Hi, Carolyn: Earlier this year, I had a short but intense relationship with a guy who was a great catch. Good-looking, smart, well-read, liked his family, etc., and in our late 20s/flirting with 30, that seems harder and harder to find. He wasn't a "words of affirmation" person, which I very much am, and he had several close female friends — four — whom he had varying degrees of intimate relationships with in the past, which I had a hard time with.

I wasn't quite ready for a relationship and was still working on self-esteem and insecurities, which really came to the surface with this person.

My question is — how do I move on from a relationship that had great trappings that I wasn't ready for? I know he wasn't perfect, but it seems that it was my insecurities and neediness that really drove us apart, and I'm finding it hard to forgive myself and come to terms with that.

— Emotionally Unavailable?

Emotionally Unavailable?: Actually .?.?.

If you’re still at the point of “working on self-esteem and insecurities,” and if your neediness was in full bloom with him, then I think it’s more useful to look at this guy as someone your low self-esteem, insecurities and neediness picked out for you.

We’re often drawn to the familiar, and if feeling bad about yourself is still what you’re used to, then your attractions will reflect that.

He could have looked good because of his command of your emotional strings.

If that’s the case, then I doubt he’ll look like such a great catch to the healthy person you’re becoming through all your hard work.

Keep working on your stuff, on your ability to stand confidently on your own, to be yourself without apology. What you’re doing is hard; don’t add to that by being so hard on yourself.

Dear Carolyn: My sister died last month. She was young, 43, very fiery and fought a debilitating illness until the end. One of my greatest human inspirations. I miss her terribly, and yet I've started to feel a bit more like normal, to look forward to plans with friends, to nod my head to music. I had planned to grieve for months, if not years, and feel very strange about being able to feel happy again so soon after losing her. Is that normal?

— Life After Death

Life After Death: Short answer, there is no normal.

Grief has its own ideas.

But a normal phenomenon might be at work here: When people are sick for a long time, that often starts the grief clock early — so maybe you haven’t grieved “just” for a month, but instead for years.

I’m so sorry.

To: Life After Death: You could just be experiencing some relief at your sister's battle being over. That doesn't mean you didn't love her or that you're not grieving or won't grieve. You might still have breakdowns in the shower. But for now, the battle is concluded and there's no more fight to have. That's going to cause some positive — or at least neutral — feelings, even if the surrounding context is heartbreaking. I'm sorry for your loss, and may your sister's memory always be a blessing.

— Anonymous

Write to Carolyn Hax at tellme@washpost.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at wapo.st/haxpost.