Dear Lauren: What I Can Offer You Is Probably Less Than Most

Lauren and Luke had been dating for several months, and Lauren thought it could become serious, especially when, on Valentine's Day, Luke stared soulfully into her eyes and asked if he could ask her an important question. For the past six months, Luke said, he'd been carrying on a phone and email relationship with a woman from out of town, and now the woman was coming to visit him for a week. She'd be staying in his studio apartment — in his bed — of course. Would Lauren mind? THE FUCK she would! Soon after their breakup, she got this florid missive from young Luke. He hoped she'd understand what had happened: It wasn't that he wanted to hurt her feelings, it was just that he was thinking only of himself.

Welcome to Crap Email from a Dude, where the names are changed but the cry of the wimpster—"I hope someday you won't despiiiiiiise me!"—remains recognizeable to us all.

Lauren,

What I can offer you is probably less than most. And you've given me more.

You've found me at an odd time in my life. The situation is at once the reason for our meeting and the reason for your unhappiness with me.

I've enjoyed the idea that we are passing one another on our respective journeys and that we have been drawing strength to pursue our goals and savor life in the meantime.

I hope that you can eventually not despise me. That is what pains me the most. If our time together is negated by this scar, it will cast a sour darkness across all of the things we have done and places we have visited. If I am to have regretted anything in our relationship, it is to have moved your emotions into this tortured state. It was not consciously done; I only wanted to share and exchange with you some of those things that make people like us happy and assured. I have obviously overstepped and I am very truly sorry for the hurt and confusion it has caused.

Luke