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Ask Amy: Widow weighs burden of solitude with desire to date

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wonderful husband died unexpectedly seven years ago.

I'm now 49, and still have no desire to meet anyone or go on dates.

My husband was my everything and, while I don't want to spend the rest of my life alone, the prospect of dealing with dating and all the hassle that goes along with it makes me wonder if solitude is really that bad.

I did try some online dating a few years ago and I wasn't ready.

What if I'm never ready?

I know women widowed for just a year or two who are already remarried.

What am I doing wrong?

– Widowed

Dear Widowed: One way to prepare for a life-change is to find ways to escape from your own head-space. Changing your perspective will change your life.

First of all, solitude is not a bad thing. Far from it! And you may not have a partner at home, but do you have friends? Do you have family or platonic relationships that feel positive and intimate? Do you believe you are growing – intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally? Do you do good work?

If so, then realizing this might allow you to relax into your reality and to stop seeing your life as flawed or somehow incomplete.

I view online matching as an opportunity to polish a person’s communication skills – even if there is no love match on the horizon.

If you see meeting new men as a way to revive and practice your social skills (versus finding a new partner), you can walk away from even the worst date with a sense that you’ve learned something.

I was single for 17 years between marriages and dated only sporadically during that time. Deep and rewarding friendships kept this from seeming like an in-between state, but like a life being lived.

I hope the same for you.

Dear Amy: My wife of over 30-plus years “makes time” for her male friend, “X,” without telling me.

She will then blame being late getting home, for instance, on work.

I know for a fact that she is lying, as other friends will tell me they have seen her with X.

My wife says that “fibbing” about who she is with and what she is doing is just because she doesn’t think she needs to inform me about every little thing she does.

I call BS. I call it cheating when you are not truthful with your spouse, and when you keep secrets, especially when these secrets have to do with seeing the opposite sex.

 

I have seen texts and emails that include serious flirting.

I am beginning to think she is a narcissist since she tries to manipulate the conversation and has started gaslighting me. Your thoughts?

– Fed Up

Dear Fed Up: I agree that your wife does not need to inform you about every little thing she does.

She does need to tell you about the big things, however – and lying about seeing a man you obviously perceive as a rival and a threat to your marriage is a very big thing.

I don’t know if your wife is a narcissist. I can’t tell if she is gaslighting you. But it is quite obvious that your relationship is in serious trouble.

You seem to be tracking your wife through talking with her friends and looking at her communications. You obviously don’t trust her.

Yes, it is time to call BS. Present her with your fears and concerns. Follow up with hard evidence – Columbo-style.

If you want to stay in your marriage, you should ask her, quite sincerely, to recommit. Counseling can provide a neutral space for you two to express your divergent views. Counseling will not save your marriage (it can oftentimes create a pathway for ending it), but I am a firm believer in the power of therapy to alter a person’s perspective and behavior.

Dear Readers: Hundreds of readers have contacted me to express their appreciation for my work over the last 21 years, and to offer congratulations on my retirement.

I’m very grateful!

I don’t think of this as “retirement,” however. I have made a choice to continue my work elsewhere, and am showing myself the door. Readers can easily find me at Amydickinson.com and through my weekly newsletter.

The next columnist to walk through the door is R. Eric Thomas, writing a column called “Asking Eric.”

Eric is young, smart, and a talented advice-giver.

You can help Eric get started by sending your questions to eric@askingeric.com.

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(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2024 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



 

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