I’m a retired, successful man in excellent health and considered attractive.
I had a long marriage, but my wife died several years ago. My children are now adults. After several years, I met a lovely woman a few years younger than me.
We were great together for half a dozen years, enjoying travel together, my cottage, my winter condo, and my home here.
However, she suddenly decided we should just be “friends,” so as I get older, she wouldn’t be stuck caring for me. She ended our time together.
Yet she keeps constantly in touch, suggesting she visit me in my winter home or stay with me up north as the weather warms up here. All is based on her being my house guest rather than us being lovers as before.
She’s considerate and persistent. But it makes me feel seriously lonely and upset, as I did have strong feelings for her. I felt that I loved her.
I won’t accept her plan but I do reply to her. However, I’m just not interested in starting all over again.
Can you advise a solution?
I find it coldly calculating that a years-long lover who’s been enjoying all the benefits of your successful life, suddenly cuts and runs to avoid having to care for you just in case you need help in the future.
It’s even more shocking that she left your side after minimal discussion and when you’re in full energy and health.
Moreover, should you ever need a caregiver, it’s evident that you can afford to hire one, or even two on shifts.
Most men and women expect their lifestyle companion and sexual partner to feel normal compassion when age starts to take its toll.
Yet here you were enjoying an outgoing, sociable relationship over enough years to be widely seen as a twosome, and she walks away from any responsibilities. She just wants benefits for her but not for you.
Loneliness can tear at a person’s comfort and confidence, if they let it. But lonely people still want/need to be sure they’re valued, not used.
Even with pandemic restrictions, you can still connect with and enjoy your family and close friends, and meet new people through your varied activities.
You are very likely to meet someone new who appreciates you for yourself.
FEEDBACK More regarding the woman “ghosted” by an online dater after they had sex several times (March 26):
“These men are (usually) married and just want sex! I have met many such men online and that is their goal. For them, variety (not romance) is the spice of life
“They have no conscience about cheating on and hurting their wife, or the naive girl they lead on then end up ghosting.
“I suggest that these women dating online men who just want sex insist go to his house to check things out there.
“That’ll be the defining moment.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the 12-year-old boy’s discussion with his parents about thinking he and his friends are gay (March 27):
“Whatever these boys are sharing about their sexual identity, if they’re thinking about acting on their attraction, now is when their parents should remind them about safe sex.
“Although 12 seems too young to be engaging in sexual activity, if the boys are discussing it with their parents, it’s imperative that parents use this openness to remind the boys that there’s no such thing as risk-free sex, no matter who’s your partner.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding how the pandemic’s imposed changes affected me positively:
“Working from home made me more productive. I’m not racing a deadline among constant interruptions. I have time to cook/eat better, exercise, do housework/laundry in the day.
“My husband and I have more time for each other. We’ve lost the evening stress, anxiety and frustrations of a fulltime work week.
“I miss co-workers but not office politics, gossip and interruptions.
“I believe that this 24-7 work-a-day life has people running ragged to try to keep up.
“I understand not everyone has the privilege to work from home, but I’ve learned that something positive can come from something negative.”
Ellie - Your privilege was due to ongoing dual incomes, no children to home-school, no serious vulnerabilities, no fear/inability to pay rent or buy food, no months of living alone.
You did form a positive attitude that others could only wish for in the post-pandemic future.
Tip of the day:
Love is a bond of giving, not a benefit package that provides only one-way comfort for the taker.