DEAR ABBY: What is acceptable after a breakup occurs? Several years ago, I reached out to an ex-girlfriend. We had dated for six months, but she broke up with me to take a job in another state. A year later, I heard through mutual friends that she had recently moved back. I didn’t call or text, but I did send an email asking how she was doing and if she’d like to talk.

She completely freaked out! She threatened to get a restraining order and told many of our mutual friends that I had been stalking her for a year. From that experience I learned never to contact an ex-girlfriend if they initiate the breakup.

Fast-forward: I recently ran into another ex-girlfriend who initiated the breakup. She told me that for an entire year after that breakup she hoped I would call her and, when I didn’t, it proved I had never loved her. Abby, I feel like I can’t win. It’s similar to how some women say they won’t let a guy kiss them unless they ask first, and others say if a guy asks, he’s a wimp and they would refuse. As a man, I feel like I’m in an impossible position. No matter what I do, half the women on the planet will either view it as too aggressive or too passive. Help!

— CONFOUNDED IN OREGON

DEAR CONFOUNDED: Welcome to reality. Accept that no matter what you do, you can’t please everyone. If the only contact you had with that first ex-girlfriend was ONE email after her return to your city, then she was either grandstanding to get attention or it was a symptom of emotional instability. As to your second ex, men with self-esteem rarely call back after being rejected because once is enough.

Please don’t let those two “dolls” sour you on all women. As you know, the #MeToo movement has highlighted the importance of consent. Asking a woman before you make a move is always prudent.

DEAR ABBY: I have struggled with my weight for years. My husband doesn’t eat sweets, but we have a friend who insists on dropping off trays of dozens of cupcakes, candies, cookies, etc. I appreciate the time, money and effort, but I’m finally on an eating program that’s working for me. I told her (nicely) that while I appreciate her gesture, I can’t be trusted alone with such goodies, so please share them with folks who have better self-control. Well! She swore at me and told me to lose her number.

To say the least, I was shocked. Abby, I was as gentle and appreciative as could be. I explained that I have a problem and I’m the only one here who indulges in such foods. Was I wrong? What gives? I would donate them, but since I have a problem with sweets, I prefer not to have them in my house.

— SWEET LOVE/ HATE IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR SWEET: You did nothing wrong; you did yourself an important favor. That woman is not only not a friend, but she is also someone who cares nothing about your health and well-being. She is a “saboteur” with a vested interest in keeping you heavy.

I admire your determination to take a stand on behalf of your eating program and your health. It took courage, and I applaud you for doing it. Sadly, too many people are afraid to do what you did.

— ANDREWS MCMEEL

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