Lat (Living Apart Together) Relationships

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – July 30, 2021
By: Tom Blake – Columnist

Senior dating: Identifying the types of senior living relationships can be confusing

Lately, I’ve been receiving an increasing number of questions from Champs and single seniors regarding the various types of relationship living arrangements they are choosing or considering. The different acronyms can boggle the mind.

The most popular: LAT (living apart together) 

In checking my columns-written archives, I first mentioned LAT relationships in eNewsletters during March 2018. The LAT designation was applied to Champs who were in unconventional relationships. Some stated they were committed, loving, intimate relationships, and yet, they lived under separate roofs.

This week, I searched online but couldn’t find any articles– other than ours–that had been published anywhere in the world earlier than 2019 on the LAT relationship topic. Our Champs blazed a trial in senior dating relationship definitions.

In the three and a half years since that 2018 article mention, the single senior living arrangement topic has mushroomed among people who write about senior relationships. And I sure hear more about the topic.

The primary reason why LAT relationships will not become the norm for seniors is financial. Two separate households are more expensive to occupy vs. when two people share expenses under the same roof. For some, a LAT isn’t affordable. And for some, it’s not even a desirable way to live.

For example, Mary Ann emailed: “To me, if a couple doesn’t live together there is no ‘US.’ The pluses appear to be having their own space, privacy, and daily routines. But living this way does not bring them closer and committed enough. I call this a compromised relationship (CR).” I’ve been in a few of those myself.

Champ Mark sent me a link to an online New York Times article dated July 16, 2021, titled, “Older Singles Have Found a New Way to Partner Up: Living Apart,” written by Francine Russo.

In the article, Russo mentions a widow named Linda Randall, who lives in Chicago and was widowed in 2016. Randall is now 81 and has a romantic, intimate, relationship with a widower, age 87, who lives across the alley from her and spends most nights at her apartment.

When the widower asked Randall if he could move in with her, Randall said no because she liked where she lived and felt they were different in how they lived.

Plus, a big factor was that Randall didn’t want to become a full-time caregiver. Living apart but nearby, Randall and the widower remain intimate.
Russo also wrote in the article, “In Europe, the data clearly shows that later-life LAT relationships are on the rise. And Russo quoted a Canadian sociology professor who said, “LAT is now a ‘popular option’ in the United States and Canada.”

Champ Joel, emailed this week: “I saw this term, which was new to me: ‘living celibate together.’ When I entered that as a Google search, a lot of articles showed up.”

I responded to Joel, “So now we have LCT (living celibate together) senior relationships? I don’t want to be in one of those.”
Joel answered, “Nor I, an 

LCT doesn’t float my boat either.”

Another Champ, Ginny, whom we wrote about in April, a widow, age 80, has had a seven-year relationship with Harry, 87, a widower. They live three walking minutes apart.

Harry was the guy who didn’t want to remarry (he had been married 59 years). In April, Harry changed his mind and a November wedding was planned.

Now, Ginny says, they are planning to marry in September.

I asked her why they are getting married after seven years.
Ginny said, “I visit Harry nearly every evening. But I return home the same night. Because of our faith, we agreed years ago to abstain from sex unless married. It was difficult. After we marry, instead of coming home each night, I will come home the next morning. We can finally have sex.”

Ginny added, “Still, we will have a LAT marriage.”

“Why the LAT marriage?” I asked.

“We will have a prenup. We both have children and grandchildren. Our money stays separate as do our homes. I like my home. It’s a short walk. Why not?”

Tom’s comment 

I love Ginny’s story! Could LAT-M (Living Apart Together Married’ become another senior dating term introduced to the world by our Champs?

I smile at the reason Ginny and Harry are getting married. Intimacy–better late than never–bless them, both. Update on Ginny and Harry: They married in September and a NY Times’ “Wedding columnist” Tammy LaGorce attended and is doing an article on them

There are three primary reasons why these unconventional LAT-type relationships are gaining popularity among seniors:

1. Avoiding being a full-time caregiver (one of the biggest and most often stated reasons)
2. Wanting a companion while keeping one’s home
3. Maintaining independence while enjoying intimacy (perhaps), love, and sharing.
More senior women than men tell me they prefer a LAT relationship.
With these four options, LAT, LCT, CR, and LAT-M, no wonder senior dating is confusing. 
Online dating question from Yolanda:“I am a widow of 11 years, looking for dating opportunities. I saw in an eNewsletter that you mentioned Cupid k 2 or Cupid two. Can you guide me to it?”

Tom’s answer to Yolanda: “I think the dating website you are looking for is OK Cupid. Their basic package is free. But there are some upgrades that could be helpful that will cost a small amount.
However, if you are beginning to go online with your dating, please be very careful because there are all kinds of scammers out there who try to take advantage of lonely women. Especially widows. NEVER send money to a stranger. If a person claims to be working overseas, that’s a red flag. Do not reveal your home address.

If you come across someone who might be interesting for you, have a background check done on that person. If he sends pictures, verify that the pictures are his via a Facebook or other account.I can’t stress enough to be leery of people you meet online. That being said, the Internet can be a good place to meet people, just be very aware. If you have doubts, feel free to contact me with details.

We can always post your situation in the eNewsletter and let Champs give you their opinions. I assure you, our Champs will leave no stone unturned–they’ve walked the walk and are a wealth of caring and loving information. Good luck. Keep us posted, Yolanda.
Tom's new book coverBook update. The first copy of the paperback version arrived yesterday at 4:20 p.m. I am pleased. It’s 365 pages.Thanks to Champs who have contacted me and purchased a paperback version for $23.97, including shipping, about $7 less than if you purchase on Amazon. Simply send me an email if you would like a personalized copy. The Kindle/ebook version is available now on Amazon Link to “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark page on Amazon.com

Tom Publishes “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark” On life and love after 50 eNewsletter July 23, 2021

(The article today has been edited for length and clarity)
Tom has published a memoir titled “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark.”
CARMELO COVERChamp Carmelo Lodise’s new memoir is available in Paperback on Amazon.com and soon in the Kindle/Ebook format.Tom's new book coverTom’s newly released memoir is available in Paperback or Kindle/Ebook format on Amazon.com

This week’s news from Champs
Joanne, a Champ for more than 10 years, has moved into her new apartment on the West side of Albuquerque, New Mexico, after spending time at a friend’s place in Reno while her ABQ place was being renovated. She said, “I swore I’d never move again.” (But she did).

Larry, whose significant other lives in the Philippines Islands, had to postpone his travels to be with her for the 7th time due to the pandemic. Larry said, “The Philippines are still not open for tourist visas due to raging Covid-19 there. I will try to book my 8th return flight schedule for late September, but I feel no optimism.”

Putting a positive spin on his frustration, Larry, an avid University of Alabama alumni (Roll Tide), added, “At least, I’ll be able to catch some college football!”

Beth emailed, “After reading your column about me in last week’s eNewsletter, I have made up my mind to not move to where my ex-boyfriend lives. I thought with my heart, and not with my brain when it came to him and maybe I was living in the past. My guess is this will be the last stop between us.”

Carmen – Champs will remember Carmen (Carm) Lodise, my high school classmate, who lives in Barra de Navidad, Mexico. Two months ago, Carm emailed that he would likely be visiting Northern Italy this summer or autumn. About five minutes after his email arrived, I received another email, which was from Annalisa, who lives in Milan, Italy.

In her email, Annalisa said she wanted to meet an American citizen as a potential mate. Although Annalisa doesn’t speak English, she uses a translation app to communicate in English. I introduced Carm and Annalisa via email and she invited him to visit her in Milan this summer and stay at her place.

Holy cow, a possible romance hatched via our eNewsletter and email. An eNewsletter column was written about Carmen and Annalisa and what might happen. That column linked to Andy Williams’s version of the song Where Do I Begin? the theme from Love Story.

However, Carm, similar to me, was busy finishing a memoir, a book titled, “Carmelo. The Adventures of a Smalltime Instigator.” (Pictured above on left). I understand how writing and publishing a book requires total dedication of time and effort to bring the project to the finish line. So, I understood why he wasn’t giving Annalisa the attention she craved.

Annalisa felt Carm wasn’t communicating enough with her so she became frustrated. Plans for the visit became iffy. And then the knockout punch landed. Even though they live in different countries, they are so politically divided that the trip was canceled. I won’t go into details, but as we Champs have discovered with this country’s political divide, that alone can be a relationship deal-breaker.

