Ask Dr. Gilda-He Flirts With Younger Women

Her 70-year-old guy is emailing with women less than half his age — what should she do?

By Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D.

ear Dr. Gilda,
I am a woman of 58 and my guy is 70. We are both widowed. He has never wanted me as a “girlfriend” but we have traveled together, worked together, talked on the phone for hours and helped each other
You need to recognize that you don’t have an exclusive commitment, and he owes you nothing.
emotionally, financially, etc.

Three weeks ago I discovered an email on his business account (which I sometimes use) that showed he had been communicating with a 26-year-old woman in Russia. I believe she is a scam artist (asking for money to come to America). He had responded to her on several occasions, requesting her to contact him at his personal email address. She never did. What upset me was his admitting to going abroad and fooling around with several women less than half his age.

When I saw this email, he immediately claimed he knew nothing about it. Then he deleted the emails, but I had already copied them. Anyway, whenever he gets upset with me he stops communicating. I usually am the one to make contact and apologize. This time, however, I have not tried to contact him in the past two weeks. Should I stand my ground? Is there anything worth saving here? I really do miss him and care about him.
– Call Me Mona

Dear Call Me Mona,
Actually, it’s more fitting to call you “Snoop”! This guy and you have enjoyed good times together, and seeming closeness, yet he has clearly stated he doesn’t want a “girlfriend” to confine him. Since he said this from the outset, why are you demanding more, making yourself miserable by snooping into things that are not your business?

Girl, he’s desperately trying to recapture his youth, which, of course, is not transferable from a young woman to an older man. But let’s look at why you are so upset by his actions. You need to recognize that you don’t have an exclusive commitment, and he owes you nothing. Traveling together, working
You derived enjoyment from these activities just as he did.
together, talking on the phone for hours and helping each other emotionally, financially, etc., are not contractual agreements. You derived enjoyment from these activities just as he did.

This guy’s termination of all communication after a disagreement is hardly mature or productive, especially with someone with whom he’s shared so much. But the pattern has been set: You argue, he shuts down, and you apologize — which is probably what he’s expecting now.

Here’s what I suggest:
  1. Accept the relationship on his terms, or decide to walk away. Otherwise, you become a snoop and a nag, two ugly descriptions for a woman like you who has lots going for her.
  2. Widen your circle of men, and begin to date others.
  3. If you choose to continue with this guy, acknowledge his need to stroke his ego, which is what is going on with his dalliances with young women. See if he can feel good about himself with just one woman in his life — it may not be in his nature.
Relationships are meant to be fun and satisfying. As my Gilda-Gram says, “What you work hard to get, you work hard to keep.” If you’re expending too much energy over someone who will never come around as you want him to, seek someone who will give you what you really want. In the meantime, have a great time dating!

Relationship expert Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., has a private practice and is an associate professor at Mercy College in New York. Her best-selling books include Don’t Bet on the Prince!, 99 Prescriptions for Fidelity and How to Win When Your Mate Cheats. Please visit her website ( and send her your relationship questions.
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