Ex-boyfriend is not giving up

Annie Lane

Dear Annie: Three years ago, my former high school sweetheart and I had a one-night stand. We both live in different states, but I was visiting my family.

Although we didn’t have intercourse, he seems to dwell on this night.

For example, when he knew that I was planning a visit the following year, he booked a hotel room. I never encouraged him to do that or indicated that we’d get together again. In my opinion, he was being presumptuous. He saw it as being hopeful.

I have been in a long-term relationship and felt guilty about the one-night stand. I love the man deeply. The ex wished him dead. He said he was joking. I say that many a truth is spoken in jest.

I communicate with him occasionally, but that’s only because I have a sibling who was in a tumultuous relationship and the ex would tell me about any drama associated with that. But in texts and phone conversations, he talks suggestively, inappropriately and rude, getting too intimate. He’s declared, “I’ll never give up” and “It’ll never be over.” I know that he’s not involved with anyone. My question: Is this obsessive behavior? — Confused

Dear Confused: If you really want this man to stop holding a candle for you, all you have to do is blow it out. I’m not convinced you do. The situation with your sibling is no excuse to stay in touch, and the fact that you’ve continued talking to him on such dubious grounds suggests you might be getting something out of these exchanges after all — validation, perhaps. That’s not healthy.

It’s time to shut it down. Tell this man, in no uncertain terms, that you have zero romantic interest in him and you want him to stop contacting you. Block his number. If he starts stalking you or seriously threatening your boyfriend’s safety, document everything and take out a restraining order. But I have a feeling this old Romeo won’t come calling if he sees that the balcony door is closed, locked and boarded.

Dear Annie: I’m a woman in my 70s. I’ve noticed that people have written to you about issues they face in retirement. There are so many of us older adults, and our numbers are growing rapidly. One overarching theme I’ve noticed is that we’d all like to feel we have some purpose — that we are needed and valued in some way. Many people facing retirement ask themselves, “What will I do now?” I would appreciate your advice on grappling with that question. — J.M.

Dear J.M.: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in helping others. There are countless ways to volunteer. Serve as a docent at a museum you love; mentor elementary school students at an underserved school; help out at a local hospital; foster cats or dogs. Visit https://www.volunteermatch.org to find opportunities specific to your location and your interests.

Editor’s note: Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.