Joe L Brown

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – July 24, 2020

By Tom Blake

                                 A widow and widower love story

In November 1990, Joe, age 72, lived in Dana Point, California. He had been a widower for 13 months. He missed his lifelong mate and married partner of 45 years.

Joe believed he would remain single the rest of his life. No one—he was convinced—could fill the emptiness he felt. As a favor, he would escort women friends to functions, but had no interest in becoming involved.

Years before, while living in Pittsburgh, PA, Joe and his wife had been inseparable friends with three other couples. Now, all that remained of that group in Pittsburgh were three widows. Joe kept in touch with them, sharing each other’s pain, loneliness, and memories.

For Thanksgiving 1990, a friend invited Joe to Coronado, a city across the Bay from San Diego. He was seated next to a woman named Paulita. Coincidentally, they both had attended Beverly Hills High School but did not know each other because Joe was two years older.

Joe and Paulita talked for hours. Joe said, “I knew I had been shot through the heart with a love-arrow but was disappointed to learn that Paulita was leaving for Mexico in two days for the winter.”

That night, Joe confided to a friend: “I’ve fallen in love, but she’s leaving in two days.”

The friend insisted, “Call her first thing tomorrow, tell her you want to see her before she goes.”

The next morning, Joe and Paulita made a date for that night. When Joe picked her up at her San Diego home, he said, “There’s something I’m going to tell you.”

“What is it?” Paulita said.

“I’ll tell you during dinner,” Joe replied.

The restaurant was a few miles away in La Jolla. In the car, Paulita kept asking, “What is it?”

“I’ll tell you at dinner,” Joe repeated, determined to wait until they were seated at the restaurant.

Finally, the time of reckoning arrived. Paulita had no idea what Joe was going to say. After a cocktail, Joe mustered the courage to tell Paulita.

“Yesterday, I fell in love with you. I want to be with you.”

Paulita was dumbfounded. “Aren’t we going a little fast?” she asked.

“At our age, we don’t have a lot of time,” Joe said. “May I visit you in Mexico after the Holidays?”

Paulita’s enthusiastic response: “YES!”

The next morning, Joe called Paulita. “Have a safe trip. I love you.”

That night, he called her in Mexico to ensure she arrived there safely.

Then, he called his son and daughter.

He said, “I’ve fallen in love.”

His son said, “Dad, you’re kidding.”

His daughter said, “Dad, you’re kidding.”

He said to both of them: “Even old people can fall in love. Love doesn’t come out, it escapes.”

Joe and Paulita talked twice a day by phone. A few days later, he said, “I can’t wait until after the Holidays. I want to see you tomorrow.”

She said, “Great!” He did. And he stayed in Mexico for eight days, which included asking Paulita to marry him.

She said, “Great!”

He returned to California for Christmas with his children. And then he returned to Mexico to see Paulita for another 12 days. They set a wedding date.

Joe notified his three widow friends in Pittsburgh of his wedding plans. They shared his joy.

In February 1991, Joe and Paulita married.

Joe told me this story in 1995. He was a customer of Tutor and Spunky’s, my Dana Point deli. We had become good friends. We talked a lot about baseball; we talked about senior romance.

He said, “I love Paulita as much now as I did four years ago.”

The following week they left for Mexico. Together.

                              The rest of the story from Tom

In 1995, I had been a newspaper columnist for 30 months. The story of Joe and Paulita was column number 74. At Joe’s request, I did not use their true names. Instead, I called them Ed and Jackie.

There was a reason for Joe’s request. Dana Point was a small city. Lots of people knew each other. Joe was a humble man, not wanting to draw attention to himself and Paulita. He was well known, the son of the famous comedian and actor, Joe E. Brown.

But our Joe in this article was Joe L. Brown, who was the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team for 21 years, from November 1955 until the end of 1976.

Photo of Joe L Brown presented to Tutor and Spunky’s Deli. Joe wrote: “Great food. Good People.”

