Dear Annie: I’m 73 years old and having feelings like a 17-year-old. “Richard” and I were an item in high school. It ended when my mother would no longer let me see him. I didn’t know why at the time. Many years later, I figured out why; but it’s complicated and has no bearing on what’s going on now. However, I always regretted how things ended for us.
Eventually, I met and married someone else. Richard met and married someone else.
Fast-forward to about two years ago: I got a Facebook friend request from Richard’s wife, “Mary.” I’d never met her. My first thought was, “Does she know that I’m a former girlfriend of her husband?” I didn’t respond, thinking it was a bit odd and not a good idea. You see, through all those years, I thought about Richard off and on, regretting not having him in my life.
Recently, I saw in the newspaper obituaries that Mary died. They have two grown children. Mary and Richard were married for more than 50 years. In a way, I’m envious. I’ve been married twice, divorced twice, and single for the last 13 years. (Though I’m blessed to have three grown children, seven grandchildren and some great-grandchildren.)
I thought about writing a condolence on the funeral home webpage and decided it was not appropriate. But on the Internet, I found Richard’s home address and phone number (he’s in a neighboring town). It seems inappropriate to contact Richard so soon.
I have no idea if he’s ever thought of me. His birthday is Dec. 26. Now, I’m thinking maybe a condolence/birthday greeting in December? What would you advise? – Mad About Him
Dear Mad About Him: There is no timeline for these things. The key is to be respectful of his space and do away with expectations. Only send him a card in December if you’re willing to accept friendship rather than romance. Perhaps, one day, he will be interested in striking up a relationship, but that can’t be your expectation.
Dear Annie: I’ve been seeing a married man lately, and I can just tell from the looks on my friends’ faces that they don’t approve. The way I see it, his marital problems have nothing to do with me. His and I have a relationship that is totally separate from that, in many ways. How can I get my friends to stop judging me? – Miffed
Dear Miffed: When you feel like a nail, everything looks like a hammer. You must be harboring at least a little guilt over this affair, or you wouldn’t be seeing judgment on friends’ faces.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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