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.
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.