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Courtship advice second time round.

(72 Posts)
DeanMartinx Tue 18-Dec-12 12:41:31

I am a Male seeking the female perspective.
I came here by a very circuitous route.

Originally, I posted on the Dating thread. There are some very nice people there, but tbh, that thread is focussed totally on the vagaries of On-Line Dating, and my story is only remotely connected to OD.

As briefly as I can:

I lost my wife three years ago, to too short an illness.
Up to early Summer this year, I operated basically as a automaton, keeping up the facade of normality.

My daughters are grown up, one married in the other side of the world, and the other, unmarried here. I am 59, nearly 60.

During the two and a half period, while I was in a fug, I had what was the equivalent of a wet, heavy, grey concrete block lodged in my chest acting as a block to my normal way of operating with the world. Inherited from my father, I am of a very lighthearted disposition and I am blessed with his ready wit. But the "concrete block" just blocked all that.

Bad golfer that I am, I had a flukey hole-in-one while on a trip with a bunch of mates in early Summer. They made the usual fuss, but they did not realise that my wife and I had a running joke for years about a hole-in-one. The whole thing just caught me, and right there on the green, I literally broke down. I convulsed to such an extent that they thought I was having some kind of stroke. Could not continue the round.

But that night, for the first time since my wife, I drank pint for pint with the best of them. The following morning, I woke a little seedy - but, the "concrete block" was gone. Kaput. Vanished.

Since then, I miss my wife every day, miss all the little things and most of all, the laughs - because that was our lingua franca. But, my wit and drollery are back, despite the hole in my life.

In September, I went on holiday to Italy. Day 2, I decided to go on a full-day excursion to a number of tourist sites. Completely fortuitously, I sat next to a lady, at whom I hardly even glanced. A few desultory words grew into an easy conversation, to the extent that neither of us noticed when we had arrived at out first stop, two hours later.

It transpired that the lady had lost her husband four years ago, after a very long illness.

She was travelling with her Daughter, Niece and Pal of the niece. They were all in the their late 20's and great fun and really nice. Widow (to give her that name) lived back on her own back in the UK and was, best guess, 6/7 years younger than me. We all clicked immediately and we had really great fun all day. Throughout the day, Widow and I had great conversations - everything very easy and natural. We swapped experiences about being bereaved etc., hugged and had a tear or two, but mostly it was laughs and banter all the way.

At some point, she asked if I had ever tried OD. She told me about some of the ways she was messed about in that jungle - frankly, I thought she had to be exaggerating. At the time, I had no awareness of the crassness of some of the people inhabiting the OD world.

On the way back, and as they were in a villa an hour up the coast from me, I suggested to her, that I would take them for Dinner the following evening and asked for her number. She demurred, saying something to the effect that she did not give out her number anymore. She said "lets not spoil it", pecked me on the cheek and said I was a "charming man" and wished me "a lovely life". I told her that "charming" to me denoted a bit of a chancer and when I pressed her a little, she said that if I was genuine, that I would find her.

Earlier that day, I had given my number to Daughter. Niece was having no luck in getting interviews to get into a particular sector in which she wanted to work. I happened to have senior contacts in that sector in U.S. and promised I would make some calls - but not to tell Niece until I come up with something concrete.

Overnight, I got the promise of an interview for Niece.

Next morning, armed with the knowledge that they had not yet "hit the shops" in the resort town near where they were staying - I set out ready to "stalk my prey". As it happened, Widow rang from her Daughter's phone. Daughter had berated her for the way we had parted the previous evening. Told her I had some good news for Niece and they all came and joined me.

We spent the next four days talking and laughing and generally taking the piss, interspersed with long conversations about my wife and about her husband. Even though, we hung around as a group, the younger lot used to take off and leave us to our own devices.

Conscious that I was monopolising her time with her Daughter and the others, I said I would get out of their hair and took off on a three day trek. I was out of phone reception for a while and when I got back to base, I found a text from Daughter saying that they had had a change of plan. A friend of her Dad's had arrived with his "boat" and that he taken them off to Elba (there is a family connection) - thanking me for everything and hoping we would all meet again, etc., etc..

It was only then that I realised that I had not got Widow's number - when she had called me on the second day, it was from her Daughter's phone. So I was back to square one.

I did not know whether to be just sad, aggrieved or perplexed. But,I was devastated.


