Woman, 60, says, “I won’t settle!” But she already has – for 4 years

 On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – July 10, 2020

By Columnist Tom Blake

“I won’t settle,” a senior single woman says, but she already has – for four years

Stacy wrote, “Have any Champs ever mentioned that they don’t understand the relationship they are in and don’t know how to accurately describe it? I feel that way.

“I am 60, a senior single woman, successful in my career, have three grown children, take care of myself, own my home, and repeatedly have been told I am attractive.  

“After 26 years of marriage, I divorced my husband in 2014. In 2015, I met, Bob, a wonderful man on Plenty of Fish (POF). We live 50-60 minutes by car away from each other. We instantly hit it off. We share many similar characteristics, likes and dislikes, temperaments, values, and life priorities. I knew early on that he was a man of integrity and quality.

“When we met, Bob had been divorced 13 years after a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage but hadn’t healed from the scars. While I was happy and feeling hopeful about our future, Bob always held back.

“During the first two years of dating, Bob broke up with me twice. I was devastated the first time; we reconciled after a week. The second time, I was hurt and confused but each day became easier. We reconciled after three months. We have been dating each other for two years since.

“Bob has always told me he didn’t want to remarry and that I should date others because he knew I wanted a lifetime partner.

“I won’t ask him questions if I don’t think I’d like the answers, fearing they likely would be hurtful and might cause the relationship to end.”

“We continue to spend most weekends together. Plus, we call and email during the week. We both are busy in our work. Right before our third anniversary, I had an uneasy feeling after an evening phone call with him. He sounded vague, suspicious. I checked his POF profile and yes, he was looking for other women to date.

“I was so upset, at 10:45 p.m., I drove an hour to his house. I confronted him about his profile. He was reassuring, saying it didn’t mean anything, he just liked reading profiles, and that no one ever contacted him. I wanted to believe him, but it took a lot of soul-searching and determination to try again. I asked him to take down his profile and be exclusive. He agreed.

“Now, into our fourth summer, and with the COVID-19 virus making seeing each other more difficult, we have had and continue to have our ups and downs. We spend as much time as we can together, but we both took extended vacations to visit family and have been apart quite a lot.

“Last week, I began to wonder if I should resume dating other men. He seems content with our situation. However, he is unwilling to involve himself emotionally. He keeps up a guard, a wall.

“He does not allow himself to be put in vulnerable situations. He goes to great lengths to avoid confrontation. And yet, I can see love in his eyes and in his smile. However, he has never told me in four years that he loves me.

“I saw an ad on Our Time and decided to look at it. Guess what I found? A profile that matched Bob’s 100%! No picture or words this time, I’m guessing he doesn’t want to pay. I cannot tell you how hurt I have been. I didn’t mention it this past weekend because I don’t want him to know I know.

“I went online this evening and he had been active within one hour of me leaving him. I don’t see how he would have time to meet and date women. I think he is just reading the profiles as a hobby.

“I stay with him because I cannot imagine any other person making me as happy as Bob makes me. It doesn’t matter what we do, we have fun and enjoy being together. We finish each other’s thoughts and sentences. He is smart, funny, clever, and kind. He is very easy-going and accepting of others.

“I want him to stop looking at dating profiles! I’d settle (bold face and italics entered by Tom) for some kind reassurances and travel plans. Bob needs to find a more appropriate hobby.

“I would appreciate your opinion.”

                                Tom’s answer to Stacy

“Stacy, I’m trying to be respectful and diplomatic. However, it’s probably not what you want to hear.

‘You are part of the problem with Bob. In the second to last paragraph, you said, “I’d settle for…” You already have settled. You have settled for four years of not being told he loves you. You have settled because you are afraid that the truth will be painful. You are afraid if you rock Bob’s boat, you will be alone, possibly forever.

“For two people to succeed as a couple, there must be open, honest communication. You don’t have that with him because of your fear.

“You have settled by thinking his studying online profiles of other women is just a hobby and you are not facing the reality that he is looking for another woman who will make him happier. A man of ‘integrity and quality,’ as you referred to him, does not do that.

“You have settled for him telling you to date others, while not knowing if he has or is dating because you fear knowing the truth.

“You see love in his eyes and his smile. But, his actions don’t connect with love. This is a man who hasn’t healed 17 years after his divorce. Bob is not going to change,

You need to:

1. Identify what you want from this relationship

2. Open communications and get the cards on the table, not just about his “online hobby,” but about all things important

3. Be prepared to be on your own because that’s likely going to happen

4. Find self-esteem and courage

5. Stop settling

If you don’t do these things, you will be stuck in the same rut you’ve been in for the last four years.

Your situation reminds me of the title of my favorite Robert Earl Keen, Jr. song, “The road goes on forever” (and the party never ends.) 

