We engaged in a long-distance relationship throughout the shutdowns, essentially living on video chat for eight to 10 hours at a stretch every single day for months.
We relied on one another for emotional support. I couldn't imagine never seeing her again, but wasn't sure when I would.
She hatched a plan to travel to the United States to fetch me, and we hired an immigration lawyer, who created an itinerary for our undertaking. The paperwork and documents we provided were time-consuming and invasive, but they were worth it if we could be together.
In September 2020, out of nowhere, she sent me an unthinkable text: "I think it's time to move on from each other. This isn't going to work, and this border closure could last for years."
She blocked me on all fronts and forms of social media, and I never heard from her again.
I was utterly destroyed.
It felt like being left at the altar.
More than a year later, I still feel the hurt and abandonment of being so unceremoniously dropped at such a critical time by someone I had come to trust so completely.
It has affected my outlook about relationships and my ability to try again.
Sometimes I feel completely "over it," but then I'm set back by some triggering behavior or thought.
I used to be a very hopeful, romantic and optimistic person.
Now, whenever I meet someone new, I find myself scanning them for signs of danger and looking around for the exits.
What can I do to cultivate a more trusting and less stymied outlook about romance?
— J, from New Orleans
J: This woman dropped you abruptly and in the worst possible way, without providing any personal justification or explanation. This says a lot about her, because she had the option to part as friends, as painful as that might have been for both of you.
Your reaction now is understandable. People who have been burned instinctively avoid getting too close to the flame in the future, but in avoiding future relationships, you are expecting others to pay for what happened in your own past.
This is the twisted symmetry of your emotional fallout.
We all carry our wounds in different ways. Time and positive experiences will help you to heal from this.
You should strive to be brave enough to have these experiences.
I hope you won’t let this loss change what is best and brightest about you.
Dear Amy: I have a 23-year-old son who lives in my home, and he won't leave.
My two girls are out on their own, one of whom is his twin.
I really love him, but it's time for him to get out!
I don't cook for him or anything; he takes care of himself.
He works and can afford to leave, and I just want to be alone in my own home.
How do I get him to move out?
Tired: You don’t “get” your son to move out.
You “tell” him it’s time for him to move out, and you calmly give him a deadline — perhaps Jan. 1.
Tell him that, if he needs help finding a place, he can ask his sisters — or you — for advice, but otherwise, you’re confident he can manage it.
Based on what you describe, your son seems to have some life skills. Now it’s time for you both to take that last big step.
If he won’t leave, then there are a number of steps you can take to urge — or (if necessary) legally force — him out, but if you get started now, it shouldn’t come to that.
Dear Amy: "Good Auntie" wrote to you saying she didn't want to go along with her adolescent niece's pronoun change (to "they/them").
You (of course, because you are a bleeding-heart liberal) suggested she should follow the girl's lead and respect her wishes, even if they're "temporary."
— Disgusted Reader
Disgusted: I think of myself more as a values-driven humanist, but regardless, I do know a lot about how to be a “Good Auntie,” and loving and accepting a child through their adolescent turmoil is the answer.
2021 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency