Dating a still-married man, while enjoying the domestic side of life (bouncy/bouncy)
Let’s say you’re 60 or older and single again. You might be divorced or in the process of getting a divorce. Or perhaps you’re a widow, or a widower. You admit you are a bit lonely, so you’ve decided to put yourself out there into the dating world in hopes of meeting a compatible mate.
You are committed to getting off the couch and out of the house to focus on interacting with friends and meeting new friends. Perhaps you are considering online dating.
You don’t want marriage, just someone you’d enjoy being with. Someone who shares your values and interests. You’ve managed to have a few dates, but no one has clicked yet.
And then someone comes along who adds a little spark to your life. You think that perhaps a relationship could evolve. It’s hard because you find yourself comparing that new person to your ex and they don’t have all of the qualities that your former partner had.
Dating a still-married man
You’ve had some interesting conversations with the person, which have revealed a small red flag or two. Take, for example, Jane (not her true name, changed by request), who emailed, “Four months ago, I met Bill (not his true name either) online. He’s been separated for two years from his wife of 26 years.
“On our first date, the hours flew by. We had fun conversation and seemed to connect. Afterward, he emailed saying he had a great time, and our interests were similar.
“I wrote back expressing two concerns based on our discussion. One being that he is from Canada (his company transferred him to the USA) and his family lives 16 hours away by car. What would happen if he got homesick and wanted to move back there to live?
“And second, his marital status: I would be dating a still-married man, separated for two years. What is really going on there?”
These two issues trouble me a bit but he and I discussed them.
“He assured me that he’s here to stay, that his family is in full support of his being here and his divorce is pending because he owes his attorney money and that was all that was needed to get the ball rolling.” Hence, I’d be dating a still-married man.
While Jane mentioned that she intended to proceed slowly with Bill, she rationalized that she too was once in the same position: separated, heart ready to move on, but a legal system that can take a long time to finalize a divorce.
Jane added, “I have seen his divorce papers, so I know he’s working on the final stuff, and he was truthful with me. I gave him a chance because I had someone take a chance on me while waiting for my divorce to be final. So that concern has been eased a bit.
“We’ve had an awesome four months together. He helped me with remodeling my townhouse and he met my family. We spent a weekend away exploring galleries and hiking. We enjoy our downtime after work and making dinner together—enjoying the domestic side of life.
You bounce my heart around
“Then, suddenly, the rug was pulled out from under my feet. Now he’s telling me that his head says one thing but his heart another, that there is a wall up. Apparently, he was hurt as a teenager by a relationship and again when he arrived in the states. It’s taken him six months to get over his latest heartbreak. He thinks if people must work at a relationship, it’s not the real thing.”
Jane rationalized again, stating: “He is bewildered and confused by his feelings, due in part to a lack of senior dating experience. This guy hasn’t ‘found’ himself yet.
“I must let time take care of things. I like him, but only he can find himself. He feels bad that he hurt me. His being in my life has been a positive thing; I experienced how wonderful it is to have someone REALLY treat me like a woman, which I haven’t experienced in a very long time.”
I hear what Jane says, but Bill didn’t treat her like a woman for long. She feels he backed off because of “a lack of senior dating experience.” What the heck does that have to do with it?
Rather, her situation reminds me of the 2004 book “he’s just not that into you.”
Seniors who choose to date again need to trust their instincts and keep their expectations in check. I think Jane needs to get on with her life.
Remember the Bobby Vee hit song “Rubber Ball” that was popular 61 years ago in 1961? Jane fits that mold. Perhaps if he finds himself and bounces back into her life, she’ll avoid becoming a rubber ball by ensuring he is only true to one woman (she).
Here’s the second verse:
“I’m like a rubber ball.
“Baby that’s all I am to you (bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)
“Just a rubber ball
“Cause you think you can be true to two (bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)
“You bounce my heart around (you don’t even put her down)
“And like a rubber ball, I keep bouncing back to you.
Champs tell me they love hearing senior later-in-life romance success stories from other Champs. Here’s one today, with a little south Texas flavor.
Champ Kim emailed: “I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Texas in Lake Jackson but moved to London at age 13. I returned each summer to stay with my dad and play with my friends. I married at age 25.
“I was married for 30 years. In 2017, I was divorced, and I returned to single status at age 55. I joined Plenty of Fish (POF). After nine ‘dates’ on POF I was pretty sure it truly was a mad, mad, mad world, and most of all I wondered, ‘Are you kidding me?’
Plenty of Fish love story
“Galveston Island is small (32 miles long by 2.5 miles wide) and there were several of us singles fishing out of the same dating pond. In 2018, I saw a profile picture I loved – a guy on a boat running from a storm. He was bald (I do not do bald unless it is natural), but his profile looked fun and adventurous.
“I found Ray on POF in 2018. He also grew up on Galveston Island but unlike me, he seldom left. Our ages were only six months apart, hence we had been at the same concert venues, parties on the beaches, in the cow fields, and in dance halls when we were younger.
“We knew a lot of the same people, and we were revolving around each other, but we never met. Online dating can be maddening for sure, but it worked for us.
“Ray was married for the second time in 2015 but was divorced after two years. Both of our divorces were final in early 2018.
“We talked on the phone from late spring and into the summer. We wanted to meet, but summer is my busiest time for work, and I had a trip planned for September. We agreed to meet after my trip. We also agreed to turn off our POF profiles until that time.
“This gave me time to check his background. I had two things going for me in that regard. First, I have a wonderful friend who is two degrees removed from knowing all Galvestonians, so Ray was checked out by my friend. “Plus, I was a law enforcement dispatcher for Alaska State Parks and very good at investigation.
