Ask Amy: ‘Right person, wrong time’ needs translating
Dear Amy: I’m a 22-year-old woman, and I got dumped last week by my boyfriend (he is 21). We had been together for two months. It was the most romantic and happiest time for us both.
We made plans to spend our lives together (getting married, having kids, etc.).
His reason for the breakup was to spend time on his own to deal with his PTSD and depression from an abusive relationship that he got out of this year.
He called our relationship: “right person, wrong time,” but I asked him if the breakup was permanent yesterday, and he said it was. He said that when he feels better, he’ll want a fresh start, but I don’t understand. If I’m the right person, then why is he ending our relationship?
Whenever he said he loved me or wanted a life with me and that he has never been as in love until me, I could tell he was telling the truth. I love him so much and this has affected me so badly. I know he still loves me, so why is he acting like he hates me right now? He threatened to block me on social media.
Can you help me? — Devastated
Dear Devastated: This guy is trying to break up with you. Your job now is to respect his choice, even if you believe he is sending you a mixed message.
However, he isn’t actually sending you a mixed message. “Right person, wrong time” means: “I care about you, but I am breaking up with you.”
“I need time on my own in order to deal with my previous trauma and depression” means: “I am breaking up with you.”
Threatening to block you on social media means, “I am breaking up with you. Don’t attempt to communicate with me. If I’m interested in reviving our relationship, I’ll get in touch with you.”
It is terrible, awful, and so heartbreaking to be left behind, especially after a passionate crashing together that felt perfect at the time. But you are both young. Your relationship might have burned too brightly. Over the course of two months, you two cycled through several months’ worth of dynamics.
Please, take time to regroup. Breakups can be devastating, but they can also lead to personal insight. Next time go slow.
Keep in mind this (somewhat cheesy) saying that actually helped me to recover from my own long-ago divorce: If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, they never were.”
Dear Amy: One of my good professional colleagues is named Karen.
She is thoughtful, conscientious, and considerate. She is the very opposite of the racist and demanding “Karen” stereotype that is getting so much flak and attention right now.
When she isn’t present in meetings, colleagues make “Karen” jokes, which I always try to shoot down, but it still feels awful.
Somehow, it seems worse, since these remarks come from my other colleagues who fancy themselves to be liberal and inclusive.
Recently, Karen really helped me out by preventing me from making a rather costly and potentially serious professional error.
Now I am feeling doubly guilty. Is there anything else I can do to improve the situation and stop the stupid jokes? — Feeling Guilty
Dear Guilty: Making fun of someone’s name is juvenile bullying.
I suggest that you react to this by speaking up and saying a version of, “Really. This has gotten so old. Can you please stop?”
I posted an informal poll on social media, asking Karens to respond to your question about “Karens.” About a dozen Karens responded, evincing a sense of humor about this, as well as an attitude best described as: “Sigh. This, too, shall pass.”
If any of this teasing takes place in front of (your) Karen, she might want to laugh it off and demand: “I want to see the manager. Wait, I AM the manager!” which is a very “Karen” thing to do.
Dear Amy: I have to admit that I was shocked to see your lengthy response to “Concerned Friend,” who reported that his male friend was being physically abused by his wife.
You are usually so biased, sexist, and anti-male that I was genuinely shocked to read your affirmative response to this question. — Usually Disappointed
Dear Disappointed: Yes, men are (also) gravely affected by intimate partner violence, and it is devastating for both the survivor and his friends and family.
I feel thoroughly damned by faint praise, but regardless, I sincerely thank you.