DEAR ABBY: I was married for more than 20 years. My ex and I divorced five years ago. During that time I stayed busy focusing on my children and their needs.
About seven months ago I met a nice guy. We saw each other for about five months, then out of nowhere, he broke things off. I was devastated. He said his reason for the breakup was "he needed time to find himself." He was recently divorced and has sole custody of his kids. He has been under a great deal of stress and started seeing a therapist a couple of months ago.
I understand why he needs this time, but I also wish he would let me help. He said he wants to remain friends. I avoided contact with him for several weeks, but now I am drawn back to him. My friends keep telling me to forget him, but I can't get him off my mind. We talk almost daily and have even gotten together again a couple of times. I keep telling myself all the reasons it won't work. Should I run away, stay friends only, or hope to work things out? -- HOPELESS ROMANTIC IN WISCONSIN
DEAR HOPELESS ROMANTIC: When a man says he "needs time to find himself" and breaks things off, it usually means he's no longer interested or ready for the kind of relationship you're looking for.
This man is newly divorced and parenting solo, so he has as much on his plate as he can handle right now. That he's seeing a therapist is a wise move, so give him credit for that. But the kind of problems he is trying to work through are not ones you can "help" him with. At a later date things may work out, but clearly not now. A friendship may be possible, but only if you are strong enough to disengage emotionally until he is ready -- which could take a very long time.