Q: I am a 50-year-old woman, and I married my first serious boyfriend when I was 21. We had five children, and divorced after 15 years of marriage. I've been dating for the last 14 years. I've finally met a man I like. He's 49 years old and we want the same things. He lived in Germany for years, he was in the military, and after his tour, he married a German woman, to whom he was married for 14 years. He’s now divorced, and we’re trying to have a relationship, but he isn't like the men I’ve dated. He doesn’t offer to do nice things for me. It’s not that I need him to take care of me, but I’m used to men buying me flowers and other things just because. He feels that taking me to the movies and dinner at casual restaurants is romantic! I guess I’ve just been spoiled all my life, and this guy is not what I'm used to. What should I do? He never offers me money for pampering, shopping or just for gas. Am I being selfish? —Unsure
Dear Unsure, It’s not a matter of being “spoiled” or “selfish;” it’s just that the two of you express love in different terms. The book, “The Five Love Languages” explains that you appreciate gifts to show adoration, while your partner values engaging in quality time. Add that variation to the fact that your guy’s been living in another culture, and accustomed to other standards.
“Want[ing] the same things” is just one ingredient for happiness. Now you must discuss your love language preferences. Until this is resolved, you’ll continue to feel “unsure” of boyfriend’s commitment. Attention all couples! The way in which thorny issues are resolved will determine the shelf life of your love!