Senior sex and commitment

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – October 21, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

Senior dating is difficult with a myriad of challenging issues–trying to meet people to date, the lack of available single men, ghosting, scamming, gaslighting, dating married men, and a plethora of different relationship types such as long-distance, non-romantic, friends-with-benefits, and living-apart-together relationships, for example.

And then there’s another important senior dating issue that I tend to avoid: senior sex and intimacy. Why? It’s too personal! I feel uncomfortable writing about it, although I think it’s an important issue for seniors and I admit I’m physical myself.

Usually, the topic of senior sex and intimacy gets included in this eNewsletter when a Champ fires off a question or comment that makes me squirm a little. It happened this week when Champ Jerry, not his true name, sent an email. He and I have been buddies for a couple of years and I thought this is an important topic for seniors.

Jerry emailed, “It is weird being out there at age 81. Many of the women with whom I talk say that all the men they meet just want to get into the sack with them but with no real ongoing relationship. Generally, those women state it’s not worth the bother. Consequently, many senior women simply avoid the dating scene entirely.

“It is just my impression, but when you start sleeping together it becomes more emotional. At some level that implies more of a commitment.”

Comment by Tom: “Geez, Jerry, thanks for clarifying the sleeping together/commitment issue. That may be helpful to some of those men referred to above who just want sex without a commitment.”  

Jerry continued: “I really like sex, but I have not been pursuing it because I don’t want to hurt the other person by not following through with an emotional and enduring commitment. The other side of that is I am picky so that is frustrating as well. I suspect I am not unique in my feelings but, who knows?”

Quirky but not kinky

Jerry added, “So here is the quirky thing. I live in the city of Laguna Woods, in Orange County, California, with 18,000 people over the age of 55, mainly property owners. Of those, 6,000 are men and 12,000 are women. I am assuming that 5,000 of the men are married, which leaves 1,000 single men.

The dreaded senior dating ratio

“The remaining 5,000 married men are married to women of Laguna Woods, which leaves approximately 7,000 unattached women living here. That represents an approximate ratio of single women to single menof seven-to-one. I have heard the ratio is more like eight-to-one, also a ballpark figure. Some women–consistent with the lack of interest in dating that I mentioned above–are not available to date. Regardless, that still suggests there are lots of ladies out there.”

Comment from Tom: I have referred to this ratio in previous eNewsletters and newspaper columns as “The dreaded senior dating ratio.” An 8-to-1 ratio is pretty dreadful, and so is seven-to-one.

Jerry continued, “I have some lady friends that appeal to me on one level or another, but it just hasn’t reached the Physical stage, a la the Olivia Newton-John 1981 record. I suspect it will come but who knows when?  ‘T’is a conundrum.”

Tom’s comment: Often, when a song is mentioned in an eNewsletter or one pops into my head, a link is included to that song. But I must admit I wasn’t a fan of that Physical song, and the video is kind of sleazy so no link to it is included today.

2-WAY STREET

Jerry concluded with: “The final issue is, while someone might appeal to me it does not necessarily follow that I would appeal to her. It is not her fault that I don’t float her boat. The ending remark is from a friend who a lifetime ago said “Om, All will be revealed. Om.”

Tom’s summary comment: I would think an 81-year-old single guy living in the same small community as 7,000 single women aged 55-plus could find a compatible woman who appeals to him physically and she to him. Perhaps, he’s undecided because there are so many desirable women from which to choose.

And then there is the commitment issue that accompanies the senior sex topic.

Of course, how single seniors define commitment as it pertains to senior sex needs to be decided between consenting partners. Dating exclusively? Living together? Getting married (doubtful)? Personally, I think an exclusive commitment is the way to go.

Let’s hear what Champs have to say about this touchy subject.

And speaking of commitments, to enjoy these “Humps,” a commitment of 300 yards is required

Dating a still-married man

On life and love after 50 eNewsletter

Like a rubber ball (bouncy, bouncy)

October 14, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

Dating a still-married man, while enjoying the domestic side of life (bouncy/bouncy)

Let’s say you’re 60 or older and single again. You might be divorced or in the process of getting a divorce. Or perhaps you’re a widow, or a widower. You admit you are a bit lonely, so you’ve decided to put yourself out there into the dating world in hopes of meeting a compatible mate.

You are committed to getting off the couch and out of the house to focus on interacting with friends and meeting new friends. Perhaps you are considering online dating.

You don’t want marriage, just someone you’d enjoy being with. Someone who shares your values and interests. You’ve managed to have a few dates, but no one has clicked yet.

And then someone comes along who adds a little spark to your life. You think that perhaps a relationship could evolve. It’s hard because you find yourself comparing that new person to your ex and they don’t have all of the qualities that your former partner had.

Dating a still-married man

You’ve had some interesting conversations with the person, which have revealed a small red flag or two. Take, for example, Jane (not her true name, changed by request), who emailed, “Four months ago, I met Bill (not his true name either) online. He’s been separated for two years from his wife of 26 years.

