Senior dating. Big Yellow Taxi

Tom Blake Picket Fence Media

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 29, 2022

Senior dating, wasting her time? Big Yellow Taxi

Last week, I received an email with this subject line: “Both widowed, he is living an amazing life.” The email had been sent from a link on my website. I did not recognize the sender’s name or email address.

The message read: “Dating a high school friend. We really connect. We are both widowed. I have kids…they are fairly independent. He is an amazing father of three daughters ages 45 to 51 and has seven grandchildren and a 96-year-old mom living near him.

“We love each other…I think. But we are in a long-distance relationship. He is in California; I am in Illinois. He texts me his day-to-day happenings and we talk on the phone every 10 days. It’s been four and a half months since we’ve been together.

“He had a knee replacement and is recovering well. He seems all on board and his daughters seem receptive of me. But I am afar. I feel like a vaycay gal.

“Where do I fit? Am I wasting the time I have left? What do you think?”

I felt it was not my place to advise her about senior dating, wasting her time or not. I’m a columnist, not a relationship counselor. Besides, she didn’t provide enough information to give her an intelligent answer. I get questions like this often from single seniors. In responding to a situation like this, it’s best for me to ask questions which might nudge her to answer her own question.

I emailed her back. For openers, I asked, “What is a vaycay gal?” Followed by:

“How often have you been together in person? 

“Did you re-meet at a reunion?

“What do you want? To move to California or him to Illinois? Who would relocate?

She responded: “A vacay gal is when you are in a long-distance relationship, but you only take vacations together. I knew him in high school. We are both 72 and widowed. We reunited at our last reunion in 2018.

“A year ago, we started emailing, texting and talking. He visited me in Illinois for a week last October. I visited him in California at the end of December. We really hit it off. We would have visited again but he had knee replacement surgery March 8. He is doing well and will visit me May 15 for three weeks. Plus, we have a trip planned to Hawaii in September.”

And then she added: “I doubt he would move because his three daughters, seven grandkids and mother live in the same California town.

“I want a partner in life and a loving relationship.”

I responded to her: “Wasting your time? Heck, I think you’ve got a good thing going. What do you expect him to do?”

“You didn’t answer the relocate question: “Would you be willing to move to California and would he want that?”

We’ll see what she says. Her emails remind me of a 1972 song by Joni Mitchell called “Big Yellow Taxi.” More specifically, this stanza.

“Late last night, I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?”

The final sentence “Don’t it always seem to go. That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” is repeated five times in the song.

Maybe, she’ll realize she’s got a good thing before the big yellow taxi takes him away.

Widowed people’s dilemma: remove deceased spouse’s pictures?

   On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – April 9, 2021

by Columnist Tom Blake

There are two parts to today’s eNewsletter. Both parts have been edited for length and clarity

  Part One  –  Widowed people’s dilemma: remove deceased spouse’s pictures?

A couple of weeks ago I asked Champs for opinions on widows or widowers who date and also have pictures of their deceased spouses their homes. Here are some responses.

Ben, a widower, wrote, “It’s been two years since my wife’s passing. My girlfriend has brought up the issue of pictures of my late wife in the house. I am gradually taking them down and moving on in life. Empathy, patience, and love are how I deal with change in my life.”

Cheryl emailed, “I had a boyfriend who constantly suggested that I take down the photos of my late husband. He felt that if I thought it was necessary to have those photos prominently displayed, it meant that I still loved and thought about my husband all the time, and therefore I couldn’t put my whole heart into loving him. 

“Eventually, I broke up with him due to his extreme jealousy and possessiveness.” 

Kim said, “I will never date another widow because one compared me to the deceased and I was always trying to measure up to a ‘legend,’ at least he was in her mind. Who wants to date someone who can’t heal and move ahead?”

Old photos around the house everywhere
                                                               
         (Photo by Tom- Ireland 2019)

Alicia shared, “Seven years ago, my brother lost his wife of 30 years after a happy marriage. Four years later, he remarried. He still misses his deceased wife. His present wife was divorced for several years and her husband died as well. Both of them freely speak about their deceased spouses. 

