Originally Published: May 11, 2017 6 a.m.
Dear Annie: I feel like a cliche. About a year and a half ago, after six years of dating, “Jon” and I broke up — or more accurately, Jon broke up with me.
It blindsided me, especially because I had just relocated with him to another state about a month earlier. He said he was having personal issues and just wanted to be alone. He was drinking a lot and seemed really depressed at the time. I tried encouraging him to seek professional help, but he refused. I continued calling him periodically at first to check in and see whether he was doing OK. But I wanted to respect his wishes, and he didn’t seem interested in getting back together, so I slowly began the process of healing and moving on.
About six months later, I started hearing from him again. He sent me gifts in the mail, references to inside jokes we’d shared over the years. He began calling a lot. I kept meaning to call him back, but for some reason, I didn’t. Things were just different. I had started developing feelings for someone else. Eventually, Jon seemed to get this and began moving on, too. But I never could have guessed how quickly he’d move on.
He started seeing a woman he’d met on a dating site, and within three months, they were engaged. Their wedding is next month. And as much as I’m happy — I’m in a new relationship myself — I still sometimes dwell on how things ended with my ex. And I don’t get how he never proposed to me after six years but it took him only three months to pop the question to a woman who was practically a stranger. I know it’s silly, but I even have thoughts like, “Was I so horrible that anyone who came after me seemed like immediate marriage material?” And I feel this sense of unfinished business because I never did tell him how much he hurt me. I don’t think he knows, because he invited me to the wedding. (I respectfully declined.) Do you think that calling him or writing him a letter just to have one final conversation would give me some sense of closure? — Conflicted
Dear Conflicted: Perhaps the cheapest form of therapy is putting thoughts down on paper. So write Jon a letter, but don’t send it. Instead, use it as a space to work out your feelings and figure out what’s really stopping you from moving on. Closure is a gift we can only give to ourselves.
Dear Annie: As a retired pastor with over 40 years of ministry, may I suggest another response to “Trying to Save Our Church,” who wrote in about two people causing problems in her church? If her church is part of a larger denomination, she could suggest help from a denominational leader, such as a bishop or superintendent. Having dealt with troublemakers such as the ones she described, I have found that such people or couples can and do cause significant damage to the harmony of a congregation. — Reverend Barron
Dear Reverend: I was surprised by how many readers wrote in and mentioned that they’d dealt with similar problems at their churches. I’m printing your helpful, practical tip here because apparently, there are a lot of troublemakers out there! Thank you, Reverend.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.