“On our first date, the hours flew by. We had fun conversation and seemed to connect. Afterward, he emailed saying he had a great time, and our interests were similar.

“I wrote back expressing two concerns based on our discussion. One being that he is from Canada (his company transferred him to the USA) and his family lives 16 hours away by car. What would happen if he got homesick and wanted to move back there to live?

“And second, his marital status: I would be dating a still-married man, separated for two years. What is really going on there?”

These two issues trouble me a bit but he and I discussed them.

“He assured me that he’s here to stay, that his family is in full support of his being here and his divorce is pending because he owes his attorney money and that was all that was needed to get the ball rolling.” Hence, I’d be dating a still-married man.

While Jane mentioned that she intended to proceed slowly with Bill, she rationalized that she too was once in the same position: separated, heart ready to move on, but a legal system that can take a long time to finalize a divorce.

Jane added, “I have seen his divorce papers, so I know he’s working on the final stuff, and he was truthful with me. I gave him a chance because I had someone take a chance on me while waiting for my divorce to be final. So that concern has been eased a bit.

“We’ve had an awesome four months together. He helped me with remodeling my townhouse and he met my family. We spent a weekend away exploring galleries and hiking. We enjoy our downtime after work and making dinner together—enjoying the domestic side of life.

You bounce my heart around

“Then, suddenly, the rug was pulled out from under my feet. Now he’s telling me that his head says one thing but his heart another, that there is a wall up. Apparently, he was hurt as a teenager by a relationship and again when he arrived in the states. It’s taken him six months to get over his latest heartbreak. He thinks if people must work at a relationship, it’s not the real thing.”

Jane rationalized again, stating: “He is bewildered and confused by his feelings, due in part to a lack of senior dating experience. This guy hasn’t ‘found’ himself yet.

“I must let time take care of things. I like him, but only he can find himself. He feels bad that he hurt me. His being in my life has been a positive thing; I experienced how wonderful it is to have someone REALLY treat me like a woman, which I haven’t experienced in a very long time.”

I hear what Jane says, but Bill didn’t treat her like a woman for long. She feels he backed off because of “a lack of senior dating experience.” What the heck does that have to do with it?

Rather, her situation reminds me of the 2004 book “he’s just not that into you.”

Seniors who choose to date again need to trust their instincts and keep their expectations in check. I think Jane needs to get on with her life.

Remember the Bobby Vee hit song “Rubber Ball” that was popular 61 years ago in 1961? Jane fits that mold. Perhaps if he finds himself and bounces back into her life, she’ll avoid becoming a rubber ball by ensuring he is only true to one woman (she).

Here’s the second verse:

“I’m like a rubber ball.

“Baby that’s all I am to you (bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)

“Just a rubber ball

“Cause you think you can be true to two (bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)

“You bounce my heart around (you don’t even put her down)

“And like a rubber ball, I keep bouncing back to you.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=rubber+ball+song+1961&view=detail&mid=8D216B6F768D19ACD98B8D216B6F768D19ACD98B&FORM=VIRE0&ru=%2fsearch%3fq%3drubber%2bball%2bsong%2b1961%26qs%3dUT%26pq%3drubber%2bball%2bsong%26sk%3dAS1MT1%26sc%3d10-16%26cvid%3d4FB1FE07EB77432F8FC2BB34149EE72A%26FORM%3dQBRE%26sp%3d3″

Popular 2004 book, “he’s just not that into you”

A Tweet from Rosanne Cash

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter (special edition)

September 24, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

Picture of Johnny Cash and a future king together (photo courtesy of Rosanne Cash) below

Johnny Cash with Prince Charles (photo courtesy of Rosanne Cash)

Our Champ Andrew emailed on Tuesday a “heads up” of a Twitter post by Rosanne Cash, the youngest daughter of Johnny Cash. Andrew didn’t know if I had seen the @rosannecash post. I hadn’t and really appreciate him sending it to me. 

I have known Rosanne for 46 years and Greta and I try to see her in concert when she performs within an hour or two from our home. Rosanne is in the Country Music Hall of Fame (along with her dad) and is extremely talented and intelligent. Here’s what her Twitter post stated (keep in mind, this was the day after Queen Elizabeth’s funeral):

“I’ve been debating all day whether or not to post this photo, but it’s just too good to keep it under wraps. I expect a lot of captions, but none I haven’t thought of already. But go right ahead.” 

I decided to provide a caption that I can guarantee neither Rosanne nor any of her 103,000 likes followers thought of. As a co-producer of Johnny’s album of train songs, “Destination Victoria Station,” I came up with this caption:

Tom Blake

@TootScoot

Replying to @rosannecash

“Johnny wrote a song titled “Destination Victoria Station,” about the Victoria Station train station in London. Album is the same name. JRC nailed it. The other guy in the photo passed through the Victoria Station train station but was probably lost. John is giving him directions!”

