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Lifestyle

Woman in love, loves being alone

DEAR AMY: I'm 52 years old, divorced for 10 years with young-adult children in their early 20s. For the first time in more than 30 years I live completely alone. And I love it! My boyfriend of three years is 59, twice-divorced, with two adult kids. He has lived alone since his last divorce, five years ago. We live about 45 minutes from each other, and we see each other at least once every weekend and for dinner one night during the week. I work full time, and also have other social engagements during the week. He is semi-retired and works part time. I truly love him, but I cherish my time alone. He constantly says he misses me when we are apart, but I can't reciprocate. I don't want to lie and say I miss him too, but I don't want to hurt his feelings, either. Last winter he went on a trip with friends for two weeks, and I did miss him then. But I don't miss him every day because I'm busy at work and with my own life. Can you love someone but still only need to be with them once a week? When I was 20, I'd want to be with my partner 24/7. At 52 I don't. Is that just because I'm more comfortable with myself (I am) now than I was then? Or if it's "true love," should I want to be with him all the time? Is there a nice way to say, "I don't miss you but I still love you"? I welcome your thoughts, as well as those of your readers.

Happily Solitary

DEAR SOLITARY: Many women in your age-cohort would envy your perfect situation. You've been married, you've raised children (partly on your own), you've likely spent your adulthood giving your all to the many people in your life. And now you want to be untethered, independent, and on your own — most of the time.

When explaining my own need to be alone to my companionable husband, I quoted from Virginia Woolf's famous essay, "A Room of One's Own": "Women have burnt like beacons in all the works of all the poets from the beginning of time."

Burning like a beacon is affirmative. It is also depleting. Being alone allows a person to recharge, dance in her bathrobe and pluck her eyebrows in peace.

Being alone most of the time, but with a standing date with someone you adore is ideal.

Like Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman," your guy "needs you more than wants you, and wants you for all time." The right mate for you is a secure, grounded, and loving man who can manage his own longing.

You should continue to be authentic and honest and yes — tell your guy that you love him, and that you also love this arrangement, just as it is.

Readers will want to weigh in (and also give me credit, I hope, for working both Glen Campbell and Virginia Woolf into a response).

DEAR AMY: Every couple of months, reminders are sent to all of the employees in our office to please clean their personal outdated food items out of the fridge. Without fail, this instruction goes unheeded and there are only one or two of us (and — big surprise, always women and never a male colleague) that haul out, gut, and clean the fridge. You would not believe the moldy food and age of some of the items we've thrown out — this time there is milk that is nine weeks past its expiration date (the milk was likely there since after the last purge.) What is your thought on how to deal with the habitual offenders?

I'm Not Your Mom

DEAR NOT YOUR MOM: If you're not the office mom, then why are you acting like her? Maybe it's time to act more like some of the entitled children in your office, and see what happens.

The reminder is to clean out your personal food items. So ... do that. If Leonard from Shipping has months-old yogurt in the fridge, leave it there, labeled and curdling.

Whoever issues this directive from above could also draw up a chart and assign specific teams to clean the fridge on specific days.

DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from "Nature Boy," (the guy who loved spending the summer nude), you suggested that he wear loose boxer shorts. I think he should wear a skirt, with nothing underneath.

Naked and Unafraid

DEAR NAKED: I love it.

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