Advice on all your dating and relationship woes.
I’m a long-time fan of advice columns – you know the ones, Dear Abby, Miss Manners, and (my personal favorite) Dear Prudence. So, I decided to start my own!
Without further ado, here is my first foray into Agony Aunt territory.
Q: My boyfriend and I are in a long-distance relationship. We usually talk every day, but he hasn’t answered his phone all day, which worries me. What do I do?
– Worried Girlfriend
Dear Worried Girlfriend:
Oh honey. I just want to give you a hug. I can tell that this shift in your typical relationship dynamic is making you seriously stressed out. As someone who struggles with relationship anxiety, myself, I completely empathize.
If you’re asking what you can physically do at this point, unfortunately the answer is “not much.” (You can of course call his place of work/his friends/his family or anyone else you know if you really get worried. You can also contact the police department in the state where he lives, but I would save that as a very last resort. Or even let a friend/family member of his do this if you’re able to get a hold of one of them.)
But, if what you’re actually asking is what you can do to take care of your own well-being right now, here’s my advice: Take a deep breath, take a walk, take a shower, listen to calming music, put your phone away for a bit, and try and relax. I know it’s much easier said than done but do your best.
Right now, your mind is probably going to the worst-case scenario and that’s not helpful to anyone.
Instead, try and think about what’s most likely. Maybe he’s out with friends or busy with work. Maybe his phone battery died. Maybe his phone broke. Maybe he’s somewhere without cell reception. In fact, if you have an alternative way of contacting him, such as email, social media, or a landline (do people still have those?), then I would attempt to contact him in that way too.
In the meantime, try and focus on the more likely possibilities of what happened as you wait for his response and visualize your own relief once you find out what happened.
When he does reach out to you, absolutely share with him that you felt a great deal of anxiety. That way, if there comes a time in the future when a similar situation arises, he may be more mindful of letting you know what’s going on and it will save your future anxiety.
If, (and this is, in my opinion, extremely unlikely) he is simply ghosting you, then my heart goes out to you and I know that nothing I say will ease the immediate pain. However, you can take some solace in knowing that anyone who would do that to someone they care about is someone you don’t want anywhere in your life.
Q: What is the easiest way to go “No Contact” with someone you really love?
– “No-Contact” Newbie
Dear “No-Contact” Newbie:
For now – write their number on a piece of paper and give that paper to a trusted friend. Tell your friend, “I need to stop contacting EX for a while. Can you hold onto this number for me for the next month or so?”
Then delete your exes number from your phone. Mute them on social media or better yet, take a social media break yourself for a bit. Once the “no-contact” period is up, your friend can give return their number to you.
Going “No Contact” with an ex is inherently difficult. There’s really no “easy” way to lessen how emotionally hard it will be. Everyone has a different way of coping with heartbreak – some people need to stay consistently busy. Others need to sit and wallow for a little while. Find out what works best for you. But make sure that you have people in your life who can check in on you to make sure you’re taking adequate care of yourself.
Q: My ex says that he wants to reconcile with me, but he won’t make any efforts and is still talking with other women. What should I do?
– Ex in Limbo
Dear Ex in Limbo:
Set an expectation and then follow through.
He may actually want to get back together, but he’s still keeping his options open and not treating you like a priority. You also say that he’s not “making an effort” (though you don’t specify what that means exactly,) so regardless of how he really feels, his words and actions are inconsistent.
If you are interested in reconciliation, then decide exactly what you need from him. Do you need him to stop talking to other women? Make you more of a priority in his life? Go to counseling with you? Whatever it is, figure out your expectations and talk to him about it:
“John, I would be open to giving our relationship another chance. But for me to do that, I need you to do [X,Y,Z]. Are you able to do that?”
Listen to how he responds. If he balks or refuses, then you have a pretty clear-cut answer. If he says he is willing to do those things, then you will need to watch his actions and see if he follows through. If nothing changes, then you can tell him that you’ll need to move on.
Q: What can I do if no one else seems to live up to my ex?
– High Standards
Dear High Standards:
Give yourself more time to heal. No one can live up to an ex when you’re still pining for them. You have your ex on a pedestal right now. So, you could meet the most amazing person ever tomorrow and still, they wouldn’t seem as good as your ex. Once your heart has fully mended, you’ll be able to see others in a more honest light.
That’s it for this week everyone! Thanks for all the questions and I hope my answers are helpful.
I’m going to aim to do this type of advice column blog post once a month or so. If you have a question, please email it to me at email@example.com or submit on this site.