End of the line

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – June 3, 2022

Today’s topics:

Reflections on Memorial Day

Does a potential mate’s marriage history matter?

It’s not the end of the line (if you haven’t found a mate yet)

On Memorial Day, like so many people, I did some reflecting about life. As a veteran, I certainly thought about the men and women of the armed services who paid the ultimate price. I reflected on the American Cemetery in Normandy France that Greta and I visited in 2016. It was a heart-wrenching experience to see the 9,387 gravesites of the Americans buried there. Most were casualties of the D-Day invasion, which took place only a few hundred yards from the cemetery, on June 6, 1944. Some perished in other parts of WWII.

Les, one of our Champs, was involved in D-Day.   

Only four of the 9,387 buried there are women. Greta and I searched the cemetery until we found at least one of the four women’s gravesites. We came upon the white cross of Elizabeth A. Richardson, Mishawaka, Indiana, who was a Red Cross Volunteer, age 27, who died in a plane crash on July 25, 1944. I took a photo of her gravestone.

And I also thought about the men and women serving now. This very morning, Greta’s grandson-in-law Carlos is retiring from the Marine Corps after 23 years. We will be at his retirement ceremony at Camp Pendleton. We’re grateful for his dedication.

Also on Memorial Day, I thought about the last two years where Covid-19 made life difficult for all of us. For senior singles, it made meeting a potential mate very difficult. For seniors in long-distance relationships, it meant not seeing a partner as often.

I spoke to my friend Mike S. on Memorial Day and he stated how the recent tragic shootings across our country had affected him and Joanie, his significant other. He stated, “I’m out of sorts; this is a strange day.” I felt the same way.

I thought about our Champs who are alone, some of them probably feeling a bit empty themselves. I thought about five friends–two who are new widows, two who are new widowers and a guy friend who recently said to me, “I lost the best woman I’ve ever known.”  I know how tough Memorial Day was for them.

And then I felt maybe I could give senior singles a little boost via this week’s eNewsletter.

Recently, some Champs have asked if a person’s dating and/or marriage history is important when seeking a mate. Here are my thoughts.

1 When you meet a potential mate, does their marriage/divorce history matter? What if they were married and divorced two or more times? Does that make them a risky choice?

My answer: no. When Greta and I had our first date 25 years ago, one thing we both fessed up to that we had in common was we each had been married and divorced three times. Both of us had been thinking, if I say that, will the other one get up and leave.

We didn’t bat an eye. Neither asked, “Why so many times?” We both understood what the other had been through. We both seemed like nice people. If anything, that common bond help bring us together. The result: a quarter-century of sharing life together. We finally got the senior relationship challenge right, even though we didn’t want or have the need to marry.

(2) How about dating a widowed person? Most widows and widowers have told me they prefer to date widowed people because widowed people understand each other. An important consideration is: have they given themselves time to grieve and heal?

Twelve years ago, I published an eBook titled, “Widower Dating. Gold Mine or Mine Field?” That book addresses many issues that can arise in dating a widowed person, especially dating a widower. It’s in eBook format only and is 33 pages. The eBook costs $2.99. To read a free preview, go to www.smashwords.com and then search on “Tom Blake. Widower Dating. Gold Mine or Mine Field.” While published 12 years ago, the information remains applicable today.

Both widows and widowers have told me the book has helpful advice for them, in addition to someone who is dating a widower.

I dated a widow before I met Greta. She kept calling me “Sam,” her deceased husband’s name. I felt she hadn’t healed properly, and the relationship fizzled out.

Is it okay to date widowed people? Of course. However, early on have the discussion with him or her to ensure the person has adequately healed. It would be terrible to fall in love with someone who decides down the road that he or she hasn’t healed enough and dumps you. Ouch!

(3) And is there risk in dating a person who has never married? Perhaps they are the wisest among all senior singles. No divorce scars. But you may wisely wonder, can he or she give and be a supportive and loving partner?

Of course, they can! They wouldn’t be making themselves available if they weren’t up to the task. The more important question might be can you be a supportive and loving partner to him or her.

There is no right or wrong answer to these three questions. It’s up to each person individually. It’s all in the attitude. It’s all how two people interact and care for each other. And don’t think, it’s the end of the line for you because you haven’t met that significant someone yet.

