|On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter |
September 29, 2022
by Tom Blake Columnist
A widow says, “I’m okay without a spouse”
This week, we share responses to last week’s eNewsletter, which featured Dee, a recent widow. Dee hoped that Champs would comment about what she should do with her wedding rings now that her husband is gone.
As the responses poured in, they reminded me of the poignant words from the song “Graceland,” a song written by singer/songwriter Paul Simon and released in November 1986 on the album of the same name.
The Graceland album won a 1988 Grammy for Album of the Year. Fifteen million albums were sold. The Graceland song is Simon’s favorite of all the songs he has written. The poignant words:
“Losing love is like a window in your heart. Everybody sees you’re blown apart. Everybody sees the wind blow.”
(A link to the song Graceland is at the end of today’s column)
I think those words are some of the greatest love-lost-pain words in history. You’ll understand why the following sage responses from Champs made me think of them.
Vickey emailed, “Dee, you have my sympathy. To love deeply is to grieve deeply.
“I am a widow of 20 years. My advice is to not second guess your decisions about the ring. Wear it or not, it’s ok. I have traveled many miles since being widowed by losing my one and only husband. I do have a companion who in every way makes me complete.”
Kaitte, “Re the widow wedding ring issue, Dee, you need to do YOU for YOU. There is no law that says you can’t wear your rings till you are no longer here, and if anyone says something, simply walk away. They aren’t worth a comment unless you want to add, ‘Just widowed,’ and walk away. Same with the pictures. Don’t ALLOW anyone to tell you differently.”
Susie, “Dee’s letter was very sad. I was thinking that anyone who is going through anything at this stage of one’s life should exchange emails and get a group together and talk out some of our feelings; we might be able to help each other, what do you think of that Tom?”
Tom’s comment to Susie. There are many widow and widower groups in existence across the country. It would be easier, I think, to search online for those and join one near where you live. If a Champ wants to start a new one, I suggest that person start a Facebook page. If someone does that, I will be happy to mention it in a future column.
Also, one of our Champs is Christine Baumgartner, who is a relationship counselor and a widow. She is aware of several widow and widower groups. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d care to reach out to her.
Dr. John (a family doctor), emailed, “Dee poses some interesting questions. Here’s my advice:
– Dee says she never wants to date again – well, maybe. She’s still grieving, it’s way too early to be sure. Also, quick ‘rebound romances’ tend to be a bad idea.
– Most men view widows favorably. After all, one of men’s’ biggest worries is divorce, which in the USA is mostly initiated by wives. Widowhood means the wife stayed with the husband to the end. I had a patient two months ago who lost his job AND his wife (who divorced him), when he came down with cancer, which he beat. But then he got heart disease from one of the chemotherapy drugs he was given. She ‘didn’t want to be his nurse.’ That goes to show why men have a legitimate fear of women divorcing them.
– I’d suggest re: the widow wedding ring issue, she wear the wedding ring until/if she decides she’s ready for a new relationship.”
Virginia, “Life is short. Dee might benefit if she would consider going to some counseling sessions to help her put her feelings into perspective. While it’s normal to take time to grieve, sometimes a snag like an emotional quagmire can ruin the rest of a person’s life and she or he might need a little help to move on.
Dee is a survivor and has years ahead to enjoy the rest of her life. Maybe someone can suggest a good counselor or psychologist who could gently help her move on, so she doesn’t get bogged down with this and ruin her life.
“There are also some well-written self-help books on the stages of grief and how to recognize what she is going through that might help her.” (See Tom’s comment below for a book suggestion).
Joanie, “Dee should move the ring first to her right hand. Then to a nice chain with the ring on it to wear around the neck. Eventually, she might put the ring into a jewelry box.”
Carm, “Dee’s story reminded me of my Karen’s comment that the nearly five years we spent together were the happiest days of her life. Pancreatic cancer: Only an 8 or 9% survival rate. “It also reminded me of the puzzlement I went through with our rings: I eventually taped them to the big mirror in my bedroom.”
Cynthia, “I just reread your newsletter about Dee the new widow. I feel her pain after she met Ron and her thinking it was her final marriage. I’ve been a widow for 7 1/2 years and I still have pictures of my husband all over my house because I enjoy seeing them and that brings me comfort. I don’t have any intention of moving them out!
