Do women 65+ not want to live with a man?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – December 18, 2020

Columnist Tom Blake

Do women 65+ not want to live with a man? Senior cohabitation

The Globe and Mail is a highly respected Toronto, Ontario, Canada, newspaper.

On November 26, 2019, that newspaper published an article written by Jayme Gershen titled, “The new reality of dating over 65: Men want to live together; women don’t.” It was about Canadian singles.

One of our Champs, Marillee, forwarded the article to me with this message: “Long but interesting article to which I can relate. I enjoy my independence!”

Gershen begins the article with a story about a man, Antonio D’Alfonso, 66, of Montreal, who has been married three times. He has been dating a Toronto widow for more than 10 years and has proposed to her five times; each time she said “no.”

The article states, “The two see each other every couple of months…The older woman refused to live with him because she wanted to travel and be free.

“The pair took a two-year hiatus, during which D’Alfonso tried dating other senior-age women only to find that they, too, were reluctant to share a home–this even as D’Alfonso said, he cooks and keeps a tidy house.”

D’Alfonso was quoted, ‘“I believe that women no longer need men, whatsoever. I’m irrelevant.”’

The article also stated, “D’Alfonso’s push-and-pull with his partners reflects a rift emerging between single women older than 65 and the men they date.

“Increasingly, these men are encountering resistance from older women who want their own lives, not a full-time relationship. While many in this generation of heterosexual, divorced, or widowed women want male companionship, they don’t necessarily relish the thought of moving in with a man.

“Today…more older women are rejecting the downsides of the live-in relationship: the co-dependence, the daily tension within close quarters and the sacrifices made keeping a home, caregiving and doing the emotional legwork to keep their unions humming.

“Some of these women completely forego dating while others opt for ‘living apart together’ (LAT) arrangements, in which partners in committed relationships choose to keep separate residences.”

The article referenced a 2017 study that said that 72 percent of senior-aged women were highly satisfied living on their own…”This reticence to co-habitate is driving a wedge between the sexes.”

                                    Tom’s comments:

-Poor old D’Alfonso, he and his widow friend were only seeing each other every couple of months. That’s not much of a relationship.

-Is there truly an emerging rift between men and women that is driving a wedge between them? I think that comment is an exaggeration.

I think these next four paragraphs made some questionable assumptions:

1 “For a generation of older men, traditional, live-in relationships remain important because female partners meet so many of their social, emotional, health and domestic needs, said Sharon Hyman, a Montreal filmmaker who’s interviewed hundreds of couples for her upcoming documentary called Apartners: Living Happily Ever Apart. ‘Women have wider circles of friends. Men don’t so they are relying on women for more,’ Hyman said. ‘For men, often we hear it’s not as easy for them to be on their own.’

2 “A number of social factors have sent women 65-plus hurtling toward independent lives, chief among them financial independence, said David Cravit, author of The New Old: How the Boomers Are Changing Everything…Again. ‘They’ve had careers, they’re liberated and they’re not dependent on the guy,’ Cravit said. ‘When they hit this age, they’re not going to revert back to being their mothers and their grandmothers.'”

3 “Many women resist moving in with men because they remember previous marriages and the unequal division of labour at home, said Bella DePaulo, author of How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century. Having a place of their own, she said, offers senior-age women time to rest, think and pursue their interests, instead of feeling exhausted by the chore wars.”

Poor Sandy. A victim of the “senior chore wars?” Probably not. A victim of a strict boss at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli. She was, and still is, an incredible employee

‘They want to have their own place, in their own way,’ said DePaulo, an academic associate in social psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.”

4 “…Many senior-age men struggle living alone, growing lonely because they’d over-relied on their spouse ‘to be their best friend and their social co-ordinator,’ DePaulo said.

Tom’s comment: Hurtling toward independent lives? What? That makes it sound like this is happening at great speed in a wildly uncontrolled manner.

The chore wars? That’s a bit much.

Tom’s summary: The article paints a picture of most men saying, “Woe is me, women don’t want to live with men anymore.”

But what I’ve heard and seen from primarily American women, that assumption isn’t true. I think the article was based on a very limited sample and was quite biased. After all, D’Alfonso, is just one man. Not many men I know will propose five times. 

Maybe what the article professes is more true in Canada than in the USA. Most women I hear from would love to live with a man. And most of the men I know have no aversion to pushing a vacuum cleaner around the house or cleaning the bathrooms.

