“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#1 Apr 16, 2014
DEAR AMY: I met a man online 18 months ago. We have a good friendship.

We began emailing, which led to our current form of communication -- texting. My problem is that my friend only wants to text or email. We have never talked to each other.

I called him once and got his voice mail, which had a man's voice (it had occurred to me that he could be a she, but we have also exchanged photos and addresses).

I am fine with text and email, as I don't want to do anything to ruin our friendship. I'm just curious about this. We are both in the 40-54 age range.

He has never been married, and I am married. There is no romance going on, just a good friendship. We have conversed by email or text every day since 2013.

What are your thoughts about the "no talking" aspect of our relationship?-- Wondering

DEAR WONDERING: You don't mention asking this man why he doesn't want to speak to you; this would be the obvious first place to look for answers.

You also don't mention why you -- you say you're married -- are looking online for new male friendships.

Regardless of your mutual motivations, I think it's possible that he is simply extremely shy; he may fear that voice calls will merge into pressure to meet in person. Or he may avoid phone calls because they are simply less easy to control than text-based communication.

My favorite book about an epistolary relationship is "84 Charing Cross Road" by Helene Hanff (1990 Penguin Books). Hanff was a spunky (unmarried) writer in New York City when she began a lively, lovely and touching correspondence with Frank Doel, a (married) bookseller in postwar London. The two wrote to each other for 20 years before Doel's death. They never met in person, and Hanff maintained a secondary friendship with Doel's wife and daughter.

If your friendship is functional, positive and doesn't negatively affect anyone else, then I'd say you should accept it as it is -- and enjoy it.

DEAR AMY: We are members of a dance group at the local senior center. We welcome all comers, and have coffee after class to enjoy conversation together.

We have a new member who joined us for coffee. When she started to talk, she did not stop, and no one else got a chance to say a word, not even "goodbye." Gradually each of us just got up and left without a word.

I was the last one to leave, and she left with me, not seeming to realize what she had done to our chat time.

What can we do next week to prevent this from happening again?-- Speechless

DEAR SPEECHLESS: It is possible that this newcomer was nervous and engaged in anxiety-fueled oxygen displacement to more or less plow her way through her first meeting.

If this happens after your next class, you might put your hand gently on her arm and say, "Sylvia, let me hop in for a minute; I'd love to hear what others have to say too. This is a great chance for all of us to take turns catching up." Then you pose a question to another person in the group, and hope that she settles down.

If she doesn't start modulating her behavior with a subtle prompt, you (or someone else) will have to be more direct.

DEAR AMY: "Frustrated Father" was worried about his daughter who couldn't say "no" to any request and then harbored resentment and frustration.

Something valuable I learned (that he should pass along to his daughter) is that you can only give of your excess. If you give to others from your essence (that which you need to keep yourself emotionally healthy), it will create a vacuum in your own life.

That vacuum will fill up with all kinds of negative things -- resentment, frustration, substance abuse, etc.

Giving to others is a beautiful and satisfying thing, but only if you can afford to give it.-- Learned the Hard Way

DEAR LEARNED: I really like the way you have framed this relatively common problem: Give of your excess, not your essence.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Melrose Park, IL

#2 Apr 16, 2014
1- What are your intentions with this relationship? You're upset you've never spoken on the phone? Do you want to meet this man? Do you intend on having an affair? If you're happily married with no intention of cheating, then in my opinion, your current relationship is fine. I wonder if Amy's advice would be the same if the genders were reversed?

“Checks and Balances”

Since: Apr 13

Location hidden

#3 Apr 16, 2014
LW1- this isn't a good friendship, it is a correspondence. Why are you trying to turn a penpal into something more? Are you hiding this person and his importance in your life from your husband? I suspect you may be, since you mentioned being married almost as an afterthought.

LW3- this made me want to puke.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#4 Apr 16, 2014
Lw1: which one of you honeys is writing to amby about me?

“I looked, and behold,”

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#5 Apr 16, 2014
LW1: Not that there is anything wrong with talking, but Iím not sure why you need to talk unless you plan on meeting in person or are looking for more than just friendship.

LW3: I think just telling her to itís okay to say no when she doesnít want to do something is much simpler and a lot less cheesy without getting into this excess essence, and vacuum stupidity.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#6 Apr 16, 2014
Dear Amby,

I have fallen into this relationship with a variety of different men. At least I think they are different and I think they are men because I have never met them. We only text and occasionally email.

Some of them wear masks so I am not sure.

What's wrong with them?

Don't they want to be my friends?

Please reply to this email address,

Yours,

Pelly

Since: Mar 09

Hollywood, FL

#7 Apr 16, 2014
L1: This again?

L2: Talk anyway! Talk over her, interrupt her, ignore her. WWAD.

L3: What S&O and Sub said.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#8 Apr 16, 2014
LW1: This whole things seems fishy, but if it floats your boat...

I think you're just going to have to live with this situation or stop the correspondence.

LW2: What jmw said.

LW3: Oh puke!

Too bad we can't space this rehash; that vacuum is nice and empty.

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