My friend uncovered information about Ray’s ‘high school’ first marriage as well as other interesting tidbits about him and I found some good stuff in my own queries as well.
“Knowing things about a person before going on a date is good because you can judge right away how honest a person is going to be. You also can learn about a person’s relationships, court records, employment, and what hearsay is being said about the person.
“He emailed me precisely on the day I got home from my trip. I put off meeting him in person for one week, and then met him at his house on September 28, 2018. When I pulled up in his driveway, the look on his face was like a puppy’s when you get home from work.
“He opened the gate and seemed mesmerized as if he were thinking, ‘You are finally here. I have been waiting for you.’ He has the most beautiful green and brown eyes.
“The night we met we stayed up all night, as young kids will do. Neither Ray nor I ever had children and people we know who have kids tell us we are seniors who still act like kids. They have been telling me that all my adult life!
“Ray was forthright with everything that night; he said his second marriage was a real doozy. He verified what I knew about him, and he didn’t hold back. Were there some red flags for me? Of course, but I had been left behind in a 30-year marriage and was ready for an adventure. I went from vanilla to chili pepper. Woo-hoo! We’ve been together since.
“Fortunately, I have lived all over the world and traveled extensively and am very adaptable. Ray has not traveled much and has spent most of his adult years working and living in the Gulf.
“We now have a new puppy and are moving forward in these crazy times. I was fortunate to have met Ray before Covid – we made it through that and an election together. He also grew his hair out.
We just went to a 62nd birthday party for his best friend. I taught his friend’s son when the son was in the 8th grade; we have stayed in touch over the years.
All is well on Galveston Island with Kim and Ray. It’s as if Glen Campbell was singing about them in his 1969 song, “Galveston,” which was written by Jimmy Webb.
The video of the Galveston song by Glen Campbell can be found on YouTube.
Dee has been a Champ for several years. She used to attend the Senior Singles Meet and Greet gatherings at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, which I owned for 25 years. The last time I saw Dee was a year ago in August at a book signing held at the deli. At that time, she told me, “Things are going well, a lot has changed, all positive. I got married two years ago to Ron.”
On July 31 this year, Dee emailed me an update, “I wonder if you remember my email from last year at some point where I talked about Ron’s and my relationship and how we had gotten married after he was in a terrible accident that killed his brother and caused so much damage to Ron’s body, caused brain trauma and hurt his spirit.
“Well, Ron passed away two days ago, on Friday, after spending a week in the ICU at Saddleback Memorial. He had this stubborn cough that would not let up. Turned out he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to his lungs.
“Now I am a widow from my ‘fifth and final’ husband. When he asked me to marry him in 2017, he said he wanted to be my ‘fifth and final.’ This deep grief is new territory for me. We were supposed to ‘grow old together, the best was yet to be.’”
“I am so sad. Thank you for being there.”
Dee’s news was a shock to me. Besides Dee, I’ve had three other women friends become widows in the last 12 months. I admire their strength in dealing with their respective losses. Each is dealing with her situation in her own unique way.
On September 13, Dee updated me, “I have been a widow for eight weeks and wonder ‘What’s going to happen in the future?’ For the first few weeks, I jealously guarded my wedding ring! I did not want to remove it even for a moment.
“As the weeks went by, I began to think about the ring. My husband Ron and I had two sets of matching rings plus I have a gold band as well. I started changing my rings to go with my mood or my outfit for the day. I still want to wear it. I will never forget him or cast off our marriage.
“But I am starting to think about the symbolization the ring stands for. It says, ‘I’m a married woman, but I realize I’m not anymore.’ I have no intention of dating. I recognize I have many months of contemplation and reflection ahead of me, and I just want some companionable friends and people to spend time with, nothing romantic.
“What do you think our Champs would say about wearing a wedding ring after one’s spouse has passed away? How does one decide when and if to remove the symbol of marriage? I was going to start by changing the placement, going from my ring finger on the left to the ring finger on the right…start there and see how it feels. To me, this sounds reasonable, but I almost feel disloyal. Wedding ring guilt.
“As far as the pictures go, his old room is now back to being an office and most of the pictures of him and of us are in there. I moved all but my favorite one from my room two weeks after he died because seeing his smiling face was wrenching.
“I like to see his picture before I turn the lights out. His 11” x 14” portrait picture that was taken after his accident-repair dental work is on the dining table, and I see it often, and I love it!
“When he was in the accident many of his front teeth were damaged, so he got them all fixed up and gained an even more amazing smile. The dentist sent him to a photographer for a portrait for their office (before and after). The photographer was kind enough to send me a larger portrait since I only had a 5×7.
“Ron’s life changed immensely once we met, dated, married. His daughter tells me his life unfolded five-fold and he was SO happy. Many people that knew him for years like co-workers and friends told me the same thing. Our relationship opened many new doors for him and I was happy and thrilled to bring these things like college and travel into his life.
“This created some challenges for us, we had different value systems that we had to learn to integrate, but we got there, and we became best friends who looked out for each other, loved up on each other, and made our tiny home a cozy little nest and had so many adventures together.
“When/if the time comes, I will put some of the pictures away if necessary. But for now, I think you can see that I’m very confused. What might Champs say?”
For seniors,none-romantic love can be as important as romantic love
A woman Champ emailed: “Your eNewsletter two weeks ago reminded me of the long relationship I’ve had with my friend Bill, who I affectionately call, ‘Misterbill.’ I’d be curious what you and the Champs think about my longtime senior platonic friendship with this much younger man.