The other guy in the picture is King Charles III in his much younger days. 

Destination Victoria Station record album by Johnny Cash
Reunion with Rosanne Cash. Pam Peters (Tom’s sister) Christine Blake (Tom’s sister), Rosanne Cash, Tom, Greta after Rosanne performed in Poway, California in March, 2020

Widow wedding ring

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

by Columnist Tom Blake

September 23, 2022

Widow wedding ring dilemma

Dee has been a Champ for several years. She used to attend the Senior Singles Meet and Greet gatherings at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, which I owned for 25 years. The last time I saw Dee was a year ago in August at a book signing held at the deli. At that time, she told me, “Things are going well, a lot has changed, all positive. I got married two years ago to Ron.” 

On July 31 this year, Dee emailed me an update, “I wonder if you remember my email from last year at some point where I talked about Ron’s and my relationship and how we had gotten married after he was in a terrible accident that killed his brother and caused so much damage to Ron’s body, caused brain trauma and hurt his spirit. 

“Well, Ron passed away two days ago, on Friday, after spending a week in the ICU at Saddleback Memorial. He had this stubborn cough that would not let up. Turned out he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to his lungs.

“Now I am a widow from my ‘fifth and final’ husband. When he asked me to marry him in 2017, he said he wanted to be my ‘fifth and final.’ This deep grief is new territory for me. We were supposed to ‘grow old together, the best was yet to be.’” 

“I am so sad. Thank you for being there.”

Dee’s news was a shock to me. Besides Dee, I’ve had three other women friends become widows in the last 12 months. I admire their strength in dealing with their respective losses. Each is dealing with her situation in her own unique way.  

On September 13, Dee updated me, “I have been a widow for eight weeks and wonder ‘What’s going to happen in the future?’ For the first few weeks, I jealously guarded my wedding ring! I did not want to remove it even for a moment. 

“As the weeks went by, I began to think about the ring. My husband Ron and I had two sets of matching rings plus I have a gold band as well. I started changing my rings to go with my mood or my outfit for the day. I still want to wear it. I will never forget him or cast off our marriage. 

“But I am starting to think about the symbolization the ring stands for. It says, ‘I’m a married woman, but I realize I’m not anymore.’ I have no intention of dating. I recognize I have many months of contemplation and reflection ahead of me, and I just want some companionable friends and people to spend time with, nothing romantic.  

“What do you think our Champs would say about wearing a wedding ring after one’s spouse has passed away? How does one decide when and if to remove the symbol of marriage? I was going to start by changing the placement, going from my ring finger on the left to the ring finger on the right…start there and see how it feels. To me, this sounds reasonable, but I almost feel disloyal. Wedding ring guilt.

“As far as the pictures go, his old room is now back to being an office and most of the pictures of him and of us are in there. I moved all but my favorite one from my room two weeks after he died because seeing his smiling face was wrenching. 

“I like to see his picture before I turn the lights out. His 11” x 14” portrait picture that was taken after his accident-repair dental work is on the dining table, and I see it often, and I love it!

“When he was in the accident many of his front teeth were damaged, so he got them all fixed up and gained an even more amazing smile. The dentist sent him to a photographer for a portrait for their office (before and after). The photographer was kind enough to send me a larger portrait since I only had a 5×7. 

“Ron’s life changed immensely once we met, dated, married. His daughter tells me his life unfolded five-fold and he was SO happy. Many people that knew him for years like co-workers and friends told me the same thing. Our relationship opened many new doors for him and I was happy and thrilled to bring these things like college and travel into his life. 

“This created some challenges for us, we had different value systems that we had to learn to integrate, but we got there, and we became best friends who looked out for each other, loved up on each other, and made our tiny home a cozy little nest and had so many adventures together.

“When/if the time comes, I will put some of the pictures away if necessary. But for now, I think you can see that I’m very confused. What might Champs say?”

Close encounter with a future king

2009 Casablanca Valley Wine country brochure

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

By Tom Blake columnist

September 16, 2022

Close encounter with a future king and queen consort

On March 1, 2009, Greta and I flew from Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile, to begin a three-week land tour of South America. Because we were unfamiliar with Santiago, we booked a tour guide named Mauricio Yanez Mora to pick us up at the Santiago Airport and transfer us to the Orly Boutique Hotel, where we would stay for three nights.

We also scheduled Mauricio to show us around the city on a half-day tour the following day.

Greta and I were so impressed with Mauricio that we hired him to drive us on a day trip to view the Casablanca Valley wine country and the port city of Valparaiso on March 3. Valparaiso is 75 miles from Santiago. (See the brochure from 2009 above).

Our first stop in the gorgeous Chilean countryside was at Emiliana, an organic winery, about an hour west of Santiago. The autumn leaves were starting to turn; the scenery was breathtaking. 

