Dear Annie: I am 74, and "Jane" is 56. We met online, where I said early on that I was not interested in dating because of the age disparity. I simply told her that I liked the expression on her face in the posted photos. She is beautiful.
But within a few months, we fell in love and became intimate. Jane realized it was a mistake and was quick to point it out. Aside from the age problem, I also suffer from impotence, and the sexual dysfunction had too great an impact. Jane wanted a man who could provide for all her needs.
Jane told me she wanted to stay friends, but I refused. I really fell for her and cannot tolerate the idea that she is sexually involved with another man. This woman is a complete 10 in her heart and soul. After we broke up, I went through months of feeling bad. I cried a lot.
Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar
But here's the problem. Jane seems unable to let go of me. She told me once that she liked me more than anyone she had ever known, and she finds me endlessly interesting.
Every month or so, she contacts me. If it happens when I'm strong and happy, I reply, and we have a nice email chat. Of course, eventually she ends up accidentally mentioning her other men, and that caves me in. Jane would never try to make me jealous, but she has no appreciation for my inability to deal with this.
I have tried to go cold turkey and dump her completely, but I seem too susceptible to the possibility that she'll change her mind and want me as a sweetheart again.
It would be easier if I had other romantic options, but at my age and selectivity, I'm not hopeful.
Jane was a mistake that got out of hand, and I'm paying for it. Is there a way to build a strong and lasting friendship with Jane regardless of her involvement with other men? -- Too Old
Dear Too: No matter how nice Jane is, we suspect she enjoys making you a wee bit jealous. Otherwise, she wouldn't mention her male friends.
The age gap is not insurmountable, but if a romantic relationship isn't in the cards, it will take time before you can have the type of friendship you seek. Since you are so susceptible, it might help to distance yourself more thoroughly from Jane and send her emails directly to your spam file. It's hard to cool off when you both keep fanning the flames.
Editor's note: Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.