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SINCERE RELIGIOUS MAN CHASES WIDOW
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR:  I'm a 57-year-old bachelor who has been unemployed for 10 months. During times of unemployment, I have donated my time toward a local ministry. While I have been with this ministry, I met a woman that caught my interest. She was coming from a broken and abusive relationship. I kept clear of her at first because of my own shortcomings (broke, unemployed) and after a while she became involved with someone else. This someone else was terminally ill and in the past 3 to 4 months died. She is 44 years old and he was in his later 40s. This ministry has at times been a help to her but mostly falls short for various reasons. I have been picking her up to go to the laundry or store and spending lots of time with her on the phone. A catch to all this is that she is also on meds for her anger that could have come from her past and her parents. (Is it that, or is it mental? I'm not sure). So the meds are there, and seem to help her. She is so quiet, and I'm not sure if it's her or the meds. I want to reach her but as a real person (as in taking her out) but my unemployment means no money to do things but see her and take her on errands. I have written her twice and let be it known that I do what I do for her because of my feelings, that it's me doing this, not the ministry. She will call me at times when I have not been in touch with her and she (for now) has not told me to not be around. I have explained that I am not a substitute (for her now-dead boyfriend) and that I am not trying to be that either.
That someone else cannot replace him. With this said, and how quiet she always is, I am at a loss most of this time of what to say or do. I know she needs her time, and that things will take time. Pray about it? I do that. And the answers that I seem to hear are, "patience ... be there for her ... time will put things in place ... that the time is coming for they're to be an 'us'".

My question is - knowing what little I have said here, am I on the right track? Has anyone been in a situation similar to this that they may have some valuable input for me?

MIDLIFE BACHELOR ANSWER:  Brother - first let me say that in this economy, I have known SO MANY PEOPLE who have lost their jobs, and then run into financial problems that it amazes me. I think it is outstanding that you volunteer your time with the local ministry you mention. I, myself, am not a religious man at all - but I admire and respect the work that you do for people. The good karma you generate shall come back to you 100 fold in the future - so nice work, my friend!

Concerning this woman - my best advice is for you to follow your heart ... at least until your head tells you that you are "beating a dead horse" ... which means that if she doesn't start to respond soon, then at some point you will need to give up and move on. If you read any of this site (or our Midlife Forum), you will know that I typically advocate being nice to several different women concurrently ... having one or two on the "backburner" so-to-speak ... so that when the primary girlfriend falls through, you are not starting from scratch ... and that approach might do you some good in the future. [Check out the article here entitled, Front Burner / Back Burner Dating Strategy (found in the Short Midlife Articles section here) for an elaboration of what I'm talking about.]

You do not have to have money to be successful in love either. You might enjoy reading the section of this site called Midlife Crisis without Money in the Your Midlife Crisis section. That story is about my one of my best friends from high school (Cornfed Ed) who lost EVERYTHING but wound up becoming a dating machine while essentially broke and homeless. Sure money does help out when you are a single man - but money is not everything ... it is a superficial thing. In his spot (and in yours), you have to offer women what you do have - which is your time and attention ... and those are things you can give in abundance right now. And those things are precisely what will differentiate you from other men that she might meet.

You are a good man, Sir. Give this woman time to grieve - and then if you think she is taking too long, then she probably is ... and in that case, move on to someone else. Life is too short to wait around for a MAYBE.

Please let us know what happens, and how things work out, okay? Oh - and I know this woman is not technically a "widow" but using that word enabled me to fit the title of this Q&A into one headline, while preserving the essence of your issue. ;o)


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