Is the fear of being alone enough reason to give my marriage another go?

Joe is 68 and terrified of being alone. But his marriage is on the rocks. What should he do?

Terrified of being alone

Joe’s second marriage may be on the rocks, but the thought of being alone and losing his new family terrifies him. Is the fear of being alone enough reason to give his marriage another go?

Q. Joe
After my wife died, I thought I would be alone forever but I was lucky enough to meet a woman and even though she was 28 years younger than me, we really hit it off. After five years together, we got married and spent eight years quite happy, or so I thought, as husband and wife. However, she has just turned my life upside down by announcing that she feels she has been living a single life all these years as I simply work too much and don't want to do a lot of the things she does. I thought I was thoughtful by giving her the space to enjoy time with her friends and can’t believe I got it so wrong.

I’m now 68 and the thought of starting over again terrifies me. Also, her large family has very much become my family and I don’t want to lose them. What should I do? Is it worth trying to give it another go?

A. Unfortunately it sounds like your wife has been unhappy for a while. It’s important that you acknowledge how she’s been feeling and encourage her to really open up to you about it. That way, she will hopefully feel heard and validated before you explain how things have been for you. Tell her that you want the marriage to work and you are willing to do all it takes. Make suggestions of things you could do together and paint a picture of what you see as a happy future. Ask for her suggestions and really listen to what she says. It might also be worth reminiscing about the happier times and what attracted you to each other. Surprise her with your memory of little details about the early years and arrange a date that replicates one of your first memories together. In other words, show her how much she means to you as well as telling her.



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    19th Jul 2017
    What a poor reason to stay in a marriage! everytime you think of yourself within a couple, you are wrong! I dont want to be alone! I dont want to do this! and dont feel like doing that! etc etc etc reason enough to be alone dont you think? Just hope that your wife hasnt had enough, and know you better than you know yourself!
    19th Jul 2017
    You nailed it, Amapola. Not once did Joe say that he loved and respected his wife and does not want to lose her. He would instead miss her large family and feel lonely. It doesn't make me hopeful that this marriage can survive. Statistics for divorce in second marriages are high, and for third, etc. even worse. There's a community of older people out there, people his age, who Joe could connect with, through churches, volunteering and joining special interest groups. Having a wife and her family to satisfy his need for a social network is not the answer.
    Not Senile Yet!
    19th Jul 2017
    Careful what you wish for you may get it!
    Friend wanted a Nymphomaniac golfer 10yrs younger than him.
    He now has just that!
    Still he is miserable!
    Cannot keep up with her...constantly tired and regrets everything cos as he ages....she gets younger and more demanding!
    Being single doesn't mean being lonely!
    Nor does being married and unhappy!
    Let ur partner be themselves...go out with others....and you do the same!
    Too much familiarity breeds contempt! one owns their partner...not ever!
    19th Jul 2017
    She has said that she is very dissatisfied, but there appears to be no mention of separation pending at this point. If that is the case then she has been very open in her communication and thus there may be the opportunity to change the terms of the relationship. But Joe will have to be very sensitive to her needs, without displaying desperation which can be a huge turn-off! Together they may be able to find a common interest which will nourish the bond between them, while still maintaining some individual pursuits. This is presuming that there is still some positive feelings on both sides- if not, then it may be too late. Fear of loneliness is not sufficient reason to stay in a marriage which has broken down irretrievably.
    19th Jul 2017
    Seems to me that Joe needs to put on his big boy pants and grow up. Marriage is not all bout what he wants which seems to be how he has approached this second attempt. He does not appear to have invested in the marriage (or his wife) except for getting his own needs met. Well past time for 'me, me, me' and now needs way more 'you, you, you, us, us, us'. Otherwise the wife will be far better off actually being single than just feeling like she is single.
    19th Jul 2017
    Joe time to say thanks for the memory, & get a dog. The lady requires more in her life than you can offer.

    Mate 28 years is a lot, but even 15 can be too much. The difference between life expectations of a 55 year old as you were when you met, & a 27 year old is often not very much. As you are finding when it comes to 68 & 40 these can become very different. If you are having problems now, just think how much wider those expectations & desires will be at 78 & 50. If you are having trouble now, just think how bad it will get.

    You will want slippers & a comfortable chair, when she wants dinner & dancing at the club. She will be dreaming of the future, when you are reminiscing about the past.

    Be thankful for a great 13 years, & let go gracefully.
    Barbara Mathieson
    19th Jul 2017
    There's no need to feel lonely these days, have been by myself for many years and wouldn't want it any other way! Can please myself what I do when I want to etc. plenty of activities to join in / volunteer if I so desire. No need to rely on other people for my enjoyment. Just think you can and you will. Be positive!
    19th Jul 2017
    Yes Barbara,I am like you I have been on my own for 20+ years and I am 73yrs young, I'm happy, Joe if you are reading this there are clubs you can join for company you know ie: Seniors etc
    19th Jul 2017
    Joe, Joe, Joe, I have been single for 17 years now and absolutely love it. Couldn't stand the thought of living with someone else ever again. There's such a lot to be said for independence. Also, I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn't ever feel lonely or bored. If you can't make the marriage work, go into the single life with the right attitude and fall in love with it.
    19th Jul 2017
    Joemany of us out there that have been in your position you have a desion to make & only you can deside.Being alone at your age is not all bad just try & be positive
    19th Jul 2017
    She is 40 and the man is 68. That is a massive age gap. Be grateful for those 8 years of nurturing after your wife's passing and let her live her life and not be sapped into caring for an old man in the remainder of her vibrant years.
    If you are lonely, there are lots of 68 year old women willing to share their life with a man. If not - find company in activities and groups where you are not a burden to others or visa versa.

    20th Jul 2017
    She's 40
    Replace her with a 30 year old and you'll be right again
    25th Jul 2017
    Talk to her , a date of just U 2 & may B her fav. restaurant . Women aren't mind readers
    Try & see if U can do something to-gether which she likes, Surely U must love her after these years together . Tell her . We all need telling regularly & our worth recognised . Otherwise life is fairly empty & good luck.

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