How fortunate Annalisa and Carm discovered they weren’t politically compatible before he traveled 5,000 miles and appeared at her front door.

Their story reminded me why I’m not a matchmaker. Similar to my book, Carmen Lodise’s book is on Amazon.com in paperback. I ordered and used Carmen’s book as a formatting guide in finishing my book. He will publish the eBook version on Amazon any day now.

Another Jackson High School (Jackson, Michigan) classmate, Rick Lenz (Rick Lenz.com) has authored several books and is always working on a new one. Why are three classmates from the same year and the same high school writing books? We had an incredible English Literature teacher named Harriett Pitts who inspired us and taught us well is the best answer. 

Jackie emailed, “Congratulations on finishing your book. I’ve said so many times over the years how I could write a book with my juicy story! LOL. But, I’d have to change all the names and either be anonymous or change my name. Or, get a ghostwriter. I’m not sure I could stay focused long enough to write a book. “I’ve sold my home in Illinois and moved to Georgia. For the time being, I will be staying at a friend’s house. She and her family will be traveling for the first two weeks in August so I’ll have her home to myself.

“Maybe, I’ll travel to Dana Point this fall and attend another Meet and Greet at Tutor & Spunky’s with my sister, when you get them going again.” 

Tom, “As mentioned above, I finished my memoir “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli: A Dana Point Landmark” this week. Both paperback and Kindle/eBook versions are available on Amazon.com. Of the five printed books I’ve published, it was the most demanding, timewise and effort-wise. It’s 365 pages with more than 100 photos. The book covers 28 years—1987 to 2015–and mentions 535 people who were directly or indirectly involved with the deli, including employees, customers, and celebrities, such as Johnny Cash, Abba, and Mick Fleetwood. 

One thing that surprised me and Carmen about the paperback versions of our books is that Amazon determines the minimum price, based on the number of pages and number of photos. An author can’t demand a less expensive price if using Amazon. My paperback price is $24.52 plus shipping, except people with Amazon Prime get free shipping.

My eBook price is $8.99. If Champs want an autographed copy of my paperback version, I will personally mail that. The cost would be $23.97, including shipping. Email me if you would prefer a signed paperback copy and I will invoice you via Paypal at that price. The paperback version will be available in a week or so; the eBook version can be downloaded today. The link to my Amazon.com page is in the blue space below.

Next week’s eNewsletter topic will be Living Apart Together (LAT) and how various issues can influence this type of relationship, including caregiving, health, money, independence, and other considerations. I’d love to hear your opinions.
Tom’s book on Amazon.com

In senior dating, do multiple marriages matter when judging a new mate?

On Life and Love after 50 e-Newsletter March 8, 2019
by Columnist Tom Blake
(There are two parts to today’s e-Newsletter)

First, welcome to our new Champs who have signed up for the
e-Newsletter in the last couple of weeks. Our group keeps
growing.

Part One – Champs respond to the “In senior dating, do multiple marriages matter when judging a new mate?” topic from last week’s column

I’ve often said, and I’ll say it again today: Our Champs are among the most knowledgeable, open, and cooperative group of mature adults on the topic of senior dating and relationships of any group anywhere in North America. Here are responses from nine Champs (5 women, 4 men) to last week’s newsletter topic:

Mary Lou, “One of my dearest friends has been married five times. His most recent marriage is great, at least it looks that way from where I sit. He seems to have a keeper now (in his 70’s) and they have been married for over 10 years.

“I, on the other hand, have only been married once: 17 years, divorced for 36 years. I was only 20 when I got married, and I believe I did it because I thought I was supposed to. It’s what we did back then.

“Senior multiple marriages don’t matter at this stage of my life. If I met a man with whom I clicked, no matter the number of marriages–or even whether or not he had children–I would be glad for him in my life.

I have no intention of getting married, or, living with someone again. I would, however, happily participate in a LAT (Living Apart Together) relationship, no matter how many times he was married. Perhaps I might feel differently if I were younger; now I don’t see the relevance of the number of marriages. I think the man’s heart, health, intelligence (and ability to drive at night – lol) are way more important.

John, “I understand that the number of times a person was married (multiple marriages) is a factor to consider, but, putting a label on someone early in a relationship also denies both people the potential of finding compatibility with each other.

“It may also find the other person cannot commit to one relationship and then you know the checklist was right, but only then. While no one wants a track record like Elizabeth Taylor (eight marriages, seven husbands, married Richard Burton twice) or Zsa Zsa Gabor (nine marriages), they apparently were willing to take that risk each time to find happiness with someone since happiness eluded them from just being rich.

“We are all unique and have to consider all the factors within a person to decide about a potential mate in senior love instead of selecting relationships simply by a checklist that uses cold facts over emotional acceptance.”

Gena, “The number of prior marriages (even five) isn’t as important as is the full disclosure of such events before a budding relationship turns serious.”

Joanne, “One of my theories: if you fall off a cliff it hurts – don’t keep jumping! I’ve been divorced once, and I learned from it. Don’t need to do that again.

“Too many people don’t get to know the other person well enough to make that kind of decision. I’m seeing someone that I really like. We’ve known each other 40 years. That’s a long time and we should know each other by now. He’s been divorced three times. That is a red flag for me, but we’ve discussed this and both agree the LAT (Living Apart Together) relationship works great for us.”

Bruce, “A person has many relationships in life, especially while single. Some work, many do not, so why worry about it too much?

“Enjoy who you are with at the present time and count your blessings that you are with someone you presently enjoy. If it lasts for a year or many more, then so be it, and count yourself fortunate for the good times you had.”

Jon, “I’ve known two women, both with multiple marriages; one was the president of a singles club, the other was a worker in the cafeteria at the agency where I worked. Both claimed they had been married eight or nine times. Ages were only 40’s or 50’s so I don’t know how they found the time for all that. Once was enough for me, I’ll stick with my dogs (and Sharon).”

Stella, “As we age, marriage doesn’t seem quite as important to some. We no longer have the same goals: establishing a home, raising a family, building a future together. Sometimes, it can be a hindrance financially – think social security benefits, taxes, etc.

“And where is the need? We’re not going to have any more babies. We can do the very same things in a loving, caring relationship as in a marriage.

“Take marriage out as a goal, and you open up endless possibilities.”

Dee “I’ve had five marriages. My current sweetheart and I have just enjoyed our two-year anniversary. We will marry eventually, but now is not the right time financially.

“I do not regret any of my marriages because each one was amazing in its own way. All of them served their purpose and made me a better person. And since my last name begins with the letters ‘Cinque,’ which means five in other languages, it’s appropriate somehow!

“Now I have the best relationship of my life, so I have done something right!”

Jim, “It helps your chances for a successful marriage if you choose someone with the same interests as you. If you like to dance, and the other person doesn’t, guess what? You’re going to be spending an awful lot of time not dancing, while your spouse will be spending an awful lot of time hearing complaints.

“Being available and willing to marry doesn’t make them automatically a good candidate for marriage.

“Sadly, people don’t learn from history. We make the same mistakes over and over, and the behaviors that sabotaged our past marriages, we bring into future marriages. Why are people surprised when they get the same results? Another failed marriage.”

Tom’s only comment this week on the “multiple marriages” topic: Oops. We aren’t going to call them “failed marriages” anymore. We will call them “marriages that ended.”

Part 2 – A pleasant experience and a new Champ

Most websites have a banner across the top of each page that shows that website’s major categories. The purpose: to make navigating that site easier.

My Finding Love after 50 website has eight categories. One of my categories is “Consulting.” I seldom refer to it and frankly it’s not accessed too often by website visitors.

But it’s there because, on occasion, someone will want to talk to me for a half hour or an hour about a senior relationship issue he or she is having, and doesn’t want to make a therapist or counselor office visit.

Most of the time the person simply wants a man’s point-of-view. I do charge for my time, but am told it’s reasonable.

On Tuesday, a woman from the East coast, who was not a Champ, emailed me via the website and scheduled a consultation. Turns out she was intelligent, friendly and pleasant. She had an issue she wanted addressed immediately. We tackled it together in an hour.