And lots of them (me included) do much of the cooking. And when the wife or significant other gets sick, they are right there to be the caregiver. My friend, Dave, took care of his wife for 23 years and never bitched once about it to me.

My brother is also the caregiver in his household.

I see nothing wrong with senior women or men wanting to live alone. But to infer that for the women it’s because of their prior unfavorable experience with men is a stretch. One thing this 2020 pandemic year has taught most of us is: we all need our space, we need time alone. But it’s still mighty nice to come home to that welcome hug from our mate. 

I think the article made too many assumptions about the poor, needy, men. Not every man is the same.

Let’s hear what Champs have to say. Do women 65+ not want to live with a man?

Importance of Compatibility in Senior Relationships

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – December 11, 2020

By Columnist Tom Blake

                 (There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter)

Part One  – Importance of compatibility in senior relationships

Marie, a dedicated Champ, emailed this week. This was the 10th time in eight years she’s chimed in. How do I know that? It’s the incredible archive system that provides.

She posed a question that initially seemed like it’d be easy to answer, but the more I thought about it, the trickier it became.

Marie wrote, “Compatibility seems to be the keyword when talking about relationships. Is compatibility or should compatibility be the basic foundation when meeting someone? So many people are involved in compatible relationships but passion and emotion are missing.

“Why am I so confused about this stuff at 68? I’m divorced. I need clarity on this.”

And soon after Marie wrote, our newest Champ, Kay, emailed, “I just came across your site and find it very interesting.

“I am far beyond 50, however, I am in excellent health and am full of energy, and have a good sense of humor! I am blessed that my dad taught me about cars, guns, and sports. 

“This enables me to get along with men as we have much in common (i.e., compatible). I am divorced and thought I found this great guy, but we just broke up due to his temper! 

“Meeting men online is nearly impossible as it is mostly fantasy….not real!

“I would love to have a special man in my life. I have no family, so I would like to meet someone, however, there is no place to meet anyone!”

I responded to Kay and asked her to tell me a bit more about her experience with the “temper-tantrum” man

She said, “This man has good qualities but he goes from zero to 500 over nothing. The last time he was driving and was squealing tires and jerking the wheel and taking curves dangerously.

“Should he have a wreck and I am injured, I have no family to help me…if I get upset I get quiet for a moment but he has other characteristics that are embarrassing and unnecessary! I love his sisters and one son but I just can not do that!

“I turned 75 on Veterans Day!  Fortunately, I am on natural things and no meds and am energetic and have a sense of humor, and am a firecracker!

“People guess me to be younger but it’s all about how a person feels! I do volunteer work at a military base and PBS station and help the Legion for the Veterans and try to help my friends when I can. But oh, to find love again! I just would love someone in my life!

“It has been challenging as the driving incident described above happened on my birthday and I would never ruin anyone’s birthday!” 

Since I was contemplating the topic of compatibility, I responded by asking whether she felt compatibility is important in a relationship. And, I mentioned that we shared the same birthday: November 11.

Kay replied, “I believe it’s important. Couples can have some interests that are different…but, I find life calm and peaceful and yet exhilarating when two people enjoy similar things and both love the same way.

“I enjoy a connected feeling! I believe it is important to view things similarly as well. To respond to things similarly. However, perhaps the man is not as “romantic” but I write journals of thoughts and feelings and if I want to put a note by his plate I would like him to appreciate it as an expression of my love even if he never does.”

I also received an email from a friend, also named Tom, Orange County, California, whom I’ve known for six years. His situation is a perfect picture of how essential compatibility is in a relationship.

Tom shared, “I met Linda online—Our Time—and clicked on the first wine meetup. We’ve been dating exclusively since June 2019.

“I became a widower in 2005 and she was widowed in 2015. But the most favorable factor is we’re 5.2 miles apart on one primary street in South Orange County, so no rush-hour community snarls. She is originally from Michigan and now lives in Orange County.

“Widows and widowers, if they can get over their loss, are positive knowing someone already has—and a new person can—rekindle their love of life. They are not trying to duplicate the past, but know the traits that excite them and embrace reality.

“Online dating is harder for widowed people since other people can say words that inspire confidence, but face-to-face meetings, trips, and other experiences are necessary to allow daters to decide if they are open and can adapt to a new and different person.”

“Linda was an interior design shop manager, and now does life coaching. After our third date, she invited me and flew me to her friend’s wedding in Sicily for a week in the fall of 2019.

