Senior long-distance relationship

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

January 28, 2022

2022 eNewsletter #4

by Tom Blake

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

The perils of a senior long-distance relationship. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A senior dating ultimatum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Her boyfriend won’t listen to her

Tom’s conclusion

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

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

Age is just a number

Age is just a number
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

June 18, 2021
by Tom Blake columnist

(The article today has been edited for length and clarity)
marjorie and hans
Senior dating at 80+ Marjorie & Hans – Love across the pond
Marjorie, 87, (photo above on left) emailed this week about her senior long-distance romance with a man from Amsterdam, “My motto: be interested and interesting. My passion is traveling and enjoying the visual arts.

“My Amsterdam relationship began in 1998 when my engineer companion and I did a house exchange with Hans and his wife, who lived in Amsterdam.
“Hans’s wife died in 2014. He came to California in 2015. We took a trip together and discovered we were meant to travel together. We have crossed the Atlantic six times traveling in Europe and the USA.

The pandemic has limited us to daily Skypes. Will we travel again at our age? I’m not sure. Hans is 84.” The photo of us above was taken in my 90-year-old artist friend’s home (she is in the middle).

More on senior love

Two weeks ago, the June 4 eNewsletter featured three independent women, Paula, Kathy, and Leslie. Champ Art, Margate, Florida, commented about each woman’s situation. 

But first, a reminder about Paula, age 75, who moves to a new city every two years or so, and renovates homes, and then flips them. We included a picture of her two Bassett Hounds in that June 4 issue. Paula said, “The only way I can do what I do is to be single.”

Art said, “It’s interesting that Paula has not grown roots, and still has that wanderlust feeling about herself. I’m 82 and find meeting (potential mates) very easy, but I would not want to become interested in a woman who has not found a man to call a keeper or a place to call home by the time she is 75.

And Art said this about Kathy: “Her issue, being allergic to most animals, could never work for me. I love animals and have two cats at home.”

Regarding Leslie, age 80, who met her fiance four years ago, Art said, “I congratulate Leslie on her engagement. Her independence is a trait I admire if not carried too far. Leslie has found her way to thrive in a singles world.”

Art added, “When my wife passed in 2007 I thought that I would never know love again, but by learning how to use POF (Plenty of Fish) and putting a lot of thought into my writing, I have been blessed beyond my expectations.

“I am currently dating a 79-year-old woman who lives about a half-hour from my house. We are both vegetarians, both of us love live theater, and we each find the other attractive and fun to be with.”

Even more on senior love

One of our Champs is Tammy La Gorce, the New York Times “Weddings” columnist. This week Tammy shared a column she wrote about two 95-year-olds who just got married.

She thought I’d like the last two sentences from her article, which are quoted below:
“Nobody starts life at 95,” Ms. Morrow-Nulton said. “But we did.”

“I’m not lonely anymore,” Mr. Shults said. Better still, “I don’t think we’ll get sick of each other.”

 Here is a link to Tammy’s story:

P.S. You may be asked to subscribe to the Times’s online edition, for a very reasonable rate.

Part 2 – Champ Larry on Lake Michigan
Grand Haven Sunset Larry
Larry and his daughter on Lake Michigan during sunset
Grand Haven Lake Michigan Sunset – June 2021

Last year, Champ Larry, (above, with his daughter a week ago), contacted me, saying he would be in the Dana Point area and asked if we could meet for lunch. He mentioned that he was retired, single, widowed, living in Florida, and spent summers in a beach city on Lake Michigan.

Having grown up in Michigan, I asked, “Where in Michigan?”
Larry said, “Grand Haven.” I was amazed. I told him that my mom had grown up in Grand Haven and our family had rented a cottage there for a month during several different summers.

“What was your mom’s maiden name?” Larry asked.

“Frances Pardee.”

Larry said, “I knew a man named George Pardee. He hired me for my first job in Grand Haven. He worked for the Peerless Novelty Company.”

I was even more amazed. George Pardee was my uncle. Turns out, Larry was the City Manager of Grand Haven for years, before moving to Florida where he was a City Manager in a beach city there. He and my uncle became good friends.

Larry and I met for lunch and found we had even more in common.
Two weeks ago, he was visiting South Orange County again (his daughter lives here) and we met for coffee for a couple of hours. So, Larry is another Champ who has become a special friend.

