A widow says, “I’m okay without a spouse”

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter 
September 29, 2022
by Tom Blake Columnist

 A widow says, “I’m okay without a spouse”

This week, we share responses to last week’s eNewsletter, which featured Dee, a recent widow. Dee hoped that Champs would comment about what she should do with her wedding rings now that her husband is gone. 

As the responses poured in, they reminded me of the poignant words from the song “Graceland,” a song written by singer/songwriter Paul Simon and released in November 1986 on the album of the same name. 

The Graceland album won a 1988 Grammy for Album of the Year. Fifteen million albums were sold. The Graceland song is Simon’s favorite of all the songs he has written. The poignant words:

“Losing love is like a window in your heart. Everybody sees you’re blown apart. Everybody sees the wind blow.”

(A link to the song Graceland is at the end of today’s column)

I think those words are some of the greatest love-lost-pain words in history. You’ll understand why the following sage responses from Champs made me think of them.

Vickey emailed, “Dee, you have my sympathy. To love deeply is to grieve deeply.

“I am a widow of 20 years. My advice is to not second guess your decisions about the ring. Wear it or not, it’s ok. I have traveled many miles since being widowed by losing my one and only husband. I do have a companion who in every way makes me complete.”

Kaitte, “Re the widow wedding ring issue, Dee, you need to do YOU for YOU. There is no law that says you can’t wear your rings till you are no longer here, and if anyone says something, simply walk away. They aren’t worth a comment unless you want to add, ‘Just widowed,’ and walk away. Same with the pictures. Don’t ALLOW anyone to tell you differently.” 

Susie, “Dee’s letter was very sad. I was thinking that anyone who is going through anything at this stage of one’s life should exchange emails and get a group together and talk out some of our feelings; we might be able to help each other, what do you think of that Tom?” 

Tom’s comment to Susie. There are many widow and widower groups in existence across the country. It would be easier, I think, to search online for those and join one near where you live. If a Champ wants to start a new one, I suggest that person start a Facebook page. If someone does that, I will be happy to mention it in a future column. 

Also, one of our Champs is Christine Baumgartner, who is a relationship counselor and a widow. She is aware of several widow and widower groups. Her email address is christine@theperfectcatch.com if you’d care to reach out to her. 

Dr. John (a family doctor), emailed, “Dee poses some interesting questions. Here’s my advice: 

– Dee says she never wants to date again – well, maybe. She’s still grieving, it’s way too early to be sure. Also, quick ‘rebound romances’ tend to be a bad idea. 

– Most men view widows favorably. After all, one of men’s’ biggest worries is divorce, which in the USA is mostly initiated by wives. Widowhood means the wife stayed with the husband to the end.  I had a patient two months ago who lost his job AND his wife (who divorced him), when he came down with cancer, which he beat. But then he got heart disease from one of the chemotherapy drugs he was given. She ‘didn’t want to be his nurse.’ That goes to show why men have a legitimate fear of women divorcing them. 

– I’d suggest re: the widow wedding ring issue, she wear the wedding ring until/if she decides she’s ready for a new relationship.” 

Virginia, “Life is short. Dee might benefit if she would consider going to some counseling sessions to help her put her feelings into perspective. While it’s normal to take time to grieve, sometimes a snag like an emotional quagmire can ruin the rest of a person’s life and she or he might need a little help to move on. 

Dee is a survivor and has years ahead to enjoy the rest of her life. Maybe someone can suggest a good counselor or psychologist who could gently help her move on, so she doesn’t get bogged down with this and ruin her life.
“There are also some well-written self-help books on the stages of grief and how to recognize what she is going through that might help her.” (See Tom’s comment below for a book suggestion).    

Joanie, “Dee should move the ring first to her right hand. Then to a nice chain with the ring on it to wear around the neck. Eventually, she might put the ring into a jewelry box.” 

Carm, “Dee’s story reminded me of my Karen’s comment that the nearly five years we spent together were the happiest days of her life. Pancreatic cancer: Only an 8 or 9% survival rate.  “It also reminded me of the puzzlement I went through with our rings: I eventually taped them to the big mirror in my bedroom.”

Cynthia, “I just reread your newsletter about Dee the new widow. I feel her pain after she met Ron and her thinking it was her final marriage. I’ve been a widow for 7 1/2 years and I still have pictures of my husband all over my house because I enjoy seeing them and that brings me comfort. I don’t have any intention of moving them out!

“As far as her wedding ring, after a couple of years, I moved my wedding ring and my husband’s wedding band to my right hand. I wear his band all the time but when I’m going out, then sometimes I’ll add my diamond engagement ring. I enjoy wearing it and I don’t want to give it up so I understand Dee’s feelings totally.

“I think everybody has to figure out what works best for them and I know it’s really soon after his passing but I pray that Dee will take it slow.”

Sharon, “I have been a champ for 14+ years after my husband David passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008. Dee’s story touched my heart about her wedding rings.  

“What worked for me is that I took David’s wedding band and my wedding band and had a jeweler link them together. I bought a very nice gold chain and wore them around my neck for many years. Like Dee, wearing my wedding rings after David died felt different.  

“I struggled with the fact that I wasn’t married anymore and those rings were a reminder of the 31-1/2 wonderful years that were now gone. I emphasize gone because I loved my life, being David’s wife, and the life, we had together.   

“I did date for a couple of years after his death, but it was difficult because David and I had an autistic son who was 18 when David died. It was hard for me because I think I was looking for someone who would be family and most of the men I dated wanted a companion, not a grown child. I was a ‘packaged deal.’  

“I didn’t like bringing different people into my son’s life. It was a challenging time for both he and I. It seemed so easy when I met David and trying online dating was hard for me. I finally decided about seven years ago that I didn’t really want to try dating anymore.  

“I have a full life, job, family, good friends, our son Philip, and Special Olympics, and I just prayed that I would be content with the full life that I had. Sure, there are still times, that I wish I had a special someone, but I am so thankful that I am okay without a spouse.  

“I joke with my friends, that my husband was such a good husband, father, and man, he made it impossible for someone to compete with that! Except now I have two dogs, and they are special! 

“I hope Dee in time finds her way. Trust me, I know how hard it is to lose a spouse, but I take each day one at a time and try to remember each day how grateful I am.” 

