Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas Into Discoveries – When Friendships Become Complicated
Is it time to throw in the towel and just move on?
Q. I recently married a wonderful woman. She’s a widow and I am divorced, so it’s a second marriage for us both. We’re in our early 60s. My friends have embraced her completely (and she them) and we enjoy an active social life as a new couple. The trouble is, not all of her friends have embraced me. One couple in particular is always too busy to accept our invitations to get together. The husband in this couple was best friends with her late husband so I’m wondering if this might have something to do with it. (He’s been deceased for seven years.) How long do we keep inviting them to do things? Is it time to throw in the towel and just move on?
A. Yes, it’s time to move on. At a certain point you’ve got to take the hint. But don’t take it personally, since it may have nothing to do with you. As Debra McLeod, a Calgary-based former divorce mediator turned relationship expert, wants to remind you: “There could be any number of reasons they aren’t accepting the invitations. We human beings always make assumptions and take everything so personally. We think it’s us. We think they hate us. But maybe this couple just doesn’t want to build new friendships at this time in their lives. It can be stressful to welcome somebody new in. Remember, not everyone needs to invite you into their lives, so stop extending your hand and waiting for them to shake it. And stop trying to analyze the situation.”
I wondered if maybe your wife should try and have a chat with this couple about what’s been happening – or not happening – but Ms. McLeod was definite about that too: “Absolutely not. If you ask people to come over four or five times and they’re always too busy you stop asking them. They’ll put two and two together. If they want to visit then they can invite you over. If that happens, jump in with both feet. Have a great time and don’t have a chip on your shoulder – but don’t push it. You don’t need to.”
The other thing Ms. McLeod suggests you do is focus on what is working in your life and stop caring about what other people think. “You have a new bride. You have a new lease on life. You have an active social life. Embrace it. With age comes grace and acceptance. If these people don’t want to maintain a friendship with you and your wife’s new life circumstance there is nothing you can do about it – and they’re not obligated to. Is that sad? Yes. Is it as sad as your wife’s husband passing? No.” And if after all is said and done your wife ends up losing a friendship she’s had for a very long time? “Then she can get a nice bottle of wine and console herself.”
Send Diane a brief description of your dilemma, along with your first name and where you live, to [email protected]
A professional journalist for more than 25 years, Diane Sewell has written for some of the top newspapers and magazines in Canada and is a baby boomer herself. Her new blog “Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas into Discoveries” is interactive with readers and focuses on life issues – like aging, dating, second marriages, sex, death, family and fashion. Diane will use her expertise to find the right expert to help solve your predicament, unearthing kernels of truth and quickly getting to the heart of the issue.