Category Archives: Breakups

No Heat

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Is there any nice way to say “Thanks but I’m not interested in you in
that way?” I started dating someone very nice whom I met on a dating
site. In theory we have a lot in common that should make us want to
hook up: similar age, both Jewish, intelligent, funny, similar life
history. I like her and it is clear she is interested in me. She’s gotten
into a habit of almost daily texting or emailing, and has given me
many invitations to do things in the future. I think she’s a very nice
person whom I might want as a friend, if I was looking for more
friends. But when I think of a life in which she never again appeared, I
don’t feel any sense of sadness and when I am with her, I don’t feel
any desire to kiss her. It’s been almost two months and it feels like we
should clarify where we are. Should I initiate a “Yes, but”
conversation, or just let things gradually drift away?

No Heat

 
Dear No Heat:

There’s no substitute for “chemistry” and virtually no way of predicting
what will trigger it. Some people think they have a “type” but they
don’t go trailing after every woman with red hair and/or great legs.
Chemistry is an elusive but powerful factor in any incipient
relationship. You can’t substitute for it with an intellectual delineation
of reasons why. Sad but true. Also note that if the chemistry is too
strong it can lead your “picker” astray in lots of bad ways, and you
might fall for exactly a wrong person. Most of us have learned that
lesson the hard way. But there’s very little antidote for the absence of
heat and mystery.

 
All of that said, don’t give up without at least a kiss or two. Compatible
partners are hard to find, and while heat’s great as a springboard,
successful partnerships work best and longest with a solid basis of
communality. By starting a conversation with, We seem to have a lot
in common. Have you thought about taking the next step? You are
almost dooming the response. The key word is “thought.” Instead, a
kiss, after some preliminary handholding, would obviate the question.
How about a scary or sentimental movie that might lead to some
hand- holding, an arm around the shoulder, and a goodnight kiss.
Then see if you want to talk or touch.

Room At the Inn, or Not?

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I converted to Judaism two years ago, after being in a very profound
relationship for two years. The first time I went to synagogue and
heard the music I was moved to tears. It was like I’d come home. The
music was like nothing I could have imagined and everything I ever
believed religion to be. I’d been a lapsed Catholic for decades. We
were together for another year but are now divorced and I have
moved. Some of her friends have asked to stay with me during a
shabbaton that a visiting rabbi is conducting at my synagogue. I like
them. I want to be nice, but I’m also afraid all my carefully healed hurt
places will burst wide open and I don’t want them reporting back to
my ex that I am a mess.

Room At the Inn, or Not?

 
Dear Room at the Inn:

The kind of scars you’re talking about might rip open even years from
now, depending on how much you loved your ex and how your life
develops from now on. You cannot insulate yourself from feelings, nor
should you. If she were asking to come stay with you, I’d give you
different counsel. But if the prospective guests are people you are
generally comfortable with, and you feel safe having them in your
home other than the aforementioned emotional issues, I think you
should do so. You should not have to dissemble about what shape
you’re in emotionally. If it really was a deep and long-lasting
relationship, still being emotionally vulnerable is a tribute to your ex.
But neither should you spill your guts to her friends, act desperate
about getting back together, or otherwise expect that their visit is a
backdoor conduit to a reconciliation.

 
Be joyous that you found Judaism through your ex. Among other
things, the shabbaton should give you a deeper sense of your
connection with your new life, and help solidify the motional resilience
you will need to move forward into your future. Heal and stay open.
There’s lots of wonderful single Jewish women who’d appreciate a
loving soul to connect with. But don’t rush into a relationship until you
are ready to consider the new person on her own merits. Anyone who
is constantly being compared to an ex will soon tire of it, and of you.

Not Really Sorry

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I got divorced seven years ago, Our former best friends, who also had
a son the same age as ours, got divorced two years ago. I found out
this afternoon from my son that the friend ex I spend a long time
listening to and counseling during the process was having a holiday
party and had invited my spousal ex, my son, and her own ex, BUT
NOT ME!! I saw red and got into a very nasty mood. I called her about
an hour before my son said the party was starting “just to say hi.” And
also because I was in a B-word mood and pressing her buttons to see
if she would apologize, invite me, or ???? When she didn’t answer I left
a message saying, “Have a nice party.” Mostly I blame my spousal ex
for having had me blackballed. Let it go or apologize for the nasty call?

