Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I’ve been widowed for seven years. You can imagine the number of
well-meaning friends who tried to set me up long before I was finished
grieving my beloved wife of twenty-seven years. Recently, after trying
a fix-up or two with the last remaining single women in this social
circle, I went on the Internet to a nice Jewish dating site. I emailed
back and forth with various women. They were nice but boring and not
nearly as active or interested in travel as I am. Then I met someone I
genuinely like. She’s a year older than I am but she her profile was
great, and when we met for dinner the conversation and stories flowed
like wine. She is funny, articulate, smart, and seemed like just the
independent soul I would like to explore the world with.


Here’s the hitch: On our third date she told me of her youngest child
(no mention before this), who had severe brain damage at birth (now
mentally about six though almost forty) and needs 24/7 care, provided
primarily by my date, though occasionally by other relatives or paid
caretakers. She made a point of telling me that she has travelled with
this daughter in various countries, how “independent” she is, and that
it has never been a problem. Maybe not for her! Am I a churlish SOB
for not wanting to take this on as part of my retirement? Of the “many
fish in the sea” this is the nicest catch yet. But I can feel a hook my
cheek as well.


Dear Confused:

Everyone has a different life path that they walk. This woman has
clearly not buckled under a burden that other people might find
crippling. That is to her credit. Though I might understand why she
might be gun-shy about not mentioning this daughter until her third
date, it also speaks to a selective honesty and a different way of
looking that the world that you are right to be cautious about.
I’d reply with a simple email, after waiting a few days. In it ask her
very simply whether she assumes that you would be travelling with
her daughter if the two of you get into a deeper friendship or a
romantic relationship. That’s really the only question. Because if she
says No, you will still need to face the issue if you proceed. And if she
says Yes, you can face it now. I see it as a choice for you, not a
judgment about your character if you decline to take on an adult
disabled child. Other people might. You do not have to be one of them.