Senior Marriage – Will our Champ’s Wedding be in the New York Times?

Will our Champ’s wedding be in the New York Times?
On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 30, 2021
by Tom Blake Columnist

Senior Marriage

When Champs share their stories and situations with all of us, positive results can follow.

First, the stories often help people who have had or are currently involved in similar experiences and sometimes predicaments.
Second, when we cast our nets far and wide, unexpected positive results can materialize.

I admit that last week when I sent out my eNewsletter for the first time using email-provider Constant Contact, I was holding my breath. I hoped I wouldn’t screw up with the new format.

I wrote about Ginny, age 80, and her significant other Harry, 87, who are contemplating marriage. Champs were amazing, responding in droves giving “thumbs up” to the new eNewsletter look and Ginny’s and Harry’s story.

One of the first responses blew me away. It was from Tammy La Gorce, the New York Times “Weddings” reporter. She wrote:

 “My Friday wouldn’t be complete without your newsletter. I love the new look! Not sure if you remember me — I’m the NYTimes Weddings reporter. “Ginny and Harry’s wedding would be a great one to feature in our section. Would you be able to ask Ginny if she’d like to be featured and if so, when they’re planning to be married?

  “Here’s a look at my latest column: 

I immediately responded to Tammy’s email, writing: “Yes, I remember you. I just heard from Ginny. I know she would love to be in your NY Times column. Hence, I am copying this email to her so you will have each other’s email addresses. “And you have my permission to use whatever you want, if anything, from today’s eNewsletter.

“Too bad you weren’t writing your “Weddings” column in 1968. I was married (the first time) at the headquarters of the Episcopal Church, which was located in NYC at 2nd Avenue and 43rd Street.

“After the ceremony, everyone in attendance walked over to a restaurant named Nell Gywn’s on 42nd Street across from Grand Central Station. We were carrying the altar flowers and lots of people honked and waved at our group. Twas fun. “Let me know if things proceed with Ginny and Harry.”
Tammy responded: “Yes, wish I had been there in 1968 but I hadn’t been born!”

Egads, Tammy’s comment reminded me that I was married for the first time 53 years ago. Holy Toledo! I wonder if our Champs can remember when and where they first married?

Ginny and Tammy have touched base. Ginny shared the email she sent to Tammy: “I was surprised and very pleased that you want to write about Harry and me. I think we may have compromised on a November wedding. But I will let you know for sure, as soon as I can get a definite answer from Harry.  Ginny”

I thought Ginny’s comment: “…we may have compromised on a November wedding.” was hilarious. Sounds like Harry isn’t moving too fast to make the wedding happen.

I hope Ginny will keep us updated and maybe we’ll read about her wedding in the NY Times.  

Seniors should never give up on love

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 23, 2021

by columnist Tom Blake

Senior Dating: Seniors should never give up on love (and intimacy)

(marriage in their 80s?)

After last week’s eNewsletter was published, Ginny, Delaware County, PA emailed, “I wrote to you two years ago to encourage single senior women to ‘Get out there, have fun, and not give up looking for a good man.’ I’m doing that again today!

 “I met my boyfriend Harry seven years ago. In the first few years, when I or others occasionally brought up the subject of marriage to him, he reminded me and them that he had told me early on to he wasn’t going to remarry. So, I, like some of your readers (Champs), had a big decision to make based partly on the availability-of-men statistics: Stay or leave?” 

Ginny decided to stay.  She continued: “I fell for him (had seen him in church while we were both married). I left that church. 

“Fifteen years later, both of us having recently lost our spouses, we met at the senior center and started dating right away.  “We are active, fun-loving, and healthy, Christians who are very much in love and are looking forward to having a ‘complete’ relationship.   

“Life is full of surprises! Now, at ages 80 (me) and 87 (Harry), he has changed his mind and wants to marry me. We live three minutes apart. We are both widowed after long marriages; he was happily married, me not happily married. 

“To further encourage us to marry, my brother, 74, a widower of eight years, is also ‘tying the knot’ this year with a lovely woman age 69, whom he met two years ago on the Match website.”   

