Ask Goldie - November 2009

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

Please help me with this problem that could affect the rest of my life.

I am a 60-year-old widow still living in my own home. Financially, I am secure with a good pension. My husband died five years ago after many happy years together. We never had children but I have a sister, brother and several nieces and nephews I’m in touch with frequently.

My problem is that an old love from my 20s has returned to my life and wants to resume a relationship. We were engaged during the war but, when he was overseas, he soon found someone else and married her. The marriage lasted two years. I was heartbroken but later realized the man I finally married was far more trustworthy and reliable. We had a wonderful marriage filled with love.

I enjoyed the company of my former fiancé but can’t forget what he did to me. Life is lonely, at times, and I wonder if we could still find some happiness together.


Dear J.L.:

I think the last line of your letter indicates the heart of your problem. You are lonely and because you once loved this person, you would like to have this relationship again to ease your loneliness. However, you must not confuse the two people in your past. Your former love was unreliable and untrustworthy. Your husband was honest and concerned about your happiness and welfare.

Loneliness is usually caused by a lack of involvement with other people. Start inquiring about the volunteer groups in your community. Helping others can minimize your own problems and give you greater insight into human relationships. There are many instances where you could make a difference in some person’s life just by being there for him or her. In turn, your own life becomes more fulfilled.

There is no rush to marry again; especially to someone you do not completely trust. You can make new friends as a volunteer and find lasting relationships. You may even find a reliable partner about whom you will feel no doubts.

Dear Goldie:

You seem to help many people with your suggestions. I hope you can find an answer for me.

Last fall, I returned to university to complete a degree. It was a wonderful experience. The freedom from family problems while I was studying was an unexpected reward. Also, I became close friends with a female student in the same circumstances as me. Although we are both in our 50s, it feels like we are in our 20s again. We both plan to be back for courses next summer and look forward to carefree time together.

Goldie, so far this has only been friendship, but we do have a great time together. Am I naive to assume we are not playing with fire? We both love our spouses and children dearly.


Dear R.S.:

Yes, I do think you are both playing with fire. It’s up to the two of you whether you are burned or not.

At this point in your life, I’m sure you are aware that you can’t throw responsibility out the window. It sounds like both of you experienced an unexpected relief from the challenges of family life while at school again. That is normal. But both of your families also made sacrifices so you and your friend could return to school and that is foremost in this situation.

You are both adults and really don’t require my advice. If you look into the eyes of your trusting partners and children, you will find the answer.

Best of luck, I hope both of you make the right decision.




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