Dear Ellie: I’m a pretty shy guy, so even though I’ve been divorced for almost five years, I’ve avoided dating apps. I don’t see myself easily attracting someone I’ve never met, just by sending in a photo featuring a dog and a sentence about loving to hike (I don’t).
That said, while still shy, I’ve taken notice of a soft-speaking attractive woman who, 18 months ago, moved into the apartment building in which I live.
It’s a nicely-located low-rise building in a quiet part of town but with good access to shopping, public transit, and even a very pleasant park.
I literally bumped into this woman on her moving day down the hall from my place, so gave a hasty and embarrassed apology, and didn’t see her again for a few months. That’s when I spotted her in the park on a nice, sunny day and we started to chat. But since I commute to the closest city for work, such sightings were not often … until I met her boarding the same bus.
I casually inquired about her work (part-time social service worker) and so also learned something of her schedule. I made it my business to “bump into her” whenever possible.
When I told my far-more-confident friend (considered attractive by women, I’ve heard), he laughed at my shyness and self-doubts about winning this woman’s interest.
But it happened.
I learned that her husband died several years ago and she couldn’t afford to keep their city home and also maintain a car on her salary. Since her job is emotionally demanding at times, and she’s on her own, she felt the suburban life in a smaller community would be easier to handle as a widow on her own.
Well, now she has me as her companion, and we’re talking about moving together when a somewhat larger unit opens up.
To my own surprise, we’re a very good match — we both love reading non-fiction and listening to classical music, and have long discussions about their merits. Best of all, she makes my shy heart sing with inner happiness! And, miraculously, she says she feels the same about me!
Tell your readers, please, that happiness is possible, if you bump into someone who attracts you from first sighting. Also, tell everyone that it’s okay if it takes 18 months till you’re both relaxed enough to become “firm friends” … but that’s the best foundation for growing a true and trusted relationship.
Love At Last
You didn’t ask a question, but you sure found the right answer!
Dear Ellie: My work colleague has a very controlling husband, which even her children acknowledge. He’s had affairs and he said they’re over, but she doesn’t trust him.
She’s told me (and others) about wanting a divorce because she’s unhappy in the marriage.
But she isn’t doing anything about it.
I suggested that she talk to a lawyer, gave her some names, but she hasn’t contacted even one. She goes off to friends’ cottages instead of dealing with her marriage.
Recently, she’s decided to stay with her husband though nothing’s changed! How can I help her see what’s really going on?
You can’t correct her vision, because it’s muddled inside her head. She wants to divorce but fears managing without him.
Also, she knows a “controller” doesn’t just go quietly.
She may eventually contact a lawyer… when she can’t hide from reality any longer. Meanwhile, stay supportive.
Reader’s Commentary regarding the young woman who was a man’s mistress and wonders if she should tell a future lover (May 7):
“She would have no reason to tell him how many lovers in her past, let alone single one out for more details.
“She had a lovely time as a young woman and now she’s grown up. Leave it in the past. We’re all looking for love and she found a great time as well. Good for her.
“If, in 20 years, somebody says to her, “Didn’t we meet on Athlete X’s yacht off Mykonos, she can say, “Not me, but my doppelgänger seems to have had a very exciting life.
“Personally, I have no regrets for what I’ve done. I won’t share those secrets with my wonderful husband, nor my daughter nor my mother. These are my memories and they still make me smile.”
Ellie’s tip of the day
Don’t give up on finding love. Dating apps can help, but for shy people it’s sometimes better to just bump into the person who takes your breath away.
Send relationship questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.