Dear Margo: Ditched or Saved?

How do I get over a man who just up-and-left? Margo Howard’s advice

Ditched or Saved?

Dear Margo: I’m 29, and recently, my fiance of eight years walked out the door and never returned. I thought we had a great relationship and never saw this coming. It was a shock to me, my friends, my family and his. While we were bickering before he left (everyday life stuff), I had no idea we were at a serious crossroads. He recently started a new job, so I thought his general unhappiness was related to stress he was encountering at work. (He refused to open up, so I tried to give him space). I even packed his bags as he went home to “relax.”

After two weeks of unanswered emails and hanging up on phone calls, he broke up via an answering machine message. I was left canceling a wedding, moving and sorting out our house (we just bought a house and were moving in two weeks’ time), canceling accounts, changing documents, etc., all while he went on a trip with his family.

When he returned to this small community after living with his parents for two months (he is 30), I encountered him at our small church. We spoke, and there was absolutely no remorse on his part for his actions. In fact, he told me he feared I would have manipulated him into staying. (What would I have done, tied him to a chair?)

I am hoping you can provide some advice about how to get over this whole fiasco. I am left feeling incredibly stupid that I didn’t see this side of his personality, frustrated that he left without telling me what the heck happened, upset that I’m feeling so depressed, and missing him while he continues to act like this was just a walk in the park. I am speaking with my church counselor, but I’m exhausted from crying myself to sleep. — Wool Pulled Over My Eyes

Dear Wool: What a skunk. Rather than crying your eyes out, I would hope you’d start reviewing the personality traits you have avoided, along with a probable divorce. This guy is cavalier, immature, thoughtless and self-centered. And you may need a different therapist to help you get over Mr. Mistake. He simply isn’t worth the anguish, and he’s proved it. — Margo, providentially

A Story as Old as Men and Women

Dear Margo: I am a former homicide prosecutor in a major city. I prosecuted a man (“Jeff”) for killing his girlfriend/ex-girlfriend (“Mary”) by shooting her four times in the head while she was riding in his SUV with him. At the time of the killing, they were broken up, but they had continued communicating with each other.

Jeff and Mary met on one of the online dating sites. She moved in with him the day after their first meeting. (I am leaving out a lot of details.) While I would caution anyone against moving so quickly whether you meet online or through other means, I do think people need to take extra care in dealing with those they meet online. However you meet, take things slowly, and do due diligence in checking the other person out.

I suspect you have written previously about this, but I thought my perspective as a prosecutor might bolster your argument. I cannot figure out why people do not make a more serious effort to look out for themselves. — Former ADA

Dear Form: Despite a ton of mail on this subject over the years, your perspective certainly has been more directly influenced than mine. I think the wish to take someone at face value may often be just that: the person has “a nice face.” There are, of course, myriad reasons for why women (and men) are taken for a ride — one being that they want to be. The wish for a partner or a romance is often stronger than good sense, causing people to overlook red flags. Hope, apparently, is stronger than evidence. And the beat goes on. — Margo, regretfully

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


Every Thursday and Friday, you can find “Dear Margo” and her latest words of wisdom on wowOwow

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51 comments so far.

  1. avatar avrilsmith says:

    I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it.

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  2. avatar EmmaS says:

    Abusers and killers are found everywhere, not just online. Sadly, many male abusers kill their girlfriends/wives after the woman leaves. It is a painfully common pattern in male abuser-female victim relationships. Everyone needs to be alert for controlling behaviors no matter how you meet.