“As of this month, Bill and I have now known each other for 10 years. We met through one of the dating sites, Plenty Of Fish or Match.com, I forget which one it was. We had our first date on a scorching August day in 2012. It was on a Tuesday; he was coming from a job and was a bit grimy and sweaty – he does handyman work and construction.
“I didn’t mind the grime, he had already warned me, and he was quite nice! A welcome change from the duds I had been meeting. He had a sense of humor and a nice dimpled smile. He was 44 and I was 61—a 17-year difference. He thought I was 51. (That was when I was lowering my age by 10 years on dating sites and easily getting away with it. Not sure I could get away with it anymore!)
“Bill thought I was seven years older and told me he always liked older women…yeah, heard that before! But eventually, I told him my actual age. He still didn’t mind the bigger age gap.
“When we met he was just three months out of his marriage and he told me it was in the divorce process. We had some similarities in that he had been married at 18 or 19 – and like my daughter, his two daughters were young adults already and out of the nest.
“We loved dogs, the outdoors and he had a good sense of humor. But that’s pretty much all we had in common, plus our lifestyles were SO much different, due to our ages and living situations.
“Bill has always had his own business as a handyman and he works alone. He made very little money, and his wife for the most part didn’t work, so he was their sole support. At one point they lost the place they were renting and had to move into his parents’ house when his girls were young.
He was still living there when we met because he was never going to make enough money to afford to live on his own, and he needed his parent’s property for his business storage–tools, machinery, junk cars, etc. He is also a welder.
“We got along well and dated for a few months. I realized he was not going to be the forever man for me because we were in totally different places in our lives that didn’t mesh.
“We have never been intimate except for kissing…although he did sit in my hot tub with me, naked…with no fooling around (but he wanted to!) because I didn’t want it to get to the sex part when I knew it was going nowhere. Hence, the dating ended after a few months, but we kept in touch. He still wanted a relationship; I still wanted a friendship.
“The two main problematic issues were:
#1. Living arrangements if we became a couple, and he had a passion for off-roading and rock climbing with his 4-wheel drive vehicles, which he did about every weekend with a club and went out of state to do often. With my developing arthritis issues, I wouldn’t be able to do those things and didn’t want to do them.
“#2. There was no way I would live in his father’s house (his parents were still alive and living there, and they were messy/hoarders). Or, if he came to live with me in the house I was renting, I was afraid I would end up supporting him for the most part. Plus, he wouldn’t have been able to put his work stuff and cars, etc. on the property I was renting. I thought of all the possible angles, and nothing would work.
“Money, and not having enough of it, can sure hold a person back from doing the things he or she wants.
“Then there was the matter of his divorce, which he never got because his business was in both his and his wife’s name and he would have lost it or had to divide things, start over, pay alimony–a big mess.
“We’ve stayed in touch for 10 years. He’s been a good friend. Each time I moved he’s been right there to help me pack when I couldn’t, move plants and some things to my new places, and has done general handiwork for me like building a small corner shelf unit and hanging lights, curtain rods, towel rods, etc.
“I’ve always paid him, though not as much as he’s worth because I have just enough to live on, and I’d either prepare him a meal or purchase him a meal when he was done. This May, he drove me to my storage unit, packed the contents into his truck and brought it back 85 miles to my new storage place, and packed it all back in. I paid for his gas and bought our lunch on the trip back.
“He was out of the state working when I needed my new furniture put together so his daughter Jen – who’s a welder – came over and did it, in three trips. I paid her and also fed her pizza each time because she came over directly after work.
“He now pops over to say hi when he’s working in the area. He was here on Tuesday, brought the ingredients and made pizza for us, stayed and watched a movie then left…though I think he wanted to crash on my couch because I kept having to tell him I was tired and had to go to bed! It took a lot to get him to move off the couch. LOL.
“I invited him to come the next night to have my meatloaf dinner with me and afterward he took me for an evening sunset ride in his 2004 Mercedes convertible and we ended up at his daughter Jen’s house – 45 minutes away.
“OHH! – the night of our convertible ride when he brought me home, as he was hugging me goodbye outside in the cool evening air, he said, “I love you.” I was a bit stunned but smiled at him and said spontaneously, “I love you too!”
“Again, what do you think of my longtime platonic friendship with this much younger man?
Tom’s comment: I think this Champ has managed this relationship perfectly. She had the common sense to not get into a living-together or intimate relationship. And it wasn’t the senior 17-year age difference as much as it was the lack of many important things in common.
And yet, after 10 years, they have remained friends and professed their non-romantic love for each other. They are there for each other; they help each other. That type of senior non-romantic love is priceless.
In September 2019, when Ken Burns’ eight-part film series “Country Music” premiered on PBS, my partner Greta and I watched the series in two-hour segments. We loved it. After that, we started watching more country music programs on YouTube.
This Monday night, I turned on YouTube music while working on a Sudoku puzzle before going to sleep. YouTube music often presents us with a choice of country music selections based on our previous viewings.
I noticed Monday that “Country Music. Live at the Ryman,” was on and featured many of my favorite country music stars. I thought perhaps it was a segment from the 2019 “Country Music” series, but it wasn’t. It was a two-hour show, also produced by Ken Burns, that promoted the release of the upcoming 16-hour “Country Music” series.
“Live at the Ryman” was released in March 2019 and filmed at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, which was home to the Grand Ole Opry for 31 years until the Opry was relocated a few miles away in March 1974. Greta and I took a tour of the Ryman in 2017.