Under Joe’s leadership, the Pirates won two World Series Championships, in 1960 and 1971. Most old-timer baseball fans remember when Bill Mazeroski hit the lead-off home run in the ninth inning against the New York Yankees to win the 1960 series.

Joe was responsible for putting together “The Lumber Company,” a group of powerful hitters that included Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, Dave Parker and Al Oliver, to name a few of them. After retiring, Joe was Chairman of the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee.

I recall him sharing with me who the committee might consider for entry into the Hall of Fame that particular year. He and I had a special connection, mainly because of a love for baseball.

After Paulita died, Joe moved to Albuquerque to be near his daughter Cynthia. He passed away at 91 on August 10, 2010.

A month or so after he died, Cynthia called me to thank me for being such a great friend of her dad’s. Needless to say, her call meant a great deal to me and warmed my heart. I am truly blessed to have known this incredible man.

And that’s the rest of the story.

Senior Sex no time to waste

 On Love and Life after 50 eNewsletter – May 8, 2020

The Letter – Senior Sex no time to waste

By Columnist Tom Blake

You may recall that last week’s eNewsletter was a bit off the wall. It featured a woman, age 30, who insisted on a six-month pre-marriage trial with her fiancé, age 59, where they slept together, but had no physical contact, no hand holding, not one hug or kiss. She considered the trial “a success.” They married.

After the wedding she was shocked to find out he wanted sex.

Her letter had been sent to me in 2001.

There were many, varied responses to her story. The first came from Mark, who said, “I believe you made this up to bring good cheer to your readers. Am I right?”

I replied: “Greta and I are out of town for a week. When I get back to Dana Point, I will scan her letter and send it to you.

“I found it in the garage in a box of old column stuff. Thought to myself, this can be a column someday.

“Letter is for real. Glad you enjoyed it.”

Mark said, “I didn’t doubt for a minute that the letter was real. As they say, you can’t make this stuff up!”

Mark’s right; I don’t have the imagination to create something like that. Here’s part of the actual letter:

The Letter – from 20 September 2001

Helen, Arizona, responded, “Thanks for the laugh. Oh me. Sometimes I wonder. Are there really people walking around our country like this? Wonder if she made the whole thing up? Doesn’t matter.

“Phil and I have been together since 2003 after meeting on the Net. Didn’t marry. We are 80 and 81 now. Times are not easy, but we are together. We are one of the couples you featured in your book all those years ago.”

Another response came from Laurie Jo: “I read your eNewsletter and had an immediate, strong reaction.

“Things like impotence can be an issue, but there are ways to work around that and other difficulties when we age. I feel happy that I can still ride my horse, do household chores, and walk without any problems.

“I have friends that have hip issues and things like cancer. My point is: why give up intimacy? Why forego or avoid a wonderful part of being alive and capable.”

Twice a widower, “after two good marriages,” John commented. “I’m nearly 80 and every time I think I’ve heard it all regarding love relationships, something comes along to prove me wrong—such as your article last week. The woman in the story must be totally unaware/naive about how the world works–at least pertaining to how men and women relate to each other physically.

“I’m still actively dating and looking for a life-partner. After several dates with a woman, and if it begins to look promising, we start digging down into the weeds of what we’re looking for in a relationship.

“Eventually, I ask if she is interested in a physical relationship. Or, is she just seeking a friend for movies and dinners? I ask because having a physical relationship remains important to me.

“To illustrate how difficult expectations can be, I met a woman on a dating site two years ago who lives three hours away by car. My thinking was, if we were a good fit, it would be worth the drive.

“It turned out she oversees the caregivers who tend to her disabled sister, about a 10-minute drive from my home. I started seeing her when she was in town once or twice a month for six months.

“Then, she invited me to visit her at her home. I spent two nights with her and slept in a separate bedroom; there was no physical contact during the stay. We saw each other on and off when she visited her sister for about a year.

“She continued pursuing me and invited me to her home again, for three nights. I accepted. (Separate bedrooms again.)

