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LOVE LETTERS

Her ex is up for a ‘booty call,’ but she wants more

They split over her drinking, and now he says he can’t commit to more than dinner and hooking up.

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Q. I am in my 40s, and five years ago dated a guy I met on online, while we were both finalizing our divorces. We fell in love with each other. He was an excellent boyfriend and said he was very used to relationships and typically always in one. He did all the right things: nightly check-ins, weekends away, dates out with his friends, and we met each other’s kids. But I was drinking — a lot — to numb the pain of the divorce. The drinking caused issues, which led to breaking up after almost a year of dating.

Fast-forward five years. I’ve stopped drinking and have my life in a really good and healthy place. I ran into him earlier this year, and we have been texting a lot and have seen each other a few times. We still have great chemistry, and he is the kind of man I would like to end up with.

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He has told me that any time I want a “booty call,” he’ll be interested, but that he can’t do anything more than dinner and hooking up. He says he does not want a relationship, because he has a lot of people who need things from him and drain him, including his ex-wife, his kids, and the people at work. I think the last few girlfriends he dated (myself included) were sort of trainwrecks.

I want to be the easy-breezy one who can handle just dinner and hookups, but the truth is that when I see him, I just want to see more of him. What do I do?

 — wanting more

A. It’s difficult to separate what happened five years ago from now, but you must. Yes, you were responsible for the end of Round 1 of your relationship, but that’s over now. You have to make decisions based on what he’s offering in the present.

For that reason, you can’t pretend to be easy-breezy. You can’t smile about seeing him every few weeks if you wish he could offer more. (I mean, you can pretend to be cool about all of this, but it will make you miserable.)

You need to let him know you want more than hookups — and to see him more often — and if he’s not in that place right now, you’ll have to move on. It will be difficult to walk away, but your first priority is to be good to yourself.

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Also know that it would be nice to be with someone who doesn’t think of romantic relationships as a drain. Some people want a partner because a good relationship can be a boost. That’s the kind of significant other you need.

 — Meredith

READERS RESPOND

While I believe your drinking played a part in the breakup, usually it takes two to have a relationship problem, so stop putting him on some kind of pedestal. JIVEDIVA

I have been in this EXACT situation. I gave it a second try. It ended in flames. UNIQUEUSERNAME

It’s hard to find people you really connect with, so I might give this a shot anyway. I mean, people say all the time that they don’t want a relationship — and then they change their mind. SEENITTOO

He thinks of you as a booty call. You think of him as someone you could have a future with. Your thinking couldn’t be further apart. Cut your losses and move on. BETTYMCBOOPFACE

Meredith Goldstein is in her eighth year writing Love Letters for the Boston Globe.


Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from bostoncom/loveletters Send letters, questions, and comments to meredith.goldstein@globe.com.