“I have learned from them that even though you find someone new who you now love, the past life does not need to be buried. It was a large part of your life and why should you sweep it under the rug?”

Curtis, “I had a sister who married a widower. They were much in love and had pictures of both their former spouses around. They talked with each other about adventures they had with their previous families. When my sister died, she was buried with her previous husband, and when the widower dies, he will be buried with his first wife. In the meantime, they enjoyed each other’s company. Both families accepted the other and were glad they had been happy again.” 

Sherrill, “My guy Matt loved his deceased wife dearly, and until we met, he believed he would never love again.

“When I moved in with him, Matt asked if I would object to him putting some pictures of his ex-wife on the refrigerator along with my pictures of my kids and grandkids. I had no objection. I felt secure in our relationship and his love for me, did not feel threatened; I admired his loving devotion to his wife.

“He inadvertently put pictures of her directly in my line of sight so I saw them every time I opened the refrigerator door. Initially, this didn’t bother me, but eventually, it did! I asked him if he would move the pictures to a different location on the refrigerator, which he willingly did. He has pictures of his wife and me in his office.

“This is a complicated issue for which there is no simple or right answer.  As seniors, we all bring baggage into a new relationship.” 

Bill, a widower, emailed, “What matters in the conduct of a new relationship is the acceptance by a new spouse of the nature and profundity of the widow or widower’s prior relationship.

“Confidence is best created when the widow or widower provides an atmosphere that enhances the strength, convictions, and independence of their new loves. Removing doubt and fostering self-confidence minimizes any propensity for rivalry with departed spirits.”

Lynne wrote, “Don’t expect the surviving spouse to ever give up loving the deceased spouse. If not for death, they would still be together. Someone who wants a relationship with a surviving spouse is going to have to realize that there is memory lingering there, and be comfortable with that.”

Hopefully, these sensitive replies will help widows and widowers who face this understandable dilemma.

                                   Part 2  An open-minded and realistic Champ

I think Cynthia’s situation, described below, is similar to many of our Champs’ situations: they are living alone and have wonderful, positive attitudes.

Cynthia in Kansas, “I am amused, entertained, and enlightened by your eNewsletter.

“I’ve been a widow for six years and the pain of losing my husband of 18 years has finally softened and I’ve accepted where God has placed me now. Yes, I too would like to slow dance with a man, go out to dinner occasionally, have a man to talk or text with. However, the pandemic has put the kibosh on that. 

“I am not disappointed as I have a full life with my routine and the fact that my mother is 96 and I am at her house helping her every few days.

“I am 74 and in good shape as I walk four miles almost every day in my neighborhood. I always smile when I meet other people and I’m open, but I noticed that people nowadays are really afraid to smile back or stop and talk.  People are too afraid to have even a casual interaction. I will continue doing the same and as Champ Gina mentioned two weeks ago, I will perhaps meet someone who would like to walk and talk too!” 

Tom’s Response: “Cynthia, you are doing everything right. There could be no higher priority than continuing to help your mom. My sisters and I did that with our mom, who lived 500 miles away from me. I traveled to see her as often as possible. She passed two months before her 99th birthday. She had a blessed life and was healthy for the most part. She proudly proclaimed at 95 that she took no medications. She passed 11 years ago; my sisters and I still miss her.

“Also, walking is a great thing to do as well. So, hopefully, as time goes on, this pandemic will ease enough so we can get back to more normal lives and people will talk more with strangers. Who knows? A guy you encounter might even enjoy a partner. We all need more social interaction.  I have sent your column to a couple of my friends here who are also widows and they enjoy your column also.

“By the way, we can send our eNewsletter directly to your two widow friends. They can email me and I will add them to our mailing list, or they can sign up at www.findingloveafter50.com. on the home page.”

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!

Older women dating older men

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – Older women dating younger men is a hot-potato topic

by columnist  Tom Blake

Champ Jackie “from Georgia” has paid her relationship dues. She was divorced after 42 years of marriage. Five years later, she attended her 50th high school reunion in Michigan.

At the reunion, she met her classmate Randy and married him a year later. Just two months after they married, Randy was diagnosed with cancer. For the next five months, until he passed, Jackie was Randy’s caregiver. I met this very delightful woman and her sister at a Dana Point, California, Meet and Greet in May, 2019.

