Imagine what would happen if this lovely lady were to meet another man next week, experience a coup de foudre and call time on your two-year relationship. I am so proud of them and they are a great comfort to me.I want you to think carefully how you would feel and value what you have accordingly. As I write, my elder daughter has just arrived in New Zealand — she’s gone there to live with her future husband.

my wonderful girlfriend and i had been dating-1

She does not possess a bad bone in her body and always makes my kids and family welcome.

In fact, my children are able to confide in her more than in their own mother. What is wrong with people that they think perfect happiness is out there, waiting to be felt in the lurch of a stomach? You must have known I would say this — and express what you know to be the truth.

The children all get on brilliantly, spending the majority of alternate weekends together (when I see my kids) doing various activities and we have been away on holiday several times now. My girlfriend and I also spend quality time together, enjoying each other’s company, and are always able to communicate and work things out amicably if there has been a disagreement (oh what a joy, I hear you say! Many of the people who write to this column are enduring real, deep misery and I’m sure they will read both letters today and cry out: ‘What’s wrong with you? ’ Yet, as I often point out, there isn’t really a league table of problems and each person winces at the prick of personal pain, experiencing it uniquely. I’m afraid stomach movements always make me think of throwing up. It’s as if you are being buffeted by two opposing selves — the sensible one and the silly, spoilt teenager who wants the upper hand.

Actually, I chose your letter because it raises a truly important issue, which causes untold misery — and always has. What a pesky and pernicious thing it is — this hankering after the earth moving and the waves crashing on the shore and the bones igniting and breath stopping . You have painted a picture of such a good relationship that every lonely reader your age who longs for companionship will want to smack you for being so obtuse. Then —believe it or not — in the same postbag I found that a lady called Sylvia, writing with her own problem, had copied out for me that very poem!

I don’t think your issue does ‘highlight the choices over-50s need to make while dating’. Amazed, I decided that it must have a message for you — so please Google it now.

Believe me, most of them would be eternally grateful to have found what you have — because (to be blunt) they have reached a mature understanding of how rare is the very contentment you are (by implication) belittling. I studied your letter, which put me in mind of a favourite poem of mine called Not Love, Perhaps by a long-neglected poet called A. (Though out of print for years, this wonderful poet is reprinted now by Faber Finds).

The poem compares the romantic idea of love ‘that many waters cannot quench’ with the mutual companionship and support, which helps a couple ‘walk more firmly through dark narrow places’.

Tessimond celebrates the idea of love as an ‘alliance’ — though, of course, his title ironically questions the very word ‘love’.

Oh, let’s join in the chorus of ‘You got a friend’ with Carole King!

Let us be grateful to have found an inn to give us shelter, when the road is dark and empty and the wind blows cold.

Let’s cherish companionship and learn not to listen to the siren call of this thing called ‘true love’, which can wreak such destruction. My girls are 32 and 30 years old now and we share an unbreakable bond.