I responded to Ginny: “Why do you think he changed his anti-marriage stance at age 87? Why get married now? The decision ‘to stay or go’ you made, worked out for you. I’m happy you didn’t leave him. “Who will move? What does  a complete relationship mean? “A senior center is a good place for seniors to find a mate.”  

Ginny replied, “I plan on asking him soon why he changed his mind. We are going to have a LAT marriage. I go visit him almost every evening now. After we marry, instead of coming home each night, I will come home the next morning. When I originally suggested this, years ago, he said ‘No way.’ I suspect he wasn’t ready.   

“Harry had been married to his high school sweetheart for 59 years when she died of cancer, after being diagnosed five years before.   

“We will have a senior prenup also. We both have children and grandchildren. Our money will stay separate.  

“What I mean by a senior complete relationship is that now we will be able to have sex. Because of our faith, we agreed years ago to abstain unless married. It was difficult.   

“Eight years ago, at age 72, I was widowed. I decided I wasn’t going to just join women’s groups, so I found the local senior center. It is a ‘happening place.’ I am now on the council there. I first spotted Harry shooting pool. He recognized me right away.  

“Several times later, I checked out the pool room where the men hung out. They were very welcoming to me, and there was Harry. Within a short time of our meeting, he asked me out. He told me many times that he was only looking for someone to have fun with, and I was it. The rest is history.” 

Tom’s ending thoughts: I love Ginny’s story! And wow, a new term for our Champs: ‘A Living Apart Together Marriage!’ (a LAT-M). I hadn’t heard that one before and yet I get it. And I smile at their reason for marrying. Bless you, both.

I hope you like the new Constant Contact format. Thanks for being a Champ. If friends want to be added to our eNewsletter list, they can easily sign up on the home page of my website:

Are women under 50 less tolerant of men who won’t commit?

          On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  April 16, 2021

by columnist Thomas P Blake

(Today’s eNewsletter has been edited for length and clarity.)

Are women under 50 less tolerant of men who won’t commit?

I received an email this week that made me wonder if women under 50 might be less tolerant than women 60-plus in dating men who state they will never commit to a more serious relationship. The email was written by a woman who requested to be referred to as “M.”

M wrote: “I enjoy reading your column each week in the Dana Point Times even though I’m not over 50 🙂 I just finished reading your advice to Corrine who is afraid her boyfriend might leave her because she expressed the desire for more commitment. 

“I had such a visceral reaction to your advice to her that I am compelled to write you. 

“I’m saddened that you are encouraging this woman to not voice her own needs in the relationship for the sake of her boyfriend’s comfort. And for encouraging her to settle for something sub-optimal because, as you say, ‘there’s no guarantee you would find someone as compatible.’” 

“She’s been with this guy for eight months and she’s in love with him. I think it’s appropriate for her to express her desire to move the relationship to the next level.

“She is looking for a ‘life partner.’ His response “He may not be that life partner for her and now he feels pressure” should tell her a lot. He’s telling her that he does not want the same as she, or at least does not want it with her.

She should take him at his word and get out now if he’s not going to be able to give her what she wants, as difficult as that may be. Sure, he may come around eventually, but he is more likely to do that if she walks away now than if she continues to put her own needs on the back burner to accommodate him. 

“I understand they’re having fun together, but she says she feels insecure in the relationship. That is not a good feeling and that is NOT how one should feel if they are in a loving, respectful relationship.

“I’ve come to learn that being loved means feeling safe and secure, not just when you’re together, but also when you’re apart. She shouldn’t have to be constantly worried that he’s going to leave her. And she certainly shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the future and ask for what she wants out of fear he might leave. That is not loving and no one should settle for that.”

Tom’s response to M: “I appreciate what you say. But a woman less than 50 has not walked in the shoes of a woman 65. There were two reasons I advised her to stay in the relationship, even without a “life partner” commitment from him.

“First, if she bailed out and moved on, I think she would look back in regret, thinking, “Maybe he would have stayed.” She’d go from currently being happy, to sad and questioning her decision. Why do that?