S, wrote: “To Dee: I wore my wedding ring for seven years after my divorce. Just didn’t feel right without it.”  

Wayne, emailed, “The only problem I see with a woman wearing her late spouse’s wedding ring on her left hand is that it indicates she’s still married. Wearing it on her right hand is fine.

“I wear an old wedding ring on my right hand sometimes as it’s an attractive ring. I’ve asked a few women if that bothers them, and they’ve said it was fine. I respect a woman that isn’t afraid to occasionally mention her late husband in a loving way… he was a big part of her life and I see it as a sign of respect.

“Pictures around the house are fine; I prefer they be part of a family photo.”

Thanks, Champs. Not only have you helped Dee, but others–women and men–who are also dealing with being widowed or losing a significant other. 
At Graceland, in 2017, Tom and Greta on the left, Bill (Tom’s brother) and Linda on the right

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


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

Stresses of long-distance relationships

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – May 27 2022

by Tom Blake

The stresses of long-distance relationships

(Note from Tom: Today’s eNewsletter has been edited for length, clarity, and controversial material)

The pandemic has been hard on senior long-distance relationships. Travel restrictions made face-to-face meetings difficult. And when the partners lived in different countries, getting together was almost impossible.

I heard of relationships where one person lived in Canada and the person lived across the border in the USA and were unable to see each other for one to two years, due to border-crossing restrictions.

Did the long-distance relationships within the USA survive the test of time being away from each other? Recently, we wrote about the frustration a woman in Illinois expressed about not being able to see her California man friend more often. She wondered if she was wasting her time. They had seen each other only a couple of times in the last year.

And now that restrictions are easing, what’s happening to international long-distance relationships? Larry, a Champ, a friend, and a former Dana Point neighbor of mine from 30 years ago—he’s now 82– emailed last week regarding the status of his international long-distance relationship.

I mentioned his situation in previous eNewsletters when he said nine of his scheduled trips to the Philippines to see Emy, his woman friend, had been canceled.

Larry wrote last week: “Many men have been interested in the lure of Asian women. I started an online investigation of these women and their countries a dozen years ago. I discovered there are two common denominators. They all want love and financial security.

“I chatted with many women online throughout the entire world. Many come from countries with different religions than mine. One country stood out above all others (The Philippines) for Catholicism and an English-speaking populace.

“At first glance, it was obvious that Philippine dating sites were not the way to go! Full of money scammers and women desperate to escape the poverty of The Philippines. So, I looked at other non-dating social sites. This is how I met Emy. We are now in our 7th happy year together.”

A few years ago, Larry went to the Philippines to be with Emy. Just before the pandemic arrived, he returned to the USA to attend to some personal matters. Then, after the pandemic spread, his return flight to Manila was canceled.

During 2000 and 2001, he had eight more reservations to fly to Manilla canceled. The Philippine government was strict about allowing people into the country. Larry expressed his frustration to me with both the Philippine government and the U.S. government and their travel restrictions. However, I understood those restrictive actions, which nearly every country instituted, in an attempt to protect the health of its residents.

Larry wrote: “Since March 2020 until recently, the Philippines and the USA governments have kept me from returning to The Philippines. The stress has been close to unbearable. It has taken a toll on my life, and I am now in a recuperative stage. It is going to take days, weeks, and perhaps longer to recover.

Love rekindles in PV

“To get Emy and I back together, I investigated 35-45 countries where Emy might be able to get a visa. I found only two—Ecuador and Mexico.  Ecuador seemed too far away in South America. And Mexico, which she chose, turned out to be difficult for her to enter. They required many documents and other severe travel restrictions for Filipinos! She endured a 3-day delay in Manila, but with help from friends plus 34 hours of travel time, we have been together again in Puerto Vallarta Mexico (PV) for over two weeks.”

When I read “Puerto Vallarta,” I was shocked. I had no idea that Larry and Emy had “PV” on their radar. However, that’s not so bad, in fact, it’s darned good. “PV” is a great city. Greta and I have visited and stayed there five times. We thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Emy and Larry (photo by Larry McCook)

Larry said, “What is it like here in Mexico with Emy? Life is better than good. She is the same lady who loved me in 2019: Sweet, kind, and caring. She never misses Mass, and it is great to hold hands together in Mass. She cooks three meals a day made from fresh food from the local market. Our apartment is so clean that a person could eat off the floor. She gives me a strong full back massage every day, and we take long walks every day.

“We live in a nice updated fully furnished 1 BR apartment including A/C and electricity for under $500 per month, which helps us save for rainy days.  Buses run every 5-10 minutes and it costs 50 US Cents to anywhere in the city. Supermarket pricing is close to the same in the US. The locals are friendly. We live across from a large sports park.”

Tom’s comment: I wonder what they will do? Will they remain in Mexico or return to the USA or the Philippines? I know he will let us know.

Their story is an example of how determination and true grit can keep love alive. More power to them.

I’d like to hear from other couples who are involved in long-distance relationships and how they made it through the pandemic and what obstacles they had to overcome.

36 responses to first date senior sex

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

April 22, 2022

By Tom Blake



Comment from Tom: Today’s eNewsletter features 36 responses from Champs, the most responses in a newsletter since my writing career began. It has been edited for brevity (believe it or not), clarity, discretion, and grammar. It’s long, featuring 28 responses from women and eight from men. Some other responses are not included but will be in future eNewsletters as they are relevant to the senior dating scene.

Here’s what 28 women said

Linda #1, “The best way to describe my experience with a lot of men is they go
from zero to the topic of sex very fast. I say to these men: ‘Let a woman feel
safe and comfortable with you. We will get there. Just not on the first date.’
“I had a man show up to our first date in his motor home. He assumed we would
‘hang out’ in it after dinner in the restaurant parking lot. Didn’t happen.”

Kaitte, “I gotta get to KNOW you and be in a relationship. It’s the one GIFT I’ve
got–you can’t buy, rob, or steal it from me. If you have an issue with that, hit the door. I haven’t had sex in 14 years. I have to feel something and the man has to be deserving.”

