Dear Amy: I have been in a committed online relationship with a man in the UK for what would now be two months, but a little over two weeks ago, he completely disappeared.
I’m 25 and he is 27. I first got in contact with him selling something on eBay, and we kind of just started talking. Before he disappeared, we would talk for hours every single day and we’d video call all the time.
We had so much in common! He made me laugh every day. He talked about flying out to New York to meet me.
Right before he disappeared, he told me he struggled with depression and he’s been dealing with a lot, and that he needs to take some time to think about a lot of things. I said I’m here for him and that I completely respect that he wants to take time off.
He said he tends to shut people out for a bit, but asked me not to take it personally.
And now he’s gone. I tell myself that maybe he’s still taking his time? Maybe it’s all in my head? Could he be hurt? Dead?
At this point, I’m just worried. There’s no way to find out if he’s OK. I can’t seem to get over it, even though I know that I have to move on. I just can’t deny that we had true feelings for each other.
I just want to move on and accept that he’s gone (because this false sense of hope is killing me), and yet no outlook seems to satisfy me.
What should I do? — Upset
Dear Upset: This man telegraphed that he would disappear. Depressed people tend to “go to ground” when they’re not feeling well. He told you this would happen, and asked you not to take it personally. I hope you won’t.
You only knew him for six weeks. Granted, it was an intense six weeks, filled with hours of conversations and video calls, but you have never known him through a depressed cycle.
I must also point out the obvious — that this man might not be at all who or what you think he is. Your own desires and beliefs may have helped to create an alternate reality. If you’ve ever watched the documentary series “Catfish,” you will know the risks of conducting online-only relationships.
Give yourself six weeks to adjust. Tell yourself, “I accept that he is gone.” Fill your time with healthy pursuits. Embrace this as a learning experience and ask yourself: If he contacts you again, do you want to hop back onto this roller coaster?
Dear Amy: My mother and I have what I think is a good relationship. We have normal ups and downs, but never long fights.
I don’t ask her for anything regarding money (unlike my siblings).
I live about an hour away from my mother and we usually plan to get together for a meal at least monthly.
Every time I ask her to get together, she invites my siblings to come along.
I love my siblings dearly, but they are busy with their own lives and they work full time and are at my mother’s beck and call because they live in close proximity to her.
My siblings and I joke about how they are the “buffer” for my mother and me. We are all baffled as to why my mother absolutely insists that they join us whenever I ask her to get together.
Should I confront my mother about this?
Have you heard of this behavior before? — Wondering
Dear Wondering: It’s a common misconception that all parents know and love all children equally, but in reality, parents love their various children in varied ways. Your mother has much more intensive contact with your siblings. She simply seems to know and be more comfortable with them.
I don’t think you should “confront” your mother, as much as offer to talk to her about this. You should also understand that the more experiences you two share, the less awkward your relationship might be. Activities other than sharing meals (such as an occasional museum visit), might help you to connect.
Dear Amy: The question from “Third Wheel” made me crazy. This older woman had moved across the country to live with a guy who then rejected her and reconciled with his wife.
I wish people valued themselves more. — Bart
Dear Bart: Me too. Many personal problems would be avoided if we all just valued ourselves more.