End Of The Line

Coincidentally, as I was working on this eNewsletter on Memorial Day, Greta clicked on YouTube TV and the song “End of the Line,” Volume 1 played, by The Traveling Wilbury’s, featuring George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne.” Incredible piece of music. Recorded in October 1988.

Orbison died on December 6, 1988, and when Volume 2 of “End of the Line” came out, the video featured a guitar sitting on an empty rocking chair, placed there to honor Orbison. Toward the end of the video, Orbison’s voice is dubbed in. Bob Dylan appeared on the Volume 2 video. I am ending today’s eNewsletter with a link to Volume 2 of “End Of The Line.” Look for the rocking chair, the subtle picture of Roy Orbison and the cameo appearance of Bob Dylan. And the messages in the song to seniors about living a full life. The video has had 99,000,000 views since being originally posted in 2016.

Widow and widower LAT relationship

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – March 20, 2020
by Columnist Tom Blake
Widow and widower LAT relationship (living apart together)
Nearly half our Champs are widowed. They tell me they’d prefer meeting another widowed person because they’d both be able to relate to what the other has been through.
Today’s story is about a widow and a widower who reside in a small Midwestern city. They did not meet online; they met at a Meetup.com gathering.

As a member of our “Finding Love After 50” Facebook group, our Champ had read about Meetup.com and decided to try to initiate a new social life in his own town. He joined a group that had dinner together once a week.

At his first dinner, he saw a woman of interest to him, but she left before he could talk to her. She had also noticed him. A week later, she emailed him to see how he was getting along. But, several weeks went by; she didn’t attend another dinner.

He decided to email her and found that she had been away at her summer home.

It took them a few months to get together. When they first met in person, it wasn’t on a date. They met to discuss starting a widower and widow Meetup.com group in their city. Soon, they took an interest in each other. They found they loved many of the same things, such as being outdoors and enjoying nature.

They’ve been a couple for four years.

Today, how they approach their relationship
Gordon wrote, “My lady and I are in a LAT (Living Apart Together) relationship.

“We live less than 10 miles apart, we both own our homes, no mortgages, we have our own retirement/pension funds, and healthcare. We both have one grown, married child and each of us lost our spouses at a young age, after long illnesses and caring for them.

“Robin, (not her true name), my partner, is 10-years-younger than I and our previous lifestyles were much different. We have found that each of us has much to contribute to the other and can enhance each of our lives.

“She was married to a faculty member of a large university and I retired from a small community college, after 23 years in the Navy. We love being around the water and swimming.

“What makes it work for us is that each of us has embraced the other’s background and experience.

“I like to kayak, fish on a trout stream, hike and she has embraced that and now we both enjoy kayaking, boating, hikes, and being out of doors. She says she might even go fishing with me. I have taken up photography and editing photographs, her interests, and we take frequent trips to photograph and enjoy the out of doors.

“We do not agree on everything–such as politics. One is conservative, the other is liberal. We believe that our relationship is much more important than debating or arguing our political viewpoints.

“We want to live life to the fullest every day with a smile–in the time we have. Friends and family tell us that we are always doing something and comment they wish they would live as we do.

“We enjoy the smallest of things as well as the bigger adventures and never fail to stop smiling or take a single day for granted.

“One of our greatest claims to life since meeting is that we have never laughed so hard that tears flowed and our stomachs ache. We define love as happiness.

“Re: living together. As long as we are in good health, and, can do so, we will likely not live under the same roof; although, we periodically do when we go to her summer house for a week or two, travel to different places for vacations, or on overnight trips.

“We both enjoy our ‘days off,’ as we call them, to just rest up at our own homes for a day or two, enjoy our own space, and spend time the way each of us chooses independently. We also have household chores to get done.

“We see each other five to six days a week; those could be the entire day or as little as meeting at the gym in the morning.”

“We also go out for a cocktail, a music event, community activities, and take frequent car rides in the area in which we live and love.

“Robin has numerous girl friends that she periodically gets together with and I have hobbies including RC airplane building and flying, fishing, and other things I do on my own or with the few men friends I have.

“I dated numerous ladies prior to meeting Robin. She waited over two years after her husband’s death to begin dating. I was her first date after losing her husband.

