Greek Tragedy?

8 May

Letterbalm Greek Fishing VillageDear LetterBalm: Last summer I went to Greece with some girlfriends. One of them had an affair with a waiter at our local taverna. He’s 15 years younger than she is. Ever since she returned home, he’s been calling and texting, asking her to come back. She went through a bad divorce, and this is the first guy she’s been with. She says they have a real connection, and she wants to move to Greece! We’re trying to tell her to be careful, but she won’t listen. She’s studying Greek and figuring out how to sell her stuff. What can we say to convince her that this isn’t a good idea?

–The Greek Chorus

Trust Ms. L.B. on this. She knows whereof she speaks. You’re not going to convince your friend because she’s in love – or lust – and isn’t listening. You’ve probably tried to tell her that there will be considerable culture shock. A Greek waiter may already have a wife or a (family approved) fiancée – and still be bedding every desirable woman who crosses his path. Even if they fall madly in love, your friend may be too old to have children or not interested in them, an important concern. She may want to work, but nothing will be available to her. And, as distasteful as it may be to consider, her lover may be interested in your friend for her money. He may have spread details of their affair to his friends. So, why not try to make her see that moving lock, stock and barrel 5,500 miles from home may not be the answer? A modified version may work better. Has she accumulated vacation time or can she take a leave from her job? Can she rent out her apartment or house? If her adventure doesn’t work out, she’ll need her home and job when she returns. It will be better for her to keep her options open until she knows this is a true relationship. This includes not lavishing money and gifts on her lover and his family. Sit her down, just the two of you so she doesn’t feel ambushed, and have a private, gentle talk:

Cynthia, you’re a smart woman, so I won’t insult your intelligence by trying to convince you not to go to Greece to be with Takis. I can only assume that you’ve considered the age difference, the fact that he may have a wife or fiancée, the language difference, the fact that your money may be what’s attracting him, and the the incredible culture shock. My dear, Takis could be your soul mate, who knows? You deserve to find out. So, I have a proposition. Consider going to Greece yet keeping your options open. You have six weeks’ accumulated leave. Why don’t you take it, rent out your condo during that time and go? That should give you enough time to see if Takis is serious and introduces you to his family and friends and if you two are compatible in important issues like children, religion, his education and job prospects and whether you’ll be able to work. Sweetie, I love you and I want you to be happy. I don’t want you to be hurt or taken advantage of. Heaven forbid that you wind up stranded in the middle of Greece, having given Takis your money and without a home to return to. That would be horrible. I just want you to go with your eyes open. What do you think? Can we talk about a plan?

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