I actually managed to get three interviews for Niece, from which she got two job offers. She was extremely grateful and emailed me with progress steps all the way. She is a smashing girl.

Daughter has emailed me four times with bright, breezy messages and is talking about a career change, bouncing ideas off me. I have a very easy relationship with her - and the correspondence has all the hallmarks of continuing into the future.

From the Widow - not a word.
I sometimes feel that she could easily get my contact information from her Daughter. They are very close.
While Widow is very vivacious and great fun, there is a reserve about her.

After two months of failing to get her out of my mind, I called Daughter ostensibly to speak to her about her career plans. Mentioned that I had no number for her Mom. Daughter said it may not be a good idea if she gave me the number, but that she had a load of photographs from the holiday which she would circulate and that way, by default,I would get her Mom's email address.

By probing obliquely, I discovered that the guy with the "boat" was a co-executor of her Dad's will and that her Mom (who is not business-oriented) was a bit dependent on him. Despite being sick for many years, her Dad had remained a major shareholder in his business and that the business had been sold around the time her Dad had died. Together with some other companies, the company was being sued in relation to some contract and the sale proceeds had been frozen by the Court, pending the outcome of the case. In the meantime, Widow is reliant on this guy making claims for ongoing release of monies from the Court.

(Independently, I have since found out that this guy is a bit of a Flash Harry and is not, at all, the man of substance the Daughter described to me. He is divorced and unattached and when I asked Daughter if he and her Mom were a bit of an item, she no, but that "he used her" as a partner for some functions and stuff.)

The photographs were circulated to us. Daughter was cute and used the header "Guess who does all the talking in our family?". All the photographs were of Widow (talking) and a big number of them feature just the two of us. There was a bit of ribbing by the girls about me - Widow joined in the banter but never referenced me in any way.

Daughter had told me two things: "Mom is the straightest person I know - maybe too straight" - and - "Mom still carries a big torch for Dad".

So I emailed Widow. Very lighthearted in tone, I gave her an update on lots of stuff we had spoken about. Had been given advice in RL, to get the message across that I was not going to be hassling her - and to that end, I rather exaggerated how much time I was going to be away for over the next few months. I put in three "hooks" which should give her the opportunity to reply in a non-agenda kind of way. No kisses, no hugs, no flirty comments, no over-familiarity and no smileys. But, I felt the tone was nice and warm and easy.

That was six days ago.
No reponse.
Am I completely wasting my time?
I know she would not want to lead me on - but, I am very deflated in the sense that I thought her innate good manners and courteousness would have ensured a reply of some sort.

I know this is a total contradiction in terms - but, this is where I miss my wife the most. That is why I am looking for the female perspective.

I would be grateful for any insights. Instinct tells me that I have messed up somewhere. I might be the classic "no fool like an old fool" - but, I am no teenager either, and I can recognise when there is genuine rapport and spark as there was in this case. Maybe I am fooling myself!!!!!!!.

Leverette Tue 18-Dec-12 12:47:12

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Tue 18-Dec-12 12:51:01

"Am I completely wasting my time?"

Yes. When you got to this bit... She demurred, saying something to the effect that she did not give out her number anymore... you were being let down gently. You should have left it there really. All the subsequent stuff where you've arranged interviews, contacted the daughters and 'obliquely probed' comes across as far too heavy, needy, rather interfering.

Don't let it put you off but don't expect everyone who is nice to you to want to take it further. Learn to take no for an answer.

janey1234 Tue 18-Dec-12 13:10:38

You sound just lovely, and as such I hate saying this, but I think it's her way of saying no to you. sad Sorry.

janey1234 Tue 18-Dec-12 13:11:51

Oh and I don't think you sound heavy, needy or interfering. I think she's just not in the same place as you.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Tue 18-Dec-12 13:14:33

'Stalking his prey'.... ??? hmm I know it's meant as a joke but if that even hints at the OP's feelings about courtship.. running something down and worrying it until it gives in... then it's not a good approach.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 18-Dec-12 13:23:17

Sorry OP but she's just not interested in you.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 18-Dec-12 13:25:53

Also OP you do sound bit "stalkerish" time to leave well alone now and that means leaving her kids alone too.

SorryMyCandyCaneLollipop Tue 18-Dec-12 13:36:01

She may not be ready, you may have come on too strong, she may not check her email everyday. You need to let it go and wait for her to approach you (or not)

DeanMartinx Tue 18-Dec-12 13:47:08

Thank you for your fast responses.
I had hoped that there would have been more positive interpretations that I had missed.

