Ask Amy: Anxious woman should take a breather
Dear Amy: I am in turmoil over a new dating relationship. He is everything I want to have in a partner. We have a connection with each other I never thought I would find.
We’ve been dating for almost two months.
We live about 45 minutes from each other, so it’s not easy to see each other.
I also have a 9-year-old son who is with his dad every other weekend.
Almost two weeks ago, we were supposed to be on our 12th date, but it was the anniversary of his mother’s death, and so we canceled.
His father was put in the hospital that same week with lymphoma and COVID-19.
I haven’t seen him since then.
I know he’s got a lot of emotional things on his plate. I am trying my best to be supportive and not to have anxiety about not seeing him or talking to him as often.
What can I do to help him get through this? How can I cope with my extreme anxiety?
We never had the “exclusive” talk with each other, so I don’t know if it’s worth talking about now. He’s shutting down and he doesn’t seem to want to make any effort to make plans.
Am I overreacting? Do I need to give him space?
Should I ask if he’s seeing anyone else right now?
I was so sure we were moving in the right direction. Now, I’m not so sure. — Anxious
Dear Anxious: You don’t need to give this man space, because he is taking it. He is taking space because he needs it. His mother is gone and his father is hospitalized. If he is also working, all of his emotional bandwidth might be consumed, just trying to get through the day.
What you need to be right now is the cool, calm, and supportive friend this man deserves to have. If you are too anxious to behave this way, then you should figure out how to fake it.
Do not press him about your relationship. Don’t ask him if he is seeing someone else.
This could be an unfortunate and unforeseen case of “right guy, wrong time.” I don’t know of any certain remedy for bad timing.
It is also revealing vastly different temperaments and coping styles: Someone who becomes anxious when stressed, versus someone who becomes depressed and shuts down.
I think you should check in — with a call or a text — to say, “My son is with his dad next weekend. I can drive out during the day and bring you a sandwich. Are you up for that?” If he says no, or doesn’t respond to a message, let it lie. Learning to relax and learning to trust (and to be patient while you are learning) will be very good for you.
Dear Amy: I’m a single man in my late 50s.
I’d like to meet someone, but I don’t want to be “that guy” who is trying to be friendly but comes off as sleezy.
When does striking up a conversation with an attractive stranger to get an idea as to whether she is single and possibly interested become “hitting on” someone? What is the best way to recognize if she is not available or interested?
Is it always deemed to be hitting on someone when one attempts to start a conversation with the intention to see if they are available?
Surely this can’t always be wrong, so long as you back off if it becomes apparent that the interest is not mutual? — Wondering
Dear Wondering: If you strike up a conversation with a stranger with the express intention to see if she is available, then this is the very definition of “hitting on” someone.
Depending on the context, it is not always a bad thing to hit on someone! If you’re in a bar, go for it. The jogging path or the produce aisle, not so much.
I highly recommend online matching for you. The people registered on online matching sites are all available and looking. Meeting new people for coffee is a great way to brush up your flirting skills.
Dear Amy: “Wondering” asked how to justify leaving his marriage of over a decade. He believed he shouldn’t have married in the first place.
Thank you for this response: “Just don’t tell her, ‘I don’t believe I ever loved you.’” — A Fan
Dear Fan: At the end of a long relationship, “I never loved you” truly is the deepest cut.