On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter
August 19, 2022
By Columnist Tom Blake
Part 1 -Seniors Don’t burn your dating bridges
Pam, 77, Placentia, Ca., emailed: “I was married for 28 years and then was a senior ambushed by divorce. I have been single for 30 years and have been enjoying your newsletter for nearly that long, or, for however long you have been publishing it online.
“We used to pay for it and it was worth every penny! I love the stories, both personal and champs. Your wise advice is always appreciated. Thank you for the generosity of your time and compassion for the singles of a certain age.”
Tom’s response: “Wow, Pam, thank you. I used to charge for the eNewsletter but decided when I expanded the reach to other than just senior dating to include life situations that I would no longer charge for it.
I have no plans to start charging for it again (unless the majority of Champs insist!). I benefit by selling a few books. Plus, I also benefit from the material that Champs provide, which keeps our topics and material fresh for future eNewsletters and newspaper articles.
I admit, there are times these days when the information received slows to a trickle, sort of like the drought here in California with the water.
Pam said, “I have an interesting story. A year after my divorce I dated Dan, whom I met in the singles Sunday School class at the E V Free Church in Fullerton. A girlfriend of mine from the class (Jeanne) dated another man from the class (Jim)) and he and Dan were good friends. The four of us did a lot of fun things together. We were all dumpees (perhaps a new senior dating term).
“After six months Jim’s wife decided she wanted him back. Because of his family, he reconciled with her. As much as he cared for Jeanne, he explained what he felt he needed to do. I never forgot that he told Jeanne that the four of us made a great couple!
“Not too long after that Dan broke up with me and everyone moved on. Dan and I remained friends and would date off and on through the years.
“Jim was remarried for 10 years and then his wife kicked him to the curb again. In the meantime, Jeanne married a terrific man.
“Dan and I were in one of our dating-again times. He invited Jim over for a BBQ. During the evening, Jim and I discovered that we had a lot of interests in common. We decided to do some activities just as friends. Well, we had so much fun together that our friendship turned to love.
“He told Dan and Dan was angry for a while, but he got over it. Jim told Dan that Dan had his chance for years and he blew it! Jim and I were so happy for 14 years. I have no family and I was included as part of the family by his married daughters and grandchildren. Jim and Dan remained best buddies. Jim jokingly told him that he was leaving me to Dan, in his will.
“Last December, my sweet Jim passed away from heart failure. He was 80. I saw Dan at the service for the first time in 14 years.
“A few months later, Dan asked me if I would like to go out to dinner. We are now dating if you can call it that at our age. We thought we were old when we were divorced in our 40s but now, we really are! He’s also 77. We are comfortable talking about Jim and sharing stories about him and I like that. Neither wants to be married.
“Dan is still a homebody with few interests but that’s OK now. In 2018, I had five vertebrae in my neck fused and in 2019 I had 10 vertebrae in my back fused with two long rods, 20 screws, and five spacers. I am doing well but have limitations which Dan is very understanding about. So here we are together 30 years later, senior comfortable companions.”
Tom’s comment: I told Pam I needed to create a flow chart to understand all the ins and outs of her Jeanne, Jim, and Dan saga. Pam’s story provides two senior-relationship lessons.
1. Seniors shouldn’t burn their bridges. We never know when old friends or old flames might reappear. In Pam’s case, if she had pushed Dan out of her life forever after he dumped her, she likely wouldn’t be with him as “a comfortable companion” 30 years later. Having a companion is a lot better than going it alone when we are in our 70s or 80s.
2. Previous relationships can rekindle. We hear of people reconnecting at high school and college reunions. And in Pam’s situation, after being with Jim for 14 years, she’s spending time with Dan who was Jim’s friend. They can talk about Jim without either one getting wigged out.
I wonder if Jim put words for Pam about Dan in his will. That’s kind of a cute twist to this somewhat hard-to-follow story.