DEAR AMY: I have reconnected with a man from my high school days, and we are dating. We are both 72 years old.
We get along fairly well, except for his "neediness." I work part time (mostly evenings and every other weekend). On my days off I like to have lunch with girlfriends.
He says I should plan my lunches with the girls on the days where I have to work in the evening and that on my whole days off I should spend the day with him.
I have my own house and chores to do. He has his own house but would rather go for walks or bike riding. I find this very invasive and end up having a "high blood pressure" moment when I have to drop everything to go for a bike ride.
I am considering breaking off our relationship, but my girlfriend says I would be crazy to leave someone who takes me to dinner all the time, buys me flowers and is in love with me.
At my age I may never find someone who is as loving as he is.
Why don't I relish his friendship instead of feeling like I am supposed to be at his side every minute on my days off? He says I don't miss him when we don't connect for three days, and it's true. I'm busy with my family members, doing yardwork and house work.
I just feel too confined, and I need some space.
Love him or leave him? I'm very content living alone (if that means anything). — Mary
DEAR MARY: Upon publication of this letter I will receive dozens of inquiries from other elder singles, wanting this man's number. And if I didn't have my own high school honey at home, I'd want his number too.
He sounds like a nice guy who adores you. Dropping everything to go on a bike ride is some people's idea of the best way to live.
However, none of this matters because even though this man might offer the sort of companionship that other people would like, you don't like it. You feel crowded. His desire to spend lots of time with you feels like a demand.
Granted, I happen to feel that everyone could probably benefit from fewer chores and more bike rides, but this isn't your bag, and you obviously don't intend to change. Furthermore, you sound happy, healthy and useful.
This is a classic mismatch. A case of two "rights" making a mistake. You both deserve to be with someone who offers a better fit for your respective lifestyles. Let him go.
DEAR AMY: I am a longtime avid reader of your column. The letter from "Want to be Honest" struck a chord with me.
After five years of marriage and two kids, I found out that my husband was gay.
I cannot explain the hurt and betrayal I felt. We tried to work through it to no avail, but separating turned out to be the best thing we ever did.
From that we have forged a friendship out of respect for each other and love of our children. He lives out of town now, but he stays with me and the kids on weekends and spends holidays as well. He is still family and he is my best friend. He even gets along with my boyfriend.
I just wanted to put my side out there. There can be a positive outcome to a bad ending if both parties work at it. — Been There
DEAR BEEN THERE: Thank you for showing people that it is possible to heal (and even thrive) after this extreme breach.
DEAR AMY: I liked your comprehensive advice to "Burdened," the mother of the sexually active teenager who had exchanged hundreds of explicit emails with her boyfriend.
The one thing you forgot to mention to this parent (that she should pass along to her daughter) is to be more careful about what she writes. An upset boyfriend (or girlfriend) could ruin her simply by pressing the "forward" button. — Understanding Mom
DEAR MOM: Great point. And "Burdened" had already violated her daughter's electronic privacy.