DEAR AMY: A few months ago I reconnected with a man I had met once before. From the first time we met, I felt there was a little spark.
We are in our 60s and have been single and on our own for many years. We have established a nice, comfortable, somewhat flirty friendship. He has a great outgoing personality and sense of humor and has said the same about me.
We have both stated that we like each other and went out together for the first time recently. The problem seems to be that I would like a more romantic relationship (but no living together or marriage).
I have told him this, but the word "relationship" seems to be a problem with him. I suspect that there might be some heartache in his past, perhaps because of a very brief marriage and no children.
He says he is just too busy to date, but I don't quite believe that.
Should I just continue to be patient or accept the fact that some men of a certain age are just too set in their ways to consider accepting a nice woman into their solitary lives? What can I do next, if anything? — Bewildered
DEAR BEWILDERED: Looking at this from my vantage point, you and this gentleman seem to want close to the same thing: companionship.
You are skewing more toward the "romantic" end of the spectrum, but, really, surely you can devote some time to enjoying this version of companionship before you judge the reasons behind this man's reluctance to leap in. Rather than assuming he has had his heart broken, is set in his ways and is leading a solitary life, realize that it is entirely possible that he is seeing someone (or more than one someone) else. Do not rule this out.
After only one date out together, it is too soon to raise the whole "where is this thing going" question. Do not overanalyze him — or analyze him at all, if you can help it. Give your companionship a couple of months, and then you can declare what you want and let him know if this thing is going to work for you.
DEAR AMY: My parents divorced when I was 4. I am 44 now. My father remarried several times but has no other children. Over the years I had a very one-way relationship with him, always initiated by me. He never made any attempt to meet me halfway.
He is a lifelong alcoholic and womanizer.
Almost 12 years ago my mother suddenly passed away. My grandmother called my father to let him know, and I suspect she gave him a tongue lashing. He called me the next day and said he was sorry for not being a better father to me. Later that year I visited him, and it was more of the same. I told him if he wanted to talk to me, he needed to be the one to reach out. If he did that, I would meet him halfway. He didn't.
My aunt (my mother's sister) has been pressuring me to get in touch with him. She's offered to track him down. Her reasoning is that he probably misses me. Honestly, I'm just not interested.
I don't hate him nor do I carry any animosity toward him. I simply don't care. How do I tactfully tell her to drop it and leave it alone? — Son
DEAR SON: Deliver some clarity along with tact: "I know you care, but I want you to know that my father and I have the relationship that he seems to want. If I need your help, I'll let you know, but I'd appreciate it if you would leave this to me."
DEAR AMY: I found the letter from "Upset" very alarming. She was a young woman who used a wheelchair and was in an abusive marriage. You urged her to leave the relationship, but I wish you had also offered her a resource. — Upset Reader
DEAR UPSET: Many readers were alarmed and concerned. Anyone in an abusive relationship can check the National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org) or call 800-799-7233 and speak with a counselor.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamytribune.com. You can also follow her on Twitter askingamy or "like" her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.)
By Amy Dickinson
Tribune Media Services