Not Really Sorry

 
Dear Not Sorry:

Clearly your spousal ex holds more sway with the hostess than you do.
And your son, being mannered, wasn’t going to reject an invitation he
had already said yes to. Among my questions, would you have gone if
the invitation had been legit? Or would you have asked who else was
coming and demurred when you heard your spousal ex would be
attending?

 
Since you cannot know if the hostess told any (or every) one about
your message, a polite follow up is in order, if only for the social
proprieties, though I’d counsel something more substantive. Either
way I’d wait for a time you are pretty sure she won’t be home. If you
prefer the former, just say, I was feeling hurt when I left the last
message. Sorry. A more honest one would say basically, I felt hurt and
insulted that you had the party without even telling me you had a
quandary to resolve. I feel like I was there for you when you needed
me and now you are treating me as somehow disposable. Lets meet
and talk about our friendship. And then leave the ball in her court to
get ball to you. If she does, be clear about what you want in your
future friendship, including if, in the future, you would ask the same of
her that your spousal ex did.

Ready

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My wife and I agreed in spring that our twenty+ year marriage was
irretrievably broken. I’ve been waiting for her to resolve her
employment transition before we moved forward with an amicable
divorce. We’re both professionals, own (really, are buying) a nice
house that I definitely want to keep, have pension and retirement
assets, two cars, and all the trimmings. My wife wants to move across
the country and start over but is having trouble getting traction in a
new market with no local experience. I am all for being supportive, but
I am ready to start dating and even though I know I am sincere about
getting a divorce, it would sound pretty weak to tell a woman I barely
know that I am still living with my not-yet- ex. Do you have any good
dating strategies for a guy past 50 whose primary goal is keeping his
house and then finding wife number two?

Ready

 
Dear Ready

Dating isn’t as easy as anyone wants it to be, let alone someone still
living with a future ex. It will definitely be easier once you are not
living together. Appreciate that many age-appropriate single women
have been fed lots of lines and lots of lies. They’ll check out the tan
line on your ring finger and be understandably cautious. Most of them
will take your "separated and getting a divorce but working out the
house" story with a large grain of salt.

 
Focus on what you need to get done with your wife. Go to a financial
counselor, a mediator, and if you look like you are diverging in
interests, a lawyer. You need to start the ball moving. Living together
is a kiss of death for dating. But keep your eyes open for single
women, likely also divorced who’ll know the drill. Attend every holiday
party with friends and neighbors that you can. The folks that
understand the story can reassure their single friends. You are a “good
catch” so worth waiting for, at least a littler while. But not if you don’t
get off the mark and get divorced. Also, it’s a really good idea to take
an intermission before rushing into marriage number two. Write me
when you get that far.

Dreaming?

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My boyfriend and his twelve-year- old son moved in with me three
years ago after he lost his job as an electrician. It was early in the
recession and I loved him so thought I could handle supporting us all
until things got better. The bottom line is that I pay for almost
everything, from rent to soccer shoes to vacations, which is a lot on a
hairdresser’s salary. His contribution was supposed to be at least $500
a month and remodeling the kitchen. We rent from my mother who
thankfully lives far away. She’d have tossed us a year ago if she could
see how we live. Two years later I have no cabinets or counters and
come home to a drinking smelly stoned guy who wants sex. I think I
am done with him but want him to finish the kitchen before I end
things.

Dreaming?
Dear Dreaming-

To adapt an old adage, you are throwing good months after bad ones.
I&'m no contractor but even for a semi-employed handy person, two
years seems like more than enough time for this project. And if you&'re
supporting his drinking and smoking habit in addition to rent and food,
you are seriously undercutting your own self-interest. The role
modeling for his son is also bad.
My suggestions are these: Start by giving him notice instead of sex.
Warning the Lysistrata strategy doesn&'t always work. Lysistrata btw (in
case your classical education did not exist) was the leader of Greek
women who refused to sleep with their hubbies until they ended a war
and declared peace. Even if it doesn’t get you kitchen overnight, it will
get his attention. He may respond by laughing or whining, but if you
hold firm he will quickly realize you are serious. Tell him that you’re
forgiving the past but he now owes you pick a number, say $1000 a
month rent and utilities etc. Also that if he doesn’t pay for this month
and next within 30 days that he has to move out. Say you’re going to
use the money to hire someone to finish the kitchen. Say that working
on the relationship is going to happen only after it is done and only if
you are still living together. Make it clear that if he wants to earn his
way back into your good graces it’s going to take more deeds and
dollars than words.

