Question: Dear Luise: I am a 71 year old, very active widow. I’ve been seeing a widower who lives nearby for over five years. Now he is seeing another woman and says he’d like to “just be friends” with me. She lives in another state, a long way from here. As I understand it, “just being friends” means that I won’t get any more hugs and kisses but that I can continue to cook for him and take care of his dog when he goes away. I know that isn’t fair and that I am lonely and gullible to even consider it. I am trying to get past this but it isn’t easy. What I’d like to know is if there could be anyone coming my way in the near future? What is the best way to meet someone new? Thank you. Grace
Answer: Thank you for writing MomResponds.com. Your participation in my website is greatly appreciated. Your question brings to mind the saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. Your guy seems to have expanded it to “A bird in the hand and one in the bush, too!” Shall we call him Birdman?
The first thing I want to consider here is the fact that there are many more female survivors in their seventies than male. It’s just a fact. It’s entirely possible that your Mr. Right may appear. Perhaps even tomorrow when you are out walking your friend’s dog, but it’s not too probable.
I would like you to take a closer look at what you like about this guy who sees the grass as greener in Mississippi. Five years must mean something to you, and you are the person we are interested in. He can obviously take care of himself and is very good at it. Isn’t friendship pretty much what you have had all along? You haven’t beaten a path to the alter in the half a decade you have been close.
Can you look within and be brutally honest with yourself? Who are you and what do you want? It sounds to me like you like “Birdman”…his company, and yes, a hug and a kiss now and then. Ms. Mississippi may get top billing but/and you’re Ms. Next Door. You have the advantage. Is there enough that you like about him to pursue this further? If not, case closed.
However, if you want to continue, let’s look at your being used, because you are! There’s nothing wrong with being helpful and useful, what needs to be negotiated is balance. No more 95% Grace and 5% Birdman. OK? He wants to be friends…then consider this: you cook and he buys the groceries. You take care of his dog and he fixes stuff around your house. Also, you don’t always cook, he takes you out and picks up the bill. You go out together and socialize with others. What do want him to contribute?
Let him know that friendship sounds great to you and you are hot to get on with defining it! If he doesn’t come around, what have you lost? If he does, you have a compatible companion.
Follow-up from Grace: Thank you for your response. I will study it. One thing, no he does not like the idea of spending money. Only on him. Or his kids. He’s made statements like he was never going to marry. He wants just a companion that will travel with him and pay half the costs and go to bed with him as IF married. But doesn’t even consider the ramifications of morals that I have had to set for myself to live with myself. I don’t have the income or savings to live the rest of my life alone. I truly need someone. I have never liked being alone. But not just anyone! Thank you again, Grace.