DEAR AMY: I have been dating a guy for almost four months. We met right before Thanksgiving, so it was lovely to feel connected to someone through the holidays. We even rang in the new year together — sealed with a perfect kiss. From the beginning, we agreed to take things slow, because he was newly divorced and I was recently out of a six-year relationship. (He also is a single dad, and I have never dated anyone with a child.) We don't want to get overwhelmed, and it has worked. February 13th was our three-month anniversary, and the day after was obviously Valentine's Day. I knew I wasn't going to see him because he had his child both of those nights. I thought he would do something special to celebrate both of these days. The anniversary came ... and he said nothing. Valentine's Day came, and he simply texted me and said "Happy Valentine's Day." I thought, "Well, OK. Maybe he is sending flowers to my job..." but still nothing! I'm not going to lie. It hurt. We met up over the weekend, and I thought, "OK, maybe he will do something cute," but still nothing! Am I being too sensitive about this? I guess that because I was in a long relationship, I do not really know how to react in these situations, or regarding dating in general. This still bugs me. Should I talk to him? I tell myself I'm being silly, but am I?

The Confused Romantic

DEAR CONFUSED: Even the most devoted romantics (like you) need to understand that not everybody skips along on a gossamer high wire strung between two rainbows. This newly divorced single dad might just be lumbering along, overwhelmed by his life and unsure about how to behave in this relationship with you, which he is trying to take slowly (a good move for both of you).

In short, monthiversaries aren't necessarily a big deal for everyone. On the other hand, Valentine's Day is a very high-stakes occasion. Many well-meaning and otherwise sufficiently romantic people blow it on Valentine's Day, due to their own histories and anxieties — combined with the combustible (and sometimes ridiculous) commercially driven expectations.

Romance is actually a special language all its own. You and your guy are still getting to know each other. Before you undermine this relationship with your expectations, you should expand it through communicating about this.

Did you wish your guy a happy monthiversary? Did you send him a card, leave him a nice voicemail or even text him a gif on Valentine's Day? It doesn't sound as if you did.

I'd like to remind you that romance runs both ways.

DEAR AMY: I have work friends from the '70s that I enjoyed, appreciated and partied with back in the day. Fast-forward more than 45 years, and I am a different person. I care about these people, but I no longer have anything in common with them. I would enjoy meeting up once a year and toasting the years we enjoyed together, but they want more: Holidays, birthdays, regular dinners, etc. How do I kindly disengage from all these events that are meaningful to them, but not to me?

Moved On

DEAR MOVED ON: The passive way to handle this would be for you to respond to every rolling invitation by saying, "I can't make it, but I'm toasting you from afar!" This will not stop the invitations, however.

Because this feels like a low-stakes situation for you (these people aren't relatives; you don't seem to particularly care how they feel about you), you might as well be completely honest, perhaps through a group message: "I want all of you to know how much I treasure our memories together. I will never forget that Fleetwood Mac concert we partied through! However, my life has changed a lot since then and I'm just not up for frequent get-togethers. So even though I won't see you often, know that I am toasting every occasion — from a distance."

DEAR AMY: "Nicknamed" was upset because family members persisted in calling her a name that she did not like, and which she had legally changed. One way to retaliate might be for her to respond to these family members by a name which is not their own. If they protest, she can say, "Oh, I thought we were all just calling each other by the wrong names today."

Been There


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