Senior men on finding and losing love

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  June 5, 2020

Columnist Tom Blake

Today’s eNewsletter has three parts. Parts one and two feature senior men on finding and losing love. In part one, a senior man blames himself for losing past relationships, but has a great partner now. In 26 years of writing dating after 50 columns, I can’t recall a man ever fully admitting he was the problem for relationships not working.

In Part 2—a very brief section, a man Champ gives sage advice. 

In Part 3 – Tom’s new ebook: “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer 1960.”

Part One – Senior men on finding and losing love

Champ Joel steps up to the plate and admits that his difficulty in staying in relationships was his fault. And what he did to fix the problem. His words are educational, from which many of us can learn.

Joel shared: “I was 12 years a slave to, POF and all the others. Sometimes I would meet five women a week in my desperate search for a loving partner. In that time, I met four women that I could have loved, should have loved and would have loved–if only I had known then what I know now.

“I met the fourth woman online; we fell in love and I moved from Tallahassee Fl to San Francisco to live with her. I lived in blissful happiness for two years until she dumped me, with no warning that I saw.

“I moved back to Florida and, over a two-year period–including significant therapy–I progressed from a complete emotional and physical disintegration to my rebirth as a better, healthier man.

Senior love – the problem was me

“I realized there was nothing wrong with any of those four women and in fact, they would have made wonderful life partners. The problem was me.

“I had been inattentive, unempathetic, arrogant, and a lousy listener. In short, what women often call a jerk.

“After a deep self-assessment and adjustment, I met a woman, fell in love, and, after cohabiting for five years, we got married. I believe that many times people searching for love without success think the problem is the people they meet.

“If you’ve been meeting prospective mates for two years and haven’t found one, it may be the problem is you. That was the case with me.”

“My advice is to look in the mirror for the solution. It may be that you need to radically change or accept the fact that you would rather be single, than change, adapt and, accept.

“By accepting, I mean there are some traits that come with gender. Men and women have some built-in behaviors, like communication styles, that are omnipresent. If you want a partner, you have to accept those traits and adapt to them, even though doing that may drive you crazy.

“Likewise, each person has irritating, annoying, even disgusting traits that come with them. They likely won’t change. It’s foolish to think you can change a person.

“If you are going to find love late in life, you may need to change. You must accept a person with flaws. Or you may decide to live single, not a bad choice and one with some advantages.

“My choice was to find a loving partner and that happened when I changed. I am a happily married man now.

Wendy and Joel

Joel added, “Sure proves there is hope for everyone. Best wishes in your search!”

I asked Joel how he and Wendy met. That was unique as well.

Joel emailed, “When I was out and about, and single, my social crutch at a social event or party was my camera. I found it easy to approach people and ask to take their photograph. When they asked why I would say—truthfully–I will send them to you and the hostess of the party. Which I did back in the day of paper photographs, then, later as jpegs.

“In 2012, I had moved back from The Bay Area to Florida. I was with a date at a party and taking pictures and had a chat with an interesting and attractive woman, took her picture, moved on, and later sent the picture files to the hostess…and forgot about it.

“Three months later, the hostess and I were having lunch and I told her about yet another failure with a woman I had dated. She said, ‘You should call Wendy!’

“I did and the rest is history. It’s working because I learned to accept, adapt, and pay attention to her needs, even when I don’t understand. What’s that old saying about ‘a happy wife means a happy life’ or some such thing?

Part 2 – Include A-B-C when profile building

Art, “One thing that I have in my profile is something I learned years ago in sales, A-B-C, always be closing. This means to include what you want the person to do next. For example, ‘If you enjoyed reading my profile, send me a message, and let’s get to know each other.’ 

“It sounds like such an obvious ending, but most people do not know how to end their profile.” Include A-B-C when profile building.

Part 3 – Last week, I made a mistake in the eNewsletter. Here’s how:

I mentioned an ebook I had just published titled “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer 1960.” The book is about five guys, who traveled in and lived in a VW bus in the summer of 1960. The final 16 days were at the Rome Olympics. I was one of the five. There are some travel photos.

I had offered to Champs to download it for $0.99 (cents). But the link I included was a broken link. I made a mistake. So, I’m making that offer once again with these instructions.

The book is on, which happens to be the largest ebook bookstore and ebook distributor in the world. When you click on the link the first time, Smashwords will prompt you to create a personal account. It’s easy, just enter your email address and create a password. Write the password down so you will have it in future visits to their site.

 After you create your account, type my name Tom Blake in the search box, and the covers of the books I have on Smashwords will appear. Click on “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus Summer of 1960.” Then click on “Buy.” Then, you will get a prompt for a Coupon, which will entitle you to your $.99 copy. Enter this coupon code WR49Q

You can either download the book to your computer (download epub or original document) or Kindle (Kindle uses the Mobi download). Feel free to save it to your device. Or, simply read it with the Smashwords online reader. 