That Ryman tour touched me deeply as my friends Johnny and June Carter Cash, on March 15, 1974, sang the final Opry song at the Ryman, which was “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” (Made popular by the Carter Family and others).
Many of you know that I worked with Johnny in 1975 and 1976 when I was the director of Marketing for the Victoria Station Restaurant Chain (restaurants were built of boxcars and cabooses–Johnny loved trains). Johnny agreed to do our radio commercials.
On the night that his band recorded the music for our commercials at the House of Cash recording studio in Hendersonville, Tenn., Johnny invited some of his friends to play along with the band. Band members included Carl Perkins (Blue Suede Shoes), Larry Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers, Earl “Pool” Ball (piano), W.S. Holland (drums), and Marshall Grant (bass). I think Marty Stuart and Rodney Crowell were there as well. I got to meet them all.
While watching “Live at the Ryman” on Monday night, I started to feel a little nostalgic. Especially when Larry Gatlin sang my favorite Johnny Cash song, “Sunday Morning Coming Down (written by Kris Kristofferson). Once, at the Sahara Resort in Lake Tahoe, Johnny asked me before the show what my favorite song of his was. He opened the show by dedicating that song to me before an audience of 2,000 people.
I have remained friends with Rosanne Cash. When Rosanne sang on the show, “I Still Miss Someone,” a song her dad, Johnny, wrote for her, it was a real grabber for me.
Marty Stuart was on the show. He had played guitar for Johnny and was married to Cindy Cash, Rosanne’s sister for a while.
Seeing Vince Gill playing guitar on nearly every song, regardless of the artist singing was indicative of his versatility and talent. Gil has been a regular at the Grand Ole Opry for years.
When Greta and I were having a private VIP backstage tour at Opryland in 2017, we walked past Gill’s dressing room. He was there receiving lots of visitors, so we did not get to meet him. Our tour had been set up by Johnny’s long-time manager and dear friend of mine, Lou Robin, who was still overseeing Johnny’s royalties, 24 years after Johnny had passed away.
I got to know the Carter family well. Mother Maybelle was a sweetheart, and June’s sisters, Helen and Anita were always nice to me. Mother Maybelle played an instrument called The Carter Scratch. Her best-known song is “Wildwood Flower.”
Anita Carter, June’s sister, had one of the purest women’s voices in the history of country music. Her singing of the song “Peace In The Valley” was breathtaking. Anita’s husband, Bob Wootton, and I became buddies during the two years.
When “Live At The Ryman” ended with the entire cast returning to the stage, and singing, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” I nearly lost it. Rosanne was front and center and she and Dwight Yoakam were having fun up there together. Ken Burns was even on stage singing. I thought to myself, how fortunate I have been to have known so many of these talented people.
By the way, I was so captivated that I didn’t make one entry in the Sudoku puzzle!
In 2015, I published an eBook on Smashwords.com, titled, “The Johnny Cash I Knew. A Kind and Caring Man.” The 64-page book details my time spent with Johnny and June. It’s $2.99. I think you’d enjoy it. The link is below. Once it opens, type the book’s title in the search box.
As I often do, I include an appropriate song in my articles. There were many from which to choose but I think this version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is exceptional, as many country music people are featured. Johnny opens the video. Watch for the picture of June Carter Cash near the end.
On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 12, 2022
By Tom Blake
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletterAugust 12, 2022
By Columnist Tom Blake
There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter
Part 1 – Senior Dating – Love on the back of a Harley
I received an email this week from a Champ that began, “Hi, it’s Patricia, Chapter 12,” which puzzled me for a few seconds, and then I noticed that Patricia had added the words “Love on the back of a Harley.” When I saw those words, I knew immediately who it was from.
In 2009, I published a book titled “How 50 Couples Found Love After 50.” The book’s title is slightly off. A more accurate title would have been: “How 58 Couples Found Love After 50.” Eight additional stories were added after the final artwork was submitted. So, there are 58 stories of how senior couples met.
When I answered Patricia’s email, I signed my email–not as Tom–but as “Chapter 58,” which is the final story of the book and tells of how Greta and I met when she ordered a fresh carrot juice at my deli 25 years ago. Several of our current Champs’ stories are included in that book, including Patricia’s and Cowboy’s, which is Chapter 12.
In her email, Patricia wrote, “I wanted to share a fun and unique experience that happened recently. “My husband, Cowboy, and I moved from Paso Robles, California, to Montana, last year, and we love it. We bought a much nicer house for $100,000 less than the one we sold in California. The cost of gas is at least a dollar less a gallon and there is no sales tax. When you buy new furniture and a washer & dryer, as we did, that makes a huge difference!
“The Paramount TV Series ‘Yellowstone,’ starring Kevin Costner, is filmed here, and my husband and I have been paid to be extras in the show. What an adventure that has been! “Many people beg to be extras, but they will only hire residents of Montana. I can’t tell you much about it as we had to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) but I can tell you that it’s an amazing and very well-managed production.
“Season 5 will start airing mid-November, but they will be shooting through January. We may do more days as extras. “On another subject, we are fully enjoying going over the Rockies on the Harley and doing the ‘Run to the Sun. “We live just an hour from Glacier National Park, so we are taking advantage of the warm weather and exploring many parts of the park. I’ve included some photos that reveal the spectacular scenery.”
Comment from Tom: As sometimes happens with stories from Champs, coincidences emerge. Two happened with Patricia’s email. She mentioned Kevin Costner. The first coincidence: my partner Greta was in a business administration class at California State University Fullerton with him in 1974.
