And I am not even sure I want it to! I just want to get to know him better and have no idea how to move from friendly neighborly chat to friendship, or more.
He is moving soon (not far), so I will have fewer chances for random run-ins. Any advice?
— Inexperienced Flirter
Inexperienced Flirter: If you’re not sure where you want to take this, then stay where you are. There is a lot to savor in the world you create by not forcing things.
If you run into him less after his move and want to see him more, then, at your next encounter, say you’ve missed running into him. His answer will probably say enough, but, if it doesn’t, then invite him to something low-stakes. Coffee, a drink. “I’m headed to X. Walk with me?”
If you decide you want flirting, then don’t underestimate the disarming power of being yourself out loud: “Are we flirting? I’m not always good at telling the difference.” That’s not only 100 percent true, but also gives him a chance to say, in the gentlest possible way, that his is only a neighborly interest.
I'll leave you with what I tell my kids before games: Good luck. Have fun.
Hi Carolyn: Who is crazier, me for still missing a man who lied and cheated on me — he broke things off a year ago — or the “other woman” he cheated on me with, who told me about his lying/cheating, made him break up with me, harassed me, and was hellbent on getting me out of his life and reclaiming him?
— Still Traumatized
Still Traumatized: Stop, please. Stop being so hard on yourself. You are not “crazy.”
You are not taking good care of yourself, either. The so-called “other woman” is not your problem nor is she your business. Any attention you give her, you’re taking away from something that does matter.
Even the man and what he does and who he sees are no longer your business and haven’t been for a year. Both are just vessels for your anger, keeping it alive.
Your business is you: your choices, reasons, results. These things are screaming for your attention, and in the absence of your attention they have become comprehension voids that you’re filling with the relived drama of a volatile relationship.
Meaning, your mind is not on what you’re doing-choosing-creating now. Your attention is re-watching bad old movies while your daily self is on autopilot.
It is hard to force your mind back into the present, but it’s doable — even through acute pain — by making small choices to re-engage your mind. Feed your natural interests. Resume things you quit to spend time with him; there’s always something. Do some good.
Absorption is a nonprescription remedy for unhealthy preoccupations. If it’s not strong enough, then do get professional help.