Done

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I recently broke up with my boyfriend of five years. We met freshman
year, dated all through college, and the first year of relocation and
jobs. We lived together for the last two. I got a big promotion and he
was in a dead end job. I watched him become increasingly depressed,
angry, jealous, and controlling. Long story short I saw signs of serious
instability and possessiveness that scared me. I tried to put a happy
face on things for a long time, and then tried to get him into
counseling but he refused. I told him we were done after moving out
everything I cared about while he was at work. He got really angry but
my father (a retired police officer) was waiting in the car for me so
nothing bad happened. But he leaves me drunken messages begging
and threatening. He doesn’t know where I live but he knows where I
work and we have socialized with my colleagues in the past. I have
told him again and again to please get help but he just laughs. What
else can I do?

Done

 
Dear Done:

In the spirit of the High Holidays, you should forgive him his
transgressions. But most importantly, you should focus on taking care
of yourself because you are not going to fix him. If you really think
there&'s potential for violence get a restraining order. Sadly it won&'t
protect you much except legally, but will serve notice that you are
very serious about this decision. Back it up by having your father
deliver him a copy.

 

If you have not already done so, do all of the following: Change your
phone number(s). Unfriend him on any social networks. Post
something that your remaining friends can see that says you are quits
and please not to discuss any details of your new life with him,
especially your address and phone. Tell the old landlord about the
restraining order and that he should not relay info about you. Make
sure your ex is removed as an “in case of emergency call” person on
anything you&'ve signed in the last five years. Hopefully you haven’t
cosigned for any loans. If so, talk to the bank about untangling. Add
some extra locks to your new door, at your own expense if necessary.
Avoid places where he might confront you.

 

 

Sadly he will likely obsess until he if finds someone new. But since you
are not able to give him more than compassion and the space to heal,
put your energy and focus into protecting yourself.

Dutiful daughter (to a point)

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I was married for six years to a philanderer. I think he was faithful for
the first year, but given how often he cheated on me later, it’s hard to
believe. He was also my employer so I was financially dependant on
him. Now I am finalizing a divorce. He dragged it out for more than
two years while we were separated. On a trip to visit my parents in
Hawaii, I was (no joke, no matter how clichéd it sounds) seated next
to the man I now live with. We have more in common than I can begin
to list and feels like the answer to all my prayers during the years of
misery. My parents refuse to understand that there was any reason for
the divorce. They have not told the rest of the family. I am supposed
to visit them again in four months and need some advice about
whether I should go or tell my parents I am not coming until they are
honest about me. Or, if I do go, what should I say to relatives before
or during the visit (because my almost fiancé will be with me)?

Dutiful daughter (to a point)

 
Dear Dutiful:

Your duty to your parents is real. But your duty to yourself is also real,
and in this case trumps that to your parents. I think a trip is a good
idea, you and your honey to them. But there’s some things that need
to happen before then. You need to have a candid (and probably more
than one) conversation with your folks that goes roughly: I am
divorced. I gave too big a piece of my life to a man who did not honor
me. I know you do not believe in divorce but I do, and I am far too
young to sacrifice my lives and the lives of my future children to a man
without integrity. I deserve to be happy and so do they. If you want a
real and honest relationship with me and the man I hope will be my
future husband, please be honest with the relatives before I come to
visit. Because if you do not, I will do it in person.

 
They wont be happy about it. But they will eventually recognize that
the revelation is inevitable. When you do show up with your fiancé
(which would certainly legitimize things for them, but should not be
the reason you get engaged), be sure you all take time for “get to
know the in-laws” time. The long distance will be an impediment, but
strong bonds will form once they see how good he is for and to you.

W.A.I.T.I.N.G……

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Five months ago my wife and I agreed to divorce. Since then she has
been looking for jobs in another area and I have moved to the guest
room. It was originally her idea but she will not discuss anything
specific.. I know she wants to move on with her life, as do I. I want to
keep the house, which she does not. She wants to keep her big 401K.
But while I have quietly consulted a lawyer to know where I stand, I
don’t know how get the conversation with her moving. I cannot live in
this limbo forever.

W.A.I.T.I.N.G……

 
Dear Waiting:

You need to have a conversation that starts with How do you think
we’re going to move forward with this process? Then you need to let
her answer. Being quiet at first is the hard part. The second hard part
is pushing her to speak if she doesn’t answer.