The second coincidence is Glacier National Park. In 1976, my buddy Jack Jarrell and I went camping there with our two women friends. He and I were avid fly fishermen. The general store manager in our campground mentioned a lake about an hour’s hike away at a higher elevation that was filled with hungry native rainbow and brook trout. The four of us went for it and hiked to the lake. The weather was as perfect that day as the pictures that Patricia included in her email reveal.
Each one of us caught our fish limits within an hour. It was the most incredible fly fishing I had ever experienced. We decided to take the fish back to the campsite to cook for dinner. Jack’s lady Jan said she had a special recipe for cooking wild-caught trout. We were licking our chops (what we did not know was there was a 4-legged hungry animal nearby which was also licking its chops).
As the four of us were walking back, about 200 yards from the lake, a park ranger on horseback with a high-powered rifle protruding from a saddlebag approached us. He said, “I see you have some fish.”
I guessed that perhaps he thought we didn’t have fishing licenses. I said, “We all have fishing licenses!” He said, “This is far more serious than that.” He had our attention. The Park Ranger said, “Did you see that pile of poop about 25 yards back?” We all nodded yes.
He said, “Was it steaming?” We all nodded yes. He said, “A grizzly bear just dropped that 10 to 15 minutes ago. He will smell your fish and be coming after you for them. He’d be happy to kill you to get them.” The Park Ranger was dead serious. He said, “Toss your fish in the bushes and follow me. I will lead you away from the bear.”
We complied. After a quarter mile, he said, “You’re safe now. I’m leaving. Have a nice day.” At the campsite that night, we cooked hamburgers over the fire. We imagined that our grizzly buddy was enjoying a fresh fish dinner near the lake. That’s the Glacier National Park coincidence. So, Champs, keep the stories coming. Have I told you about the shark encounter on The Great Barrier Reef? Only joking, of course.
Part 2 – How 50 (58) Couples Found Love After 50
I’ve got a few copies of How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 in inventory. For Champs who would enjoy a book, the cost is $8.98 which includes taxes, shipping, and a signed book. In 2009, that would have cost $24.00. You can pay with a credit card via my PayPal account or a check. Email me if you’d like a book at that special price. Each of the 58 stories concludes with a short “Senior Dating Lessons Learned” section, which provides helpful advice for singles who hope to meet a mate.
For example, in Champ Patricia’s Chapter 12 section, her lesson is: “When senior dating, open your mind to new adventures and activities. Expand your horizons, your reach, and your thinking.” When Patricia and Cowboy first met, Cowboy rode a Harley; Patricia was a fashion-industry expert. Diverse backgrounds. And yet, they met, married, and have an incredible relationship and love for each other. Ride along with them on their Harley.
Champ Carl, Palm Desert, California, emailed: “What a great story last week about 84-year-old Jay and his pet cow. “You and your Champs are right about Jay, he probably has a great heart, and anyone who loves animals understands how intelligent and insightful animals are.
“People would be shocked to learn some of the latest studies about animals. Particularly cows! “I’m not an outspoken animal activist, but I recently stumbled upon some scientific data about certain animal intelligence. Cows especially.
“The reason I learned about this: After my divorce, my ex-wife took two of my greatest loves away from me. Not only did she get custody of my two young kids (for a while), but the two dogs that I considered my other two kids!”
Comment from Tom: Carl is right about the hurt of having animals you love taken away from you. When my former wife informed me that she had moved out of our home, while I was visiting my 83-year-old mom 500 miles away, one of my biggest concerns was what had happened to my two dogs.
Were they gone? Were they fed? Did they have water? Nine hours later, when I pulled into the garage, I heard them bark. I said to myself, “They are here at home, and safe. Nothing else matters.” They were sure happy to see me.
Carl continued: “Thank God, my ex left me with a young pig we had given our boys as a gift, and this animal was so full of love, affection, and appreciation for his dad (me) that I couldn’t believe it.
“I had BRILLIANT dogs. But, my domestic pig, Rocky, was so amazing; he became my awesome friend. He was housebroken within three days, and when he was hungry, he would bring me his dish and sit up, asking for dinner. I never taught him that.
“He slept next to me and when the alarm would go off in the morning, he would kiss my face to make sure I awakened. “He brought me my skippers, and my paper, and laid by my side. His intelligence level was so superior to my dogs’ intelligence levels that it was hard to believe. However, I saw it and loved him for eight years. “When Rocky died a few months ago, I felt I had lost the rest of my world.
“Just a word to those that have no idea: Pigs are incredibly intelligent, and by eating pork, you’re doing the same as eating a dog, as they do in the Far East. “Please hear my story: I haven’t made up one bit of my experience with my buddy. I wish the world only knew.”
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – July 29, 2022
by columnist Tom Blake
Should she reveal her age before moving in with a much younger man?
Mark, one of my regular weekly eNewsletter readers wrote, “This is from today’s (July 24, 2022) NY Times digital edition, in the ‘Social Qs’ section:
“Just a Number
“I am a 76-year-old widow. For two years, I have been dating a man who is 12 years younger than I am. (I look 10 years younger than my age.) My boyfriend knows I’m older than he is, but he doesn’t know by how much. I have never lied to him, but I have refused to discuss the matter. We are now talking about living together. I know I should tell him my age before he moves in, but I’m afraid it will end our relationship. I’m plagued with stress about this. What should I do?
“If your boyfriend really cared about your age, he would probably know it by now. Your refusal to tell him would not be the final word here. So, it’s possible you’re worried over nothing. It’s also possible that the age gap — and your insistence on keeping it secret — may spook him. (So far, I’ve been a big help, right?)
