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ASK ELLIE: Dating is a two-way street

couple argues stock illustration
Dating, like marriage, has to be a two-way street. - 123RF Stock Photo

Q - After 20 years of marriage, I divorced last fall and immediately starting online dating.

I was very eager to finally be able to indulge my own specific interests and do activities I’d wanted to pursue for years instead of only doing those things that my husband liked and approved.

He and I had completely different tastes, and he thought my cultural interests were “boring and a waste of (his) time.”

He preferred hiking and zip-lining on travels and other physically exhausting activities. I prefer cultural pursuits and swimming as my sport.

I was very clear on the dating apps I joined that I wasn’t interested in having sex with people I met or looking for a committed relationship.

I only want companionship for specific outings together.

I met a nice man who appreciated going to the symphony and the ballet with me, when concerts and major productions were still happening before the pandemic required a lockdown.

I met another man who enjoyed, as much as I do, the hunt for unique finds in antique shops.

Now, with many venues like concert halls and some antiquing spots not yet opened up, I date much less, of course.

But I still have a problem regarding men who, despite my being clear about my dating rules, still try for a kiss and talk of sex.

Do I have to wear a sign?

Fed Up

A - It seems both you and your ex-husband wore virtual signs for each other during your marriage: “My way only”.

As you describe your open communication online, you have emerged from your marriage as controlling of others as he was of you.

Many people who have some different interests from their partners, share them with a friend or like-minded family member or colleague. You could’ve done this too.

But once you decide to meet people through a dating app, you’ve added an underlying implication.

Try dating that includes sharing others’ interests, too. It can actually lead to enjoying an attraction.


Q - My husband of 20 years and I always had a great mutual sexual attraction.

I’ve always found him very attractive, but his added weight is becoming a turnoff for me.

We were both very physically active, but he has lost all interest in working out. His favourite activity is eating snack food while watching TV.

His stomach has grown significantly. I’m unmoved toward intimacy when he takes off his shirt.

I’ve mentioned to him how unhealthy excess weight can be, but he gets upset.

I try to get him to eat healthier, eat less and participate in fun activities with me, but he’s unmotivated.

Am I being unreasonable/vain?

Missing My Sexy Hubby

A - Tell him that you love him as you always have but miss his sexy appearance.

Suggest that, since he has stopped being physically active or joining you on fun activities as before, he might talk to a therapist if he’s depressed or has anxiety regarding the pandemic, or aging or some other worry.

Encourage him in nice weather to start taking early-morning or work-break walks with you and also joining video stretch or fitness classes to boost his energy and feelings of well-being.

Don’t lecture him about bad foods and habits. Have healthy snacks including fruits and veggies available in the fridge as pick-ups. Suggest that he consider talking to a nutritionist about adopting healthy eating habits in middle age.

At the first sign of any effort on his part, snuggle up to motivate him as the loving husband he has always been.


Feedback regarding the daughter worried about her widowed mother having her boyfriend of three years sell his house and moving into her home, for which he’ll pay half (July 16):

Reader: I have done just this! Late in life, as a widow, I met a wonderful man, fell in love, married and agreed (against my better judgment) to live in his house. He insisted!

I bought half his house and after 2 1/2 years I still feel like I am a guest in his house. All was done legally, as you suggested in your response.

I say, they should buy a house together! One that will be a clean start and their home together.

Ellie: A wise approach, especially when there are adult children to be considered. Like the original letter-writer, they worry about the implications, when it’s no longer “Mom’s house” of her own.

Buying together bonds the couple as equals, legally.


Ellie’s tip of the day: Dating, like marriage, has to be a two-way street.


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Ellie Tesher
Ellie Tesher

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