In the end, I feel I benefitted as much from our conversation as she did. Plus, she’s become a new Champ and will likely join the Finding Love After 50 Facebook group.

One of the most rewarding things about my writing is when I hear from readers that I’ve helped them, or when I see a couple out and about around south Orange County who say, “You are the reason we met each other, and look, we’re still together.”

Warms my heart.


Dispensing advice in Singapore along the river walk. But did they listen?

The link to the consulting page on my website:
https://www.findingloveafter50.com/consulting

In senior dating, do multiple marriages matter?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter –  March 1, 2019 
by Columnist Tom P Blake
                         
Senior Dating. Multiple Marriages – do they matter?
In last week’s e-Newsletter, Champ Lisa said she had gone to counseling for 18 months to try to understand her “three failed marriages.”That comment gave me an idea for an e-Newsletter topic. So, at the conclusion of that newsletter, I wrote, “When seniors are dating and meeting new people, does having had multiple marriages, on either person’s part, matter? Would that be a deal breaker? Red flag? Or, non-issue?”

I’m going to go out on a limb here and define “multiple marriages”–for this discussion only–as three or more.

Some Champs shared their opinions.

Lynn, emailed, “Regarding the ‘failed marriages’ issue, I have been married three times, and have viewed each one as a much-needed lesson learned about myself.

“People come into our lives for a season, a reason or a lifetime. It was always important to me to embrace whatever I could learn from the marriage experience and part gracefully and remain friends. I loved that person at one time and love can change.

“It was also important to help my ex’s, to ensure nobody failed—life happens; we control very little. It stings to see so much anger and or hurt when a marriage/relationship ends.”

Tom’s reply to Lynn: “I appreciate your enlightened view on marriage ending. Also, I think Lisa’s definition, ‘failed marriages,’ isn’t quite the right term.

“‘Marriages that ended’ might be a better description. I don’t view my three divorces as failures although at the time they happened I did. They turned out to be blessings in disguise—it just takes time to recognize that.”

Rhonda, two marriages, said, “I find that a future man in my life who has been through some of the same things I have been through to be a plus, while four or five marriages would be a potential red flag.

“I also think a person who has never been married may be a red flag as well. My insight to both of my marriages and what I have learned from them makes me who I am today.

“Experiencing the demise of what once was a seemingly great relationship can help people move forward in some ways. Seeing what didn’t work and what I can do better hopefully will make for a solid relationship the next time around. I see now how valuable communication and true friendship is in a happy couple (like you and Greta).

“I would be somewhat apprehensive to be in a relationship with a man who has no kids. Why? Because I am extremely close to my adult children and I don’t know if someone who isn’t in that same place (at least a bit) can fully understand.”

Champ Kenny wrote, “Potential red flags dating a woman three-times divorced? It would depend on the woman’s intentions/goals in any future relationship. If her sole mission was to remarry for a round four, I’d be running as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

“But on a positive note, Champ Lisa apparently has many great qualities. She seems upbeat, cheerful, super-active and fit while enjoying her Florida retirement lifestyle.

“Not to be judgmental, but I can’t fathom a three-times divorced 70+ age women looking for yet another husband? Better to date casually and if Mr. Wonderful does once again miraculously appear, maybe they should work as a couple into a LAT (Living Apart Together) relationship.”

This past Tuesday night, at the WomanSage panel discussion in Costa Mesa, California, (six Champs attended out of the 44 women guests), Champ Carolyn indicated to me that she would likely avoid any man with three or more marriages.

In my archives, I found a column I wrote on this topic 10 years ago. I picked out what I think are some of the more salient points and am including them here.

A woman named Marjorie had written, “I met a man two weeks ago at a musical theatre performance. I am 63, he is 66. We have been out twice, but we talk every two or three days.

“I have been married three times and think I am a fairly good choice, but he is somewhat reluctant to reveal the number of times he has been married, although I am aware of at least three.

“I haven’t pressed this issue. He has an excellent relationship with his children and grandchildren. It is obvious his most recent marriage was short-lived and bitter. How many marriages before it becomes a red flag?”

I responded: Egad, woman, give it some time! You’ve only been out with him twice, and talked to him, what, maybe five times?

If you press the issue, you may chase him away before you even find out how many times he’s been married. If he’s reeling from a recent bitter marriage, the last thing he wants is to defend himself or talk about it. Why not enjoy the moment and forget about his marriage tally?

Why are you concerned about how many times he’s been married? Are you so intent on getting married again that that’s all you’re worried about?

And besides, Margorie, you aren’t a golden angel yourself, with three divorces under your belt. So, what if he’s had four? That’s only one more than three. If he’s had five or six, now that’s a bit of a red flag, but only if you are eager to get married again.

It isn’t uncommon these days for people our age to have had more than two (or three) marriages. Does that make us tainted? Are we bad people? No. We just lived life.

Were our decisions to marry mistakes? No, they just didn’t last. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember what we were thinking when we decided to marry in our earlier days. Most likely, we thought getting married was the right thing to do. So, we did it.

How about the people who’ve been widowed? They had no choice in losing a spouse. Some have even lost two spouses. Should it even matter how many marriages they’ve had? (Well, if they’ve had four, and all have died under suspicious circumstances, then that might be a red flag).

I’ve had three marriages, and Greta, my partner of 21 years now, (back when this was written, it was 11 years), has also had three. Having the same number of marriages was one of the things we had in common when we were sharing information on the first date, so it was a positive thing that we both had ‘multiple marriages.’

And despite three marriages each, we have the best relationship I could ever hope for (still true after 21 years). We live together but are not married; neither of us feels that it’s necessary (still true after 21 years).

I guess it’s because neither of us would want the number four emblazoned in scarlet upon our chests—but that’s not the reason we haven’t married.

It’s simply: why mess up a good thing?

Also, I’ve never had children. And yet, I’ve got four kids, eight grandkids, and three great grandkids, thanks to Greta. I love them dearly, and I’m pretty sure they appreciate me, so why risk changing that dynamic by getting married?

So, for people “our age,” whatever the heck that means—60, 70, 80, or 90–should the number of marriages really matter? I don’t think so…but when the number reaches four, it’s time to scratch your head. Five or more, well, it depends on the circumstances, so obviously proceed with much caution.


Marriage number one for this Shanghai couple

This column on multiple marriages reminded me of Simon & Garfunkel’s song “Mrs. Robinson,” from the Bookends album, and of course, the movie, “The Graduate,” with Dustin Hoffman. Probably because of these words:

“Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio…Jolting Joe has left and gone away. Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey.”  The link follows:

https://www.bing.com/search?q=mrs+robinson+song&form=PRVISR&mkt=en-us&httpsmsn=1&refig=5b4f16180a9b4751b60079d309e8b8de&sp=3&qs=LS&pq=mrs+ro&sk=LS2&sc=8-6&cvid=5b4f16180a9b4751b60079d309e8b8de

Senior Disgruntled Woman Blames Men

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 17, 2018

A Senior Disgruntled Woman Blames Men for Lack of Dating Success

In the January 11, 2018, eNewsletter, I wrote about LAT (living apart together) relationships. In the article, I quoted a male reader who said the 1976 song, “I’d Really Like to See You Tonight,” by England Dan and John Ford Coley described his relationship with his woman friend perfectly.

A woman Champ, age 69—now a former Champ–emailed a response to the man’s comment. I will not name her other than to give her the title, “Disgruntled.”

Disgruntled wrote, “The older and wiser I become, the more I understand how it’s been a man’s world, and that song you referred to, “I’d Really Like to See You Tonight,” started irritating me, when I realized it was about a non-committal,friend-with-benefits arrangement, which men are always looking for. It’s the same for senior men as young men.

“Somewhere in their middle ages, men are able to commit and settle into a real relationship, albeit many cheat even when committed. Then after the divorce, which they usually blame the wife for, they go back to their youth when it was all about ‘getting laid’ with no commitment.

“I’ve spent the last couple of years dumping guys (in their 60’s) who made it clear that’s all they want. It has made me feel I am not worthy of a man’s true love and commitment.
“The LAT relationship (living apart together) is perfect for men. They can do whatever they want when you’re apart. The woman may be sitting in her own house, painting pictures, but I doubt if the man is doing that; he’s probably on the dating sites checking out the candy store (as men have told me they see it), especially now when there are so many single old ladies to single old men. I am not cynical, just realistic.”

