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Miss Manners: Absence makes the heart grow fonder – sometimes

United Feature Syndicate

Dear Miss Manners – Two months ago, I started a beautiful relationship with a 59-year-old guy. I am 44. We broke up with our current relationships based on the strong feelings we felt for each other.

After a month of feeling bad for his ex, my new man says he feels we should take a break, but after a few days, he wanted to see me. He hugs me for dear life when he does see me, but when we speak on the phone, he goes back to “let’s take a break.” I do not understand what’s going on. He is talking with the ex, and I do believe him when he says there is no intimacy, they’re establishing a better friendship. He was feeling a lot of guilt from their breakup.

The other day (Monday), he was to return my call, and I waited all night. Keep in mind he just lost a friend on Friday or Saturday. I decided to call and let the phone ring over and over. I left two bad messages, but I let it ring over and over.

Well, he finally called back to say this was the last time he’ll talk to me. (He had said that to the ex when she visited me at the job, but now they’re talking.) He told me I should’ve checked my e-mail. I was unaware that hours before, he sent me this message: “Please let it be for now. I ask for solitude at this time. I am OK, but I ask that you not call me. I need to be alone. Thanks.”

I felt so bad. I would not have called like that. How do I make up? I sent a reply that I had wanted him to see this important DVD that will help us both. He did not respond. I want to go by his home – should I? Help.

Gentle Reader – Oh, dear. This is a lesson you should have learned 30 years ago. You wouldn’t have believed your mother when she told you what to do, or rather what not to do, but at least she would have been on hand to dry your tears.

When a romance gets to the point where the other person asks to be left alone, talking does not help. Suggesting relationship material does not help. Apologizing for calling does not help. All that makes it worse.

Your only hope is to leave him strictly alone.

Hope? Hope? Did Miss Manners get your attention with the only possibility that interests you?

It is only a very slim hope. But if anything works to reverse a break-up, it is the emotional realization of what one has lost. This is what happened to your beau in regard to your predecessor. He dumped her for you, realized she was really gone, and went back.

In contrast, you are not gone: You are hanging around, and in a rather irritating manner, Miss Manners has to say. Instead, you should have made yourself totally unavailable at the first indication of his defection, so that his regret focused, instead, on you.

At this point, it is not easy, and no, you can’t call him to say you are writing him off and going on with your life. But if you can get out and about, in an apparently relieved and happy state, word may get back to him.

Miss Manners promises nothing. But this approach will at least help you recover by giving you back your dignity.

Readers may write to Miss Manners at MissManners@ unitedmedia.com.
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