Dear Annie: My longtime best friend of 15 years and I entered into a romantic relationship in March of last year. It was a nightmare from almost the very beginning. There were faults and failures on both sides, but ultimately, it ended when it came to light that he had not only been cheating on me but also gotten the other girl pregnant!
The breakup has left me very confused and deeply hurt and traumatized. I miss my best friend more than anything. We’ve had no contact for more than a month now, but lately the urge to reach out to him has been overwhelming. What do I do? Is it better to leave things as they stand? Is reaching out a bad idea? — Missing My Best Friend
Dear MMBF: Wounds can get itchy when they’re healing. That doesn’t mean we should scratch them. The longing you feel to talk to your ex right now is an itch that shouldn’t be scratched. Take time to mend and focus on your own mental health and personal development. Try new hobbies. Establish positive routines. When you feel yourself wanting to reach out to him, reach out to another friend instead. It won’t be easy, but it will get a little bit easier every day.
Dear Annie: The world is full of self-righteous people. I have a few strategies to avoid becoming one, which I thought you might share with your readers.
First, I have learned that being empathetic — always trying to understand where the other person is coming from — and a good listener goes a long way, not just in conflicts but in everyday life. When a friend is venting about a problem, don’t interrupt. Take a deep breath. Just listening will be much more helpful to them than armchair diagnoses.
Second, I forgive myself and others in my life every day. I will myself to do so even when I don’t feel like it.
And lastly, I have a sign on my desk that I look at before I call anyone about anything. It says, in big bold type, “NO ‘YOU’ STATEMENTS.” I invite all to do the same. — Big T.
Dear Big T.: I think your sign ought to come pre-installed on desks. Thanks for the thoughtful tips.
Dear Annie: Your response to “Wrongfully Accused,” the man in the long-distance relationship with a woman who wrongly accuses him of infidelity, misses another possibility. She may have a paranoid delusional disorder known as Othello syndrome. Those diagnosed with it are unable to distinguish between reality and their delusions that a spouse or partner is being unfaithful. My wife of 35 years is continually tormented by these thoughts, and it causes great stress in our marriage. But I would never leave her. — Faithful Husband
Dear Faithful Husband: Until receiving your letter, I had never heard of Othello syndrome, which is “a psychotic disorder characterized by delusion of infidelity or jealousy,” as noted in the Journal of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in 2012. Although it’s a rare condition, it’s a possibility worth considering, for sure. Thank you for writing.
Dear Annie: I believe you missed the tongue-in-cheek nature of the letter written by “Simply Smitten.” Clearly, the letter is written in the voice of the dog. There were several clues, not the very least of which is when the letter writer stated, “I guess Laura is turned off by my puppy love.” If you hadn’t figured that out already, reread the letter with this in mind. — A Dog Lover
Dear Dog Lover: Oh, dear. I think you’re right — and in that case, I’d like to take back my advice that he should seek therapy. Thanks for the reminder not to take everything so seriously.
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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