“The bigger issue, as I see it, is your stress level: Better to tell him and let the chips fall where they may than to worry constantly about something you can’t change. He’s going to find out eventually.”
Champ Althea emailed: “In my dating escapades of the past, I have met many ‘Johns’” (Althea is referring to the Where is John? eNewsletter title from three weeks ago).
“One guy I thought might stick as a good friendship or maybe more. In Feb. 2016, he lived in Nevada, a two-hour drive away.
“Over the 2-3 months we saw each other, he spent a few days with me twice and I spent a few days at his place once. There was no sex. Hugs and a few kisses. He had a female dog – Grace! and I have a dog. Even the dogs got along great.
“I forget what his wife had died from, but I know he had to take care of her for a while, and when he learned of my slowly debilitating arthritis, he called me one day and said this wasn’t going to work between us because he didn’t want to go through caring for a disabled woman again. (That’s what he said in a nutshell). C’est La Vie!
“I had a lunch date with a new man yesterday (July 21, 2022). He’s not a ‘John;’ His name is Jay, he’s 84 and is a widower living in El Dorado Hills, which is a 25-minute drive away. We met on OurTime. He had looked at my profile and I saw that he lived close by, so I contacted him on July 14. I asked if he would like to meet for coffee sometime to see what we might have in common to develop a friendship.
“He wrote back that he had a pet cow named Daisy Mae – that nailed it for me! Lol. He is in a car club that takes a lot of day trips, and like me, his mind hadn’t caught up to his age. He said we could meet for lunch one day and see what happens.
“We exchanged more emails with chit-chat about his cow. He said he lost his dog just a few weeks ago (turns out it was a German Shepherd and he’s had a few over the years, so he’s a dog lover as well.) My next step was to see if he was willing to be completely open and I asked for his full name and phone number. I gave him mine. I got his back quickly and looked him up in the White Pages. He’s for real, so then we made the plan for lunch.
“He showed up early, and so did I, but he was there first. A plus in my book. And he was very nice, made fun conversation with a hint of a sense of humor, and all went well. In the parking lot, he showed me one of his classic cars, a 1971 VW Bug…yellow with yellow leather interior! Very cute. We parted with both of us saying we’d like to do this again, and off we went.
“So, we’ll see. He’s 11 years older; I’m not used to the guy being older, but I figure with my arthritis limitations, being older than me is better at this stage, so I can keep up!
I emailed back: “Predictions? Not at this stage, but so far so good. To have a new friend at this stage of both your lives is a huge plus. Keep it going. This doesn’t have to be teenage-type love, but the social interaction is beneficial as well. People who love animals likely have warm hearts. I don’t know of any guy who has a pet cow. What a plus. And what fun!
“Continue to be upbeat and appreciative toward him and keep it going.”
Althea responded: “My thinking is the same…an animal lover has a big heart and is a kind, warm person. He struck me that way right off. I’ve always loved cows…my father grew up on a farm and his family had cows, chickens, and a few horses that I got to see when I was young.
“I told Jay I’d love to see his cow sometime so let’s see if he follows up on that. A friendship with him would be a plus for sure. It was brutally hot yesterday, 97, when we went to lunch and going to hit 95 today with all next week in the same area of ’90s, so our next get together might not be for a while.”
Althea may have just coined a new senior dating pickup line. In the past, when a guy was trying to entice a woman to come to his house, he might have said, “Would you like to see my etchings?” Now, he might say, “Would you like to see my cow?”
In 2020, I published an ebook titled, “Senior Dating: Does Age Matter?” In the book, I discuss the pros and cons of dating someone younger and/or older (and considerably older or younger as well). The book’s content is still applicable today.
You can go to the Smashwords.com site and read 10 percent of the book for no cost. Smashwords has an online reading option where you don’t have to load the book onto your computer, you just click on “online reader.” Of course, you can download the book onto your reading device. If you purchase the ebook before this Sunday night (when Smashwords’ July sale ends), it’s $2.66. After that, it’s $3.55. Here’s the link:
On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 13, 2022
Columnist Tom Blake
Why high school reunions are good places for seniors to meet
In my April 29 “Big Yellow Taxi” article, I wrote about a couple who started dating after reuniting at their high school reunion in 2018. The woman lives in Illinois; the man lives in California, near his three daughters, seven grandchildren, and his 96-year-old mom.
The woman is frustrated because they live so far apart. She wonders if she’s wasting her time with him. Over the years, many Champs have shared their stories of meeting a mate at a high school reunion. Some of those meetings have led to marriages.
Champs responded to the Big Yellow Taxi article, including Althea, who wrote:
“Your recent article inspired me to share this high school reunion story with you. My half-brother, Ray, who is now 89, was married for over 50 years to Shirley and widowed in March 2010 at the age of 77.
“In 2011, there was a summer high school class reunion in our hometown of Foxboro, Massachusetts, which he attended. He was living in South Carolina.
“At that reunion, he met Diane, a woman he had known in high school, who graduated a year after he graduated. He knew her through a family member of hers. She is a retired nurse and a widow with five kids, and Ray, a widower, also has five kids.
“Diane lived in Ohio. Ray visited her there and she visited him in South Carolina. Plus, between visits, they spent a lot of time talking over the phone.
“Ray and Diane married a year after Shirley died. I thought it was crazy and disrespectful to his wife of 50-plus years until I talked to him and my nephew, his oldest son, about it. They both said that Shirley wanted Ray to be happy and not be alone for the rest of his years.
“Even though Ray and Diane married quickly, they are still together and happy, now living in Ohio in an assisted living facility.
