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Dear Graham Norton: 'As I hit my mid-40s, I am struggling with feelings of disappointment'

Graham Norton, sad lady
'We're an unlikely match' writes a reader Credit: Andrew Crowley, Alamy

Dear Graham

I’m 44 and my partner is 75. We’re an unlikely match for many reasons (age difference, lack of shared interests, little visible connection when we’re in public). I drive myself very hard professionally, and work long hours, while my retired playboy is often bored and kicking his heels. But over 14 – sometimes stormy – years we have grown together in many ways. I’m hoping we’re more than a habit. I love him very much and want to make him happy. We have no children and we live together in his home.

​I am feeling insecure as well as dissatisfied. I know I’m missing something

But as I hit my mid-40s I am struggling with feelings of disappointment. I know we must find our own happiness, and ultimately the grass is not necessarily greener​.​.. anywhere.

But h​e asked me to move in with him six years ago with the promise of marriage – a promise that has not been fulfilled. Now​ ​I am feeling insecure as well as dissatisfied. I know I’m missing something. Is it time to be honest with myself and seize the day (however many I’ve got left)? Or live in the moment and count my blessings?

J, Somerset

Dear J

We think we measure time in standard units of hours, days and years; but the ticking of a clock can feel very different depending on the quality of life that we are living. You have been with your partner for 14 tumultuous years. The woman who entered this relationship at 30 was someone other, I imagine, than the person you are today. You feel that opportunities are being lost, possibilities are slipping by not to be revisited. You are bound to be more reflective about the life you are living.

On the other hand, the man who met you was already in his early 60s so I’m sure he had done quite a bit of soul-searching himself. Is he so very different at 75? Here is where time plays tricks on us.

'Are there different futures that you would prefer?' asks Graham Credit: Andrew Crowley

Imagine the next 14 years. The pages of the calendar are turned at the same rate – but how will those months really pass? You will be 58 and you will have watched your lover turn into an 89-year-old. If you’re lucky. You may well be a widow. Is that how you see your future? Are there different futures that you would prefer?

I don’t know what you want out of life but it strikes me that you are at a crossroads. Whatever road you choose make sure you are fully committed to it because trying to move forward while looking back over your shoulder at what might have been will always end in disaster.

More Agony

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When appropriate, the best letter will win a bottle of Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Premier.