Love­struck woman still car­ries a torch for her for­mer suitor

The China Post - - LIFE -

Years ago, I was en­gaged to a man who I thought was the love of my life. But at col­lege, he ghosted me — leav­ing with­out an ex­pla­na­tion. This was hor­ri­bly wound­ing and I never re­cov­ered. I am still sin­gle, though I haven’t stopped look­ing for that spe­cial some­one.

My ex-fiance even­tu­ally mar­ried a woman who made no de­mands on him, which suited him just fine. They had a child to­gether. Now that he is mid­dle-aged, he has de­cided that he is emo­tion­ally iso­lated and wants to stay in con­stant con­tact with me. He ex­plained how he was abused as a child, and I now re­al­ize that his life­long anx­i­ety crip­pled him and is what caused him to leave me. He has also ex­pressed deep re­gret and apol­o­gized.

The chem­istry with this old flame is just as strong as ever. My af­ter­noons and evenings are taken up by phone calls and texts. He has dreams in which we are con­stantly to­gether, but he never talks about a fu­ture for us. He has told his wife that we are “friends.”

This is driv­ing me nuts. I still care about him, and I know that my pres­ence in his life has im­proved his sit­u­a­tion. But I don’t feel re­spected or ro­man­ti­cally ap­pre­ci­ated de­spite the phys­i­cal at­trac­tion.

I worry that if I break this off, his life will take a turn for the worse and I’d re­gret it. He says he loves me, but it looks like it will be years be­fore any­thing could hap­pen be­tween us. Since I rec­og­nize that I’m caught in an un­der­tow of long, un­re­quited love, could you throw me a rope?

— Still Car­ry­ing the Torch

Dear Torch:

You need

to

get out of the wa­ter al­to­gether. This old flame is never go­ing to leave his wife. He’s kept you pin­ing for years, and now you are giv­ing him ad­di­tional power over your fu­ture. What­ever emo­tional needs he has, he should be con­fid­ing in his wife or a pro­fes­sional ther­a­pist, and you should say so. Start by cut­ting back on these con­ver­sa­tions. An­swer him less and less of­ten, and then stop al­to­gether. Keep your re­sponses neu­tral. This is not a ro­mance. It’s his midlife cri­sis.

Ten months ago, af­ter 45 years of mar­riage, I lost my won­der­ful wife. Since then, one of my big­gest heart­breaks is the fact that she did not write down many of her self-de­vel­oped recipes for foods I re­ally en­joyed.

When we were mar­ried, I worked dif­fi­cult hours, which meant the only time we spent to­gether in rel­a­tive peace was dur­ing meals. She al­ways made a spe­cial ef­fort to fix things that she knew I liked. But no mat­ter how hard I try, I can­not du­pli­cate many of these dishes be­cause she made them from mem­ory.

I would like to sug­gest that who­ever does most of the cook­ing in the fam­ily write down such recipes for their spouse and chil­dren. It would mean so much for me to be able to fix the things that we en­joyed to­gether.

— Ron from West Vir­ginia

Dear Ron: Thank you for the sweet sug­ges­tion. Recipes and other fam­ily tra­di­tions that are not writ­ten down or passed down orally can be lost to close fam­ily mem­bers, friends and fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. What a shame that would be. An­nie’s Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@ cre­ators.com, or write to: An­nie’ s Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate, 737 3rd Street, Her­mosa Beach, CA, USA.

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