Dear Amy: I don’t think I’ve ever seen this topic addressed. This could be an issue faced by a straight person or a gay man. (I happen to be gay.)
My ex suddenly died a few years ago from a tear in one of his heart chambers. He was 53 years old.
After our split (due to infidelity on his part), we were able to put aside our bitterness towards each other and move on as friends. He also attended my wedding with my current husband.
When he died, I was devastated. The pain was intense.
People around me were acting like, “If you were just friends, why are you trying so hard?”
My husband tried to understand, but I got the idea that he didn’t really understand. Trust me, I had no romantic interest in my ex at the time.
did i overreact?
Wounded East in the Midwest
Dear Injured: The indelible line from John Donne’s poem “No Man is an Island” immediately comes to mind (as it so often has, recently): “…the death of any man diminishes me, because I am human. I belong to the caste.”
Continuing the piggy bank on this poem, I will tell you “For whom the bell rings”: the bell is for you and for every grieving person.
A friend of mine recently described the impact of losing friends as a hole in your life.
You shared your life with your ex, and after your breakup, you remained in friendship. Of course, you mourn this loss!
There is no shortcut to grief, and there is no need to justify how you feel, how you feel, or… that you feel so deeply sad after the death of a friend.
Dear Amy: In some unusual circumstances, which are too complicated to explain here, I met another man about seven and a half years ago.
We first met for a sexual encounter and soon became lovers. And then we became good friends.
We’re both in our older years, and get tested regularly, so we know each other’s health.
Before we met, her husband as well as my wife had lost interest in sex, so sex was the initial attraction for both of us.
We live in different cities, but manage to see each other several times a year. Sometimes we can only meet for lunch or dinner and just talk – talking for hours and hours. Other times we get the opportunity to be intimate with each other. We share our thoughts, our dreams, family issues, concerns etc.
Their communication has slowed down over the past few months. At this point, I haven’t heard from him in a few weeks. No explanation, no message, nothing. I guess it’s called a “ghost”?
My question is this: I feel like I need at least some kind of closure. I’ll be in his town in a few weeks. Should I try to contact him again so that I can feel the closure?
How’s the best approach, and how determined should I be? Or should I let it go?
Dear Ghost: Yes, you should contact him. Ask, perhaps by text: “Can you come back to me just to let me know if you’re okay? Of course, I miss listening to you, but at this point I’m just looking for an explanation.” I’m wondering why you haven’t been in touch, and I’m starting to worry. I’ll be in town soon if you want to meet in person.”
After all this effort, yes I think you should give it a go.
And… it’s not on topic, but I hope your wife has been tested for STDs too.
Dear Amy: Regarding your recent column on adoption (from “troubled sister”): We have three kids, a bio and two adopted.
When we brought our second child home (3 weeks old!), our social worker told us the day he was adopted, and to tell him over and over again.
Obviously, a 3 week old doesn’t understand adoption, but the point was that we would be very comfortable telling her our adoption story and open to any questions she may have as she grows up.
Therefore, the right age to learn the story of a child adoption is the day you bring your child home.
Dear Susan: This is stellar advice that I hope all adoptive parents will follow.
You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow him on Twitter @askingamy or on Facebook.