Note from Tom: Regarding LAT relationships, more senior women than men tell me they prefer a LAT-relationship arrangement.

Disgruntled continued, “I have nice male friends who still are old-fashioned enough to want a traditional relationship, and that’s what I would like.

“If you’re going to spend most of your time with someone anyway, why not have the financial benefits of sharing expenses and the legal benefits of having the doctors consult your significant other in an emergency?

“I don’t see why two people can’t live together and still have their separate interests and separate rooms, etc. To each his own, but personally I want someone I can go to sleep with every night and wake up with every morning, and not wonder if it’s ok to call them because they might be busy doing whatever.

“I don’t blame men for their wandering eye because it’s biologically programmed in them to spread their seed and produce children so the urge to mate is very strong. What I’ve seen is that a woman needs to keep a man close to her and be available because, as the Stephen Stills song says, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

“I interpret those lyrics to mean that men need to be near the one they love, or their eye wanders, a natural thing, but it’s behavior that can ultimately break up the relationship.

“With every man I meet, there is always something ‘wrong,’ and I’m just getting lonelier and more independent. The last one I recently met at one of the places I go to dance. It was the first time in four-five years I felt a real connection with someone, and he was so into me.

“After a couple of days of dancing and some long phone conversations, he found out I am four years older than he, and he said he needs to have someone in their 50’s. I am 69 and he is 65. I couldn’t believe it! So, life goes on…”

Remember, that email from Disgruntled was sent in January.

Last week, she emailed, “I have removed myself from all dating sites (including this newsletter) and decided I’m over the whole thing of trying to find a man; all of them have been crazy in one way or another.”


 “You have to EARN friends-with-benefits status”

(photo courtesy of freeimages.com)

Comment from Tom: When people blame others for their lack of dating success, the first action they need to take is to look in the mirror.

Champ Fred responded to last week’s article about Jody who is in the “friend zone” with her ex. And since Disgruntled commented in her email above about some men wanting only “friends-with-benefits,” I include Fred’s comment: “Tom, you’re a pro. Jody says she is fun and ‘young’ for her age. By whose account? If Jody’s friend has benefits, I’d say he is in good shape. Poor Jody.”

And one final comment: I think it is time for an updated column on internet dating at our age. If you have any recent online dating experiences, please share them with us by emailing me. Thanks.

35 Responses to: Should Sally let man-friend move in? Senior Cohabitation

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – February 24, 2018

You Champs did it!  You set a record. You were simply incredible.

I am almost speechless (Hard to believe, I know). Why? In last week’s eNewsletter, Sally of San Diego, a widow and retired teacher, was hoping a few Champs would respond about her situation, which she described in detail. The main issue: Should she let “D,” her 13-years-younger man-friend of eight months, move in?

Where else but in this eNewsletter can a senior receive such sage and valuable advice from such an intelligent group of people, at no cost?

Thirty-five of you (including 10 men, almost 30 percent) took the time to help Sally by responding. That is astounding. In the 24 years, of writing 3,800 + newspaper columns and newsletters, that is a record number of responses. I’m proud of you and thank you.

At the end of the 35 comments, I attempt to do a short summary of your advice to Sally.

Granted today’s article is long, really long, close to 5,000 words. You can choose to not read it all, but all comments are important. I will also post it to my Finding Love After 50 website in its entirety so you could reread it anytime.

Not only will your responses help Sally, they could help any senior who finds themselves in a similar situation—woman or man.

35 Responses to the February, 23, 2018, eNewsletter (in the order received, not in the order of importance–they are all important):

1 – Dr. John: “Sally likes D, and has mixed feelings about him moving in. I would suggest she have several serious talks with D, lay out ALL her reservations about him moving in – put all her cards on the table – the reasons she’d like him to move in, and the reasons she’s hesitant – and see how he responds.

“My sad experience is that all too often, women have an ‘If he really loved me he’d know what I want’ mentality, and men are NOT mind readers. Let me be repetitive – spell out for D EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTS AND DOES NOT WANT.

“Maybe even draw up a written contract – this is becoming more and more common with couples – it can spell out everything from who takes out the garbage to how often they are intimate.

“Ask, deep, probing questions about her concerns, such as the fact that D has never married. Yes, this may be uncomfortable, and it’s the opposite of planning on ‘living happily ever after,’ but it will be one hundred times less unpleasant than an acrimonious split several years down the road, especially if finances have become co-mingled.

“As for the senior age difference, that is nobody’s business but Sally’s and D’s.”

2. Carol: “Yikes, and NO!! Enjoy the relationship, but do not have thoughts about moving in together.

Marriage? Why? Are you planning at age 69 to have more children? Of course not! What True feelings your share for one another will not change with a piece of paper.

“If anything, it will put all you have worked for at risk. I write this from the exact place you are in, owning my own home, financially secure, attractive, with many varied interests including being a professional musician.

“The men I meet, want me to be the wives or girlfriends they no longer have or believe they should have at this age. Enjoy what you have together, let time evolve and develop this long term. If, after several years, you both are still as happy as you are at this time, perhaps address it again.

3. Inez“If his desire to move in is greater than hers and she feels comfortable living apart, I wouldn’t change anything. Something sounds a little off to me. I’d be tempted to talk to one of his exes.

“Once the move is made, if things don’t work out, its going to be a messy breakup after the fact. Who has more to gain if he makes the move?”

4. Mike, “My thoughts on moving in is no. She does not know what to expect.

5. Jackie: “Don’t do it! If she is having to ask the question, that means she has warning bells in her heart or her head or her gut. If she were sure, she wouldn’t ask. Trust your gut instincts.”

6. E.H. (woman): “My vote is no. Perhaps he never married because he is devoted to his mother and he is looking for another mother.”

7. Wayne, “This is a tough one. A senior never married at age 56 is a big warning sign (but, not necessarily a red flag). He may either (a) have not found a soul mate, or, (b) be a victim of commitment phobia. My advice to Sally is to take the yellow flag and proceed with caution. Travel together, spend weekends together but maintain your separate residences and reassess down the road.

8. Lynne, “I would advise caution on living together. I’m not opposed to it but concerned that it might make the relationship seem deeper than it is. There is an adjustment period even when you live together that takes time and commitment, and there is no way to know how long it will take to adjust to each other.

“The red flag for me is he’s had a few lengthy relationships. Might be a lack of deep commitment. Be Careful, moving in is easy, breaking up and moving out is hard.

“I’ve had numerous family and friends move in with me. I also moved in with an older man, he was retired but working part-time. We had some great years until his health started to fail.

“I stayed with him and took care of him 24/7 for years, because he had loved and cared for me, I could do no less for him. Be careful and thoughtful, it can be great or terrible.

“I’m almost 74 and look younger and am pretty healthy. I still appeal to men and they appeal to me. I’m more cautious now, after someone fooled me, he was a user hiding in sheep’s clothing.

9. John: “A story that might be related to Sally’s situation, only tangentially: I have a friend I used to teach with. Friend ‘L’ was a music teacher and played various side-jobs evenings and weekends–in dance bands, a symphony orchestra, etc.

“After a gig, some of the band members would hang out at a bar or restaurant, and chat. One time, when L and I were together, he told me he wished he could get along with and have as much fun with his wife/wives as he did with his band-member cohorts at these after-gig gatherings. (This was during his third of four marriages.)

“I suggested to L that if he had to go home and live with these friends, things might be a whole lot different–not mostly ‘cool’ and ‘hip’–when all the ‘warts’ started to appear while in close contact over extended periods. L replied, ‘I hadn’t thought of that.’ Hence his four marriages?

10. Margaret: “I have five male buddies that were never married, and in their 50s. Two got married in their 50s and the other three are still unmarried (in their 60s now), though one of them has a long-term, live-in girlfriend. I’ve known these men for 20+ years.

“Here is my opinion simply based on these five gentlemen whom I love dearly as friends. (A few of them I dated for a short period of time until I decided a romantic relationship with them was not for me–but we remained friends). Each one has wonderful qualities but I’m not sure they are ‘husband’ material.

“The two that got married were divorced after several years of miserable marriages. I think when someone has been single for 50+ years (man or woman), they become set in their ways and it is difficult to incorporate another person 24/7 into their lives. But, there are always exceptions to any rule!”

