DEAR JERKASS: A few years ago I met a wonderful person. I spent roughly three months with him in a budding relationship. My issue is that one night he said those three little words, and I panicked and disappeared from his life. I know it was a horrible and cowardly thing to do. I just didn't know how to handle it other than ask him why and saying, "You can't mean me, right?"
I have felt horrible that I vanished without any explanation and most likely hurt him. I really would like to apologize for my actions and immaturity. He didn't deserve that type of treatment. I recently found his address and wonder if it would be all right to send an apology, or if it would be best not to open potential wounds. -- DISAPPEARED IN ILLINOIS
DEAR GHOSTING: Let's be honest here: while you may fantasize about "the one that got away", this is really about guilt alleviation, and not about making right what once went wrong.
He deserves better than you, and he probably found someone that is better than you. You are absolutely right: he did not mean you when he said "I love you." He was talking about someone else in the bed you couldn't see. If you had gotten up to wash your face, someone else would have taken your place.
Don't write him. Don't call him. Guilt isn't evil, it's a signal telling us we did something wrong so that we can modify our behavior and prevent something from happening again.
This isn't like stealing a candy bar where you should go back to the store, confess, and pay the money owed. Let him be thankful that you were the one that"got away" and helped him avoid that drama.
DEAR JERKASS: I have been with my husband for 12 years, married for three. I had an affair a little over a year ago that he found out about. He has let me back into the house, but he demeans my character at every opportunity. I don't fight back because I know I am the cause of his pain.
We have a 3-year-old daughter, and I am now six weeks pregnant with his child. I do not want to argue with him, because if I had been a better wife, he would not be so angry. But the hurt I feel from his words over the past months is weighing heavy on me, especially with my new hormones. I'm holding it in, but should I leave? Become a single mother? How can I get him to a counselor? -- NEEDS COUNSELING
DEAR GETTING A DIVORCE: You have a three year old...the same length of time you've been married. After you got married and had the kid, then you cheated. If he hadn't found out, would you have told him? My guess is "NO".
You do not become a single mother, now.
You become a divorced mother with weekend visits.
The Dad gets primary custody.
Don't bother with the counselor, he's better off without you.
DEAR JERKASS: My son “Travis,” age 9, is computer savvy, but his “Luddite” grandparents (my in-laws) live far away from us and don’t even have Internet access. They are no longer able to travel, and our finances prohibit frequent visits to them.
Travis could be Skyping them, and they could have a vital relationship through modern technology. Instead, he will take their phone calls only occasionally, and enjoys the annual visit with them — but mainly because of the other relatives there.
If these were my parents (who are sadly long gone), I’d set them up on Skype and have them at least try. When his grandparents are no longer able to live on their own and move to assisted living, will that offer at least a hope of virtual connectivity?
Modern Man in San Diego
DEAR AUSTRALOPITHECUS: Do you have a printer? Get your son to type a (gasp!) goddamn letter, print it off, mail the fucking thing and show him something that won’t pander to instant gratification.
This is why people think kids have ADHD; parents like you who think it’s more important to have instant gratification in a relationship, than to do anything that requires work or effort.
By having your son write a letter (I’d say do it by hand, but we both know you don’t have the patience for that), you’re teaching him that one way of showing care is by devoting time and thinking about a person even when they aren’t in the same room.
After all, when the computer is turned off all that is left is a memory that can fade. A letter is something that can be reread and shared, stuffed into a box and found by future family.
But that’s just me.
Judas' Advice Column
This is where I take a Dear Abby column, and add my own brand of advice. I started by calling it Dear Crabby, but that's taken and JERKASS seems more fun.