Tasia, “I completely agree with you Tom – I never want to be made to feel cheap or used. I want to be able to look in the mirror and feel good about myself. I’ve known a few women who jump right into bed with the new guy, and, after a few times, they find out he’s ghosted them or is in some type of committed relationship. No thanks!

“Those few women I referred to were all in their late 40s/ early 50s. I don’t know if that makes a difference when compared to women in their late 50s and older.”

Christine, “Your advice was so wonderful!  I consistently give men and women this very same advice in my relationship counseling. I have nothing to add except my hearty endorsement.”

Virginia, “I have been a reader of your column for 23 years, and in my humble opinion, your response in this week’s newsletter is by far the very best one ever! 

“Succinct, and all-encompassing, I can’t imagine what more could be added even by the wise and the few jaded CHAMPS in our group.

“Thanks for conquering and clarifying this sticky subject and putting it out there in black and white for seniors who may be a tad too lonely: ‘To thine own self be true.’ Bravo, well written!  I wish this response could be published in every senior newsletter nationwide.”

Althea, “I agree 100% with you! I don’t have any additional comments on the subject of having sex on a first date with a STRANGER, because you said everything I would have.”   

Annette, “I’m 62. The last time I had sex on a 1st date I got a skin infection. 

My answer is ‘no’ unless that’s all you are looking for. 

“Times have changed but men have not. At my age, unless it’s a committed relationship, there’s more to life than a one-night stand. 

“I would have to check their feet, under their fingernails, and their home first (for cleanliness). What is unseen is not worth it. Glad I was cured.” 

Mary Lou: “There’s something about Diane that just didn’t ring true – got my spidey sense working. Nine out of ten women wanting first-date sex? That’s hard to believe. 

“You handled the advice perfectly. A very informative column, especially the caution about STD’s. Good God, how humiliating to get one of those at our age.

“Love Garth’s song The Dance. He is married to one of my favorite country stars – Trisha Yearwood.”

Linda, “Your answer was perfect. You don’t need to ‘dance’ right away to figure out if you like someone well enough. Remember what you told your daughters when they first started dating? It still applies.” 

Joanie, “I agree with Tom. As a senior – no sex until you have a relationship established. Being ‘used’ and then ‘ghosted’ or worse left with an STD is too hard to deal with for a lonely senior. 

“A DECENT man will wait. For most seniors, ‘companionship’ is more important than the sexual aspect of a relationship…no woman should give before she gets what she wants!  Tom is correct.”

Sandy, “Classy answer!  Returning to dating through online connection has its share of strange elements. No wonder people flounder and need reality checks. Your answer was grounded and mature, thanks!”

Gail, “My first reaction to your question is, ‘Oh, hell no!’ I’m old-fashioned when it comes to dating, and intimacy, I love it. BUT I must have a connection, a trust with my partner. I must know him well. 

“Sure, I have had sex on a first date with someone. I did it once and it was fun but didn’t last, he was a player.

“For me, on a regular first date with someone, sex will not happen. I would feel pressured. I have had numerous first dates when I did not have sex and never heard from them again. In a fact that is very telling, they were not interested in anything else. Good-bye, user.”

Norma, “I am like Diane, I look forward to your newsletters on Friday. I like people and enjoy hearing stories of their lives, as it is real, not just some movie.

“I am not involved with anyone, so this had not crossed my mind. I just wanted to tell you, it is a wonderful article, very well written and needed to be said. People need to be reminded of the dangers you pointed out.”

Pat, “I thoroughly enjoyed the first-date subject. I agree with you entirely. If you want to ‘Dance’ and thoroughly understand the ramifications you outlined, then go for it. However, it wouldn’t be my choice.”

Teresa, “Great topic — ‘The Dance.’ I suggest that Diane look at her online profile again to see if there is anything there that indicates she is primarily interested in ‘dancing.’ Years ago, I tried online dating and ladies kept answering my post. I’m heterosexual so couldn’t figure out why I was attracting women.

“As it turns out, somewhere in my profile I had inadvertently checked the box that said I was interested in same-gender partners. Go figure! In her case, Diane’s friend, and son (who set up her profile) might have accidentally checked a box or implied that Diane is looking for a ‘dancing partner.’

“Also, three out of four guys that I met with just wanted sex. I don’t understand why they go to online dating for that. Is it because sex is free that way? I am certain that all men know they can go to a massage parlor, go online, or go to almost any bar (from a dive to the most upscale) and there are ladies working there who will instantly provide sex if men are willing to open their wallets. It baffles me that someone would go through the torture of online dating just for a roll in the hay. Sorry if this topic made you uncomfortable. ‘Men are from Mars.’” 

Laurie Jo, “I signed up on a lot of online dating sites after my divorce. I had been married for 30 years. I went on many dates of all types. Met for coffee, drinks, dinner, etc. 

Not ONCE did anybody ask me to come over for sex. I think I am attractive and self-sufficient and own my own home. So, I’d like to think that perhaps I was fortunate that the people I dated were polite gentlemen. 

“I met, dated, and still have a relationship with my boyfriend. And I didn’t let him do anything but kiss and hug me until he declared his love for me and wanted to be exclusive.

“If I’m ‘old-fashioned, that’s fine. We have been together living apart for six years and it seems to work well for us. Don’t dirty dance until YOU are comfortable with a person!”

S, “No. I have to love the person I’m lovin.’” 

Thyrza, “So dance is the euphemism for sex? Huh!  I am with you; Dance is for the youngsters who don’t know any better. For an over-60 woman, that’s being irresponsible and reckless.  Leave ‘the dance’ to the kids who do not know any better. I suggest she see her gynecologist first.”

Barb, “Re, ‘The dance’ person. I had decided to stop in Chicago on my way back from visiting my son and spend the day with a man. We had been in contact and had had several phone conversations. About two minutes after I got in his car, he said; ‘I just got my results from the VA, and I’m clean.’ It took me a minute, and then it hit me. I said, ‘If you’re thinking that’s what we’re doing you can take me back to the airport NOW!

“He said, ‘No, we’ll find other things to do. We did. I got a tour of the city, Lake Michigan, etc., and best of all a miracle healing. YUP. I had been on crutches and in a cast for about 12 years due to nerve damage from severe osteomyelitis and many surgeries. 

