Here’s the backstory:
I’m 57. I lost my wife of 28 years last year (almost exactly) to cancer. About 6 months ago, I started online dating, as chronicled on the “ongoing online dating thread”. Met several women, more or less interesting…nothing serious. Until 2 months ago, when I met Pam (age 51).
Head over heels, deliriously, deliciously, ecstatically in love. I swear that I’ve never been happier, and she feels exactly the same way.
Then a week ago, a crisis at her job developed (and she wound up losing her job), and she needed more and more time to herself to “sort things through”. We had several phone & email exchanges, and I petulantly wound up giving her space.
Then last night, she wanted to meet and talk, and I expected the worst. I didn’t expect just how bad:
She has cancer.
She didn’t want to go into details, but she thinks it’s a recurrence of something she’s beaten back twice before. She’s optimistic (doesn’t have an official diagnosis or prognosis yet). But she says that given my history, and her feeling that she’ll be dealing with this for the rest of her life, she doesn’t want to put me and my family through the pain again.
So she released me from our relationship. Her feelings for me haven’t changed; but she wants me to go back online and find someone else who will make me happy, but continue to love her platonically (as do 2 of her exes that she’s on friendly terms with) and stay in her life.
I feel like I’m stuck in frickin’ Wuthering Heights.
On the one hand, the coward in me agrees with her (as does my daughter) – I don’t want to deal with this. And it’s only been 8 weeks.
On the other hand, I’m supposed to go through the motions of dating, when I still love her and am worried sick about her?
And life has no guarantees, especially at our age. What if the next woman I fall in love with gets sick? Wouldn’t *that *be ironic?
But if there’s one thing I know about her, it’s that she says what she means. She’s not just being noble and hoping I’ll make the romantic move. So I don’t really have a choice. Maybe.
Other than banging my head against the wall and cursing Fate, I am utterly lost. My son put it nicely: toss a coin and pick your heartache.