Dear Amy: Old crush brings new dilemma

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • Updated: September 15, 2008 - 7:20 PM

Dear Amy: About 20 years ago, I worked with a doctor, and we had a special "chemistry." We fell passionately in love. Unfortunately, he was married at the time.

I kept my distance so as not to cross that line. I moved 1,500 miles away from him, and I had no further communication with him.

Now I am wondering if it would be OK to send him a letter to let him know how much I love him.

This may sound silly, but the last 20 years of my life have been interrupted with thoughts of him and my disappointment in not being able to let him know how much I love him.

I have no intention of starting a relationship with him. I just want to explain myself and say goodbye.

AT A LOSS

Amy says: If you have no intention of having a relationship with someone, professing your love out of the blue after two decades is a curious way to express it.

Don't drop the "love bomb." It would go off like a grenade, with the potential to scar both of you.

If you get in touch with him, it should be very casual -- along the lines of: "Here's how my life has gone over the past 20 years. I think of you often and wonder how you are, what you're doing and if you're still married. I don't want to interfere with your life, but if you'd care to, I hope you'll get in touch to catch up."

Depending on how (or if) he responds, you can then, very gently and politely, tell him of your feelings for him (although your stated desire to then "say goodbye" seems disingenuous).

You obviously feel a need for answers about this relationship, and I agree that getting some could be a good thing for you. I'd urge you to also think of him, however. He may not welcome this contact, and you should be prepared for that.

Doesn't embrace hugs

Dear Amy: I really do not like being hugged by casual acquaintances. I am not talking about people who come from another culture in which the cheek kiss is typical on greeting friends.

Is it rude to avoid the hug, and how does one do it?

POLAR BEAR

Amy says: Huggers are a very determined group.

You might have some success by saying, "I'm not much of a hugger, so how about we shake hands instead?" You could also initiate what I consider to be one of my specialties -- the "sidewinder." This is when you deftly turn your body to offer a one-armed sideways embrace, accompanied by the all-important pat on the back.

If these techniques don't work for you, you should consider submitting to the dreaded hug, if only to get it over with.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Av., Chicago, IL 60611.

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