“One thing that became very important and refreshing with Robin and I was the immediate understanding that our previous marriages were real (mine 41 years, hers 38 years) and would never go away. That the love we had then was lasting; although, we both learned very quickly that our new relationship was equally as good, different, and strong.

“We both understood our previous lives could not be forgotten and would not be relived. Yes, we both brought our share of baggage to the relationship and it had to be sorted and discarded.

“I have spent time with her husband’s family and she with mine. My son, soon after meeting Robin, announced to her that they really liked her and welcomed her into the fold. Her daughter was much slower to understand that her mother could have another relationship, but with time she is beginning to do so.”

Tom’s comment: A LAT relationship isn’t for all senior couples. A big issue: affordability. In a LAT, each will have an assortment of household expenses. Whereas, when couples live together, they will likely share or divvy up household expenses, including mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities, reducing the cost to each person.

The decision to live together should not be made solely because it’s more affordable. All the values we always considered important still are the first and most important considerations. Saving money can be the frosting on the cake.

Part 2
Reminder: No Meet and Greet this month in Dana Point.

On Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, my usual Stand Up Paddle Boarding buddy and I went paddling. It was a beautiful day and we made it a point to be six-feet away from each other.  I felt it was safe to leave the house. He wore this St. Patrick’s Day outfit. Lots of pictures were taken of him by people walking the sidewalks while we paddled. One young child was with her parents. She yelled to him, “What’s your name?”

My New Zealand paddling buddy, Russell Kerr, on St. Patrick’s Day

He replied, “St. Patrick.” The young child responded happily. So, thanks, Russell, for putting so many smiles on people’s faces during this somber time.

Also, because many people are self-quarantined, it can get lonely. Call your pals and have phone conversations. That can help. Encouraging news: A Trader Joe’s employee told me they will not run out of wine. Hurray!

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


Dana Point Times article by Tom Blake


The San Juan Capistrano Dispatch


Responses to how long should a widowed person wait to date

Part One – Follow up from our Champs: how long widows and widowers should wait to date 

Part Two – Beware of a new email phishing scam
Part One – Recently, (February 2, 2018), the topic of this newsletter was how long should a widow or widower wait to date after the death of a spouse.

We had some brilliant comments from our Champs. Of course, there is no right answer to this question, but it’s valuable information even for people who are not married but have a significant other with whom they’ve shared a life. Their loss of a mate can be equally as devastating.

I am sharing the responses to that newsletter while the topic is fresh in our minds.

The comments are in four simple categories.

1. It’s strictly up to the widow or widower

Dating and relationship coach Christine Baumgartner (www.theperfectcatch.com) said, “I’m a widow and I also coach many widows/widowers as well as belong to a widows/widowers social group and a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to widows and widowers.

This subject comes up often in each of these groups. I completely agree the only person who gets to have an opinion about how soon a widow/widower should start dating is that specific person and only that person.

I’ve sadly heard of too many widows/widowers who pass up love because their kids/relatives/neighbors thought they needed to wait longer or even worse, never date. So sad to hear how other people’s opinions could keep someone from finding love again.

2. Two men say children should be a consideration

Wayne, “Good article. Key element that might be discussed: Effect on children. I have a friend who dated immediately after his wife died from a two-to-three-year battle with cancer. My friend had a serious girlfriend who moved into his home within months of his wife’s death. Both kids, especially the daughter, REALLY struggled with it. The buddy is early 70’s. I’m not sure there’s a perfect answer but sensitivity to your kids should be considered.

Russell -not a widower, but a man whose opinion I respect. Russel has been married 47 years. He said, “If something happened to my wife, I might never date again. For me, my daughters and grandkids would play a huge role in my decision. I would be very concerned about their reaction.”

3. A widow shares her vast knowledge on how long widows and widowers should wait to date and is a strong advocate of healing first. Her response is long, but she presents a wealth of valuable information that could be helpful to new widows and widowers and others who have suffered a loss of a loved one. Her initials are I. M.

I.M., wrote, “I know how tempting it is to become involved with someone who offers comfort immediately after a partner’s death, but I haven’t seen many of those bonds turn out to be what either of the parties expected or wanted.