There were only a few other visitors at the vineyard that morning. We walked 45 minutes around the grounds, seeing geese, roosters, hens, and other birds, which ate the bug pests, instead of the winery using pesticides. There were llamas around the vineyard. We were able to sample some wines in the wine shop.

When we returned to Mauricio’s car, he discovered his car battery was dead. The winery had no battery charging equipment. Mauricio borrowed a phone and summoned a truck from Valparaiso to fix the battery problem. We’d be on our way in a half hour or so.

And then, a bizarre event occurred that startled Greta, me, and Mauricio as well. Seven green and white police motorcycles came into the vineyard with lights flashing and flags flying, followed by two army trucks, also with lights flashing. The motorcycles and trucks turned in our direction. There were three sharpshooters standing in the back of each truck, holding high-powered rifles and machine guns.

The three of us looked at each other. Had we done something wrong? Were we going to jail? Would we be victims of a military coup? The trucks and motorcycles passed within 20 feet of us and in less than two minutes, they disappeared into the vineyards. They appeared to be looking for someone in hiding.

Mauricio asked the vineyard employees what was going on. We were relieved to hear that it was merely a security check by the police and military in advance of a visit to the winery by Prince Charles and Camilla from the U.K. who were visiting the vineyard on March 5. Apparently, Prince Charles’ hobby was organic farming.

Not to be political, but I didn’t care that Prince Charles and Camilla were visiting the winery because I wasn’t a big fan of Prince Charles at that time.

Before long we were on our way to Valparaiso, a bit relieved that we weren’t in handcuffs in the back of an army truck. And, Mauricio’s car had a new battery.

Fast forward to last week, September 8. The airwaves were filled with the news that Queen Elizabeth had died. Prince Charles became the new king, King Charles III, and Camilla became the Queen Consort.

Upon hearing the news, Greta and I looked at each other. I said, “Think about it, 13 years ago, we missed having a nearly private encounter with a future king and queen consort in an organic vineyard in Chile. Not many people can say that.”

We both smiled. In our travels, we’d come upon some firsts for us. Among them, almost seeing Prince Charles and Camilla at a Chilean Winery in 2009 and being at the ABBA Museum in 2013 in Stockholm on the museum’s opening day. Events like these are rewards of travel.

Now, Emiliana is the largest organic vineyard in the world. In 2021, more than one million cases of wine were sold.

If you are traveling to Santiago, Chile, and want an incredible tour guide, contact Mauricio. Read the below review about Mauricio. I am confident this is the same Mauricio who drove us around in 2009. If you book him, remind him of this story at the Emiliana Vineyard in 2009. He probably now has a spare battery in his trunk. 

Link to Mauricio’s review

A variety of senior topics

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

By columnist Tom Blake

September 9, 2022

Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition dated Feb. 12, 1990

3 Topics from the Mailbag

1. Too good-looking to pay her restaurant tab

I read this little tidbit online Monday, September 5, 2022. Nothing surprises me anymore:

At the Harry Reid Airport (Las Vegas), a 28-year-old woman left a Chili’s restaurant at the airport without paying her tab a week or two ago. She was arrested by police.

She reportedly said that the police arrested her because they had never seen anyone so good-looking. Apparently, she threatened to spit at the police.

Delightful. I guess she felt that being “so good-looking” allowed her to skip out on her restaurant tab.

Judit Masco, a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition front-cover model, pictured above, was pretty “good-looking” and not only paid for her tab in 1990 at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, but also left a large tip). 

2. Comments from Champs responding to last week’s “Senior non-romantic love” article. (also known as senior platonic love)

Kaitte said, “Some of my best friends are men. I have met and known several women who have married younger men. One man was 17 years younger, and they are as happy as a clam.

“All of the items you listed–keeping your independence, keeping your life, and staying friends are important–they will know if their situation changes but after 10 years together, I doubt it will.”

Brenda emailed, “I have a senior unromantic love relationship. My man friend and I have played very important roles in each other’s lives and shared many laughs and tears. We have confided things to each other that we’ve never discussed with others. I wouldn’t trade his friendship for anything.”

Ted (a Jackson Michigan, high school classmate of mine) emailed, “Regarding your ‘Live at the Ryman’ article two weeks ago, I’ve always envied your relationship with Johnny Cash. I knew very little about country music until my days working at WALM radio in Albion, Michigan.

“One of my colleagues there came to Michigan from Tennessee as a young man and brought with him a love and deep knowledge of that genre.

“We had a program at WKHM radio in Jackson (Michigan) that was hosted by a guy who called himself ‘Georgia Boy Ben Worthy,’ who used Johnny’s Orange Blossom Special as his theme music.

“I have two or three favorite Johnny Cash albums that I listen to as I mow my lawn. (Yes, I still mow my lawn, maybe just to prove that I can!) My wife Marcia says that sometimes I sing along with Johnny as I mow, but of course, I attribute that to her imagination.

