Ask Amy: Elder exes want to reignite their flame

Dear Amy: I’m a 71-year-old man. Twenty years ago I was married, had an affair, and left my marriage.

I am still with “the other woman,” but not married.

My relationship with my ex is very good and we speak often.

At the time of this affair, we had four children, ranging in age from 13 to 20.

They are all grown now with families of their own, and after several tough years, they all understand and are good with everything.

My ex hooked up with a guy she went to junior high school with before I even moved out of the house — she eventually married him.

I understood why she did all that.

The thing is, it’s like that Barry Manilow song, “Escape” (the Pina Colada Song).

My ex and I realize that we had the best times together.

The people we are with now have been good for us.

We’re both more stable and financially secure than we would be if we’d stayed together.

But it’s no fun.

We obviously can’t get a do-over, but it’s also no fun this way.

Neither of our mates would appreciate our getting together for some fun times.

Have you ever heard of such a thing — and what advice, if any, can you give?

— Want to Escape

Dear Escape: To recap the plot of this wonderful ear-worm, two former lovers who have moved on to other relationships realize afterward that they both love pina coladas and walking in the rain.

In short, this song is about reconnecting with a previous love.

The cynic in me says that this is something you should have realized before you had an affair and blew up your marriage. I also believe that fun and joy are qualities you can try to bring to your current long-term relationships.

The romantic in me says that you and your ex obviously believe that you are on a path leading to fun and passion. Given that you are both entering your elder years, you might see this as a last chance at revisiting your youth and repairing some of the mistakes you made.

Yes, divorced couples do sometimes reconcile after many years apart. And a percentage of those couples (an estimated 30 percent) break up again.

If you choose this particular “walk in the rain,” I suggest you make this choice with much more care and compassion toward your current partner than you showed the last time.

Dear Amy: My husband always runs late arriving to scheduled engagements, family gatherings, funerals, our son’s basketball games, etc.

I am the opposite, and prefer to be there early.

He becomes very upset if I tell him that I will meet him there because I do not want to be late and miss any special moments.

He accuses me of “not wanting to be a couple.”

Am I being selfish when I arrive alone?

I don’t want to miss the boat any longer.

— Early Bird

Dear Early Bird: If your husband maintains that you need to be late (along with him) for family gatherings, funerals, and your child’s basketball games in order to demonstrate that you want to be a “couple,” then I’d suggest the obvious: That being on time for these events is a valid way for him to demonstrate that HE wants to be part of a couple.

He is baiting the hook. Don’t bite.

Your task here is to find ways to detach from his behavior and manage your own frustration.

Don’t judge him for being late. Just see his lateness as being part of who he is. And yes, his lateness must come off as rude and inconsiderate to people who are waiting for him, but you should not be one of those people waiting for him. You are not in charge of him.

The less pressure he feels from you, the more responsibility he might assume to try harder to be prompt. But — maybe not.

Dear Amy: A mother wrote to you that she was “disappointed” that her sons do not seem to remember her birthday unless they are told to. I once asked my mother why she never called or sent me a card on my birthday.

She responded: “I’m the one who gave birth and brought you into this world. You should be calling and thanking me.” From that point on I did — and we would laugh.

— A Grateful Son

Dear Grateful: This was a solid burn. I give you much credit for receiving it with grace and humor. You were obviously raised well.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

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