“We were able to get in 2020 trips to Palm Springs and San Luis Obispo before the pandemic. She’s a fantastic cook, and I’m a diligent cleaner-upper so we work together after a meal and then enjoy Netflix or a TV sporting event.


Linda and Tom – together since June 2019 – living 5 miles away

“Compatibility is very important. I don’t think ‘opposites attract’ is worth the time to make it a success. The willingness to work together shows mutual caring for each other. Example: Linda found gardening to be enjoyable working with me. Be a Giver more than a Taker, and you will win in the long run.

“We are considering living together, but still in the early talking phase, as we weigh options. Why both pay mortgage, utility bills, etc? 

“If I’m away from her for a few days even with daily phone calls, then I am anxious to see her.”

To answer Marie’s initial question, I say compatibility is imperative. But, other qualities need to be present as well—physical attraction, caring, kindness, and love. Each so critical.

I would enjoy hearing compatibility comments from other Champs.

                                    Part Two – Avoid COVID-19 Scams

As always happens these days when people are vulnerable, scammers try to take advantage of them. Two scams have popped up lately.

Scam One: Puppy Scams

CBS News Los Angeles announced yesterday that with people being lonely during the pandemic, online puppy scams are skyrocketing (up 500% this year). Apparently, the scammers are saying to people that due to social distancing, people can’t see the animal in person before sending money. The article said:  “Scammers almost always request funds through Moneygram, Western Union, prepaid debit cares, through the Zelle app, with bitcoin or other methods that make it hard to recover money.” Kittens, exotic birds, and horses are also being used to scam. 

A good place to get a puppy is at a local animal shelter. However, during the pandemic, puppies are in high demand. The type of puppy you want may not be available.

Scam Two: Vaccination scams are emerging. Do not pay money to sign up for a vaccine shot or have your name put on a waiting list. 

Do not reveal your bank information and NEVER give out your Social Security Number. We will all be informed about the vaccination details in due time. Do not respond to phone calls, emails, text messages, or even someone knocking on your door with vaccine promises and misinformation. 

The Blood-Drawing Station

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  December 4, 2020

by Columnist Thomas P Blake

There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter

                              Part One – The Blood-Drawing Station   

“Why am I here?” I thought to myself at 6.47 a.m. on Tuesday when I opened the car door in a Mission Viejo parking garage. With the pandemic kicking up its ugly heels again, aren’t people supposed to be extra careful when venturing out? The health experts are urging us to stay home as much as possible.

And the last place we should be voluntarily visiting is a medical facility. But the sign on the five-story building where I’m going says Mission Medical Plaza. I wouldn’t call it a medical plaza; a medical center is more like it. And I’m here voluntarily.

I am having my blood drawn. I’m supposed to do this every six months for a routine health exam, but due to the pandemic, I postponed my June 2020 visit. My doctor recently texted me saying I was six months past due and encouraged me to come in to see how my body was holding up.

I figured by arriving before 7 a.m. I’d be one of the first persons there so I wouldn’t have to wait long. Holy cow, as I entered the drawing station, there were five men and three women wearing masks who had already signed in on the front-desk clipboard, sitting in socially-distanced chairs waiting to be summoned to the front desk to sign paperwork.

I’m guessing the average age was 65-plus, so I fit in.

I entered my name on the clipboard and took the last available chair.

One man had a USC (University of Southern California) face mask on. Another man approached him and they started talking about college football. The USC guy said, “I’m here because I played football for 25 years; my knees are screwed up.”

The other man said he had played football as well, but I couldn’t hear where he said he had played.

A few minutes later, I started a conversation with the USC man by saying,

“I had a buddy who played for SC. You probably have heard of him.”

About then, the man was called into the blood-drawing room.

“What was his name?” he asked as he walked away.  

“Lynn Swann,” I said. He turned around and gave me a thumbs up.

I got to know Lynn in 1973 when I worked at the Victoria Station restaurant chain. Our company presented him with a college football player-of-the-year award we had created as a kind of a publicity ploy.

 Lynn Swann at the 1973 USC Awards Banquet with MVP trophy                                             and Victoria Station award

                                                                                  Photo: USC Sports Info

I had dinner with Lynn on the night of the day he was drafted in the first round of the 1974 NFL draft.