 
I’m sure that from her point of view it is also somewhat uncomfortable
living together in limbo. But she’s planning on leaving you and the
area, so short-run changes do not benefit her very much. She’s likely
counting on your passivity to help her wait things out. But divorces are
not instantaneous. They require planning, discussion, and compromise
if you are lucky, and litigation if you are not. A visit to a lawyer on
your own is a good first step to understand the general lay of the land.

 

But until you get together in a room with your wife and two lawyers or
one mediator plus your documented assets and start talking about
what you want as opposed to guessing, you are making your life
harder than it needs to be. Five months is way past time to make
things real. Stop waiting for her to act and get them moving.

DONE/Undone

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Please help me survive the breakup of the relationship I thought I’d be
in until death did us part. We’d been together twelve years and I
thought we had everything: from a beautiful home to a great spiritual
and emotional life. Admittedly there were some issues that made me
think we were drifting apart, but we both said we were working on
them. He came home last week and told me he had fallen in love with
someone else, was moving out, that we were done, as in D.O.N.E.,
and that any further communication would be through his attorney. I
am not really worried about the financial aspects of this, though we
are very entangled, and thankfully there are no children to damage.
But my world has been turned upside down overnight and I cannot
seem to find any purchase. All I can do is weep. I go to work, come
home, eat a little, watch mindless TV, and crawl into bed with a glass
of something strong to knock me out. I don’t know which way to turn.
And that the world is bright and sunny seems to mock my gloomy
tragic life.

DONE/Undone

 
Dear Undone:
The first things to realize are that this period of your life will not be
pleasant and will last far longer than you want it to. It may seem
interminable but it will not be. And, as unpleasant as it may be, it will
end and you will be okay on the other side. You need to get some help
to get through it. You do not have to survive it alone or with alcohol as
your only friend. Focus on building a support network to shore you up
in the short-run that will also help you crawl out of your hole in the
long run.

 
Things to do: Get yourself a divorce attorney and let him/her educate
you and handle communication. No sense running into a sharp stick
more often than you need to. Enlist a friend or two as the people who
will let you whine and kvetch and tell the same angry stories over and
over and over until even you get tired of the sound of your voice.

 

 

Crying is good, but you should also know the signs of depression. If
you’re not in counseling, now’s a good time to think about it. And look
for things to do out in the sun that will remind you that the world’s an
evolving place: nature changes and so will you. Physical activity,
especially in groups will be both a distraction and get your endorphins
moving. Your world’s not ending, just changing. Yes it’s lousy but it
will get better.

Sad for Her and Me Both

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

My wife and I have agreed to a divorce following years of living
together unhappily. The idea was hers, after what I thought was a
theoretical discussion about moving to Indiana (where her family is
from) or divorcing. It was a surprisingly easy choice. Since then I have
noticed that things that I was able to handle for decades but now
bother me increasingly seriously. The most notable: she drinks almost
a bottle of wine each night. I am always walking on eggshells about
when is a good time to bring up issues we need to resolve. I want to
tell her that her drinking is one of the big reasons why I am ready to
end a thirty-year marriage. But intuitively I think her response will not
be good. She has resisted the idea of couples or individual counseling
virtually annually. How and when do I tell her she should head to AA
before she destroys the rest of her life like she did our marriage?

Sad for Her and Me Both

 
Dear Sad:

Here’s the sad truth about people who need to change anything from
dinking to gambling: they do not stop because someone else says they
should. Perhaps a massive intervention with everyone in their lives
would have an impact. But your scenario, an about-to- be-ex about
whom she has at best ambivalent feelings will not be perceived as a
reliable source. It is very likely to make her if not outright hostile
towards you, at least a whole lot less likely to make the divorce
process as tolerable as it might otherwise be.

 
Trust your gut and zip your lips. When the ink is on the forms and they
are code legal you can say anything to her as a friend, or an ex, and
she will disregard it the same way she would if you said it now. But
you won’t have to suffer the massive unintended consequences of your
truth telling. The only caveat I would have would be this: if you would
want to live through the next several years of your life with her in AA,
you both in counseling (individually), and the marriage in couples
therapy, then put that on the table as an option to divorce. But be
forewarned, you will need to carefully weigh the chance to start your
own life over, albeit in your 50s, with the odds that you’ll be facing the
same prospect after the counseling process doesn’t work for her. If
she were coming to you with this plan I would argue to give it at least
a chance. But the way you are telling the story makes me pretty sure
that she’s happier with her bottle than with you.