“I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite Johnny Cash song, but Sunday Morning Coming Down would be near the top of the list.

“‘I Walk the Line’ always reminds me of our classmate Lee Taylor because it was on the jukebox in a tiny restaurant he and I visited during one of our extended fishing trips 200 miles or so north of Sault Ste. Marie.”

3. Senior scams. Scammers at work

On Friday, August 26, I received an email from a comcast.net address with this subject line: “question!!!!!!!!”

It read, “Please can I ask you something important?

Jon”

I thought it was strange. Not only was the question grammatically incorrect–“can” is wrong here; “may” is the correct word, but why does someone need permission to ask? Normally, I would just delete an email like that, but I didn’t want to be rude in case it was one of our Champs asking the question. So, I replied, “Sure, what’s up?”

The person, using the same name, replied from a different email address(<axxxxxxxx34474@gmail.com): “Thanks I’m glad you replied back. Sorry to bother you, today is my niece’s birthday and I promised her and her friend a Sephora gift card for her birthday. I’m traveling at the moment and have tried every means possible in purchasing one online, which is to no avail.

“Please, I would appreciate it if you could help me purchase it in a store around you. Am only looking to spend a $400 Sephora gift card ($100 each denomination 2 cards) on it. I’ll pay back as soon as I get back. Please let me know if you can handle this.

“Await your soonest response. Best regards, Jon”

Of course, I knew it was a scam. And then I realized that the name on the original email seemed familiar. I checked our eNewsletter subscriber list. Sure enough, the name and email address belong to Jon, a Champ. I had received 16 emails from him between 2007 and 2013, but none since 2013. However, our eNewsletters are still being opened by him.

Hence, I sent him an email to notify Jon that he had been scammed. Jon responded: “A lot of people got stuff like this. It’s all nonsense. Ignore and discard.

“I’m still seeing Sharon. Today is our mutual birthday. Going out for dinner when her cat recovers.”

Hence, Jon is aware of what happened. I also reported the scammer’s Gmail message to Google. They are investigating.

And then this Tuesday, I received another suspicious email from needles@progidy.net, with the subject line: “Urgent.”

It read: “How are you?

“I need your help. I’d appreciate it if you could email me back. Am unable to talk on the phone right now due to a serious sore throat.

“Please let me know if you are online. Thanks. Deanna.”

A sore throat? Really? I did not answer.

These two emails are samples of methods scammers are using. Please beware.

That’s it from the Mailbag for this week. Let’s hope this heat wave eases; we all need a break. 

Senior non-romantic love

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

by Tom Blake columnist

September 2, 2022

For seniors, none-romantic love can be as important as romantic love

A woman Champ emailed: “Your eNewsletter two weeks ago reminded me of the long relationship I’ve had with my friend Bill, who I affectionately call, ‘Misterbill.’ I’d be curious what you and the Champs think about my longtime senior platonic friendship with this much younger man.

“As of this month, Bill and I have now known each other for 10 years. We met through one of the dating sites, Plenty Of Fish or Match.com, I forget which one it was. We had our first date on a scorching August day in 2012. It was on a Tuesday; he was coming from a job and was a bit grimy and sweaty – he does handyman work and construction.  

“I didn’t mind the grime, he had already warned me, and he was quite nice! A welcome change from the duds I had been meeting. He had a sense of humor and a nice dimpled smile. He was 44 and I was 61—a 17-year difference. He thought I was 51. (That was when I was lowering my age by 10 years on dating sites and easily getting away with it. Not sure I could get away with it anymore!)

“Bill thought I was seven years older and told me he always liked older women…yeah, heard that before! But eventually, I told him my actual age. He still didn’t mind the bigger age gap.

“When we met he was just three months out of his marriage and he told me it was in the divorce process. We had some similarities in that he had been married at 18 or 19 – and like my daughter, his two daughters were young adults already and out of the nest.

“We loved dogs, the outdoors and he had a good sense of humor. But that’s pretty much all we had in common, plus our lifestyles were SO much different, due to our ages and living situations.  

“Bill has always had his own business as a handyman and he works alone. He made very little money, and his wife for the most part didn’t work, so he was their sole support. At one point they lost the place they were renting and had to move into his parents’ house when his girls were young.

He was still living there when we met because he was never going to make enough money to afford to live on his own, and he needed his parent’s property for his business storage–tools, machinery, junk cars, etc. He is also a welder.

“We got along well and dated for a few months. I realized he was not going to be the forever man for me because we were in totally different places in our lives that didn’t mesh.

“We have never been intimate except for kissing…although he did sit in my hot tub with me, naked…with no fooling around (but he wanted to!) because I didn’t want it to get to the sex part when I knew it was going nowhere. Hence, the dating ended after a few months, but we kept in touch. He still wanted a relationship; I still wanted a friendship.