“As far as her wedding ring, after a couple of years, I moved my wedding ring and my husband’s wedding band to my right hand. I wear his band all the time but when I’m going out, then sometimes I’ll add my diamond engagement ring. I enjoy wearing it and I don’t want to give it up so I understand Dee’s feelings totally.
“I think everybody has to figure out what works best for them and I know it’s really soon after his passing but I pray that Dee will take it slow.”
Sharon, “I have been a champ for 14+ years after my husband David passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008. Dee’s story touched my heart about her wedding rings.
“What worked for me is that I took David’s wedding band and my wedding band and had a jeweler link them together. I bought a very nice gold chain and wore them around my neck for many years. Like Dee, wearing my wedding rings after David died felt different.
“I struggled with the fact that I wasn’t married anymore and those rings were a reminder of the 31-1/2 wonderful years that were now gone. I emphasize gone because I loved my life, being David’s wife, and the life, we had together.
“I did date for a couple of years after his death, but it was difficult because David and I had an autistic son who was 18 when David died. It was hard for me because I think I was looking for someone who would be family and most of the men I dated wanted a companion, not a grown child. I was a ‘packaged deal.’
“I didn’t like bringing different people into my son’s life. It was a challenging time for both he and I. It seemed so easy when I met David and trying online dating was hard for me. I finally decided about seven years ago that I didn’t really want to try dating anymore.
“I have a full life, job, family, good friends, our son Philip, and Special Olympics, and I just prayed that I would be content with the full life that I had. Sure, there are still times, that I wish I had a special someone, but I am so thankful that I am okay without a spouse.
“I joke with my friends, that my husband was such a good husband, father, and man, he made it impossible for someone to compete with that! Except now I have two dogs, and they are special!
“I hope Dee in time finds her way. Trust me, I know how hard it is to lose a spouse, but I take each day one at a time and try to remember each day how grateful I am.”
S, wrote: “To Dee: I wore my wedding ring for seven years after my divorce. Just didn’t feel right without it.”
Wayne, emailed, “The only problem I see with a woman wearing her late spouse’s wedding ring on her left hand is that it indicates she’s still married. Wearing it on her right hand is fine.
“I wear an old wedding ring on my right hand sometimes as it’s an attractive ring. I’ve asked a few women if that bothers them, and they’ve said it was fine. I respect a woman that isn’t afraid to occasionally mention her late husband in a loving way… he was a big part of her life and I see it as a sign of respect.
“Pictures around the house are fine; I prefer they be part of a family photo.”
Thanks, Champs. Not only have you helped Dee, but others–women and men–who are also dealing with being widowed or losing a significant other.
Category: Senior Dating: not wearing a wedding ring
Why didn’t John ask for her phone number?
On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter
July 8, 2022
By Tom P. Blake
23 responses to “Where is John?” eNewsletter from July 1, 2022
Last week’s column was titled, “Where is John?” Champ Yoko and prospective Champ ‘John’ spoke for 2 ½ hours at the Swallows Inn, a popular San Juan Capistrano watering hole and country music hangout. But, why didn’t John ask for her phone number? I asked for your comments re: what should have Yoko done?
23 Champs shared their thoughts–21 women and two men. That’s about a 9.5-to-one ratio, which is about par for the course in senior dating age 65+
Althea, “Was he married? Or, just out with his friend to have a good time. Perhaps he “Just Wasn’t That Into Yoko.”
Melanie, “John is married, or has a girlfriend, or just enjoyed talking. Yoko can’t bother herself about the reason…John didn’t want to go further.”
Sandy, “Some men carry baggage from previous relationships and/or use bars as their social outlets to get their social fix.”
Patty, “He was not wearing a wedding ring. That or showing pictures from his phone that show no women is no indication of whether he is married.”
Terri, “Yoko should realize that ‘John” has either a wife or a girlfriend and he just found it pleasant to hang out with her and her friends and nothing more. Done. I have personalized business cards with my name, email, and phone number, should the need arise.”
Teresa, “It seems risky to begin talking to an unknown person in a bar. Everything this guy said could be a lie. He could be looking for a woman with money.”
Thyrza, “His showing off his property would not bode well with me. Men show off their chivalry, that’s all it was. Put it to rest.”