11. Joanie: “Eight months into a relationship is still the ‘wonderful time.’ There is about a year and a half or two years when a relationship is new, exciting and still romantic. (Nature makes it that way). After that, the two people begin to be comfortable with each other and let down certain guards.

“And that is when they can see if they are really compatible–how do they handle sharing, anger, disappointment, helping, giving at times more than they get, how do they handle distraction in you?

“D can always stay with Sally for weekends and a few days at a time for them both to see how it feels. I would say: 1) wait awhile before you let him officially move in and/or 2) keep it romantic forever by both of you staying with your own current living arrangements.”

12. Kaitte: “Oh man, I have mixed feelings about Sally’s situation. Lots to say. The age difference doesn’t hamper anything, after all he’s in his 50s. Done a little living. Supports himself but doing what?”

13. Jon: “I would suggest short-term, live-ins of a week or so to see if it works before an outright move-in.

“I find it advantageous to have been married just once. In my singles group, there were a few never-marrieds and they were always looked at suspiciously, probably justifiably so. It is a yellow flag but not a red one.”

14. Kenny: “In Sally’s own words: ‘I like the way our relationship is now.’

“Mr. ‘D’ has two options: compromise or not to compromise. If Sally chooses to continue with ‘D,’ their current LAT (Living apart together) relationship is by far the best scenario for Sally. There is certainly way more ‘upside’ than ‘downside’ for Sally being in a LAT relationship

1. She’s already been in an apparently successful long-term marriage, so she hasn’t missed out on the ‘marriage’ experience in her 69 years.

2. She does not have to mix her finances or her paid-for home with someone who ‘is not as financially secure as she’ and, ‘he still works full time.’

3. At this stage of her life, she does not have (or need) the ‘legal’ hassles of co-habitating…and that is a very big consideration even with a ‘can-always-be-contested’ pre-nup or cohabitation agreement.

“If she can temporarily (difficult, I know) take the emotional “Eight-month honeymoon effect’ out of the equation, and let common sense dictate her decisions, the status quo is perfect for her.

“I also feel if ‘D’ doesn’t compromise and/or agree to continue with their current relationship ‘style,’ that Sally doesn’t have to give up on finding another relationship.

“A financially secure, healthy, fit and attractive woman should be a pretty appealing catch for those more-than-enough available men closer to her own age.”

15. Vic: “I would be very leery of a guy who was neither married nor been in a long-term relationship (i.e., more than ‘a few years’) by the age of 56! Sally is right to worry.

“She does not mention whether she ever actually ASKED him why he never married or why those live-in relationships never went anywhere. It’s possible there are valid reasons and maybe he just did not meet anyone compatible who clicked with him.

“But such a conversation would give her a chance to see whether there is a pattern to his relationships: Is he simply commitment-shy?  Does he have some quirk that gets in the way of a full-time relationship? Is there some hidden flaw that manifests itself after time (e.g.: Does he have an abusive streak, is he bi-polar, etc.)? Does he have a roving eye or can’t keep it in his pants? The possibilities are endless.

“Then there is the possibility that he is a slick con artist who is slowly but steadily working his way into her life. Let’s hope not, but has Sally done a thorough search and/or investigation of him?  What does she know factually about his past — beyond just what he has told her?

“Of course, it’s also possible that he’s the real deal. But then, how stable will the relationship be in the long run, when he has never shared a house or a life?

“I’m not saying Sally should not let him move, but I am saying she should do her homework and due diligence before!”

16. Stella, “While I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with a man who’s in his 50’s and never been married, I do say give it a little more time. Time not only heals everything; it reveals everything. If there are any ulterior motives in his desire to move in, they will, in time, surface.

“The 13-year senior age difference also speaks volumes. While 5-7 years either way is typical and shouldn’t raise concerns, this is definitely a reach.

17. Althea: “Going by my past experiences, I see some BIG red flags that are waving at her frantically, trying to get her attention! Because I’ve been there, I am also age 69, and had a long, on-again, off-again, serious relationship with a man who was 14-years younger, similar to Sally’s guy who is 13-years younger. I was 53 and he was 39 at the time, divorced with two small kids. In the long run, age does matter.

“I would suggest to Sally, strongly, that she not let this man move in. (She even wrote that she always felt she would never marry again or live with a man…she should go with her gut).

“She’s only known him for eight months, (not enough time knowing someone to invite them to live in your home- especially at her age and with their big lifestyle differences), he lives 34 miles away from her and works Monday through Friday so she’s only seen him on weekends and the one trip they took together to visit his mother and sister. That’s plenty of time for him to be on his best behavior when they are together.

“Judging by the facts of his past, that for one, he is 56 and has never married … to me that means he has never fully committed himself to any woman… and that he has had live-in relationships of ‘a few years a few times.’ Also a sign of non-commitment. She might become another live-in relationship that only lasts a few years. Is that what she wants?

“Has she been to his home? Does he own or rent? Do they spend time there? What is his work? Has he been working at his job for many years or does he move from job to job? Does he make a steady income? Is he good with money? Does he pay his bills on time, or is he behind in bills? And I pray he has never asked her for money and she has never offered/given him money…

“There are a LOT of questions like that she should be asking him if she hasn’t already. She wrote, ‘He wants to move in.’  Not that he wants her to move in with him. I see a red flag there. To me I see that as another red flag because…he wants to be in her home that he knows is secure. He could be telling her that he wants to move in to her place instead of the other way around, because he wants her to feel secure and happy in her own house and not have to move…  A good ploy by a lot of men.

“Sally should be doing several things…listening to her gut instinct, asking him a lot of important questions, and continuing to live by herself. She could have one of those together-living-apart relationships. At least wait until she’s been dating him for a good 2-3 years before she thinks about having him live with her, or vice versa. I know women who have sold their house, moved in with a guy and then when it ended a few yrs. later the woman had no place to live, no home to go back to.

“If Sally would like to ask me about my 14 year difference relationship, you can give her my email address. I’ll be happy to tell her, and hopefully help her make a good decision.”

18. Mary Ann: “I don’t think it’s normal at age 69 a woman to be involved in a relationship with so much a younger man. If they met earlier in life, and spent many years building memories together, I would understand. Then, they would have had time to get to know each other and make a special relationship, so at a later age, they almost wouldn’t feel the age difference. I know a few happy couples like that. In Sally’s situation, I would be very suspicious to this man.

“To me he is interested in her financial situation. Nine months is a very short time to know all about the person with whom you are involved.”

19. Marillee, “You said you like the way your relationship is now, a LAT? He’s not as financially secure as you are, you own a nice, large, mortgage-free home, and he wants to move in?

“Hmm, could be a red flag! Why not continue to enjoy each other weekends and travel, assuming he can afford to pay his way? Quite frankly, you now have what I consider an ideal situation! You found a special person with whom you can share a committed relationship and see each other on the weekends. He sounds like a great guy, but remain true to yourself, keep your independence, and protect your assets!”

20. Esther: “Sally seems to have a very wonderful relationship with D as it is right now. Why rock the boat? Moving in may ruin a perfectly lovely relationship.

“It isn’t fair to cast all unmarried men over 50 as undesirable. D seems fun, pleasant and willing to work in a relationship. There are plenty of men over fifty who are married and not so desirable. D should be considered on his own merits and not labeled as part of a bad group.

“The issue does not revolve around being over fifty and never married. The issue Sally must face is if moving in together will enhance the good relationship Sally has already established.”

21. Orchid: “Why spoil a good and working relationship? Sally’s situation mirrors mine in some respect. I am in a committed relationship with a younger, highly respectable man with a great job but who will be retiring soon. He is going on 60, has never married and likely the reason is, he is the only child and family of his mother who is 90 and lives on the East Coast. He had relationships before, but that is his past.

“We enjoy and care for each other tenderly and generously. He has his own house and I have my own apartment.

“I have my own life, travel and enjoy my family and friends without him. This is our set up and it works wonderfully well.

“Sally, enjoy your own life and enjoy both of your lives with D.

22. Susan: “NO. Sally should not let him move in. It can take years for the ‘real’ D to come out. He is on good behavior now. If it is right, she will know without asking. If there is one tiny doubt, the answer should be no. She can spend time with “D” but still have her independence.

“Short story. My friend lived with her love for three years. Not a problem. But when they got married he almost beat her to death. I know that is an unusual situation, but Sally needs to be careful.”

