Dear Abby: Neighbor wants a relationship, but man thinks she’s too old

She’s 62 and doesn’t know her 47-year-old friend with benefits is avoiding a commitment because of their age difference.

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DEAR ABBY: Last night I visited my 47-year-old son. After a 23-year marriage, he is going through a nasty divorce. While I was there, he asked my opinion about what he should do regarding a “situation.”

A 62-year-old female divorced neighbor, who looks much younger, befriended him, and they’ve been having sex and spending time together for several months. She hasn’t been in any relationships for two years.

He told her he’s not interested in a permanent relationship because he’s still not in a good emotional place, but he told me the real reason is their age difference. She told him she wants to continue, hoping it will lead to something permanent. He wants to be friends with benefits but doesn’t want to hurt her feelings by telling her this.

He’s a decent guy and feels he’s being deceptive. I suggested he be honest and tell her it’s because of the age difference. What do you recommend? — MOM IN THE MIDDLE

DEAR MOM: Does your son think it will hurt the woman’s feelings less if he monopolizes her for months — or more — and breaks the news later? For some people, a 15-year age difference is no big deal. But the longer this arrangement continues, the more hurt she will be when she finds out how much it matters to him.

I agree with you. Honesty is the best policy. And you know what? If she’s as worldly as I suspect she may be, she may agree to continue the arrangement just the way it is.

DEAR ABBY: I am a quilter. I have created hundreds of quilts as gifts for friends and family over the last 30 years.

Earlier this year, my husband’s uncle passed away, and my mother-in-law brought his quilt over and gave it back to me. When my mother passed recently, I was given her quilt back, too. Looking at them makes me sad, but I can’t bear to just throw them away.

My question is, what do I do with them? And what can I say to people about not returning these gifts I made without hurting their feelings at the time they’ve lost their loved ones? — HURT IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HURT: This is the first I have heard about returning personal gifts to the givers after someone passes away, and frankly, I am surprised. I wonder if the same would be true of gifts of expensive jewelry or clothing?

If it happens again, all you have to say is how sorry you are for the person’s loss but that you don’t “need” the quilt back and suggest it be donated to a hospital, nursing home, senior center or orphanage. Consider contacting a local church for information on where they might be needed.

As to what to say to these grieving relatives, remember that when a gift is given, it is the recipient’s — or the recipient’s survivors — to do with as they wish. Try not to take it so personally.

DEAR ABBY: What do you say to a guy who resurfaces 10 months after our first encounter and wants to know if I want to “see” him again? He didn’t mention going to dinner or a movie or anything — just seeing each other every 10 days or so. — UNDECIDED IN FLORIDA

DEAR UNDECIDED: I’m not you, but this is what I would say: “What do you have in mind? A hike? A picnic at the beach? A socially distanced dinner?” And if his answer isn’t something more than getting together for sex, I’d pass.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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