“And second, age might be a factor. She feels it would be difficult to find someone as suitable now that she is 65. The ratio of single women to single men at that age is about 3-or-3.5-to-one. Some women say that not all the men in those numbers are relationship material, making the effective ratio of women to suitable men more like four-to-one. She figures she’d rather be happy now than have to start over again at even worse odds.

“The approximate ratio of single women to single men below age 50 is close to one-to-one. Women younger than 50 have far more men from whom to choose than their older counterparts. If a guy they like won’t commit, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Perhaps this fact triggered M’s “visceral” reaction to what I had written. (Ok, I admit, I looked up “visceral” in the dictionary. It means, “deep feelings.)”

Three weeks ago in this eNewsletter, I published 29 Champ responses to Corrinne’s story, which is the same story that triggered “M’s visceral reaction.” I was curious what percentage of women Champs–who commented on “Should she leave or should she stay”—felt she should leave. It surprised me that 61 percent said she should leave him.

So, to answer today’s article-title question, “Are women under 50 less tolerant of men who won’t commit?” Not by a lot. Women 65 and above have a mind of their own as well.

By the way, when I submitted the column to my newspapers, my editor, a woman under 45, had her own “visceral” reaction: She said: “If I were Corrine, I’d been on the next!” (I think she met the “next” train out of town.)” So, that’s an additional “leave him” comment for women under 50.

After exchanging emails, M wrote: “That ratio at age 65 is certainly depressing! Ha Ha.” I thought about saying, “Yes, see what you have to look forward to!” But, I didn’t.

Part 2 – Champ Terry, aka, “The Funny Plumber,” living near the border of Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) commented, tongue-in-cheek, about having pictures of ex-spouses around the house: “My wife Daeng has no problems with seeing pictures of my three former wives. She thanks them for teaching me how to be a better husband.  I guess it is how we look at things.

Champ Terry and his wife Daeng using local transportation

Widowed people’s dilemma: remove deceased spouse’s pictures?

   On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – April 9, 2021

by Columnist Tom Blake

There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter. Both parts have been edited for length and clarity

  Part One  –  Widowed people’s dilemma: remove deceased spouse’s pictures?

A couple of weeks ago I asked Champs for opinions on widows or widowers who date and also have pictures of their deceased spouses their homes. Here are some responses.

Ben, a widower, wrote, “It’s been two years since my wife’s passing. My girlfriend has brought up the issue of pictures of my late wife in the house. I am gradually taking them down and moving on in life. Empathy, patience, and love are how I deal with change in my life.”

Cheryl emailed, “I had a boyfriend who constantly suggested that I take down the photos of my late husband. He felt that if I thought it was necessary to have those photos prominently displayed, it meant that I still loved and thought about my husband all the time, and therefore I couldn’t put my whole heart into loving him. 

“Eventually, I broke up with him due to his extreme jealousy and possessiveness.” 

Kim said, “I will never date another widow because one compared me to the deceased and I was always trying to measure up to a ‘legend,’ at least he was in her mind. Who wants to date someone who can’t heal and move ahead?”

Old photos around the house everywhere
         (Photo by Tom- Ireland 2019)

Alicia shared, “Seven years ago, my brother lost his wife of 30 years after a happy marriage. Four years later, he remarried. He still misses his deceased wife. His present wife was divorced for several years and her husband died as well. Both of them freely speak about their deceased spouses. 

“I have learned from them that even though you find someone new who you now love, the past life does not need to be buried. It was a large part of your life and why should you sweep it under the rug?”

Curtis, “I had a sister who married a widower. They were much in love and had pictures of both their former spouses around. They talked with each other about adventures they had with their previous families. When my sister died, she was buried with her previous husband, and when the widower dies, he will be buried with his first wife. In the meantime, they enjoyed each other’s company. Both families accepted the other and were glad they had been happy again.” 

Sherrill, “My guy Matt loved his deceased wife dearly, and until we met, he believed he would never love again.

“When I moved in with him, Matt asked if I would object to him putting some pictures of his ex-wife on the refrigerator along with my pictures of my kids and grandkids. I had no objection. I felt secure in our relationship and his love for me, did not feel threatened; I admired his loving devotion to his wife.

