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Ask Amy: I miss the possibility of romance

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Dear Amy: Just before the pandemic, I started dating a charming, smart, handsome, funny professional guy (we’re both men). Our dates were delightful, except that whenever I suggested getting physically affectionate, he always had an excuse not to.

The relationship faded out. After a few months, I drunkenly texted him and he responded by asking if I wanted to be friends with benefits.

We started hanging out again and we had sex a few times, but there was no romance or spark whatsoever. No charm, no jokes, no fun and no cuddling.

Afterwards he would abruptly leave.

It was like he was a completely different person.

I felt like a human being when we were hanging out, and like an object when we were having sex.

I started making excuses not to have sex (our dates were still great), but he kept hinting.

Then he suddenly moved out of the country. He’d been planning this, but hadn’t told me.

After a year away, he came for a visit and asked to stay with me for three weeks. He made many blunt requests for sexual acts via texts, even though I’d been saying I wasn’t really interested.

While he was staying with me, he slept in my bed without asking. I was so uncomfortable, I decided to sleep on the couch.

On the third night we were drinking, and I gave in. I felt terrible afterward.

I finally asked him to find another place to stay. He left. We have not been in touch at all since then.

I miss the friendship. I miss the possibility of romance (it seemed like it should have worked as a relationship), even though a relationship never happened.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about him, and I’m considering reaching out again. I feel terrible about how it ended, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any point, does there? I can’t see how it would be any different.

I’d like a second opinion.

– J

Dear J: You have described a series of creepy sexual encounters with a man who is a Dr. Jekyll in friendship, and a Mr. Hyde in bed. The last encounter was an assault (you were drunk when you “gave in” to his coercion).

This sexual objectification has made you so uncomfortable over the years that you have deliberately kept your distance. And why? Because he is a creep, and because you have self-respect and don’t want to be treated like an object.

I could speculate about why he behaves this way, but the reasons don’t matter.

You do matter.

I’d remind you that many people who are dangerous, deviant, or merely skeevy can lead seemingly ideal double lives outside of their obsessions or fetishes. And the people closest to them are often the last to know.

You want the benefit of a genuine and authentic romance and relationship; he wants something else entirely.

You’ve asked for a second opinion. Mine is that you should remove the temptation to drunk-text him by blocking all contact. Steer clear.

Dear Amy: I’m the mother of two adults.

My daughter has my only two grandchildren.

I moved to another state after retirement for about six years and during those six years I traveled back for every holiday, birthday, anniversary, etc.

I recently moved back and it’s TOTALLY different.

My daughter favors her in-laws. She has allowed the kids to call my brother and his wife “grandparents.”

I don’t get invited to “hang out” with her, “the in-laws” and “the grandparents.” I feel replaced.

How can I address this without destroying what little relationship I have?

– Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken: I suggest that you stay calm and take this in careful stages.

In-between special occasions, your daughter’s family has chugged along according to a basic pattern. You are going to have to look for ways to integrate into their lives.

Setting aside the choice to refer to your brother and his wife as “grandparents,” (what’s with that?), I suggest that you should invite the whole family (including in-laws) for a barbecue or meal in your new home.

Also, share your concern with your daughter: “I feel like I’m struggling here. Can you help me find ways to spend more time with the family?”

Dear Amy: I’m enjoying some of the “rerun” columns you are featuring lately. These columns remind me of how consistent and funny you’ve been through the years. Thank you for the entertainment!

– A Fan

Dear Fan: To be candid, they haven’t all been winners. I am cherry-picking some of my favorites.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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