Q: Several years ago, I was in a long-term relationship that kind of fizzled out.
Before that, both of us had talked about getting married, but it always seemed like real-world circumstances got in the way. One of her parents was sick, and she traveled constantly. The other of her parents meddled in her relationships to the point of causing real trouble. I was drowning in grad school. I realize couples make it work when they want to make it work, but I think both of us got exhausted by the circumstances.
Now, five years later, I'm done with school, my finances are in great shape, and I'm ready to make a commitment to her. But I have no idea where she is, whether she's single or married, or anything. All I have is her old email and phone number.
Is it fair to call and try to rekindle something with someone who may (or may not) be in a relationship now? Should I apologize for my part in this situation, even if I didn't have any bad intentions? How should I approach someone whom I know I adore but whom I haven't spoken with in years?
A: Of course it's fair. You call, you ask, you find out.
If she isn't receptive to having you back in her life, then you don't call again.
I strongly recommend, though, that you add a "d" to your careful rationale for getting in touch. You say she's "someone whom I know I adore," but in fact she's someone you know you adored. Note that little "d." Because you clearly fell far enough out of adoration to let the relationship go, or because each of you is now five years from who you used to be — take your pick.
Either way, your expectations in making this call can be the difference between congenial and creepy, so hold off until you can override, for real, your impulse to project. When you're ready, tell her she's been on your mind lately — then see where you both want to take it from there.