“The bottom line for me on this subject is to ask myself: If I give my heart to this man and we share a life, but I die, how fast will he be looking for a replacement? If you don’t care, then jump. If you do care, take some time. Our generation didn’t hop on the ‘instant gratification’ train as a rule.

“I disagree that it’s nobody’s business except the partner left behind on when he decides to date.  If he’s putting himself out there, it’s the business of the new person he meets to be presented with all the facts.

I used to hesitate asking how long it had been since a widower had lost his wife, not wanting to intrude or appear pushy. I stopped hesitating when I discovered on my second date in two weeks with a man that he had buried his wife of fifty+ years less than a month before. Considering we had been emailing for two weeks prior to the first date, I felt quite angry.  And I shared that with him.

He excused his rapid re-entrance into the singles scene by saying she had experienced a long illness leading up to her death and that he had ‘done all his grieving’ during her illness. His revelation came about in a restaurant at dinner after he asked how long I had been alone – which was 3 years.  When I began to mentally examine the timeline, I realized she may have still been alive when he started looking for a replacement. I still feel very bad about that.

“My point is: In the immediate days, weeks and months following the loss of a spouse (bad marriage, long illness, whatever) you just don’t know what you don’t know and to quickly include another unsuspecting or trusting person in that situation can be a recipe for failure.

“Even bad marriages had good moments and long illnesses carry their own set of high and very low moments. Emotional healing from the trauma of a close death isn’t instantaneous. Most people are looking for comfort and escape from the pain or stress of such a loss but are not capable of being honest with themselves or anyone else about their emotional stability.

“The gentleman I referenced is still single (three years later), has engaged in serial relationships that end (by his description) with the women being hurt and angry and left behind because this man cannot commit. He can’t be alone, but he can’t commit to monogamy either. He never gives himself time to be alone and process his loss. He calls several times a year just to check in and ask if I’ll go out with him. No, I won’t.

“Last year, I began seeing a widower of two years whom I had known through business and who later became a casual friend. This emotionally healthy guy – by his own admission – spent a year grieving with the support of family and friends, then began to realize he felt well and whole enough to include a nice woman in his life. And we chose each other.

“We speak openly and lovingly of our spouses, but not obsessively. So, although nobody has the right to dictate how long another person should grieve, I think women should be very careful about allowing themselves to fall in love with new widowers.

“One more point – the families of those new widowers are much more likely to happily accept a new woman into the fold if some time has passed since their mother or sister has died. Even grown children sometimes find it difficult to understand dear old dad is moving on. They feel guilty on behalf of their mother. Quite a balancing act.”

4. Some wait to date for other reasons, or, decide to never date again

Linda, “The latest article about dating was very interesting. Here is what I feel/think – I have been a widow for almost four years. There are other reasons some people don’t move on. I for one am in the process of getting back on my feet financially as my husband didn’t leave me with any financial support when he passed.

“Another reason for not moving on is that in my past, I didn’t make the best decisions in choosing a partner, first husband was physically abusive and the second husband was emotionally controlling. At this point I’m a little gun shy in moving on. I’m 70 and working two part-time jobs, I’m thankful that I am healthy enough to be able to do this.”

Sid,  “Great eNewsletter today on widows/widowers and their dating. My wife died in 2010 and I have gone on a date a couple of times. I teach fitness and am around many females daily and at age 74 am in good condition. I have lady friends and we do a lot of group activities together, but no one has peaked my interest yet and I am ok with that. No need to rush, if it happens or not my life goes on. Please keep up the good work, you provide a needed service to us folks.”

Jackie, “This was a fun article to read (2/2/18). A friend told me when her mother-in-law died, there were women from the church bringing food with invitations of every kind to her father-in-law the next day.

“My advice for widows about how long should you wait to date? Until you get the first good invitation. Men can take their time and go when they want to. Women don’t typically have that luxury.”

How long to wait to date. Don’t wait centuries. Age affects us all:

How long to wait to date. Centuries maybe


Part 2 – Beware of this phishing scam

I received an email from ConsumerAffairs warning of a new phishing scam that targets Netflix customers. But, it could target any company. The subject line will be something like “Payment declined.”

The email will say that your credit card no longer works and you need to update your credit card info to continue receiving Netflix. The scam is called “brandjacking.”

