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Dear Fiona: I’m Worried About Widowed Mum, Should I Sign Her Up To A Dating Agency As A Birthday Surprise?

The problem…

“My stepfather died two years ago. He and I were never that close, as he and my mother got together some years after I myself got married and was busy bringing up children.

However, my mum was devoted to him and still seems to miss him terribly.

“She married him two years after her first husband – my dad – died, so she’s been through this loss twice.

I think he did love her, and she really loved him, plus she liked having the security and companionship of having a man around.

“She’s very fit and has a wide circle of female friends with whom she was (pre-Covid) used to doing all sorts of activities with, like bowling, walking and going out to the local theatre.

It’s really unfortunate that Covid put paid to all these just when she needed them the most.

“She’s only 53 now – very young to have been widowed twice – and I was wondering whether she could benefit from joining a ‘lonely-hearts’ group or a dating agency. Should I sign her up with one and surprise her with it on her birthday next month?”

Fiona says…

“I don’t think you should do this without discussing it with her first. Joining an agency and going out on blind dates is a very personal thing and doesn’t suit everyone.

She may be ready to start dating again – or she may not. A wide circle of female friends might be enough for her, or joining a group and meeting a new potential partner might be exactly what she’d like to do – you won’t know unless you ask.

“Your mother may well meet new friends of either sex by continuing to be involved in the wonderful range of activities you mentioned.

I would encourage her to try and revive these again as soon as possible – certainly the bowling and walking, being outdoor activities, should no longer be restricted.

“If the original groups she belonged to aren’t getting together again yet, encourage her to look for more – there must indeed be some that have started up.

You might like to get her looking at new types of sports too – clubs often have club houses where people can meet and socialise; consider tennis, golf and so forth.

“Your mother sounds very young and active but you have to remember that a dating agency or lonely-hearts group will probably start by being online.

That means her age may count against her, as women of your mother’s age outnumber men in almost every agency and that will reduce her chances of meeting someone.

When people can see her and meet her in social situations, age won’t be such an issue.

“Is it possible that you are worrying unnecessarily here?

Have you actually asked your mum how she is feeling about having someone else around? Yes, she may be missing your stepfather dreadfully, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she wants to find a new partner – she might be happier with a dog and a decent security system!

If you’re concerned about her living alone, have a chat with her and tell her about your worries.

She might be ready to consider a move, either closer to you or to some kind of gated housing if she’s nervous.

“If she does think a dating agency would be a good idea, I’d strongly advise going for a larger, reputable one.

Ask questions about the number of people on their books in her age range, and encourage her not to be restrictive as to the area and type of person she is prepared to meet.

A friend of mine widowed three years ago and now in her late-70s has recently moved in with a gentleman she met through an online agency.

He is nothing like the kind of person she thought she wanted and lived miles from her – but she’s very happy indeed that she didn’t restrict her choices!”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to help@askfiona.net for advice.

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Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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