DEAR AMY: Through high school and on and off through my first two years of college I dated the only person I’ve ever been in love with. Our relationship was always very complicated. We were almost never in the same city except for vacations, when we would hook up and then he would act like it never happened (until the next time we saw each other, when we’d hook up again).
He was a terrible communicator and I never knew where we stood. I was always the one wanting more and he was definitely the one in control. Whenever I asked for clarification about our situation he would flat-out ignore me (sometimes for as long as six months). Four years ago I had a medical emergency and he acted like a huge jerk. I finally realized I had to cut off all contact.
I have enjoyed a lot of professional/academic success. I have continued to travel around the world and I am currently abroad again. I have dated, but I have yet to feel a connection with someone like I had with him.
Recently he re-established contact. He is also in a prestigious graduate program and is successful in his own right. He seems to have grown up a lot, and he has been interested in me in a way he previously never was.
He has invited me to come see him when I’m home. I know that we are both curious to see if our connection is still there, and I feel like I can’t romantically fully move on until I know definitively.
Lately I’ve thought about inviting him to spend a short visit with me. I will not be going home for many months. He has always wanted to travel and will be on break from his program, but I am not sure he would even accept my invitation. Is this a terrible, insane idea? Or is this a way to find the answers or closure I am looking for?
DEAR WONDERING: I think it’s a good idea to invite this man to visit you. You have known each other off and on for years. You are curious about him. You are hoping he has changed. The way to find out is to spend time with him.
Issue this invitation hoping for the best but keeping your expectations very realistic. Invite him and let him make the effort to plan and pay for the trip. You two met as teenagers and are now adults. People do mature, change, grow and grow up. (You’ve changed too.)
Understand that he may not want to take this trip. If so, you will see if he has become a better communicator, or if he will revert to his pattern of ignoring you when things get challenging.
DEAR AMY: When we visit our son and daughter-in-law’s home, they don’t have hand towels in their bathroom. A couple of times I have asked my daughter-in-law if she had a towel to use in the bathroom and she responded, “That’s what pants are for.”
Should I ignore this or should I send her some towels? Maybe she just doesn’t want us to visit?
MIL who Doesn’t Want Trouble
DEAR MIL: Your daughter-in-law is responding to a very sensible question with a snarky little joke. The next time she says this, you could (of course) walk over to her and use her pants to wipe off your hands. But wait – you don’t want trouble (good for you).
The next time you visit you should bring some nice (but not fancy) hand towels for the household, and treat this whole episode as a lighthearted quirk.
DEAR AMY: Oh, the letter from “Angry Widow” really struck a chord. Just after her husband died she discovered his infidelity with another married woman. She said she also discovered missing documents.
I hope this widow goes through her finances very carefully and lets the girlfriend’s husband know that he should also review his finances. It can be expensive to have an affair, and that money had to come from somewhere.
DEAR ANGRY: Good point.
Write Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.