Life Advice



Desperate to Decode This Dating Dilemma

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I've found myself in a dating maze and desperately need some advice. I've been dealing with some mixed signals from the person I'm dating; he's all about making plans and being super affectionate one day, then is distant and elusive the next. I'm getting whiplash. How do I make sense of this behavior without coming off as needy or insecure? I genuinely care about the connection but could use some tips for decoding this emotional puzzle. -- Love Limbo

Dear Love Limbo: If you haven't done so already, it's probably time for the dreaded "what are we?" conversation. It sounds like you are genuinely invested in this person, and ready for a more serious commitment. If he isn't on the same page, then you're wasting your time. The only way to find out the answer is to ask.

Dear Annie: My 93-years-young mother had a cousin she was very close with, as children and as adults. He passed away several years ago, but his second wife has kept loosely in touch and, although my mom doesn't have a lot of history with the second wife, they are on good terms.

Mom received an email stating that this lady will be in our area soon and would like to stop in for a visit. My question is, would it be OK for my mother to share the happy stories of them as kids with her cousin's widow? Or do you think it would make things awkward? Of course, Mom wouldn't want to make the woman uncomfortable, but I'm sure she'd get a kick out of sharing some of the good times they had as youngsters, and his widow might even enjoy learning a bit more about the man she was married to for a short while.

What do you think would be best: Talk about the good times, or just don't mention it? -- My Mom's Kid in Ohio


Dear Mom's Kid: It is lovely that your mother and her cousin's widow have kept in touch with each other in the years after the death of their loved one.

Your mother can casually mention her cousin and gauge his widow's response accordingly. While there is certainly a chance that the wounds of her loss are still too fresh, it is also possible that hearing childhood stories and family anecdotes about her husband might bring his widow comfort and serve as a way to honor her late husband's memory. Best-case scenario, a walk down memory lane allows your mother and this woman to bond and grow closer in their relationship. We all grieve differently, so your mother should prepare herself for either response.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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