Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR READERS: I have stepped away from my daily column for two weeks to finish writing my next book, which is due to be published next fall. I hope you’ll enjoy these topical “best of” questions and answers from the “Ask Amy” archive while I’m away. In honor of Valentine’s Day, today’s questions deal with tricky romantic relationships.

DEAR AMY: I am a woman in my early 20s. I just need an outside opinion as to what might be the most “normal” thing to do in my situation. Some family friends, the “Smiths,” have a son, “Jack,” who is my age. Jack just moved into my area. I don’t know him very well but from the little that I do know, I am interested in him and would like to get to know him better. I guess you could say that I have a little crush on him. He lives about 40 minutes away. I have tried to include Jack in doing things with some of my friends over the past few months, but he has only been able to come with us once. He always says, sincerely, that he wants to come but is leaving town or has friends coming into town, etc. The trouble is that now I feel kind of awkward continuing to call and invite him to do things with me. I have done it just enough times that it is kind of weird. And I don’t want to be weird. But what can I do? He has no real reason to call me because this isn’t his area and he doesn’t know many people. Even if Jack is interested in getting to know me, too, he is too shy to call to chat or call to see if I want to do something with him. So is it weird to just keep inviting him? Should I lay off and hope against hope that he’ll suddenly call about . . . something? What is the right protocol?

Crushed in Virginia

DEAR CRUSHED: If “Jack” wanted to see you, he would find a way to see you. He would accept more of your invitations (no matter what else was going on), show up in your area on a pretext, or run out of gas at the end of your street and ring your doorbell.

Do you notice how your crush has made you brave and bold? Crushes are like that. Even a shy person will figure out how to be bold if he’s interested in someone.

There isn’t anything wrong with getting in touch with Jack from time to time to attempt to include him in your outings, but if he continues to decline your invitations, stop making excuses for him and realize that he’s just not interested. (April 2006)

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DEAR AMY: I’m an 18-year-old bisexual female. I’m dating a wonderful guy, and we’ve been together for more than a year. Recently I found out that he cheated on me with a mutual friend. Both of them were drunk and regret it deeply. They only shared a kiss, but he felt horrible about it and felt compelled to tell me about it. Naturally, I was angry with him and told him that we should take a “break.” It was one of the most miserable weeks of our lives. A few days ago, we decided to get back together. While we were apart, I started getting closer with a friend of mine who I have had a crush on. She is funny, smart and very attractive. The day after my boyfriend and I got back together, she confessed to me that she had liked me for a long time. Now I don’t know what to do! Do I leave the man who hurt me to pursue a crush? Or do I stay with the one I love and allow the crush to pass?

Torn in Two

DEAR TORN: I believe that at least one episode of ”Friends” was devoted to this basic plot line; you just need to decide whether you are playing Ross or Rachel.

If you want your relationship with your boyfriend to succeed, then you need to commit to it, regardless of whatever other temptations you face (so does your boyfriend, by the way). Crushes tend to be temporary in nature. If you leave them alone, they eventually pass — only to become memories that briefly flicker to life at college reunions. (February 2006)