Responding to last week’s eNewsletter, she wrote: “My question: ‘Does age matter when it comes to women being older than men? After my dedication to Randy, I don’t think I could willingly do it again. At my ‘young age’ of 72, I’d want someone younger”

I will tackle Jackie’s question, with this disclaimer: It’s a hot-potato topic because there are so many different points of view on older women dating younger men.

In the past, when I have written on this older dating younger subject, I’ve been dragged over the coals by young women, older men, older women, bitter men, bitter women, religious zealots, breadcrumbed victims, and people who enjoy, even relish, controversy.

Inevitably, no discussion about older women dating younger men would be complete without mentioning the dating term “cougar,” a label or term of which the origin is unclear. It’s thought possibly to have come from a Canadian dating website.

I don’t particularly like the term, but then, I don’t like a lot of the terms that have labeled senior dating. Heck, we seniors are just trying to muddle through and enjoy life the best we can; why do we need so many labels to describe us? I guess the term “cougar” is okay, but I find it to be a bit demeaning.

If older women want to date younger men, what the heck is wrong with that? Let’s just label them normal instead.

The epitome of cougarhood (another new term) was Mrs. Robinson, in the Dustin Hoffman movie, “The Graduate.” Of course, she was a married woman, which made the relationship uncool.

Okay, with “cougar” out of the way, let’s continue.

Jackie is not the only widow who feels she doesn’t want to experience widowhood again.

About three years ago, I fixed up (remember, I’m not a matchmaker) a widow, age 60, with a friend who I guessed was about 70. They were both ocean-orientated buffs, so I thought it was a good similar-interests match. She an outrigger paddler, he a boat skipper.

I saw them enjoying a beverage together shortly thereafter at a gin mill. At that time, I thought to myself, “bingo,” a good introduction.

Nope, she told me a couple of days later that she found out he was 75–not 70–and she didn’t want to take the chance of becoming a widow again. So, it’s not just Jackie who is avoiding dating men her age and older, hoping to avoid being “Widowed” again.

Even if older women do date younger men, that doesn’t mean they won’t be widowed. In all relationships that go the distance in life, one of the partners is likely to die first, unless something happens when they are both together and they pass simultaneously.

I accessed the archives of articles I’ve written about older women dating younger men on my Finding Love After 50.com website. Here are a few of the important points from past eNewsletters:

I wrote, “A surprising trend surfaced. Several women said they are attracting considerably younger men.”

Ann responded to that, “I’m 72, and for some unknown reason, I attract younger men. I’m asked out on dates and have received two flower arrangements from younger men in the past two weeks. I try not to be involved at my age because of the great chance of making a mess of my life.”

Ann also said the reason she doesn’t date men older than she: “If I were to date my age, 72-82, I’d be taking my life into my own hands every time they drive. Some of them can’t drive at night but they have two-three drinks. Sorry, I like my life but don’t want to end up dead or in a wheelchair.”

In another older women dating younger men article, Brenda said, “I recently dated a guy eight-years-younger. He treated me better than any man ever has. I’m not sure what happened but it ended suddenly after just six months of seeing each other.

Note from Tom: This is one of the things that can happen when older people date younger people. The younger one fades away. Maybe even does ghosting. So, that’s another consequence that one should be aware of before dating someone younger.

What is a significant age difference?

A key question: what is a significant age difference? Five years, 10, 15, 20, 25+, who’s to say? If a woman is dating a man 25-years younger, chances are, he’s going to become a widower, so he needs to accept that possibility.

If there is a significant age difference, each partner would be wise to understand his or her own motivations for being in the relationship, and the partner’s motivations.

Understanding those motivations, what the heck is wrong with being in a significant age-difference relationship?

Be aware, there will be challenges. If there are children on either side, that may muddy the water. And there could be negative stigmas from the general public. Imagine someone saying, when she sees you in a restaurant, “Hi Ellen, I didn’t know you had a grandson.”

Bottom line: Everybody’s different. There’s no right or wrong. Enjoy your life while you can. It’s nobody else’s business except the two people involved. So, go for it, Jackie.

