Senior long-distance relationship

men must earn friends with benefits status


On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

January 28, 2022

2022 eNewsletter #4

by Tom Blake

Senior long-distance relationship: By overthinking her senior long-distance relationship, a single senior woman is jeopardizing it.

The perils of a senior long-distance relationship. 

Last October (2021), a woman named Sharon emailed, “I have been in a long-distance relationship for 1 ½ years. I’m 66 and live in Georgia. My boyfriend is 68 and lives in California. We don’t seem to mind. Our love for each other will work out.

“However, he has some ‘issues.’ It’s too complicated to just send an email. Perhaps I can share with you over the phone? It won’t take but a 10-minute conversation.”

I responded, “The phone won’t work for me. I must have written proof of stories that people submit to me for possible use in my newspapers and weekly eNewsletters. I do not want to get into a situation where someone says to me, “That’s not what I told you over the phone.”

“So, in writing articles, I must have written documentation. Please feel free to email me regarding your situation; I’d love to hear what you have on your mind.

“Besides, if I talked on the phone to all the people who would like to chat about their situations, I wouldn’t have time to eat or sleep! Please understand. I hope you’ll write me.”

I didn’t hear back from her—until this January 16, 2022, when Sharon wrote: “We may have communicated before.”

I was surprised she didn’t remember contacting me just three months before. I remembered and I hear from nearly 1,000 people each month.

She wrote: “I have a boyfriend who lives in California, and I live in Georgia. We’ve had a long-distance relationship for 1.8 years.

“We love each other, and he is dragging his feet when it comes to moving forward with the relationship. He is not in a place in his life where he can do that.

“He thinks because of the distance and because I have kids and grandkids (who I’m close to), and because he doesn’t know what he’ll be doing after he sells his house, that the circumstances warrant a big problem for us.

“He doesn’t see how to ‘advance’ the relationship and has even put things on hold while he tries to complete architectural drafting, and building this home project he needs to do so he can sell his house and move on and enjoy his retirement.

“He still likes to travel and vacation with me and things are wonderful when we meet. He calls me twice a week, sends texts almost daily, and still sends me gifts.

“I just sent him a letter to let him know this situation of being in ‘limbo’ is not good for my mental or emotional health. I wrote that I was taking a month with no contact to pray and heal my emotions. I wonder what step to take next.

“I love this man and find it hard to concentrate on dating others, as he said he wouldn’t want to hold me back from a casual golf outing, etc., with a guy if I wanted to.”

I responded: I received your email Sunday, Jan 16. Yes, we communicated before on October 12 when you wanted to talk on the phone, and I explained to you why I didn’t want to do that (see the email above).

Questions: You’ve dated the CA guy for 1.8 years. How did you first meet? Online? Have you been together in person a few times? How many times for you to fall in love with him?

You wrote Sunday “He is not in a place in his life where he can do that,” meaning move the relationship forward. 

You wrote to him saying being in “limbo” isn’t good for your emotional or mental health.

What do you want him to do? Who would move? Him to GA? Or, you to CA (away from your kids and grandkids). 

Perhaps you should get on with your life and back off. Give him time to think. Yes, I know it is hard mentally but that appears to be your only option since you say he can’t move it forward at this stage.

How would you get together during this Covid pandemic? Hard to do when 3,000 miles apart.

A senior dating ultimatum

Sharon responded again: “I have given each of us some time ‘to process’ the relationship: One month no contact. I stated in my letter that I was happy and secure the first year. Communication was consistent, trips were planned every 2-3 months, etc.

“Since August, we haven’t made any concrete plans, and communication has trailed off, I have felt much less that I am even IN a relationship at all! I understand his project, and the stress he is under. I didn’t feel that his home-improvement project was a good enough reason to put our relationship on hold.

“I want to make sure he really FEELS the love and wants to continue our relationship. Not being able to and not wanting to are two different things. I sense a connection is being lost. We are already losing our connection physically. (Covid has nothing to do with our being away from each other, although he did get it one time).

“During the first year, even though there were all KINDS of hindrances to our seeing each other in person (flu, his sister’s death), I felt his steadfast love and care. Anyway, in a few weeks perhaps he will share his thoughts on the ‘no-contact’ period and what if any conclusions he came to during it. I am preparing myself either way. I wish I had given him a heads-up about the no-contact period, but I didn’t know any better.

“It never occurred to me. I basically made it about ME, that I needed time away to think, heal, etc… and that after the month was up, I welcome him to contact me. So, yes, there is the question of what he can do? He can include me in some things to show that I am still important in his life.

“My point was that life will always have ‘big projects’ and stressors, and we can put things on hold, but not people and relationships.

“P.S. If you are wondering where the question is in all this, it is: Who should call who after the no-contact period is up? What should he or I say? I didn’t give any ultimatums or ask any questions, just told him I was going to get some quiet to heal myself and my emotions and pray about God’s direction for my life.

“I made it clear that I was hoping he is the man God has for me and that we would pair our gifts together to be used for ‘His service’ so he should get a clear idea that this no-contact period was not meant to break us up or lead up to it.”

I responded again to Sharon: “Long-distance relationships are difficult, even more difficult during Covid. You and your ‘boyfriend’ have been together only four times in two years. Not enough time to know each other well enough to consider having one of you relocate across the country.

“When you emailed in October, you wrote, ‘We don’t seem to mind’ (Being apart). Apparently, you changed your mind by the time January rolled around.”

I didn’t hear from her again. Perhaps she was using the same no-contact-for-a-month ploy on me that she used on him.

Her boyfriend won’t listen to her

Tom’s conclusion

She’s way over-thinking this relationship. Her self-imposed ‘no-contact’ month is a form of an ultimatum that may be the nail in the relationship coffin. With her excessive twaddle, she may have turned him off. Who should call? she asked. She should, of course. But he may not pick up the phone.

With all the details she wrote, it’s apparent that a phone call from her to me would have taken nearly an hour. That’s another reason why I don’t agree to have people telephone me. Now, if they want a paid consulting session, that’s another story, but she didn’t offer that.

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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