As a member of our “Finding Love After 50” Facebook group, our Champ had read about Meetup.com and decided to try to initiate a new social life in his own town. He joined a group that had dinner together once a week.
At his first dinner, he saw a woman of interest to him, but she left before he could talk to her. She had also noticed him. A week later, she emailed him to see how he was getting along. But, several weeks went by; she didn’t attend another dinner.
He decided to email her and found that she had been away at her summer home.
It took them a few months to get together. When they first met in person, it wasn’t on a date. They met to discuss starting a widower and widow Meetup.com group in their city. Soon, they took an interest in each other. They found they loved many of the same things, such as being outdoors and enjoying nature.
They’ve been a couple for four years.
“We live less than 10 miles apart, we both own our homes, no mortgages, we have our own retirement/pension funds, and healthcare. We both have one grown, married child and each of us lost our spouses at a young age, after long illnesses and caring for them.
“Robin, (not her true name), my partner, is 10-years-younger than I and our previous lifestyles were much different. We have found that each of us has much to contribute to the other and can enhance each of our lives.
“She was married to a faculty member of a large university and I retired from a small community college, after 23 years in the Navy. We love being around the water and swimming.
“What makes it work for us is that each of us has embraced the other’s background and experience.
“I like to kayak, fish on a trout stream, hike and she has embraced that and now we both enjoy kayaking, boating, hikes, and being out of doors. She says she might even go fishing with me. I have taken up photography and editing photographs, her interests, and we take frequent trips to photograph and enjoy the out of doors.
“We do not agree on everything–such as politics. One is conservative, the other is liberal. We believe that our relationship is much more important than debating or arguing our political viewpoints.
“We want to live life to the fullest every day with a smile–in the time we have. Friends and family tell us that we are always doing something and comment they wish they would live as we do.
“We enjoy the smallest of things as well as the bigger adventures and never fail to stop smiling or take a single day for granted.
“One of our greatest claims to life since meeting is that we have never laughed so hard that tears flowed and our stomachs ache. We define love as happiness.
“Re: living together. As long as we are in good health, and, can do so, we will likely not live under the same roof; although, we periodically do when we go to her summer house for a week or two, travel to different places for vacations, or on overnight trips.
“We both enjoy our ‘days off,’ as we call them, to just rest up at our own homes for a day or two, enjoy our own space, and spend time the way each of us chooses independently. We also have household chores to get done.
“We see each other five to six days a week; those could be the entire day or as little as meeting at the gym in the morning.”
“We also go out for a cocktail, a music event, community activities, and take frequent car rides in the area in which we live and love.
“Robin has numerous girl friends that she periodically gets together with and I have hobbies including RC airplane building and flying, fishing, and other things I do on my own or with the few men friends I have.
“I dated numerous ladies prior to meeting Robin. She waited over two years after her husband’s death to begin dating. I was her first date after losing her husband.
“One thing that became very important and refreshing with Robin and I was the immediate understanding that our previous marriages were real (mine 41 years, hers 38 years) and would never go away. That the love we had then was lasting; although, we both learned very quickly that our new relationship was equally as good, different, and strong.
“We both understood our previous lives could not be forgotten and would not be relived. Yes, we both brought our share of baggage to the relationship and it had to be sorted and discarded.
“I have spent time with her husband’s family and she with mine. My son, soon after meeting Robin, announced to her that they really liked her and welcomed her into the fold. Her daughter was much slower to understand that her mother could have another relationship, but with time she is beginning to do so.”
Tom’s comment: A LAT relationship isn’t for all senior couples. A big issue: affordability. In a LAT, each will have an assortment of household expenses. Whereas, when couples live together, they will likely share or divvy up household expenses, including mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities, reducing the cost to each person.
The decision to live together should not be made solely because it’s more affordable. All the values we always considered important still are the first and most important considerations. Saving money can be the frosting on the cake.
On Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, my usual Stand Up Paddle Boarding buddy and I went paddling. It was a beautiful day and we made it a point to be six-feet away from each other. I felt it was safe to leave the house. He wore this St. Patrick’s Day outfit. Lots of pictures were taken of him by people walking the sidewalks while we paddled. One young child was with her parents. She yelled to him, “What’s your name?”
My New Zealand paddling buddy, Russell Kerr, on St. Patrick’s Day
He replied, “St. Patrick.” The young child responded happily. So, thanks, Russell, for putting so many smiles on people’s faces during this somber time.
Also, because many people are self-quarantined, it can get lonely. Call your pals and have phone conversations. That can help. Encouraging news: A Trader Joe’s employee told me they will not run out of wine. Hurray!