So that was my error last week, providing a broken link. I made a mistake. A few of you commented on that. Let me know if you have any questions or issues.

84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer 1960

 Cover of Tom’s new ebook “84 Days Through Europe in a VW Bus. Summer of 1960.”

Woman seeking husband # 4

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  Issue 4, January 24, 2020

by columnist Thomas P blake

                                         The Champs take over

                  Response to woman seeking husband # 4

Marta wrote, “For the lady who is aching to get married: The best way to find a mate that is RIGHT for YOU is to be you as much as possible. Forget about finding a partner and do what you LIKE, around groups of people that include males, as often as you can, daily.

“When people observe you being happy, they are naturally attracted, they cannot help themselves. Plaster a smile on your face and get going.”

Responses to learning to play Bridge – the card game

Diana, “In South Orange County, California, South Orange Coast Bridge Center…San Juan Capistrano is a great club. I took beginner’s lessons when the club was at the harbor. I was 72 and had never played bridge before.

Have made a wonderful network of friends and play three times a week when at home and on cruises. Totally addicting though, so be warned! Carissa can likely find great clubs where she lives in Arizona.”

Sandy, “It’s never too late to learn Bridge. I am 70 and just recently learned. Go forth and enjoy! I recommend the American Contract Bridge League website (www.ABCL.ORG), and find classes, it is bonding, socialization, and intellectual…even if you are bad at it…you still reap the benefits!”

                                      New Year’s Eve in Dubai – Chris and Tina

I asked our Champs, Chris and Tina, the longest, long-distance relationship couple (5,419 miles) of which I’ve ever known–who spent New Years Eve on a cruise ship in Dubai–if they’d share that experience with us.

Chris wrote, “The ship docked in Dubai on the afternoon of December 31, 2019.The dress code that evening was semi-formal. We met Bruce and Deb, a couple from England we had become acquainted with, for a wonderful lobster dinner.

“After dinner we went to the lounge and listened and danced to some good music. Around 11:30 p.m., the crew passed out hats for the men and crowns for the ladies, and we all went onto the upper swimming pool deck where the big party was going on.

“It was a beautiful night. There had to be 1,000 people up there. The music was loud, the champagne was flowing, and everyone was dancing and singing. It was a great and fun crowd.

“At midnight the Burj Khalifa–the tallest building in the world–lit up. It was a different New Year’s fireworks show than normal. There was a beautiful light display running up and down the building while fireworks were going off from the building complementing the lights. It was wonderful.

Champs  Tina and Chris – after a long New Years Eve aboard ship in Dubai

“There were also four other parts of the city that lit up with fireworks. What a thrill to be standing there, with my arms around my wife, watching all this in Dubai as the new decade began.”

Larry Leach, one of our Champs, graduated two years ahead of me at Jackson High School, Jackson, Michigan. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is a big University of Michigan sports fan. He lettered in golf at Michigan.

Champ Larry Leach – loves the Big Blue
Larry forwarded an email that included 13 “Peanuts” cartoons, by Charles Schultz. Their simple, positive messages are wonderful. I thought I’d share a few of them with you—one at a time, once in a while—to remind us how positive messages can warm our hearts.
73 Years of Friendship
Two Champs – Pam S. and Pam P (Tom Blake’s sister). – who grew up together in Jackson, Michigan – shared a photo of them together in 1947. Now, Pam P lives in San Diego and Pam F. still lives in Jackson; they remain friends and exchange stories. They are Champs and are both married.

                         Champ Pam S. on left; Champ Pam P. on right – still pals after 73 years

People who email but don’t respond and Champs who don’t let age hold them back

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – December 31, 2018

by Tom Blake Columnist

Happy New Year – There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter. 

Part 1 – People who send emails but don’t respond to my reply

Part 2 – Champs who don’t let age hold them back

Part 1 – People who send emails but don’t respond to my reply

Often, I receive emails from Champs that I’d like to include in future e-Newsletters. I respond and ask the senders a few more questions and permission to use their information and names.

But, for some reason, some people don’t respond back. There are two examples of that today.

The first email was sent by Champ Toni, responding to a newsletter article published in August about a disgruntled woman who blamed men for her dating problems. Toni lives on the west coast, she wrote:

“I was widowed 9 years ago when I was 53. Mike was 48 and died unexpectedly in his sleep.

“I loved my job and as I’m too young for Social Security, I have continued to work. This keeps me busy. I was also fortunate to have joined a grief share group and a singles Meetup group in my area. Not a dating group – just singles getting together for movies, dinner, dancing, bowling, winery visits–activities that are not fun when alone as a single.