“I’ll even bet he and Shirley had a lot of talks about what he would do after her death.
“The key to senior relationships is honest and upfront communication. The woman from your most recent article needs to have communication with the California guy if they are to be a forever couple who met at a high school reunion.”
Another high school reunion romance (years later)
In 2017, I wrote about two of my Jackson High School Jackson Michigan school classmates—Phil and Sue—who hadn’t seen or communicated with each other since graduation. At our 50th high school reunion in 2007, they spent 20 minutes talking to each other. Both were married at the time. I mentioned them again a few weeks ago as well.
Five years ago, Phil became a widower. He heard from another classmate that Sue was divorced. He lived in California; Sue lived in Michigan. He contacted her and asked if he could visit her. She said yes, and off he went driving to Michigan.
When they were together in Michigan for a week, they realized they had special feelings for each other. After he returned home to California, he proposed to her over the phone. They were married at the Riverside County Courthouse two weeks later and Sue moved to California to be with Phil.
These two reunion stories reveal
four reasons why high school reunions are good places for seniors to meet potential mates:
1. The number of singles attending. As we age, more and more people who attend reunions are single again. Often widows and widowers attend because they know the people and feel more comfortable among them.
2. A single person might see someone who they had secretly admired in high school, who is also now single. Why not spend some time together?
3. When people who have known each other for years share memories and experiences at class reunions, they often have much in common, which is an important factor in favorable compatibility.
4. Sometimes, people from different graduating classes also attend reunions, which means even more singles are there. You might meet someone who could be older or younger than whom you didn’t even know before.
One added note about high school or college reunions: often, the people you meet live in a different city or state. So, a long-distance relationship could evolve. That can present challenges for people who want to be together. Bottom line: nothing’s easy in senior dating.
When you receive that reunion notice, don’t just toss it aside. An unexpected meeting could happen. “But, but,” the Champ says, “my reunion is in Michigan, and I live in Ushuaia (Argentina).”
Here is a photo from my 60th high school class reunion
On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – March 11, 2022
By: Tom Blake – Columnist
The Courageous 8
(Today’s eNewsletter has been edited for length and clarity)
Today I mention eight courageous women whom I admire. Seven are Champs. In the future, we will do more articles on courageous Champs – both women and men– because we have a lot of them who fall under the courageous umbrella.
And what helps me identify these courageous seniors is when they email me with stories, experiences, questions, and thoughts. Here are The Courageous 8:
Devone Devone emailed this January saying: “I moved from Dana Point three years ago to the outskirts of Austin, Texas.
“I just turned 63. As a single parent, I got two kids through junior high, high school, and college on my own. They are living with their partners and doing well. My daughter, 28, graduated with a degree in psychology from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff and recently from nursing school in Scottsdale. She starts her first job as a RN on 1/31/22 in Arizona. She just got engaged to her college sweetheart.
“My son graduated from UC Santa Barbara. He just turned 31 and lives right on Hermosa Beach, in CA, with his girlfriend. He will be proposing to her in the next three months. He is an area manager for a large corporation
“I have since bought a home at the Lake, outside Austin in Hill Country and plan on retiring in the next 4-5 years when my house should be paid off.
I’m open to meeting someone in CA, AZ or around the Austin TX area, as I plan on keeping the house in Texas as a base, where there are no state taxes. I will travel a lot when I retire. I am seeking a partner who is also a strong Christian as I attend church, and God comes first with me.”
Tom’s comment: Any parent–woman, or man– who raises a child or children on their own gets a gold star from me.
I’ve known Donna for nearly 20 years. Her significant other, Bob, and I worked for the Orange County Register newspaper years ago. I took a photo of Bob, Donna and Greta when the four of us had dinner 17 years ago.
Donna notified me last August that Bob had passed away. She said, “He was a kind and gentle soul. He moved in with me two years ago because he couldn’t take care of himself. Very sad. It was difficult.”
At Thanksgiving time, she responded to the eNewsletter about the Palm Springs Living Desert zoo by writing, “Thanks for the reminder to focus on the positive. That’s how I try to live life.”
In early December she emailed: “I am finishing up my last semester at OCC (Orange Coast College) on December 19. I count my blessings every day, and I have my daughter and friends who have been very kind and helpful, as well as pets to ease the loneliness.”
I asked Donna last week how she was doing. Donna wrote, “I am okay, taking it one day at a time. I took care of Bob full time for two years while teaching full time, with intermittent stays for at least the last five years when he would be hospitalized and needed help when he got out. He was suffering so much at the end. Holding his hand while he died was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done, but I wouldn’t change it if I could.
“He had such a zest for life, so I hold onto that and know he would want me to make the most of each day.”
Tom’s comment: “A simultaneous full-time caregiver and a full-time teacher for two years” explains why I consider Donna to be a courageous woman.”
Jkaren wrote, “I’ve lived 30 years in San Clemente and have been one of your readers for 25 years.
“We are all blessed to live in America and have our freedom. Instead of retiring I went ahead and refired. My energy level did not waiver. At 62, I opened my 1st shop–Mobile Sewing and Upholstery—and have been serving our community ever since. I fell into repairing wet suits about 15 years ago and love my surfers who call me ‘Granny J.’
“When the pandemic hit, I loved to go to San Onofre Beach to hear the waves and read a good book, which made my days happy.
“At 70, each summer I’d drive to BC Canada where I built custom tiny houses. Up there, I SUP (Standup Paddle Board) with beavers and wildlife and fish from a paddle board. I had no problem at the border as I’m legal in both the USA and Canada. I was part of the classic car events that opened the Talega community in San Clemente and the Beach Fire restaurant with my ‘67 Corvette.