Lynn was an All-American at USC and went on to win four Super Bowl rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was MVP of the Super Bowl in 1976, and later became the athletic director of USC for a few years.

Another guy sitting in the waiting room was wearing an “Ohio State” sweatshirt. Oh wow, a dreaded Buckeye, particularly for me, a Michigan Wolverine. UM hasn’t beaten Ohio State in football in 10 years. I was glad I wasn’t wearing any UM clothing as we’ve had an embarrassing year with a record of two wins and four losses. And those Buckeye fans love to tease Wolverine fans.

Just a few days earlier in Costco, I had a golf shirt with a big Michigan block “M” on the front pocket and a guy from Wisconsin walked up to me and said, “Tough year, eh?” He wasn’t referring to the pandemic.

One woman who came into the drawing station a bit later was wearing a UCLA sweatshirt. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her about football, or anything else.

When people are summoned to the front desk to sign the paperwork, they are asked a couple of questions.

“Are you fasting today?” is the first question.

In all my visits here, I’ve never heard anyone say “no” to that question.

And then the second question:

“What is your date of birth?”

That one people seem to dread. When they answer, some lower their voices, hoping no one in the waiting room will hear their response and learn their age.

I respond by giving my DOB and then add, in a whisper with a wink, “But don’t tell anyone.”

Sometimes I try to guess how old a guy is before I hear his answer. I’m often off by 10 years or more.

My name was called by the guy who would be drawing my blood. He said, “Follow me” and led me into the blood-drawing room. I recognized him as the same guy from 12 months before. I doubt if he remembered me as I guessed he had probably drawn blood from more than 2,000 people since then. He was wearing a mask, face shield and gloves, of course. The room was spotless.

I always brace for the needle going into the arm and look the other way. But I didn’t even feel it. He was very professional and quick.

I thought I was finished. I was—almost–but not before the guy handed me an orange biohazard bag—for the collection of, umm, how do I put this delicately?—well let’s just say you collect what goes into the bag in the bathroom at home and then return it to the drawing station at a later time.

And then he emphatically added. “When you return the bag, ensure it is sealed. Do not hand it to the people behind the desk. They don’t like to be handed a bag of poop. Ask them where the box is in which to deposit the bag.”

His advice sure made sense to me. I walked through the waiting room, trying to disguise the bag he had given me.

As I walked to the car, at 7:20, I thought about all the workers in the medical field who every day are putting their lives at risk so that the rest of us can do our best to stay healthy. Front-liners and first-responders are amazing human beings. I had seen a bunch of them in that medical building that morning and thanked them. They seemed to appreciate that.

And I also thought that the drawing station was a good place to get out and chat up some new people and socialize, albeit a quick in and out. One never knows who you’re going to meet there.

But I was happy to be returning home—even with the bag in hand–to finally get a cup of hot coffee and a bit of breakfast.

Part 2 – The reality of life – and reflecting on a hero

Rafer Johnson died at age 86 on Wednesday. He was an incredible person. Great athlete. Great humanitarian. In 1960, at the Rome Olympics, my buddies and I were in the stands at Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, September 6, and watched him win the decathlon. As I recall, it was about 10 p.m.

To win, Rafer had to stay within 10 yards of C.K. Yang, Rafer’s UCLA teammate who represented Taiwan, in the decathlon-1500-meter race. The race was Rafer’s weakest event of the 10 decathlon events but with guts and grit, he finished one and a half yards behind Yang to win the gold medal.

I checked the journal I kept from that 1960, 84-day European trip. The Cold War with Russia was hot. In addition to the decathlon that day, we watched the USA’s Ira Davis get beat out for a silver medal by a Russian on the last jump in the triple-jump event (my track coach called it the Hop, Step, and Jump.)

Rafer, who had been watching nearby, immediately went to the Russian and tried to congratulate him by shaking hands, but the Russian refused. I wrote in the journal, “People in the stadium booed the Russian entirely too much. The Russian left the field crying.”

And one more item from that day. Australian Herb Elliott set a world record in the 1500-meter event at 3:35.6 seconds. That record stood for seven years.

The next day, Wednesday, September 7, my buddies and I were at the Olympic Village, where the athletes stayed. We had purchased tickets to fly home on the Olympic team charter airplane and were waiting there to board the bus to the airport. I had a Coca Cola with Rafer. He was such a humble man, he barely acknowledged his victory from the night before.

And now, 60-years-later, Rafer Johnson, the legend is gone.