Gun-shy

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I just got dumped. As in “No thanks. Never mind. It was fun while it
lasted. I’m done. I met the real right person for me and you are not
she. ” Dumoed. Unceremoniously dumped. It wasn’t crude, like
through a text, the way I’ve heard teens do it. The message was
delivered elegantly and very sanely at an expensive restaurant. The
kind where getting up from the table dramatically would be a big social
no-no. I went home and cried. And now I am feeling empty and bereft.
Not because I thought this person was the true be all and end all of
my life. I’ve been around long enough to have stopped believing in
“The One” a very long time ago. But because I am weary at the idea of
starting over. Of not knowing the missteps of telling my personal
history, who I’ve dated, why it didn’t work, of getting thrown over
again by someone I might want. I don’t want to have to go through
this again.

Gun-shy

 
Dear Gun-shy:

There’s this old parable about the wise man who tells the seeker, I
can’t pour any wisdom into you because your cup is already overfull.
Of course you’re gun-shy! You’re weary, as well as full of anger and
fear and shame, and a dozen other inelegant and emotionally draining
feelings. You’re hurt and lonely and the last thing you can imagine is
feeling cute and perky on a good first date. That’s actually a very
healthy response. What can you do about it? Hiding your head under a
pillow and weeping or screaming are a good couple first steps. If they
last too long we’ll worry, but let yourself feel the pain. Because if you
don’t, you’ll push it under with alcohol or food under and give yourself
a stomachache or worse.

 
Get out your keyboard and pound on it. Write the I hate how I feel
because of what you said, you &$^& email. DO NOT SEND IT. Do not
even address it to anyone. Repeat: Do not hit send. The point is not
for you to communicate to someone who’s already proving themselves
unworthy or uninterested. But for you to lance and drain the pool of
pain that’s sapping your emotional energy. Write it, and hit delete.
Write it again. And again and again and as often as you need to until
you get all the bad feelings out of your system. Take lots of hot
showers, and perhaps indulge in a little retail therapy. You’ll be less
gun-shy once you do.

Still Fuming

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I got divorced six years ago. It was a nasty bitter prolonged process,
initiated by my ex-husband after what I thought was a great thirty-
year marriage. It’s a classic story of “needing to do something
different” (translation: schtupp the young woman from work). He did
this to the family just before our son’s senior year in high school and
was a cheap s.o.b. about paying his share of tuition/dorm/travel/etc.
I’m a lawyer and he’s in sales, but that shouldn’t have let him so far
off the hook. My mother just called to tell me that Neil invited her out
for lunch when they met in market, and she didn’t know what to say
so she went. She described him as cheerful, doing well, and full of
questions about me and my son. I am angry at him, angry at my
mother, and generally feel soiled by his intrusiveness and her stupidity
in saying Yes. I’ve had almost nothing to do with him since Ben
graduated. Do I let it alone or give him a piece of my mind.
Still Fuming

 
Dear Still Fuming:
Reading into the ages of those involved I’d say cut your mother a little
slack. You’re probably quicker on the uptake than she is, and as an
attorney more used than the average senior to fending off unwanted
questions, even than a Jewish mother. I suspect she responded
politely and innocently. The best you can do is indicate your
unhappiness and ask her not to repeat the occasion. Tell her it’s fine to
say, Thanks but no thanks, and then not offer any alternative for a
future date. If he presses, she can say, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

 

As for him, you have to decide if you want to let him know that he got
under your skin, which he clearly did. While it’s tempting to send a
howler of an email or voicemail, it’ll likely give him more satisfaction
than you. Better to rant to a good friend, or write yourself an email
that you then discard. Also good to howl in the shower, though
preferably when the neighbors won’t dial for 911. Other people are
hard to control and ex’s even harder. Instead of swallowing your bile                                and letting it fester, spit it out, scream it out, write it out, and only if
you cannot get to peace with it, leave him a voicemail at home (while
he’s at work) saying, Leave my family alone please. You’ve caused
enough damage already. If there’s any honor left he’ll heed you.

Ready to Be Alone!!!!

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
Another tale of woe. My ex (partner not marriage) and I got together,
lived happily for four years. Then he moved out. First I was happy but
then missed him. To entice him back I agreed to put him on the deed,
along with provisions under which I would buy him out if we ever split
up again. He’s “owed” $1,000 per year for years lived here plus half
the increase in value since when he moved back. This is legal and
notarized. I’ve had it with him for keeps, for all the reasons we split up
before the deal. I moved to the guest cottage to avoid him but now I
just want him gone. Being so close sets my teeth on edge. I don’t
want to share space any more. How can I extract him without it
costing me an arm and a leg?
Ready to Be Alone!!!!

