You will find my problem very strange. I have real feelings for this guy who is based in India. He is Asian like me — but aged 40, while I am 52.
For four years he has been divorced. His ex-wife left him for his best friend.
Because he works in films, I have always liked him and have seen two of his movies.
As he is a popular actor, I am able to have so many photos of him downloaded on my phone.
At first I just liked him as one of my favourite Bollywood film actors. But, over the past few months, my feelings for him have intensified so much that I have begun to love him deeply. Yet I have never met him.
Thought of the day
I’m her fella she’s my mate
She steals the chips right off my plate
No wonder I’m losing weight
I’ve fallen in love with my wife.
John Cooper Clarke (British poet and performer b 1949)
In my everyday thoughts he and I are together as boyfriend and girlfriend and he loves me very much.
I imagine that he flies out to UK every weekend to see me and is back away in India for his work during the week.
Having this beautiful dream of us together makes me feel like I finally have a loving man in my life — though it is all in my thoughts and dreams only. The downside to all this is that I have begun to miss him tremendously. I wish he could be with me in real life.
And I keep thinking to myself that maybe we would have been together properly had it happened at an earlier time in my life — when circumstances would have brought us together.
Since 2004, I have been divorced. Everything else in my life is happy. I have four lovely grown-up children and a happy home life with them.
But I so long for a loving man in my life who holds me in his arms in just the way the guy I like loves me in my thoughts and dreams.
How can this be happening to me? How can I feel so deeply for a man I have never met?
He has had such a deep impact on my life that at times I feel angry that he can’t be with me.
Why do I feel so emotional and upset at yearning for a film actor at this stage of my life?
How can I bring him into my life?
If that can’t happen, how do I balance my emotional feelings over him?
I very much need your thoughts and advice.
This week Bel advises a man who has feelings for a Bollywood film star who has been divorved for four years, after his ex-wife left him for his best friend.
Have you ever heard the classic song Mad About The Boy, written in 1932 by the actor and playwright Noel Coward?
The song expresses adulation for a film star (although there are other layers, too) and in the show Words And Music it was sung in turn by a group of women queuing outside a cinema. Here’s how it starts:
Mad about the boy
More from Bel Mooney for the Daily Mail…
I know it’s stupid to be mad about the boy
I’m so ashamed of it but must admit the sleepless nights I’ve had
About the boy
On the silver screen
He melts my foolish heart in every single scene…
That is you in a nutshell, isn’t it? And before readers start chorusing that you are deluded (which you’re quite aware of, I think) I will point out that such a passion for somebody out of reach is very common.
Why did I have a picture of Elvis on my wall when I was 13? Why did girls faint when they saw The Beatles?
Why have lonely men always fixated on distant female love objects — beautiful, unattainable film stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor? How many lads had Raquel Welch, Farrah Fawcett and Blondie posters in their bedrooms?
And in case people are thinking, ‘Sensible people grow out of crushes on the unattainable’, let me tell you that once, in Vienna, I met a highly intelligent, professional middle-aged woman who bought a ticket for wherever opera star Placido Domingo was performing in the world.
She wore evening dress in a modest seat and waited for the tenor at the stage door in all weathers. (This was the inspiration for a short story you can read on my website belmooney.co.uk/3_WaitingForPlacido/index.html).
Was she in love with the star? My story ends with the provocative words: ‘This was as true a love as any.’
All this is to reassure you that I don’t dismiss your problem. The question is whether this fixation is in anyway spoiling your life. You say it isn’t — although added privately that you don’t want your family to find out. Sigmund Freud might have seen your crush as a form of ‘regression’. He thought that having reached a certain stage of development, a person may retreat to an earlier level because of fear.
A person who has been hurt may shut themselves up in a private dream world. Yet Freud believed that such regressions need not be harmful, but that dreaming could be ‘beautiful’ because it offers comforting wish-fulfilment.
But you need to ask yourself if this fantasy life is making you hide from your real self.
You maintain that it isn’t — and yet your email speaks of a yearning for love and fear that you won’t find it. Divorced for years, happy on the surface, you say: ‘I so long for a loving man in my life who holds me in his arms in just the way the guy I like loves me in my thoughts and dreams.’
And why has this fixation become so powerful recently?
Because of your age maybe, I am wondering if you are suffering symptoms of the menopause and should mention this to your GP — or seek natural treatments in a health food shop.
Your rather frantic list of questions at the end of your letter suggests that you are not very happy at all, but confused and wondering how to move out of this state.
