Dear Annie: The COVID-19 pandemic broke my relationship. I was with my guy for 14 years, and we live in different towns. When all this stuff started, we both agreed that we couldn't see each other because his elderly mother lives with him. That was all fine. But then I asked him to please stay in contact, by phone or text or email. I waited one month before hearing from him. He proceeded to tell me his opinions on our fragile couple situation, criticized me, and then stopped contact altogether.
After that, I sent a few neutral, easy-going texts, and I got zero replies. I'm beyond hurt by his lack of contact and the fact that a stupid virus has led him to leave me. Yes, I realize we may have been on shaky ground before, but with all the media telling us to stay in contact, he has failed miserably. My summer is ruined. — Isolation Blues
Dear Isolation Blues: The pandemic didn't break your relationship. It just laid bare some preexisting cracks. Ultimately, this is a good thing. Now it's time to repair together or move on apart.
Good communication is foundational to any healthy relationship. You spent the month waiting for him to contact you: Are you aware that phones can make outgoing calls? Don't be too proud to be the one to reach out. Perhaps he's going through a lot of stress at home worrying about his mother's health, which led to his inconsiderate behavior. It's worth trying to have that conversation once more before calling it quits.
And if it's beyond repair, you're better off now you know. Sure, you might have a crummy summer. But I bet you'll have your best autumn in years.
Dear Annie: I am a psychologist with considerable experience in working with ADHD clients. In reference to "Jane's Father," who wrote to you about the 45-year-old dependent daughter: I would like to suggest to the parents that, before they abandon their daughter, they should see to it that she receives an examination by an appropriate health care professional if she has not previously received an evaluation for attention-deficit disorder. She appears to be manifesting classical symptoms of an untreated adult with the disorder, i.e., marital problems, frequent job changes, disorganized, etc. Research has shown that the ADHD brain constantly searches for novelty and such patients have limited control of their impulses. Treatment often improves lives significantly, for both patient and parents. — Psychologist's Input
Dear Psychologist: I sincerely appreciate your expertise and am glad to share your letter, though I have to quibble with the word "abandon": the letter writer wasn't considering abandoning her daughter, only setting boundaries. Thank you for writing.
Dear Annie: This is just a warning to "Jane's Father": Our adult daughter bankrupted us and ruined our credit. Because of her, we had to pay $100,000 to the IRS. We finally said no. Right now, she is struggling because of the pandemic, but we have to stick to our guns or we will be homeless.
Please, let your adult children figure out their own lives. You'll be doing them a big favor — and doing yourself one, too. — Been There
Dear Been There: Yikes. I'm glad you were able to finally draw the line but sorry to hear how much damage was wrought before that point. Thanks for writing.
"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 [email protected]
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