“He inadvertently put pictures of her directly in my line of sight so I saw them every time I opened the refrigerator door. Initially, this didn’t bother me, but eventually, it did! I asked him if he would move the pictures to a different location on the refrigerator, which he willingly did. He has pictures of his wife and me in his office.

“This is a complicated issue for which there is no simple or right answer.  As seniors, we all bring baggage into a new relationship.” 

Bill, a widower, emailed, “What matters in the conduct of a new relationship is the acceptance by a new spouse of the nature and profundity of the widow or widower’s prior relationship.

“Confidence is best created when the widow or widower provides an atmosphere that enhances the strength, convictions, and independence of their new loves. Removing doubt and fostering self-confidence minimizes any propensity for rivalry with departed spirits.”

Lynne wrote, “Don’t expect the surviving spouse to ever give up loving the deceased spouse. If not for death, they would still be together. Someone who wants a relationship with a surviving spouse is going to have to realize that there is memory lingering there, and be comfortable with that.”

Hopefully, these sensitive replies will help widows and widowers who face this understandable dilemma.

                                   Part 2  An open-minded and realistic Champ

I think Cynthia’s situation, described below, is similar to many of our Champs’ situations: they are living alone and have wonderful, positive attitudes.

Cynthia in Kansas, “I am amused, entertained, and enlightened by your eNewsletter.

“I’ve been a widow for six years and the pain of losing my husband of 18 years has finally softened and I’ve accepted where God has placed me now. Yes, I too would like to slow dance with a man, go out to dinner occasionally, have a man to talk or text with. However, the pandemic has put the kibosh on that. 

“I am not disappointed as I have a full life with my routine and the fact that my mother is 96 and I am at her house helping her every few days.

“I am 74 and in good shape as I walk four miles almost every day in my neighborhood. I always smile when I meet other people and I’m open, but I noticed that people nowadays are really afraid to smile back or stop and talk.  People are too afraid to have even a casual interaction. I will continue doing the same and as Champ Gina mentioned two weeks ago, I will perhaps meet someone who would like to walk and talk too!” 

Tom’s Response: “Cynthia, you are doing everything right. There could be no higher priority than continuing to help your mom. My sisters and I did that with our mom, who lived 500 miles away from me. I traveled to see her as often as possible. She passed two months before her 99th birthday. She had a blessed life and was healthy for the most part. She proudly proclaimed at 95 that she took no medications. She passed 11 years ago; my sisters and I still miss her.

“Also, walking is a great thing to do as well. So, hopefully, as time goes on, this pandemic will ease enough so we can get back to more normal lives and people will talk more with strangers. Who knows? A guy you encounter might even enjoy a partner. We all need more social interaction.  I have sent your column to a couple of my friends here who are also widows and they enjoy your column also.

“By the way, we can send our eNewsletter directly to your two widow friends. They can email me and I will add them to our mailing list, or they can sign up at on the home page.”

Senior dating: walking on eggshells

   On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  April 2, 2021

by Tom Blake

Senior dating: walking on eggshells

I have never received 29 responses from a newsletter, until this week. Why did we strike such a chord with the story of Corinne and her man friend Tony of eight months, who told her he didn’t think he’d become her life partner? Now, she’s afraid to tell him she loves him. She is afraid he will leave.

With so many responses, I edited this column for length and clarity. As it is, the column is still long but there were so many sage comments that I chose to include them. Your voices are being heard:

Today, the voices of 29 Champs are being heard–loud and clear

Sandy wrote: “In my experience, men who ‘bail’ on a relationship will continue this behavior. Those who exit when facing challenges should be regarded for exactly what they are – ‘sunshine friends.’

“There should be no delusions that this man with his track record is going to stay when life gets tough.

“Whatever decision Corrine makes, it should be with both eyes open and not engaging in wishful or magical thinking.”

Glen, “Tony isn’t ‘senior marriage material’ or even a life-partner kind of guy. His track record speaks loud and clear and Corrine will find herself heartbroken if she continues to think otherwise. She would be wise to pull back on this dating relationship (that’s all it is and will ever be) and count her blessings that she didn’t make any other foolish mistakes with him (i.e., selling her home).”

