Something’s Gotta Give


Dear Dharma,

I have been trying to figure this guy out for over 30 years and we’ve had an on again off again relationship. Deep down he is a wonderful person, but at the same time he can be hurtful and I do not know what it is that attracts me to him.

He will come out and visit me and makes plans to stay for the weekend.  Recently he came out on a Thursday evening and we had a great time.  The next day I went to work and when I got home I find that he has left me a note saying he’s left.  The note says, “I am truly very, very sorry, but I cannot explain it but I now know I cannot be here.”

This isn’t the first time he has done this.

Before you ask, no, there isn’t any sex. He has been married a couple of times, and he did have a condo but apparently lost it – he says in penny stocks; I believe it was in a bad relationship. He is never around long enough to ask questions and therefore I’m not able to tell you much about him.

Dharma, there is so much to say! I wish I could talk to you, it would be so much better than typing this letter of help.

One of the long letters he sent said he has been going thru hell since he left my place, and that every day he thinks about us and what could be.  He says that in his heart he wants to be with me and spend the rest of his life with me.

He then goes on to say that we are two different people and that his home is very important to him.  He likes nice things, with everything neat and tidy and that at my place he doesn’t get that “warm feeling.”

He says he understands that a relationship should come first, and that having a place to call home is secondary, but because we are in our “senior years” we are both fairly set in our ways and change becomes more difficult.

He made the point to say several times that he does not feel comfortable when he is at my place, for reasons he can’t figure out.

Three weeks later he calls to apologize, saying he was very sorry, that his letter wasn’t very nice and that there was a better way to say things.

My friends say drop him and that he is very selfish and self centered.  Why do I care for someone like this…? FYI, he is 68 years.

Never Ending Story

Dear Never Ending,

I find that when people write in like this, they already know the answers to their questions.  They already know what they should do, but are almost never ready to actually do it.  Is this you, too?

You already know that this man is not good for you, and that your friends have characterized him accurately.  But tick, tick, tick, still you keep doing the dance.

He’s 68 years old and the chances of him changing any of his behaviours are as likely as a winter without rain in Vancouver.  You hear what I’m saying, right?  It’s never going to happen.  If you’re thinking maybe, maybe, you are going to be hugely disappointed.  More so than you already are…

I’m assuming you are in a similar age bracket to him, so I have to ask… Is there something in particular you are waiting for?  Some big kick in the knee that will make you realize that things could be so much better, you could be so much happier, even if you were alone?  Oh, and I hate to break it to you – but you pretty much are alone anyway, non?  This isn’t really a “relationship”… is it? Someone who comes and goes out of your life, offering you a big old rollercoaster ride time and time again…

You ask why you care about someone like this, and I say who the heck cares why?  People often mistake love and caring as purely good things… But lots of times the notion of what love is gets terribly twisted and we stay in bad situations for what we construe as good reasons.

In the end it’s a bit of a cop out, and for sure it’s a big waste of time.

As far as I can see, you’ve got two choices, and neither of them are lovely.  But what’s the saying… the ‘right’ thing to do is seldom the easiest?

Choice one is to take a deep breath and let him know that you have decided to respect yourself much more than you have been, and that you are no longer available.  It’s not that you don’t care about him, it’s just that you’ve had an epiphany and no longer want the insecurity and turmoil he brings into your life.  Good bye Charlie.

And then you’ll cry.  You’ll feel like crap, you’ll take Dharma’s name in vain and you’ll drink too much wine for a while.  But you know what?  You will live.  Then one day, you won’t feel quite so bad, and then on another day, you’ll realize that closing the door on him allowed another one to open.

Choice two is that you stay in this as it is, you take the good times for what they are, and when he pulls the crap, you find a productive and healthy way to handle it.  Don’t let yourself fall into a pit of despair when you get home to some bullshit note.  Always have a Plan B, and just accept that this is who he is and what he does, and you love him in spite of it all.  Own the decision you made to stay and come to peace with it.

Actually, sorry – there is one more option.  You could stay and let him to continue to jerk you around, feel miserable most of time and keep writing me letters saying how unhappy you are.  I’m here for you always.


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Categories: Relationships


  • Morty says:

    You called this Never Ending Story, but, I mean, that was a story about a kid who was bullied, aaand he finds this story about a world being consumed by nothing. But that nothing was really apathy, you know, and cynicism, and they used imagination to defeat it.

    So, like maybe you’re just like Atreyu, and you’ve lost your horse and now you’re out there, man, and you’re facing the trials. You know? Maybe this is just where you see your true self revealed and you can defeat your nothing? So maybe it’s a good thing, is what I’m saying, and you can imagine the world back into how it’s supposed to be now. And this guy, this guy’s just nothing, and you can do better than that!

    • Dharma says:

      I’ll admit to not getting all the references here, but I think your point is make this guy nothing and move on…

      Am I right, did I get it? 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  • Move On says:

    Dharma, your response is bang on. He is 68 and his behaviour will always be. Send him to the curb and move on…. If you insist on putting up with this negative abuse then suck it up and find delightful things to do when he kicks you to the curb… Or keep writing Dharma.

  • daisygirl114 says:

    This one actually makes me kind of sad… and discouraged. I’m a young woman in my late 20’s and I so would like to think that by the time I’m in my 60’s that this crap would have stopped – or that I will have the self confidence and self respect to want better for myself. I wonder what in this woman’s past happened to make her think she doesn’t deserve someone who treats her like a queen.

  • Anonymous says:

    I always wonder when someon says “deep down they are a wonderful person”…deep down? How much $hit do you have to scrape off the surface before the “wonderful” happens?
    in this case, quite a bit it sounds like

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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