Time for more updates. Former letter writers, tell us what happened after you wrote in. Were we helpful? Did it all work out? Send your update to Meredith.Goldstein@Globe.com with "Update" in the subject line. Include the email address you used to send the letter so I know it's you. January is our 10th anniversary, so I'd love to get some updates from letter writers from years ago.
Also, new letters, please.
Oh – on Tuesday (Dec. 11) at 1 p.m., I plan to be at Trident on Newbury Street to sign copies of "Can't Help Myself" for anyone who needs it for holidays. Come on your lunch break and say hello. If you can't make it but need a personalized book as a gift, send me an email and we'll figure it out with the store.
I'm a 26-year-old woman and have never been in a relationship. I mostly hang out with friends. I have known a man for more than a decade. We met online and he had a girlfriend. A couple of years later, they broke up. Years passed, and I decided to take the step of meeting him in person. I don't live in the US, but I went there in the summer of 2013 and we finally got to see each other. We met downtown in Boston (he made the hour drive from where he lives). We hugged like nobody else was around. I sensed he maybe had feelings, but wasn't sure. He was so chivalrous.
My trip ended, and I had to return to my country. That August, he had already met someone else. They have been together for five years and have a kid. But he has been miserable. He lives in an abusive relationship with someone who cheats and mistreats him. At first, he seemed happy. But over time, things have been falling apart – and I've always been there. Last December, we saw each other again after four long years. We had that same hug – and it was magic. We saw each other a couple of times. He says he loves me and cares about me and we talk every day. He has also said that I’m the woman he wants to marry hopefully in the future.
But ... very recently, he told me that she is newly pregnant. I am hurt that he lied (he said he wasn't sleeping with her anymore). He's afraid that if he ever leaves her, she'll take his children away. I feel stupid and ashamed. I never wanted to break up a family, but he was miserable and told me he loved me. I am going to the US this month and would like to know what should I do. I had planned to see him. Can I get some advice? I don't want to see him or talk to him ... but it hurts.
This is going to hurt for awhile – because it's a big breakup (for you, at least). He's been a "maybe some day" fantasy for a very long time. It will take a some work to undo that narrative.
It will feel strange and upsetting to go without your usual communication. He's been around for more than a decade and has been a big part of your routine. But cutting him off is the best move. He needs to lean on others. Meanwhile, you need to fill your time with people who can be clear about their intentions. Your friends should be platonic, and your dates should be people who can offer romance right now. There is no need to wait for someone to undo a relationship. You're 26 and available. Others are too.
The trip will give you the chance to make some new memories. Try to plan your days so you're busy. If this visit is to Boston again, feel free to email me. I will tell you where you can get good ice cream. I will give you 100 things to do. This can be an adventure – and a reminder that the most important person on this journey is you.
Readers? Advice? Other ideas for the Boston trip?