Hot ’n’ cold

An ex texts then ghosts. What’s up with that?

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My girlfriend broke up with me four months ago. She still sends texts saying she misses me and wants to see me. Then she ignores me for days. When I get her texts I feel hopeful, like maybe we will get back together, but then she ghosts me. What’s up with that?

Your ex-girlfriend’s nostalgia blooms when she doesn’t get the attention she desires from whomever she’s romantically interested in now. Instead of struggling through uncomfortable feelings and becoming a better person, she reaches for you. You respond in love. That reassures her that she can always return to you but doesn’t have to, not ever. Do you want to continue to be her harbor or are you ready to sail free?

I’m voting that you get a backbone. Send her a short text saying that you’re working on taking better care of yourself and that includes letting go of the past. Don’t apologize. Don’t tell her you wish things were different. Just let go. Delete her number. Unfollow or block her on social media. Breathe. When your mind wanders into thoughts about her, rein it in. Remind yourself that was the past and you are present, ready for a future with a partner who appreciates your loyalty and love.

My best friend’s boyfriend hugs me for a super-long time and in a weird way that makes me uncomfortable. I’ve tried to avoid his hugs. I’ve even held my purse between us. When I did, he whispered something in my ear I didn’t quite hear but it made my skin crawl. I complained to my best friend. She just shrugged and said he’s “a hugger.” How do I draw the line with this guy?

Tell him directly that his hugs make you uncomfortable and that from here forward you don’t want to hug him. Then, don’t hug him. If he approaches you for a hug, step backward with one arm extended between you, palm toward him in a stop position. Say kindly: “Ah, thanks but I’m not doing the hug thing. Remember?”

If he’s not a respectful person, he might say something like, “Oh, yeah you don’t like to be touched.” If he does, be clear: “That’s not true. I spoke to you about this privately. Would you like to talk about it again now?” Your best friend might become annoyed with you. If she does, remind her that no one has permission to touch your body without your permission. Remind yourself of that, too. But don’t expect her to protect you. That’s your job.

Why do people I match with on Tinder or Bumble start following me on Instagram or Twitter and commenting on my posts before we even meet in person?

Solve the problem by adding this to your bio: “Prefer to connect IRL before you stalk me on social.” If that feels too intense, educate one person at a time. When someone follows you and comments, send them a DM saying that you prefer to connect in person before connecting online. If they act annoyed, you know their values don’t mesh with yours and it wouldn’t have worked out anyway.

Meditation of the Week

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice,” said Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa. Have you trained yourself to initiate equality in the world?