“We were watching a TV movie the second night and I attempted to hold her hand, but she was not receptive. At dinner, the third night, I asked her if she was looking for a physical relationship because some women are not.

“She erupted and said, ‘All men are looking for only one thing!’ With that comment, I promptly left.”

“We had no contact for six months when out of the blue she sent me an email apologizing for how she reacted and wanted to get together again. We did but, it was just not-to-be for me.”

An important point from John’s story, Laurie Jo’s comments, and Helen’s comments, even at 70 or 80, for seniors physical contact is important to many men–and women.

Lesson for dating seniors: It’s best to discuss each person’s sexual expectations in the early dating stages of a potential relationship. At 80, we don’t have any time to waste.

Message for Mark: I didn’t make this up either: Because this column is about a letter, and about not having time to waste, the song, “The Letter,” by The Box Tops, 1967, popped into my mind.


“Gimme a ticket to an aeroplane
Ain’t got time for a fast train
Lonely days are gone. I’m a-going home
My baby, just wrote me a letter”

Link to Box Tops song (click on open wide screen and then the red arrow to begin video ):
Link to song “The Letter”

Happy Mother’s Day

Widower gives widower dating advice to senior women

March 6, 2020
by Columnist Tom Blake
Widower gives widower dating advice to senior women
Lately, I’ve been receiving some terrific emails from men, discussing what they’ve learned in their dating experiences. Most of the men are widowers. Over the next few weeks, I plan to share a few of the widower emails with you.

What has been refreshing–in almost all the emails–is the men have expressed understanding, empathy and respect for single women and what the women go through.

Today, Randy, 73, Fort Lauderdale, reflects on senior dating:

Randy wrote: ”Although I haven’t been on the dating scene for a while–due to finding and marrying my life partner–I feel I have a slightly different perspective on senior dating compared to what other people have posted.

“During my 15 years of dating as a widower, I was on nearly every popular dating website there is and dated multiple women. A significant number of them had some very creative, misleading and sometimes false data or pictures in their profiles. I also had some false information in mine.

“Although I used current pictures, I initially put my age down as 3-4 years younger than actual. Having guilt problems with this, I attempted to change it but, as another Champ stated in a recent eNewsletter, the primary dating website I was using did not allow that. I ended up deleting this profile and generating an ‘honest’ one!

“With all this dating and the associated creative profiles, I never had one bad date and developed several great friendships that exist even to this day.

“Why? I never went on a date with a long-term relationship primarily in mind. I went with the object of meeting a new and interesting person, who, regardless of chemistry, would make my life a little fuller and more interesting (besides, I hate to eat alone!).

“Nearly everybody on the dating scene can tell if that magic chemistry is there within the first five minutes. If chemistry is not there, I suggest attempting to draw the person in, to find if there are some common areas of interests–be it vocation, advocation, family, and yes, even politics.

“Everyone likes to talk about themselves and you might be surprised at how many times this results in a catalyst for that magical chemistry. If not, perhaps you’ve instead made a new friend!

“Bottom line: don’t treat a first meeting as an interview for a life partner, rather treat it as a chance to add a new and interesting facet to your life.”

Tom’s comment: In last week’s eNewsletter, Susie, Virginia, was quoted: “I have been tempted to put down a younger age. I just turned 78 and look years younger and act it too, but I feel my age is holding me back to meet men.

“I have always dated and married men that were five to 10 years younger than I, but now it seems men are not interested in a woman my age. What give’s Tom?”

In referring to Susie’s question, Randy stated, “A suggestion for Susie and those ladies in her circumstance: Many men like to date younger women or at least, those very near their own age and thus ‘screen’ potential dates accordingly.

“A man 75 will probably search for his preference between 60 and maybe 75. Not 75 to 80. Since someone like you, Susie, might be excluded, I found that many ‘young-feeling’ women do indeed put their mental age down in the profile, BUT, they admit the truth in the wording of the profile.

For example, ‘All my friends and acquaintances remark on how active I am and tell me I look and act like I’m 65, not my actual age of 78!’

