How soon to date after losing a mate?

Also, Seniors how soon to online date after losing a mate?

By Tom Blake – Senior dating specialist and columnist

(The above picture of Gloria and Peter courtesy of Gloria P)

Eleven years ago, I corresponded with Champ Gloria in Florida who told me about her meeting a man who lived an hour and a half away from her. His name was Peter. They became a long-distance relationship couple and about two years later they moved in together.

Gloria sent me photos of them together in 2014—a very handsome couple (see photo above). I did a column on their relationship and in the column, I named Peter “The Italian Stallion.” Gloria would occasionally keep me posted on their relationship. In the last couple of years, she mentioned that Peter was having some health issues, about which she was concerned.

A few days ago, Gloria emailed news that shocked and saddened me: “I’m 70. I lost my partner of 11 years on January 12, 2023. I realize that you lost Greta in October. I know you have joined two online dating sites. I need your advice. Is it too early for me to start online dating? Please comment on your senior online dating experience.”

I replied to Gloria. “Two months ago, I was in my Dana Point home on a Saturday night, feeling empty, lost, and missing Greta terribly. Loneliness is awful. I thought I cannot continue feeling like this. I need hope. I need a woman to talk to. And maybe even a hug. Yes, I’ve met a few nice women, but there hasn’t been a relationship connection yet.

“So, I took a deep breath and joined, and another site called Zoosk, which a Champ Bruce in Ohio had recommended to me. After seeing the first few profiles and faces of potential mates, I felt new hope in my life.

“Since then, I’ve learned a lot about senior online dating. I’ve learned through my own experience that there are scammers on all sites. The most important thing is: What one sees in a profile may not be what you see when you meet in person. Pictures are often outdated, perhaps taken years ago. People may not be as available as they claim they are.

“A few women 20-years-younger+ have raved at my profile. I’d be in disbelief, even feel amazed. And then, at some point, their true motivation revealed itself. Some might have had their eyes on my modest assets, not on me.

“I have met some wonderful women both online and out socially.

“Have I had online dating success? Let’s just say I’m a work in progress. Navigating a road, I never envisioned I’d be on. There is a lot of baggage out there, including my senior dating baggage. I’m thinking about opening a senior dating baggage resale store.

I’ve heard a lot of this: ‘I want to be just friends.’

        (see picture below)

“So, Gloria, when is it time for you to try online dating? Probably when you decide that loneliness sucks. And then, as I did, you need to become more assertive in meeting potential mates.

“So, a senior question, when to online date? A senior must decide whether online dating is right for her or him, and the timing of when to begin is strictly up to each person. There is no right or wrong answer. Online dating can be a valuable item in the senior dating-again marketing toolbox.”

“Some people will be critical of you and of me for both venturing out into the online dating world so soon after losing our mates. I guess they want us to stay home, mope, and be depressed.

“However, they haven’t walked in our shoes (as Elvis once said). A couple of months ago I wrote that Johnny Cash had said that. My Champ buddy, Michael, who knew Elvis personally, corrected me on that slight error.

“And tonight, I’ll raise a glass of Chianti Classico in honor of the “The Italian Stallion” and a glass of Chardonnay in honor of Greta. Does that make me a two-fisted drinker? Probably so, those two wonderful people both deserve a toast.

“Keep the faith, Gloria. Don’t overthink your situation. Just let it be and let us know when you choose to decide to go online.”

Senior dating baggage – Protect yourself

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

Columnist Tom Blake

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

Senior Dating Baggage Protect yourselfDating a still-married man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                          Four Senior Dating Lessons learned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hold each other tight.

Senior dating and adult children

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – June 8, 2016

Dealing with a boyfriend’s adult children – Senior dating baggage

Senior dating isn’t easy. Senior dating with adult children involved isn’t easy. I hear that comment often from single seniors who aren’t in a relationship. And yet people who are fortunate enough to meet someone tell me that it’s not always a bowl of cherries either. Some of us carry more baggage that a 757.

Too much baggage can be a deal-breaker.