“The two main problematic issues were:

#1. Living arrangements if we became a couple, and he had a passion for off-roading and rock climbing with his 4-wheel drive vehicles, which he did about every weekend with a club and went out of state to do often. With my developing arthritis issues, I wouldn’t be able to do those things and didn’t want to do them.

“#2. There was no way I would live in his father’s house (his parents were still alive and living there, and they were messy/hoarders). Or, if he came to live with me in the house I was renting, I was afraid I would end up supporting him for the most part. Plus, he wouldn’t have been able to put his work stuff and cars, etc. on the property I was renting. I thought of all the possible angles, and nothing would work.

“Money, and not having enough of it, can sure hold a person back from doing the things he or she wants.

“Then there was the matter of his divorce, which he never got because his business was in both his and his wife’s name and he would have lost it or had to divide things, start over, pay alimony–a big mess.

“We’ve stayed in touch for 10 years. He’s been a good friend. Each time I moved he’s been right there to help me pack when I couldn’t, move plants and some things to my new places, and has done general handiwork for me like building a small corner shelf unit and hanging lights, curtain rods, towel rods, etc.

“I’ve always paid him, though not as much as he’s worth because I have just enough to live on, and I’d either prepare him a meal or purchase him a meal when he was done. This May, he drove me to my storage unit, packed the contents into his truck and brought it back 85 miles to my new storage place, and packed it all back in. I paid for his gas and bought our lunch on the trip back.

“He was out of the state working when I needed my new furniture put together so his daughter Jen – who’s a welder – came over and did it, in three trips. I paid her and also fed her pizza each time because she came over directly after work.

“He now pops over to say hi when he’s working in the area. He was here on Tuesday, brought the ingredients and made pizza for us, stayed and watched a movie then left…though I think he wanted to crash on my couch because I kept having to tell him I was tired and had to go to bed! It took a lot to get him to move off the couch. LOL.

“I invited him to come the next night to have my meatloaf dinner with me and afterward he took me for an evening sunset ride in his 2004 Mercedes convertible and we ended up at his daughter Jen’s house – 45 minutes away.

“OHH! – the night of our convertible ride when he brought me home, as he was hugging me goodbye outside in the cool evening air, he said, “I love you.”  I was a bit stunned but smiled at him and said spontaneously, “I love you too!” 

“Again, what do you think of my longtime platonic friendship with this much younger man? 

Tom’s comment: I think this Champ has managed this relationship perfectly. She had the common sense to not get into a living-together or intimate relationship. And it wasn’t the senior 17-year age difference as much as it was the lack of many important things in common.

And yet, after 10 years, they have remained friends and professed their non-romantic love for each other. They are there for each other; they help each other. That type of senior non-romantic love is priceless.

Senior dating: Don’t burn bridges

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

August 19, 2022

By Columnist Tom Blake

Part 1 -Seniors Don’t burn your dating bridges

Pam, 77, Placentia, Ca., emailed: “I was married for 28 years and then was a senior ambushed by divorce. I have been single for 30 years and have been enjoying your newsletter for nearly that long, or, for however long you have been publishing it online.

“We used to pay for it and it was worth every penny! I love the stories, both personal and champs. Your wise advice is always appreciated. Thank you for the generosity of your time and compassion for the singles of a certain age.”

Tom’s response: “Wow, Pam, thank you. I used to charge for the eNewsletter but decided when I expanded the reach to other than just senior dating to include life situations that I would no longer charge for it.

I have no plans to start charging for it again (unless the majority of Champs insist!). I benefit by selling a few books. Plus, I also benefit from the material that Champs provide, which keeps our topics and material fresh for future eNewsletters and newspaper articles. 

I admit, there are times these days when the information received slows to a trickle, sort of like the drought here in California with the water.

Pam said, “I have an interesting story. A year after my divorce I dated Dan, whom I met in the singles Sunday School class at the E V Free Church in Fullerton. A girlfriend of mine from the class (Jeanne) dated another man from the class (Jim)) and he and Dan were good friends. The four of us did a lot of fun things together. We were all dumpees (perhaps a new senior dating term).

“After six months Jim’s wife decided she wanted him back. Because of his family, he reconciled with her. As much as he cared for Jeanne, he explained what he felt he needed to do. I never forgot that he told Jeanne that the four of us made a great couple!

“Not too long after that Dan broke up with me and everyone moved on. Dan and I remained friends and would date off and on through the years.

“Jim was remarried for 10 years and then his wife kicked him to the curb again. In the meantime, Jeanne married a terrific man.

“Dan and I were in one of our dating-again times. He invited Jim over for a BBQ. During the evening, Jim and I discovered that we had a lot of interests in common. We decided to do some activities just as friends. Well, we had so much fun together that our friendship turned to love.

“He told Dan and Dan was angry for a while, but he got over it. Jim told Dan that Dan had his chance for years and he blew it! Jim and I were so happy for 14 years. I have no family and I was included as part of the family by his married daughters and grandchildren. Jim and Dan remained best buddies. Jim jokingly told him that he was leaving me to Dan, in his will.

