Observations on life, love and LAT (Living Apart Together)

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – January 19, 2018

Tom P Blake

Often, sage comments made by Champs in response to a newsletter provide the content for the next newsletter. Such is the case this week. I couldn’t put these articles together without you.

Today: observations on life, love, and LAT (Living Apart Together) relationships. Two California Champs and one Michigan Champ share their opinions.

Maria, Cloverdale, California, wrote: “If I ever was lucky enough to get into a romantic relationship again, I would go for a LAT (Living Apart Together).

“The older I get, I see the whole romantic relationship thing in a different light. I cherish my own space and yes, I’d probably drive another person crazy with my erratic life style – like painting in my art room at 2 am because a particular painting is calling me awake, so I have to go paint!

“The LAT would be ideal for me because you are still sharing a friendship, a love, a partner, fun times, good conversation, affection and support–and sharing in the best of both individual worlds in our own living spaces.

“I’ve been alone for a long time and I’ve developed my sacred spaces in my home, my sanctuary. I am willing to share it, but I would also want times alone in my space. Can a man in a romantic partnership agree with that? Looks like some do, which is nice to hear.”

Tom’s comment: As we age, I think most of our Champs—both men and women—agree for the need for time alone in one’s space. For couples, to be around each other or face-to-face 24/7, won’t work too well. Just like these two train engines I photographed in 2007, at the Montpellier, France, Sant Roch train station:

 Trains, like couples, work better when they aren’t butting heads or constantly face-to-face

Seniors need to get out of the house and involved in activities. They need air to breathe. Social interaction is critical for seniors.

Maria continued, “I’ve come to think that if more older men and women were open to be just friends, most of us wouldn’t feel so lonely at times. I’ve tried to do the friendship thing with men, but I haven’t found a man yet to be interested here in California.

“I love good conversation and sharing of ideas written or face-to-face. I’ve struck up some email friendships with men, but they always end the same way–they ultimately stop responding without a word.

“What are your thoughts on men and women friendships (platonic) and the potential for easing loneliness? When I lived back East, I had romantic men partners as well as platonic friendships with men (I was also a lot younger–is that the difference?). It was a nice mix. Even though I’ve been in CA for 21 years, I just can’t get a handle on how CA men think.

Tom’s comment: Yes, senior friendships can ease loneliness. What is it about older, single, California men? I’m a California man, but I don’t have an answer for how they think; it’s such an individual thing. My guess is most of them want a romantic relationship, but without drama. So, if they think an email relationship isn’t going anywhere, they move on. That’s not exclusive to California men. Men everywhere may feel the same.

Maria ended with: “The older I get, the more I find peace with being alone and developing who I am in my 70’s. What I’d like is a better balance of male and female energy of friendships–frankly, I don’t want the “all women” groups, I want the mixed groups.  A nice mix of friendships is ideal!”
——————————-
Joanie, Torrance, California, “LAT couples in later life make a lot of sense. If one has been single a long time (like me), certain patterns and habits develop that are hard to change. Also, when each one is secure financially in a paid-off house/condo etc., it’s hard to give that financial security up and take a chance on emotional feelings.

Tom’s comment: To enjoy emotional feelings, older singles should not give up financial security. If someone wants a part of your finances, in exchange for love, then, it’s not love. Don’t ever give up your security, you have no time remaining to re-earn it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t share financial security—just protect yourself and know what you are doing, and with whom you are sharing.

Joanie continued, “So, keeping each’s financial security in this world is important…and not being there every minute sort of keeps the relationship romantic.

“If one is of an age where he or she is looking for a caregiver, that is a big challenge. We ‘oldies’ should have a place we can afford to go when we are at the point of needing professional caregivers. We should not hope to marry one or have one come live with us.”

Tom’s comment: Well said, Joanie.
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Gordon, Traverse City, Michigan

Enjoyed both newsletters pertaining to Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships and wanted to add a couple of positive aspects, that may not be as apparent as the negatives some Champs give.

“LAT admittedly is not for all; however, it has improved my life and relationship in this late-in-life journey many of us are now taking. It is truly an adventure and is better now than ever.

“I have been in a LAT relationship (living in our own homes – seven miles apart) for over two years and found it to be very rewarding and our relationship continues to mature and be even more fun the longer we are together. Here are few reasons:

– “A LAT is a relationship based on the CHOICES we make each day and not on a legal contract and consequences based on that contract

– “There are no financial obligations or liabilities to one another. We share all. This is a very good thing for seniors (not so for young people) in that as we grow older we have increased individual liabilities affecting our partners including catastrophic health issues that often destroy both the husband and wife financially for the remainder of their days

– “Whereas, the LAT remains economically separated from those costs, bankruptcies, etc. The latest stat I read is that 65% of bankruptcies are due to health cost

– “Each time we get together, the excitement and anticipation is always present. No obligation to do so other than we want to be together. Yes, there are days when we simply prefer to stay home.

– “Taking each other for granted does not exist. Consideration for the other is paramount. Therefore, we take particular care to insure we appreciate each other every day.

“A LAT relationship does require a high level of openness and trust between the couple. The love aspect is defined (by me) as mutual happiness we both desire being together.

– “Yes, there are some negatives. How many times have people said to you and your partner: “When are you getting married?”

“Also, we can’t get a joint Sam’s Club or COSTCO membership card (both of us for the price of one) because we don’t live together.”

Tom’s comment: When someone asks, “When are you and Greta getting married?” (20 years together, not married), I take out the paper towel from my back pocket, and dab my eyes, saying, “Greta won’t marry me.” That usually causes them to quickly change the subject.

Gordon ended with: “Our theme song that seems always to fit perfectly is: “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight.”

Tom’s comment: Ah, the England Dan and John Ford Coley 1976 song, “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight,” from the album “Nights Are Forever.” If you think about the words, it could be the original LAT song.

“I’m not talking about movin’ in
And I don’t want to change your life
But there’s a warm wind blowin’ the stars around
And I’d really love to see you tonight ”

The link follows (click on skip ad when ad appears):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA0Knw7O5r4

Keep your comments, questions, and observations coming. They are what make our locomotive run.

Author: tpblake

Tom Blake is a newspaper columnist in south Orange County, California. He has published four books. His primary topic is finding love after 50 and beyond, sometimes far beyond, for people 80 and older as well. He also blogs about travel at TravelAfter55.com.

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