Dear Ellie: Eight months ago, someone from my past reached out to me. I hadn’t heard from them for nearly a decade. We were never official, nor intimate, but had some history together.
They suggested catching up. I agreed but thought I’d never do it. Then, when I was in town visiting, I did reach out and we met up. It was very brief.
After that, we’d text randomly but when I suggested being friends only because I’m in a relationship, they declined.
They wished me well in my relationship but hinted that I’m not happy in it (true) and we said our goodbyes. Then, something caused me to reach out and we met for coffee.
It was nice to catch up but I knew they wanted more than friendship. They shared their feelings about me, wanting to spend more time together, but was unsure how things were in my current relationship.
I didn’t say much because I’m trying to figure that out.
They did initiate hanging out again. I agreed, but they cancelled due to feeling ill that day. I never heard from them after that — it’s been a month now.
I wonder if it’s because I’m sorting out my relationship and they don’t want to be in the way of that? Or, they grew tired of my uncertainty about them or us? Or, they found someone who’s available?
I’m wondering why someone would share their feelings if they were just going to disappear?
Unsure About Love
Sometimes, when there’s a past connection with someone plus uncertainty about someone else, you can talk yourself into a double bind.
Reaching out revealed your past friend’s renewed interest… but after a decade? It signifies that they’re looking for a new relationship though there was never a romance together. Reality check…you’re both keeping one foot free of entanglement.
Now you’re dealing with a relationship in which you’re not happy. So, why do you keep raising it? Two people are now showing some interest in you but you’re uncertain about both.
Step back from all your analyzing of others’ motives and focus on your own.
If you’re ultimately wanting romance in your life, leave any and every truly unhappy relationship.
Dear Ellie: I’m a married man, early 70s. For 60 years, I’ve been close to a (biologically) distant relative, who lives in another country. I’ve visited him repeatedly, twice with my partner of 10 years, always received warmly.
My relative and his wife have four adult children: two married, one couple with children, and two partnered.
This year, when we wanted to visit the family, and I alerted my relative, he said he’d “research” the family dinner, which we would host. That was three months ago, nothing since.
We decided to cancel our trip to their city. This aloofness is uncharacteristic of my relative, and I’m worried whether we’ll ever be welcomed at all. (This time we would’ve stayed in a hotel; the previous times with them, by invitation.) What’s your take?
A repeated visit to family in another country is a lovely travel excursion for you and your partner. For your host, however, it can be an intrusion on their own schedule and daily life, now including four adult children, two added partners plus grandchildren.
Little wonder the relative instructed you to host the “family” dinner, meaning that you do the bill-paying, not him.
This year, choose another vacation venue, or take the hint - host the big dinner and yes, stay in a hotel.
“Recently, I’ve noticed a trend, especially among healthy 20-year-olds, thinking that older people should “just look after themselves, then they wouldn’t have bad health issues.”
“I’m all for making healthy choices in life. However, I’m tired of hearing about how old folks brought on their own demise.
“My husband never smoked, rarely drank (never to excess). I cooked all farm foods, and he held a job which required huge cognitive skills.
“Unfortunately, he’s now suffering severe dementia. He’s reached 89, so he must have done something right!
“Of course, it’s in a person’s best interest to live a healthy lifestyle. Anything you can say and do to make people understand the value of that lifestyle does help… but people still get old.”
Ellie — I’ve found the zeal for exercise more often comes from Millennials, those born between 1981-1996 (27 to 42 years old), especially when this cohort realizes that age 50 is not far away.
Ellie’s tip of the day
When a relationship’s going nowhere, recognize that it’s wrong for you. Move on.