Dear Annie: My former boyfriend and I were in a serious, exclusive relationship for nearly six years. While we never lived together, we were intimately close and spent most nights together. He always told me how much he loved me and that I was the best.
Seven months ago, he blindsided me. He broke up with me, in the coldest, least empathetic way possible. I hardly even recognized him as he spoke. He said that we’d been a great couple, and I cried hearing him speak about our relationship in the past tense that way.
Since breaking up with me, he suddenly bought a house and cut off all contact with me. It seems he’s turned to stone and has no remorse. I think about him every day. I feel like an old fool for having loved him, having overlooked his faults all these years. I’m so ashamed. It’s as though we never happened, since we don’t speak or text at all now. I really feel like a part of me died when we broke up. How did this man forget me so quickly? How could he not feel any remorse or sadness? He said he would always love me. — Believe in Love
Dear Believe in Love: You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you. And being single is better than being with someone who doesn’t want you. As painful as it is right now, there will come a day when you’re glad he ended things. In the meantime, spend some time as a single person, nurturing your hobbies, friendships and family relationships, really getting to know yourself again.
Dear Annie: Six months ago, my dad passed away. My frustration is that my sister and her husband refuse to tell their 6-year-old daughter. I understand that grief is very personal for everyone. But her decision to withhold his death is affecting my family. My niece is not allowed inside our house, for fear she might ask about her grandpop. My young children are not allowed to speak about their grandpop in her presence — no memories, no references whatsoever.
I have confronted my sister about my concerns, and she told me that they’ll parent the way that they want to. I agree that they have that right. But it’s been six months, and she still is telling my children they cannot talk about their grandfather in their cousin’s presence. She has started to exclude us from family activities for fear that my children will mention his name and/or disclose his death to their cousin. My children are old enough to realize it is wrong, and a rift is growing at a rapid rate. I have spoken to my personal therapist, the hospice therapist and my daughter’s therapist. All three can’t comprehend my sister’s actions. — Heartbroken
Dear Heartbroken: Your sister’s parenting rights end where yours begin. Allow your children to speak as they normally would regarding your dad’s death. Asking them to abide by her dysfunctional dynamics sends the wrong message on multiple levels. Hopefully, your sister comes to her senses with time. But until then, you can’t walk on eggshells just to suit her.
And although the situation with your sister may have drawn the focus these past few months, the fact remains that your dad died mere months ago. Be sure to take care of yourself, creating the emotional space to grieve your father. I’m so sorry for your loss.
“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.