Dear Amy: I’m a 67-year-old man, married for over 40 years.
I felt pressured into marrying my wife, all those years ago. We have two children, both middle-aged men.
I met “Annie” online and we’ve been chatting and talking for two years now.
I really like her! She is a little immature but seems very fun to be around.
She’s 29 years old. She says she’s in love with me, but we’ve never met.
I’m hoping to meet her next month.
I’ve told her many times that I’m too old for her, but she starts to cry and doesn’t want to think about not being without me.
I’ve tried various common-sense approaches, but she starts to cry.
What do you think I should do?
Will this be a mistake?
I really want out of my marriage, but I don’t want to lose my family.
This decision is very hard for me because I really care for her. I think I’ve fallen in love! She has told me she feels the same way, and also says she wants to have a baby with me.
I’m very confused and would really like your advice.
— Lost in Love
Dear Lost: First this: I guarantee that you will not like my advice.
Where to begin? Let’s start with your marriage. If you want to end it, then end it — as cleanly and ethically as possible.
Ditching your wife for the empty promise of an online affair is a rotten, cowardly, low-down way out. If you choose this path, you will lose the esteem of your family. I doubt that your sons will accept your choice to be with a phantom woman a decade younger than they are.
Onto this affair. Do an internet search for the term “catfish.”
Briefly stated, a catfish is an online romance scam where scammers — many from very remote locations — prey on lonely, bored, or broken people.
A romance scammer will run out a relationship for many months — sometimes years — in order to extract an emotional and/or financial payoff.
Questions to ask yourself: Has “Annie” asked you for money? Have you provided any credit card or banking information to her? Have you sent gifts to her, ordered things for her, or shared any online accounts with her?
Have you video chatted with this person and verified her identity?
Have you checked out all social media accounts attached to her name and identity?
Because romance scammers often use phony photos to mask their real identity, I am urging you to be extremely cautious regarding this relationship. If you have not verified her identity, Annie might in fact be “Ernie.”
Fightcybercrime.org offers information and resources to recognize different ways that scammers work to ensnare people. Do a search on the site for “romance scams” in order to learn more.
Dear Amy: My grandmother kept a journal of her childhood memories, which she left to me after she died.
One of her memories is about her childhood friend, “Clara.”
My grandmother wrote about how Clara’s uncle sexually abused them.
She also writes that Clara died from complications of a “backstreet abortion” when she was a teenager, and that Clara’s uncle was the culprit.
She wrote enough detail that I can locate Clara’s family.
Should I reach out to any of the descendants and offer the information I have about the circumstances of their ancestor’s death?
What if this girl wasn’t his only victim?
What purpose would it serve?
If I should initiate contact and offer information, how far removed from this man should I reach out? His children? Grandchildren? In-laws or nieces and nephews?
— Holder of Secrets
Dear Holder: This is extremely upsetting and challenging knowledge to possess. However, in my view you should focus solely on the impact of this episode on your grandmother’s life and relationships.
Reaching out to strangers with a very removed hearsay report which you cannot verify lands a bombshell into another family. If you cannot answer the question, “What purpose would it serve?” then you should not do it.
Dear Amy: Like many other readers, I am alarmed by the choice of some parents to allow their teenagers to drink alcohol at home.
In my opinion, anyone witnessing or being aware of this should call the police. It’s illegal!
Dear Disgusted: In many states, it is legal for parents to allow their underage children to drink alcohol at home.
In my opinion, parents should not allow any behavior at home which is illegal outside of the home.