Cogito - you obviously missed the bit where she said "If you are genuine, you will find me".

And she did call the following day before I found them. And she did spend the next four days with me - laughing and sharing a lot of important stuff.

All the stuff about interviews took place with Daughter and Niece before I had ever asked for her number.

I am the least "heavy" guy I know and I don't know on what you base the concept that I am "needy" and "interfering".

If "needy" means that I would like to make contact with a lady I liked very much, the world has changed a lot since I was last trying to make sense of the courtship game - or is that a word I should go back and censor as well.

As for using the term "stalking my prey" - I put it in inverted commas, for God's sake. If you read the rest of my post with the same attention you paid to that phrase (in inverted commas), you would know that there was no need to draw attention to it - and to make assumptions on the back of it.

Do I have to spell it out for you - I regard and treat ladies with the utmost respect at all times. And it is because of my awareness of the emotional swirl that a bereaved lady can be subject to, that I have acted in a circumspect manner - far from being "heavy" and "interfering".

Am I not allowed to be disappointed at her lack of response and to look for another outside view as what may be the reason.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Tue 18-Dec-12 13:50:10

"Cogito - you obviously missed the bit where she said "If you are genuine, you will find me".

People say all kinds of playful/flirty things in a holiday environment. Especially when they think you'll all be going home soon and never have to see each other again.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 18-Dec-12 13:50:17

Your tone has somewhat changed here OP hasn't it.

Leave the woman and her children alone.

I find you rather insistently creepy now.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Tue 18-Dec-12 13:54:52

You asked for a woman's perspective and you got it. If I'd met someone on holiday and he'd then pursued me via my children and didn't take no for an answer I'd feel completely weirded out by that kind of behaviour. Sorry you don't accept that.

janey1234 Tue 18-Dec-12 13:55:10

Yes you're allowed t be disappointed, of course.

But my honest opinion is that she's just not interested, for whatever the reason. If there's anything I've learnt from my years of singledom and dating it's that you usually don't know why someone's not interested, you just have to accept it and move on.

It's of course particularly hard for you given she's the first person you've been attracted to since your wife, but it just doesn't sound like she's keen.

As such please try to put it behind you. If she's interested she can - and will - find you. If she's not she won't, and probably won't explain why.

I know that's not what you want to hear - sorry sad

DeanMartinx Tue 18-Dec-12 17:18:35

Clipped Phoenix - your remarks "Leave the woman and children alone" are so far off the mark, that I wonder with what frame of mind you read my post.

Her niece wrote to update me on her progress in getting fixed up. I responded in the normal way and she continued to update me, without any prompting from me.

Her daughter emailed me totally unprompted and I responded without any requirement on her part to keep the correspondence going. She also sends me occasional stuff and references which she knows would be of interest to me. She is using me as a sounding board for some moves she is contemplating. She is a wised-up girl and would spot creepy or stalker-type behaviour a mile off.

I have a written a nice, neutral, newsey email to the lady, which follows on from the circulation of the photographs from the holiday. The photographs were the daughter's idea - and the daughter is quietly complicit in my making contact with her Mom. It was she that volunteered the information about her Mom which was designed to "mark my card".

I have no intention of hassling the lady and would never do so.
If she does not respond, I will just have to accept that for whatever reason, she does not want to engage at any level.

Being disappointed at the lack of response, I just wondered if there was a woman's point of view that would not be apparent to me. That's all.

But to be met with accusations of being a stalker, a creep and God knows what else is just outrageous. Have I wandered into some kind of jungle??

ClippedPhoenix Tue 18-Dec-12 17:29:41

So if you went away on a holiday and had no designs whatsoever on this woman would you have given your number to her daughters so readily? Would you have been so willing to help them?

It seems to me that you have rather pushed things a few time now and I stand by what i said. Maybe the daughters are also trying to "help" their mother, who knows but what jumps out at me here is this woman is not interested.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 18-Dec-12 17:32:11

If a man that we met on holiday corresponded with my son and sent pictures etc. I'd be telling him that contact should stop.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Tue 18-Dec-12 18:04:15

"Have I wandered into some kind of jungle??"

