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How do I save dignity?

Dear Panel,

I have really anguished over the loss of this correspondence. I do not lack for suitors, and have gone out with two men since the time of our meeting. But my heart is with him 2000 miles away and it hurts me.

I guess at this point, I am wondering what, if anything, I can do to salvage my dignity and possibly the friendship.

-- Susie

Female, age 26, California

[read the entire question below]

Dear Panel,

I am a 26-year-old, educated and attractive woman with an unfortunate track record for falling in love with successful artistic men who are either physically or emotionally unavailable.

Russ is a motivated and charismatic person who is on the cusp of achieving great success in his career. He is my same age. I have been told that he has a girlfriend named Miranda. I do not know the extent of their relationship, its length or its current status.

We Reconnected Online

About four months ago, I reconnected with Russ. He was a fellow traveler I had met up with abroad many years previously, and although we had exchanged information, neither of us pursued the contact at the time. I had felt a strong connection to him when we met, however. Because he lives in a state nearly 2000 miles from my home, we reconnected online. Through embalm, we determined that we had gone into similar professional fields and had a good deal in common.

Over time the correspondence became special to me. Because of my poor track record with falling for the wrong people, I did make sure to ask outright if he had a girlfriend very early on in the e-mailing. He ignored the question and continued to write frequently.

He Admitted to Having a Girlfriend

We had discussed trying to meet up, and both felt a second meeting was inevitable. However, when I finally got the opportunity to head his way (one of my best friends hails from his hometown and she invited me home with her for the Thanksgiving holidays) he informed me that he was in fact in an "off and on" relationship, and that he was very sorry for having withheld that information from me for so long (3 months). He indicated a deep desire to keep up the correspondence, and to try to meet up in the future.

At the time, I did all the right things. I took a huge step backward and told him that under those circumstances, I felt that a meeting would be somewhat inappropriate. He encouraged me to meet him in a city close to my home, only an hour's drive, when he was out on business.

This was my mistake, and ultimately the downfall of the correspondence. We continued to correspond, and suddenly he was writing to me two and three times a day. The e-mail exchange grew so exciting that it was impossible for me to consider not meeting him.

We Finally Met Up

Can you already hear the punchline? It is such a cliché. When at last we met up, one month ago, there were tremendous sparks and within about forty minutes of meeting he kissed me. From there it was all down hill. We did not have sex, but we spent most of our time together during the weekend hooking up. It was comfortable and (at the time) felt great. The girlfriend was not mentioned.

However, toward the end of the 2nd night, we got into a really stupid argument over what he perceived to be "girlfriend"-type behavior on my part. He distanced himself emotionally and when we said good-bye, it was not tremendously warm.

Two weeks passed with no word from him. I finally broke down and wrote to him, and basically told him I thought he was acting like a cad. That if ours had been a business relationship, he would have been expected to deal clearly, fairly and honestly with the situation; and that I expected to be treated no less well.

He Expressed No Desire For Me

He responded the next day, and basically reiterated what he had said in our fight -- that he had no intention of having a girlfriend so far away, and that he felt the weekend was too intense. He expressed a desire to focus on his career for the next month, and to reconnect after that time. He did not mention the girlfriend at all, nor did he say he wished to cease communication.

I responded and thanked him for his candor, and I said that I would be very happy to continue the e-mail correspondence down the road. However, the silence is unbearable, and I need some concrete perspectives from people who do not know me.

I read the answers that your panel wrote for a girl named "Jasmina" who had gotten involved with a guy who had a girlfriend. I totally agree that I have ended up putting myself in a very poor position, and that I have inadvertently sent this guy the message that I am easy bait and he doesn't have to work for my attention. I also perceive that if he has this girlfriend, even now after having met me during that trip, then he must not think I am worth leaving her for.

Can I Salvage My Dignity?

I guess at this point, I am wondering what if anything I can do to salvage my dignity and possibly the friendship. I really felt that it was a mutual friendship at every step of the way until the meeting. Can a misstep as serious as that be overcome, or should I just accept that he has gotten all that he wanted out of this correspondence and is now done?

I have really anguished over the loss of this correspondence. I do not lack for suitors, and have gone out with two men since the time of our meeting. But my heart is with him 2000 miles away and it hurts me. I had so looked forward to receiving those embalm every day.

I would be really grateful for your totally frank opinions on the situation, and any suggestions you may have for how I may recover the correspondence (and namely his respect), if you think it is at all possible. Thank you.

-- Susie

Female, age 26, California

Mamala, Luka, and Jimmy answer this question.



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