DEAR AMY: For the past few months, I have been dating a guy who (I thought) could be "the one." Tonight, he told me that instead of just being married one time (for 18 years), he was actually married a second time (for two years). This came out of nowhere. I was totally aware of his first marriage and two kids, but was completely blindsided by the revelation of the second marriage (which in his words was a horrendous mistake). I don't know why he wasn't honest from the beginning, and I am concerned he only brought this up to save our relationship. Yes, I see the many red flags, but keep seeing his "good side." It's what I tend to do, and I do it well. I understand him wanting to get everything out in the open now. I want to encourage his honesty, but should I be concerned that it took so long to share this two-year marriage with me? We have been super-open and honest about everything, or so I thought. How do I move on trusting that there is no other shoe to drop? Do I need to calm down? OR is this the brightest shade of red on a flag yet?
Florida Flag Girl
DEAR FLAG: You might receive some clarity by looking at this differently. This disclosure was offered, freely, as a way to further your intimate connection (what you call "saving the relationship.") Granted, the disclosure should have been made earlier. Your guy deeply regrets this second marriage. He is embarrassed by it. Have you fully disclosed your most embarrassing and regrettable episodes? Have you told him about your most horrendous mistake? If so, your own honesty and trust may have inspired him to feel comfortable enough to disclose his. Yes, I believe this is a flag, but not necessarily a red flag. Take it more as a sign that you two are on a journey toward intimacy, and also as a very good reason not to rush headlong or blindly forward. You should always be responsible and self-protective regarding your own choices. And yes, you should ask him what other headlines he has buried. In short: Trust, but verify.
DEAR AMY: In a completely unexpected and delightful turn of events, a fabulous guy and I found each other and we have been joyfully together for a couple of years. We are both "seniors" (70-ish), with parallel experiences of marriage, children, and divorce. I think we are both a little bit shocked that our relationship is so much fun, and so strong, and shows every sign of continuing. Our families and friends are "all in." Neither of us has a desire to marry, blend finances, or cohabit. I guess you'd call us LTA's (living together, apart), which seems to be the latest "thing" in senior relationships. And yet ... something seems unfinished. A formal commitment? Yeah, if I'm perfectly honest, it would be nice. I can't say exactly why, but I would really treasure wearing his ring, and having him wear mine. Not marriage, but a proclamation about the way things are between us. Am I being shallow in asking for something a little bit more permanent? If he didn’t want to, I could let it go. If I worked up the courage to ask for a ring, would he think my request touching — or corny?
DEAR SENIOR-ITIS: When my husband and I decided to get married, I said, "Engagement rings are a young-woman's game. I don't think I want one." He said, "Oh, you're getting a ring, missy. And it's going to be beautiful." (I did, and it is.) My point is that there is something about a ring. The way it encircles your finger and reminds you of your commitment. Ask your guy how he feels about exchanging rings.
DEAR AMY: "Just Wondering" was bothered by his girlfriend texting back and forth with a male co-worker. I am willing to bet if a woman had written that letter, you would have advised differently. If a man were to receive text messages frequently from a female co-worker during off hours, I am sure his female partner would have a lot to say about that ... and many women would agree with her. Try being a bit more equal with your advice.
DEAR UPSET: I asserted the woman's right to have a friendship, the man's right to have honesty and transparency from his partner, and anyone's right to ask their partner to limit their texting.