Ex­tra­mar­i­tal re­la­tion­ship leads to Hail Mary pass

The Daily Observer - - LIFE - AMY DICK­IN­SON Email: askamy@tri­bune.com Twit­ter: @ask­ingamy

Dear Amy: Two years ago, I was ca­su­ally see­ing a man, “Brian,” for about a month’s time. He was mar­ried, but in­tend­ing to leave his wife. Things pro­gressed quickly and we both ac­knowl­edged at the time that we were fall­ing in love with each other. He ended up break­ing things off with me to work things out with his wife (they have chil­dren to­gether). I was crushed, but I un­der­stood.

It took me a long time to get over him and the guilt I held for in­ter­fer­ing in his mar­riage. I heard he moved more than 1,000 miles away.

Two years later, I am in a much bet­ter place. I have a boyfriend (he’s a great guy). I earned my mas­ter’s de­gree, I have a job, and will be mov­ing into my own place soon.

Last week, out of nowhere, I re­ceived a LinkedIn mes­sage from this man that he needed to talk to me. He wrote: “I miss you. I’m ready to talk. I hope I’m not too late.”

I ig­nored the mes­sage, and then later that day he ap­peared at my work­place want­ing to talk.

Em­bar­rassed, I told him to leave and not come back.

I left work that day to find a two-page let­ter from him on my car, stat­ing that walk­ing away was the hard­est thing he has ever done.

He said that his heart and soul never healed, and he hoped to talk to me.

Ap­par­ently, he took a plane that morn­ing just to speak to me. He flew home that same night. We never spoke.

Now I don’t know what to do. Should I con­tact him? Do I owe him any­thing?


Dear Caught: “Brian” has made a Hail Mary pass. In foot­ball, this sig­ni­fies the lastchance ef­fort to do some­thing heroic. This pass is only sig­nif­i­cant, how­ever, when the re­ceiver catches it and scores a touch­down. Most of­ten, the foot­ball falls to the ground, as the spec­ta­tors head for the ex­its.

Ac­cord­ing to you, you only saw this man for about a month. De­spite your in­ti­macy, you don’t know him well. His choice to show up at your work­place is one of those ges­tures that seem heroic only in the movies; in real life, it is in­tru­sive, em­bar­rass­ing, and even men­ac­ing.

He claims that fly­ing to see you was the only way to con­tact you. But he reached you through LinkedIn, and he also ob­vi­ously knew where you worked, so he could have eas­ily con­tacted you with­out show­ing up. He ap­peared be­cause he did not want to be ig­nored.The re­la­tion­ship has ended. You owe him noth­ing. Re­spond­ing to his con­tact will only open the door to more con­tact be­tween you. You seem to know in­tu­itively what this would mean, and so you should con­tinue to fol­low your in­stincts re­gard­ing him. Your in­stincts are good.

I of­fered to host a baby shower for a friend. She said one of her rel­a­tives had also men­tioned giv­ing a shower, so could we work to­gether?

I agreed, but have had tremen­dous dif­fi­culty reach­ing the rel­a­tive.

We were only able to make a few quick de­ci­sions with a prom­ise of later calls or emails. Weeks have passed, and aside from one email, I haven’t heard from her and haven’t got­ten re­sponses to texts, emails, phone calls, and voice­mails, and fi­nally a let­ter I sent by U.S. mail.

I re­ally don’t want to stress out the mom-to-be, but I don’t know how to con­tinue plans for this shower ex­cept to do it all on my own and hang the con­se­quences when the mom’s rel­a­tive com­plains. Ideas?


Dear On Hold: Carry on with your plans. You and the rel­a­tive had a suc­cess­ful con­nec­tion via email one time, so send her an email, telling her that you went ahead with the plan­ning. Tell her the time, date, and some de­tails, and ask if she would be will­ing to sup­ply one as­pect of the shower. If you don’t hear back, do all the work, en­joy the process, and host the shower on your own. This is gen­er­ous of you. Dear Amy: The let­ter from “Dis­ap­pointed Mom” re­minded me of my­self. She was sad that she ini­ti­ated all of the con­tact with her adult chil­dren. When I found my­self in this sit­u­a­tion, I got busy. It was hard work to build a life in re­tire­ment. When I didn’t con­tact my kids for sev­eral weeks, they called me. Slowly, the dy­namic changed.

— SAT­IS­FIED Dear Sat­is­fied: We all get en­trenched in our re­la­tion­ships. But it is also pos­si­ble to change.

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