Senior Dating Chemistry

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – April 7, 2023

by Senior Dating Columnist Tom Blake

Slack-jawed with dismay and amazement over senior sex and chemistry

Admitted right up front. The picture is of a couple who aren’t seniors yet. Greta and I met them at the Grand Prix de Monaco. They were a couple of love birds, but not senior love birds. They were from two different foreign countries.

An open discussion about senior dating chemistry

Many Champs aired their opinions after reading last week’s “Senior Dating Follies” eNewsletter. Quickly, it became obvious to me that you’d enjoy hearing what some Champs had to say, and my responses to them. Don’t let your jaw drop. Here we go:

Janet, “Your humor really helps. I am afraid of online sites but, just staying home isn’t getting me anywhere.”

Tom, Yes, Janet, sitting at home won’t get the searching-for-a-mate job done. Social interaction is a must. Getting out with friends, volunteering, or other things can improve one’s chances of meeting a potential mate. Online sites are fraught with scammers and other issues, but they still can help, once you learn the ropes and what the potholes look like.

An anonymous (by request) woman Champ, “I’m dating and still looking for someone with whom to have a senior physical relationship, or senior sex if you will, as well as friendship and companionship. The two men I’m dating are not physically attractive to me. They are intellectually stimulating, and both are gentlemen. So, I’m still open to finding a gentleman with whom I’d also have a senior sex physical connection, but it won’t be either of them.”

Tom’s comment: “This importance of senior chemistry topics keeps surfacing among our Champs. For some women, senior physical attraction is not near the top of their qualities-wanted list. For others, senior sex ranked higher.

In my brief time sampling online dating, I’m surprised by the number of women who state on their profiles that they are warm, affectionate, passionate, and ready for love. But, then they insist on being just friends first, for weeks or even months before intimacy. At our age, what guy is going to wait around for months? Some thumbnail photos on the front page of women’s profiles reveal very sexy photos showing nice bodies and deep cleavage. And yet, they get upset when a man comments about the picture.

And, what happens if the senior intimacy isn’t good between them? Do they both move on, having invested lots of precious time waiting?

I know how I’m built. I like the warmth of a senior hug, the chemicals released in the brain from a kiss, and the electricity of holding hands. Most of the older single guys I know feel the same way.

But, let me be perfectly clear here. If a woman insists on waiting, the guy should honor her wishes and not pressure her or make her feel uncomfortable. He must be willing to wait, so in effect, the ball is in her court. If he doesn’t want to wait that long, he must be prepared to move on.  

An online website called Healthline has this to say about kissing: “The rush of oxytocin released when you kiss causes feelings of affection and attachment. Kissing your partner can improve relationship satisfaction and be especially important in long-term relationships.” (link to the Healthline website is below). Senior kissing is healthy.

Carolyn, “I agreed to a meetup with a gentleman from Match.com. We planned to meet outside a lovely restaurant. He explained during dinner that he always asks potential dates to wait outside so he can see how they look in person. He said that if they don’t look like their photos, he simply drives away and ghosts them. I find this to be most cruel.

“Oh, he did say I looked rather beautiful and passed his inspection. However, I didn’t go out with him again.

“Continue living your very best life, Tom. You always inspire us to do just that!”

Tom’s comment, “A guy who does that is a total jerk. Selfish, mean, cruel, inconsiderate, and egotistical. Carolyn, you did the right thing by not going out with him again.”

Barbara, “My husband entered the hospital two years ago and died last July. A couple of months after his passing, I was texting with a gentleman who lives in the same apartment building as I do. Before I agreed to meet him, I talked with my deceased husband’s daughter. I told her what was going on and asked for her approval.

“She said, ‘Dad has been gone from your home for two years. You’re not that young, and I’m sure Dad wouldn’t want you to be alone. I give you, my blessing. I hope things work out,’ and she gave me a hug and a kiss and told me she loved me. Such relief, I felt, not having to worry anymore.

“My husband was 84 when he died. I am now 75. Good luck to you, Tom.”

Christine Baumgartner, a Champ, and a highly respected dating and relationship coach emailed, “Regarding Dyana’s comment about chemistry last week, physical attraction is the ‘natural first’ for men. If they aren’t physically attracted, the relationship probably won’t grow.

“This can be very different for women. If they’re not physically attracted initially, and instead, really like how he thinks and makes them feel, how he acts towards her and others, and has morals, then the physical can develop. This is what happened between my late husband Tony and me.

