Stop Mothering Men

Last week, we wrote about Joyce, the swimming pool instructor, who helped a widower through his grief by catering to him. Then, when her nursing-home-confined husband died, the widower wasn't supportive although she needed a shoulder to lean on.

As our members always do, they got right to the crux of the problem.

Judie's opinion

"After reading Joyce's comments, I saw why the relationship-or whatever it was-fizzled: Sounds as though it evolved into Joyce becoming a surrogate mother/advisor to him, not a girlfriend. He probably felt stifled by 'mother.' And like any child, he complained and found fault with 'mother.' And she let it continue.

Judie singled out two comments Joyce made as problem creators: "We females are 'naturally giving' mothers," and "I made him a granny quilt."

"What is romantic about that?" Judie said. "He probably saw her as a kind, warm, motherly friend/helper (with benefits for a while), and this was helping him move on from his late wife."

Judie suspects that the widower will meet a new lady in the swimming class who won't mother him and he will treat her differently than he treated Joyce.

She added, "Reminds me of a friend. When she gets into a relationship, it starts as an exciting love affair and goes to being a 'mother' affair. She begins cooking meals for him, washing and ironing his clothes, and becomes his social activity arranger."

Shirley's opinion

Not known for mincing words, Shirley said: "I'm getting tired of the lists women share of the things they've done for men, such as being their bereavement counselor, nurse, buddy, cleaning woman, sex partner, avid listener, and all that other junk.

"It isn't a matter of a man being a grieving widower; it's the matter of men assuming they are entitled to nursing and shelter and moaning and groaning, but don't know how to cherish the woman who provides it.

"Who knows what these boys were like with their 1st spouses, but after a long life of listening to men's autobiographies, all I can say is that they should grow up, and that women stop taking on the role of mother/sister/ little wifey. It's time for women to change. I think it is hopeless to expect older men to do that! Who knows how long it will be before a widower recovers from his loss; women have similar losses, but they know they have to get on with their lives and take care of themselves. Give me a break!

"Words of caution to older women who date: CURB YOUR MATERNAL SKILLS! RESTRAIN FROM CODDLING THE BIG BOYS!"

Tom's comment

The kiss of death in many relationships is when one person tries too hard, and starts catering too much to please a mate when that mate is perfectly capable of helping himself. There is a fine line between being thoughtful and considerate vs. smothering one's mate by mothering them. I've been with Greta for nine years. I wash my own clothes because when she does it for me, everything gets folded and put away in drawers and then I can't find the stuff.

Sometimes two people seem perfectly matched on a first date. Then, he or she sends flowers, a card, a box of chocolates, or some other gesture indicating how flipped out he or she is over the new person. She dumps him; he tried too hard. He mothered her. Most people resent it. Stop mothering potential mates.

Personal profile # 1: Cheryl

Cheryl's profile was the first one received. If you sent in a profile, it will be featured in the order of the profiles received, so be patient. This is a complimentary, no charge, test. We will try it for as long as it seems to be working, and as long as we receive profiles. I have no control over, and cannot be responsible for, the honesty or integrity of the people who respond to these profiles so trust your instincts. - Cheryl

"People describe me as elegant, classy, and attractive. I've got a great sense of humor and wit, and a great smile. I love my life and am so grateful for all that I have. My hobbies are dancing, attending classes and lectures, and doing new and interesting things. I love classical and easy-listening music, going to movies and plays, going for long walks, reading, etc. I became widowed 6 years ago after a wonderful 15-year marriage. I have no children and work full-time at a terrific job in City Government. Email: cherylshfght@gmail.com."

Update: Joseph McStay Family - Four missing

For awhile this week, there was a flicker of hope. Video tapes of border crossings into Mexico at the San Ysidro, Calif., entry point taken from the top of a building, showed a family of four entering Mexico on February 8, the day the McStay family car was towed after being abandoned near the border.

But Mike McStay, also my former stepson, and the brother of Joey, who is missing, said this on the family website blog, "The video quality is very poor. I personally could NOT make a positive identification."

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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