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Widower lonely as he mourns

Updated: August 19, 2013 11:29AM

Dear Cheryl: I lost my spouse of 49 years in February and I’m very lonely. Time drags and I’ve caught myself drinking far too much. All the books I’ve read and conversations I’ve had tell me to wait a year before making any important decisions.

I’m 74 and I wonder if this waiting period should apply at my age. How much time do I have left? I think I’ve found someone I could share what’s left of my life with, but I’m delaying any action until I’m sure what to do.

Truthfully I do still mourn my wife daily, but I have to get out of this downward spiral. Any advice on if I should stick to this 12-month waiting period? The clock is ticking.

A. What’s the decision you want to make? To marry? If that’s what you’re considering, then I agree with the 12-month rule. It’s too soon.

But that still leaves you with a lot of good options. What’s stopping you from spending time, a lot of time, with the woman you’d like to share your life with? What’s stopping you from having a physical relationship with her? The world has changed during the 49 years you were married, as I’m sure both of you know.

It’s time to listen to your heart. No one who loves you would want to see you waste the rest of your life being lonely and drinking too much. You know what would make you happy; go for it.

And in seven months, if you still feel the same way about this woman, and she’s agreeable, make an honest woman of her.

Dear Cheryl: I’m involved in a new relationship. We’ve recently become intimate. I was very much looking forward to this because the man is good-looking, charming, and all together desirable. But I’m disappointed.

He isn’t able to fully perform. He’s a consummate gentleman and makes sure that I’m satisfied sexually, but emotionally I feel abandoned. If he isn’t enjoying himself, I can’t really enjoy myself.

What’s going on? Why doesn’t he take Viagra? I want to ask, but I don’t know how to broach the topic.

A. I can’t imagine a perfect scenario for bringing up erectile dysfunction. So, you’re just going to have to take a deep breath and do it.

The next time you see him, while the two of you are both fully dressed, tell him you want to talk. Be as matter-of-fact as possible. He knows he has an issue, you know he has an issue, so there’s no point dodging the subject. You’re not the first woman he’s had this problem with, believe me.

Tell him you enjoy his company, but you’d like to have a more fulfilling sex life with him. Ask him if he’s seen a doctor or considered taking medication. Get him talking. How has he dealt with this with other women? Or hasn’t he? Does he just go from woman to woman after this problem shows up?

Now, here’s a question for you: How invested are you in this new relationship? How much work are you willing to do? If you’re not really into him, it might be better to break it off now.

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