                  Excess baggage @ Hotel courtyard in India
Photo taken by Tom – November 2016

Issues created by adult children of one or both partners can fall under the excess baggage category. Such is the case with Diane, from whom we hear today.

Diane emailed, “I am a divorced, professional woman, age 62, considered attractive, fit, with many friends and interests. Two years ago, I began dating a man, 58, who had been legally separated for five years. He has three adult children (two are married).

His wife was bi-polar, to which he attributed their marital difficulties. Whenever talk of finalizing the divorce came up, there was always some issue as to why it couldn’t be done at that time. None of the reasons seemed viable to me.

One reason he gave was that if he served the papers during the time of his son’s upcoming wedding, his wife might make a scene at the wedding! I was only half-heartedly invited to attend after a year of seriously dating him. I chose not to go.

During the months of dating, it seemed there was always some need or drama happening with the family, especially with his daughter, 26. He admitted she said, ‘I won’t have a problem with Diane as long as she knows I am the number-one woman in your life.’

We have broken up several times because I felt he had (and still does) have boundary issues with his children and his ex, even though the divorce was finalized. He claims to not be as enmeshed with them as I say, but I feel he hides things from me so as not to upset me, and to present a different picture of what is truly going on.

We are not dating currently, but we speak with and text each other. He doesn’t see the problem and thinks because he finally divorced, which, by the way, was motivated by a fire his ex had, in which he feared she would go after him for more money, which was her tendency according to him.

Money is another issue with him and I get the feeling he also sees me as a subsidizer since he financially supports the daughter.

I like many qualities about this man, but I don’t feel I could ever get to the next level with him due to the dynamics of the family. Every time I think it can work I become once again frustrated and angry. I would love your advice and the opinion of Champs.”

Tom wrote to Diane:

“I am certain that our Champs will have opinions about your situation, as many of them have had to deal with adult children of their significant others. Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • The 26-year-old daughter appears to be very immature, spoiled and selfish. Have you asked yourself, “Will that situation ever change?”
  • You have broken up several times over boundary issues with his children. Why do you think that would be different going forward?
  • Of course, there are qualities about him you like, you would not keep trying with him if you didn’t. But…are the qualities enough to overcome the other obstacles? You answered that question by saying you could not go to the ‘next level.’
  • So, why keep putting yourself through this agony? I think you know the answer.
  • Not to mention the money issue. You will never be happy feeling you are subsidizing the daughter who wants to be number one.
  • “And remember, while you are spending your precious time dealing with these issues, it is taking you away from time that might lead to meeting someone new who has less baggage.”

Diane’s response back to Tom

“I am a mother to two healthy, stable and mature young men. I am very proud of both sons; we have a close, loving relationship. I wanted to share this with Champs so they know I understand the challenges of having adult children accept new partners in our lives. Fortunately, my sons have been open, honest and mature and want only the best for me–which is for me to be happy.

Something you wrote struck a chord: I was spending my ‘precious’ time on a relationship that not only was leading nowhere, but, it was keeping me from possibly meeting someone who doesn’t have these issues and who would be able to enter fully into a relationship.

I now see this investment of time, energy and resources (literally) was much more draining than I even realized! I think we often hang on longer than we should in relationships because we are afraid of leaving something for nothing. Having repeated this mistake all too often, I now know having the so-called ‘nothing’ is far better – in fact, it’s a gift! It’s time to invest in and love myself.

One other thing – I just learned the daughter is moving back in with my now ex-boyfriend because she had ‘issues’ with her roommate. More proof that I made the right decision!

As a result of walking away from this relationship once and for all, I am learning to play golf, do the tango and am now signing up for a writing class.

And having walked away 10 years ago from a 27-year marriage, which was not only causing me emotional pain, but affecting my health as well, I am choosing not to waste any more precious time, nor will I settle. I deserve better.”

Did Diane make the right decision?

On my website, there are 12 articles I have previously written about how adult children can affect a relationship. Likely, Diane’s story will become number 13. You can read those articles by following this link.