DEAR AMY: Toward the end of my junior year of college, I met a man who I thought was going to be Mr. Right and Forever. We got engaged a week before my college graduation, and I was over the moon. This was going to be my modern-day fairy tale. We moved in together after I graduated college. We broke up three months before the wedding. He broke my heart and crushed any hope I had for fairy tale love at that time. I moved out the very next morning. Over time, we would continue to “see” each other, even though I knew he was dating a co-worker (shame on me, I know). Almost two years to the date after our supposed-to-be wedding, we had a conversation on the phone, which led to a fight and him driving to my apartment. After having sex that night, a friend told me that she saw his engagement announcement in the local newspaper. I didn’t know that they were engaged; otherwise I wouldn’t have allowed him past my front door! I know that I shouldn’t have continued to see him when they were dating, but I ended it after I found out they were engaged. They’ve been together eight years now and have a child. On the other hand, I have not been in a relationship since the breakup. Is this karma’s way of saying I’m cursed because of our indiscretions? I’m open to being in love again, but just haven’t found that same kind of spark or feeling that I did with him initially.
DEAR CURSED: I know it’s tempting to blame karma for delivering what you see as your just deserts for participating in this cheating episode, but if that is the case, then why hasn’t karma punished your ex? What he did was worse than what you did.
I think you should assume that karma has bigger fish to fry than to continue to punish you for your behavior of long ago.
And now — perhaps you should stop punishing yourself.
My take on your situation is more pedestrian. Are you out there, looking to meet Mr. Right? Are you willing to date a bunch of Mr. Not Quites in order to find him? It is easy to wallow in your alone state and dwell on ancient hurts. It is hard to put yourself out there, and risk getting hurt again. I hope you are brave enough to try.
DEAR AMY: I was married at the age of 18. I had a baby boy at 19, and divorced quickly. My son never met his biological father. He was raised and adopted by my current husband (of 42 years). Their relationship has at times been rocky. Over the years, I have often asked my son if he would ever want to meet his biological dad, and he always said the same thing: “He didn’t want me, so why should I want him?” My son’s wife wants him to find his dad (the main reason being that she and my husband hate each other). Recently, the biological dad passed away without them ever meeting. Now my daughter-in-law wants to reach out to his widow. My son is 50 years old. Shouldn’t we just leave it alone?
DEAR UPSET: Your son should do what he wants to do. You imply that your daughter-in-law is influencing him negatively to seek out a vestige of his biological father’s family. However, we are all influenced by the people around us to varying degrees. He might feel secure enough to face the painful process of trying to connect with someone he will never know. Midlife is typically a time of self-reflection and discovery; he should be encouraged.
I realize this might be painful or threatening to you and your husband, but if this is what he wants, you should try to be supportive and helpful — not urge him to leave it alone.
DEAR AMY: This is for “Conflicted in CT,” the agnostic who “cringed” at the thought of attending the renewal of his sister’s wedding vows because it would be in a church.
I am also an agnostic and had a similar problem when one of my grandsons became a Pentecostal preacher.
I attend his church services, occasionally, without participating. When others rise, I remain seated. In this way, I honor my grandson by my presence without compromising my beliefs.
Not Conflicted in FL
DEAR NOT CONFLICTED: There is a strong human pull toward witnessing. You have found a way to do that.