23. Christine: “I love how you met D. As a widow, you were staying active, doing what you love, and then—there he was. And it sounds like the LAT is working well for you.

“You mentioned that ‘he wants to move in.’ That lets us know how D feels. I’m curious about you? How do you feel about it? It’s always a balance in every relationship to take into consideration how each person feels.

“Also, I’d be curious about why his other relationships ended. Has that come up in discussions? What part does he think was his responsibility in each of these? The success and failure of every relationship involves two people.

“I believe one of the most important parts of a successful relationship is when each person takes responsibility for what hasn’t worked in the past and what they’ve done to ensure they won’t do that again in the future. So, I believe having this open and honest conversation would be very important for your successful future together.”

24. Jack of all trades (a woman): “D. Sounds very nice and you sound very happy with him. That’s great. But exactly why does he want to move into your mortgage-free house with you? I would hang onto that house as the sole owner, at all cost.

“I see no reason that he needs to move in. It’s a bad idea. You two aren’t married. You have more to lose than he does. Stick with the status quo.”

25. Elizabeth: “I think that keeping this as a LAT relationship is the best way to go for now. If you both expressed feelings of being in love, then maybe it would be okay to entertain the thought of living together. But if it is working the way it is, there does not seem to be a need to live under the same roof, unless both of you absolutely want that.

“Until that point, I’d say to just enjoy the companionship for now and then see where it goes from there. To me, that’s more important than even the age difference, which could be an issue, depending on the feelings involved.”

26. Karla: “To me, the age difference is a red flag. A second red flag is that he’s never been married. The third would be his wanting to move in with her.

“I dated a man a few times who had never been married, although he said he had once been in a long-term relationship. There was something ‘off’ about him. He was very needy.

“He’s in his 70s now and is still a player. I was in a ‘relationship’ with another man for seven years, and I came to find out (shortly before he died) he had lived with woman after woman, and he also had a stable of women on the side, all in secret. I cared a lot for him before knowing what a POS (piece of s…)he was, but I wouldn’t have considered living with him. I value my quiet time too much to live with someone.”

27. Arlene: “After a long relationship ends, we want to recreate what we had. When the next ‘replacement” comes long, we sometimes jump in too quickly.

“One can either throw caution to the wind and rationalize they might not get another chance at love, so best to jump in now. Or one can be more cautious and slow it down.

“Eight months is not that long. I would wait a year or more to co-habitate with someone who has been single his entire life. That would be a red flag to me. I dated a guy for three years who had never been married. He was in his 60s. It ended when he passed on.

“He did not want to ever be married because he ‘never wanted to end up hating someone.’ Such pessimism! Proceed with caution!”

28. Sue: “My thoughts are: It’s sooo hard to find someone that you can get along with, much less, as well as they seem to- so what if he’s at a certain age and not married? He never met the right girl…yet.

“She should go with her heart. If she feels good about him–then bless her! Don’t worry about who makes what at this point…plenty of time for that if things get that serious…and she feels the need/fear for that to be an issue.

“It probably won’t; he seems genuine. Being able to work out issues and keep moving along is a good sign. If she said they never argued, I’d be a little more hesitant and think that they were both holding all in–that’s not good either.”

29. Elisa: “I have been enjoying and “eves dropping” on  your most enjoyable and informative site for many years now. I had an unusual experience when I read Sally’s comments.

“I felt a strong sense that if she allows D to move in, the dynamics of their relationship would change.

“Considering her comments about his relationship with his mother and sisters, as well as never having been married, and his younger age, it all seems to lead to a mother-and-son relationship in the making.

“I feel sure that Sally wants an adult-to-adult relationship from her comments, but the new proposed changes do not seem to encourage this given his background. I may be wrong, and I hope so, but I would caution Sally to trust her instincts as she is the one with all the facts.

30. BD (woman), “Sally, it could be interesting to ask yourself some questions: If you were 69 years of age and living in a modest rental property while still working full time, would the relationship have flourished?

“If your male companion, at age 56, was retired with a large, mortgage-free home, would your relationship have flourished? By simply reversing each of your circumstances, it frees you to explore all kinds of thoughts on this issue.

Moving-in is a big deal. It taps into emotions, finances, spirituality, safety and security. You did not mention if you and your late husband had children. If yes, would their future inheritance be solid and secure from any outside interference?

“Very importantly, why has he only experienced relationships of a couple years throughout his whole adult life? How is this relationship different? If your relationship is also short term, could you manage its end emotionally?

The most important thing that I read from your letter was that you are enjoying the circumstances that you share now–living separately but sharing a committed relationship, which leads me to believe that your male companion is the one wanting this change. And it seems like there would be many advantages in his favor to do so.

“No matter what you ultimately decide, take the time to trust your gut, and then you will have peace with your decision.”

31. Chris (male): “I see red flags for this lady. I know three guys who could be this Mr. “D.” All are over 50, never married and have had multiple live-in situations. The live ins last between five and seven years.

“It takes about that long for the lady (who always seems to be the one with the house) to realize she is with a loser. I would tell her, if this relationship is going so smooth, then don’t try to fix it. Time will tell her what to do, and this just isn’t the time.”

32. Gordon: “Sally, I empathize with you and your dilemma in that I am a widower of 41 years; although, your situation is full of ‘amber flags’ if not red flags. I have been in a LAT relationship for two-plus years, after dating a number of years, and find it tremendously rewarding, fun and liberating.

“Just think…you are retired, have good health, and financial stability. You have obtained ‘The Three-Legged Stool’ of Health, Time, and Money to enjoy your senior years.  Guard that wisely.

1. Age difference and the lesser fact he never married, is not necessarily a red flag, but it is out of the ordinary and does ask the question why. What do you gain by having a live-in partner or boy-friend rather than a LAT relationship with this person. There is risk to every new relationship but let us enter wisely.
2.  What would make your relationship better by living together? That anticipation of meeting and the thrill each time you meet would be tempered greatly. The newness you feel each time you are together would also likely diminish. If those things are not so important and you would prefer a full-time-together relationship, living together may be good.

“Compare what you had in your previous good marriage and what this new ‘live in’ relationship could add that makes your life better.

“It is not insensitive to say that your next relationship should be better than your first because you have learned much and experienced a good relationship with your husband and you know what could be better. I would encourage you to seek more and not settle for what you had in your marriage because that is not attainable. A new person means new experiences and new adventures in life. You are beginning to learn of those now on your own. Will this person, living with you, add or detract from that?

3.  You say he has had three past live in relationships that failed. Could it be that the three different women he had the relationship with were the reason they failed or was he, the same man (the common factor), the problem?

4.  You seemed to be very concerned about financial stability and YOU SHOULD!  At your age financials are more important than ever.  You say you have more than him and the fact is if he moved in with you it would be a windfall for him in that he no longer has a housing cost.

His life style takes a leap forward, but does yours?  What will he contribute to complete a partnership?  In a LAT relationship the answer can be as simple as happiness.

“I am in a LAT relationship and one of the concerns of both of us is that we keep our financials separate. In my relationship, we are both concerned that health issues could financially destroy the other. We both lost our spouse after long and expensive health care.

“We want our money to go to our children and we want to be financially independent. A true relationship later in life should include independent financial stability that promotes a very happy relationship. You earned that. What will the new live in contribute to promote that?

5. Another concern is that once he moves in, you will lose some of your independence including coming and going as you please. Are you willing to do so?

A LAT relationship can have all the benefits of a marriage plus a loving relationship. Why does cohabitation have to exist at our age?  You can spend nights together, travel together, do everything together and still have a loving relationship without cohabitation while retaining your individual independence.  You have earned that.

33. Becky: “Three huge red flags.  I have one word and that is RUN!    We must always be diligent about our personal safety.”

34. Jeanne: “I think you should give the relationship more time before deciding whether to live or not to live together. I know one relationship where the man who has never been married moved in with the woman who has been married, and the difference between them is that she has the money and the house.

“There is definitely love there but she does not want to get married and he does.  They live in her house and right now it is working well for both of them.  But the future is unclear – for her.  Take your time!”

35. Curtis: “I am 66 and never been married. When I was in my 50’s, I knew five guys in their 50’s who had never been married. Four found a relationship with women over 50, who had been divorced. All got married, and are still married in a loving relationship.