“Last year I came back from BC with an old 1969 classic 12ft trailer I’m restoring. The 1990 red Chevy in the picture has been in San Clemente since I moved here. My dad taught me as a kid that busy hands make the heart happy.
“What’s there in life but to live to help others and stay healthy? Granny J”
Tom’s comment: A woman who drives from Canada to San Clemente in a 1990 Chevy pickup truck towing a 1969 trailer that she is restoring is courageous.
Norma, 84, emailed: “Your classmate Phil (from last week’s eNewsletter) who married Sue and then four months later passed away was in my church group. He liked to talk, which is why I know so much about him. In the spring of 2016, he made a trip around So Cal to see classmates–you were probably one of them. He was looking forward to his 60th class reunion; he talked about it for two or three years. Sad, he did not get to go. I read your email every week.
Tom’s comment: Any person who reads my weekly column at age 84 has great courage!
Joannah is Greta’s daughter Tina’s mother-in-law. She’s a widow now. She and her husband Bob were special. They were kind, gentle, wise, considerate, and caring. That’s what I remember most about them when Greta and I stayed with them at their home in Mt. Pleasant, Utah about 15 years ago. We slept in their converted basement.
A year ago, although Jo was still dealing with having lost Bob, she sent me a hand-written letter of condolence in January 2021, when my brother Bill passed away. It was the only written letter I received. Jo has the same wonderful qualities my mom had, among those was an amazing empathy for others.
She emailed in early February, “It will be four years in August since I lost my sweetheart…this will be my third Valentine’s Day…and it was one of our favorite days! And still is! Gives me a reason to recall many memories of 63 years of Valentine kisses.”
Tom’s comment: “Jo is a lovely woman with the courage to love life and her family, even after her biggest loss. She’s the type of person who makes others around her feel comfortable and important. That’s a heck of a quality to have.
Althea is one of our Champs. She’s had tough issues in her life and yet exudes a positive attitude and often contributes input to the eNewsletter.
For the last 4 ½ years, she’s lived in the Yuba City, California, home of an elderly couple, Sherman and Norma, caregiving them and helping with whatever needs came up, in exchange for room and board.
Althea explains: “Sherman took me in when I was about to be homeless. In exchange, he got someone to be with Norma when he’s away on fishing trips, someone to help with meals, etc., and to be here anytime he’s out running errands and away for a few hours.
“Norma’s dementia is still in the mid-stages, and she hasn’t gotten much worse since I moved. Norma can be a handful and she argues a lot and asks the same questions repeatedly…within minutes sometimes.”
Althea emailed an update last week: “I wanted to share my excitement and tell you about my new PAD! (hippie speak). I drove 1 ½ hours to Placerville on Tuesday and signed the lease on my new place. It’s only going to be $365. a month for rent, – YIPPEE – and had to give a security deposit of $500. I wrote them a post-dated check because my Soc. Sec. money doesn’t go into my bank until the 3rd. I told the new landlord, “Please don’t deposit it until today.
“Then yesterday I called movers for quotes, and I have a 5-star rated company coming to pack me on Sunday, THIS SUNDAY (March 6), and then they will move me on Monday.
“I AM SO PSYCHED. My credit cards will skyrocket again! But I’ll be in my own place and damn, the bill collectors can try and pry me out of that place! LOL.
“I hope my story gives willpower to women to keep persevering even when things look bleak or hopeless.”
Tom’s comment: Althea’s story will nudge Champs to realize how fortunate they are.
Geody is a woman of enormous courage and strength. She lives in San Juan Capistrano, Ca. Her husband Richard founded Dana Point Auto Service years ago. He was a classic in Dana Point. One of most recognized people in our small city of 30,000 people. Together they did much for charity.
Geody was Richard’s strength. She was a caregiver to him for the last few years. He passed away in 2021. She continues to manage and oversee Dana Point Auto.
At a recent Dana Point Chamber of Commerce mixer, Greta and I met Geody’s and Richard’s children and grandchildren. What a beautiful family.
Not only does Geody arrive at Dana Point Auto most everyday in the morning, but she personally drove her SUV across the country with only her dog for company to see her daughter and grandkids in Florida, while staying overnight at SUV parks, along the way. To do that solo takes courage. Plus, she’s in her 70s.
Candice is not a senior nor a Champ. In fact, she’s about half our age. But she’s a woman of courage. Her office is small, about 12 feet by 24” wide. It’s a SUP (stand-up paddleboard). Every day at work, Candice faces the elements: great white sharks, sea lions, pelicans, and often iffy weather.
She’s usually at work by 8 a.m., on the ocean, giving SUP lessons to men and women who are hoping to become accomplished paddle boarders.
She’s one of the best woman paddleboarders in the world, having won several world competitions.
I personally witnessed Candice’s courage a year ago (and wrote about it in our eNewsletter) when she saw an injured baby sea lion, trying to swim while gasping for air in Dana Point Harbor. Sea lions have razor-sharp teeth. Yet, she lifted the pup onto her paddleboard and had a friend who was with her contact the Marine Mammal Rescue Center via cell phone.
When Candice reached Baby Beach, 20 minutes later, a rescue team was waiting on the shore to whisk the injured pup to its facility in Laguna Beach. I took the picture of Candace with the sea lion at Baby Beach.
Candice is an inspiration to the many senior women and men who take paddling lessons from her (often at 8:00 a.m.).
As I stated above, we will do more columns about our courageous Champs—men and women–as the stories arrive in my inbox.