“Conversely, if a woman feels a lot of physical attraction in the beginning with a man she’ll often not ask the important questions about ‘who he is as a person’ and ignore many potential/real red flags. As you know I agree with your suggestion to her about creating a list of the traits that are important to her.”

Tom’s two cents: Christine is correct. If a man or woman has senior physical attraction atop their list of wants, that doesn’t mean senior sex is the first thing they do. It’s simply near the top of their needs, and will likely become a recurring event after some time has passed being together. Christine can be reached at

Christine@theperfectcatch.com.

Her website is: www.ThePerfectCatch.com

Champ Althea thinks differently about chemistry. She said, “Physical attraction is number one on my list. Unless you plan on having only a friendship with a man—a brother-sister type of relationship, being attracted to them/feeling the desire to kiss and have sex with them is very important. I don’t think senior physical attraction grows with time. It’s either there at the beginning or not. You can grow to love the person, but ‘being in love’ is a whole ‘nother’ ball game.”

John was vehement: “Last week’s eNewsletter left me slack-jawed with dismay and amazement. Why? Senior sex and chemistry are bullshit. There I said it. Women learn it’s crucial from romance novels. Did you know that long term, people in marriages that were arranged by their parents when the people were children have the same level of marital happiness as people who married for love and chemistry?”

Tom’s response: Gee, John, I’m curious to know where you learned the above fact. It must have been from a survey or research project. I don’t think anyone in our group has ever said that because there is initial chemistry between two people, that chemistry would guarantee long-term relationship happiness. So many other factors such as communication, trust, honesty, living arrangement (together or in separate homes), and respect come into play over the ensuing years that will affect the success or demise of a relationship.

Senior sex and intimacy and/or senior chemistry and affection, in my opinion, sure can launch a couple off on the right foot. And I don’t think that’s b.s., I think it’s a magical and tingling initial feeling. People still need to work on the relationship as the years pass to keep things fresh and on the right track.

Happy Easter, Champs. May you all have a wonderful holiday. Give a senior hug to your favorite Easter bunny.

https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-kissing#happy-hormones

Which online dating site is best for seniors?

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – November 19, 2021

by Columnist Thomas P Blake

Which online dating site is best for seniors? 

During the pandemic, most single seniors didn’t interact face-to-face with people, so many of them decided to give online dating a try. Several were frustrated with the experience. Some seniors don’t internet date at all. Connie emailed me about the difficulty she’s had when trying to meet men. She wrote, “I have never been on an online dating site. I prefer the old-fashioned way (of meeting men).”

I assume what Connie’s “old-fashioned way” term means to her is networking through friends and/or going to public places where she might by chance meet a guy.

I’ve often been asked by seniors, “Which online dating site is right for me?” 

Take Ellen for example. She wrote: “I am a widow, 66, and recently retired. So, I’m starting a new chapter in my life. When I think of the future and see myself alone for the rest of my life, that makes me feel sad. However, when I look at my life today, I am happy–busy with kids, grandkids, hobbies, and church. 

“I tried online dating for a few years. Tried them all: eHarmony, Plenty of Fish (POF), Catholic Match, Senior Dating, and OurTime. I met some nice people, but nothing clicked.“More times than not when I emailed someone, I never got a response. After a while, it just wasn’t worth the work anymore, and Internet dating is a lot of work. I keep my options open, but I figure at this stage I am pretty well done with online looking. But I am certainly open if I meet someone in person.”

 I’m not an Internet dating expert. After all, I’ve been with Greta for 24 years and have never been on an Internet dating site. So, how do I advise women like Ellen to find the right dating site?

I turn to an expert dating and relationship coach I’ve known for 20+ years, who is also a Champ. Her name is Christine Baumgartner; she lives in Orange County, California, and calls her business “The Perfect Catch.” She helps clients all over the United States, not just in the OC.

Recently, Christine posted comments on Facebook under the title, “Which Internet dating site is ‘the best’ one?” I felt what Christine wrote was so informative for single senior daters that I chose to share some of her highlights in this week’s eNewsletter.

When Christine is asked by a client which dating site is the best one, her reply is, “This may surprise you, They’re generally all the same.”

But she points out that certain sites have a particular focus such as religious beliefs or sites that cater to a variety of age groups, including sites for seniors.
Christine said, “In reality, the outcome of a person’s online dating experience or your own experience often has more to do with some of the following…

“Your attitude toward yourself, the opposite sex, and dating in general. In particular, many people tend to struggle if they have negative opinions about the opposite sex (due to past dating experiences).”

