Senior dating baggage – Protect yourself

January 22, 2021 – On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

Columnist Tom Blake

       (Note from Tom: This eNewsletter has been edited for length and clarity)

Senior Dating Baggage Protect yourselfDating a still-married man

A woman Champ shared her story this week, hoping it might help others. Some people might criticize her decisions. But remember, we haven’t walked in her shoes.

She wrote, “At 54, my husband died in my arms after a four-year battle with cancer. I had no intent to date or remarry. Two years later, I met a guy at a neighbor’s birthday party who was five years younger and I decided to take a chance on dating.

“I never expected to fall in love, feel butterflies, with hopes and dreams once again, but I did.

“Stopping us from living together was his dating ‘baggage.’ He was still married to his estranged wife of 20+ years! They had never divorced. Why? I will never know.

“Also, he had a very troublesome and financially dependent adult son.

“We wanted to live together, in my home, but before I would allow him to move in, “HE HAD TO BE DIVORCED.” Only when his divorce was final could he then move in. So until that happened, we continued as a LAT couple. 

“When he showed me court papers that he had finally filed for divorce, we became engaged! Yay!

Tom’s comment: So far, so good. She was wise to take a no-move-in-together stand while he was married.

She continued, “Unfortunately, I found him dead in his condo before his divorce was final. First, my husband and now I find my fiancé dead! Again, my world crashed! He died intestate (with no will) and he was still married.

“My advice: Never get involved with anyone who remains separated. Also, do not leave any personal items in the person’s home. In the end, by not being family, it will never end well for you. 

“This was the most heartbreaking and horrifying PTSD experience and loss. In the end, I was nothing! I was locked out of the condo as well as not allowed access to my belongings and thrown out like yesterday’s garbage.

“His wife and son were his legal family and held all legal power; she was estranged but still held the marriage certificate. The situation became a frightening nightmare with threats, nasty 1 a.m. texts, demands of money, etc.

“I was the hated one! They kept my personal property. I have no idea the cause of death or where they threw his ashes and was denied my heartfelt, loving goodbye.

At age 66 now, and with the pandemic, it is difficult–if not impossible–to meet and start new trusted relationships. It takes time and time is running out.

“I made sure my fiancé was my #1 priority, but in the end, he never made me his #1 priority. After a six-year committed relationship of caring for him, his ailing sweet mom, and troubled kid, and patiently waiting for his divorce, it was as if I never existed in his life! 

“He never thought to protect me! And I didn’t protect myself! In the end, I wasn’t even a consideration.”

                                          Four Senior Dating Lessons learned

(1) Couples in a serious or meaningful relationship need to make each other the top priority

(2) Don’t fall in love with someone married, or who has been separated–without divorcing–for a long time

(3) Problems with a mate’s financially dependent or troubled children can move you down his priority list to number two, three, or even lower 

(4) If you are going to live with a mate, especially in his home, have the “what if?” talk beforemoving in. Based on the talk, a written legal document must be executed before moving in to protect you. This woman prematurely moved into his home: his divorce wasn’t finalized and there was no legal document. She was not protected.

I can only imagine how difficult it was for our Champ to have two partners pass away. As I was preparing this eNewsletter on Tuesday the 19th, my nephew called to tell me my only brother, William V. Blake III, (Bill Blake) had passed away from complications of cancer.

I don’t mention that for sympathy, I mention it because you are all family to me, and I simply wanted you to know.

Bill Blake, Tom Blake and Derek Blake (Bill’s son) at the Alamo Dec 27 2005

I’m okay. But I will miss not being able to talk to him every few days as I did for years.

Hold each other tight.