Lovestruck woman still carries a torch for her former suitor
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
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.