By Tom Blake
A widower named Ben emailed me last week. He wrote, “I’m 63 and became widowed unexpectantly in October 2020, when my wife, Ruth, died from a heart attack.
“We were married 29 years and have three children, one 17 (living with me), another 21 (away at college) and another 25 (living with me since Ruth died). My mother, 89, also lives in my home.
“Ruth’s closest friend was Abby. They had been friends since college, for 37 years. Abby and I became friends through her friendship with Ruth. Abby has not been in a relationship for five years.
“Before either of us had married, Abby and I had a little one-time fling while drinking too much at a party. She now lives on the West Coast; I live on the East Coast. Abby and I have always been in communication and more so after Ruth’s passing.
“This past June, I felt a need to get away to have some alone time after dealing with and managing grief. I texted Abby, mentioning that I was taking a five-day vacation to the West Coast, and asked her to join me. She replied immediately and agreed. She told me that she had been celibate for five years. I confirmed that I would be a total gentleman.
“During the trip, we were getting closer and closer and finding out things about each other. Plus, we were having an emotional time reminiscing about Ruth.
“At the end of the five days, Abby wound up flying back home with me to visit longer and to visit her sister, who lives two hours away from me. Abby told me numerous times that we were soulmates, and that I was the teammate she had been looking for. We shared deep and pleasant conversations regarding our feelings for each other.
“Then, she unexpectedly lost the lease on her apartment out West. So, we were planning to move her into my home in the East. We were working on the renovation for the new bedroom, planning on buying a new bed, dishes, etc.
“In early November, she decided that everything was going too fast, and she wanted to slow it down. Her life was in turmoil, because she had no home and her daughter who lives near her needed her, and the timing wasn’t good for us. She is busy growing her internet-based consulting business. All her belongings including her car were out West.
“Abby signed a short-term lease on a new apartment. She mentioned in a text that her plan may be to pack up everything in August and drive to my place.
“Her news threw me for a loop. We still text most days, but I am giving her space and not texting as often. Although my kids have known Abby all their lives, I know they aren’t ready for Abby to move in. But I am in love with Abby. All my emotion for her came quickly. She said the same thing about me.
“I’m trying to figure out what my 37-year friendship with Abby has to do with me having such intense emotions for her, versus comfort I am seeking because of Ruth’s death. What’s your opinion?”
Tom’s answer: Is this long-distance relationship feasible? What if Ben waits for her until August and then she decides not to move? If that happens, then he’s wasted eight months. And what about his kids and mother living with him? Does Abby really want that?
And his children. Ben says they aren’t ready for an Abby move-in.
Ben asked why he has such intense feelings for Abby. I don’t think it matters. That’s what love is. But, it can be blind and cause unwise decisions. We’ll see what August brings.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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