Mark Huffman, a ConsumerAffairs news reporter, writes, “Brandjacking is an increasingly common tactic used in phishing cams. The email is designed to look like it’s coming from a well-known institution. It might be a major bank or a utility company—and at first glance appears to be the real thing.”

The email has a credit card “Update Payment” button to help you scam yourself. Whether it is from Netflix or any other company, don’t update your card via that button.

Huffman says, “There is a safer course of action. Should you receive one of these emails, type the Netflix URL into your browser and log into your account.”

You will determine there if your account needs updating—safely.

Remember, it’s not just Netflix, it could be any company.

How long should a widowed person wait to date?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – February 2, 2018

by newspaper columnist Tom Blake

How long should a widowed person wait to date?

In 24 years of writing about senior relationships, I’ve been asked many times, “How long should a widowed person wait to date?”

The most recent person to ask, Champ Arlene, emailed, “What is a respectful time to wait to date after one’s spouse dies? A man I know is dating after six months of his wife’s passing. He’s in his mid-60s. I’ve asked many women what they think and they say, ‘It’s different for everyone.’ I say he could have waited a year out of respect for his deceased wife.”

The women that Arlene asked are correct: How long to wait to date is different for everyone.

I don’t think respect is the issue here. I don’t know any details about the man’s marriage. His wife could have been ill for years while he stood by her. If that were the case, he had already shown great respect for her.

Or, what if their marriage was unhappy and miserable? But out of respect for her and the institution of marriage, he hung in there. Waiting to date wouldn’t accomplish anything else.

A more important question: has he properly grieved and healed? If he hasn’t, he should not be dating. Widowers tend to date quicker than widows after the death of a spouse. What often happens, particularly with new widowers, they are so lonely, they start to date before they are ready. A nice woman comes along and falls in love with him.

A little later, he realizes he still misses his wife terribly and dumps the new girlfriend. So, in protecting his heart, he breaks hers. That’s not good.

What’s the proper period to wait for grief recovery? Impossible to say. Many times, I’ve asked widows and widowers how long they waited to date.

One widow wrote: “You’ll know you’re ready when you no longer find dwelling on the past comforting. Only you will know that.”

Another widow said: “After 21 years of marriage, it took me a good two years before I was emotionally ‘whole’ enough to consider another relationship. Up to that point, my incessant talk about my late husband would have made any man run in the opposite direction.”

What happens if a widow or widower is still grieving and he (or she) meets someone he thinks would be a great partner who becomes interested in him?

                                      Here’s where honesty is critical

Out of respect for the new person, he should tell her he’s still grieving but feels they could become a loving couple, and, if she would be patient with him, it could work out. Then, as they go forward, they can openly and honestly discuss how things are progressing. In that way, no one gets blindsided, she’s aware of what she’s dealing with. The same honesty can apply to someone grieving from a divorce.

Somewhat along that line, a Champ whose mother saw a man she knew, whose wife had died just months before. My friend said, “Mom questioned me whether it was too soon after his wife had died for her to ask him for coffee. I told her you can’t control when opportunity knocks, and if you don’t answer the knock, it may not return.

“They had coffee. The next Sunday, the man took her to church. Six months later, they were married.”

​Another Champ, Gale, told me years ago: “The man in my life had already done his grieving before his wife died, and no one has the right to dictate what that mourning period should be or for how long. That’s a right reserved exclusively for the partner left behind after a spouse dies.”

In other words, it’s no one’s business except the partner left behind on when he decides to date.

One thing is certain: As we enter our 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, we don’t have a lot of time to waste in deciding if we’re ready to date or not. If we are able to open our heart to a new person, go for it. Just don’t be selfish by rushing that decision when you know deep inside you can’t deliver love.

So perhaps Arlene will not judge too harshly the mid-60s widower who is dating six months after his wife passed away. Let’s hope he has adequately healed.


For more information on dating a widower, I have an eBook on Smashwords.com titled, “Widower Dating: Gold Mine or Mine Field” The cost to download the book is $3.93.

A similar article to this by Tom Blake also appeared in these three Picket Fence Media newspapers:

newspaper logos

San Clemente Times         The Capistrano Dispatch      Dana Point Times