What to do? For a start, are you happy with the way you look and, if not, can you do something about that? Do you have good female friends to confide in?
Instead of keeping your passion secret, why not share it with a little giggle? That’s a good way to find ‘balance’.
Finally, rather than obsessing over this star (whom you will never meet), why not visualise a friendship with a man who might be round the corner?
It’s time to put down your phone and create a new reality.
Last week, I gave a website for LGBT issues. The way it was printed confused some people, so here again is: www.straightpartnersanonymous.com
At my age, is it decent to want sex?
I feel rather embarrassed even asking this question.
Last year, my long-term partner moved out, but for two years before we’d had little or no physical contact, though sharing the same bed.
I believed this was my punishment for allowing my son (aged 40) to move back in after acute problems. Much as I love my son, I miss male company.
I have a male friend from my volunteering role and we go on outings. He’s kind and good company, but there is no physical attraction.
I’m thinking of signing myself up to a dating site, but am aware of the pitfalls I read about.
My real question is — is it decent for me to want to find a man and have a sexual relationship at my age? I miss the closeness this brings and feel near to tears with my loneliness.
There is no need to be embarrassed, still less to use the word ‘decent’.
One of the things the young find impossible to believe is that older people have physical longings, just as they do. The body may age, yet the soul is ageless — and so is the longing for love.
But the word ‘love’ is infinitely elastic, isn’t it?
Some married women love their husbands, yet lose interest in sex once they have children; others after the menopause — and all that is normal.
Honestly, I have as much an aversion to assumptions that all relationships require hot sex to survive (which I read all the time in advice columns and articles) as young people have at the thought of older folk bonking!
So many preconceptions are made — and they fail to honour the infinite variety of the human spirit. So the first thing you have to do is realise you are not odd — just perhaps more physically switched on than many women your age. But what to do about it?
I fear a dating site will lead to more disappointment and perhaps real hurt. So if you try, please do so with that warning in mind.
Make sure that your photograph is good but up to date, ‘sell’ yourself brightly — and be careful. I send up wishes to the universe that a lovely man is out there, waiting to enfold you.
But I also think you have to consider why you equate sex with ‘closeness’ — almost to the exclusion of other forms of companionship.
You say you want to ‘find a man’ — and you have, without the sex. Your kind friend is there for you to go out and about with; would you drop him if you found a beau?
To be frank, many older women who write to me — truly lonely because they have nobody at all — would envy you that companionship.
All I ask is that you value it properly and realise that sexual connection is just one part of the human story.
As I get older, I value mutual support, kindness, laughter, shared interests, a big hug, good conversation and simple chat, harmonious silence and sympathy at bad times… all of it adding up to love… yes, more than the sexual frenzy of wonderful, painful youth.
But that’s me, not you.
It’s just worth thinking about, so that you put your longings in perspective, for your own sake.
And finally… The uplifting power of forgiveness
In last week’s column I wrote: ‘I praised forgiveness and reconciliation… the noble message of the Christian religion I follow — nothing will change my belief in its goodness.’
A reader who wishes to remain very private wrote with a terrible story about her sister and dead mother and what sounds like appalling, exploitative treatment — and asked me sadly whether I could advocate ‘forgiveness and reconciliation’ in a case like hers. She wishes she could, but clearly cannot forgive her sister.
Obviously, this family story is (as is usually the case) very complicated.
Yet it’s important to explain that I can’t believe in forgiveness at any price. I am always astonished when I read of good, noble people who say they have forgiven those who have murdered a loved one.
Bel answers readers’ questions on emotional and relationship problems each week.
Write to Bel Mooney, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT, or email email@example.com.
A pseudonym will be used if you wish.
Bel reads all letters but regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
Could I forgive the monster who killed my child with bullet or bomb? No, I could not.
Yet people can and do. That’s why, from time to time, I like to direct readers to an extraordinary charity called The Forgiveness Project (theforgivenessproject.com).
It has no political or religious affiliations, but collects real stories of victims and perpetrators of crime and violence to help people explore ideas around forgiveness and alternatives to revenge.
The core message is that everyone has the potential to change their perspective and break the cycle of vengeance. This message is one the world needs more than ever.
To learn more, visit the website and click on ‘Stories’ — which come from all over the world. The website is powerful and uplifting — and, Lord knows, that’s what we need.
Of course, no description of the goodness of others will help a family mired in conflict or salve the feelings of a spouse cruelly treated.
Yet if we do not cling to a belief that healing is possible — even somewhere else — then surely our humanity is called into question.