“I got my cast off the next day, at my doctor’s appointment, the leg color was normal I put the crutches away, put a shoe on, and was walking. Something I was told I’d never do again.

“We had visited a place where I later learned miracles had occurred! He and I still email, message, and chat weekly.”

Jackie, “I would never give a guy a second moment if he only had one thing on his mind.  I want to be made special, not an object for sex. Love says wait, lust says I want it now. I go a bit farther. Wait until you’re married. There is so much intimacy in getting to know a person.

Sue, “Interesting that men are calling women after a first date to come over for sex.  Years ago, it was come over and see my ‘new car,’ ‘record collection,’ ‘paintings,’ or ‘etchings.’

“Now the wording is just more explicit. There will always be lots of decisions to make
in relationships”.

Crislinn, “Wow! I’m surprised that nine out of ten women would say it’s okay to have sex on the first date. Your suggested reply to those requests was perfect!”

Ticia, “I know for me deep down it would be nice to enjoy life with another
person but for now, I am content with my singleness. I may go back to online
dating but for now, I am going it alone with just me and my sweet dogs.”

Mo, “I am that one in 10 women who says NO to sex on a first date. I agree
with all the reasons you state. I want to get to know someone first. I don’t
want an STD. I want to see if we are compatible in other areas: do we have
common interests, values?

“Are we both looking for the same thing in a relationship? Only sex? (then go for it!).  Just friendship? A travel buddy? Companion? A long-term commitment (then wait at least for a couple of dates for sex).

“A man who is interested in you and not just for sex, will want to get to know
you also and respect your decision and boundaries.”

Joanne, “This newsletter is pushing my memories to great lengths – Coming from Michigan, I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. When I went the first time it was incredible. The marriage wasn’t a good one so when I got to Hawaii, I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. I met Don Ho and was impressed – except I didn’t want to sleep with him or anyone else I had just met. 

“Since I’ve always been very fair, I’m sure that had something to do with it. They call me Haole with blue eyes (white person from the Mainland Ha Ha). The tour director took an interest in me. He was 20 yrs. older. 

“Turns out we did become friends and he would send me money for flights to go visit from California. He had been an entertainer before becoming a tour director. He knew a lot of people and introduced me to a lot of those people. I did end up living on Maui for a couple of years. I agree 150%, don’t just ‘jump in bed before you get to know someone.’” 

Rhonda, 73, “I loved what you wrote about not having sex on the first date. Glad you had the courage to put forth a more traditional view. I love reading your column every week. You’re such a good writer.”

Susie, 80, “I am with you, no sex on the first date. Of course, I seem to go the other way in waiting too long. I must be attracted to someone first to even think about The Dance. That doesn’t happen much for me.

“I would like to be in a relationship, but with someone who is a little younger than I so he will keep up with me, Most men my age don’t; I have taken good care of myself over the years, so I want someone who has done the same. He is difficult to find.”

Maria, “Thinking back, I’ve succumbed to first-date sex on occasion, but I was much younger then and in a different mindset!  Sometimes the chemistry is right at the moment.  I’ve had a history of getting “dumped” for someone else, so now as a sage and much older woman, I see it in a different light.  

“I think all women have to be cautious, respect themselves first, and know who they are.  If you’ve just met someone and it’s the first date, and he suggests a little frolic in the hay, that tells me right off who he is and more importantly, who he isn’t!   Asking a man to respect a ‘getting to know you’ period, is asking for respect for who you are. If he can’t, move on–he’s just in it for sex.

“Many of us who are older are lonely, miss the tenderness and companionship, and, yes, miss the sex!  But if you fall into that first-date sex trap, you are put in a vulnerable place and you realize later that you were taken advantage of, especially if you never hear from him again. I want a man to know me first. The idea of sex now (I’m 77) is very much a secondary thought, and frankly out of my realm of possibility. I’d happily settle for a long, meaningful friendship at this stage of life.

“I’m interested in what the men have to say, because all of this applies to them too, if roles were reversed.

“If you want a loving, sexual relationship as a mature person, take it slow, you still have time, but respect the one you are with. 

“Build up to that wonderful moment of intimacy shared. It will be worth the time.” 

What 8 men said (4 are married)

Joel, “Great points, Tom. I hope Diane accepts your advice. My own experience was shock and awe that women were so eager for sex. One woman friend, just an acquaintance, said to me, ‘If I’m not in bed by the third date, I’m outta there.’

“I had barely dated before I met my first wife and, 27 years later, at age 55, I became a slave to match.com having zero knowledge of what to do. It was a long learning journey.”

Larry #1, “Great and appropriate answer! I am sure she appreciated your answer, and I was surprised by the ‘9 out of 10’ reference.”

Terry #1, “The sex on a first date article reminds me of my gorgeous, and dear friend R, may she RIP.  She believed in having sex on the first date. Her logic was if the sex is no good why would I want a second date. By the way, we only dated once.”

Bruce, “Interesting article, which made me think a little about when I was in between wives back in the early 2000’s I dated a lot, and rarely did I have sex on the first date or even expect so (maybe after the third, lol) on the few occasions I did. I kind of knew beforehand this was just a hook-up for that alone from the written conversations with the women before meeting.

“I totally agree that now you have to truly get to know someone first because of STD’s/scammers/even covid/ etc. Personally, I do not think it is necessarily wrong as time is short now but like you, I would caution against it” 

Larry #2, “I think sex on the first date is a must if you are 90 or older! No time to waste!”

Art, “I agree with you that intimacy on the first date is not the norm with me or any of the friends I know. My experience is that a quick kiss goodnight is normal in most cases if we met at a restaurant and came in separate cars.

“On the second date, I usually pick the lady up in front of her home and usually park and talk at the end of the date in front of her home and walk her to the door. There may be extended kissing in the car, and a goodnight kiss in front of her door. It would be unusual to be invited inside after the second date, but not unheard of if we were dancing at the restaurant.

“The norm that I am familiar with is that after the third or fourth date we would sit on her sofa and become physically involved and then go to her bedroom. Thank you for bringing this subject up.” 

Terry #2, “I’m 83 years young, have no wrinkles, walk eight miles a day, play pickleball, dance rock and roll like a madman, have a very active libido, and very much enjoy making love (which, BTW, is different than having sex). 

