Dear Amy: I was in a two-year relationship with “Tiffany” that ended over a year ago. I created a dishonest situation with her. I take full responsibility for my actions and continue to feel horrible about it.
After the breakup, we didn’t talk for a month. When we did meet up to talk, she asked me to help her and her children from a previous marriage move 1,500 miles away.
I obliged and did the favor. Since the move, I have kept my distance and tried to move on, continuing to feel horrible that I messed up the good thing we had.
Over the last year, Tiffany has texted me from time to time.
On a recent trip she made back to my home state, I let her borrow my car/apartment, while I was away.
Tiffany has often asked why I don’t talk to her much and why I’ve kept our conversations short. I usually reply that I’m busy, most of the time, I am.
Am I obligated to keep this friendship going? I don’t want to hurt her again. I feel like if I don’t respond to her contacts she will become upset and depressed.
At some point I want to move on to get past my own mistakes without hurting her in the process. How do I get past this? Obligated Ex-boyfriend
Dear Obligated: So, you take responsibility for being dishonest toward “Tiffany,” and for causing the breakup of your relationship.
Now it seems that you feel obligated to do whatever Tiffany asks, including moving her and her family across a great distance.
I take it that even though you feel terrible about causing the end of your good relationship, you don’t want to continue in any kind of friendship. So ... you’re going to have to break up with Tiffany again. Only this time, you’re going to have to go all-in: “Tiffany, the reason I don’t communicate much with you is because I have emotionally moved on from our relationship. I continue to feel terrible about my behavior. You did nothing to deserve that. I want to be honest with you. I don’t want to ghost you. But I don’t want to continue our friendship.”
You are not responsible for Tiffany’s reactions to you. Be honest, be kind, but do not string her along unless you are willing to sincerely engage in a friendship with her.