Dear Readers: Every year I step away from my column for two weeks to work on other writing projects.
My two memoirs, “The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Story of Surprising Second Chances,”(2010, Hachette) and “Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home” (2018, Hachette) are available from your favorite bookseller or library.
Enjoy today’s “Best Of” column from 2010.
I’ll be back with fresh Q and A next week.
Dear Amy: Recently, I “virtually” reconnected with a woman I knew more than 25 years ago.
A few months ago, I was in her hometown and she came to my hotel. We had a few drinks and spent the night together. Recently, I was at a convention she also attended, and we spent the week together. We virtually skipped the convention and just enjoyed each other’s company.
More recently, I was back in her town and we spent another few days together.
We talk about everything, share everything, and have started talking about a new life together. This would entail us both leaving our spouses.
We talk every day, and know the pain this may cause, but we truly are in love and want to be with each other.
We both have high school-age children.
Do I just tell my wife I am leaving her? Should I wait for a job in the new city first?
I am conflicted about the how/when/where. — No Tiger
Dear Tiger: I’ve managed to stay sentimental enough about marriage that I would urge you to try to stay with — rather than flee from — your family.
All I can say is that there is no easy way to dump your family, certainly if in the course of leaving them you intend to also leave town.
When faced with such a monumental life choice, it is helpful to sit down with a counselor to discuss your intentions. Try this first.
Dear Amy: A long time ago, I broke off my engagement, and shortly afterward married another man. We were married for more than 30 years when he died of cancer.
Do you feel it would be inappropriate for me to try to contact my former fiance after 40 years? After I broke our engagement, we had no further contact.
I am curious as to where life has taken him. I would like to drop him a note and offer to meet him for coffee and conversation to catch up.
What is your opinion? — Curious
Dear Curious: My opinion is that you are lonely for companionship and so you want to test the waters by returning to a familiar “lost love.”
This is a completely understandable impulse. I’ve had it myself, which is why after my long-ago divorce I dated everyone I ever knew in college.
Your motives might not be completely clear to you — or your motive might be mixed — but you should be prepared for the fact that he has changed, that you have changed, and that, if he is married or in a committed relationship, he might see this contact as an unwelcome intrusion.
You should familiarize yourself with Facebook. Post an online profile, and then use it to get in touch with all sorts of people. The way all of our personal webs intersect, I bet it wouldn’t be two weeks before he was aware of how to contact you.
Dear Amy: I’ve had a friend from work for 25 years. We solved problems together, griped about conditions, lunched and played tennis. We retired and have remained friends, albeit with less get-together time.
Well, suddenly my friend says he has to meet with a “group” every morning, including weekends. He is mysterious about the “group,” saying that he is not permitted to talk about what they do.
Though I know his wife, I feel I can’t ask her about this because I’m embarrassed.
Now I am not “permitted” to talk with him during the day. No more lunches. I should let it go, but I feel as if a friendship that I valued is devalued. Do you have any idea what sort of group could have such requirements as abandoning longtime friends? — Puzzled Pal
Dear Puzzled: Your friend might be attending AA meetings, religious meetings, getting dialysis treatments or playing poker. He also might want to exit the friendship, but not know how to tell you.
If you are truly worried about him, yes — you could reach out to his wife with an expression of concern.