DEAR ABBY: My wife and I hope you can answer a question for us. Two couples we were extremely close with for more than 10 years were divorced two and three years ago. We have just been told that Husband A has been secretly dating Wife B for six months. Wife A and Wife B were “besties.” The men were good friends, but not best friends like the women. Both couples were married for more than 25 years. They are all in their mid- to late 50s. My question is, is there a code where you don’t date one of your friend’s exes?
— TAKEN ABACK IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR TAKEN ABACK: While divorce among long-married older adults (“gray divorces”) may seem shocking to you, it has become more common. Many women are more economically independent than they were in decades past. In the wake of the long COVID lockdowns, people have been reevaluating not only their relationships, but also their career paths — and deciding to try something they feel might be more rewarding. The situation you have described is regrettable, but it is no longer shocking. Be smart. Remain on the sidelines and don’t judge.
DEAR ABBY: I lost my husband six months ago. He was my world, and I miss him terribly. We were together for 42 years and raised five beautiful children. I want to go back to school and get recertification as an EMT. My goal is to reach paramedic level. I’ll be 62 on my next birthday and have a few health problems. (Don’t we all?) Is my goal realistic? I plan to use these skills by volunteering in my community. I was a nationally certified EMT and hospital corpsman in my younger days. I just want to feel useful again.
— NEXT PHASE IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR NEXT PHASE: Please accept my condolences for the loss of your husband. If you can meet the physical qualifications, and since you already have the training, go for it! If you do, the payoff could be the emotional satisfaction you are seeking. I wish you the best of luck.
DEAR ABBY: Why do former classmates still send Facebook friend requests 16 years after we have graduated? These are people I barely had contact with or none at all while we were in school. I knew of them because of the yearbook, but other than that — nothing. Is this common? Was it because they came across the “people you may know” feature and saw what I look like today and think I’m cute and what they missed out on?
— MYSTIFIED IN WASHINGTON
DEAR MYSTIFIED: It’s possible because of the miracle of the internet. However, not everyone falls into that category. Some former classmates may be reaching out because they are lonely, curious about what life has dealt their peers or trying to reconnect to a more carefree time than they are experiencing today. If you don’t wish to be contacted, you are free to delete the messages.