Link to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9C1BCAgu2I8 

Seniors don’t give up on finding love

 On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – October 11, 2019

Seniors don’t give up on finding love

by Tom P Blake

Comments from 5 Men and 5 women regarding last week’s article

Last week, we wrote about Michele, 67, from Brooklyn, a widow of 18 years, who has given up on Senior Dating. The responses from that eNewsletter were more diverse than any I can recall.

In an unusual turn of events, an equal number of men and women responded. Today, five men and five women comment. And notice the diverse geographical locations of our Champs.

Some comments were depressing, as other seniors besides Michele have given up as well. One Champ, Ginny, provided an extensive and helpful list of suggestions for how senior women might meet potential mates. Her suggestions are included at the end of the article.

Thanks Champs, for taking the time to write. Your comments keep the eNewsletter fresh. The 10 responses follow:

Ken, Alabama, “I’m 61. In lower AL. I have given up on Senior Dating. Haven’t gone out in five years. Been Widowed over 20 years. Early years, I thought I’d meet someone. Had my senior heart broken twice. They wanted me to accept their children. But, they wouldn’t accept mine.

“Now, just me. The few unmarried women I meet are not interested. Many I meet aren’t interested in dating either. Oh well.”

Thyrza, Los Angeles, “Is it possible that Michele is too old school in her approach to finding love after 50? With a wink, I say to Michele: ‘Show some skin.’ It won’t kill you.”

Ben, widower,  South Orange County, Calif., “It’s like anything else in life- you got to throw yourself and see what sticks that you are attracted to and what you want in a relationship. It will be hard to find someone; I was married for 24 years. There are good people out there; just do not give up.

“The dating sites are a real gamble and after some time–why bother?

“I am probably going to leave California in 2020 for TN or God knows where. Reasons: Cost-of-living, downright sincerity of people, people have even stated ‘You belong here. Please come back.’ Price of gasoline, greenery, sense of community and my niece & hubby will be moving there soon from CT. Taxes are not bad and no state income tax.

“Your Tutor and Spunky’s Deli September Meet and Greet meeting was nice and it would be my pleasure to go to the next one in October.

(Thursday, October 24, 5 to 7 p.m., Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, Dana Point).

“No expectations on my part. I am ‘genuine,’ honest and forthright. I am always working on my listening skills and up front with ladies. How else can one be? Happy when I work on the roses and cactus at home, plus reading a good book or seeing a decent movie.

“Articulate, and smile (like Charlie Chaplin wrote in that great song).

“Emotionally, every day is a challenge- certain places I will not go in–too many good memories.”

Joanie, Southern California, “Another option for the Brooklyn woman: Move to Alaska! More men than women! On the other hand, finding Mr. Perfect can be wonderful, but it’s also compromising and limiting.

So, ladies, find exciting hobbies and things to do where you do not have to have a man. And yes, the older we get the less men there are…so why worry about it? Why strive for that ‘diamond in the coal mine?’ Find other interesting things in life. Find a place to nurture others – animals, kids, sick people, babies in hospitals. All highly rewarding!

JimEl Paso, Texas, “My younger sister did one of the things you suggested when she found herself divorced in her 50s. At a party at a friend’s house, she struck up a conversation with a gentleman she found attractive. She asked him out and they’ve been dating for the last few years.

“Sometimes you have to make your own luck.”

Sid, Florida, “This young pup (Michele) is slowly starting to become an older pup.”

Stella, Newport Beach, “The ratios can be depressing if you focus on that. Focus on this instead: It only takes one.”

SallySacramento, “I’ve enjoyed your articles, books, blogs and advice since 1998!

“I’m still single San Clemente Sally living in Sacramento! I cherish my friendships and love giving anyone a smile so they give it back to me.

“Nothing has stuck in 25 years of being a widow but I love my independence and hearing all the stories of everyone I love to meet.

Jon, Olympia, Washington, “I’m happy to be out of the dating scene but am frequently amazed at how many women complain about the lack of men.

“While I don’t have the numbers, it seems that if women were a bit less fussy and would stop complaining about the men they meet, they might be more successful at finding someone they were happy with.

