Los Angeles Times
Reawakening her interest
Dear Amy: I’m a senior woman, divorced for more than half my life.
Recently I’ve hired a worker (30 years younger than I) to update my home, which badly needed some work done. During the time he’s been working in my home, we’ve become friendly. I sincerely respect him and strongly believe he respects me as well.
Lately I find myself having fantasies about us becoming “friends with benefits,” and he has made a couple of comments that lead me to believe that he may feel the same way.
I’m uncomfortable with these feelings but seem powerless to stop them.
I’ve never in my life done anything like this and truly don’t want to now.
How should I handle this uncomfortable situation?
The Older Woman
Dear Older Woman: Fifteen years ago, I called a guy I went to high school with to renovate my house. He renovated my life instead.
If you truly don’t want to become involved with this man, then you should limit your time spent with him, get him to finish up the contracted work, pay him, send him on his way and continue to live your life — as is.
However, life is short. Hot sex is great.
Do what you can to find out about him beyond his Yelp reviews. If you decide to go for it, use a condom.
No change in your circumstances is guaranteed to be seamless, happy or easy. Any involvement would bring questions, uncertainty and possibly an uncomfortable upheaval.
But a sexual reawakening is life-affirming and lovely. Even the emotional pain that might accompany the possible outcome of the “friends with benefits” scenario can be worth it, because reconnecting with your sensual side will remind you to live fully in your body, and that it’s OK to be daring and occasionally wild.
The Emma Thompson film “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” (streaming on Hulu) might inspire you.
Dear Amy: “Trying to Be Accommodating” described their discomfort hiking with friends who “dragged” their very young children (ages 2 and 4) on an eight-hour hike. The kids did most of the walking themselves, and “cried the whole time.”
I was one of those kids. I was taken backpacking at 3 years old. I learned to ski at 2. When I inevitably fell behind, my parents said they wanted me to learn independence and stamina and they would “just go on ahead.”
By the time I was 14 I’d been left on the Knife Edge of Mt. Katahdin in Maine, rescued by the snow patrol in Italy and found by strangers who carried me on their shoulders up Mt. Washington — among other events.
This behavior is traumatic for those children. If they’re pushed beyond their limits in this way consistently, it will only get worse.
It’s one thing to “not spoil” or “not give in” to a child. It’s another thing to ignore actual distress.
Dear JA: Some readers said that the parental behavior described amounts to abuse; I agree.
I suggested “Trying” urge the parents to lessen the length and challenge of this annual hike, but I didn’t focus on the troubling parenting choices. I should have.
Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers, as well as professional rescue squads. You sound like a true survivor.