“I’m a born-again Christian who believes in the sanctity of marriage. I’m okay with a kiss on a first date but do not favor hopping into bed. My preference would be waiting until marriage to make love but that is tricky these days because so many women I meet state they do not want to marry again.

“Living together is okay for some of them, just not marriage. I make no bones about my desire for a long-term relationship, which to me is preferably marriage. I’m for commitment. Many of the women I’ve met are not. In fact, being open and honest about my desire for a long-term relationship seems to drive most women away.

“I have not encountered nine out of 10 women who gave any signal that they wanted to hop into the sack. 

“I have rambled on way too long.  Just something about this newsletter that touched a nerve.”

Tom (not me, but a buddy), “When I read your article, I was laughing so hard I was crying. I told my wife that your comment about the man lacking class and character was a bit off. I think he was just being a guy.”

Comment from Tom to Tom: Today, we featured the comments of 33 Champs, 25 women and eight men.

The item questioned most by our Champs was the nine out of 10 of Diane’s women friends who told her to have a roll in the hay on date number one. Perhaps, she is hanging out with the wrong group of women.

Nine of 10 women are not in favor of sex on the first date. In fact, I think it’s a flip flop, 9 of 10 women say no to sex on the first date.

How about the guys? A few said, “Men are men, let it be.” I disagree with that as well. One guy said it because he is in the safety of being married to a bright, intelligent woman. Since he got married, he’s been in the dark about senior dating. I can say that since he’s been a buddy for 35 years. He’s been in the dark about all dating, in fact.

As I was reading and answering the responses, it occurred to me that instead of calling sex on the first date “The Dance,” maybe we should call it by a different dance name: “The Stroll.” Remember: “Feel so good….Baby, let’s go strolling. By the candy store.”

Link to The Diamonds singing The Stroll

Link to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtI2ZH7LSOI

Match.com brings a senior couple together

Rob new pal terri
Rob, originally from Australia now living in Atascadero, California and Terri’s new friend she met on Match.comterri from palmdale
Terri from Palmdale, California went on Match.com and met Rob. Their story is below.
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

April 1, 2022 eNewsletter #13

by Tom Blake

Terri, 71, Palmdale, California, was one of the 16 Champs included in last week’s eNewsletter. She mentioned that she had recently met a new man who is a great travel partner. I asked if she’d share with us how they met and for more details about their evolving relationship. I told Terri she looked about 40 years old in her picture. 

Terri said, “I‘ve always taken good care of myself. I guess I didn’t do too bad in the ‘picking good parents’ derby, either: My mother, a tall, gorgeous redhead, worked as Rita Hayworth’s double at Columbia Studios in the 1940s. She turned heads well into her 70s when she was running for a seat on the Lancaster City Council. 

“My father was nearly 6’3” (very tall for that generation) and an imposing figure as well. He was a pioneer in the serve-yourself gasoline business in Los Angeles and “Big John” had the dashing good looks of a George Brent or a Don Ameche. They were a tough act to follow. Thankfully I’ve managed to have an interesting life on my own! 

“I met Rob on Match.com, back in the dark ages of 2021, right in the middle of Covid-19, and right after we had both received our second vaccines in February 2021. I guess we were feeling a little invincible. 

“He lives in Atascadero and I was considering a move to Paso Robles, near that area, so I put that zip code in a Match.com search to see what the dating pool from age 66-76 might look like. Rob had been widowed for about a year after a very long marriage. His daughter had suggested he give Match a try. He was on there for about a month. I was divorced in 2014 after a 33-year marriage. I was on Match a lot longer than I’d like to admit, however, I met some interesting men and some who remain, dear friends, today. 

“I saw but didn’t answer Rob’s profile, thinking it deserved more than a cursory or flippant reply. Surprise, surprise, he then wrote to me, giving his email address and asking if I’d like to begin a conversation? So, I wrote him back. 

“We talked on the phone for a couple of weeks and then he invited me to a family barbecue at his house. He sent me a dozen red roses before the BBQ. And it really was a family barbecue: his daughter, her boyfriend, his grandson, his best friend, and her boyfriend. I guess it was the ‘approval committee’ barbecue and I passed! 

“We’ve been having fun ever since and I have been thankful for his presence in my life throughout some health problems I encountered (since recovered). My life would have been a lot tougher this past year without Rob’s positivity and his presence. Now it’s time for us to travel some and to have more fun. Life is an adventure! 

“Rob owns a nice home where he lives with his daughter and grandson. So, we’ll be something like an LTS (living together separately) couple about 15 minutes away from each other.

“Rob was born and raised in Australia. He enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy at 16 and traveled the world for 20 years, including extensive service in Vietnam. Upon his retirement from the Navy, he was a ranking officer. He helps his fellow RAN (Royal Australian Navy) officers celebrate ANZAC day each year (see Rob’s photo).

“After his military retirement, he lived a dozen years in England and six years in France, working as an antique dealer. His American wife wanted to return to the US, which brought them to California, and the Central Coast where he has lived for the past 24 years. Kind of an International guy, no? Love that Aussie accent, and Rob’s a great travel partner! 

“He’s an honest and up-front guy, with a high energy level to boot! I would say that persistence and resilience are two of the best qualities one can possess if you want to meet someone and pursue that through dating sites. “Thanks for your columns, Tom, and for all I’ve learned from you about life and being a ‘senior single’ in the past 7+ years!” 

Part 2
RETA – “No Grumping for me”  

Reta, 84, Cincinnati, emailed: “No Grumping for me. After reading all the comments from the ‘young champs,’ I had to comment on my situation. I’m 84 and babysit my three great-grandkids ages 2,4, and 6 three days a week. This is when I notice fewer aches and pains and enjoy life. Sometimes I’m driving the 30-minute drive home after dark-not a problem.

“I also volunteer to crochet shawls for a hospital. I have different groups of friends to keep in contact with. I don’t walk as easily as I used to, but I keep walking and keep doing. Tell that grumpy man that he needs to do the same.”

Tom’s response to Reta, “Good on ya! I like your comment about being around the great-grandkids helping to keep you thinking young. And driving after dark? Courageous. And volunteering. You’ve got all the healthy buttons pushed. “Proud of you. Keep it up!”

