Dear Amy: After 20 years and many tears, my ex has decided to reappear.
He found my daughter on social media. She was hesitant to put him in touch. This man literally ran out of our lives. This put me into a major depression. I had a total breakdown.
I made contact, and he told me about his life and mistakes. He apologized to me.
I told him I had forgiven him long ago.
He recently broke up with his girlfriend and I am baffled about why he’s in touch.
I just can’t wrap my mind around as to why he wants to talk to me now after all these years.
He talks about all the good times we had. He remembers every single detail of events from years’ past, like they were yesterday.
He said that he messed up badly and regretted everything he did that hurt me.
He has not asked me for anything, except to listen.
I have loved this man the whole time he was gone and now I am afraid I will be hurt again. It’s very painful for me. I am afraid.
I don’t know what he wants of me (if anything), and it’s very confusing.
What should I do? Should I just ask him, point blank?
Or should I just fade away and leave the past in the past?
I have had a lot of trauma and abandonment in my life, and I don’t know if I could handle being hurt again.
— Dazed and Confused
Dear Dazed: I’m going to be that cynical friend — the one who challenges you when you’re lost in the weeds.
He’s in touch with you now because he just broke up with his girlfriend.
He’s manipulating you now with tales from the crypt because — he just broke up with his girlfriend.
My question for you is: Why does he get to be in charge? Why does he get to dominate these conversations?
Maybe it’s time for you to be in charge. You’ve had 20 years to prepare. And you deserve to express yourself, not out of anger, but because you have a voice and a point of view.
You could say, “Well, we’ve walked down memory lane. That was nice. Now, what’s next?”
If he says, “I just want to be friends. I want to make amends,” you can say. “You’ve done that, and I accept. We’re good!”
He may imply (but not say) that he wants to rekindle the relationship.
If so, you — still in charge — will say, “I need to think about it. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”
You could take this as the closure you’ve been denied over the last 20 years. Don’t fade away. Consider walking away. And if you want to give a relationship with him another try, do so with your eyes wide open.
Dear Amy: I follow the letters in your column regarding gender nonconformity with interest, including the recent series, beginning with “Auntie’s” refusal to use her teenage niece’s preferred they/them pronouns.
I took many decades to come to terms with the fact that I am transgender.
I spent decades in and out of therapy and on antidepressants, trying to align my soul with the body into which I was born.
But now, in my 60s, I’ve come to terms with who I am.
My lifelong depression lifted, and now I have genuine friendships because it is me who is relating to people, rather than the persona that I created.
I now know what it means to live life, rather than merely exist.
People can relate to the gender nonconforming persons in their lives as they see fit. That is their right.
They should not be surprised, however, if the gender-nonconforming person decides, as I have, to spend their time with the people who love and respect them for who they are.
— The Truth Comes Out in the End
Dear Truth: Thank you for outlining your challenges and experience with gender nonconformity. I hope your story will help others to understand and lead them toward compassion.
Dear Amy: For the families who don’t know how to include their unvaccinated members over the holidays, I have a proposal: Ask them to take a COVID test a day before the family get-together.
I think it is important to find a way where we can all come together and stop feeling anger and resentment toward our family members.
Dear Healthy: “Trust, but verify.” I like it.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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