Dear Annie: Woman is strung along

Dear Annie: I have known “Jeffrey” for six years. For four of those years, we were just friends, and for the past two years, we’ve dated on and off. At first, we dated for six straight months. He started to slowly stop calling and texting, and then he stopped coming around. Then, all of a sudden, he moved in with another woman. After a month, he started contacting me again.

Long story short, for the past two years, he’s been going back and forth between the other woman and me. He apologizes to me every time and tells me he thought the grass was greener on the other side. I always fall for it.

Recently, he moved in with me for a month, but when the other woman started texting him, he went back to her. He called and said he had gone back because he didn’t want to see me unhappy and didn’t want to bring that trouble to my home, saying he had sacrificed his own happiness for me.

I’m trying to let go, but it’s so hard. I think of Jeffrey all day long. He’s tall, dark, handsome and charming. I’m probably hooked because I hadn’t been in a relationship in over 18 years. Because I had four kids to raise, I didn’t have time for dating. (They are grown now. They all went to college and are working.)

What should I do? Everyone we hung around is saying to just be patient and give him time because he loves me. — Dazed and Confused

Dear Dazed and Confused: He was sacrificing “his own happiness” for you by returning to the other woman? This man is such a master of spin he should go to Washington. But he did (unintentionally) get one thing right: You’ll be much better off without him in your life.

It’s time to cut him out of it once and for all. Block his number, his social media and any other potential mode of contact. Don’t bother having a “closure” conversation, as he’d just use that as an opportunity to weasel his way back into your heart.

If this sounds impossible to you right now, I recommend giving therapy a shot. Sometimes we need professional guidance to find our inner strength — and I promise you that you are stronger than you realize. Don’t let anyone make you forget that.

Dear Annie: I am a professional hairdresser in Virginia and have been for 26 years. I’d like to respond to the letter from “Needing a Change,” who was wondering how to “break up with” her longtime hairstylist. I am occasionally asked about how to leave a stylist or make a change. It is a tough situation.

Having someone do your hair is very intimate. Of course a relationship of sorts develops. But a professional hairdresser knows that ultimately, it is a business relationship. You are contracting this person’s services. If you weren’t happy with any other service, you’d say so or simply take your business elsewhere.

“Feelings” shouldn’t make anyone stay with a stylist who’s doing a lousy job. Also, as a stylist, I realize that I am not the best stylist for everyone, and ultimately, I’d rather you see someone who provides you with a service that you love.

My ego isn’t nearly so important to me as the client’s happiness. And any stylist who considers himself or herself a true professional will tell you the same thing. — Kevin M.

Dear Kevin: You sound like a true professional indeed. Lucky is the lady (or gentleman) who sits in your chair.

“Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now. Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Go to http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.

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