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Dear Annie

Reconnecting without expectations

Annie Lane, syndicated columnist

Dear Annie: I’m 73 years old and having feelings like a 17-year-old. “Richard” and I were an item in high school. It ended when my mother would no longer let me see him. I didn’t know why at the time. Many years later, I figured out why; but it’s complicated and has no bearing on what’s going on now. However, I always regretted how things ended for us.

Eventually, I met and married someone else. Richard met and married someone else.

Fast-forward to about two years ago: I got a Facebook friend request from Richard’s wife, “Mary.” I’d never met her. My first thought was, “Does she know that I’m a former girlfriend of her husband?” I didn’t respond, thinking it was a bit odd and not a good idea. You see, through all those years, I thought about Richard off and on, regretting not having him in my life.

Recently, I saw in the newspaper obituaries that Mary died. They have two grown children. Mary and Richard were married for more than 50 years. In a way, I’m envious. I’ve been married twice, divorced twice, and single for the last 13 years. (Though I’m blessed to have three grown children, seven grandchildren and some great-grandchildren.)

I thought about writing a condolence on the funeral home webpage and decided it was not appropriate. But on the internet, I found Richard’s home address and phone number (he’s in a neighboring town). It seems inappropriate to contact Richard so soon.

I have no idea if he’s ever thought of me. His birthday is Dec. 26. Now, I’m thinking maybe a condolence/birthday greeting in December? What would you advise? — Mad About Him

Dear Mad About Him: There is no timeline for these things. The key is to be respectful of his space and do away with expectations. Only send him a card in December if you’re willing to accept friendship rather than romance. Perhaps, one day, he will be interested in striking up a relationship, but that can’t be your expectation.

Dear Annie: I’ve been seeing a married man lately, and I can just tell from the looks on my friends’ faces that they don’t approve. The way I see it, his marital problems have nothing to do with me. His and I have a relationship that is totally separate from that, in many ways. How can I get my friends to stop judging me? — Miffed

Dear Miffed: When you feel like a nail, everything looks like a hammer. You must be harboring at least a little guilt over this affair, or you wouldn’t be seeing judgment on friends’ faces.

Dear Annie: I read your letter from “Marshall Sellers” about people needing to walk against traffic. His letter and your response were excellent!

Several years ago, I took a self-defense class at university. A large portion of the class focused on prevention techniques. Walking/running against traffic was one of the first prevention strategies stressed. This technique was stressed so a person can see what/who is coming toward you. Following the traffic flow gives potential perpetrators the opportunity to attack you or take belongings from behind before you may be aware that you are in possible danger.

I hope this additional information about walking/running against traffic helps readers to be aware of their surroundings in order to stay safe! — Safer in the South

Dear Safer in the South: I’d never considered this as a reason for walking opposite the flow of auto traffic, but you’re absolutely right. Thanks for the letter.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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