“Profile content and photos. Many of us are tempted to lie about our age or touch up our pictures.” She stresses that singles should be honest with what they post.

“Persistence. Some people give up quickly when dating doesn’t turn out to be what they were looking for.” Christine recommends people adopt a stick-with-it attitude.

Christine concluded, “I have clients who have met their significant others on dating sites after we worked on these things together. I’ve found that it’s usually not the site causing a person to not find the right date…it’s the person not using the site to that person’s best advantage.”

If I were single and trying to figure out how best to meet someone, I’d contact Christine. She’s a widow and has walked the walk. Not to mention that she is one of the nicest human beings one will ever meet. No wonder she does so well at helping senior singles who are struggling to find their way. Here is Christine’s picture:

Photo courtesy of Christine Baumgartner

Christine’s email is christine@theperfect catch.com and her website is www.ThePerfectCatch.com

Contact her, you’ll be pleased that you did.

Senior dating and living topics


On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – October 15, 2021

by Tom Blake

Protecting personal information 

Champ Christine Baumgartner, our expert dating and relationship coach, shared a couple of notes about protecting personal information: 

1.    I’ve mentioned to my female clients to create a free Gmail address to use exclusively for their online dating. This will protect their personal information because as Tom mentioned, most of us have a way to ‘track us’ through our regular email address. 

2.    I also mention to them to sign up for a free phone number through Google Voice. It helps you protect your personal information just like the Gmail address does. Google assigns you an anonymous phone number that will route a call to your cell phone (just like online dating routes emails through their site to your personal email address). 

What do single younger men want? 

One woman Champ said, “On my ‘regular’ online dating site, I get contacted by many guys in their 50s. I am 68. I would NEVER go with anyone that young. And I’m sure I know what they are looking for.”   I asked her what that might be? Money? She responded: “S E X geez, had to spell it out?” 

She has responded before. She always adds a negative comment whenever she writes. No wonder she can’t find guys to date–the negativism shows through and is a turnoff to men.

My comment. “You say that guys in their 50s want to have sex with women near 70. RealIy? I think guys in their 50s want to have sex with women in their 40s. Silly me, I thought money might be the primary reason why women want older men.”

One male Champ responded to her: “She’s not living in reality. Hope springs eternal.”

Another woman Champ asked me to keep my eyes and ears open for single guys for her. She wrote: “Location doesn’t matter because I’m willing to relocate. I’ll be 75 next month.”

And then she listed the specific religion he must belong to and the specific political party he must belong to. 

My reply: At 75, location does matter? What if the guy lives 150+ miles away? How far is he going to be willing to travel to meet you and then to get to know you well enough to have you relocate to live with him? 

I don’t discuss religion or politics in my writing. However, without taking sides, I will say this: requiring a man or a woman to be of a specific religion and a specific political party will severely limit the number of men available to her, particularly if she is geographically undesirable for them. 

A male Champ stated that any woman in his life must be willing to attend Mass with him. He didn’t mention political party affiliation, but it’s likely also a factor with him. 

Lunch with the newest Champ Greta and I had lunch this week with our newest Champ, Jo, who said, “I’m 87. I have no interest in dating. I just enjoy your eNewsletter.” Jo is one sharp cookie and a beautiful person. 

A full dance-card 

Linda, Murrieta, California, emailed, “If you want to stay busy and possibly keep your dance card full, living in a 55-plus community with amenities is the way to go. These are tailored to my interests but there are so many more activities. Bingo every Friday night and it’s open to the public.

Line Dancing Saturday morning at 9:30

Aerobics, MWF at 9:45. Karaoke once a month. Genealogy once a month. Wine Club once a month. Tuesday Night Social, every week at 5.“There are card clubs, tennis, golf, and pickleball. If you don’t have fun, it’s your own fault.” 

Tom’s comment: Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to live in one of those 55+ communities. My mom did, for 30 years, a place called Oakmont, in Santa Rosa, California, and loved it. My siblings and I were blessed that she could afford it.” 

Second-date familiarity A woman who describes herself as Gypsy is hoping to get opinions from Champs about a man’s second-date behavior. She wrote, “On our second date, he kissed me full on the mouth without an invite, not unusual, but he kept kissing me to the point of it being uncomfortable. I pulled away. Had it been on the cheek or top of the head, it would have been acceptable. As candid as our Champs are, it would be interesting to hear what they think of this familiarity on a second date. I don’t recall seeing an article or debate on the topic.” 

