Q. I met this guy in my line of work more than two years ago. Over time, he would stop by to check on me as a friend. In 2020, he stopped by a couple of times. In 2021, he never came by at all and I stopped thinking about him.
In December 2021, a problem brought him to my home (I should explain — he’s a cop). We talked a little bit after, and then I started having thoughts and dreams about him. I wondered if maybe the relationship could be more. I sent him a gift. That’s something I’d done over the years of knowing him, but he never responded.
He was first at my place when my husband passed here at home. As I said, friends until four to five months ago. Then it seemed like we were both thinking about a relationship.
I finally called him and asked point blank if he felt anything for me, and he said no. He thought I was a sweetheart, and he appreciated the gifts and cards, but that was all.
Now that I know he is not interested, how do I move on — or do I keep hoping he will change his mind? It is really emotional and hard for me to forget him. Please advise.
A. I am sorry this didn’t work out. It sounds like he thinks you’re a lovely person, even if he doesn’t reciprocate your feelings.
Please don’t wait around for him to change his mind. Instead, consider that you have love to give, and that it would be nice to find someone who wants to receive it. This man seemed perfect for you, but maybe that was because he wasn’t around much, and when he was, it was to check in on you — which is part of what he does for his job. He was there when your husband died, which meant he understood what you’d been through.
That doesn’t mean he would have been the right person for you to date. You don’t know much abut what he’s like in his own life.
Expand the circle of possibilities for romance to people you haven’t met yet. There are apps for this. There are support groups for people who’ve lost spouses. There are friends to make by doing new activities. They might know single people. This will take some socializing, and a lot of it can be done virtually these days. Maybe the people in your inner circle can help you find some activities that connect you to peers.
You found us at Love Letters, so I bet you’re good at this.
You don’t have to forget this man, but it’s time to call him what he is. He’s someone who cares and knows what you’ve been through. But his interest is not romantic, and he’s been clear about that. You have a special connection, but it is not love.
Your feelings suggest you’re ready to branch out. That’s a good thing. Get going with that.
I understand that your feelings were raw since you had just lost your husband but I can’t help feeling that your assumptions about his intentions were wholly made up by you. He’s a cop — a public servant — and you may have put him in an awkward situation with your gifts (and cards???). He handled this very well, so stop assuming that he will change his mind. Give yourself time to grieve your husband before looking for a new relationship dear LW. Good luck.
Usually we have to encourage the letter writer to stop dreaming and ask the other person if they could become a couple. You did that all on your own! Great, but you have to accept his feelings.
Good on you for being direct. A lot of people who write in struggle with that part and try to continuously find passive ways of testing if someone is into them. You gave yourself the gift of knowing exactly where he stands by asking, and now it is time for you to move on. As for how to move on, there’s really no unique answer for you: Dive into hobbies and your social life, and maybe start dating around. Find a therapist if this rejection feels insurmountable.
Send your own relationship and dating questions to email@example.com. Catch new episodes of Meredith Goldstein’s “Love Letters” podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen to podcasts. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.