Friday, August 1, 2014

When a younger woman enters the scene

On Life and Love After 60 Newsletter     August, 2014
by Tom P. Blake
When a younger woman enters the scene
Last week, we wrote about Kathryn, 69, a widow, whose boyfriend of three and a half years, invited his ex-girlfriend’s 54-year-old daughter to learn to play golf, play tennis, swim, and go out to dinner. This is happening often. Sometimes Kathryn is invited, sometimes not. “We’re just friends,” he tells Kathryn, when speaking about the young intruder. Kathryn and her boyfriend have two overseas trips scheduled together this year. Kathryn is so upset with this turn of events that she asked our Champs for their thoughts.

Most Champs sympathized with widow Kathryn.

Stella said, “Oh boy, oh boy! I was in a similar situation and to top it off the other gal was married! She bought a house in AZ and the husband lived in LA. I finally told my boyfriend that he wasn't going to sleep with me and be HER boyfriend! Her interference led to our breakup.”

Jan,Kathryn has the right idea about leaving the relationship. If
this man is as naive as he appears to be, I would find myself losing respect for him. I can't be in a relationship with anyone I don't respect!”

Jody,This is sad and maddening. He is being disrespectful of Kathryn. She deserves better!”

Pat,Kathryn is correct in feeling uncomfortable about the ‘sudden’ relationship after four years of no contact. Fifteen years age difference would not necessarily be a barrier to a ‘romance. Maybe she had a crush on him when her mother was with him and now that she finally found him she has decided to go after him for herself or even worse, break up Kathryn and him so the Mom can come back into the picture. 

“Men can be easily fooled when it comes to female motives. A fling with a 54-year-old after building a relationship with Kathryn for 3 ½ years may hurt him more in the long run than he knows. Sadly, it may be time for Kathryn to move on; she sounds like a strong, sensible woman but ‘moving on’ is easier said than done.” 

Louise,I see a HUGE RED FLAG! Kathryn is in love with a man who wants his cake and to eat it too. Accept that you are the only person who can make you happy. Get off the roller-coaster ride now!

“Demand Respect in an Audrey Hepburn way or end the relationship. He will keep stringing you along.”

Joan, “The boyfriend is putting Kathryn in a situation where she will say ‘It’s her or me!’  The other woman is manipulating. And the man is being flattered by her attentions and allowing himself to be manipulated! Kathryn may need to set up a counseling visit for her and her man. This is wrong of him. It’s an anti-relationship move.  If he wishes to be with Kathryn he needs to get this other woman out of his life. But he may want both of them.”

A few Champs saw the situation differently.

Linda said, “Yes, it is a bit strange that he seems to have such a close relationship with the daughter of his "ex" all of a sudden, and yes it may be that the ex's daughter has an agenda ~ but then again..... maybe not.

“Perhaps it is just a happy re-establishment (after 4 years of ‘healing’ time) of a close relationship that the two of them had when he was with her mother.   While it might not be an ordinary situation, I don't think he is out of line in being kind to her and inviting her for visits occasionally.

“He doesn't seem to be treating Kathryn poorly when the daughter comes. In fact, he invites her to join them.

“If Kathryn can't tolerate being around her and declines joining them, fine. That is her prerogative.  However, she really doesn't have the right to tell her boyfriend who he can be friends with (male or female) and/or dictate to him who he can invite to his home.  After all, they have separate homes and are not married.

“However, if the daughter wanted to move in with him, that would be different, and some serious discussion would need to take place.  Or if he was becoming romantically involved with the daughter, then I would say dump him immediately!

She said they have invested in a couple big trips coming up.  I would tell her to not make any rash decisions until they have taken the trips and spent ‘alone’ time together (without the ex's daughter).  She may find that their relationship really hasn't changed at all. That he cares for her and values their relationship just as much as he always has.  That's how it sounds to me anyway.  He just obviously enjoys the friendship and company of the "ex's daughter" also.  Where's the harm in that?  Is it just because she is female?  I don't think she would think that much about it if the son of an ‘ex’ was visiting him and golfing with him, etc.

As long as that friendship doesn't turn into something else (i.e. romantically, sexually, etc.), I say leave it alone. Don't try to tell him who he can be friends with.  Kathryn doesn't have to like her, that doesn't mean he isn't allowed to enjoy being around her.  Perhaps after the initial excitement of the rekindled friendship wears off, she may not be around so much.”

One man, Carmen, felt similarly to Linda, “Kathryn is over-reacting. She should enjoy her partner and let it go.”

Kathryn updated the situation yesterday

She said, “There are no changes in the situation. The only one that will be changing is me. I do not want to end the relationship and will leave that alone for now. I enjoy having him as part of my life and as I said last week, he is very helpful and sweet to me and an all-around fabulous man.  

“Given time, the other woman will reveal herself. She is very intrusive. She is a psychologist and does manipulative things just to observe your reaction.  She also makes assumptions based on casual comments that are made.  My boyfriend takes it in stride.

“The activities they share now include the golf range, the golf course, tennis court, bocce court and pool (all in the same day).  I got a call from my boyfriend from the bocce court gushing that they were playing bocce with a friend of mine. My boyfriend is enjoying this. Me, not so much.

“Part of my changing is not to react at all. I keep very busy with my grown kids, grandkids, business and social events both inside and away from my community. He is invited to anything social I am involved in and family gatherings. If he does not want to go, that no longer precludes me from enjoying my friends.  

“When my husband passed away, I found myself alone on days like the 4th of July and other holidays.  Then I realized if I was alone, it was my fault and invited some friends over. When they asked me what they could bring, I said, "Bring a friend."  Now I have several parties every year and always invite my guests to bring a friend. Recently, I had a party and held my breath. I was glad to see he did not bring his new friend.

“We leave for London in a few days and have been spending a lot of time planning and plotting our course so we can pack as much as possible into the time we have there. After the trip, I will come home; he will stay in Europe to visit school friends and family there.

“I am not sure about the November trip we have planned. I am still feeling out that situation since it includes neighbors. Since that trip includes more rugged terrain, I am ‘in training’ trying to build up a bit of extra strength, whether or not that trip happens.”

Tom’s closing remarks: It will be interesting to hear from Kathryn after their upcoming trip. She will be able to judge whether their relationship has changed. Then, as she points out, she will be able to decide about the second trip planned for November, and also decide on what to do about the relationship.
Still, I would not want to be treated this way. One of the biggest must-haves in a relationship is to be considered a top priority by my mate, and, in return, I must make her the top priority as well. The boyfriend is not making Kathryn a top priority. 

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