“They need to abandon the romantic ideals of the high school years and get real with where we older people are now. Some honest conversations with the men in their lives would probably clear up many of their problems.”

                      Ginny’s valuable suggestions for meeting men

And finally, GinnyPhiladelphia suburbs, “I have several suggestions for increasing a woman’s chances for meeting single men besides the usual church etc.

“At our Senior Center, we have some attractive, active, single men who shoot pool. That’s where I met my ‘sweetie’ after we were both widowed. We are still going strong after six years of dating, at 78 and 85. I am on the Council there now.

“I wasn’t shy about knocking on the pool room door, the guys invited me in to watch. Men from other places sometimes come for tournaments (more chances)?  And while you’re there, keep your eyes open!

“I know someone who loves Pinochle. She found a card partner. They are both active, fun loving, widows in their eighties, and it turns out that they grew up on the same street. They are very happy together. In fact, much to our surprise, we met them on a cruise.

“Another suggestion, volunteer at a Veterans post, or be an aide to a vet for a day thru the “Honor Flight” program. They pay for trips for vets to DC to visit all the war memorials. From our area it is a bus trip, a send-off breakfast and a wonderful outpouring of flag-waving, local residents ‘welcoming them home’ and dinner and entertainment following.

“Another suggestion. I sometimes have gotten invitations to go to free retirement investment seminar lunches. At the one I attended at the local country club, the ratio of men to women was very favorable. Ladies, be bold, go alone.”

Tom’s comment: It’s not only investment seminars where a nice complimentary meal is included; it could be at new housing developments, senior care facilities, a cruise line’s or travel agent’s promotion function–any number of different situations where a comp meal is offered. I agree with Ginny. Get out and meet new people.

Ginny continues, “Class reunions. I have met some nice eligible classmates who have approached me; however, I am attached.

“And finally, educate yourself about online dating. My widowed, cautious brother, age 73, had done it for several years before finding ‘the one’ online a year ago.

“So, ladies, don’t get discouraged. Get out where the men are. Volunteer, even if you don’t meet ‘the one,’ you are doing something productive to give your life meaning and purpose. HAVE FUN, and in doing so, you will attract others.”

So, there you have it, lots of different points of view from lots of different Champs! Enjoy your weekend.

Oh, and to underscore the point about not knowing when and where men might appear out of the blue. My sister Pam, just returned from New Guinea. These guys emerged from the forest while she was there. Pam’s happily married so she wasn’t interested, but found them to be unique and friendly. Perhaps geographically not available as well.

 New Guinea Skeleton Men (Photo courtesy of Pam Peters)

Widow Happy in Brooklyn not dating

 On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – October 4, 2019

by Columnist Tom Blake

                                     Widow Happy in Brooklyn not dating

Champ Michele wrote, “I enjoy reading the On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter on dating, but I don’t participate much because I live in Brooklyn, NY. I have been widowed for 18 years (at age 49) and still miss my husband. I tried online dating but almost got scammed my first time. The few people that contacted me were beyond bizarre. I gave up on that.

“I have been to some dances, but the men seemed to ask the women to dance who were dressed very provocatively and that’s not me. I would leave the dances saying what is wrong with me. It was depressing. No one seems to know anyone. So, I gave up on that.

“Most single functions end up with the women far outnumbering the men. So, if a man, by some remote chance, asks you to dance, he acts like you should be so grateful that he chose you to ask over these other women. It’s like a meat market.

“I enjoy being with my friends and going on vacation. My attitude is, as my mom used to say, ‘If it’s meant to be it will be.’”

My answer to Michele

I’ve been writing about age 50-plus dating for 26 years, since 1994. My first few years’ articles focused on the challenges of dating later in life for both men and women. At that time, the ratio of single women to single men in their early 50s was approximately one-to-one.

As the years passed, that ratio slowly changed. More and more women contacted me, asking “Where are the men?” The single women to single men ratio drew closer to two-to-one for mid-60s people.

Men rarely wrote me. Either they had found somebody or became too inactive to participate in the dating game. Some men, me included, were still looking for a mate.

