The Washington Post
Can she get a pass for dating her friend’s ex?
Adapted from an online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: My friend “Maria” was married to “James” until three years ago. James and I became friends during that marriage and now realize we have feelings for each other.
I haven’t shared this with Maria yet, but other friends have noticed, and I have been told this would really hurt Maria and probably destroy our friendship. Maria was devastated by their divorce but seems to be doing much better now.
We are all over 50. When I was 25, I would have considered it a cardinal sin to date a friend’s serious ex. But at 50-something, I have experienced a shrinking dating pool and a growing feeling that life is too short to bypass possible companionship.
However, I can’t discount the importance of close friendships, either, like the one I have with Maria.
Are the rules different at this stage of life, or am I just kidding myself so I can pursue something I want?
— Dating Late in Life
Dating Late in Life: You’re kidding yourself that any kind of “rule” would matter more than the feelings of the actual people involved. Maria will decide how upset she gets, not you or your priorities or your ages.
I’m also not sure you’re making the right age-based argument. I, equally “late in life,” thought you were going to say that at 50-whatever you were feeling drama-proof — not that at your age James was last call. Yikes.
But anyway. If you’re confident Maria would take it badly, then your decision is Maria or James.
It’s actually the oldest rule there is: Actions have consequences.
By the way, if other friends know, then Maria will soon, so your window to maximize goodwill through transparency is closing fast.
And, again, if this is just a James-seems-better-than-dyingalone thing, then please rethink blowing up any friendships for that.
Hi, Carolyn: We have two jobs, two small kids and a house, but I spend every other weekend visiting grandparents a few hours away. A forced break due to covid really made clear how much stress these trips add to our life. One visit a month, at our house, would be a much better fit.
We’ve shared this with the grandparents — all healthy young retirees — and I’m really frustrated by their responses. They don’t want the hassle of driving that far, being without their things, not having time “to get ready for the week” (the rage at that one!!!!).
We’ve said we’re open to suggestions. What we’re getting is a barrage of calls and texts telling us how cruel we are, that their friends’ children do X, for their parents they did Y. This is also kicking up a lot of anger for me.
My husband thinks we should continue the visits until they have a chance to warm up to the idea. I think we offer them a date to visit us, and they can take or leave it. WWCD?
Angry: They don’t want the hassle of driving that far. HAHAHA.
Ugh. I’m sorry.
I am 100 percent in the Here’s the Date, Show Up if You Suddenly Develop Any Sense of Irony camp.
I realize this is not necessarily the recipe for cuddly-closeness — but in my/our defense, neither is complaining without irony to working parents of small children about the hassle of driving “that far.”