After 25 years, ready to date again
Dear Annie: It has been two years since my husband of 25 years passed away. He was my best friend. We did everything together.
My children have been amazingly supportive to me. They are always including me with their own families for dinners, with going to church, etc. Neither my son nor my daughter has even hinted at this, but lately I have been feeling like a bit of a burden.
I am in my mid-50s and feel as if I am ready to start dating again. My daughter told me about a singles group at her church. Well, I went to one meeting, and it was all women, with only one man in the group — who was only showing interest in the 35-year-old; go figure. I just feel that men my own age are looking for someone younger. I am ready to just give up and be alone for the rest of my life. — Lonely Widow in California
Dear Lonely: True, it might be a little more challenging to meet someone now than when you were in your 20s. But it is by no means impossible, so don’t give up so easily. Anything worth doing is worth a little grit.
First, I suggest you check out online dating sites. Find the sites that seem right for you, and ask your children to help you set up your profile, if you need help. I’m sure they would be excited. They want you to be happy.
If you’re really not comfortable with online dating, just telling your friends and family that you are now open to dating could open doors for you. They may have not wanted to set you up because they weren’t sure about your readiness, but now that you are ready, it’s time to spread the word.
Dear Annie: Do not always take letters at face value and make assumptions. I am that daughter described in the letter from “Missing Her,” the 82-year-old mother who lamented that her daughter hasn’t spoken to her in 12 years.
For years, I was the family scapegoat. I was called “troublesome” and “always prickly.” Every time I did something good, my parents took credit for it. (I got into a prestigious university because my mother took the application to the post office, for example.) Anything bad and I was going to kill my mother with the grief I caused.
When I asked my parents to stop doing things that were hurtful to me, they would say such things as, “How dare you tell us what to do? We’re your parents.” I was dragged to counseling on multiple occasions, but whenever the therapist suggested my parents could change some of their relationship techniques (for instance, talking directly to me rather than complaining about me to my brother and dragging him into the problem), the therapy sessions were somehow no longer “working” or “convenient” and were stopped.
After decades of this, I finally decided that I had had enough and stopped responding to them. They have not once reached out to ask what they could do to repair the relationship, nor have they apologized for past wrongs or in any way offered to work toward a better relationship. Instead, they write long, chatty letters that are all about them and pretend that there is nothing amiss. Meanwhile, they vilify me to anyone who will listen.
In these circumstances, Annie, you have the gall to say that I seem “quick to burn bridges rather than repair them”? My opinion, Annie, is that rather than just support what this “poor, victimized” woman wants to hear, you could perhaps present the possibility that there is another side to the story. — Grieving for the Relationship I Couldn’t Have
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