DEAR AMY: I have had a friend — really, he has been more than a friend — for 25 years.
We have been in a romantic relationship before and were rekindling the romance when he "disappeared." He has done this in the past because he gets scared when things get too serious between us.
He has asked me to move to his city several times. He has told me he loves me and misses me, but his past mistakes keep him from going further with me. He says he knows I deserve better.
I have loved this man for 25 years, and he knows I always will.
He pursues me; then, when he starts to get scared, he will back away. He told me that I needed to "tap the breaks and keep things in perspective." He also tells me that if I weren't in his life, he would be seriously messed up. He says I am the only person in his life who has never left his side.
I know that he has issues, but I do believe that he loves me. I'm just confused. I don't know where to go from here. I truly believe we were meant to be together, but I can't continue to fall into this pattern, only to have him get scared again. What should I do?
— Sad Partner
DEAR SAD: I realize this is tough after 25 years of being locked into a challenging relationship, but you need to realize — deep in your bones — that this man's behavior is his own personal challenge. You may not be able to decode the depths of his problems. You certainly can't solve them for him. So don't make his problems your problem.
If he loves you, wants you in his life and is emotionally able to maintain a stable relationship with you, he will have to find ways to prove this to you.
Your first and biggest job is to pay close attention to your own behavior and choices. If being jerked around by someone who is emotionally stunted feels like love to you, then you should figure out why that is.
When you ask, "Where should I go from here?" the answer is, home. You should go home. Take care of yourself.
DEAR AMY: I have been in a relationship with a woman for almost a year. We care about each other and get along great.
In a few weeks I'm meeting her mother for the first time. Her mother lives halfway around the world, so they rarely get to see each other. Her mother will be staying with my girlfriend's brother, who lives out of state. My girlfriend will be taking a long vacation so she can spend time with her family, and I'm going to fly out there for a few days so I can meet her mother.
I would really like to bring a gift for her mother, as well as something for her brother and his wife, since they're kind enough to let me stay in their house for three days. Do you have any suggestions?
DEAR WONDERING: Your girlfriend might have good suggestions about what her mother would like, but I have a theory that most mothers like (or at least don't mind) scarves. Your local museum shop will have a selection; choose something that reflects your home city. A scarf or textile makes a nice gift for someone who has to travel (it's easy to pack).
Your hosts might like something for the kitchen. Linen tea/dish towels and fancy soaps are all nice host gifts and fit the TSA requirements for packing.
You sound like such a thoughtful person. I hope your tangential presence in this family's life is the true gift.
DEAR AMY: "Long Distance Gal" worried that her boyfriend continued to declare his relationship status on Facebook as "single."
He maintains it is because he is private. Well, if he is so private, he either should not declare any status or should not have a Facebook page at all!
Noting your status as "single" when you are not single is simply lying.
DEAR CONCERNED: I felt this was a petty issue, but many readers disagree.
Send questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Amy Dickinson's memoir, The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.