Dear Thelma: An older man is enticing my 65-year-old youthful-looking wife

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Dear Thelma,

I have a great problem in my old age.

My wife is 65 years old but looks like a young lady in her 40s.

Because of her youthful features, a daring old man of 72 years spoke to her and told her that if her husband were to die tomorrow, he would take care of her and her whole family, and buy her a condo with a lake view, etc.

I was surprised when my wife told me about it.

After listening to her, I thought, what can a poor ex-government servant like me do?

Please advise. Help, SOS.

74-year-old man

Interesting. That particular line of banter is extremely common, and frankly, I've never understood why.

When a man tells me that he thinks I can be attracted by riches, I wonder why he thinks I'm a gold-digger.

Of course, that's not the intention. What he's trying to say is that he's rich. And in his mind, that means other people should be totally impressed and flattered by his interest.

It speaks volumes about his values, that's for sure. This man didn't show himself in the best light, and to add in the idea of your death is frankly bizarre.

If the Guinness Book Of Records had a category for tasteless chat-up lines, it would win a gold star.

Very often, men who use that line have simply learned it somewhere. They don't consider the implications. And very often, the women who hear it don't listen to the words or think about the meaning behind it; they merely acknowledge the intended compliment.

Does it mean anything? Usually, no. That kind of chat is filler flirtation, a bit of meaningless banter. You must know that women hear that sort of talk all the time.

I can't guess at your wife's reaction, as you forgot to describe it. But my bet is that she enjoyed it precisely because she is 65.

In our own minds, we tend not to age beyond 20 or so. But when we look in the mirror, there's an old face staring back. It's disconcerting.

it's important to remember that our friends and loved ones love us no matter how we look. They see right into the heart of us, and that's what keeps the love alive.

But oh boy, when someone gives us a compliment, we respond. Not because we're interested, but because we need a bit of cheering up.

Most likely, your wife struggles from time to time with her own ageing. She may have told you about the compliment, hoping to hear you confirm she's still pretty. Or if she's like me, she may also have been tickled by the way it was presented.

Whatever her thoughts, your reaction is of concern.

You hear that silly line and immediately imagine it as a threat to your relationship. That reaction is extreme and it makes little sense. Marriages don't fall apart because of a random clumsy compliment.

Is there something else going on? Are you concerned about your age, about retirement, a change in relationship dynamic? Or is this bringing up some other event in your past?

As you don't mention any issues in your letter, I would suggest that it is not uncommon for men of a certain age to suddenly have a crisis of confidence. You too are probably feeling 20-something in your heart and seeing an older man in the mirror.

I suggest you think it through and then confide in your wife. For goodness sake, don't try and tell her she's responsible for the silly things other people say to her. And whatever you do, don't share my evaluation of the compliment. It may hurt your wife, and there's no need for that.

Just tell her she's gorgeous, and that when she told you of her admirer, you had a sudden attack of the what-ifs.

Talk it out with love and good humour. Afterwards, spend time with your bride. Do fun things together.

Also, consider that a lady in her 60s, no matter how pretty, enjoys a compliment. So hold her hand, and be sure to tell her every day that she's a beauty and that you love her.

Enjoy your retirement.

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Couple relationships , flirting


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