Dear Annie: In 1994, my first real relationship ended when “Lisa” and I parted ways. For reasons that are still valid, I broke it off. It was emotional and very tough on her. After that, I met the woman who became my wife, and we’ve been married eight years.
Here is the issue: I have been thinking and dreaming a lot about Lisa. I don’t know why she still takes up such a large portion of my head 13 years later. I have not spoken to her or seen her since a month after our breakup, but I still care about her. I guess I really want to know she is happy and healthy. I also want to apologize for the way I ended things. I think she was treated unfairly by my circle of friends.
I suspect my wife would be less than enthusiastic about my initiating contact with an old flame, even though my intentions are strictly platonic. Should I just forget about Lisa? Is an apology worth upsetting my wife and possibly Lisa as well? It has been my private mental hurdle for years, but maybe I should keep it that way. I think this is a classic “closure” complex. Tell me something, please. — Still Caring
Dear Still Caring: Your guilt is pushing you into dangerous territory, but we can understand the desire to apologize for an old wrong. Here’s how to do it. Talk to your wife. Explain that you harbor some guilt about the breakup with Lisa and want to clean the slate. Say you are thinking of sending a letter or asking a mutual friend to convey your apology. (No additional contact is necessary or sensible.) Ask if it is OK with her, and if so, be sure she is present when you do it. And if she asks you to do nothing, please respect that.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Peace in the 60s,” who said all the men she meets are needy, self-absorbed, egotistical, stingy jackasses. I am a 62-year-old man with below-average looks who hasn’t been with a woman in 15 years. You have no idea how hard I’ve tried. I am not clingy, fussy or looking for a beauty queen. Not once did I get a date.
I consider myself a really great, decent guy who doesn’t drink or smoke and is a fantastic listener who cares. I am clean-cut, in good shape and dress well. I hit the gym every day. I am in excellent health with no baggage.
I have many good qualities to offer and am also financially well off. There are a lot of guys out there like me, but because we are not born gifted with good looks, we can never meet a woman like her. — Rejected in the 60s
Dear Rejected: We can’t tell you how many women have told us the same thing — that men won’t give them a second glance because they are not attractive enough. There are plenty of women who have dated (and married) men who look like you. What’s the catch? These men are interesting and have a sense of humor. Their engaging personality overcomes any disadvantage. But not everyone meets a soul mate. So live your life doing what makes you happy. If someone comes along, great, but if not, at least you won’t be sitting at home feeling sorry for yourself.
Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from “L.G.” in response to a family in trouble due to both their sons’ addictions to Internet games. I totally forgot I had written that letter and was shocked at how judgmental and critical I sounded.
The fact is, I was not the best parent to my own son when he was growing up, which may have triggered my strong reaction. I am truly sorry if I contributed any further to this family’s suffering and sincerely hope they are receiving help and their situation has improved. — L.G.
Dear L.G.: It takes a big person to admit being wrong. Thank you.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger on 11.23.07