Life Advice



Caught in a Complex Connection

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I'm sad to say that my mother has been lonely for far too long. Her relationship with my father was unsatisfying, and they separated years before his untimely death 18 years ago. Since then, she has neither dated nor maintained any close friendships. My brother lives nearby and sees her a few times a month with his toddler son.

I have tried to help her move closer to my family for years, but she always has her reasons not to. My kids and I video chat with her at least weekly but that can't be her whole life. She recently moved into an assisted living facility in her home state after being discharged from a rehab center for a hip injury.

Well, today she mentioned to me that while she was in rehab, she started a romantic relationship with one of her nurses, who is 42 years old and married. She is so excited about her connection with this young man, who is roughly the age of my brother and my husband. I don't want to spoil any happiness that comes into her life, but I have a bad feeling about this.

Ethically, I don't agree with her complicity in this man's cheating on his wife, with whom he has young children. I told her this, and she seemed to think it wasn't a problem because, although they are not separated, they "only parent together" and when he sees her on his days off, he "would not be spending time with his wife anyway."

Worse, I'm really worried that he is trying to scam her, although I'm not exactly sure what for, since she has no money except for the long-term care insurance that is going to her housing. When it runs out, my family will pay for her, so I'm not concerned about getting anything from her will or anything; I just don't want to see her manipulated.

I'm just generally very suspicious of this young man trying to date my ailing 77-year-old mother.


She seemed to come around to the idea that she might be hurting this man's family, but I think she's too swept off her feet to do anything about it.

Aside from telling her our misgivings, is there anything my brother and I can do to keep her from falling into a trap? -- Baffled daughter

Dear Baffled Daughter: This is a tough one because you are grateful that your mother is happy, but you know that her "love" for this man will not end well. Talk to the people in charge of the rehab facility, explain the situation, and your mother's new Romeo will be sent packing. Hopefully, this will be the wake-up call she needs.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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