedule. Sure, the jealousy is confusing, but all it means is that he's selfish when it comes to your attention.

I know this isn't the answer you want, but you've already given this person too much time. Use your texting energy for someone else. If he begins to reach out (that can happen when you give someone a wide berth), ask him every important, uncomfortable question. "Do you want to date or are you just seeking my attention?" "We talked all the time, so why didn't you tell me you were married?" If he wants to be in your life, he'll have to give you some answers.

– Meredith

Readers? Wide berth?