ASK AMY: Social media brings honey into your home

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Dear Amy: I was married for 46 years to a man who probably shouldn’t have been married at all. He wasn’t affectionate even during sex, cheated on me at least once, and when I asked why he married me, he said, “Because it was the right choice.”

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He died in 2021, invalid and bedridden. I was his sole caregiver for 10 years.

About four years ago, I casually befriended a man on social media. We are both in our 60s. He has said he is in an unhappy marriage. He says he’s staying with her because there’s a slim chance he’ll get some money.

His financial situation is bad, and he knows mine is.

He lives about three hours away.

We message several times a week. He started calling me “darling” or “darling” and on occasion “sweetheart”.

He ends every message with a heart emoji.

He told me that if he was financially stable, he would run to me.

He recently shared that while he was in between marriages, he met a woman online and traveled to meet her.

At that moment a bell rang.

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I have already made it clear to him that I will not do to another woman what has been done to me. He is not going to divorce his wife. He still wants to meet up, but I don’t feel like driving that distance just for lunch, nor having him come here.

He seems like a nice person. He never made inappropriate comments or suggestions.

Am I the one reading more about this – or is it him?

Do I just abruptly stop messaging him, or should I continue with very “vanilla” messaging until there is no more interest?

– Wonder why

Dear curious: According to your story, a bell went off when you learned that this man wanted to meet a woman he met online while in between marriages. He was not married at the time and so he was not cheating on anyone when he did.

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Maybe you rang because you learned you weren’t the first woman this man had befriended online.

I suspect he has other “hons and sweethearts”, and whether it’s for his emotional, friendship or financial gain (possibly all three) – this is how he rolls. It is possible for a very nice person to have relationships with many other online lovers; yet he is not a good match for you.

It’s very easy to call someone ‘darling’. It’s much harder to really be a treasure.

Your extremely long relationship experience has been to suppress your own needs in order to serve someone else. I hope you will grow in your own power and find real world experiences that are both honest and satisfying.

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Dear Amy: A stupid problem perhaps, but here goes.

I have a neighbor who is very nice and kind. We wave to each other through our gardens and chat every now and then.

I’ve introduced myself to her by name a few times and I know her name.

Yesterday she brought me a very beautiful plant from her garden. She said, “Hey lady, I thought you might like this.”

Thinking about it, I realized she always addresses me as “lady.”

I know she works in a busy healthcare environment, and it occurs to me that she has many names on her mind and may not remember mine.

I’ve introduced myself several times and it seems super inconvenient to do this again.

Can you give me an elegant way to handle this?

– Neighbourhood

Dear Neighbor: You can solve this by leaving her a note (perhaps along with a plant from your own garden), thanking her and signing the note with your name. If she continues to address you as “Lady” afterward, you could take it as your nickname and go with it.

Dear Amy: Our municipality offers a bus service for seniors.

Should the driver be tipped, and if so, how much?

– Elder

Dear Elder: You are lucky that your municipality offers this service, and you are smart to take advantage of it!

No, I don’t think you should tip the driver.

This person is an employee or a dedicated volunteer. The best way to respond is to sincerely thank the driver, find out the person’s name (if it’s a regular driver), and write a thank-you note to the mayor of your city, asking them to share.

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