DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I was out floating around in my fishing boat watching the birds, water and trees. Along came this woman, also in a boat and she waved, cut the motor and started floating around, too. We started calling to each other and finally decided to beach the boats together and have a real chat. Three hours later we left to get our cars and meet for dinner at a hotel in the next town. Then she said it was time to say goodbye. We kissed at our cars for a long time. Then she put her hand on my face, looked deeply into my eyes, and said, "Thank you, but I can't see you again," and then she just left. I don't even know her last name. How can I find her? -- Lost Chance at Love? Winnipeg
Dear Lost Chance: Don't feel too badly. You didn't lose your chance, because there really wasn't one. This lady told you goodbye because she has a commitment elsewhere. She may not have been wearing a wedding ring when she was on the water, but she's probably married or living with somebody, has a mate who travels a lot, or maybe is the caregiver for a partner who is sick. She had a rare experience with you she will treasure and think about for a very long time. I hope you pressed your card on her. With a connection like you had, she may be back when and if she's free, but don't wait even five minutes for her. That was a romantic "moment" in her life that may help her continue in the pattern she's in. Your smartest move is to also see it as a romantic interlude, not connected to your life beyond a pleasant memory of an afternoon.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I met a man online and we went for coffee at a café on Corydon. We watched the last leaves falling in our zipped-up jackets leaning against a sunny wall when out of nowhere he said, "You remind me so much of my wife." I said "What wife?" and he said, "My wife who died five years ago," and then told me the whole story. By the time he finished we were both in tears. I went home knowing I'd never see him again, but I think he went home thinking he'd found his substitute wife. What do I tell him if he contacts me again? He's already had so much pain. I don't want to hurt him, but it hurts me to listen. He told me he still cries for her every day. -- Too Much Pain For Me, Winnipeg
Dear Too Much: This is not the beginning of a romance for you, but you're probably right. This poor man will call you again, and if he does, tell him gently he has a lot of grieving left to do. Add that you couldn't ever be his girlfriend, anyway, because you remind him of his wife which only makes things worse. There's nothing that turns a man off romance faster than being told to see a shrink, but that's what this fellow needs and you have nothing to lose by telling him. It could literally take forever for him to heal if he's stuck at this stage and doesn't get a coach to help him work through things. After five years, he's depressed on top of grieving -- two different conditions -- and he needs more than a support group. Tell him his physician could refer him to a psychiatrist on medicare or a psychologist who may be covered by work insurance, and urge him to get help with his grief.
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