Donna: “This woman should be thankful that she has had so many great relationships. If this guy dumps her it’s not her fault. She has to be true to herself and express how she feels at times.” 

Wayne: “Given Tony’s track record (3 divorces and living with and leaving multiple women) he’s high risk for exiting the relationship. The greatest predictor of future behavior is past behavior. As long as she is prepared for a hasty exit at some point, then dating Tony is fine but she better be prepared emotionally if he leaves. She has to decide if dating Tony with a very uncertain future is better than looking for a quality companion who has a better track history and who is looking for a long-term, exclusive relationship.”

Shelley, “I see red flags with Tony. He ‘leaves’ when relationships don’t run smoothly? Not acceptable in my book.”

Maria, “She needs to take each day as a treasured gift. Why push for a guarantee? I would ask her to look inside herself and ask why she needs it? Her neediness just might ruin things. Don’t pout over it. She’s lucky to keep finding men who are so compatible and fun.”

Thyrza, “I cannot understand why Corrine is dreaming of a life with this man. How is he beautiful? Find one who is responsible.”

AJ (woman), “This joker is a love ’em and leave ’em type. Look up ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’ as a dysfunctional type of guy. He fits it. Why buy the cow when the milk is free?”

Joanie, “There are 4- 5 women to every man….so men can move easily from one to another. A gigolo guy who can’t make commitments and take responsibility uses his charm to move among them. He splits as soon as there is a request for him to make a commitment or take responsibility. His charm is how he gets sex and companionship and sometimes money. There is always a woman who will expect less and take less. 

“His past shows what he is.  No woman should fall for the ‘only game in town.’ Her attitude should be ‘better alone than a fearful slave to some guy who is not worthy of me!’ Under no circumstances should she have him live with her.”

Althea, “If Corrine tries to nail him down to definite answers, he will most likely RUN. She is afraid to say “I love you.” That’s walking on eggshells; I know the feeling too well. We women need answers and like to plan so we can see the road ahead. If Corrine wants him in her life, she might have to live on a wing and a prayer.”

Larry, “They are both who they are! He does not want a lifetime relationship, and she does. Some day he will be moving on. A conundrum!

Joanne, “She says one thing but her actions and reactions say the opposite.”

Anonymous woman, “I am having similar feelings in my relationship. Is it that women of a certain age don’t want to be alone and we are willing to put up with things that lead to insecurity? When we are looking toward the future, it makes living in the moment and relaxing difficult. It is a constant head game for me to balance enjoying the moment with questioning whether this moment is going to lead to a future.”

Jackie, “I feel sorry for this woman who is not in a truly loving relationship as she is always wondering if he will leave. His record tells that answer: He’s living the thrill. She needs to enjoy life and be happy in herself without the need for another. I keep telling myself, I may be lonely but I’m not needy. The best thing would be to enjoy the time with this guy with no expectations for a future.”  

Sue, “This is a sad story. Desperate for this man’s attention- she’s willing to put up with his uncertainty…which is crumbs. I ran into men like this during my online-dating years…she’s the flavor of the month- or maybe the flavor of this year…but he will move on.

“He has 100% revealed himself- so he isn’t the bad guy… she’s deluded to think she is ‘the one’ who will change him…I’ve had to tell many of my GF’s, ‘He’s not that into you’- the most famous and true of all book/movie lines! She seems to be one who can meet and connect- she should go fishing again.”

Art, “An old dog does not learn new tricks. Tony has been unreliable for many years and I think Corrine’s insecurity is well warranted. I don’t know if it’s boredom, but whatever the underlying cause is, Tony has already said he does not know if he’s that life partner for her. If nothing else, he has signaled that he is not on the same page as Corrine.

“I think she should keep looking and start to back off on telling him that she adores him. I don’t see a forever relationship down the road.”

Teresa, “ By sharing his background, Tony told Corrine that he is not interested in settling down. He likes to change partners. If she wants a long-term partner, she would be better off breaking up with Tony now, so she can use her spare time to find a better partner.”