“I found this to not only be acceptable, but it piqued my personal interest.

“I did not meet my new young bride (seven-years younger) on a dating site. She was a very distant acquaintance who just called me up and invited me on a date. Two years later, she agreed to be my wife and we celebrated our second anniversary last October!

“Advice to women: don’t be afraid to take the initiative!

“The past dating scene seems much like the present dating scene. I still maintain friendships with several of my previous special ladies and along with my bride’s friends, my bride and I hear the woes of dating often. We empathize and sympathize with them and wish there were both more and better male candidates. Unfortunately, it is what it is!

“Among my single male friends, I find a declining dating interest even in those who are still out there. The financial issue is one factor. I have at least two friends who have confided that they just can’t afford the high cost of dating. Also, I guess as testosterone levels go down, they just don’t feel dating is worth the effort.”

Tom’s comment: A declining interest in dating by older men can make the ratio of single women compared to single men even greater than statistics indicate it to be. To women, some of those men might be perceived as non-relationship material.

Randy concluded: “What I suggest to the ladies: invite your friend of interest over for a home-cooked dinner. Bachelors get tired of eating out. If a first date, include another couple for safety which should also keep the conversation going.”

Randy’s email and advice reminded me of a photo I took from a bus, in Edinburgh, Scotland, last September. It’s not a romantic waterfall, or a romantic walk on the beach, but a simple, warm message that reminds us to treat everybody with dignity and respect, even if they aren’t going to become a mate:

Love All, Serve All @ the HardRock Cafe in Edinburgh. Among all of the history in this incredible city, the message above the windows touched Greta and me the most.                                                    Photo by Tom Blake

Have you been Catfished?

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – August 2, 2019

by Columnist Tom Blake

Have you been Catfished?

OK – so this is not a catfish, it’s a trout, but you get the idea (Photo by Tom)

Catfished–a relatively new senior dating term.

Last September, Champ Rabecca emailed, “Have you ever written about ghosting or being ghosted?”

I replied, “What the heck is ghosting?”

Rabecca said, “It’s a term used in dating.”

Her question led to the creation of two eNewsletters. The first, dated September 14, 2018, was titled “Ghosting” and the next week, September 21, the second–as a follow up–was titled, “Who hasn’t been ghosted?”

All previous eNewsletters, including those two, are archived on the Finding Love after 50 website. if you’d like to read or reread them, see the link at the end of today’s issue.

The Urban Dictionary defines ghosting as: “The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.”

At least 25 Champs responded to the first eNewsletter and most of those responses were featured in the second one. Most everyone has been involved in ghosting—on one or both sides of the coin.

                          And now another new term (at least for me)

Recently, Champ Joel Blackwell brought attention to another new term, at least to me, and, Joel said, to him as well, “catfished.” Joel posted a comment on our Finding Love after 50 Facebook group page that resulted in responses from people who are members of that closed group. As of today, there are 522 members.

(A “closed” group means to join, people must request permission from me, the founder of that Facebook group. I keep it closed to keep intruders with evil intentions from getting into that group to protect our members.)

Joel provided the definition of “catfished” as stated in The Urban Dictionary. It’s luring someone into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona. He saw the term “catfished” in a New York Times Modern Love article, titled, “When a Dating Dare Leads to Months of Soul Searching,” by Andrew Lee. The link to the article is also provided at the end of today’s Finding Love After 50 eNewsletter.

Facebook member Marilyn wrote, “I was ‘catfished’ while on He was charming and intelligent and said all the things I wanted to hear to open the lines of communication.

“He claimed to be a widower, well-traveled, ready to retire, etc., First red flag: there was always an excuse why he couldn’t meet in person, although he claimed to live locally.

“Second red flag: after a dozen or so emails and phone conversations, he started suggesting I join him on an incredible European investment deal, but he needed to use my name and bank account info to hold some funds for him. Hah!

