Miss Lonelyhearts

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I had a best friend from work. We kept each other sane in bad times
and celebrated together in good ones. There were many more of the
former than the latter, including not just work crises by each of our
declining marriages and divorces. I retired two years ago but have still
consulted for the old firm. We continued information sharing and
commiserating, though I have been single and his marriage collapsed
later. Suddenly he’s fallen in love and within three months is living
with a woman and her daughter. (He’s been divorced for not even six
months!) I feel dumped, not to put too fine a point on it. I feel like he
dropped me by the side of the road when he met her. I barely hear
from him and usually only as a response to the second or third
voicemail that I&'ve left saying “Hi.” I guess I needed the social contact,
because my life feels emptier. Do I call him on his behavior or do I do
something else?

Miss Lonelyhearts

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts:

Most people are far less available to their friends at the beginning of
romance. But as the relationship settles down into cohabitation and
regular living they generally come back to older connections. Your
response seems a little over the top for a former colleague. Are you
sure you didn’t have a crush of some kind on him, and perhaps some
unrealized expectations that were clearly not reciprocated in that
particular way? Also, if you are being very judgmental about his choices,
he may be avoiding you on purpose.

I’d suggest looking for social connections with other retired people.
You will not have the same history of associations and stories as you
would with someone with whom you have shared suffering. But you do
have a chance to create new, shared experiences, ones based on
common interests and happier forms of bonding. Start with the local
community college and senior center websites. Look for classes in
subjects in which you are already accomplished as well as ones you’ve
always had a hankering to explore. Think everything from
conversational Spanish to Thai cooking. Look for senior hiking groups
and volunteer opportunities. Don’t run away if it doesn’t feel like home
immediately. These things take time to develop. As for your former
colleague, let him dial you.