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A woman willing to settle

By Tom P Blake

I've written columns about love after 50 for 23 years--more than 3,500 overall. You would think I've heard it all during that stretch of time, but almost weekly, someone surprises me with a new twist. This week was no exception. The words, “I won’t settle” don’t apply.


Jo wrote, "I met someone at work. We have been dating for six months and it's going well (I no longer work at the same place).

"In the beginning, I fell in love with him, but he tells me that he is not in love with me. I have no choice but to accept this feeling. I am willing to settle.

"I casually asked a while ago if he would want to live together. He replied 'possibly,' but now he just stated he will never live with me. I was very surprised.


"He also said he would never marry me. He feels he is too old (he is 62; I'm 60). This further hurt me. He has never married but was involved in relationships with women and says he was very loyal.

"He told me he asked the last woman he was dating--for many years, and not living together--to marry him. She refused. Now, she calls him and wants to get back together with him. He told me that is impossible. I don't know why they broke up.

"I find him very rigid and set in his ways. I told him to relax. I'm a divorcee without children. We both like cats too.


"Presently I'm still dating him but at the same time trying to lose weight so I can get back to meeting people. This will take a lot of time. I don't have confidence to go to the meetups or dances now. I'll do that when the time is right. For the time being, I will settle for less than I want.”

"In the meantime we are friends and have been intimate but I still feel the hurt from the rejection. He has been living in the same house for 45 years! You could say he was a mama's boy but she is gone now.

"I want a good, loving man who wants to get married and is right for me. If not, then living together with a legal, signed agreement is good. I don't want to live separately any more from my male friend."

Tom's response:


Jo has been dating this guy for six months and she feels the relationship is going well? Despite his telling her he isn't in love with her, that he will never live with her and will never marry her? That's an unusual definition of things going well.


And she feels she has no choice in the matter? That's pretty sad. Her story is a classic case of settling for just a body.


Jo wants a good loving man who wants to marry. She won’t settle for less. With the information she's provided, the chances of him marrying her are slim.


Why? A plethora of reasons: He's says he's too old to marry. He's never been married, he has lived in the same house for 45 years, and he's a mama's boy--although Mama is now gone. He is also rigid and set in his ways. Jo should be counting her blessings that he doesn't want to marry her.


She needs a booster shot of self esteem.


There is one positive they have going as a couple: they both like cats.


I don't mean to be harsh on Jo. Give her credit, she's willing to invest time in improving herself. By writing to me, she asked for help. But as long as she hangs her hopes on him, her life is going to be pretty miserable, unless he finds a way to lighten up towards her.


Update from Jo. She wrote Wednesday: "I spoke to him last evening about regarding his use of the word 'never' in the topics of living together, marriage, etc. He said it was not intended to be interpreted as I had (He's used this argument before too).


He said to just understand that for the next four years, until he retires, nothing will happen since he works six full days a week and lives 80 miles north of me. His job is 15 miles from where he lives.


Tom's response to update: That information changes the picture somewhat. Jo's boyfriend doesn't want an extra 130 miles of driving six days a week. Can't blame him for that. She didn't mention whether she'd be willing to move to his place, or if he'd be willing to have her do that. But does she want four more years of similar treatment? If he feels he's too old to marry now, I doubt if he will think differently in four years.


Perhaps they can work it out with a little more communication between them to clarify each other's intentions. But, he needs to treat her with more respect, or she should just say, "I won’t settle.”

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