Tom comment: Oh yikes, I think I’ll withhold my opinion, and ask our Champs if any of them will chime in. Can’t withhold my opinion: the guy was obnoxious.
One other item – Tom’s speech upcoming at Dana Point Historical Society

I mentioned that I will be the speaker at the Dana Point Historical Society meeting on Wednesday, October 27, at 7 p.m. in the Dana Point City Hall Chambers Meeting room. The topic: My new book, “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark.” There is no charge to attend. (See book cover image below)
However, seating will be very limited (55 people or less). I was previously told that a reservation would be required but that has changed. You can simply come to attend. I recommend arriving by 6:45 to ensure you won’t be standing in the hallway trying to listen. I’ll have some books to sign with me. 
Thanks for responding with your dating experiences and questions, which are essential in keeping our information fresh.

Lying about age on senior dating profile

  On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  Issue 7, February 14, 2020


Is Lying about age on senior dating profile acceptable?

by Columnist Tom Blake

This week, Champ Arlene, mid-60s, shared a story about a man who contacted her on a senior dating website. His profile stated he was 71, close enough in age, she felt, to be a potential mate.

Arlene emailed, “The guy wrote that he’d like to meet me at Starbucks. His photo looked ok. The location was near where I live so I agreed.

“He lives about 20 miles from me. I was sitting outside waiting for him, even though it was a bit chilly. When he walked up, he seemed much older than his photo.

“He had seen in my profile a picture of me on a cruise. He asked if I liked to cruise, to which I replied: ‘Yes, it’s my favorite thing to do.’

“He told me he’d been in the Navy and on many ships. I asked if it was during the Viet Nam War; he told me it was during the Korean War. Since I’m a Baby Boomer, guys in my age group were in the Viet Nam War, NOT the Korean War.

“I reminded him that his senior dating profile stated he was 71. He told me he’d ‘fudged’ his age a bit; he was 81! I let him ramble on for an hour about himself then told him I had many errands and had to leave.

“He had the nerve to contact me online again the next day. I told him we were not a match and that 81 was NOT 71!

“These guys never stop trying.”

chris and tina dancing feb 17
Chris and Tina told the truth about their ages 15 years ago and the truth paid off. They married in 2017. He’s early 80s; Tina’s late 70s.

I wondered why he lied to Arlene. I pondered what he may have thought; I’m only guessing but perhaps it was something along this line.

He saw her profile on the senior dating website. Her picture appealed to him; he found her attractive. She lived close enough to him that dating her would be convenient.

He thought her interests and hobbies meshed with his. After all, he had been in the Navy onboard ships and he had noticed that profile picture of her on the cruise ship.

Perhaps she had the characteristics he sought in a mate. From her profile, it appeared to him they could be a good match.

There was just one problem, of which he was oh-so aware–probably because he had experienced it previously, more than once–he was too old for her.

If he listed his true age, he wouldn’t get a date with Arlene because she was more than 10 years younger.

Maybe he was convinced that if he could just get to meet Arlene face-to-face, she might think he was so wonderful, that their 10-to-17-year age difference (whichever it was), wouldn’t matter. He may have thought he was being creative and didn’t think he was kidding himself or being delusional.

To improve his chances of getting a date with Arlene, he simply shaved 10 (or more) years off his true age, on his profile.

Technically, he was lying. But he believed it was just a little white lie. Besides, he promised himself that he’d reveal his true age when they met, after, of course, he’d had a chance to show her what a potentially great catch he’d be. Is lying to get one’s foot in the door wrong?

Perhaps he knew from previous experiences that the only way to get first dates with younger women was to lie on his profile.

Again, I can’t say if this is how his thinking went, or if any of my above speculation is true, but, I imagine, some of it is.

Christine Baumgartner, an Orange County dating and relationship coach, once told me, “When I work with my clients, I always insist they tell the truth about themselves, including their age. It’s very important not to lie.”

Some senior singles say, if people lie about their age, anything they say might be suspect.

I responded to Arlene: “He may have even been fudging a bit more. The Korean War was between 1950-1953. If he was, let’s say, 17, in 1950, that would make him approximately 87 now. If he was 17 in 1953, he’d be about 84 now. If he was older than 17 during the Korean War, he could be in his late 80s now.”

Lying about one’s age isn’t acceptable. Besides, the truth will emerge sooner or later.

