Can't Let Go of Younger Lover

Q: I have been married for 31 years. I let myself go for years while taking care of my mom, who died a couple years ago, and my mother-in-law, who I still care for. I gained a lot of weight. Then I met a man who is 33 and a police officer. We met up once and I fell in love. He texts when he has time, but I want more. I bought him a diamond watch and silver pen set for his birthday that he loved. I keep trying so hard to get him to come back to my house. I cannot let him go as he woke something up in me that has been gone a while. What should I do? -- Tess, 51

Dr. Susan: Trying too hard to get a police officer to come to your house might land you in big trouble, in more ways than one. He may be sorry he let himself get involved with you. In fact, if he weren't sorry, you wouldn't have to try so hard to get him to come back. Buying him expensive gifts after one meet-up only projects to him (or anyone) that you're extremely needy. Thinking you're in love just because you experienced something sensual after all this time is simply a fantasy, I'm sorry to say. I'm afraid you will have to let him go, as he has already let you go.

The fact that this virile young fellow woke up parts of you that had been allowed to deaden is not a bad thing, as hard as it is for you right now. You can either bring that newly awakened sense of yourself to your husband (if he's still in the picture; you didn't say), or you can do the honorable thing and get a divorce so you can go back into the world and find someone else. You're young enough to stop letting yourself go, lose some of the excess weight, and start a new life with someone who respects you for who you are.

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