“Last December, my sweet Jim passed away from heart failure. He was 80. I saw Dan at the service for the first time in 14 years.

“A few months later, Dan asked me if I would like to go out to dinner. We are now dating if you can call it that at our age. We thought we were old when we were divorced in our 40s but now, we really are! He’s also 77. We are comfortable talking about Jim and sharing stories about him and I like that. Neither wants to be married.

“Dan is still a homebody with few interests but that’s OK now. In 2018, I had five vertebrae in my neck fused and in 2019 I had 10 vertebrae in my back fused with two long rods, 20 screws, and five spacers. I am doing well but have limitations which Dan is very understanding about. So here we are together 30 years later, senior comfortable companions.”

Tom’s comment: I told Pam I needed to create a flow chart to understand all the ins and outs of her Jeanne, Jim, and Dan saga. Pam’s story provides two senior-relationship lessons.

1. Seniors shouldn’t burn their bridges. We never know when old friends or old flames might reappear. In Pam’s case, if she had pushed Dan out of her life forever after he dumped her, she likely wouldn’t be with him as “a comfortable companion” 30 years later. Having a companion is a lot better than going it alone when we are in our 70s or 80s.

2. Previous relationships can rekindle. We hear of people reconnecting at high school and college reunions. And in Pam’s situation, after being with Jim for 14 years, she’s spending time with Dan who was Jim’s friend. They can talk about Jim without either one getting wigged out.

I wonder if Jim put words for Pam about Dan in his will. That’s kind of a cute twist to this somewhat hard-to-follow story.

Dating a younger man

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – July 29, 2022

by columnist Tom Blake

Should she reveal her age before moving in with a much younger man?

Mark, one of my regular weekly eNewsletter readers wrote, “This is from today’s (July 24, 2022) NY Times digital edition, in the ‘Social Qs’ section:

“Just a Number

“I am a 76-year-old widow. For two years, I have been dating a man who is 12 years younger than I am. (I look 10 years younger than my age.) My boyfriend knows I’m older than he is, but he doesn’t know by how much. I have never lied to him, but I have refused to discuss the matter. We are now talking about living together. I know I should tell him my age before he moves in, but I’m afraid it will end our relationship. I’m plagued with stress about this. What should I do?

“GOOD GENES

“If your boyfriend really cared about your age, he would probably know it by now. Your refusal to tell him would not be the final word here. So, it’s possible you’re worried over nothing. It’s also possible that the age gap — and your insistence on keeping it secret — may spook him. (So far, I’ve been a big help, right?)

“The bigger issue, as I see it, is your stress level: Better to tell him and let the chips fall where they may than to worry constantly about something you can’t change. He’s going to find out eventually.”

Champ Althea emailed: “In my dating escapades of the past, I have met many ‘Johns’” (Althea is referring to the Where is John? eNewsletter title from three weeks ago).

“One guy I thought might stick as a good friendship or maybe more. In Feb. 2016, he lived in Nevada, a two-hour drive away.

“Over the 2-3 months we saw each other, he spent a few days with me twice and I spent a few days at his place once. There was no sex. Hugs and a few kisses. He had a female dog – Grace! and I have a dog. Even the dogs got along great.

“I forget what his wife had died from, but I know he had to take care of her for a while, and when he learned of my slowly debilitating arthritis, he called me one day and said this wasn’t going to work between us because he didn’t want to go through caring for a disabled woman again. (That’s what he said in a nutshell). C’est La Vie!

“I had a lunch date with a new man yesterday (July 21, 2022). He’s not a ‘John;’ His name is Jay, he’s 84 and is a widower living in El Dorado Hills, which is a 25-minute drive away. We met on OurTime. He had looked at my profile and I saw that he lived close by, so I contacted him on July 14. I asked if he would like to meet for coffee sometime to see what we might have in common to develop a friendship.

“He wrote back that he had a pet cow named Daisy Mae – that nailed it for me! Lol. He is in a car club that takes a lot of day trips, and like me, his mind hadn’t caught up to his age. He said we could meet for lunch one day and see what happens.

“We exchanged more emails with chit-chat about his cow. He said he lost his dog just a few weeks ago (turns out it was a German Shepherd and he’s had a few over the years, so he’s a dog lover as well.) My next step was to see if he was willing to be completely open and I asked for his full name and phone number. I gave him mine. I got his back quickly and looked him up in the White Pages. He’s for real, so then we made the plan for lunch.

“He showed up early, and so did I, but he was there first. A plus in my book. And he was very nice, made fun conversation with a hint of a sense of humor, and all went well. In the parking lot, he showed me one of his classic cars, a 1971 VW Bug…yellow with yellow leather interior! Very cute. We parted with both of us saying we’d like to do this again, and off we went.

