My girlfriend won’t marry me because I’m in my 60s

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a man in my late 60s. I’ve been seeing a woman in her early 40s. When I asked her if she would like to marry me, she broached the idea of breaking it off with me.

My wife died after I reached my mandatory retirement age, and I met this new woman when I joined a loss support group because I was struggling with loneliness after my wife’s death. The woman is a staff member there. At first we were just having meals together, but now she sometimes stays over at my house.

Before retiring, I did my part well at a large company. This woman acknowledged that.

She asked her older sister for advice about me, only to be recommended that she end things with me quickly, mainly because she’d just end up having to take care of me in my old age. Lately, the woman has said a number of times, “I want to break up.”

I’m not sure if she was joking, but she has said things like if I had ¥100 million, she’d maybe marry me.

What her sister said was quite right. I know I should give up on her, but this lost out to my loneliness and longing for her, and now we’re back to how we were before I talked about marriage. While knowing I have no right to confine her life to mine, I’m unable to take that final step of ending things.

I have two sons, who are both married and have their own families, but I haven’t asked them for advice about this.

C, Tokyo

Dear Mr. C:

I wonder what your real motives are for wanting to get married. I think you have the idea somewhere that you can ask her to take care of you in the future, and I think she’s become well aware of that motive.

I don’t think it’s saying too much to state that the love lives of older people have at least some element of calculation — having love for the sake of love is just for younger people.

I think she has realized this fact and therefore brought up the money aspect. You can’t blame her for it, because I think both of you are calculating here.

If you truly want to marry her, I believe the first course of action is seeking the advice of your sons and their families. Marriage involves more people than simply the two of you. I believe you are only thinking of yourself in all of this, and that needs to stop.

It is crucial that you receive the blessing of your sons. Having people around you who are also happy about this is an important element for the remaining years of your life.

This is all what being married means. If you can’t handle it, then I think your only option is to keep things how they are now.

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from Feb. 13, 2018, issue)Speech

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