Looking back: Super Bowl II

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter February 5, 2022

2022 eNewsletter #5

by Tom Blake – author and columnist


pre game floats
1968 TWO FLOATS ON THE FIELD DURING PRE-GAME – a Packer and a Raider (photo by Tom Blake)
American Airlines world stewardess queens–Patty Poulsen and Jill Spavin before the kickoff at Super Bowl II (photo by Tom Blake)
Patty, Jill, and George Mira (in beige turtle neck)photo by Tom Blake
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter February 5, 2022

2022 eNewsletter #5

by Tom Blake – author and columnist


As next week’s Super Bowl LVI (56) approaches, I can’t help but think back to 1968, 54 years ago. I was a regional manager of public relations for American Airlines, working at the company’s headquarters at 633 Third Avenue in New York City.

On January 10, 1968, four days before Super Bowl II, my boss, Holmes Brown, the Vice President of Public Relations, summoned me to his office. He said, “Tom, I just got off the phone with the president of American Express. He invited our two world stewardess queens, Patty Poulsen and Jill Spavin, to be the guests of American Express this weekend at the Super Bowl festivities in Miami.

“I can’t allow Patty and Jill to go alone. I need an American Airlines escort to go with them to be sure they are safe and treated with respect and dignity. As the only single man in our department, I would like you to go. Will you do it?”

“Love to,” I said, trying to act cool and calm, although I couldn’t believe my ears at the opportunity. He patted me on the back and handed me five one-hundred-dollar bills, saying: “All expenses are pre-paid, however, I want you to have money in case you need to pick up a tab. I want American Airlines to always look good.”

On Friday night, Patty, Jill, and I flew from Newark Airport on Eastern Airlines to Miami. A representative from Amex picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel. For the next three days, my focus was to keep them safe (and trust me, only that!). As you can see on the ticket stub shown above, the official name of the game was the “World Championship Game, AFL VS NFL” and it was held on Sunday, January 14, at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

(Shortly thereafter, Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, recommended the name retroactively be changed to “The Super Bowl,” which was quickly adopted by the two leagues. Of course, it was an incredible weekend.

I remember the three of us riding to the game on a bus chartered by American Express. I was in the back of the bus sitting next to a young kid named Mike Garrett, the 1965 Heisman Trophy winner. He was at that time a running back for the Kansas City Chiefs who years later became the athletic director of USC for 17 years. He asked me what was in the cooler on the back seat of the bus.

I said, “Chilled beer.” Garrett said, “Oh, I wanted a Coca-Cola.”Patty, Jill, and I sat on the 50-yard line in the Orange Bowl with George Mira, a former University of Miami All-American and San Francisco 49ers quarterback.

Several of Mira’s admirers stopped by to greet him; they seemed curious about Patty and Jill who looked beautiful. (See above the photo of Patty and Jill and a photo of them seated next to George Mira–I took both photos).

Things have changed since then. The 1968 ticket stub shows a cost of $12. This year, 50-yard-line seats are going for more than $10,000.

There were two portable stages wheeled onto the field before the kickoff. Each team was represented by a 15-foot player in uniform standing on a float. Each figure appeared to be spewing steam from its mouth even though the temperature was in the low 80s. (see picture above)The Green Bay Packers beat the Oakland Raiders, 33-14. Vince Lombardi was the Packers head coach; John Madden was the Raiders linebacker coach.

A year later, Madden became the Raiders head coach for nine years.It’s hard to believe that there have been 54 Super Bowls since that experience. I always chuckle when I watch the Super Bowl and wonder how Patty and Jill are doing.

P.S. Two months later, on March 8, 1968, Patty and Jill were featured in the People section of Time Magazine with a nice writeup and photo of them together. (See article below) 
time magazine 1968

Senior long-distance relationship

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter

January 28, 2022

2022 eNewsletter #4

by Tom Blake

Senior long-distance relationship: By overthinking her senior long-distance relationship, a single senior woman is jeopardizing it.

The perils of a senior long-distance relationship. 

Last October (2021), a woman named Sharon emailed, “I have been in a long-distance relationship for 1 ½ years. I’m 66 and live in Georgia. My boyfriend is 68 and lives in California. We don’t seem to mind. Our love for each other will work out.

“However, he has some ‘issues.’ It’s too complicated to just send an email. Perhaps I can share with you over the phone? It won’t take but a 10-minute conversation.”

I responded, “The phone won’t work for me. I must have written proof of stories that people submit to me for possible use in my newspapers and weekly eNewsletters. I do not want to get into a situation where someone says to me, “That’s not what I told you over the phone.”

“So, in writing articles, I must have written documentation. Please feel free to email me regarding your situation; I’d love to hear what you have on your mind.

“Besides, if I talked on the phone to all the people who would like to chat about their situations, I wouldn’t have time to eat or sleep! Please understand. I hope you’ll write me.”

I didn’t hear back from her—until this January 16, 2022, when Sharon wrote: “We may have communicated before.”

I was surprised she didn’t remember contacting me just three months before. I remembered and I hear from nearly 1,000 people each month.

She wrote: “I have a boyfriend who lives in California, and I live in Georgia. We’ve had a long-distance relationship for 1.8 years.

“We love each other, and he is dragging his feet when it comes to moving forward with the relationship. He is not in a place in his life where he can do that.

“He thinks because of the distance and because I have kids and grandkids (who I’m close to), and because he doesn’t know what he’ll be doing after he sells his house, that the circumstances warrant a big problem for us.

“He doesn’t see how to ‘advance’ the relationship and has even put things on hold while he tries to complete architectural drafting, and building this home project he needs to do so he can sell his house and move on and enjoy his retirement.

“He still likes to travel and vacation with me and things are wonderful when we meet. He calls me twice a week, sends texts almost daily, and still sends me gifts.

“I just sent him a letter to let him know this situation of being in ‘limbo’ is not good for my mental or emotional health. I wrote that I was taking a month with no contact to pray and heal my emotions. I wonder what step to take next.

“I love this man and find it hard to concentrate on dating others, as he said he wouldn’t want to hold me back from a casual golf outing, etc., with a guy if I wanted to.”