“A little online research revealed this man (from Nigeria) used the same profile pics, verbiage and tactics on all his contacts and I was only one of many selected. It was eerie how he used the very same lines on each of the women. Even when confronted, he claimed I had misunderstood his intentions!”

“Catfish lessons learned: if the topic of money or finances comes up after a short acquaintance, Run! If he says all the right things, Run! If he finds reasons not to meet with you, Run!”

The story in that New York Times Modern Love article is well written, informative and interesting. I won’t tell you how it ends. You can read it yourself. Joel provided the link to it:

New York Times Dating Dare article

So, there you have it, another online dating term to add to your vocabulary. If someone is “catfishing” you, i.e., using fictional online persona, that person is up to no good as Marilyn explained with her online experience. It’s often the precursor to an attempted scam.

“Ghosting” and “Catfishing.” Two ugly dating terms, although not exclusively applicable to seniors. “Ghosting is mainly being inconsiderate, the chicken way to move on from someone.

Catfishing is posting bogus information and being dishonest. Being catfished can lead to more serious issues, like losing money or putting oneself in danger.

Just be aware. It’s a complicated dating world out there.

The link to all 2019 and 2018 eNewsletters is:

Once there, go to the right-hand column and under Archives, click on September 2018 to read the “Ghosting” and “Who hasn’t been ghosted?” eNewsletters.

Meet and Greet information for Dana Point, California area for August:

Monday, August 19, 5 to 7 p.m. The city of Dana Point Recreation Department is starting a mixer called Active Lifestyle Connections for 50+; Dana Point Community Center – Garden Cafe 34502 Del Obispo. Light refreshments (no alcohol). For information, call Monique 949 248-3507. No cost.

Thursday, August 22, 5 to 7 p.m. Meet and Greet for 50+, Tutor and Spunky’s, 34185 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point. This is our usual 4th Thursday event. Greta and I will be out of town, so Maria Olamendi, has offered to act as hostess. Food complimentary. Beer and Wine $5 each. Greta and I will be at the September event. Details on where we will be in August will be in next week’s eNewsletter.

Where the single senior men are

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 17, 2019 – Where the single senior men are
by Columnist Tom Blake

In 1961, Connie Francis had a popular song called, “Where the Boys Are,” which was the song track for a movie of the same name. In the song, she sang, “…Where the boys are, my true love will be. He’s walkin’ down some street in town and I know he’s lookin’ there for me…”

Connie Francis “Where The Boys Are” Album Cover

Thirty-three years later, in 1994, my first column was published, inspired by a surprise divorce. By then, those boys Connie sang about were men, and women started asking me “Where are the single senior men?” And there were times back then when I wondered where the women near my age were.

As readers have aged along with me during the ensuring quarter century, “Where are the men?” remains the most frequently asked question I hear. If anything, I hear it more often now and there’s a reason for that. The ratio of single women to single men keeps getting larger.

Where are the men? She’s looked everywhere (including under a pile of rocks)

For years, I’ve written and stated that the ratio was in the neighborhood of two-to-three to one.

When I saw this week that the Census Bureau recently published some new statistics on the 65-and-older population, I decided to see if I could get an accurate updated ratio of single women to single men.

The study was conducted in 2016 with a sample size of 3.5 million households across the USA and Puerto Rico. Every county in the nation was included. The numbers listed were estimates based on the sample size.

I analyzed the 25-page report to see if it provided information that would be of interest or helpful to our Champs.

First off, there were 49.2 million people in 2016, age 65 and older.

Women outnumbered men, 27.4 million to 21.8 million. The survey broke down the information into three age groups: 65 to 74; 75 to 84; and, 85 and older.

In the 85 and older group, there were just 6.3 million people, which included 2.2 million men, about a million of whom were single.

The survey revealed that widows outnumbered widowers by three to one, although in the 85 and older category, the ratio is two to one. It’s hard for a widow to find a widower to date at that older age.

Let’s look at the number of non-married senior women and men in the USA in each age category and the ratio of women to men.

