Dear Miss Emily:

This past year, I divorced and beat breast cancer.  5 months ago, I met a really wonderful man and we have done some really great things together. We both have demanding jobs and see each other about once a week.  We have taken two trips to Florida and they were great.  I have to have blood work every other week for a while.  Last week, I missed my appointment and was told that I could do it on Saturday.  I had plans with my guy.  While I was getting my blood drawn, my guy calls.  The nurse told me not to answer my phone, but he doesn't normally call me on my cell right before a date unless it is important.  As I was saying hello, the nurse jabbed me so hard with the needle, I wanted to scream.  Instead, I held my breath and said hello.  My guy tells me that his father (who is out of state) was put in the hospital and he would have to cancel our plans.  I said ok.  He then proceded to tell me what was wrong and I said ok, again.  He then said, well, I will call you later.  Once again, I said okay and be careful.  I can’t believe how insensitive I was - that is not my nature.  I sent my guy an email later explaining what was going on.  I didn't hear back from him for three days.  He responded to my email saying that he understood about the blood thing.  His dad was still in the hospital and he was traveling back and forth and trying to work.  He said that he was worn out and his plate was full.  He also said that he was not in the right frame of mind to talk and was so sorry.  I responded that I understood and if he needed anything, I'm here.  I really care of this guy and I am racked with guilt about my insensitivity towards him.  I have given him his space.  My heart is really breaking.  Do you think that this relationship is over?

---------------------Miss Emily’s advice----------------

I can’t imagine why you would be racked with guilt over this unfortunate, albeit awkward circumstance.  His mind was not on how you were responding to his information, but rather the worry he was feeling over his father and the intense obligation he has as a result of it.  So let’s really try to get to the bottom of why you still consider yourself insensitive once you explained everything to him in your e-mail – and his understanding about the “blood thing.” I think you are not secure enough in your relationship with this man.  Perhaps it’s because you do not see him that often in order to develop a mutual trust, and the slightest misstep puts you in the “what if he doesn’t want to see me, again, because I sounded like such an ass?” frame of mind.  Or, after beating breast cancer, his call during your blood test triggered some thoughts around feeling the alienation that some cancer patients feel and, although you have beaten it, you can’t shake the stigma associated with it.  I may be off-base, but I’m thinking this has more to do with you feeling dispensable in this relationship, and it is that self-doubt that's fueling this fear.  If I were you, I’d try to put it in perspective and realize that it’s less about you, and more about a guy who truly does have a lot on his plate.  Once you understand the truth of this matter, you can rest easy until he has the time to pick-up where you two left off.