I responded: I received your email Sunday, Jan 16. Yes, we communicated before on October 12 when you wanted to talk on the phone, and I explained to you why I didn’t want to do that (see the email above).

Questions: You’ve dated the CA guy for 1.8 years. How did you first meet? Online? Have you been together in person a few times? How many times for you to fall in love with him?

You wrote Sunday “He is not in a place in his life where he can do that,” meaning move the relationship forward. 

You wrote to him saying being in “limbo” isn’t good for your emotional or mental health.

What do you want him to do? Who would move? Him to GA? Or, you to CA (away from your kids and grandkids). 

Perhaps you should get on with your life and back off. Give him time to think. Yes, I know it is hard mentally but that appears to be your only option since you say he can’t move it forward at this stage.

How would you get together during this Covid pandemic? Hard to do when 3,000 miles apart.

A senior dating ultimatum

Sharon responded again: “I have given each of us some time ‘to process’ the relationship: One month no contact. I stated in my letter that I was happy and secure the first year. Communication was consistent, trips were planned every 2-3 months, etc.

“Since August, we haven’t made any concrete plans, and communication has trailed off, I have felt much less that I am even IN a relationship at all! I understand his project, and the stress he is under. I didn’t feel that his home-improvement project was a good enough reason to put our relationship on hold.

“I want to make sure he really FEELS the love and wants to continue our relationship. Not being able to and not wanting to are two different things. I sense a connection is being lost. We are already losing our connection physically. (Covid has nothing to do with our being away from each other, although he did get it one time).

“During the first year, even though there were all KINDS of hindrances to our seeing each other in person (flu, his sister’s death), I felt his steadfast love and care. Anyway, in a few weeks perhaps he will share his thoughts on the ‘no-contact’ period and what if any conclusions he came to during it. I am preparing myself either way. I wish I had given him a heads-up about the no-contact period, but I didn’t know any better.

“It never occurred to me. I basically made it about ME, that I needed time away to think, heal, etc… and that after the month was up, I welcome him to contact me. So, yes, there is the question of what he can do? He can include me in some things to show that I am still important in his life.

“My point was that life will always have ‘big projects’ and stressors, and we can put things on hold, but not people and relationships.

“P.S. If you are wondering where the question is in all this, it is: Who should call who after the no-contact period is up? What should he or I say? I didn’t give any ultimatums or ask any questions, just told him I was going to get some quiet to heal myself and my emotions and pray about God’s direction for my life.

“I made it clear that I was hoping he is the man God has for me and that we would pair our gifts together to be used for ‘His service’ so he should get a clear idea that this no-contact period was not meant to break us up or lead up to it.”

I responded again to Sharon: “Long-distance relationships are difficult, even more difficult during Covid. You and your ‘boyfriend’ have been together only four times in two years. Not enough time to know each other well enough to consider having one of you relocate across the country.

“When you emailed in October, you wrote, ‘We don’t seem to mind’ (Being apart). Apparently, you changed your mind by the time January rolled around.”

I didn’t hear from her again. Perhaps she was using the same no-contact-for-a-month ploy on me that she used on him.

Her boyfriend won’t listen to her

Tom’s conclusion

She’s way over-thinking this relationship. Her self-imposed ‘no-contact’ month is a form of an ultimatum that may be the nail in the relationship coffin. With her excessive twaddle, she may have turned him off. Who should call? she asked. She should, of course. But he may not pick up the phone.

With all the details she wrote, it’s apparent that a phone call from her to me would have taken nearly an hour. That’s another reason why I don’t agree to have people telephone me. Now, if they want a paid consulting session, that’s another story, but she didn’t offer that.

Reconnecting with Tom Maney

On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – August 20, 2021
by Tom Blake – Columnist

Publishing my memoir, “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark,” yields an unexpected result: connecting with an old friend.

Most Champs are aware that I published a memoir in July. After all, you helped me create the book’s title, “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark.” All paperback copies ordered by Champs so far have been autographed and shipped.

I wrote the book for three primary reasons:

1 -During the 26 years of owning and operating the deli, I met so many incredible people—employees, customers, friends, suppliers, and a few celebs—I wanted to acknowledge and thank them for contributing to the vitality of the deli. More than 550 are mentioned in the book.

2 -As we age, keeping our minds alert is nearly as important as keeping our bodies moving. This self-publishing project helped me keep my mind alert. There was a lot of research, a lot of looking facts up online, and a lot of editing and spellchecking. I did pretty well by keeping typos and errors to a minimum in the 382 pages. It helped fill the extra time made available by the Covid-19 epidemic.

3 -I thought that the book might contribute, ever so little, to the history of Dana Point, California, which became a city two weeks after I had opened the deli in 1988. The city and the deli grew up together. I felt that some people in Dana Point and surrounding cities might have an interest in the tidbits of history that the deli experienced during those years.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was the personal warmth I felt when reconnecting with people I hadn’t seen or talked to in up to 32 years. To locate many of them–even some who still live in Dana Point–required searching online, Facebook, Dana Point Unplugged, LinkedIn, and any other place I could think of.

This brings me to today’s story. In the book, in the 1990 chapter, I included two pictures of a customer named Tom Maney. One of the pictures is of Tom, which he had given me, chipping out a piece of the Berlin Wall, which had opened on November 9, 1988, signaling the fall of The Iron Curtain.

Tom chipped out that piece a few weeks after the Wall had fallen.

In addition to the picture, he also presented the deli with a chip from the wall he had brought back to Dana Point. That picture with the piece of the wall was mounted on the deli Wall of Fame. It remained there for 24 years until I retired in 2015.

Tom Maney moved to New York City in 1992. He went to work for ESPN sports. He sent me an ESPN tee-shirt in 1993, which I still have. We lost track of each other.

I wanted to include that picture with the piece of the wall in the book. So, I searched online for Tom Maney and discovered that he had done extremely well in a sports media career. Additionally, he has been successful in New Jersey and New York real estate. I sent him an email on June 26 with this subject line: “A Blast from the Past – Tutor & Spunky’s.”

