Dear Annie: I am 47 years old. I lost my husband of 23 years two years ago. Since he died, I’ve dated some men. And last year, I fell for a guy, “Roy.” Roy is in his 50s, and he seemed mature at first. I thought he knew what he wanted. He started living at my house and even proposed to me. I thought we’d be planning a wedding. But he changed his routine suddenly, and one week soon after that, he started acting differently. I came to find out that he was talking to other women — exchanging risque Facebook messages and texts. Then I caught him in a hotel with a woman. After that, he stopped talking to me and shacked up with this other woman. He’d never let me know that we had any issues.
A few months after he moved out, he started messaging me again when he was at work or whenever this other woman wasn’t around. I wasn’t interested in him romantically anymore (I’m seeing someone new), but I thought we could be friends. Finally, I was able to bring him his clothes and stuff, after six months. Well, just this week, he found out I’m with someone, and he gets mad at me. I don’t understand that. I’ve tried being friends, but then he ghosts me after two days of talking. What do you think: Should I cut everything off, or just leave it be? He has lied about us telling people I stole the engagement ring, which is not true. — Friend or Faux
Dear Friend: All good relationships are founded on respect. Roy has not given you any of that — not before as a romantic partner, and not now as a “friend.” It’s nice to be amicable with exes whenever possible, but for toxic relationships, the healthiest option is usually to cut off all contact. Treat Roy like a biohazard and keep him out of your life, lest he contaminate your current relationship, too.
Dear Annie: In December, I was diagnosed with advanced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I had no symptoms. The doctors accidentally discovered a huge tumor that was strangling both kidneys, during an unrelated procedure. The doctor said the tumor could be as old as 10 years. I started undergoing treatment almost right away, and last month, I was told that the kidneys were almost back to normal.
Similarly, last year my mother noticed that her upper right abdomen seemed swollen. She went to the doctor and found out she had liver cancer, and two weeks later, she died. She had no other symptoms that I was aware of.
The reason I’m writing is to encourage your readers to get a thorough medical checkup every year and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions about your health. — Ann S.
Dear Ann: I’m sorry for the loss of your mother and sorry that you’re living with lymphoma. I hope you continue to recover and keep the cancer at bay. Your letter is a welcome nudge to schedule my annual physical, and I hope it will be to others, as well.
Dear Annie: With regard to the letter from “Sad Wife,” whose husband blew up over a small question and then stormed out to leave on his own: I may be overly suspicious, but this looks like gaslighting to me. Maybe, for whatever reason, this man needed his wife to stay home, so he started a baseless fight that gave him an excuse to do just that. — Been There, Recognize That
Dear Been There: Sharp insight. You may, unfortunately, be right.
“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.