Fishing for an Older Guy
Q: I have just met a widower, age 70, who just lost his wife after being married 52 years, and we seem to hit it off well. I am a widow who lost my husband (4th) two years ago. How do I approach this man without being too pushy but letting him know I'm very interested? -- Linda, 64
Dr. Susan: Older men, regardless of their qualities, are a hot commodity, Linda, as I'm sure you know. You want to get to this one before someone else does, right? So let's figure out what it means to be "too pushy." Too pushy is when you grab his arm and say, "You're what I've been waiting for all my life. Let's get it on!" It would be too pushy to denigrate all the other women in your circle and tell him in detail how great you are as a partner. What you need to do is adjust your actions to his personality. If he's the quiet type, and especially if he's still in the first throes of grief over his wife, act slowly and in a ladylike manner, because that is probably what he's used to and comfortable with. But that doesn't mean not to act at all. The next time you see him, or if you feel comfortable calling him, tell him you've just come across a book you think he would like and can you drop it off? Or ask if he'd like to take a walk with you in a particular location you've heard of, since exercise is good for both of you, and it's easy to talk when you're walking side by side. You need to make him comfortable with you without putting any pressure on him. Listen to him when he talks, and remember what he tells you. Invite him over for a home-cooked meal. I wouldn't put all my hopes on this one fellow, however, since it's hard to tell ahead of time how a man will react after losing his wife. He may need a lot more time to grieve, or he may want to sow a few wild oats (yes, even at 70), or he may simply be at a loss and ready to be reeled in if you do it gently.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.