The party never ends at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point (prepared and delivered 600 sack lunches in 2013)

Link to “The Road Goes On Forever (and the party never ends): You can click on “skip ad” when the video first appears.

Senior Single Woman with no place to live says, “I Have Survived”

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – January 5, 2018

Tom P. Blake

The above three words, “I have survived” are not mine. They belong to a Champ named Althea. We wrote about her in the April 2, 2017, newsletter. The title was, “Seniors Moving-In Together. Will It Work?”

Some background on Althea’s situation: In January, 2017, Althea, then 68, who has arthritis, and earns $895 a month in SSI (she didn’t work enough to build up the credits needed to receive Social Security), had to give up her Placerville, California, apartment.

She had no money and no place to live. It looked like she would have to live in her car.

A man, 72, whom she had briefly dated, “rescued” her by letting her move into his log-cabin home with him. It became a nightmare for her. She asked for advice in that April 2 newsletter.

As you Champs so often do, you made great suggestions for her, which I featured in the April 8, follow up newsletter, titled “No Place to Live.”

Fast forward to the final newsletter in 2017, December 22, titled, “Five things I’ve learned in three years of retirement.” Althea responded: “I just finished reading your newsletter and felt very comforted by it. I don’t know why I felt comforted, I just did.

“I’m writing to update you on how my situation has turned out. I wanted to let you know, I have survived.

“The man who rescued me made living in his home a living hell. I endured that from January to August when, through my efforts of writing personal ads on Craigslist and in my local free newspaper, and asking anyone who was within earshot, I was contacted by a woman whose parents were both 80 and living on their own in their house in Yuba City, almost two hours away from where I was in Placerville.

“The woman’s father needed some live-in help with the mother who has dementia. After meeting the daughter and being interviewed, I met the parents a few days later, and, then, the following week I spent 4 days at their house, with my dog…they also had a dog…to see if it was a fit.

“Everything turned out okay. The man I was living with gave me the money for the movers. At that point he would have done anything to get rid of me! I felt the same way! There were no ‘goodbyes,’ or ‘I hope things go well for you’ from him. He said nothing to me as I drove away and I said nothing back. Good riddance I’m sure was felt by both of us.

“So, I am living in this nice house–nothing fancy and it is a bit old fashioned/slightly cluttered–with a big backyard for my dog. (their old dog passed away less than 4 weeks after I moved in, so my dog has been a good emotional replacement for them). They are the nicest and most generous people.

“It’s been challenging because I’ve never dealt with anyone with dementia, and there’s still the challenge of also living in someone else’s home again and not having a say of how things are run. I do miss being independent and having my own place, but this is what has to be–and I deal with it well–for the most part.

“BUT – I have a roof over my head, I didn’t have to give up my dog – which I NEVER would have done, and they are sweet, generous people who don’t make any demands on me. The husband gives me grocery money to shop and I make a third of the meals, sometimes more.

“I keep my rooms clean and neat, I go out to one of the 14 parks they have here and walk my dog four times a week and I just met two nice ladies a week ago (through Craigslist of all places!) with whom I’m starting to socialize.

“We met for coffee the first day last week and then I saw a movie with one of them this week (I was seeing movies every Tuesday by myself). I am doing all I can do and keeping mentally active (jigsaw puzzles, reading and crosswords) and being as physically active as I can.

“I’m on SeniorPeopleMeet and I’m still casually looking at the profiles, hoping to meet a nice man for companionship, dating and friendship but I’m not focused on it. It’s a long shot. There are less single men my age available in this new area.

“I’ve always known that a woman doesn’t need a man in her life to be happy or fulfilled, and I think the need gets less and less as we age…and there are plenty of other ways to keep from being lonely. Make a female friend!

“My motto has always been, keep a sense of humor and never give up.”

Tom’s reply to Althea: “You are very courageous. I will use your story because it is real life, a story of will, determination and guts. Any advice for our Champs? Also, just curious: What happens if one or both of those people you are care giving for pass away? Are you able to stay or are you out on the street?”

Althea said, “I haven’t asked, but I have thought about it. I’m not dwelling on it or worrying about it though. I figure if I made it this far and kept a roof over my head, ‘The Powers That Be’ will continue to keep me safe.

“I don’t believe that the daughter who hired me or her two sons would just cut me loose and not care about what happens to me. I don’t think about the what-ifs. I just live day-to-day, keep my fingers crossed and try to stay happy.

“Also, any advice from me? Well, I’m no expert, and all I can really think of to say to Champs would be: stay positive no matter what, and don’t give up on what you really want or need. “But don’t let it make you crazy. Know when to say enough is enough and move on to something else that makes you happy.

“Maybe my story will give some hope and incentive to someone else out there who is struggling with the same issues. Or worse ones.

As Althea says, things could always be worse

Althea ended with: “Staying positive and being proactive and never giving up is a good message.”