Dear Annie: She accused me of cheating. How do I prove it didn’t happen?

Dear Annie: I am a man in my late 50s. Until recently, I was in a long-distance relationship with a woman -- let’s call her “Maria” -- who lives about a thousand miles away from me. Last month, out of the blue, she accused me of cheating on her with her cousin, who lives about 45 minutes away from me. This is 100% not true. I met the cousin only once, when Maria was in town for a visit last year. I have not seen or communicated with her cousin since!

Because of these accusations and Maria’s insistence that she is right, sadly, we have split. I love Maria, and I have always told her that and showed her in every way I could. We haven’t talked in weeks, since our conversations kept ending in arguments. She says she has “proof,” which she has yet to show. She absolutely cannot have proof, because it didn’t happen! But how do I prove that something did not happen? Maria and I talked or texted every night, and I told her to call me or video chat me anytime to show I was alone at night. In past relationships, Maria has had trust issues and cheating partners, so I’m thinking that might be where this is coming from. Is there any hope?

-- Wrongfully Accused

Dear Wrongfully Accused: I see two possibilities here. Option A: Maria was looking for an excuse to end the relationship, so she invented one. Option B: She truly believes that you cheated on her, despite your giving her no reason to believe such a thing. Either way, my advice is to let her go. A loving partner doesn’t make baseless, hurtful accusations.

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Dear Annie: I am new to online dating. I started up with it after my husband’s sudden death last year. He died just before the COVID-19 shutdowns began, which left me feeling even more isolated and sad. I moved away from my hometown to be closer to my oldest son, but I don’t know anyone in this town aside from him.

Being so lonely, a few months ago I started going on Facebook and a dating app to try to meet men. I connected with one man I was interested in. Instead of stopping there, though, I kept chatting around and connected with seven more guys. I chat with each of them daily. They all say that they’ll love me forever, but not one has come to meet me in person yet. I’d prefer to have a boyfriend whom I could actually meet in person.

I like all of them, and I love something about each of them, but I feel torn, since I can only marry one man. I hate to hurt seven men. Do you think that I made a big mistake by talking to eight men? I feel bad that I’ve been holding up their lives just to break their hearts.


-- Lonely Widow

Dear Lonely: I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. It’s wonderful you’ve taken initiative to reach out to others to alleviate your sense of isolation. But you won’t find real companionship in men who can’t even be bothered to meet you in person (and who could be scammers).

Rather than wasting your time chatting with these men online, get outside and get to know your new town. Join a book club, walking group, tennis clinic -- anything that piques your interest. The point is to plant your seed and let a social life take root.

If you do decide to try meeting men online, stick to well-reputed dating sites such as, and when you think you have a connection with someone, promptly make plans to meet in person in a coffee shop or other public place.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: