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 spend all of my days off 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? He says I don’t miss him when we don’t connect for three days, and it’s true. 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).
Amy says: 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.
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.
Careful what you post
Dear Amy: I liked your comprehensive advice to the mother of the teenager who had exchanged hundreds of sexually explicit e-mails 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.
Amy says: Great point. And she had already violated her daughter’s electronic privacy.
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