Q. I am writing in response to a letter I saw in your column. When I was 30, I was still single and had been “in love” twice since I was 18. The first one came to an end naturally (he’s now one of my oldest and dearest friends); the second, tragically. My fiance was killed in a car accident a few months before our wedding when I was 26. I went on with my life, and at 30, I was enjoying my career and family and being the favorite Auntie for my nieces and nephews. I was really happy and realized that if I never fell in love again, it’d be cool. I was just as happy without a significant other as I had been when I had one!
I went along doing my thing, being social, enjoying my job and hobbies, and when I was 30 I met an awesome guy 10 years my senior at a Humane Society fund-raiser. We met in May, moved in together in January and got married the following May on the anniversary of our first date.
As a society, we put so much emphasis on marriage as the be all and end all to happiness that we create too much stress and angst about it. Quite frequently, when we stop wigging out about The Big M, as my husband and I jokingly call it, we find someone to be with.
We’re still together 12 years later and are planning on forever. I honestly don’t think everyone has to get married to be successful and happy. For us, this is how it worked out, but we were both happy with our lives before we got together, and if it hadn’t worked out for us, we’d still be happy. And yes, First Love did dance at our wedding.
A. Hooray for you — and thank you for confirming a few of my beliefs. One is that a partner does not make a life great, but can share it. Everyone is responsible for their own happiness, and for many people, solo is the way to go. Bachelors were always around, but the women’s movement made it acceptable for women, as well, to travel light.
Not to get too woo-woo about it, but I do subscribe to the Zen tenet that when you stop looking, you will find whatever it is you want — or stumble on it. And I am a great believer in affinity groups. You and your husband shared an interest from the get-go, which immediately gave you something in common. Long may you love.
Q. A guy I befriended in the gym a year ago became my client, and we are both aware of the extra mile I have gone and how well it has served his business. While he’s been verbally appreciative of what we do and has invited me to some of his social occasions, I thought there was a mutual liking, personally.
Just today I was a part of a conversation with him and another woman when she began thanking him for the lovely gifts (this is the festive season here). As we were all standing together, I could sense his awkwardness and discomfort. I am aware that this woman has connected with him in the gym this season. I felt a bit bad. I had presumed we were all on an equal platform. (By the way, the guy and I are both single, and she is married with a family.)
This isn’t some sort of love-triangle at all. If he does not send a gift, that is fine with me. I have a job to do and will continue to do it and remain courteous. But I am anticipating a “corporate gift” to me, and it will feel like a compensatory-consolation well-I-meant-to-send-you-one-as-well thing. How do I respond to this kind of consolation?
A. With a cordial thank-you note.