Man back in dat­ing game must try and try again

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a 57-year-old male who has been thrust back into the dat­ing scene. I’m fi­nan­cially se­cure, in good health and have a good ca­reer. I’m search­ing for some­one near my age who has sim­i­lar achieve­ments in life, some­one I can com­mu­ni­cate with in and out of the bed­room. Sim­ple re­quest, right?

What I’m re­al­iz­ing is that dat­ing hasn’t changed much over the years. If one of the par­ties isn’t happy and de­cides to leave, some­one gets hurt. (I have been on both sides.) I am start­ing to fear ex­press­ing my feel­ings openly and hon­estly, and if it even­tu­ally does come to sex, it’s cre­at­ing per­for­mance anx­i­ety. I un­der­stand this is all part of the dat­ing rit­ual and called “baggage,” but for me, it’s pre­vent­ing me from be­ing hon­est, and I’m try­ing to avoid it.

I see a fe­male ther­a­pist who says I just haven’t met the right per­son yet, and I agree. I have a fe­male friend in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion who has be­come so bit­ter she now avoids men com­pletely. My male friends tell me to quit look­ing for a long-term com­mit­ment and just date for sex. Nei­ther of these op­tions ap­peals to me.

My age-old ques­tion is: How does a per­son find a happy bal­ance in this dat­ing world? — DAT­ING SCENE IN ARI­ZONA

DEAR DAT­ING SCENE: “Dat­ing” means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. To your male friends — as you have found out — it means a sex­ual free-for-all. For oth­ers, dat­ing is a sift­ing process that lasts un­til they meet some­one they’re com­fort­able enough with to com­mu­ni­cate hon­estly.

In any suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ship, com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key. That’s why it’s im­por­tant to be hon­est with the women you meet, and for them to be the same way with you. That’s how peo­ple get to know each other be­yond the sur­face, and it’s how trust is built. Chem­istry is im­por­tant, but it has to be mu­tual. You will know it when you find it. Lis­ten to what your ther­a­pist is say­ing be­cause she’s steer­ing you in the right di­rec­tion.

DEAR ABBY: My son’s girl­friend of five years and her 8-year-old daugh­ter have been liv­ing with my son for the last four years. She has re­cently started in­tro­duc­ing my hus­band and me as her daugh­ter’s “grand­par­ents.” Tonight she asked for de­tails about my fa­ther so her daugh­ter could in­clude them in a paper she is writ­ing about her “fam­ily.” The daugh­ter’s fa­ther and his cur­rent wife had twins re­cently, and I un­der­stand from her mother that she is some­what jeal­ous.

I feel un­com­fort­able with this new de­scrip­tion of our re­la­tion­ship, al­though I don’t want to hurt the girl. Should I say some­thing to my son’s girl­friend or my son? — FAM­ILY DE­TAILS IN CAL­I­FOR­NIA

DEAR FAM­ILY DE­TAILS: The word from here is: Keep your lips zipped! If you ob­ject, it will cause only hard feel­ings. You say your son and his girl­friend have been liv­ing to­gether for four years. If they should have a child to­gether, do you plan to treat that child dif­fer­ently? Face it, you ARE in the role of a grand­par­ent. My ad­vice is to ac­cept it gra­ciously and act ac­cord­ingly.

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