“So, we’ll see. He’s 11 years older; I’m not used to the guy being older, but I figure with my arthritis limitations, being older than me is better at this stage, so I can keep up!

Any predictions?

I emailed back: “Predictions? Not at this stage, but so far so good. To have a new friend at this stage of both your lives is a huge plus. Keep it going. This doesn’t have to be teenage-type love, but the social interaction is beneficial as well. People who love animals likely have warm hearts. I don’t know of any guy who has a pet cow. What a plus. And what fun!

“Continue to be upbeat and appreciative toward him and keep it going.”

Althea responded: “My thinking is the same…an animal lover has a big heart and is a kind, warm person. He struck me that way right off. I’ve always loved cows…my father grew up on a farm and his family had cows, chickens, and a few horses that I got to see when I was young.

“I told Jay I’d love to see his cow sometime so let’s see if he follows up on that. A friendship with him would be a plus for sure. It was brutally hot yesterday, 97, when we went to lunch and going to hit 95 today with all next week in the same area of ’90s, so our next get together might not be for a while.”

Althea may have just coined a new senior dating pickup line. In the past, when a guy was trying to entice a woman to come to his house, he might have said, “Would you like to see my etchings?” Now, he might say, “Would you like to see my cow?”

In 2020, I published an ebook titled, “Senior Dating: Does Age Matter?” In the book, I discuss the pros and cons of dating someone younger and/or older (and considerably older or younger as well). The book’s content is still applicable today.

You can go to the Smashwords.com site and read 10 percent of the book for no cost. Smashwords has an online reading option where you don’t have to load the book onto your computer, you just click on “online reader.” Of course, you can download the book onto your reading device. If you purchase the ebook before this Sunday night (when Smashwords’ July sale ends), it’s $2.66. After that, it’s $3.55. Here’s the link:

Chris, Tina, Tom, and Greta – very sadly noted that our dear friend Chris passed away in July, 2022

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1015582

Enjoying Love at 80

Widow and widower love

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

July 22, 2022  

by Tom Blake – columnist

How Susie met Jon

One of the most important things seniors can do to avoid loneliness and have a quality life is to incorporate social interaction into their daily routines. That means getting off the couch, out of the house, and being around people. When seniors do that, positive things often happen. Today’s story is an example.

Thirty-four years ago, I was surfing the Boneyard area of Doheny Beach. There was just one other person surfing there that day. He and I were chatting while waiting for waves to break. His name was Alex Rentziperis; he was opening a barber shop called Sports Barber in Dana Point. Alex has been cutting my hair ever since.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the Sports Barber for a haircut. The shop is located in downtown Dana Point on the second floor above Stillwater, a popular country dancing restaurant.

When I walked in, Alex introduced me to a woman, whose hair he had just cut. He said, “This is Susie, she’s my only woman customer; I’ve been cutting her hair for 25 years.”

I had never seen a woman customer in Alex’s Sports Barber Shop.

Then, Alex said, “Susie has a senior marriage-success story.”

Alex’s words perked my interest. I told Susie I had been writing about senior dating for 24 years. Susie grinned, “I know, I read your column in the Dana Point Times. I thought your recent column, “Where is John?” was funny because my husband’s name is Jon, just spelled a little differently. I found John, we met later in life.”

I asked her a few questions and then asked if she’d email me her story, which she did.

Susie, who is now a Champ (one of my weekly eNewsletter readers), wrote, “In 2009, three of my girlfriends and I decided to go on a Mediterranean cruise. After unpacking in our staterooms, we decided to check out the activities on each deck of the ship. When we reached Deck 12, we noticed that it was 5:00 p.m., saw an outdoor bar, and decided it was time for a glass of wine. 

“One friend doesn’t drink alcohol, so she went to listen to music coming up from Deck 4. When the three of us got our wine and turned around, we saw our friend dancing with a man. We wondered, where did he come from? 

“After the dance ended, the man introduced himself to we three wine-sippers. His name was Jon; this was the start of a friendship among the five of us.  

“Because of high winds during the cruise, the ship could not dock at four of the eight ports. This gave the five of us time to have many conversations and do activities together. 

“Jon and I got to know each other and became good friends. After the cruise, we communicated often and spent time together. Amazingly, Jon was from Northern California, and I was from Southern California, and we met halfway around the world! Jon’s version of how we met is ‘Susie picked me up on the love boat.’” 

“Jon had been widowed for 1.5 years. I had been widowed for 13 years. Jon told me that if we developed a relationship, I would have more of an adjustment to make because I had been single for so long. A year after the cruise, we were married.

Susie and John Gaare

Susie added, “We decided to live in Dana Point because it was the only place with warm fog and no bugs. Jon says it was simply a ‘no brainer.’

“We purchased a condo together; it has been our ‘pinch-me moment.’”  

When people venture out to enjoy life, positive things often happen. For Susie, meeting Jon was one of them, and sharing her story with a columnist at the Sports Barber is another.