Is he single? Well, yes, but let’s put it this way. He seems to have met some nice potential mates in Florida. I’m certain he will keep me posted on what happens in that regard.

Thanks to Larry for sending the photo. I encourage other Champs to do the same thing, along with some biographical information.

Senior long-distance relationship challenges

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  November 8, 2019 

by Columnist Thomas P Blake

Champ couple overcomes senior long-distance relationship challenges and now faces another challenge

Our most-written-about Champ couple is in the news again. Yes, I’m referring to Chris and Tina Anastasio, San Clemente, California residents. Most of you will recall that I’ve written about them before on a couple of occasions.

Why the hoopla about Chris and Tina (Christine)? Because, in the 26 years I’ve been writing newspaper columns and newsletters, I’ve never met a senior couple who has endured and overcome as many senior relationship challenges as Chris and Christine.

Christine and Chris in front of Richard Henry Dana statue in Dana Point Harbor (photo by Tom)

To refresh your memory: Their story together began in 2004. Chris, as a cruise ship dance host on a cruise ship, danced with Christine, a lovely widow of 18 months from England. After the cruise, they started corresponding, which began the longest, long-distance relationship of which I’m aware—5,419 miles, San Clemente to England.

Over the years, when they could, they visited each other, and took trips together.

In 2009, I published a book titled, “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” In their story, which is included in the book, Chris states, “Every time we get together it’s like a honeymoon.”

After 13 years of being an unwed, long-distance couple, Chris and Christine married on February 12, 2017, at the Dana Point California Yacht Club. Greta, and I attended the wedding, and I wrote a column about them.

Tina and Chris Anastasio–tying the knot in Dana Point in February, 2017 (photo by Tom Blake)

But their challenges weren’t entirely behind them. Christine still had to return to England from time-to-time because she wasn’t eligible to permanently stay in the United States.

So, a month after their wedding, Chris and Christine started the legal process of securing a two-year, temporary, green card for her, so she wouldn’t have to leave the country so often.

A year later, in February, 2018, Chris emailed: “After jumping through all kinds of hoops last year, we finally had Christine’s green card hearing today. It was the last stop in the process.

“We were told to bring pictures, papers, letters or anything else that would prove we were a REAL couple. Christine suggested we bring your How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 book to the green card hearing.

50 couples cover

“During the interview, I mentioned that we had become kind of famous because of our long-distance relationship you’ve written about. I said we were featured in your book, and handed it to him, with our page bookmarked.

“He started reading. His face lit up. He said, ‘This is great, I don’t have to see anything else. You have your green card.’

“It was amazing. That’s all he looked at. We were out of there in less than a half hour. You had a hand (and a big hand at that) in getting Christine her green card. Thanks for your help.”

Their green-card story is why I wrote a second article about them.

I think their life-together achievement is remarkable. I’ve had seniors complain that someone who lives a few miles away is geographically undesirable. Traveling to another state to meet? Unthinkable.

And, yet Chris and Christine stuck together being 5,419 miles away. Chris is now 85, and Christine turns 79 this December. Chris is well-known in south Orange County for his charity work.

One other thing about Chris, who is a US Navy veteran. On the first anniversary of 9/11, at age 69, he put the American flag on the “A” marker buoy via a kayak, just outside of Dana Point Harbor beyond the jetty in the Pacific Ocean.

Chris said, “I tended the flag every day from a kayak and changed it about every three months until I turned 80 and had heart surgery. The Dana Point Yacht Club said they liked it and would maintain it.” (Note from Tom: this week, I verified with a guy who does stand up paddling in the ocean that the flag is still on that buoy).

And now, another challenge has arisen

This week, Chris emailed an update: “Christine’s two-year green card expires soon. So, we must go back in and apply for Christine’s 10-year, permanent green card. Is it okay with you if we carry your “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50” book to the government office again? It brought great luck to us two years ago.

My reply: “Of course. Let me provide you with a fresh copy. Hopefully, it will help you get Christine’s permanent green card.

Also, not letting age slow them down, Christine and Chris added, “We are taking a cruise over the Holidays. We board the ship in Singapore December 18, and disembark in Dubai, January 2, 2020. We will watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks from the deck of the ship in Dubai Harbor.”

Christine and Chris Anastasio are one of the most inspiring–and indefatigable–Champ couples I’ve ever come across.