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Ask Amy

Ask Amy column

Q. I met a girl on eHarmony, and we really hit it off. Over the past three weeks we have talked for only an hour total on the phone but have sent over 500 texts back and forth. Now the texts are becoming distant. What started out as “Good night, sweet dreams, thinking of you,” is now just “Night.”

I’ve tried phoning her, but it goes to voice mail, so I leave a message and go on with my day.

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We have tried to meet up, but she works two jobs, has two kids, and lives 25 minutes away. I am happy to drive but don’t think it’s fair to her kids to have some stranger come by and chat with their mother. I am unsure of how to continue. Should I just skip texting until she initiates communication first?

I would like to have a relationship, but I’m not sure if stopping texting would imply “Hey I’m not interested anymore” or “Hey, I’m tired of texting.”

A. Go for the “meet.” Texting, e-mailing, and other forms of not-in-person communication should be used mainly to arrange to meet in person. Otherwise, you can write yourself into a romance that isn’t quite real.

Once you meet each other, you can text, etc., to your heart’s content, and while you still have no guarantee that a relationship will take off, at least you know that whatever interaction you have has some traction.

If someone doesn’t want to meet you (even to the extent of dashing out for coffee between other commitments), then she either is not into you or is simply unavailable. Does it matter to you which she is? I hope not.

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Stop texting her. You don’t need to explain yourself. She may respond by asking you where you went, in which case you can talk (or text) about it.

Q. I am tempted to try an “Aunt-ervention” with one of my nieces. She has had tons of help from the family over the years. She has the skills to help a family member — sort of a payback but also an opportunity to step up and help out (as she has been helped) and thus carry on one of our better family traditions.

This isn’t “Downton Abbey” and I ain’t Maggie Smith, so a lecture in the library is unlikely to accomplish anything except to alienate my 20-something niece.

Any suggestions, other than to mind my own business?

A. Maggie Smith the heck out of this. You should write to your niece a version of this: “When I was a feckless young woman (as you are now), no one tried to guide me. I wish someone had, because I might have avoided years of ill will, damaged relationships and poor judgment. You are lucky to be loved by wonderful people, and now it is time for you to make your mark in the family by starting to contribute in your own special way. I believe in you and hope you choose this positive path.”

Your missive may get tossed, misinterpreted, or blown out of proportion. But this is the risk that loving aunties take for being as smart as Maggie Smith.

Q. “Screaming Meanie” is frustrated about her husband’s denial of his hearing loss. She should ask him, “Who is the first one to notice when your eyes are going bad?” He would answer, “Me.”

Then ask him, “Who is the first to notice when you have hearing loss?” The correct answer is,“Everyone else.”

This is the approach a hearing loss expert recommended to my brother and me when dealing with our mother’s hearing loss. It worked, and she couldn’t be happier, and neither could we.

A. Thank you.

Amy Dickinson can be reached at askamy@tribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @askingamy .

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