I recently called the men and women who found themselves single after a long marriage "born-again teenagers." When it comes to dating, they haven't a clue.
There was Melody, whose husband died after 27 years of marriage. She fell in love with Andy, a former co-worker. When she told him how she felt, he said: "I still love my wife. I'm going to date around." She was crushed. Then, a month later, he called and wanted to see her. She was expecting him to declare his love. He wanted things to continue as before. She told him never to contact her again.
Says Melody: "I still wonder what happened. If I were ever to date again, I wouldn't be so quick to follow my heart."
Here's what you had to say:
ALLY: Melody erred in declaring her love for Andy and scared him off. She should have taken it slow and easy. Andy erred when he blew her off by saying, "I want to date around."
Still, Melody completely overreacted and slammed the door shut on the relationship. All she really needed to do was take a giant step backward. I suspect that pride has kept her from picking up the phone and calling Andy. It would be lovely if they could give it another try, minus the expectations, take it slow and easy, and just enjoy each other's company.
BETTE: Andy sounds like a jerk. Everyone would love to date around, have lots of sex and whoop it up. There is some other reason (or woman) that he didn't want to date Melody. When that fell through, he came crawling back.
Melody should have realized when Andy didn't introduce her to his family that he was seeing someone else, or was rude or insecure and, therefore, not for her. When he told her he still loved his ex-wife but wanted to date around, she should have know that he was stuck in the past, didn't really like her that much, needed time or wanted to have sex with lots of different people. Again, that he was not for her.
CANDICE: I think Melody handled the situation with Andy right. She must have thought he acted like he loved her or she wouldn't have told him her feelings. It was bad enough when he said he didn't feel the same way about her, but to follow that up with saying he wanted to date others — that was just cruel. If he wanted to come back a month later, he should have been apologizing and promising never to hurt her again like that. Instead he seems like he was just playing a game of chicken with her feelings.
GRETCHEN: I don't think Melody handled it properly. What was wrong with Andy saying "I miss you" and "I want you to meet my family"? It was either an actual proposal or a precursor to one. What was Melody expecting? The precise seven words: "I love you. Will you marry me?" She should have handed him a script as soon as he came over to take her out.
He took a breather for a month. So what? Melody sounds like she was a demanding control-freak wife. Andy is well-rid of her.
Was dating after a long marriage a shock? Send your thoughts, along with your questions, rants and problems to [email protected] And check out my e-books, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front" and "I'll Call You. Not.