DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been hoping that this guy I’ve liked for a long time would finally wake up and see that we should be together. We are good friends and he says he loves me, but he has never made a move. Recently he called me all excited to say that he had reconnected with his ex-wife. I’m in shock. They broke up more than 20 years ago, and he used to hate her. Why would he get with her and not give me a chance? I don’t get it. What am I doing wrong? -- Heartbroken
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: It sounds like the man you have been crushing on has not been crushing on you. You live in a different category in his head and heart -- as friend. Maybe even best friend. Clearly not lover or future lover. Stop allowing your hopes to break your heart. He has shown you the type of love that he has to offer, which is platonic, right? That he has rekindled his bond with his ex of 20 years proves that he can look backward and reconsider an old flame -- all the more proof that he does not consider you to be in that category. For your own peace of mind, let go of your fantasy about him. Either accept that you have a loving friendship only, or sever ties if you are unable to let your racing heart calm.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got a friend request from my sister’s ex. I never really liked him, but I was kind to him because they were dating. I felt like he was manipulative and unkind to her, even as she went overboard to treat him great. I hated how he upset her and made her doubt herself. Now, several years later, here he comes reaching out to me to connect on social media. I don’t want to communicate with him, but I know my sister would want me to accept him. She still has feelings for him. Should I agree just so that I can keep tabs on what he’s doing? It feels messy to me. -- Accept a Friend Request
DEAR ACCEPT A FRIEND REQUEST: Do not engage with him anymore. You have no reason to reestablish a bond with this man. You are not his ex. You should not be keeping tabs on him. It may feel awkward at first, given that you are not responding to his request, but your sister’s breakup with him was awkward for you, right?
You can literally say and do nothing. Just don’t respond to his overtures. If he writes back or direct messages you and you feel that you must say something, you can DM him back to say something like, “Nice to hear from you. I think it’s best if we do not connect on social. Take care.” In that way, at least you have acknowledged him as you also shut him down. He doesn’t deserve your friendship just because he wants it.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)