Tough Love: Forgetting Names, Finding Friends, and Falling in Love

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This Widower Isn’t Sure How to Approach His New Relationship

Dear Patrick,

I am 74. My wife passed away last May. We had been married almost 50 years. Recently, I met a very nice lady and we have been seeing each other regularly for some months. It is pretty intense.

At my age, does it make any sense to even think about another long term relationship? If so, does it make more sense to marry, or just be together?


Sweatin’ It to the Oldies

Hey Sweatin’:


You met a nice lady. Great! You’re seeing each other regularly. Excellent! And it’s intense. Fantastic! Sounds like you have a good thing going there. I don’t know you very well, Sweatin’, but life is short and you’re running out of time. Why should you spend one minute of it being unhappy? If this woman makes you happy, and you want to keep it going, then I don’t see what should stop you. You’re older, fine, but that doesn’t mean you should hold back how you feel. If that means jumping into a long term relationship, then go for it man.

Does marriage make sense for you guys? I don’t know, does marriage really make sense to begin with? Again, Sweatin’, just do what feels right. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. There’s no actual rule that says you have to be married to love each other and be together. It’s very common these days for couples to be together and devoted without being married. Then again, marriage does give you an excuse to go on an awesome honeymoon vacation…


Because I just don’t have the time or patience for all of you…



JohnW asks:

Should I get an electric mower to replace my gas powered one? If so which do you recommend?

Well John, unless you get one that’s cordless—which is more expensive—it will be kind of like vacuuming your yard. Lame. And how are you supposed to wake the whole neighborhood up on Saturday morning with a far-quieter electric engine? That said, electric mowers are much better now than when they were introduced. If your gas powered one is getting old and you can find a good deal, go for it. It’s good for the planet or penguins or one of those things I think. Go cordless, though! People seem to like the Greenworks models.

Junker23 asks:


I need to find somewhere new to live and work. Aside from teaching 6 months in Thailand last year, I’ve been in Boston for forever.

There are too many places; decide for me, please?

Scottsdale, Arizona. So hot right now.

Snorp asks:



Should I buy a hot tub? I want to be hot and submerged in water every day but I don’t fit in my bathtub.

Hot tubs are awesome. All of my instincts are telling me to say “Yes, spend the money you fool, you could die at any second.” But! I have a few questions for you… First, do you have anyone in your life you can use it with? If not, get a bigger tub instead. Roman-style. Second, do you have a place to put it? Hot tubs are quite large. I know this because I’ve sat in over three of them. Third, are you willing to take care of it? They actually require a lot of upkeep, which is actually really annoying and so not relaxing. And lastly, do you live near me so I can also use your hot tub whenever I please? If not, probably not worth it, you know?

Dividing by Zero says:


I’m currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering but can’t bring myself to study much/care about it. Math is the main problem.

You don’t like math, huh? If you’re just getting started with your degree, you have several years of math to look forward to, including linear algebra, physics, differential equations, multiple levels of calculus, and vector calculus. So, what’s the real issue? Do you just not like math? Or are you merely struggling with it?

If you just don’t like math but you’re capable of doing it, you can suck it up and power through. In the end, you won’t be doing a ton of complicated equations at work anyway. If you’re just struggling with the coursework, find a tutor. Maybe you’ll care about math a bit more when you understand it. If it’s both, you should probably rethink your major. Math is essential to engineering. You need to know it. And to know it, you kind of need to care about it.

That’s it for this week, but I still have plenty of blunt, honest advice bottled up inside. Tell me, what’s troubling you? Is work getting you down? Are you having problems with a friend or a coworker? Is your love life going through a rough patch? Do you just feel lost in life, like you have no direction? Tell me, and maybe I can help. I probably won’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but sometimes what you need is some tough love. Ask away in the comments below, or email me at the address you see at the bottom of the page (please include “ADVICE” in the subject line). ‘Til next time, figure things out for yourself.

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