6 Jun

Dear LetterBalm: I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship for the past 10 years. We met in graduate school when both of us were in our mid-20s. Both of us haven’t had a relationship as serious as this one. We get along so well, our values are the same and the sex is great. But any time we get close to getting engaged, she backs off and acts so weird that we fight, stop hanging out and don’t speak for months. I go out on dates and just as I start to get interested in someone, she comes back, saying she’s sorry and she loves me. I hook up with her again, and we’re off and running. I’ve got to break this cycle once and for all, but I want to be real sure that we’re not going to be together. I need my head examined and I need to get her out of my life.

–Neurotic Mike

Oh, Mike, there are some things in life you’ll never know for sure. One of them is whether or not you and your dear friend are destined to be a couple forever. Nobody knows that, not even young sweethearts who felt from day one they were meant for each other. Ms. L.B. is going to make a couple of assumptions here: 1. You have suggested she see a therapist, and you are doing the same. 2. You have attempted to find out why she is so fearful to commit. (This may remain another mystery.) 3. You have involved yourself in other pursuits, not just the female kind, to develop yourself as a whole person, not just someone on call to your skittish lady. If you are truly serious about moving on – and this will be excruciatingly painful – be prepared to cut off all contact with her and not indulge her when she calls. Handwrite a letter and mail it to her:

Dear Bernadette,

This is the most painful letter I’ve ever had to write. You have been my best friend and my lover for 10 years. We have been through a lot together, and by now I thought we’d be married. But this hasn’t happened, and I now think it never will.

We’ve been through more breakups and reconciliations than any couple should have to endure. Even though you are the woman I have loved more than any other in my life, I’ve come to the sad realization that in fairness to ourselves, we have to move on without each other.

I wish you well, and I hope you have a good life. You will always be in my heart.



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