Dear Amy: I was married for 46 years to a man who probably shouldn’t have been married at all. He was not affectionate, even during sex, cheated on me at least once, and when I asked why he married me, he said, “Because it was the thing to do.”
He passed away in 2021, disabled and bedridden. I was his sole caregiver for 10 years.
About four years ago, I casually friended a man on social media. We are both in our 60s. He has shared that he is in an unhappy marriage. He says he stays with her because there’s a slim chance he could come into some money.
His financial situation is bad, and he knows mine is.
He lives about three hours away.
We message several times a week. He started out calling me “hon” or “honey” and on occasion “sweetheart.”
He ends each message with a heart emoji.
He has told me that if he was financially stable, he’d race to meet me.
He mentioned recently that when he was between marriages, he’d met a woman online and had traveled to meet her.
That’s when a bell went off.
I have already made clear to him that I will not do to another woman what was done to me. He’s not going to divorce his wife. He still wants to meet up, but I have no desire to drive such a distance just for lunch, nor to have him come here.
He seems like a nice person. He’s never made any off-color remarks or suggestions.
Am I the one who’s reading more into this — or is he?
Do I just abruptly stop messaging him, or should I continue with very “vanilla” messages until any interest is gone?
— Wondering why
Dear Wondering: According to your account, a bell went off when you learned that this man raced to meet a woman he’d met online when he was in-between marriages. He wasn’t married at the time, and so he wasn’t cheating on anyone when he did that.
Maybe your bell went off because you learned that you weren’t the first woman this man had befriended online.
I suspect that he has other “hons and sweethearts” out there, and whether this is for his emotional, friendship or financial gain (possibly all three) — this is how he rolls. It is possible for a very nice person to have relationships with lots of other online sweethearts; all the same he is not a good match for you.
It’s very easy to call someone “honey.” It is much harder to actually be a honey.
Your extremely lengthy relationship experience has been to suppress your own needs in order to serve someone else. I hope you will grow into your own strength and find real-world experiences that are honest as well as fulfilling.
Dear Amy: A silly problem, perhaps, but here goes.
I have a neighbor who is very nice and kind. We wave to one another across our gardens, and occasionally engage in a little small talk.
I’ve introduced myself by name to her a couple of times, and I know her name.
Yesterday she brought me a really nice plant from her garden. She said, “Hey lady, I thought you would like this.”
Thinking back, I realized that she always addresses me as “Lady.”
I know that she works in a busy health-care environment, and it occurs to me that she has a lot of names in her head and might not remember mine.
I’ve introduced myself several times and it seems super-awkward to do this again.
Can you give me a graceful way to handle this?
Dear Neighborly: You might handle this by dropping her a note (maybe along with a plant from your own garden), thanking her and signing the note with your name. If after that she continues to address you as “Lady,” you might consider it your nickname and go with it.
Dear Amy: Our township offers a bus service for senior citizens.
Should the driver be tipped, and if so, how much?
Dear Elder: You are fortunate that your township offers this service, and you are smart to use it!
No, I don’t believe that you should tip the driver.
This person is either an employee or a dedicated volunteer. The best way to respond is to thank the driver sincerely, find out the person’s name (if it is a regular driver), and write a note of appreciation to your town’s mayor, asking that it be shared.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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