Annie's Mailbox: Man can't stop thinking of ex

Dear Annie: Six months ago, I ran into a friend from high school. She mentioned an old girlfriend of mine, “Liz.”

Over the years, I have thought of Liz often, wondering how she was, if she was happy, how much she may have changed and that sort of thing.

She was my first true love and the one that got away. It’s been many years since I’ve seen or spoken to her, although I know she is married with college-age children, as am I.

My problem is, since talking with my friend, I have not been able to get Liz off my mind. I think about her when I get up in the morning and when I’m at work, and I often fall asleep with her in my head.

I now know where she lives and works and what her home phone number is. We don’t live that far apart, and I always thought it would be nice to sit down together and find out what went wrong with our high school romance.

Out of respect for our families, I have never attempted to contact her. I did, however, drive by her home one afternoon hoping to get a glimpse. I have thought of asking this mutual friend for help, but she and my wife know each other. Why do I keep thinking about Liz? Am I missing something in my life? How do I approach this situation?

— Confused in the South

Dear Confused: Driving by Liz’s home has moved you from mildly wistful to potentially stalking. Your increasingly obsessive thoughts are actually more about you and being middle-aged. Liz is simply the catalyst for remembering your youth and wanting to turn back the clock.

Unless you are looking to wreck your marriage, you need to include your wife in this stroll down memory lane. Do not contact Liz in secret. Discuss it with your wife, and ask whether she’d consider meeting Liz and her husband for coffee to catch up on old times. That’s the most you should do. And, if your wife says no, forget it.

Dear Annie: My younger sister, “Ashley,” has been involved in some pretty serious stuff. She’s only 20 years old and already has been to jail, has been unfaithful to her husband, has neglected her two beautiful children and, most recently, she called the cops on our mother for no reason that we can discern.

Ashley refuses to answer our phone calls or talk to us about her problems. She doesn’t seem to care about the people she is hurting, nor does she want to change. I am at a loss as to what I can do or say to help her. We were not raised this way, but Ashley has isolated herself from us. Could you please give me some advice before she does something she’ll truly regret?

— Worried

Dear Worried: If she hasn’t regretted cheating on her husband, neglecting her children and ending up in jail, we can’t imagine what she’s waiting for.

We think Ashley is immature and needs time to grow up. She married too young, had kids when she was a child herself and is now rebelling against her life. If the children are at risk, report it to the child welfare authorities. Otherwise, tell Ashley you are always available if she needs you, but beyond that, she has to work this out on her own. Sorry.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Help,” whose husband leaves all the cabinets open. I can do her one better. My husband leaves the back door open — even in the winter at night.

One time when he was making a new laundry room for me, I counted 13 times that he came and went, and he never once closed the back door. For good measure, he also leaves the dryer and microwave doors open with the interior lights burning.

This is my second marriage, and I keep telling myself that this one is so wonderful in every other way, the least I can do is close all the doors when he’s done building me a new room.

— Canada

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