Some women said the ratio gap was even larger because many single senior men aren’t relationship material. I could see that finding a potential mate was becoming more difficult for women because fewer desirable men were available. But, good guys were and are still out there.

I remember the Dr. Ruth Westheimer response to a woman at an AARP convention who asked her, “Where are the men?” Dr. Ruth said, “The ratio is a fact of life. But, if you have a nice appearance and a positive attitude, and are willing to get out and socialize, you can effectively shrink that ratio.”

And then another phenomenon happened: A thing called the Internet emerged and online dating got its wake-up call. Women were drawn to it because they could reach out beyond their city and local boundaries to find men. A Brooklyn woman, such as Michele, could reach out to all the boroughs of New York City, which are nearby. Potential mates could meet without driving, by using the subways.


   My partner Greta walking the Brooklyn Bridge, from the Manhattan side

It didn’t take long for senior romance scammers to figure out that lots of women online were lonely and vulnerable, especially widows. The romance scammers saw a fertile environment in which to rip off women.

Granted, lots of couples were formed as a result of the Internet but senior romance scams also bloomed. We try to educate the women about the scams.

Now, we find ourselves in our 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. That ratio has reached almost four-to-one by age 75. Women, such as Michele, share their stories of the lack of men at singles functions. Greta and I see it at our monthly Meet and Greet gatherings in Dana Point.

Saturday night, Greta and I were at the Greek Festival in nearby San Juan Capistrano. One of our woman Champs saw us and introduced herself. She even made the comment about the lack of single men at singles events. I found myself trying to explain the shortage of men to her, as I am to Michele today.

So, what can I say to Michele, who is “Happy in Brooklyn” spending time with her friends and traveling. She has given up on internet dating, singles dances, and singles functions. She is accepting her mom’s advice: “If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

Michele, I say, don’t give up on Senior Romance, keep your eyes open for opportunities to meet a potential mate.

Be assertive, not aggressive. By that I mean if you see a man when you are out and about, and he appeals to you (age close to yours, no wedding ring, no soup on his shirt, combed hair, no odor, no spinach in his teeth), make a friendly comment, such as: “Nice jacket, nice car, nice dog, what’s the dog’s name? Where do you buy your spinach?”

Or, if you see him in the food mart, say: “Is this a good wine?” or, “Is this watermelon ripe?”

In the Post office, “Boy, these lines are long?”

On a cruise ship: “Where’s the dining room?”

At the California DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles): “How many hours have you been here?”

Anything spontaneous. He may be hoping to meet someone but he’s shy. Be ready to pop the question: “Want to have coffee?” Be ready to pay for the coffee (his and yours). If he’s worth his salt, he’ll offer at the least to go Dutch. Better yet, he’ll offer to pay the tab. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, at least smile and/or even wink. Have a positive attitude.

That’s where we are now, 26 years later.

I hope Michele doesn’t give up on Internet dating but if she does, I understand. Traveling by subway to meet blind dates would be scary now. But local New Yorkers could travel by subway to Brooklyn to see her. As I recall Brooklyn Heights has some nice cafes

There are so many Internet dating sites online I can’t believe it. Everyday, there is a new advertisement in my email inbox. I can’t imagine the ratios are any better on those sites when compared to singles functions.

Continue to get out and enjoy life and your women friends as best you can. But above all, don’t give up on Senior Romance. You are still a young pup and deserve happiness.

Cheryl in the red dress and (in part 2) getting rid of clutter

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – January 18, 2019

by Tom Blake Columnist

Editor’s note: There are two parts to today’s “On Life and Love after 50 e-newsletter: 

Part 1- Cheryl in the red dress

Part 2- Getting rid of clutter, that is, decluttering

Part 1 – Cheryl in the red dress

In the November 30, 2018, e-Newsletter, I quoted Champ Jacquelyn, who had sent me this email: “I know this is not a dating site, but it would be so good to allow us to connect with someone here or post a profile of a Champ once a month. I’m 55 and active, but single and very lonesome.”

In that e-Newsletter, I responded to Jacquelyn: We’ve done that from time-to-time. Last week, we posted Larry’s email address with his comments. “Why not send me some of your information for posting?”

