Dear Lisa: I’ve dated off and on since my divorce. About three years ago, I met a man named Steve. After a couple of dates with a little bit of kissing and such, we realized we were not meant to be in a romantic relationship with each other.
Yet we enjoyed our friendship and began meeting for lunch once or twice a month. When it comes to paying, we always take turns or we split the bill. We both enjoy this friendship but have no desire for any more than that.
About six months ago, I began dating an older man. I am 57 and he’s 68. He thinks this friendship is wrong and I’m being disrespectful of him by doing this. He believes men and women heading into a serious relationship should not be friends with a member of the opposite sex they once dated even if it was brief.
I’m having a hard time with this since my friend and I have known each other longer than this man and I have. I don’t understand why this is such a big deal. I’m not romantically interested in Steve at all. I’m not sure what to do about this.
Livia: I’ve known many men and women including myself who have stayed friends with people they briefly dated. Often a romantic relationship won’t work but a plutonic one does quite well.
It sounds like your boyfriend might have some trust issues. There’s always the possibility a woman in his past cheated on him and he’s projecting his distrust upon you out of fear you’ll do the same thing.
Also, your current boyfriend is a member of the silent generation, the men and women born prior to baby boomers.
What might help you is to understand this man comes from a generation where honor, respect and doing the right thing are part of his core.
This man would likely lay down his life for you. Think of men who, in medieval times, would have dueled for your heart, believing may the best man win.
To your boyfriend, Steve is being disrespectful of his territory, which he sees you as a part of.
Boomers view life differently than many from the generation before them. They grew up with free love and give peace a chance.
This is the reason for the conflict you have in your relationship. If your relationship with this man is something you want to continue, you will probably have to give up your relationship with Steve.
I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s likely the only way you’ll have peace with your boyfriend. It sounds like there’s no room for compromise here.
Your heart is a great guidance system. Check in and see what feels best to you to get your answer.
Dear Lisa: I’ve had men write me online but I just don’t know how to answer them. Any suggestions?
Margie: I like to look at online dating as if it’s a virtual cocktail party. How would you act at a party? You’d be fun, flirty and cute.
Your emails are the same as cocktail party conversation —light and fun. To do this, take a few moments to collect your thoughts before answering a man’s letter. Keep your answers short and be sure to ask a fun question he can respond to.
You’ll find if questions aren’t asked, email flow can end.
If he starts asking serious questions in his emails, then suggest taking your conversation to the phone.