Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Am I or is my husband the bathroom jerk?

Carolyn Hax on

Hello Hax!

From reading your columns and chats over the years, I've understood that to keep up a relationship, sometimes one side has to bear the burden and keep on "talking into the void" even if they may not get a response.

My question is: How long do I keep this up? I've never had a close relationship with my brother but we've always kept in contact. It is always me reaching out -- via calls, text, emails. After 37 years, I've had enough. I know if I stop, it will be him responding probably once or twice a year (if I'm lucky). So do I let it go and stop trying?

-- Possibly Estranged

There's no right or wrong time to stop. The only thing that matters is whether you think the energy you're investing is (still) worthwhile. Some people can keep "talking into the void" for their whole lives, with no response, just on the chance they will eventually break through -- or to feel certain they did all they could.

In your case, your brother is responding, yes? So you could decide your conversations and the (albeit weak) connection they sustain are worth the nuisance of initiating.


Others will not see the value in doing that, and will come instead to a point where the steady effort to make contact feels more harmful to them than the idea of letting go -- with each attempt at contact serving only as a dispiriting reminder of what they don't have.

Any choice, to keep it up forever or drop it, or drop the effort temporarily and resume when you're ready, is as valid and justified as a person deems it to be. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer, but it's really your math to do.


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(c) 2019, Washington Post Writers Group



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