Belinda, “Tony doesn’t want a partner; he wants to play. As he ages,  there are more and more available women for him in the dating pool. It’s a shame he has the ego that keeps wondering what’s just around the corner instead of being able to commit to what’s here and now.

“Corrine would be best served by keeping her options open, dating several men at a time, and not rushing headlong into a one-sided commitment with these guys.”

Jeanne: “Corinne and Tony are not on the same page. She might have to keep her thoughts and words to herself all the time for him to stay – and even that might not be a guarantee.  

“Though she is having fun and is happy with him there is a dark cloud on the horizon. I think it’s difficult to stay with anyone for just fun and laughter, and nothing bigger. Sometimes one has to leave a person one loves because that person is not a good candidate for a forward-moving relationship.”

Mary Ann, “Corrine lives in a dream world. She ignores many red flags. She is kind of desperate with no confidence. She may end up alone.”

Stella, “This man bails when it gets too comfortable. Talking about the future with him is futile. Corrine wants to corral him, tie him up in a nice little package, and live happily ever after. Ain’t gonna happen with this guy. As long as there are no strings attached, he’s happy to hang around.  Enjoy what he has to offer and don’t ask for more.” 

Bobbi, “You have a satisfactory relationship, don’t scare him off. You know his track record. Why rock the boat? Just enjoy your time together and don’t anticipate his leaving. He can feel your worry. Try to exude only good karma.”

Bob, “All she has to do is stop overthinking and then not mess this up. I am not advocating any course of action on her part because I suspect there are additional facts, circumstances, and nuances that only she can evaluate in making a decision.”

Helen, “This poor lady’s thoughts and activities made me thankful I am happy and content as I am! I would not have said that 20 years ago and so I understand her.”

Alicia, “My opinion is to remain friends and not be exclusive. He seems to be a great friend with benefits. That’s okay if that’s what she wants. But if not, start dating others, otherwise, she will always have that disappointment of the relationship not becoming more.”

Amy, “Sounds like Tony is happy to have a fun relationship with no strings attached until someone else catches his eye. Corrine needs to decide if she is fine with the same type of relationship knowing at some point Tony will move on to someone else. Call it what it is, friends with benefits.” 

Linda, “My message is: enjoy the time you have together with your mate today and not worry about tomorrow. Life will take its place the way it is supposed to. Have fun and be well.”

Bonnie, “If it walks like a duck, and looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. This man has provided all the details in black and white. The lady needs to grasp that. By saying, ‘wasting my time,’ the lady acknowledges that she knows that he is. Retracting her comment does not change what she already knows in her gut.” 

Jennifer, “My take is that she blurted out the words “I hope you’re not wasting my time,” which might have been insensitive, I suppose, however, it is what she is feeling.  Each woman should look for what she wants in a relationship and not sell herself short.

“She wants to tell this man ~ I love you, but she is afraid. This is not good. I believe she is setting herself up for a huge disappointment and most likely will be left. Why would she feel that she was going to be the one to change him? I say, cut her losses and move on. Ask for what you want and if one won’t give you that, then another one will.”  

Tom’s comment: Thanks, everybody. With your comments, you have given Corrine plenty to think about. Where else could she get so much sage advice at no cost? And thanks to her for having the bravery to share her story with us. Perhaps down the road a bit, she will provide us with an update. We all wish her the best.


Housekeeping notes from Tom: (1) Some of you who respond to the newsletter have commented that the email address that pops up is kind of strange, that it’s not my usual The strange address is us-e3b7ea… Explanation: Recently I switched to an upgraded Mail Chimp program because we are constantly adding new subscribers. (Mail Chimp is the service I use for the eNewsletters). Don’t worry about that–either email address works fine. I will receive them both. 

(2) Some of you have asked why you are receiving two newsletters each week. The reason that is happening is if you don’t open the Friday newsletter by Sunday, I resend it. By doing that, usually, 200-250 more people open and read it. I am not trying to bug you. If you open your Friday newsletter and then receive the same newsletter on Sunday, please let me know. That has happened in a couple of situations.