New Year’s Eve Updates from Former Letter Writers

We'll mark the end of the year with some updates. Some of these LW's need some more advice. You can send your own questions to [email protected]

The first update is from someone who's still having a tough time finding people. I might want to revisit this question again ... I just think that as the world opens up (potentially, in months), people are going to engage with each other in new and different ways.

Hi Meredith, You published a letter of mine a few years ago and I've never written in with an update. I'm afraid that's because I've kind of just given up on trying to meet someone. I tried online dating for a number of years but just grew exhausted and finally quit for good about a year ago. I know that's not the update you were hoping for. But I've come to decide that online dating, and this entire era of always staring down at our phones and never being "present" in public (and therefore able to meet in the real world), just plain sucks for meeting people. Though I often agree with your advice in this column, I disagree that the only answer to my conundrum is to keep online dating. One other potential problem with it is privacy concerns; I have never been comfortable having my photo and profile info out there for anyone from any facet of my life to stumble upon. I maintain that there needs to be offline opportunities for the folks who do not use the dating apps and sites. Especially in my generation (GenX, and the folks in their 50s who fall between us and the boomers) who did not come of age with computers, I know there are other single people who don't use the sites but would be open to actual opportunities to gather where other singles might congregate. I'm certain that I'm not an anomaly, so I represent a subset of folks who are not currently being served.

The second update is from someone who was also having trouble with dating, and this LW mentions another advice column I love very much.

I wrote to you five years ago. I was sad, lonely, and had been single for five years at that point.

It was tough. I did end going to two therapy sessions, but I didn't find the advice helpful. Although I was sometimes tempted to keep dating boys that I knew I did not have a viable future with, I decided not to compromise on my feelings: my motto was 'quality over quantity,' and I decided that I'd rather be single and lonely and coupled and miserable.

I would stay single for two more years. During that time, I followed the advice of another sage love columnist, Dan Savage, which is essentially, "Do [stuff]. Be interesting. Live your life."

I volunteered. I joined clubs. Stuff I genuinely wanted to do and made me happy. But honestly, I think it was just luck that I ended up meeting my current boyfriend. We met when we were both on vacation. He is awesome: nice, smart, hard-working, interesting, and drama-free. Bonus: his sexy foreign accent! We now live together.

So I got through the darkness and found the light at the end of the tunnel. But I have friends who are currently in similar situations. It's tough out there in the dating world. The only thing advice I can give is: work on yourself, know what you want, and stick to your guns. God/luck helps those who help themselves. Your self-work will hopefully help you recognize that worthwhile person when they come along.

I wish everyone reading this the same good luck I've had.

- No longer a rock nor an island.

P.S. I now know that if you are lucky enough to have access to therapy and you don't click with the first therapist you talk to, try again with someone else.

Yes to that therapy comment. It might not work with the first. Frustrating, but very true. And now for an update about a recent ghosting.

I wrote to you during the summer about someone who ghosted me after she took a vacation following four dates and sex. I suppose the reason I wrote in was that I wanted my feelings to be validated and wanted you to say it's wrong to ghost at that point in a relationship, so thanks for that. Normally after a breakup, I would take a break, but the pandemic took away almost all of my other social outlets, so I went right back on the apps.  Just after I sent that letter to you, I matched with someone who seemed like a great possibility. Our first date went great! Ironically, the person who ghosted me tried to un-ghost me during that first date. Instead of being mean and saying I found someone better, I just told her I need to be with someone who is better at communicating and wished her well. My girlfriend and I are in our sixth month together, and we're very happy together and make a good pair.

The next update is from a 2012 letter writer – a complicated one about a broken friendship.

You ran my letter way back in October 2012 about my erstwhile best friend and fellow groomsman making a sexual advance at me the night before our friend's wedding. I remember you telling me that our friendship would never be the same; how true that turned out to be.

"Jeff" traveled back stateside from Europe last December (in the Before Times) to spend the holidays with his parents. He emailed me letting me know his plans and asked if I'd like to have drinks one night. I agreed after considering that we'd be in a public place. And frankly, going out to bars is among my favorite activities, and I sorely miss it these days.

We went out to a pub in our hometown, and almost immediately, the discomfort crept back. We had some decent conversation, but the occasion was dominated by his supposed attraction to our waitress. He would shamelessly pivot in his chair to watch her walk away, and would make objectifying comments about her body (though not to her directly, thankfully). To me, it seemed like he was overcompensating and creepy. If and when he chooses to accept who he is, is out of my control. I have therapy to thank for that conclusion.

Thanks for all you do, and happy holidays!

And now for a 2020 letter about limbo. This LW needs some more help.

My post was from the end of October, and not much has changed. I did talk to him about how I didn't particularly appreciate that I was the only one making time for him. We had a conversation that resulted in us agreeing we wanted to continue our "weekly chats," as he likes to call them. We ended up talking three times during the week of Thanksgiving, which was supposed to be the week we didn't talk at all.

We ended up talking all morning that following Tuesday because I had a press conference and I was nervous. That day, he told me to please call him later. I called him, Meredith. We spoke about my press conference. It got closer to midnight and I grew tired of talking, so I started to drop hints of us ending our conversation. He said, "Great job, Champ" in regards to my speech. He never calls me any nicknames because he knows I don't like them. I always call him sweetie, darling, etc. I was frustrated.

Now it is December. We spoke this past Thursday. There was no mention of making plans. We again talked about anything and everything for hours.

I don't know what to do Meredith. Things are winding down. The semester is ending. He will be taking one class over the break but ... we have over a month. The holidays are coming and I don't know what we are. I don't know if we'll continue our weekly chats into the new year. I believe we will because we continue to have them, and the mention of ending them months ago was alarming to him. I don't know what to do though. I want more. I understand we'll both get busy come spring, but I want more. I'm far too prideful and stubborn to bring up plans again though. He's incredibly stubborn, too. He's so smart and wonderful, but I want a label. I want to be his girlfriend and to be there and make plans with him.

What do I do? Do you think he likes me the way I do him?

-Still in a limbo

With that, let's end this year. I'll post the Top 10 letters of 2020 tomorrow. Ready for 2021.

- Meredith