Victoria, “Yoko’s story is as old as time itself. He’s probably married or in a relationship. The lack of a wedding ring is not foolproof. Perhaps he decided a relationship with her wouldn’t work.”
Joel, “I learned, as a matter of courtesy. Just to tell someone, ‘I don’t think we are a good fit’ and to accept it when someone (many in fact) have said something similar to me. You have to click with the person. Say ‘Next’ and move on. It’s not you, Yoko, of that, I am sure.”
Maria, “Maybe Yoko should have said, ‘Would you care to meet sometime and continue the conversation? At least she would have gotten a clearer picture of where he stood. She should chalk it up as a fun evening.” (comment from Tom: should-a, would-a, could-a) hindsight is always easier).
Larry, “Yoko did all the right things and enjoyed herself. Any loss was his loss. Yoko, keep on keeping on!”
Anonymous woman, “It can take time for a woman to see that a rebuff may have zero to do with her. When that is figured out, it takes a lot of pressure off.”
Elenute, “If a man wants to contact a woman, he will find a way. Yoko should forget about him, attractive though he may be.”
Wayne, “Yoko should have simply stated at the end of the encounter: ‘John, I enjoyed meeting you and would like to see you again. Let’s exchange contact information. If he accepts, great. If not, it’s a red flag.”
Sue, “If John wanted her contact info, he’d have asked for it. He had a nice night and that’s that. Unfortunately, ‘He wasn’t that into her.’
Susan, “Suggestions for Yoko if the situation arises again:
“As Tom suggested, give him your card with contact information.
“Say: ‘I would like to visit your farm, let me know when a good time would be. Here is my number.
“Or, ‘I’m having a BBQ soon and would like to invite you. What would be a good number to reach you?’”
Gail, “John was a player. Yoko, count your blessings and be glad you dodged that bullet. It has happened to me. The guy wasn’t that into me. Fine, who’s next?”
Bonnie, “I learned a great lesson about guys through my oldest son. He and a girlfriend hit a bump in the road. He went through remarkable lengths to renew the relationship. I learned firsthand, that if a man wants to pursue a woman, he will just do so. He doesn’t overthink it. He just courts her naturally.
“Yoko might bump into him in six months, and they pick up where they left off. Timing can be a big deal.”
Heather, “I have a history with the Swallows Inn San Juan Capistrano. My brother Doug was a bouncer there in the 1960s. I really love a seedy bar. What’s funny, I met my significant other, Reuben, there. He has a horse at a stable down the road and came on Tuesday’s when Pedro makes tacos in the kitchen.
“My friends were my ‘wingmen.’ When Reuben would enter the bar, they would coax him over to sit at our table. Once, he grabbed my cellphone and put his number in my phone. Our first date was April 1, 2017. We’ve been together since.
“I wish Yoko had pushed a bit more or returned to the Swallows on the same day the following week. Life is too short for missed opportunities.”
Cheryl, “Has it happened to me? Yes. I’ve had many men tell me how busy they are right now, or what emergency has come up in their lives, that I don’t even pay attention, don’t care. The ball is in his court. My late husband would have driven to the moon to ask me out again if he had to.”
Kaitte, “Happened to me? Yep, for a split second at a gas station. He kept looking at me after he let me in the checkout line for gas. I was at the pump, and he looked around and found me. I should have given him my INTRO card. By the time, I figured that out he was gone. I did post lookout on Facebook but no response. Sigh, I’m 70, those vibes don’t come around often.”
Marie, “I have known friends who already plan weddings after an initial encounter and somewhat naively expect a positive follow up after they have enjoyed themselves. I have had men tell me after a first date that I am everything they are looking for…after knowing very little about me. Presumptions are not limited to the young folks.”
Marjorie: “I agree with Bonnie and my personal experience: If a guy is
interested he will make it happen. Otherwise, as others have said, he is
married, has a girlfriend, or isn’t that interested. Of course, she can ask
about meeting again, but take whatever he tells you as the answer. Don’t chase
him. And more important, don’t settle for being someone’s alternative.”
So, that’s it Champs. I know Yoko personally; she will relish your advice. And, chances are, your advice will benefit lots of other single women who go line dancing our just out for pizza and they meet a guy.