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Ask Ellie: Ask yourself if you want long-lost friendship back

Do you miss this person and want to be part of their life again, and them a part of yours?

Dear Lisi: My friend just texted for the first time in three years. We used to be very close, spoke several times a month, if not more. When COVID-19 hit, we were living in different cities. I reached out to make sure she and her family were healthy and safe. She didn’t respond.

I reached out once a month for a few months, then every other month. By December of 2020, I gave up. I asked around and learned she and her family were surviving the pandemic.

It’s now two years later, and she’s acting as though no time has passed. I find it disingenuous and don’t know how to respond.

Your advice would be helpful.

Long lost Friend

The question you have to ask yourself is, do you want the friendship back? Do you miss this person and want to be part of their life again, and them a part of yours? If the answer is no, then you can ignore the texts; or you can text back but without a lot of interest; or you can confront them and say something to the effect of, you disappeared on me during COVID-19, I was hurt and I needed you, and I don’t want to be friends anymore.

If your answer was yes, then respond to the text enthusiastically. Take baby steps, know that this person may pull away again, but enjoy the friendship while it’s there. If you feel so inclined and the timing feels right, broach the topic one day. Just be prepared that you may not get a satisfying response.

FEEDBACK regarding the woman concerned about Halloween this year as she and her husband are newly separated (Nov. 8):

Reader – “I agree with your reply, Lisi, except for this: “He knows how much you love Halloween. If he doesn’t offer himself, perhaps ask him if the kids could go trick-or-treating on your street, so you could join them for a bit.”

“I’m a father, separated from my spouse more than two years ago, and I see myself in this picture. We disagreed on parenting and that was the main reason for our breakdown. I was a frustrated parent and I’m sure that my ex saw me as some sort of Grinch. The lack of communication and grinchy surface behaviour is the result of years of suppression, frustration, manipulation and being consistently undermined.

“Now that we’re separated, I have a much better relationship with my kids. They see me as a human being now. We talk. There is much laughter. And we do things together and have special memories.

“This father could be the jerk that his spouse paints him to be. If so, he’ll ruin everything for the kids. They will figure it out and next year they’ll say, “we’d rather do Halloween with Mom.” Let it be their choice. They are the ones who see both sides of the story.

“If he’s not a jerk, let him spread his wings as a parent and do Halloween the way he’s always wanted.

“I agree with you about Mothers’ Day and Father’s Day. I don’t agree regarding birthdays. Too bad if the calendar doesn’t line up with someone’s custody schedule.”

Lisi – To each his own. I care about birthdays and would want to spend mine with my children.

FEEDBACK regarding the couple who can’t agree on how to sleep (Nov. 5):

Reader No. 1 – “If the window is open, the furnace should be turned to at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18C) or lower. With the door shut, it’s unlikely that the cool air in the bedroom would trigger the thermostat to turn the furnace on. And a cool room with lots of blankets is excellent for sleep.

“Then, if they have a smart thermostat, they could program it to heat the house an hour before they normally get up. I’ve never found earplugs helpful for drowning out noise. I can hear everything quite clearly when they’re in. I just run a small fan which provides white noise that blocks out all but the loudest noises.”

Reader No. 2 – “I’ve suffered all my life with needing to have that open window, even if it’s freezing outside. I found that installing a fan to blow cool air on me was the fix. Somehow my psyche accepted that as an open window.”

Reader No. 3 – “Same sleeping issues with my partner were solved with the use of a (quiet) ceiling fan. It’s not fresh air but it’s an approximation that suffices for me and doesn’t disturb my husband’s sleep.”

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

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