Oh, and did I mention, I’m 64? Well, at least I once was!
****
Anecdote about age. As I was preparing this eNewsletter, Greta said, “An article I’m reading says Johnny Mathis is 83, Engelbert Humperdinck is 83, Tony Bennett ,94, and Clint Eastwood is 89.” I thought, oh my gosh, that can’t be possible.

The next Senior Meet and Greet in Dana Point, California, will be Thursday, February 27, 2020, at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, 34085 PCH, Dana Point, from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission free, appetizers free, beer and wine per glass $6.

In Search of That Special Someone

 On Life and Love after 50 e-Newsletter –  February 15, 2019
by Columnist Tom Blake
Senior Love: In Search of That Special Someone
Thank goodness, Valentine’s Day, 2019, is behind us. Frankly, I don’t like to write about it. Never have. The reason: In the 50-to-90 age range, there are many singles who don’t have a significant other and Valentine’s Day reminders can be a bit of a downer.

I don’t want to talk about a dozen red roses here, a box of chocolates there, a romantic dinner in some five-star restaurant, or cuddling in front of a fireplace. For people in committed relationships, they already know that’s the drill on V-Day.

But for many singles without a partner, Valentine’s Day can’t end soon enough. They have other things on their mind. As an example, last week, a very nice single woman sent this email:

She wrote, “I am new to your e-Newsletter and enjoying it. I’m 62, divorced twice and live in Orange County (California). You are my inspiration that there is that special someone out there for me!

“I also heard that you have a Facebook group that might be a good idea for me. I’m also wondering from your years of dealing with the subject if you have some very specific recommendations for dating sites. There are so many out there and I’d rather use a reliable and successful one rather than waste my time and money.”

My reply: “Our Facebook group is called Finding Love After 50. It’s a “closed” group; people must request to join. I keep it closed because there are many people lurking on the Internet and Facebook who have evil intentions, or ulterior motives that would not be beneficial to our group members.

“For example, they might want to promote a cause or a business that benefits only them, or establish contact with our members, only to eventually hurt, defraud, or cheat them. I cannot allow that to happen. I must keep the site safe.

(“Occasionally, a member will post too much drivel, so, I delete those posts. If over-posting continues, I will remove that member from the group–after a friendly warning, of course.)

“I prescreen everyone who requests to join the group. I check out each person’s Facebook page to see what they post, who their friends are, and try to get a feel for, ‘Yup, they’d fit in and contribute to our group.’ If they have no personal information that reveals who they are, I don’t let them in the door.

“You’d be amazed at what’s on people’s Facebook pages. Guns, violence, perversion, distasteful sexual content, extreme political views, and membership in hundreds of other groups, which indicates that the people have no actual interest in what our group stands for.

“You asked about recommendations for dating sites. Let me say this up front. What I said about Facebook misfits also applies to dating websites. Don’t get me wrong, online dating is a great tool for mature singles. It allows you to reach out across city limits, county and state borders and even into other countries. It dramatically increases your chances of meeting ‘that someone special,’ to which you refer.

“Still, you must be very careful and leery when dipping your toes into online dating. There are bad apples looking for vulnerable people age 50-plus and older. Trust your instincts. If something seems ‘not right,’ then it isn’t. Wednesday night, Greta and I saw a TV interview with a woman who got scammed out of her $30,000 of life savings (of which $20,000 was borrowed from neighbors), by a guy she had never met in person. Sounds foolish and very stupid, but it was also sad.

“If you do meet in person, do so in a public place, tell your friends with whom you are meeting, check the person out carefully beforehand, and consider doing a background check.

“Of course, never send or give money to a stranger.

“What sites are best? Match.com still ranks high, in my opinion, but not perfect. I met a neighbor this week who lives a few houses away. He and his woman friend met on Match.

“Our Time is for older people, and again not perfect. Those are two suggestions. I’m sure our Champs will mention other sites as well. Meeting that someone special can happen, however, on any dating site. This book, features the stories of 58 couples who met after age 50 (the title says 50 couples, but it’s indeed 58, which is another story). A few of our Champs are included in the book.

                                       
  Tom’s book is available via his bookstore at https://www.findingloveafter50.com/bookstore

“A woman named Christine Baumgartner is an Orange County relationship coach who is a part of our group. She is a wonderful person and has helped many people in their search for love. She often posts to our Finding Love After 50 group site. Her email is Christine@theperfectcatch.com. Website: www.theperfectcatch.com.