65 to 74 – 6.8 million non-married women, 3.8 million men = ratio 1.8 to one

75 to 84 – 4.9 million non-married women, 1.8 million men = ratio 2.7 to one

85 & up  – 3.5 million non-married women, 1.0 million men = ratio 3.5 to one

Those ratios don’t seem as bad as I thought. However, when you consider that many of those men included are in a relationship, or don’t want to be in a relationship, or never married, or aren’t “relationship material,” as some women point out, the realistic ratios are much larger. So, how many eligible guys are left? It’s Slim Pickins! And, the older people get, the slimmer the pickins’ become.

By age 85, 72 percent of the women were widowed.

So, when women say to me, “What’s wrong with me? I can’t meet a nice man.” The answer simply is, “There is nothing wrong with you, numbers don’t lie. There just aren’t that many older men available.

Other tidbits from the study

1 Labor Force – For 65 and older, 22 percent of men and 14 percent of women were in the labor force. Trends showed the number of people 65+ in the workforce is increasing, especially in the 65 to 74 age category. For 85 and older, 3.7 percent of men and 1.5 percent of the women are still working.

Women worked more in the service and sales and office sectors. Men worked more in production, transportation, construction and maintenance sectors.

2 Caregiving – The study revealed a surprising number of older grandparents (27 percent for people in age 65-74 category) who provided care for their co-resident grandchildren. This can also affect the dating situation. Many caregivers don’t have time to date and possible mates might be reluctant to get involved.

3 Disabilities – can affect dating. The study states, “The proportion of the older population with some disability increased with age.” Heck, we all know that.

Forty-eight percent of people 85 and above have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs, so single level residences become more important to them.

4 Income – The study stated, “The most common type of household income received in the past 12 months (2016) among the 65 and older population was Social Security (90 percent).

So, it’s not just stats, ratios and numbers that reveal why dating as we age is tough. Other factors described above figured in. But, let us not forget that there still are many, many couples who meet and become committed after age 50 and 60.

Keep in mind that these stats and numbers were estimates from the 2016 survey, but, as they say, they are close enough for government work.

Too bad, 58 years after Connie Francis sang “Where the Boys Are,” we can’t get her to sing a new song: “Where the Men Are.”  She is 80 years old; her song would be an inspiration to many of our Champs.

Link to Where The Boys Are:

A reminder : there will be a Meet and Greet at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, 34085 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, this coming Wednesday, May 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. Greta and I will be there to say hello. Complimentary appetizers and $3 wine and beer. Telephone 949 248-9008.

Senior long distance dating – a challenge – but not impossible

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 19, 2019

Senior long distance dating — a challenge for seniors — but not impossible

Two weeks ago, we wrote about a widower, age 75, whose wife passed away two years before. He’s dating again. After being shunned by a widow he met at church, he turned to Internet dating sites to try to find a mate.

He emailed, seeking advice. He said he met a woman on the OurTime website, who lives 845 miles away. He was going to send her air fare to visit him.

I suggested, instead of sending her air fare, he should look for a woman who lives close to him. Getting involved in a long-distance relationship might be too much effort for a man his age.

Champs responded, sharing their opinions about senior long-distance dating.

Cynthia emailed: “Forget about long-distance relationships! If you can’t meet people in person within a 50-mile circumference, then it’s not worth it.

“You need to simply look around your own town, church, neighborhood, grocery store, club, senior center or wherever you go for entertainment.”

Art, said, “This man should be able to meet eligible women within an easy driving distance from where he lives. I am in a relationship with a lady I met online, and she lives only 15 minutes from me.

“Together, we belong to several groups, and there are at least four women for every man who attend events. Perhaps he is unfamiliar with, but unless he lives in a very rural part of the country, there are probably Meetup groups in his area.

“A woman living 845 miles away is too far for a meet and greet lunch or dinner, and the cost and inconvenience would make a possible romance very difficult.”

