Scottish Daily Mail
I’m 82 and my 40-year-old lover’s left me
DEAR BEL I AM 82 years young — with a good figure and fashionable tastes.
I lost my husband in 2012. Then in 2013 I met a young man working in the area and we started to talk. He told me he wasn’t happy in his lodgings, so I said I had a spare room he could use. He came to stay with me for a year.
This l ove l y man fascinated me and we became good friends. He helped me with some of the jobs around the house and I looked after all his meals and laundry.
We went out together to local beauty spots and dined out, too. The attraction was mutual — but I was still amazed when he asked me to go to bed with him. He was 40. I’m afraid I said yes, even though I knew he was married. I think we were very happy, although he went home every weekend. I knew it would not last for ever.
However, he has now changed his job and I have not seen him for six months. I rang him just once, but he never got back to me. I know it sounds ridiculous, and I thought I knew all the answers but I cannot get this lovely man out of my daily thoughts. Please help me.
OLWEN I refuse to use the word ‘ ridiculous ’ a bout your feelings a nd hate t hat patronising expression, ‘No fool like an old fool.’
Young people tend to be pretty arrogant about love, wrongly assuming that passion is t heir prerogative and dismissing — with a shudder — the idea of older people having sex. But human beings go on feeling until the day they die.
Many years ago, a much older man who had, let’s be honest, a bit of a crush on me presented me with a book by a poet called A.s.J. Tessimond. He’d marked for me a short poem called Age, which asked whether people grow ‘wholly old’ and ‘tire of living’? No, the poet says, they always hear within themselves the ‘long complaint’ of the ‘all-too-youthful heart’. Love, in other words. Well, you know all about that, don’t you? But I do worry about risk. I’m not thinking so much of physical danger, although you allowed somebody you didn’t know well into your home — not something you’d advise a friend to do.
But apart from that, you were ripe for exploitation. All the meals and laundry, and then the man has the extraordinary cheek — as it looks from the outside — to ask for sex as well. sex with a woman who had been so very kind to him, but was twice his age.
What’s more, at the time you were quite recently widowed, and would have told him that.
Did you pour out your heart to him? He took advantage of your sadness, your loneliness, your kindness, your energy, your wish to be flattered and need for love — and then dropped you. Gone. Not so much as a phone call. And yet you describe him as a ‘lovely man’. All of us make mistakes and I can’t find it in my heart to blame you for yours. I just want you to see clearly what happened.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t have been flattered by his attention — no reason, that is, except common sense, which has little do with the needs of the heart.
But, now it’s over, you do need to dust yourself off, say it was fun while it lasted, and congratulate yourself for demonstrating that, as the saying goes, ‘There’s life in the old girl yet.’
Now look around and see how you can fill the void in your life which this man briefly seemed to fill after your husband’s death.
Go out with friends and do anything you can to cheer yourself up — and please trust that the thought of him will fade soon. I promise you it will.