“Christine is leading a panel discussion on Feb 26, 5:30-8:30 p.m., of a woman’s group called WomanSage. I will be on that panel. It will be held at the Center Club, in Costa Mesa, adjacent to the Segerstrom Theatre. That would be a good event for you to attend. For details, go to the website below. Details of the event are on the home page where you see the roses and bottle of champagne. You do not have to be a member of WomanSage to purchase a ticket (www.womansage.org)

“Stay in touch and we’ll help in your search for that special someone.”

I realize that not all of our Champs live close enough to Orange County to attend that evening but people in Southern California would enjoy it.

However, this woman’s situation is similar to millions of other singles across North America. The key to meeting new people, and possibly finding that special someone, is to get out and join new groups. Making women friends is a good way to begin.

Yelling doesn’t help anything

October 5, 2018, aboard the ms Amsterdam in the north Pacific Ocean

Yelling or being yelled at doesn’t help anything

by Columnist Tom Blake

Before leaving on this cruise that my significant other, Greta, and I are currently taking, I read an article titled, “Don’t make excuses for a husband’s yelling.” It was written by Carolyn Hax, an advice columnist using a format similar to Dear Abby, dated September 2, 2018, in the Washington Post.

I could relate to what Ms. Hax wrote. Before I met Greta 20 years ago, I was in a committed relationship–not a marriage–with a woman who yelled at me.

I decided to save the article until I had ample time aboard ship to deal with the topic of dealing with an angry yelling mate.

And then, on September 28, I received even more inspiration to write on the topic when Champ Christine Baumgartner, a knowledgeable relationship coach, with whom most of you are familiar, posted a simple notice on the On Life and Love After 50 Facebook group that read:

“But I love him isn’t a good enough reason to stay with a man who doesn’t treat you with respect.”

So, out here on the Pacific Ocean, as our ship heads toward Dutch Harbor, Alaska, I studied Ms. Hax’s article. A woman had written Hax stating: “My husband is wonderful, supportive, kind…We have been together a long time and love each other dearly.

We do have one recurring issue. When he gets angry, he yells. This is not necessarily at me…But…which is sometimes directed at me—and I cringe at his anger in general.

I came from a home where yelling was the precursor to something worse…So, he yells, I get upset and (often) defensive, we fight.

I feel like he gets so angry, so quickly, over so many things that it makes me reluctant to tell him things that are negative…I know we are both at fault: He needs to control his temper and I need to be less sensitive.”

The woman also wrote that she had considered seeing a marriage counselor, but “it has never gotten that bad.”

Ms. Hax replied to the lady: “Not that bad? You’re not happy with things this way…Please trust your gut.”

Based on my experience with my yelling, former girlfriend, who would slowly get angry and raise the sound level of her voice to screaming level, as if she had an anger accelerator within her body, although I had done absolutely nothing to trigger it, I learned that people must extricate themselves from this type of relationship.

Being yelled at raises one’s stress level and is bad for one’s health. It’s like walking on egg shells. You always wonder when the next outburst is coming. It’s no way to live.

It was hard to end the relationship because I cared, but as stated in Christine’s Facebook post, being disrespected—and being yelled at is just that—isn’t worth the “but I love him” title.

Often, it’s hard to discuss your concerns with the person who yells at you. They simply get angrier and yell or scream more. Couples often seek counseling but that doesn’t always work either.

When my yelling girlfriend and I went to counseling, as we walked from the car to the counselor’s office, she said, “Don’t tell her the truth.” And got angry when I tried to explain that that was why we were there. We never went back.

If you are dealing with a person who yells at you, or you yell at him, confront it, get it fixed, or get out.

Part 2 -Cruise update

We have been at sea for five days, having left Los Angeles Harbor Sunday at 4:30 p.m. There are approximately 1,000 passengers aboard. Finally, on Wednesday, we had some sunshine and blue skies.

Internet is iffy because it’s done via satellite. We usually can access our email accounts, but opening websites like Facebook or CBS Sports is sporadic at best. Probably like most passengers, we’ll try to get in some internet action while ashore in Dutch Harbor.

On Tuesday, we met 12 people–two at lunch, six at a small cocktail party and four at dinner. Two were from San Antonio, Texas, one from Dallas. Three from Mississippi, two from Colorado, two from the Imperial Valley in California, one from Atlanta, and one from New Orleans. 

Everybody has a story. That’s one of the things that makes cruising so interesting. 

