Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am a good-looking, active senior widower. I look 10 years younger than I am. I've been dating an attractive widow (10 years younger) for nearly a year. I treated her like a princess, took her to very nice restaurants, movies, concerts, etc. Our relationship seemed fine until a recent lengthy phone conversation, which somehow turned to the subject of sex. Sex, she says, is the glue to a relationship. I disagree, believing a relationship has to be more substantive to be successful. She called me old-fashioned because I disagreed with her assertion that today all women have sex on the second or third date. I contend that not all women jump into bed that quickly. That's when I inexplicably mentioned two previous relationships of hers in which she was sexually active. She blew up at me, said I had crossed the line and told me not to call her again. I sent her flowers and a small gift with a note to call me but no response -- not even a thank you. Despite this, is there a chance for us? I thought she was the companion I've wanted.
-- Out of Time in NY
DEAR OUT OF TIME: You and your companion were dancing around an issue very important to both of you. Neither of you is wrong about sex, really -- but your divergent views reflect your relative age and stage in life.
On the one hand, she seems to be asserting that all women have sex early in a relationship (not true). On the other, she is offended, presumably because you dared to imply that by your standards, she is just a wee bit slutty.
Because she feels so strongly about this, she should have been consistent in her response: "Heck yes, buddy -- you betcha!" This dust-up exposes a bit of a double standard: Women should be able to own their sexual choices free of judgment, and yet it is still ungentlemanly to bring up a woman's previous sexual relationships. Furthermore, you know this -- and you did it anyway. Do not wait by the phone. This relationship is over.