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 tompblake@gmail.com. The strange address is us-e3b7ea…@inbound.mail.com. 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. 

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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