Susan chimed in, “If you are lonely, join a club, an exercise or Meetup group, volunteer, etc.  There are so many ways to not be lonely. If you enjoy children, volunteer at your local school or library. ( is not a dating site, but a place to meet lots and lots of new friends, and when you meet lots of new people, who knows what could evolve? )

“When I was off work for a few months, I volunteered at our senior center. I was NEVER lonely there. Lots of seniors hanging around wanting to talk with someone.”

Joanie stated, “This 75-year-old man should make sure he looks extra good, smells nice, wears fitting, well-cut clothes, gets a haircut and takes care of his skin.

“And then, he should take ballroom dance lessons. There are tons of wonderful single women who dance, most looking for a nice man. And there is a shortage of men. He will meet someone quickly.”

Gina added, “I think online dating can be an effective tool, but one should weed out the people who are long distance. Potential mates should be within 50 miles and willing to meet within a few weeks of making a connection via text messaging and phone.”

Linda felt differently; she said, “I think he should visit the woman 845 miles away, see where and how she lives. You can tell a lot about people based on how they live.”

Liza emailed, “My advice for your lonely widower is to slow down and relax.  Smelling desperation on a member of the opposite sex is a huge buzz kill.  Most seniors don’t want to be alone but that big of a rush would scare off any decent woman–but would certainly appeal to a scammer.”

Shelley said, “Yes, indeed; loneliness can cloud a widowed person’s thinking! I lost my beloved husband of 39 years five years ago. My judgement was impaired for at least 2 1/2 years!

“The widower should look for a woman he can meet in person and not have to send plane fare to. That has scam written all over it.’”

                  And yet, long distance relationships can work

A while back, I wrote about Sally, a widow, from New Jersey, who had been married 41 years. Two years before, she had corresponded with a widower (married 48 years) online. But he lived in Atlanta.

Through the online site, she sent him a message that she was removing herself from the site and included her personal email address. He didn’t receive her message.

When her online site tried to get her to renew, she checked her mailbox, one last time, and found a message from him. She said, “I emailed and we picked up writing again. I guess it was meant to be!”

They agreed to be just pen-pals. “No pictures. No, ‘Are you the right one?’ and, no plans to meet,” says Sally. However, a senior long-distance relationship began.

“We were very careful in the beginning when we wrote. We never mentioned the names of our children or grandchildren, just funny stories about different things. We both had long, stable marriages and our families were the center of our lives. We had successful careers. Neither felt threatened by the past.”

Then their arrangement changed. She said, “About 8 months into the pen-pal thing, he tells me not to get serious or marry anyone until we meet. At that point we exchanged photos, talked on the phone, and it kept getting better.

“He came to NJ for a two-day visit and stayed a week, and then kept returning every two-three weeks. I visited him in Georgia.”

Sally liked the Atlanta-area lifestyle. She visited a recreation community catering to all ages and particularly liked the quaint homes with porches. She told her gentleman friend that if she relocated, it would be incidental to–and not dependent upon–their relationship. “Marrying again was not in our plans,” said Sally.

Sally sold her New Jersey home and bought a home in the recreation community. She and her widower friend maintain separate residences, and have a LAT (Living Apart Together) relationship.

“We spend weekends together; we cook for one another once a week. We love to shop together. He visits his family and I visit mine, keeping these issues apart,” says Sally. “I am very lucky. It’s an open, honest, loving relationship without it ever getting routine, stale, or to the point of too much togetherness. We are committed to one another, but, observe that space that people need.

“We never intended it to turn out this way, but we gave it a chance. As seniors, we accept who we are and enjoy what we have now.”

And, you Champs likely remember Chris and Tina. They were 14 years in a long, long-distance relationship: England and California. Nearly 4,400 miles. But they made it work. Now they are married. She’s in her 70s and he’s in his 80s.

And, how about Champs Terry and Daeng. California and Thailand? Want to see happiness? Look below.

