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Ask Aunty Pam

Ask Aunt Pam

 

I am a divorced woman, mother of an adult child, and have been on my own for quite some time. In my past I have known a man who I’ve admired, and yes, felt attracted to. John has sort of flitted back and forth into my life for years. He’s a decade older than me but still looks slim, athletic and in far better shape than most men half his age (69). He is a travel writer and so he travels all the time, and his life has been filled with rich, exciting adventures. He enjoys hiking, hang gliding, you name it.

I know for a fact that he’s attracted to me and has always been attracted to me, but privately I nickname him “John B Gone” because it was obvious he would never settle down and commit to one woman or one zip code.

In the last two weeks, John has called me three times and we’ve talked for over an hour. This is the first time I’ve heard from him in two years. He’s not traveling right now because of the pandemic and he seemed to be sort of questioning his lifestyle and I felt we were having some pretty profound conversations instead of the silly, flirty ones of the past.

The problem is that I’m questioning his motives. Do you think John is calling me now because he’s nearly 70 and wondering if it’s not so great being on his own? I don’t know whether to be grateful to hear from him (because I definitely would be interested in a relationship if there was that opportunity), or annoyed that all of a sudden, I’m sort of a lifeline to him when I haven’t heard a word in ages? I have to admit it’s been really nice talking to him again and a great diversion from being cooped up.

 

Just Wondering

 

Dear JW,

 

I gotta say, my smitten kitten, that indeed John sounds like an exciting and sexy guy. This has ‘Bridges of Madison County’ written all over it, except that, while Clint Eastwood might have played John, the very real fear is that you will wind up being no more than an extra in his movie of life.

When people are struck with wanderlust from a young age it’s rather intoxicating for the rest of us to view. How wonderful it must be, we think, as we go on with our comparatively mundane routines, to watch them just up and fly to Paris for the weekend, Barbados or go fly fishing in Montana. How fantastic to live an entire life free from diaper duty and commuting to jobs that can sometimes grow stale.

On the other hand, the evocative, sensual term, ‘wanderlust,’ is rather a slickly marketed word that could also define someone who has real issues with emotional and/or physical intimacy. It may have little to do with just wanting to live a life of ‘freedom,’ but more about running away from a whole host of things that doesn’t allow complete self-indulgence. You might want to weave your conversations into that direction. What was his childhood like? Did he feel emotionally nurtured and encouraged? Did he come from a home where his role models exhibited a loving and respectful relationship? All this can have a big, honkin’ hairy effect on folks later on.

Aunty Pam must admit to harboring a few doubts about John’s sincerity. That’s not to say that I think he’s lying to you, but let’s face it— if someone is used to roaming far and wide whenever they like and then find them forced into isolating at home, alone, for months, well, if there have been any unsettling demons in their heads, our wanderers can no longer distract themselves by going to Kayak.com, now can they? They’ve got to sit put. And it might just be that John is either bored out of his head and so is reaching out to all and sundry as a different attempt at distraction, orrrrr, perhaps he has chosen to confront a few gremlins and has chosen the person he trusts most to hold his hand a bit as he navigates these entirely new waters.

When this pandemic ends and life returns to some sort of normalcy, you might just find that John returns to living his nickname again. It might be worth examining how that would sit with you. If you’re not okay with that, then it could be worth keeping him at an emotional arm’s length and, frankly, letting him know that you need to do that for your own self-care.

But…if you’re just enjoying the fantasy that this sexy guy seems to find you enticing enough to keep returning, again and again, and you could care less if he’s off on the next red eye as soon as Covid 19 splits, then, dear heart, by all mean, uncork a bottle of Clicquot, make yourself some chocolate dipped strawberries and enjoy your Face Timing with abandon. Lock down is boring as hell. May as well sprinkle a bit of emotional glitter while you can.

 

Cheers, dear!

 

Aunty Pam