You've wandered into MN where women are women, Pom Bears are canapes, and opinions are freely aired. It is not for the faint-hearted and apologies if you feel at all 'got at'. However, it was you who used the jokey 'stalk my prey' phrase and, whilst acknowledging it as a joke, there's many a true word spoken in jest. If you've not been in the dating game for a while - and you say you want advice - that's the kind of underlying attitude/witticism that some women are going to pick up on as being inappropriate.

You mentioned a lot of 'ribbing' and 'banter' and you say you and your late wife shared a lot of in-jokes... which is normal. But there's a difference between what you can get away with with a long-term partner and how you might come across to a complete stranger.

Also, I'm sure you subscribe to the view that 'faint heart never won fair lady' but, again, there's a fine line between pressing your suit (to use a quaint old-fashioned phrase) and coming on too strong. The widow's daughters, being in their twenties, no doubt thought it was hilarious that mum was being hit on and they may even be encouraging her to find a new partner. But when she didn't join in with the 'banter' over the photos I would read that as her being a bit embarrassed by their enthusiasm. Not answering your mails kind of supports that.

BertieBotts Tue 18-Dec-12 18:09:09

OP she's just not that into you.

Tamoo Tue 18-Dec-12 18:19:32

I read your story on the dating thread.

I got the impression from there that the widow is not interested. Put it this way: if you had not assisted the daughter with her career progression you would not have any contact with any of these people now. Daughter is being friendly and forthcoming in gratitude for the interviews etc and possibly because she feels a bit sorry for you, a) as a widower, and b) as someone who is clearly interested in her mother. You have probably come across as a bit lonesome, and daughter is repaying you for your help with her career by trying to ameliorate said perceived loneliness by being (overtly) chummy.

The widow has had plenty of time and opportunity to get in touch with you. Obviously the daughter will have mentioned your regular contact and the fact that you ask after her mother. It seems the mother has told the daughter that she's not interested, but neither of them want to express it in such stark terms. They are probably hoping you will realise the fact yourself.

By the way you have given out an awful lot of quite personal circumstantial info about this family on MN - may not be a good idea?

DeanMartinx Tue 18-Dec-12 19:07:13

Tamoo - thanks. reasonable points. Just one thing. I don't come across as being in any way lonesome. I made it a point, even in my worst days, not to make my bereavement a burden on anybody else. I am lucky in that I am quite happy with my own company.
But thanks anyway.

Tamoo Tue 18-Dec-12 19:13:39

Sorry if that sounded harsh, I didn't mean to say that you made a particular point of your bereavement, but perhaps this family (especially the daughter) came to their own conclusion that you were lonely, based on the way you hooked up on holiday/sustained contact afterwards/made enquiries after the mother?

OhLittleTownofWesternWind Tue 18-Dec-12 21:04:15

Sorry to hear you've not had a reply, Dean. Could I offer a different perspective? A lot of us find Christmas to be a very difficult time of year, especially if we have lost people close to us. I would imagine that her thoughts are with her late husband a lot of the time at the moment. Obviously, this frame of mind isn't conducive to starting something new. You may be surprised by a reply in the new year, once things are back to normal. But of course, this might never happen.

Probably the best thing to do is put this behind you, throw yourself into what sounds like a busy life and enjoy your travelling. I sincerely hope things work out well for you, and am sure they will do, although not necessarily with this woman.

minmooch Wed 19-Dec-12 03:15:08

I don't think you come across as 'stalker ish' at all. To have met somebody on holiday is fantastic as you have a common interest in both choosing the same place to go to.

6 days is no time at all, it sometimes takes me longer to reply to my closest friends as my life is very busy. Perhaps she read your email where you implied you would not 'hassle' her and told her how much time you would be away as you saying you we're not that interested? I would have preferred a simple 'it would be lovely to catch up over coffee/lunch' lets her know you are interested, and she could respond to yes or no and you both know where you stand.

It sounds like you all had fun and it would be nice if you came out of this with a new friend if nothing else.

She may of course not be interested and too polite to say it bluntly.

LessMissAbs Wed 19-Dec-12 13:51:10


- she thinks your after her daughter or niece and using her as a way to them;
- she doesn't fancy you and finds you overbearing;
- she is a headfuck and too hard work
- you haven't actually asked her out on a date or declared your interest so you're never going to find out for sure until you do that - what a lot of carrying on, you've quite possibly put her off by not being direct enough, particularly if shes been messed around on online dating

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