Dear Annie: I’m 48 years old. I’ve been a single mom since I had my first kid — in other words, since forever. I’ve never really had healthy relationships with men. I’m way too trusting and just want love so badly. A few months ago, I accidentally texted a man I knew from high school. We ended up striking up a conversation, texting back and forth for a few days. Then he called me a couple of times, and we had long talks. We became friends on Facebook. I was so interested, as he seemed like a very good man: 20-year veteran, retired, single father, hard worker. I could tell that family was important to him. And he was so good-looking. After two months of chatting back and forth, I asked to meet him. He said, “Maybe after some more time.”
After another month, I said: “Can I please meet you? I just want to see you in person, even for 5 minutes.” For some reason, he seemed to panic. He said: “I am going through something professionally. I may be moving out of state and don’t want to get attached.” I decided that he was worth the risk, so I pushed on and asked questions. He got angry and blocked me. For two weeks after that, I tried to contact him, but he kept me blocked. I just don’t understand. Our friendship meant something to me. In our last conversation, when I brought that up, his only response was that “we weren’t together.” I understood that. But why would he not just let me meet him? I’m too old to be this confused. — Lost
Dear Lost: It sounds as though he’s the one who’s lost and confused. You know what you want. Thankfully, your directness flushed out these issues after just three months; otherwise, this could have dragged on for who knows how long. Don’t get discouraged. There are plenty more good men out there who value family — and who are looking for a relationship. While the pandemic makes in-person dating risky at the moment, you can connect with potential partners on dating sites such as Match.com and eHarmony and go on FaceTime or Skype dates to see whether you feel a spark. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com
Epic fail for Annie Lane, but I feel like a failure too, because I’ve wrestled with this level of neediness and clinginess within myself.
I think I’m doing better lately, all things considered. I’ve worked hard to overcome my relationship issues.
But, wow, Annie Lane really dropped the ball here.
This is a self-worth issue, which I know from experience. The letter writer needs to come to value herself. I accomplished that earlier this year, and I’m not making this up: I fell asleep one night afterward thinking, why have I ever wanted a man so badly? They burp, fart, scratch themselves, and get overexcited by sports games. They have smelly feet and wear boring clothes. And then I was like, holy shit, I’ve arrived. Go Meg, go!
I’ve overcome the desperation hurdle. It’s been a good year to be Meg. [Nods.]
See, I used to feel that I needed a man to love me romantically for me to have worth. It’s hard to explain, but now that I’ve found my own worth, I no longer feel that need. I’d still love to connect with a man romantically, but it would be more about… how to put it… equality between us, rather than me needing to feel loved by him to validate myself.
This poor letter writer isn’t there yet, and she made the mistake of turning to Annie Lane for advice. However, if she stops by Annie Lane’s syndicate and reads the commentary over there, she’s going to want to jump off a bridge. It’s not pretty. (This woman reeks of desperation! The man ran screaming! She’s a stalker!)
So I hope she’s not too hard on herself. Her low self-value doesn’t make her a bad person, but it can be hard to overcome. It took me decades. (That’s not going to make her feel better, though, is it? Ugh.) Yeah, so if she starts working on the issue now, she might be ready for a great relationship as an octogenarian, so there’s that… [Shrugs]
Seriously, Meg, wrap up your commentary already. That’s compellingly demoralizing.
Dear Amy: A couple of days ago, I caught my boyfriend cheating on me.
I got into his iPad, which is connected to his messages, because I had a suspicious feeling because one of his ex-girlfriends had called him the night before. He shook it off as her wanting him back.
I found an entire text conversation, where he was clearly cheating on me. When I confronted him about it, he acted like he had never seen it before.
I broke up with him, but he still refuses to admit he did anything wrong, even after I messaged a different ex-girlfriend (whom I figured out he had also cheated on) as well as his mistress — who agreed to help me catch him.
They sent me proof.
I don’t want to believe it’s real because he always talked about marriage and wanting kids, and he never showed any signs of not loving me.
I still love him and want to trust him. He has plenty of enemies from his past that he claimed would love to hack him and ruin his life like this — yet, there’s so much evidence.
I’d like to hear your perspective.
Painful: Someone can tell you he loves you, wants to marry and have kids with you — and still cheat.
Some people who are unfaithful are able to own, apologize for and rectify their mistake with their partners. Building back trust takes time and tremendous effort, but it can happen.
However, from your description, your guy sounds like a serial cheater with an aptitude for drama.
You acted on your suspicions. Unfortunately, all of your fears seem to have been justified via your contact with other women (you could open a detective agency, by the way).
The “my computer was hacked” excuse is just a modern version of “the dog ate my homework.” Yes, it is possible that a dog once ate a child’s homework and that your boyfriend’s computer was in fact hacked, but it is extremely unlikely.
My insight is that someone who has “plenty of enemies from his past” has probably earned his reputation the old-fashioned way: by lying, cheating and gaslighting his way through relationships.
This is where you have to trust yourself, your judgment and your instincts. None of his behavior is your fault, but if you choose to override your own judgment, then that’s on you. (c) Ask Amy
I’ll wager anything that the letter writer wanted to hear this from Ask Amy:
Yes, he’s a chronic cheater and a liar, but his love for you and his desire to marry you and have kids–all of those things have value. Don’t write him off just because he’s screwing other women. No man is perfect. He loves you!
Call me intuitive, but that’s what she wanted to be told.
She’s got evidence staring her in the face, and it all spells out trouble, but she’s still asking for others’ opinions. Because she wants there to be some magical way that this guy can be accepted despite his many flaws. (That, or she really is too stupid to live. Hacked, my auntie. A hacker can’t imitate someone in conversation. I mean, there’s hacking and then there’s hacking, but… no. Just no.)
It doesn’t work that way. I’d dump this guy in a heartbeat. I like how Ask Amy ended the advice, and that’s oh-so-true. If the letter writer persists with this cretin, the consequences are on her.
She should also get tested for STDs.