DEAR MISS MANNERS: It is now three months since my ex-boyfriend told me that he wanted to be alone. We had been friends for eight months before he made the official move of kissing me to signify that he wanted to date.
We dated for 15 months before he broke the heart-breaking news. About one month before he decided that he wanted to be alone, he told me that I was an awesome person and that if he were to be married, that he would marry me, but if he didn't marry me, that he would not get married at all.
After we separated for a month with only business contact (we invested in a rental business together), we crossed paths at a spiritual retreat. We talked, and I was very comfortable. About two weeks later, we spent four days in a row for about four to six hours per day, talking and sharing, while we were dealing with our rental business. Again, I was very comfortable around him and he around me.
During the conversations, he commented that we had some incompatibilities (items I think that can be easily resolved with proper communication). He assumes that we will fight and not talk to each other after marriage because my strong personality reminds him of his sister and aunt.
I have never exhibited tantrums nor been queen-bee with him. At the end of all this, I casually asked him what kind of woman he was looking for. He said a "soul mate" and that I was not his soul mate. This contradicts his early dating comments that his definition of a soul mate was someone who walks beside him. While we were dating, he told me that I was one of the few people who understands him. He told me after we broke up that I walk beside him.
I keep getting mixed signals from him. He wants to be friends and we can talk for hours on the phone or he invites me for lunch or dinner.
Many of my friends tell me to simply cut him off completely (including selling our profitable business). I only get anxious and depressed when I think about having no contact with him. I love him dearly and want to be friends with him (and in some small way still hope to spend a lifetime with him, but do not have any expectations).
I know that it will take longer to "get over him" if we continue to be friends, but I think that two things can come of it -- either our friendship will grow stronger and we get back together, or our friendship will die a slow (dully painful) death. I would like to know what you think and appreciate any advice you can give.
GENTLE READER: Since Miss Manners does not give either lovelorn advice or business advice, she will address this as a matter of etiquette. Fortunately for her, there is hardly any aspect of life that she cannot cast into a matter of etiquette.
Ask yourself if you could do the polite thing in either of the following situations.
1. Your friend suddenly looks radiant and confides that he has finally met his soul mate.
2. Your business partner tells you that he will need some time off for his wedding and honeymoon.
If, in either case, you would choke on a cheerful, "How wonderful! I'm so happy for you," you should get out and buy or sell out.