She Doesn’t Have Much Time For Me

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For almost three years now, I’ve been seeing a woman who lives in my neighborhood. We met at my yard sale. Her mother is in her 90s and needs constant care. It’s to the point now that if my significant other is not within eyesight, her mom starts calling people, asking them where she is.
I asked this woman out because I thought we were similar. We’re both in our 70s and work. I wondered at the time if she was too attached to her mom. I live with my sister; my wife died four years ago. I’ve never lived alone. You can see some similarities here.
We started going on hikes. We both enjoyed them, and I thought we had a relationship. I was very cautious, because when we start talking about ideas, she is very practical and sees the price of necessities as the big political factor. I’m a liberal (mostly) Democrat and can talk all day about social issues.
We’ve been intimate two or three times. I can tell she’s very cautious about sex and so am I. However, the last time was a year ago. Since then I’ve developed a condition that may require surgery. Hiking is out. I worry that my appeal/attraction has decreased for this reason.
It is extremely frustrating because she works when I’m free from work (she runs a business), and otherwise is her mother’s caregiver. She now can’t get away at all unless her mother comes. We last spent substantial time together last fall; otherwise she does nice things like drops food off for my sister and I because she goes a lot of senior lunches. 
She has been supportive to me over the year. She satisfies many things I would want from a long-term relationship, and is very considerate and would be a committed partner. However, she doesn’t satisfy in some other ways; I mentioned a lack of social-political stimulation, among others. I feel that being monogamous is important, but I feel very frustrated.

Also, I have a few possibilities for initiating something with other women I’ve met, despite my limitations.
Do you have any thoughts about where this might be headed?

– Frustrated


I’ll be honest; when you said you were seeing a woman in your neighborhood, I figured you were spending a good amount of time with her. Maybe seeing her a few times a week.

But you’re not seeing this person much at all. That’s because of her mother and her business – understandable, important reasons – but it doesn’t sound like either of you are planning for or daydreaming about your future together. You don’t mention talks about what happens when you both have more time. I also wonder whether the best form of your relationship is this – the occasional hangout. It’s possible that more hours with her would reveal the incompatibilities (lack of social stimulation, etc.).

Maybe it’s worth having a talk with this woman about what this has become – and whether it’s evolved into a friendship. I have great empathy for anyone caring for a loved one, and it sounds like you do too. It’s not about being upset that she has little time for you; it’s more that you have different needs, and that on your end, at least, you might want another kind of romance. Once the hikes went away, the two of you were less of a match as a couple. You still like and care about each other, but maybe it’s just companionship. Find out if she feels the same way.

She might not want to be friends if dating isn’t part of it. Maybe she’ll want time off to think. You haven’t seen her much since last year, so I’m not sure this would feel like a huge void in your life.

You want more, and it sounds like you’re ready to go find it. Even with this surgery on the horizon, you’re talking about dating prospects. Set yourself up to have new experiences with like-minded people.

Some relationships are great, but not quite right. She’s been good to you, but that doesn’t mean you have to commit forever.

Your letter says the relationship is no longer enough. You want something different. That’s OK.

– Meredith

Readers? Is it time to move on from this relationship? Or is this about being generous about this woman’s other commitments?

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