'Will I look like an old fool if I tell my neighbour I fancy her?'

Dear Coleen,

I’ve often wondered how many men and women live next door to each other who would like to have a relationship with each other, but fear of rejection stops them from revealing their feelings.

I find myself in this situation. I’m a 60-year-old man and I’d like to be in a romantic relationship with the woman next door, who’s a similar age and lives alone. However, I don’t have the nerve to tell her how I feel because I don’t know how she feels about me.

I’ve known her for six months and she seems friendly when I talk to her over the garden fence or when I pass her at the shops.

I wonder if she would have approached me by now if she liked me, or maybe she’s got no idea how I feel about her, so she doesn’t have the courage to say anything.

It could be a situation where both of us would like a relationship, but the fear of rejection will keep us apart.

It feels sad that love and intimacy could be so near, yet so far.

I could say, “what the hell, let’s go for it” and if she does reject me, I’ll soon get over it. I guess that’s life – we can’t always get what we want. I’d just have to pick myself up, dust myself down and get on with it.

The problem is, I see her every day, so it might be hard to deal with. Should I take the chance in the hope of it working out and risk looking like a pathetic lovelorn old fool? I’d appreciate your advice?

Coleen says

It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re at – whether you’re a teenager or in your 60s – telling someone you have feelings for them is a nerve-racking thing.

And, yes, it usually is because we’re worried about being rejected and looking foolish, and about how we’re going to cope when we bump into that person after they’ve turned us down with a big fat “No, thanks!”.

What strikes me here, is that you don’t know this woman, so there’s no friendship there. Yes, you say hello to her and have a chat over the garden fence but, if I were you, I’d take a few steps back and try to get to know her better before diving straight in with a big romantic gesture.

Now lockdown restrictions have been relaxed, why not invite her over for a glass of wine in the garden and see how you get along?

See if there’s anything there and if you get along really well, then I think it’ll seem more natural to take the relationship to the next level.

I love your attitude of going for it and getting over the rejection – nothing ventured; nothing gained. But yes, in this scenario, you’d have to be prepared she might not feel the same because she doesn’t really know you.

Start with the friendship and see where it takes you. Good luck.


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