When Champ Cheryl saw my comment to Jacquelyn, she responded: “I see you’re not opposed to publishing a person’s information and photo, I’m going to take advantage of your kindness and ‘put myself out there.’  Please consider the following:

“I’ve been widowed for 15 years.  I’m 72, with red hair and blue eyes. I am retired but active in fun social activities, and like to travel, especially on cruises.

“I’m seeking a man with integrity, protective instinct, kindness, intelligent enough to converse, still has enthusiasm and curiosity, and is authentic.

“I lead with my femininity, have a sharp wit, and am spiritual and traditional, with attributes of having respect, loyalty, and devotion; being non-materialistic; and being real.  Attached is a recent photo of me.”


   Cheryl in the red dress

I responded to Cheryl (at least I thought I had) saying I needed to know in what part of the States or Canada she lived because a potential mate would want to know that.

But I didn’t hear back from her. I did a follow up e-Newsletter wondering why some people don’t respond. When Cheryl read that newsletter, she wrote:

“I am the ‘Cheryl’ you wrote about in your newsletter, saying that I never responded to you. I didn’t receive any email from you! I don’t know why, but rest assured that I’m eager to meet someone and would have responded immediately. So sorry for whatever happened.

“I live in Los Angeles, just south of LAX.  And there’s something else I’d like to add – my preference is for a Jewish man.

“Thanks so much; I really appreciate that you took the time to follow up!  You are very conscientious – I will invite you to my wedding!!”

During the time of this exchange, I was writing from the cruise ship where the Internet was iffy. I thought I had responded to Cheryl, but in checking after getting home, much to my horror, I saw my message to her never went. I apologized to her.

She wrote, “Thank you, Tom.  I have no ties here and am willing to relocate, if there are men who are willing to date long-distance for a while, and, use Skype. I also continue to hope that some of your Champs may ‘know someone’ appropriate for me.  As you said, it’s worth a try.  I appreciate your help.”

If anyone would like to email Cheryl, email me and I will forward your email to her.

Lesson learned: As Cheryl said, it’s worth a try. Stay with it because as illustrated in this example, the mistake was mine. You may communicate with someone and not hear back. Don’t assume he or she received your message, whether by email or text. Anything can happen so always follow up until you’re sure.

A perfect example of that: On the ship, I met a couple from Washington state. They told me about a widow friend of theirs, nicknamed “Sam.” I said, let me send her a couple of my dating books. He provided me with Sam’s address, a p.o. box. I shipped the books January 2; they arrived back in my mailbox on January 12, marked: “Return to Sender. Unable to Forward.”

I notified the couple what happened. They found out that Sam had opened a p.o. box when she was first widowed, not wanting to reveal her actual street address. But, two years later, Sam decided to close the p.o. box, perhaps feeling she could safely resume using her home address.

When I found that out, the books were resent this week to her snail mail address. Hopefully, Sam will become a new Champ.

Part 2 –  Declutter project brings Tom’s book offer

Speaking of my printed books, may I seize this moment to talk about them? Greta and I are in a major downsizing and decluttering this New Year’s; I moved my unsold cases of books to a self-storage space. While grunting and groaning doing that, I said to myself, “I need to move out some of these books. I’m going to offer Champs a major price incentive on books.”

Here’s the offer: I will ship autographed and personally endorsed copies of any two books (I have four), including postage and sales tax, to Champs with an address in the USA for $15. That’s like five bucks a book. Check out my bookstore at https://www.findingloveafter50.com/bookstore

If you want this offer, email me at tompblake@gmail.com and let me know what books. I will invoice you by email via my PayPal account where you can pay by credit card. I will need your snail mail address, which the PayPal order requires.

I will be happy to ship the printed books (these are not ebooks) to anyone you wish (as gifts, get-even ploys with ex mates—for whatever reason), providing they have a USA address. Shipping books out of the country is too expensive.

Three books would be $20 and all four would be $25, including postage and sales tax. I will need to know how you want me to endorse them. Something like this: “To Jerry, thanks for ghosting me, you ***”

So that’s it for this week. Downsizing and getting rid of clutter are exhausting, but so important!