Being yelled at doesn’t help anything

October 5, 2018, aboard the ms Amsterdam in the north Pacific Ocean

Being yelled at doesn’t help anything

by Columnist Tom Blake

Before leaving on this cruise that my significant other, Greta, and I are currently taking, I read an article titled, “Don’t make excuses for a husband’s yelling.” It was written by Carolyn Hax, an advice columnist using a format similar to Dear Abby, dated September 2, 2018, in the Washington Post.

I could relate to what Ms. Hax wrote. Before I met Greta 20 years ago, I was in a committed relationship–not a marriage–with a woman who yelled at me.

I decided to save the article until I had ample time aboard ship to deal with the topic of dealing with an angry, yelling mate.

And then, on September 28, I received even more inspiration to write on the topic when Champ Christine Baumgartner, a knowledgeable relationship coach, with whom most of you are familiar, posted a simple notice on the On Life and Love After 50 Facebook group that read:

“But I love him isn’t a good enough reason to stay with a man who doesn’t treat you with respect.”

So, out here on the Pacific Ocean, as our ship heads toward Dutch Harbor, Alaska, I studied Ms. Hax’s article. A woman had written Hax stating: “My husband is wonderful, supportive, kind…We have been together a long time and love each other dearly.

We do have one recurring issue. When he gets angry he yells. This is not necessarily at me…But…which is sometimes directed at me—and I cringe at his anger in general.

I came from a home where yelling was the precursor to something worse…So, he yells, I get upset and (often) defensive, we fight.

I feel like he gets so angry, so quickly, over so many things that it makes me reluctant to tell him things that are negative…I know we are both at fault: He needs to control his temper and I need to be less sensitive.”

The woman also wrote that she had considered seeing a marriage counselor, but “it has never gotten that bad.”

Ms. Hax replied to the lady: “Not that bad? You’re not happy with things this way…Please trust your gut.”

Based on my experience with my yelling, former girlfriend, who would slowly get angry and raise the sound level of her voice to screaming level, as if she had an anger accelerator within her body, although I had done absolutely nothing to trigger it, I learned that people must extricate themselves from this type of relationship.

Being yelled at raises one’s stress level and is bad for one’s health. It’s like walking on egg shells. You always wonder when the next outburst is coming. It’s no way to live.

It was hard to end the relationship because I cared, but as stated in Christine’s Facebook post, being disrespected—and being yelled at is just that—isn’t worth the “but I love him” title.

Often, it’s hard to discuss your concerns with the person who yells at you. They simply get angrier and yell or scream more. Couples often seek counseling but that doesn’t always work either.

When my yelling girlfriend and I went to counseling, as we walked from the car to the counselor’s office, she said, “Don’t tell her the truth.” And got angry when I tried to explain that that was why we were there. We never went back.

If you are dealing with a person who yells at you, or you yell at him, confront it, get it fixed, or get out.

Part 2 -Cruise update

We have been at sea for five days, having left Los Angeles Harbor Sunday at 4:30 p.m. There are approximately 1,000 passengers aboard. Finally, on Wednesday, we had some sunshine and blue skies.

Internet is iffy because it’s done via satellite. We usually can access our email accounts, but opening websites like Facebook or CBS Sports is sporadic at best. Probably like most passengers, we’ll try to get in some internet action while ashore in Dutch Harbor.

On Tuesday, we met 12 people–two at lunch, six at a small cocktail party and four at dinner. Two were from San Antonio, Texas, one from Dallas. Three from Mississippi, two from Colorado, two from the Imperial Valley in California, one from Atlanta, and one from New Orleans. 

Everybody has a story. That’s one of the things that makes cruising so interesting. 

Living Apart Together (LAT) Relationships update

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – January 12, 2018

Tom Blake

Update on Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships

Last year, I received an email that piqued my interest. It was about a March 20, 2017, article posted on www.nextavenue.org, titled, “Older Adults Embrace ‘Living Apart Together,’” by Sheena Rice.

From that article, I learned a new term that described a type of senior romantic relationship: LAT (an acronym for Living Apart Together). I checked Wikipedia’s description of a LAT “…couples who have an intimate relationship but live at separate addresses.”

In Ms. Rice’s article, she included comments from researchers from the University of Missouri. Rice said, “The researchers found that (LAT) couples were motivated by desires to stay independent, maintain their own homes, sustain existing family boundaries and remain financially independent.”

I wrote about LAT relationships in our June 23, 2017, newsletter, which included quotes from four of our Champs. All newsletters are posted to my Finding Love After 50 website.

