Senior woman is afraid to say “I Love You” to her man

 On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter –  March 26, 2020

by Columnist Tom Blake

                                  Senior   Woman is afraid to say “I Love You” to her man

 (Today’s column has been edited for length and clarity. Names have been changed at woman’s request).

Is Champ Corrine overthinking her relationship? Did she put unnecessary pressure on her new man friend? Here’s her story.

Corrine wrote, “I was married for 24 years (1st and only marriage) and divorced in January 2018 at age 63. Six months after the divorce I decided to go online (OurTIme). 

“I couldn’t believe my luck. Within three months, I met two men face to face, both on the same day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Both men were very nice; but I enjoyed meeting Richard more, the afternoon date.

“We immediately started dating and were committed to each other rather quickly. He had been in a 15-year relationship and was anxious to meet another woman. We were exclusive in that neither he nor I saw anyone else and spent every weekend together. We lived about 25 minutes by car from each other.

“We got along fabulously. We had some differences, but nothing so significant that it would be a relationship deal-breaker. We played golf and pickleball, went to movies, cooked together and, did things around the house. After nine months we talked about a future together with the possibility that he would rent out his house and move into mine.

“On June 2, 2019,  I was supposed to go to his home for dinner, but was tired and didn’t go. I called and texted but no response. I figured he was upset with me and I didn’t think too much more about his not calling back. On June 4, I received a phone call. Richard had suffered a massive heart attack and died. My world was shattered. This lovely, beautiful man was taken too early from us. He was 68; I was 64.

“I mourned and grieved and did not go back online for nine months. Then Covid hit. I messaged a few men, but no long-lasting connections were made. 

“In July of 2020, I met Tony, We hit it off instantly, even during Covid. We have been in an exclusive relationship for eight months. He lives a half-hour away. Tony is a beautiful man, inside and out. He was married three times and in each case, he left his wives. He has also lived with a few women and I believe he left them as well. When Tony becomes ‘unhappy’ he leaves, but he says he always tried to work it out first.”

Tom’s comment: Might Tony’s track record of leaving relationships be a red flag, although Corrine feels he’s a beautiful man?

Corrine continued, “We spend every weekend together. We have so much in common. We love to dance, discuss politics, play golf, pickleball, and even take bubble baths together.

Couples who dance together, often make great partners
                                                                 photo by Tom in Madrid

I laugh as I have never laughed before. We have an intimate relationship and you would never know I am 65 and he is 71. We act and play like we are 35. So one might be asking, ‘What is the problem?’ I love Tony very much. I believe he is my soulmate. I don’t tell him that because I don’t want to scare him or put undue pressure on him. 

She wants a life partner

“However, not long ago, I did say to Tony, “I want a life partner. Not marriage, but a  partner to spend the rest of my life with.” 

“He shocked me by saying: ‘I don’t know if I am that life partner for you.’ 

He indicated that with his track record, he was surprised I would even want him for my life partner. He said he now feels some pressure in the relationship. I can’t imagine ever being happier with another man and quite frankly can’t believe he could be happier with another woman.”

Tom’s comment: Can Tony be happy with any woman? He’s bailed on three wives and “a few other women.” That’s another red flag.

Corrine added, “I didn’t mean that we should move in with each other. What I was trying to convey is if things continue to be this good, I would love to have him in my life as we enter the final chapter of our lives. 

I then made a mistake by saying, ‘I hope you are not wasting my time,’ which of course, created more pressure on him. The following day, I felt so bad, I told him he is not wasting my time, that every minute, every day, that I spend with him, is glorious and I am happy for whatever time we have with each other.

Tom’s comment: The words: “I hope you aren’t wasting my time” were a poor choice by Corrine. Who knows what thoughts those words put into Tony’s head.

Corrine resumed, “My worry: Will he leave me and run because of what I said? Some friends think I should be grateful for this beautiful man and enjoy today and be thankful for the moment and not worry about tomorrow. Others feel I was being true to myself and simply telling him my expectations. I don’t want to lose him. Did I screw it up, by discussing my desire for a life partner?

“A couple of months later, things are still very good between us. I do not bring up my ‘life partner’ comment nor marriage (which I don’t necessarily want or need).

“I’m afraid to tell him I love him but do say, ‘I adore you.’ He says the same to me. I just somehow wish I knew we will be together in the years ahead. I know there are no guarantees in life, even when you are married, but I just feel somewhat insecure, which is not typically like me! 

“I want to make plans and talk about the future. AND NOT JUST ABOUT NEXT WEEKEND.”

What do you Champs think?

What do unwed senior couples call themselves?

August 31, 2018

In the 24 years of writing newspaper columns and eNewsletters about senior relationships, there is a question for which I’ve never had a good answer. Until now. Perhaps.

The question: What do unwed senior couples call themselves?

I was reminded of that question by Mark Flannery, Fullerton, California, who emailed: “Donna and I have been together for eight and a half years. We were having lunch in Dana Point (California) with Wally Horn and his partner of 30 years, Bobbi, and this question arose: ‘What do we call ourselves? Partners? Companions? Significant others? Boyfriend/girlfriend?’”

I can relate to Mark’s question. My partner Greta and I have been together for 20 years. We aren’t married. I still find myself wondering how to introduce her. Often, “Life Partner” comes to mind. It’s an okay term, but I still get a puzzled look from people who seem to be wondering what the heck a life partner is, or they think it’s a lame explanation for why we aren’t married.

Greta and I enjoy taking cruises. We always opt for open-seating at night in the dining room, which means we are usually seated with different people every night. Frequently, table mates ask, “How long have you two been married?” Greta and I look at each other and one of us responds, “We’ve been together for 20 years.”

Most couples accept that answer, thinking we’re married. It’s easier to leave it that way than trying to explain that we are significant others or life partners or whatever we are calling ourselves at the moment.

When Greta and I would visit my mom in her retirement community in Santa Rosa, when we were out socially with Mom’s friends, Mom would introduce Greta by saying, “This is Tom’s Greta.” That was her way of saying we were living together and not married, which she probably wasn’t entirely thrilled about.

One business who knows Greta and I aren’t married but live together are the fine folks at the Sea View Pharmacy in San Clemente, California. When I pick up my prescriptions there, they don’t say, “Do you want to pick up your wife’s prescriptions?” Instead, they ask, “Do you want your partner Greta’s prescriptions also?”

In his email, Mark Flannery added, “Donna and I are a LAT (living apart together) couple. She is 69, still working, and lives in Irvine. I’m 71, retired and live in Fullerton. We go back and forth between the two cities a lot.”

Mark added, “Our friend Wally is 84 and Bobbi is 75. They are both retired and have been together for almost 30 years. When we were talking about what to call ourselves, I floated an idea I’ve had for some time: ‘Semispouse.

It received a favorable response from our little group. It isn’t perfect, but it seems to have some qualities the other labels lack. The term is included in the Urban Dictionary.”

At first, I thought the semispouse term a little bizarre, visualizing a semi-truck driver with his wife riding with him in the cab.

I looked up the term in the Urban Dictionary. It’s definition: “A significant other that plays the role of a spouse without being legally married.”

And then I decided, when written, the term semispouse would look better with a hyphen inserted: semi-spouse.

While semi-spouse for unwed senior couples will work for now, still, I’m all ears to hear our Champs’ suggestions for what to call unwed couples. Just don’t call us, “Old fogies living together!”

What do senior couples call themselves? Not old fogies that’s for sure. How about active, fun loving,energetic significant others or semi-spouses. Who cares really? Just go out and have a blast.