 Champs Terry and Daeng–who says long distance romance can’t be fun

                              Tom’s five senior long-distance dating tips

  1. Try local first. Focus on what’s near you. There are many options, as mentioned above, where seniors can go to meet new people and make new friends. Who knows? They might meet a potential mate by being out and about. is not a dating site, but it has endless choices to pursue activities that one might enjoy—like learning a language or hiking, and there’s no cost. Senior centers will have like-minded people who want to chat. Volunteering is a great way to pay it forward and meet people at the same time.
  2. If you Internet date, perhaps Cynthia’s and Gina’s suggested 50-mile dating radius is a good rule of thumb. However, it depends. Does the man still drive? Does the woman still drive? What happens if they become a couple? Who moves? Or, does the relationship become a Living Apart Together (LAT) relationship?
  3. Seniors must realize there are lots of scammers online, even on the most reputable senior dating sites—OurTime,, and, for example. Regardless of what the sites claim, scammers slip through the cracks and target vulnerable, lonely seniors.
  4. When you make contact with someone who lives near you, the two of you can meet in person and decide if there is a mutual attraction, without the challenges and expense of traveling long distances. Keep your search as close to home as reasonable.
  5. Long-distance relationships can work. Before giving up on your Internet site, check every message, just in case. It only takes one, as Sally discovered, but we never know which one.

Remarriage: Don’t relinquish a pension

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – October 19, 2018

Remarriage: Don’t relinquish a pension

In today’s eNewsletter, I want to address a question I received from Champ Carole. She wrote, “I’m living in Gardnerville, Nevada with my boyfriend and happily so.” Carole’s email had a senior dating issue inside. A possible pitfall when seniors remarry, or at least are considering remarriage.

Carole continued, “A gal friend just called me. She is a widow, as I am, and has a new guy friend. They want to get married in June. She has government retirement income from her late husband and is concerned about losing it if she marries. Her guy friend is retired and has good income and a big house. He seems to be a very nice guy—a widower, with two grown sons—one of whom lives with him.

“I wanted her to be able to contact you for advice—she doesn’t use email! Could I buy her a book of yours to help her? Any advice you could pass along to her would be helpful.

“My guy friend and I are trying to help her but feel kind of inadequate. I hope you can get this while on your cruise.

My response: “I have nothing against senior remarriage. In fact, this week, friends of mine and Greta’s, Tom and Artis, who live in Arizona, and have been together for nearly 20 years, announced via email that they got married on October 15. After I picked myself up off the floor of our stateroom from their surprise news, I congratulated them.

However, there is one exception to seniors getting married where I think it’s a bad idea. And that’s when a spouse would forfeit a guaranteed pension from a deceased spouse.

Carole, your friend should not get married, unless there is something about her situation that has not been revealed. What does she gain by getting married? Senior dating and adult children often don’t mix.

The government income is guaranteed. Marriage isn’t. It doesn’t matter that he has a big house and nice income. What if he decides after a month of marriage that he isn’t happy? She’s out and, also out her pension. Or, what if he unexpectedly passes away before arrangements are made to provide for her financially?

There might be exceptions: If he puts her on the deed to his house before getting married (might be a slim chance of that with a grown son living there), and, or, he  adequately provides for her in a pre-marital agreement. I still think remarrying is a bad idea for her.

Tom Blake marries Laurie Dey and Phil Green in 2998
Phil Green and Laurie Dey wedding with Tom Blake as Officiant in 2008

I married the above couple in 2008. It was a great idea and they are friends of ours and happy in 2019.

Carole’s friends can have a great relationship without getting married. Having a grown son living with him is also a red flag.

As far as a “Finding Love After 50” book, I can have one mailed to you one from California, but, it wouldn’t be autographed because I’m on a cruise.

flaf amazon

If your widow friend has more questions, she can give them to you and you email them to me.

Carole responded: “Thanks for the advice—that’s exactly what we said but, it sounds better coming from you. If you could get me a book I will give it to her.

This is a great community, and we’re keeping busy with many activities at our fabulous senior center. I volunteer at the local museum, joined the Elks club, enjoy swimming at a beautiful swim center (6 indoor pools) and hike occasionally with my man-friend.”