The week after the newsletter was published, three more Champs commented on LAT relationships. Here are excerpts from their comments:

Kenny, “Just one single-over-50-year-old guy’s opinion: I have ONLY been married “twice.” That would be the “first” time and the “last” time. I feel at this stage of my life, 68, there is almost NO (like 1/10th of 1%) upside to co-habitate or remarry, especially with the multiple legal complications of either the cohabitation or marriage agreement and contract, and that includes even an expensive “can-always-be-challenged” legal prenuptial agreement.

“And NO, I am NOT some bitter cynical divorcee. Really, it’s just 2017, just common sense, and I will never justify ‘living together’ to lessen a few $$$ of living expenses.

“I have seen way too many move-in-together couples justify this, “Oh “dahhh-ling, look-at-all-the-money-we-will-save-living-together” arrangement, only to go up-in-smoke (and lots of flames), followed by one helluva mighty big honkin’ litigation full of money mess.

“But, I am currently in a committed relationship. We maintain separate residences and are agreeable to NOT mix our children and our finances.

“Yet, we care for each other (and luv each other to bits and plan to ‘go the distance’) and are totally there for each other. We travel together and all our children / family / friends recognize us as a couple.”

Phil, “I spent 21 years with my wife in a LAT. In the end, not good. We found we had nothing in common. So, we lived apart. But I could not elect the option of divorce, thinking we might reconcile. I was with my wife 24/7 in her dying days.

“In 20/20 hindsight, I would have done something else (about a divorce). With Sue now in my life in 2017, the past all seems like an ‘uncomfortable period.’”

Note from Tom: Phil and Sue, Jackson High School (Jackson, Michigan) classmates of mine, married in 2017. They had not seen each other in 50-plus years. Phil sadly passed away four months after the marriage.

Relationship counselor Christine Baumgartner, said, “I have a neighbor who has been in a LAT relationship for five years. Her partner lives four miles away. They usually see each other every day and spend most nights together at each other’s homes. They share their lives with each other and are both financially comfortable with this arrangement. I asked them why it worked for them.

“She said his house is full of electronics and stuff (which he isn’t going to change) and if she lived there full-time it would make her crazy. This is the only thing she doesn’t love about him and knows it would be a breaking point for both.

“She also said she loves having her own home that she can keep ‘just her way.’ He said he wants her to be happy when she’s with him and knows their LAT is the perfect way to achieve this.”

   2018 update on LAT relationships 

This week, the above mentioned, Sheena Rice, of the University of Missouri News Bureau, sent a follow-up press release quoting Jacquelyn Benson, assistant professor of human development and family science, who is an expert on LAT relationships.

Professor Benson raised this issue: In a LAT relationship, where committed couples live apart, what happens to the relationship and living arrangement when one of the members needs care giving or has other serious health issues? Does it change the living arrangement?

Professor Benson is doing a great service to unwed, committed senior couples, by stressing the importance of “having the talk” beforehand about what happens to the arrangement if someone gets seriously ill.

She interviewed people age 60+ who are in LAT relationships to shed light on her concern. In the press release, she was quoted, “Most of the individuals we interviewed had not been tested by the realities of caregiving within their current LAT partnerships.”

But she did say, “…couples also are willing to make changes in living arrangements to provide care giving support to one another.” That was very encouraging to hear.

Professor Benson added: “Discussions about end-of-life planning and caregiving can be sensitive to talk about; however, LAT couples should make it a priority to have these conversations both as a couple and with their families.”

 Unwed senior couples–whether in a LAT or living together–instead of texting, should have face to face “the talk”

Ms. Benson admits more research is needed to gain understanding on this important topic. The press release added, “Benson is seeking older adults from around the country who are choosing to live apart (in a LAT relationship) or living together unmarried (cohabiting).”

If you would like to participate in her research (both partners must agree to participate), contact me and I tell you how to get in touch with her. Our group might be able to give her some valuable insights on this issue affecting older adult couples.

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                            Clarification about last week’s article

Clarification on last week’s eNewsletter from Althea, the woman who is care giving the couple (both 81) in Yuba City, California. Althea emailed, “You did a good job and quoted me correctly except for the place where you wrote that the daughter had ‘hired me.’ I wasn’t hired, in the sense that it’s a job and I get paid…I don’t get any money.

“The ‘pay’ is I get room and board free in exchange for what I do to help them…be company for the wife, making meals, keeping the house as clean as I can (they have housekeepers who come every other week).  And I supply a dog since they lost theirs. Animal love is very important.”

Thanks Althea for setting the record straight.