“At over 60, I find it surprising to find a woman interested in a relationship. Most have been hurt in past relationships and not interested in having a guy in their life. How many times have I heard when asking someone out, ‘If I want to have fun, I’ll call my girl friends.'”

Tom’s humble summary:

– Not one of you recommended that Sally allow D to move in. Number 28 (Sue), said Sally should go with her heart, which is kind-of an “it’s okay if she allows him move in.”

– I am very impressed with how so many of you are familiar with the term LAT (Living Apart Together) relationship and how you use the term so knowingly and comfortably. And, how so many of you love being in one (vs. being under the same roof 24/7)

– My guess is—from your comments—Sally knows what course of action to take or not to take

– Most important advice, Sally needs to take her time in making this decision

– Hopefully, this co-operative effort by Champs will lead to other people stepping forward with senior relationship questions and issues on other topics

Widow’s dilemma: should she let her much younger, never-married man friend move into her paid-for home?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – February 23, 2018

In December, 2016, Sally, a Champ from San Diego, and I exchanged emails. She initially wrote, “I have no trouble meeting men. But mostly they are UN-acceptable to me.

“I am a widow of almost three years. About nine months after losing my husband, I began dating. I joined two dating sites and met a married man and many losers.

“I am financially secure, healthy, fit and attractive. A retired teacher. I do volunteer work and have many friends. I have a lot to offer but I am soon going to be giving up looking for a relationship!”

That December, I wrote back to Sally: “I understand what you say about possibly giving up looking. That’s ok. But, always keep alert for potential situations–a nice guy in the post office line, or in a store, or at a party, or wherever, just in case a decent man comes along who has a void in his life and would like to have a buddy to do things with.

“Volunteering is wonderful, way to go on that. Do you ever travel? And you say, “Financially secure, healthy, fit and attractive,” wow, you can’t beat that. Lots of men out there would be lucky to have a woman with those characteristics so don’t completely give up! Keep me posted.”

This week in February, 2018, Sally emailed: “You said a year ago December to keep you posted. So, here is an update. I’d welcome any feedback from you or our Champs.

“I have been doing volunteer work for the last two years! And it turned out that’s how I met the man I am now seeing. Two years ago, you told me not to give up and I didn’t, but I was not ‘looking’ when a man I will refer to as ‘D’, came into my life.

“In early April, 2017, ‘D’ walked into the museum where I volunteer as a docent. We talked at length and when he returned to the museum three weeks later, I was on duty again. We exchanged phone numbers. He lives 34 miles away.

“After a few good phone conversations, we had a beach picnic. Our next date was a classic car show! We have seen one another almost every weekend since the middle of May. He is 56 and I am 69! He says the age difference is not important.

“He is patient, kind and loving. He loves my dog and helps me around my home. We took some swing dance lessons and went to a few Elks Club dances. We have had some misunderstandings but have worked through them and grown our relationship as a result. We have built friendship and trust between us.

“We took a trip together last November to Kansas to visit his mother and sister. We enjoy being together and doing ‘ordinary life,’ but are planning more trips to Hawaii, Palm Springs and Northern California.

D is very affectionate, a good listener and, we are able to talk and resolve differences so far. He is hard working and loves his 86-year-old mother and his sisters.

“He is not as financially secure as I and he still works full time, which is good. I am a retired teacher and I own a nice, large, mortgage-free home.

“Your January newsletter about LAT (Living Together Apart) relationships, was great and very informative. I like the way our relationship is now.

“We get a chance to miss one another because we don’t live together. He is a never-married man of 56 and I am a widow of almost four years. My late husband and I had a solid and loving marriage for 39 years and then he became ill and died suddenly.

“I always felt I would never marry or live with a man again, but I did want to find a special person with whom I could share a committed relationship.

“I think D is that person for me. We have been serious about one another for eight months. He wants to move in with me and so we are ‘discussing’ it. I know what it is like to be married and D does not. He has had live-in relationships of a few years a few times, and I wonder, is this a red flag? I used to think there was something wrong with a never married man who had not been married by age 50.

“Do you know any age 56 or older men who have never been married? And yet they are great guys? Thanks for any insights/advice you may have. I hope to hear from Champs as well.”

Comment from Tom: Of course, I have my opinions. But, let’s hear what you Champs have to say. Email me and I will forward your comments to Sally. Let’s give her the benefit of your thinking, experience and wisdom.

Should she agree to let D move in?

Sally’s issue is a little like these Bocce balls. What if the two blue ones were moved in next to the orange one? Would that be a good thing? Or, would moving them in change the game and create problems?

Any other thoughts for Sally?

Update: More than 35 of Tom’s eNewsletter subscribers (called Champs by Tom) responded. You can read their responses in Tom’s eNewsletter that is published immediately above this article. These comments can be helpful to any senior considering allowing a new found love to move in. Read those comments before deciding!

A similar version of this story appeared in the San Clemente Times on March 8, 2018, the Dana Point Times, and The Capistrano Dispatch on March 9, 2018, written by Tom Blake as well: Here are the links:

San Clemente Times article

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Dana Point Times article by Tom Blake

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The San Juan Capistrano Dispatch

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Observations on life, love and LAT (Living Apart Together)

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – January 19, 2018

Tom P Blake

Often, sage comments made by Champs in response to a newsletter provide the content for the next newsletter. Such is the case this week. I couldn’t put these articles together without you.

Today: observations on life, love, and LAT (Living Apart Together) relationships. Two California Champs and one Michigan Champ share their opinions.

Maria, Cloverdale, California, wrote: “If I ever was lucky enough to get into a romantic relationship again, I would go for a LAT (Living Apart Together).

“The older I get, I see the whole romantic relationship thing in a different light. I cherish my own space and yes, I’d probably drive another person crazy with my erratic life style – like painting in my art room at 2 am because a particular painting is calling me awake, so I have to go paint!

“The LAT would be ideal for me because you are still sharing a friendship, a love, a partner, fun times, good conversation, affection and support–and sharing in the best of both individual worlds in our own living spaces.

“I’ve been alone for a long time and I’ve developed my sacred spaces in my home, my sanctuary. I am willing to share it, but I would also want times alone in my space. Can a man in a romantic partnership agree with that? Looks like some do, which is nice to hear.”

Tom’s comment: As we age, I think most of our Champs—both men and women—agree for the need for time alone in one’s space. For couples, to be around each other or face-to-face 24/7, won’t work too well. Just like these two train engines I photographed in 2007, at the Montpellier, France, Sant Roch train station:

 Trains, like couples, work better when they aren’t butting heads or constantly face-to-face

Seniors need to get out of the house and involved in activities. They need air to breathe. Social interaction is critical for seniors.

Maria continued, “I’ve come to think that if more older men and women were open to be just friends, most of us wouldn’t feel so lonely at times. I’ve tried to do the friendship thing with men, but I haven’t found a man yet to be interested here in California.

“I love good conversation and sharing of ideas written or face-to-face. I’ve struck up some email friendships with men, but they always end the same way–they ultimately stop responding without a word.

“What are your thoughts on men and women friendships (platonic) and the potential for easing loneliness? When I lived back East, I had romantic men partners as well as platonic friendships with men (I was also a lot younger–is that the difference?). It was a nice mix. Even though I’ve been in CA for 21 years, I just can’t get a handle on how CA men think.

Tom’s comment: Yes, senior friendships can ease loneliness. What is it about older, single, California men? I’m a California man, but I don’t have an answer for how they think; it’s such an individual thing. My guess is most of them want a romantic relationship, but without drama. So, if they think an email relationship isn’t going anywhere, they move on. That’s not exclusive to California men. Men everywhere may feel the same.

Maria ended with: “The older I get, the more I find peace with being alone and developing who I am in my 70’s. What I’d like is a better balance of male and female energy of friendships–frankly, I don’t want the “all women” groups, I want the mixed groups.  A nice mix of friendships is ideal!”
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Joanie, Torrance, California, “LAT couples in later life make a lot of sense. If one has been single a long time (like me), certain patterns and habits develop that are hard to change. Also, when each one is secure financially in a paid-off house/condo etc., it’s hard to give that financial security up and take a chance on emotional feelings.