“I agree with what ‘disgruntled’ said in your newsletter on several points. In my experience and the women in my circle have also realized, the men require a lot more from the women than the women require of men. For example, a woman’s appearance (age – weight), dating /marriage history, and financial stability are important to men.

“Not all men, but the majority want younger companions. Most want FWB (friends with benefits) and are not interested in a monogamous committed relationship. Because of an estimated ratio at my age of two-to-one women to men– the men call the shots and can take their pick. Bravo for them. And Why not?

“I think more women are ok being single than men. Perhaps that’s because the women took care of the family and the house and they’re finally getting a much- deserved rest and can now do what they want when they want and don’t have to be accountable to anyone.

“Studies show divorced and widowed men tend to date, hook up and remarry faster than the women do. Is it because men want to be taken care of? Are they missing a companion to go places and do things with? Do they still feel the need to prove their virility to themselves and others?

“Several men in our circle of friends say they envy the gals. If we want to go to a movie or dinner, we call up the girls and go out. You seldom see a group of older guys doing this, unless they golf. My one guy friend told me he thought the women dealt with single life much better than men. He says, ‘You ladies like your own company.’ And I agree.

“Speaking for myself, I would welcome another love in my life – I had a great marriage and believe it’s possible again. But, I don’t need another person ‘to complete me.’ I do coffee and lunch dates with a few becoming dinner dates. I’m not so desperate that I’m fixated on dating just to get out of the house.

“I try not to compare dates – and while there is compromise – for me, some things are not negotiable. I’m not into ‘playing house’ or the friends-with-benefits arrangement. It may work for some, but it’s not my thing.

“Being single doesn’t have to be a curse. It can be a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself and grow in many areas. More singles should learn to depend on themselves and enjoy their own company. They may surprise themselves!

“I had friends putting their two cents into this email. We enjoy your e-Newsletters.”

Tom’s comment: I wrote Toni back and told her I’d like to include her email in a future e-Newsletter and that what she wrote was well stated and nicely done. I asked what her future work plans were. And I wanted to give her two-cents friends credit for their inputs as well.

But, as sometimes happens, I didn’t hear anything back from her. So, I held off using her information until today. I felt that her comments would start the New Year off with some interesting food for thought.

Example number two of people who send emails and then don’t respond when I write them back.

While I was on the cruise, I received an email from a 72-year-old widow named Cheryl. She had seen-in previous eNewsletters-that I had included some bios of single Champs. So, she sent her bio information in along with a nice photo of her in a red dress, but she didn’t mention in what part of the country she lived.

I felt that to be important so that men would know if she lived close enough to them to pursue communication with her. I wrote her back and asked.

She never responded. So, I didn’t include her bio in a newsletter. Perhaps she’ll resend her information with that information in it.

I don’t understand why people put a great amount of time, thought, and effort into writing an email, and then, they don’t respond when I respond to them.

Note from Tom (for the rest of the story, see the January, 2019 titled “Cheryl in the red dress.” She did email; I didn’t get it on board the ship.

Part 2 – Champs who don’t let age hold them back

You may recall Chris and Tina. They married two years ago. They had the longest, long-distance relationship on record, 5,440 or so miles for 14 years, between San Clemente, California and England.

              Champs Chris and Tina –making the most out of life

Champ Chris emailed last week, “Tomorrow (Monday) Tina and I are flying from England (where Tina has relatives) to Cape Town, South Africa, for two weeks. We will be spending the holidays there. It should be an interesting adventure. We will be staying in five different hotels in that area. This includes a wonderful Christmas dinner overlooking the city and Table Mountain. (We have seen the menu and it looks great).

“And, New Year’s Eve will be at a seaside restaurant, where the Atlantic meets the Pacific. We understand you can see where the different color waters come together. We are also going on a three-day safari. NO! We are not sleeping on the ground in a tent. I did enough of that in Vermont, when the kids were little. I want a five-star hotel with a shower and room service.

“Tina and I have been talking about this trip and planning it, for over a year. Hopefully it is everything we want it to be, because this could be our last big adventure. I will be 85 in January, and as some of you know, it gets harder and harder to travel as you get up in years. (Tina is 77).

“So, I want to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year. May it be everything you would like it to be.”

Note from Tom: For an interesting update on Chris and Tina, visit the e-Newsletter on this site dated January 25, 2019 on Decluttering. The link:

Chris and Tina decluttering

Tom Blake 24 years of writing columns

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – July 6, 2018

There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter. Tom Blake columnist.

Part One – Home alone with only dogs for company

People often ask where I learned to write, expecting to hear a reply like “At journalism school.” Or, they ask, “Have you always been a writer?”

I reply: “No journalism school. I’ve been writing for 24 years. I learned to write sitting on barstools, while trying to meet women after my divorce.”

That answer probably needs an explanation.

