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Ask Ellie: Ditch negative view of women and look for friendship first

Dear Ellie: I’m a man, 59, and the caregiver for my mother since my father died 20 years ago. She’s one of the reasons I’m single. I’ve tried to meet women but they’re either married or not interested in a relationship.
Advice columnist Ellie
Ellie

Advice columnist EllieDear Ellie: I’m a man, 59, and the caregiver for my mother since my father died 20 years ago. She’s one of the reasons I’m single. I’ve tried to meet women but they’re either married or not interested in a relationship.

But my girlfriend of 21 years ago keeps bugging me for help whenever she’s stressed. She only wants me when she needs something without concern for my needs.

If she can’t love me for me and refuses to put me first in her life, then what does she have to offer? Only sex. It’s easier to pay a sex worker.

Single women aren’t seriously interested in a real relationship. I’m proof. I do everything around the house. What woman could say no to a man like that? All of them.

Man Alone

It takes a decent, responsible man to be a mother’s caregiver for 20 years and you deserve someone who cares about you. But there are ways to find a partner that you apparently haven’t tried.

The mistake many people make when first meeting someone in person or on a dating site, is to move too fast and expect too much. Remember, in early contact with a woman, you’re both still strangers.

Try to make a friend, instead of asking what they’re looking for in a mate. Chat a few times, ask about her interests, share some of yours… you’ll both soon know if there’s anything in common. If not, nothing lost. It’s not rejection, people have different tastes, that’s all.

Even with your past girlfriend you’re missing that she’s actually signalling that she hasn’t forgotten you, thinks of you as a man who helps people and wants to be in touch.

She’s an old friend, not an enemy.

It seems you’ve lost your confidence in talking to women. But if you think of friendship instead of an instant connection (the latter is rare for many women and men), you can relax when you meet someone new and just enjoy sharing a conversation. Mention the sports you follow, what music you listen to, favourite old movies, etc.

Friendship gives you a chance to relax and learn about people without feeling rejected. With an open mind and positive attitude, it’s more likely you’ll find a relationship partner.

Dear Ellie: In the midst of angst, frustration and fear caused by the pandemic, the worst thing we’ve had to deal with is a family member who believes conspiracy theories and won’t get vaccinated or wear a mask.

Any discussion erodes into verbal abuse toward us as “sheep” for following safety and health measures.

We’ve tried to maintain a relationship by keeping these subjects off limits but it’s breaking down.

Need Help!

You’re not alone. If this is an adult living separately from you, politely agree to disagree. Distance from them rather than fight. If possible, maintain online contact on very neutral subjects, such as tips on good series to watch, good takeout food, etc.

But if this is an adult living with you, end that situation if at all possible. If a dependent adult child, it’s your house and your rules, especially as they’re putting you and others you care about at risk.

I understand this is most difficult, you don’t want to lose the relationship. If finances are available, you might offer help to pay for rent elsewhere for a while. Or insist they isolate from you when home - e.g., eating separately, no outside visitors. Again, they’re compromising you and others by choosing this problem.

Feedback regarding the impact of caste on mixed-race/faith couples (May 28 and June 18):

Reader: Firstly, I was in charge of a diverse group of staff. Some were very unhappy. I eventually discovered that they were being bullied by other staff from the same culture who considered themselves of a higher caste. We had anti-bullying policies but this situation was new to me.

Secondly, many years ago at university, I had an Egyptian boyfriend. His brother and fiancée came to visit but refused to acknowledge me, speaking only in their own language to my boyfriend while in my presence. It was very impersonal and uncomfortable.

I asked my boyfriend why they were being so mean to me. He said, “They think you must be a prostitute to be with me.”

He also said that since Egyptian women were expected to be virgins on marriage, many had vaginal repair surgery for their wedding night.

Ellie: Perhaps a myth.

Ellie’s tip of the day

A negative attitude that women avoid relationships prevents friendships that reveal a woman’s true interests.

Send relationship questions to ellie@thestar.ca.

Follow @ellieadvice.