Following is a reader’s account of what happened after he sought advice about whether to pursue a relationship with someone he met through a community theatre production:
Reader – “As for the younger woman to whom I’d been attracted (I’m 62, she’s early-40s), the run of the show ultimately provided evidence as to why a relationship would be unworkable.
“Backstage, she joined other younger cast members in seemingly endless “selfies” and other behaviour similarly self-absorbed.
“In my view, she acted like someone going on 14.
“I had delivered a light-hearted Valentine’s Day note to the place where she works. It was carefully thought out, simply exploratory, and well in advance of the show's opening date.
“There was muted reaction from her, through Facebook. She had plenty of opportunity to at least acknowledge the gesture in person, but never mentioned it. I found that discourteous.
“It's certainly plausible, even likely, that I knew the answer to my question about whether I should pursue her, before I wrote you.
“All the same, even seeking you out was worthwhile, since it required my thoughts having to be put down.”
Ellie - When he wrote me, this reader noted that he had no dependents and his wife was “long gone.” He believed the woman was single.
He’d met her only briefly through a previous production. They’d stayed in touch solely through Facebook, initiated by his sending her a story he’d written.
He wanted to “make a move,” but worried about rejection and whether the age difference was irreconcilable.
His report above is instructive for the countless people who hang onto imagined relationship hopes and fears.
It shows the importance of taking some action (his Valentine’s card), then being a "quick study," when in actual contact with someone who’s been mostly idealized.
Watch the signs, assess them early on, and don’t take reality and the other person’s free choice as rejection.
She wasn’t into him. And he was no longer smitten.
My husband and I were recently discussing getting a company to build a pergola for us. He mentioned wanting to use a friend's services.
When deciding how we’d pay, I reminded him what we could afford and that we would have to pay monthly.
He got really upset, saying we couldn't ask a friend to accept that.
I again reminded him of our finances, and he ended the conversation. He also wouldn't consider another company.
I feel that he was trying to make himself out to be a big spender and show off. Also, that he cared more about the friend’s financial well-being instead of ours.
I feel very unsure about his commitment to our life as this isn't the first time he's done this.
Alone in This Relationship
The “pergola” issue was the iceberg in your marriage, poking into view. You two are divided on more than money.
You find him unrealistic about finances and unwilling to discuss them, especially when he wants his own way.
No wonder you’re lonely… you both lack an effective, respectful way of discussing a matter, and compromising.
You need marital counselling far more than a pergola. If your husband won’t agree to it, go on your own.
You may find that, even if you’re correct on a particular point, you’re not acknowledging his feelings. And he’s shutting down in response.
If you’re willing to try to improve your relationship, counselling can help you try a different approach. If it works, you won’t be dismissed and lonely.
If it doesn’t, you may consider other options.
FEEDBACK Regarding public breastfeeding (May 2):
Reader – “The mother showed extreme lack of good judgement, disregard for others’ feelings, and failing to teach her child (age three) respect for others, delayed gratification, and healthy boundary behaviours.
“I breastfed my seven babies, and my five daughters breastfed all theirs.
“Not once did we embarrass or humiliate others.
“Nor were our babies deprived of their right to be fed, cuddled, or comforted whenever needed.
“We were sensitive to others around us. It’s easy to breastfeed discreetly, without exposing the entire breast.
“What was disturbing to many in our family was the "in your face" rebellious, passive-aggressive, disrespectful behaviour of one of my daughters who seemed to enjoy others’ discomfort while breastfeeding. (Example: children, three and four, walking across a room, lifting mother’s sweater, exposing both breasts and suckling.)
“We all felt like prisoners in an exploitive and abusive situation - abusive to all including the children.”
Tip of the day:
Don’t fantasize or fear a relationship. Instead, watch the signals, assess, and be realistic.