On Christmas Eve, 1993, my wife of six years, and her two boys, decided they’d had enough of me. While I was in Santa Rosa, California, visiting my 82-year-old mom, they took what furniture and belongings they wanted and moved out of my life.

I had no clue that was going down. Oh, I knew we had some issues to discuss, but most couples do. I found out the morning after Christmas when my wife telephoned me at Mom’s and told me.

On the drive home, I had a notepad in my lap. When you’ve got nine hours to drive, a million thoughts go through your mind.

As best I could, I jotted down my thoughts. The first item: What about my dogs, Amy and Kira? Were they gone? Were they still there? Had they been fed or left water in two days?

The next item: Why did she do it without us discussing it first?

By trip’s end, I had a mishmash of notes on the notepad. My writing career had begun, although I didn’t know it.

A month later, while serving sandwiches during lunchtime at Tutor and Spunky’s, my Dana Point, California, deli, in front of customers and employees, I got served. With divorce papers! And, as I was doing every night, I went home and jotted down my thoughts in what then had become a divorced-man’s diary. That divorce turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Shortly after the divorce, at age 54, I decided to start dating again, thinking I’d be king of the hill. Oh my gosh, reality hit harder than I had ever imagined. As I sat on barstools at Brio, Hennessey’s and other Orange County singles’ hangouts, I’d add the dating misadventures into the diary. On those barstools is where I learned to write.

After five months, I put the notes from the diary into a short story. I edited the material 25 times. It was about 75 pages. I thought, maybe I could get the story published.

I sent query letters to The New York TimesPlayboy Magazine and Esquire. No response. The Orange County Register recommended I contact the Dana Point News, the Register’s community paper in the city where I lived.

After reading my short story, the two women editors—Sherrie Good and Dixie Redfearn–agreed to a meeting at their office.

At the meeting, their first question: “What do you have in mind?”

I had no idea, so I just blurted out, “Maybe I could do a dating-after-50 column from the male-point-of-view.”

They said, “That’s what we were thinking. You are whining and complaining so much about the cost of dating, and being rejected by all sorts of women, we feel the single, middle-aged women of Orange County will have a field day reading your woe-is-me adventure.”

“Home alone, with only dogs for company,” was the title of my first newspaper column. It appeared July 7, 1994–24 years ago tomorrow–in the South County Lifestyles section of four Orange County Register community newspapers.

Sherrie and Dixie were right about the vitriolic responses from women.

The first comment was, “Who is this sniveling puke?”

The second: “Get the boy a crying towel.”

And the third: “He complains that younger women won’t go out with him. It’s a wonder any woman will go out with him”

Welcome to the dating trenches, Tom.

Soon the column appeared in 10 OC Register community papers. And then for eight years, the Register itself, the nation’s 20th largest newspaper, as well as the community papers. Opportunity had arisen from adversity.

Seven years ago, I was blessed to join the team at Picket Fence Media—the publishers of the Dana Point TimesSan Clemente Times and The Capistrano Dispatch, in south Orange County, California. I am very lucky to have this incredible opportunity to write for newspapers that are still printed. How so?

On Tuesday, July 3, the Boston Globe newspaper published an article by Evan Horowitz that stated, “The newspaper industry has declined faster and fallen further than some of the most famously collapsing sectors of the American economy. Coal mining, steel manufacturing, fishing.” Since 2000, newspaper employment has fallen by more than 60 percent…

“Nearly 300 English-language daily newspapers have disappeared from the US landscape in the past 20 years….Florida, California, New Jersey, and Michigan have each lost roughly 70 percent of their newspaper jobs…In San Diego, newspaper employment is down 83 percent since 2002.” So, I’m very fortunate to still have my articles printed by functioning newspapers, published by hard-working Americans.

And even though this is off-topic, I have to say this: I was devastated with the mass shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, last week. So senseless. Each of the five killed reminded me of someone I know. 

The number of columns and eNewsletters I’ve written in 24 years—approaching 4,000.

Why was that divorce 24 years ago the best thing that ever happened to me? It launched a writing career that has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. It brought two appearances on the Today Show and an appearance on Good Morning America.

And more importantly, it opened the door for me to meet Greta, a partner with whom I’ve shared so many incredible experiences in the 20 years we’ve been together, I don’t have time to write about them all.

Have things changed on the dating scene in 24 years? Not much. Except now, instead of focusing on dating after 50, it includes dating after 60, 70, 80, and even 90. Same old issues—hard to meet someone compatible and one of the biggest issues single seniors still deal with is loneliness.

Adversity leads to opportunity

Often, adversity leads to opportunity. For those who have suffered a major setback in life, try–as hard as it is at the time–to look for that seed of opportunity to soothe the adversity pain. It’s out there somewhere, you just need to keep an eye out for it and follow your instinct. It will help you heal.