7/4/2022 | By Amy Dickinson

When a 60-year-old widow casually meets someone through social media and – four years later – alarm bells go off, should she heed the chimes? See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson has to say about the social media friend in this edition of “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy:

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

He passed away in 2021, disabled and bedridden. I was his sole caregiver for 10 years.

About four years ago, I casually friended a man on social media. We are both in our 60s. He has shared that he is in an unhappy marriage. He says he stays with her because there’s a slim chance he could come into 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 out calling me “hon” or “honey” and on occasion “sweetheart.”

He ends each message with a heart emoji.

He has told me that if he was financially stable, he’d race to meet me.

He mentioned recently that when he was between marriages, he’d met a woman online and had traveled to meet her.

That’s when a bell went off.

I have already made clear to him that I will not do to another woman what was done to me. He’s not going to divorce his wife. He still wants to meet up, but I have no desire to drive such a distance just for lunch, nor to have him come here.

He seems like a nice person. He’s never made any off-color remarks or suggestions.

Am I the one who’s reading more into this – or is he?

Do I just abruptly stop messaging him, or should I continue with very “vanilla” messages until any interest is gone?

Wondering why

Dear Wondering:

woman on her smartphone. Photo by Fizkes, Dreamstime. When a 60-year-old widow meets a social media friend but an alarm bell goes off, should she heed the chimes? See what “Ask Amy” advises.

According to your account, a bell went off when you learned that this social media friend raced to meet a woman he’d met online when he was in-between marriages. He wasn’t married at the time, and so he wasn’t cheating on anyone when he did that.

Maybe your bell went off because you learned that you weren’t the first woman this man had befriended online.

I suspect that he has other “hons and sweethearts” out there, and whether this is 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 lots of other online sweethearts; all the same he is not a good match for you.

It’s very easy to call someone “honey.” It is much harder to actually be a honey.

Your extremely lengthy relationship experience has been to suppress your own needs in order to serve someone else. I hope you will grow into your own strength and find real-world experiences that are honest as well as fulfilling.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from a suspect social media friend to grandparenting to DNA surprises. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. 

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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Amy Dickinson