 
Dear Ready:
It’s hard sharing space with an ex. Once someone’s foibles get on your
nerves (e.g. knuckle cracking, playing the TV too loudly, leaving
toothpaste on the sink, the list is endless…), you have to be in love,
speak up, commit homicide, or get out relatively painlessly. There’s
nothing like constant friction between two people to remind them how
much they don’t want to be together. Spending thousands is going to
hurt, but you have no choice if the agreement is legal.

 

You don’t give dates for the arrangement, but given the market I
cannot imagine the increase in the value of the home can be very
large. It’s time to swallow your bad judgment and pay up. The easiest
is to refi, but you could also tap savings or retirement funds. Do it now
because the longer you wait the more it will cost you. Your only
additional alternative is to find a different place to live until he moves
out, because you’re about to make him a tenant until he’s gone. But
leaving him in charge of your asset and your home is risky. Better to
give him notice today and the money the day he moves out.

Tired of Hearing It All

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
My ex is a drunk. We were together twenty years, sharing a home, a
law practice, and a son. Three years ago she went bonkers and told
me how unhappy she had been for years, and how she needed to “find
herself.” She moved out, and left me to single parent our son through
his last year of high school. It was depressing, scary, and deeply
wounding. I have been in counseling to deal with my personal issues
and have made a lot of progress. My son is doing fine, and deals with
his mom only under carefully controlled conditions. But the people we
used to know as friends, as well as every attorney, judge, and legal
assistant in town love to tell me about how she is “hitting the bottle,”
“hitting the skids.” “failing her clients,” “showing up drunk at
hearings,” etc etc etc. They seem to think I will revel in her failings.
But all it does it make me feel bad that she’s in such sorry shape.
Tired of Hearing It All

 
Dear Tired:
If what they’re saying is true she’s in sorry shape because she’s making bad
sorry choices. You feel her pain (on her behalf or your son’s). I’m sorry. Many
people have a horrible need to share gossip; that’s why they come running. They
may also assume you’ll be happy at her fall and think it makes you feel better to
hear. Plainly said: those people are vindictive idiots when it’s not their life that’s
being dissected. If it gets more personal (unless they’re still trapped in the anger
stage of a divorce), they get more sensitive.

 
When they start talking, say, I prefer not to hear about her. Or, Perhaps you
know attorneys who are in AA; see if they’re willing to contact her. Remember the
general rules are for people in a tailspin: people don’t change until they’re ready;
people don’t change until they hit rock bottom. There are exceptions, but listen
up: she is not your problem to fix. All you can do is to stop the toxicity from
getting into your ears, and protect your son from the gossip or her disturbing role
modeling and influence.

Not Really That Edgy

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I almost had an affair. The ex-lover of one of my good friends, who
moved here to take a new job, is incredibly intelligent, charming, and
fun. He’s also self-centered, and used to getting what he wants from
almost everyone, women or men. We flirted for weeks, made out
passionately, but at the last minute I chickened out of more.
Something scared me, at a movie of the week level. There was an
intensity about his sexuality that scared me, in a lurid way, made me
want to run for garlic and a holy book. I gave him goodwill-bound
furniture and when he didn’t say thanks I wrote him to say goodbye,
that he was just too self- centered. He just left me a voicemail saying,
It’s been three months, I miss you, I was wrong; meet me for dinner and
a good talk, my treat. Part of me misses him, because most of the
people in my life pale by comparison. The rest of me says run to say
no. How do I decide?
Not Really That Edgy

 
Dear Not Edgy:
I’m not a fan of violent movies, but like the rest of the audience I
know the pretty coed should not – repeat Not Not Not – enter the
spooky abandoned house alone, no matter how curious she is or
important it seems. So I’m telling you: listen to your gut. I don’t know
from vampires, ghosts, or dybbuks. But I do know that the risk of
being assaulted by a mortal weirdo is much higher than it should be. If
your body and soul are giving you strong warning signals, you should
listen and obey.

 
If you feel an obligation for closure, meet for coffee in a public place,
talk about your full life, and put any lingering feelings to rest. But be
prepared for a full-on assault of charm. Have plans to meet a friend
right after, and don’t make plans to see this guy again. If you live
alone, and you get the feeling that the guy may be a stalker, consider
investing in an alarm system. I’m not trying to make you scared. But I
am trying to tell you to listen to your own inner alarm system, and not                                to put yourself at risk for someone who sounds like an arrogant
narcissist.