DEAR AMY: I am a 50-year-old self-employed professional, and I have no friends. I know lots of people and have plenty of acquaintances. I moved back to the Midwest about five years ago after getting divorced. I remarried recently and my husband is my best and pretty much my only friend. We met online. I know I need more than this, but I have not been able to connect to anyone socially here for much more than an occasional cup of coffee. I don’t have children of my own. My stepdaughters are in college so there are no playdates, no kids to car pool to activities — or the usual things women do to meet and connect with others. Being self-employed, I don’t have the typical office crowd to socialize with after work. I have tried to connect to other women via the Chamber of Commerce groups, but it seems I end up meeting people who just want to sell me stuff and don’t really want to form a friendship. I go to yoga classes and I go to the gym, but it seems that nobody really sticks around afterward to socialize. I tried to start a book club in my neighborhood but the only two people who joined have now moved. I have been involved in volunteer organizations, which gives me something to do outside of work, but I have yet to meet people I really click with. I used to have a diverse group of friends when I lived in another state and I had plenty of friends in college, so I know I’m not completely socially inept. How else can I connect to people? Is it just me, or is making friends in middle age this hard for everyone?
50 and Lonely
DEAR LONELY: It is not just you; making friends in middle age means walking a long and occasionally lonely road.
You may find some satisfaction (and you’ll definitely broaden your options) using the same technology that brought you and your husband together, by trying some “meetups” through meetup.com. Checking my local meetups, I see that there are meetup groups for vegans, Star Wars fans, atheists, and people who love dachshunds. These might seem like outliers to you, but there are also meetups for people to play cards, board games, or for people who want to hike, bike, or kayak.
When I moved to Chicago, I made friends with a group of women who walked together every morning and whom I would see at the coffee shop afterward. One morning I asked if I could join them. After that, all I had to do was to show up at 5:30 a.m., and keep up with their brisk pace. Friendship followed.
DEAR AMY: My wife and I have been married for decades. I love her very much. I’ve always been a faithful husband and as far as I know, my wife has been faithful, too. My wife has been doing volunteer work for an organization for the past 15 years. Each year they recognize their volunteers with a ceremony. Last year we attended the ceremony together. I left my seat to get a refreshment and as I was returning to my seat I noticed that my wife was engaged in a full on “love stare” with a fellow about 10 feet away. It was the kind of look that two people very attracted to each other give. This man is an executive with the organization. I was shocked and hurt and decided not to say anything. Much time has passed, and I’m not aware of any other incidents, but now I find that I can’t move past it. I no longer trust my wife. I’m losing sleep over this. I know she will deny the incident if I confront her with this now. What should I do?
DEAR UNRESOLVED: Your wife will likely deny everything you report, but the only way to resolve this is to admit your own vulnerability, state your true feelings, and give her the opportunity to respond. I hope she chooses to respond to you in a loving way. Talking about this might not resolve the matter instantly and completely, but it’s a start.
DEAR AMY: I don’t appreciate it when you call people “bigoted” or “prejudiced.” I expect more respectful language from you.
DEAR UPSET: I calls ’em like I sees ’em. I also appreciate the feedback, even when it is negative. Many readers say they agree with you.