Tom’s comment: To enjoy emotional feelings, older singles should not give up financial security. If someone wants a part of your finances, in exchange for love, then, it’s not love. Don’t ever give up your security, you have no time remaining to re-earn it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t share financial security—just protect yourself and know what you are doing, and with whom you are sharing.

Joanie continued, “So, keeping each’s financial security in this world is important…and not being there every minute sort of keeps the relationship romantic.

“If one is of an age where he or she is looking for a caregiver, that is a big challenge. We ‘oldies’ should have a place we can afford to go when we are at the point of needing professional caregivers. We should not hope to marry one or have one come live with us.”

Tom’s comment: Well said, Joanie.
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Gordon, Traverse City, Michigan

Enjoyed both newsletters pertaining to Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships and wanted to add a couple of positive aspects, that may not be as apparent as the negatives some Champs give.

“LAT admittedly is not for all; however, it has improved my life and relationship in this late-in-life journey many of us are now taking. It is truly an adventure and is better now than ever.

“I have been in a LAT relationship (living in our own homes – seven miles apart) for over two years and found it to be very rewarding and our relationship continues to mature and be even more fun the longer we are together. Here are few reasons:

– “A LAT is a relationship based on the CHOICES we make each day and not on a legal contract and consequences based on that contract

– “There are no financial obligations or liabilities to one another. We share all. This is a very good thing for seniors (not so for young people) in that as we grow older we have increased individual liabilities affecting our partners including catastrophic health issues that often destroy both the husband and wife financially for the remainder of their days

– “Whereas, the LAT remains economically separated from those costs, bankruptcies, etc. The latest stat I read is that 65% of bankruptcies are due to health cost

– “Each time we get together, the excitement and anticipation is always present. No obligation to do so other than we want to be together. Yes, there are days when we simply prefer to stay home.

– “Taking each other for granted does not exist. Consideration for the other is paramount. Therefore, we take particular care to insure we appreciate each other every day.

“A LAT relationship does require a high level of openness and trust between the couple. The love aspect is defined (by me) as mutual happiness we both desire being together.

– “Yes, there are some negatives. How many times have people said to you and your partner: “When are you getting married?”

“Also, we can’t get a joint Sam’s Club or COSTCO membership card (both of us for the price of one) because we don’t live together.”

Tom’s comment: When someone asks, “When are you and Greta getting married?” (20 years together, not married), I take out the paper towel from my back pocket, and dab my eyes, saying, “Greta won’t marry me.” That usually causes them to quickly change the subject.

Gordon ended with: “Our theme song that seems always to fit perfectly is: “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight.”

Tom’s comment: Ah, the England Dan and John Ford Coley 1976 song, “I’d Really Love To See You Tonight,” from the album “Nights Are Forever.” If you think about the words, it could be the original LAT song.

“I’m not talking about movin’ in
And I don’t want to change your life
But there’s a warm wind blowin’ the stars around
And I’d really love to see you tonight ”

The link follows (click on skip ad when ad appears):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA0Knw7O5r4

Keep your comments, questions, and observations coming. They are what make our locomotive run.

Living Apart Together (LAT) Relationships update

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – January 12, 2018

Tom Blake

Update on Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships

Last year, I received an email that piqued my interest. It was about a March 20, 2017, article posted on www.nextavenue.org, titled, “Older Adults Embrace ‘Living Apart Together,’” by Sheena Rice.

From that article, I learned a new term that described a type of senior romantic relationship: LAT (an acronym for Living Apart Together). I checked Wikipedia’s description of a LAT “…couples who have an intimate relationship but live at separate addresses.”

In Ms. Rice’s article, she included comments from researchers from the University of Missouri. Rice said, “The researchers found that (LAT) couples were motivated by desires to stay independent, maintain their own homes, sustain existing family boundaries and remain financially independent.”

I wrote about LAT relationships in our June 23, 2017, newsletter, which included quotes from four of our Champs. All newsletters are posted to my Finding Love After 50 website.

The week after the newsletter was published, three more Champs commented on LAT relationships. Here are excerpts from their comments:

Kenny, “Just one single-over-50-year-old guy’s opinion: I have ONLY been married “twice.” That would be the “first” time and the “last” time. I feel at this stage of my life, 68, there is almost NO (like 1/10th of 1%) upside to co-habitate or remarry, especially with the multiple legal complications of either the cohabitation or marriage agreement and contract, and that includes even an expensive “can-always-be-challenged” legal prenuptial agreement.

“And NO, I am NOT some bitter cynical divorcee. Really, it’s just 2017, just common sense, and I will never justify ‘living together’ to lessen a few $$$ of living expenses.

“I have seen way too many move-in-together couples justify this, “Oh “dahhh-ling, look-at-all-the-money-we-will-save-living-together” arrangement, only to go up-in-smoke (and lots of flames), followed by one helluva mighty big honkin’ litigation full of money mess.

“But, I am currently in a committed relationship. We maintain separate residences and are agreeable to NOT mix our children and our finances.

“Yet, we care for each other (and luv each other to bits and plan to ‘go the distance’) and are totally there for each other. We travel together and all our children / family / friends recognize us as a couple.”

Phil, “I spent 21 years with my wife in a LAT. In the end, not good. We found we had nothing in common. So, we lived apart. But I could not elect the option of divorce, thinking we might reconcile. I was with my wife 24/7 in her dying days.

“In 20/20 hindsight, I would have done something else (about a divorce). With Sue now in my life in 2017, the past all seems like an ‘uncomfortable period.’”

Note from Tom: Phil and Sue, Jackson High School (Jackson, Michigan) classmates of mine, married in 2017. They had not seen each other in 50-plus years. Phil sadly passed away four months after the marriage.

Relationship counselor Christine Baumgartner, said, “I have a neighbor who has been in a LAT relationship for five years. Her partner lives four miles away. They usually see each other every day and spend most nights together at each other’s homes. They share their lives with each other and are both financially comfortable with this arrangement. I asked them why it worked for them.

“She said his house is full of electronics and stuff (which he isn’t going to change) and if she lived there full-time it would make her crazy. This is the only thing she doesn’t love about him and knows it would be a breaking point for both.

“She also said she loves having her own home that she can keep ‘just her way.’ He said he wants her to be happy when she’s with him and knows their LAT is the perfect way to achieve this.”

   2018 update on LAT relationships 

This week, the above mentioned, Sheena Rice, of the University of Missouri News Bureau, sent a follow-up press release quoting Jacquelyn Benson, assistant professor of human development and family science, who is an expert on LAT relationships.

Professor Benson raised this issue: In a LAT relationship, where committed couples live apart, what happens to the relationship and living arrangement when one of the members needs care giving or has other serious health issues? Does it change the living arrangement?

Professor Benson is doing a great service to unwed, committed senior couples, by stressing the importance of “having the talk” beforehand about what happens to the arrangement if someone gets seriously ill.

She interviewed people age 60+ who are in LAT relationships to shed light on her concern. In the press release, she was quoted, “Most of the individuals we interviewed had not been tested by the realities of caregiving within their current LAT partnerships.”

But she did say, “…couples also are willing to make changes in living arrangements to provide care giving support to one another.” That was very encouraging to hear.

Professor Benson added: “Discussions about end-of-life planning and caregiving can be sensitive to talk about; however, LAT couples should make it a priority to have these conversations both as a couple and with their families.”

 Unwed senior couples–whether in a LAT or living together–instead of texting, should have face to face “the talk”

Ms. Benson admits more research is needed to gain understanding on this important topic. The press release added, “Benson is seeking older adults from around the country who are choosing to live apart (in a LAT relationship) or living together unmarried (cohabiting).”

If you would like to participate in her research (both partners must agree to participate), contact me and I tell you how to get in touch with her. Our group might be able to give her some valuable insights on this issue affecting older adult couples.

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                            Clarification about last week’s article

Clarification on last week’s eNewsletter from Althea, the woman who is care giving the couple (both 81) in Yuba City, California. Althea emailed, “You did a good job and quoted me correctly except for the place where you wrote that the daughter had ‘hired me.’ I wasn’t hired, in the sense that it’s a job and I get paid…I don’t get any money.

“The ‘pay’ is I get room and board free in exchange for what I do to help them…be company for the wife, making meals, keeping the house as clean as I can (they have housekeepers who come every other week).  And I supply a dog since they lost theirs. Animal love is very important.”

Thanks Althea for setting the record straight.