Ask Amy: Off-and-on partner needs to take flight

May 12, 2012

DEAR AMY: My ex and I have been on and off for the last four years, mainly due to me.

We lived together. After a visit to my home town a couple of years ago, I learned that he wanted to marry me and was planning on buying a ring. A sense of anxiety came over me and I freaked out. I ended things with him and asked him to move out.

At the time, a lot of things were building up and it all just kind of exploded (I’m working on communicating better, instead of exploding). Later, he ended up moving back in with me, and we were working on things, but I missed my family back home and decided to move back, leaving him behind.

I have done some soul-searching and now I want him back. I have told him that I want to spend the rest of my life with him, but he is very wary of me. He says he is numb to anything I say.

I am willing to do whatever it takes to win back his trust and love. I know that actions will speak louder than words and have been working seven days a week to save money so I can move to be closer to him and maybe have a chance to be together again. I want to prove that I do want to be with him.

I don’t know if I am living in a romantic comedy and hoping for a “happily ever after” outcome. I don’t know if I should just let him go. -- Hopeless

DEAR HOPELESS: This could be one of those romantic comedies that ends in a restraining order.

If your guy wrote to me, laying out the scenario from his point of view, I would tell him to examine the actual evidence and make a choice based on your actions, not your statements.

In my anecdotal (and actual) experience, people who cut and run tend to continue to cut and run, regardless of their intentions.

The kindest thing for you to do would be to let this man fly free, like the proverbial butterfly to which you prove your love by letting go.

Apologize to him, cop to being an idiot and let him decide what to do without crowding him.

DEAR AMY: I have an 18-year-old (older) brother, “Stanley.” He’s constantly on the phone with his girlfriend.

When we get home from school, he calls her and is on the phone until dinner. Then he’s back on the phone until he goes to bed.

He lost one job due to texting and sometimes texts during school. His only plan for post-high school is to move into an apartment near her house (she lives an hour away).

He has no idea what he is going to do to make money. My parents aren’t doing too much to stop this so I’ve decided to take action. Any advice? -- Pestered in Pennsylvania

DEAR PESTERED: I’m not sure what “action” you intend to take, but you are not your brother’s keeper. This is unfortunate, because I have the feeling you’d be pretty good at it.

The best way to reach him is through friendship (otherwise, as the older brother he could just dismiss you with a double-noogie).

You can ask him, “Beyond being with your girlfriend, do you have a plan? Do you know what you’re going to do for a job after graduation?”

Then you should hunker down, pay attention to your own choices and make a determination not to text away your own future.

DEAR AMY: I’m responding to “Danced Out,” who was upset because the guy she was dating had promised to take someone else to a dance.

My husband of 60 years also made a promise to another woman before we met. He insisted on honoring it. I threw a fit (I was young) but he did it anyway.

A man of his word, in 60 years of marriage he never went back on a promise. I could count on him. -- I’m Grateful

DEAR GRATEFUL: Looks like you found the right partner for the big dance. Good for you!

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2012 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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