Can he change at his age?

Chat at 1 p.m.

I have been dating a 60-year-old man for a year. I am 55. He has no income except for odd jobs. I am financially stable. I have purchased him a vehicle, tools, a phone, gas, dental work, and have given him use of two bank cards. I pay all of the bills and he spends most nights at the large home I own, and since I rarely cook, he is regularly wined and dined. We also have an active sex life.

I recently discovered that he had been texting and visiting an ex-girlfriend. I contacted her and she said they just visit and no sex is involved. She said that she has known him for many years and he had never been self-sufficient. He lived with her for five years until she made him leave because of his refusal to pull his weight. She said he texts that he thinks about her and is jealous when she is out and doesn't respond to his texts. He has also left birthday and Valentine's Day gifts at her front door during the year we have been dating. She forwarded his texts to me to corroborate her story.

The night I called her to get to the truth, she said he had been over earlier and broke down and asked if she would rent him her spare bedroom. She of course said no. I confronted him when he came back and told him that I would take back everything I had given him, that I wasn't going to put up with his dishonesty. I drove him to his friend's house and said I was done. The next day he could not apologize to me enough and said he was ready to be an honest man and would marry me, and said he'd never see her again if I never brought it up again. He said he finally felt free and he wanted to build a life with me. My question is should I believe him – and can someone his age change?

– Doubts

People can change at any age, but they'll still be themselves. If you're going to make big decisions about this relationship, you should consider who this man is right now and how much he'd have to change to make you feel secure and happy.

You were having problems with this partnership before you knew about the texts to his ex. You were feeling used and unsure about his intentions, and his continued connection with this other woman only added to your doubts.

His offer to get married is evidence that he doesn't want to have difficult conversations. If he's being thoughtful about his mistakes, why would he suggest jumping to that kind of commitment – before it really works? His request to never talk about it again means he wants to make this go away instead of working to make it better.

Marriage won't solve anything. You're better off trusting your gut, which seems to be telling you to let go.


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