DEAR READERS: Your questions and dilemmas never take a holiday, but occasionally I must. This year I'm spending a week pursuing a rigorous summertime schedule of mini-golf, water slides and go-kart racing. This week's "best of" columns come from deep within the Ask Amy vault. Like a soft-serve twisty cone, they are sometimes even more enjoyable as a second helping.
DEAR AMY: I must start out by saying this is not a midlife crisis. I am a 40-year-old guy who has never dated anyone over 25. I recently broke up with a 19-year-old after dating her for a month. She was the one who asked me out, but the pressure from her friends and family was too much.
She then started dating someone her own age. Even though she left for school a month ago, we talk on the phone almost every night, sometimes for hours. This girl got to me like no one else ever has. I know we were made for each other, though at different times! I can't get her out of my head. I don't know if I should just keep talking to her and stay close hoping she may still have feelings for me. -- Not That Old
DEAR NOT: Thank you for declaring that you are not having a midlife crisis. I agree. You are having a dim-life crisis.
Before I attempt to slap you silly with the phrase "what can you possibly be thinking?!" I realize I have some major baggage here. Many of us do. At least those of us with teenage daughters. (If you attempt to date mine, by the way, I'm coming after you. Or better yet, I'll send her father.)
Her parents must be worried about this, and I would think that as their contemporary, you would try to respect them, at least a little bit. But she is also a party to this relationship, and based on what you present here, it sounds as if she's still interested in you. Since she is a (barely) consenting adult, there isn't much anyone can do legally to prevent you from seeing each other.
I do feel, however, that the decent and adult thing is for you to back off -- way off -- in order to allow her to have a halfway normal time at college. I realize that by the time she graduates, she may be too old for you, but since you're "made for each other," I assume you'll be happy to wait in spite of the fact she might outgrow you. (2003)
DEAR AMY: My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year and a half. In the first six months of our relationship, he told me he loved me, but then, after some sort of revelation on his part, he told me that he could no longer say that, due to some soul-searching "who-am-I" issues that he was working out. Every two or three months, I swallow my pride and ask about the status of his identity crisis and still haven't heard the magic words.
We have talked about living together or even in the same city (he is about 75 miles away), but whenever the time approaches, he always backs off.
How can I let him figure things out in this relationship without feeling I'm sacrificing my needs and desires all the time? Or should I do what I don't want to do -- end this relationship -- to stop feeling so sad about how I'm not getting what I want? -- High Expectations
DEAR HIGH: You are so thoughtful to try to understand your boyfriend's hidden desires, motivations and identity issues, but, really, don't you think you should get a cat instead? I mean, if you had a cat, you would be sharing your life and home with a mysterious creature that may or may not love you but will never say. Just like this boyfriend of yours.
Stop sacrificing yourself for him. He might want you, he might even love you, but just now he is manipulating and controlling you. Head to the nearest animal shelter and find yourself a real companion. (2003)