And this is where that reward of connecting with old friends comes in. On June 29, Tom replied that he was semi-retired after spending 30 years in sports media. He wrote, “So many great memories that go beyond your terrific deli sandwiches.” His message gave me goosebumps.
He said he was going to order the book from Amazon.

Then, on August 14, Tom sent another email. He wrote, “What a great pleasure it was to spend the day at the beach (New Jersey’s Long Beach Island is a barrier island in the southern part of the Jersey Shore) reading your book. Dana Point has always had a special place in my heart. Thank you for including me in your wonderful story. What became of that picture and piece of the wall?”

I told him that the picture and piece of the Berlin Wall were now on our home-office wall. Reconnecting with Tom Maney happened because of the book. I had reached out to a long-lost friend. It meant so much to me.

I got to thinking, wondering if Tom Maney would like the picture and wall chip. So, I wrote him and said, “I would be honored to part ways with that deli artifact and send it to you as a return gift. It could become a part of your family’s genealogy and history.”

Tom responded: “I still have several pieces of the wall so there’s no need to return it. It belongs with all the Tutor & Spunky’s wall of fame items.

”32 years ago we were so young, handsome, and full of ambition. You did it right by doing your corporate career first and then moving to Dana Point. I did it backward. Now I have to figure out how to get back….”

So the piece of the Berlin Wall chipped out in 1990 remains in Dana Point, 31 years later.

Reconnecting with an old friend happened because of the book I had written. But people don’t need to write a book to reconnect with old friends. They can just do the search and try to find them. When you do, it will warm your heart.
I hope that as I reach out to more people who are in the book, there will be other stories similar to this one that will emerge–if I can track the people down. 

Senior downsizing and getting rid of stuff

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter May 21 2021

by Columnist Tom Blake

Senior downsizing, relocating and getting rid of stuff

As we age, we start to realize that we may need to make some changes in our lives such as possibly relocating, downsizing, and clearing out clutter and “stuff.”

Last week, the above message was delivered to me loud and clear.
My nephew Derek made a special trip from Dallas to California to meet with me for three hours and then he met with my sister for three hours in heart-to-heart discussions.

Derek’s dad, our brother Bill, passed away on January 19. Derek is the executor of Bill’s estate. And while there was a will and estate plan, Derek said there was so much stuff that executing the estate had been a nightmare.

Looking me directly in the eye, he emphatically stressed the need for older people (as in yours truly) to clear out “stuff” while they still can, and not leave the task for their kids or someone else to try to figure out who gets what, and what to keep and what to toss out.

In some cases, growing older necessitates starting over in one’s life. Today, we share situations that three of our women Champs are dealing with. It’s called “starting over.”

Joanne, Albuquerque, New Mexico On April 24, Joanne wrote, “No one needs extra stress right now. I’m waiting for an apartment on the west side of Albuquerque to become available. It’s HUD so it could take a while. 

“In the meantime, I will be staying with friends in Reno. I’ve rented for 40 years and have never been treated like this. We’ve had three property managers in 10 months. When they don’t want to be bothered by you, they block your phone number, etc…

“So, I’m putting my ‘stuff’ in a storage place on May 17 and plan to leave for Reno on the 18th. It’s a two-day drive from Albuquerque. I’ll stay in Reno to help my friend for a couple of months and when the next apartment is available, I’ll come back to ABQ and live on the west side of town. I swore I wasn’t ever moving again.”

 Jackie, Illinois “I’m selling my house, the home in Illinois that Randy provided for me in his will, to move back to Georgia to be near my children. I’m starting over.

“Once I get settled or after I do some traveling, I’ll see if God has someone once again for me as I had with Randy, and like the Italian love story from last week’s eNewsletter.

“I’ve been told it’s a good real estate seller’s market now and I have no reason to be here anymore. I’ll take the leap to put it on the market on May 24. I hope once everything is over I can visit my sister and we came come to another one of your Meet and Greets at your former deli, Tutor and Spunky’s in Dana Point, as we did in May 2019.

“I’m sure you will be giving us an update from last week’s eNewsletter on Annalisa and Carmen. The ‘Where Do I Begin?’ song by Andy Williams took me back to the 1970s.”

Susan, Virginia, 

“I hope the meeting between Annalisa and Carmen will lead to something. I am lonely too, been alone for a very long time, was okay with it for a while, but now feeling it much more. I’m getting ready to move and that in its self is very stressful. Downsizing. ‘Where do I begin?’

“I keep shredding paper and there is a lot of it. I got rid of 11 pounds of paper today and about eight pounds last week.

“I don’t have much big furniture, so that is a plus. I once had a big house and moving from that place where my kids grew up was hard. I moved in with my daughter for a while and that was fun. I then moved in with my son, before he was married, and then I moved to an apartment, and now, moving again!

“When my ex-husband passed away eight years ago, he left nothing in order! My daughter handled the estate. It was very hard on her to sort everything out! 

“I have to move again because the rent where I am now living keeps going up, so I’m moving to a less expensive place–an over 62 community. 

“It has been a long journey for me divorcing in my 60’s and the things I went through. I could write a book on divorcing later in a woman’s life. There was nothing out there at that time to help women and I still don’t think there is now! 

“A good divorce lawyer is worth his or her weight in gold. I didn’t have one to protect me, and I didn’t have the money to continue fighting the ex. I also was just getting out of treatment for breast cancer, but, I did walk away with something: my health. 

“I am 79 and wishing that I was younger. Having to make a change again at his late date is not fun.”

Tom’s comment: Relocating, downsizing, and/or getting rid of “stuff” can be a pain in the rear, I understand that. But, it also can be a positive new beginning. It’s something that nearly all Champs need to get busy on, especially getting rid of “stuff.” Greta and I know we need to get that done.

And the result of relocating can be rewarding. A new environment will mean new challenges of learning the local area. One will meet new people, make new friends, and encounter new adventures. It’s a chance to start over, to stimulate one’s brain and muscles. It could lengthen and enrich a person’s life.

Good luck to the above three Champs. Please let us know how it’s working out for you.

9 senior women comment on senior women sharing senior dating expenses

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter

by Columnist Tom Blake

In last week’s eNewsletter, Champ Wayne asked senior women their opinions about sharing dating expenses 50/50. He said he can’t afford to pay for first-class airfare, 5-star hotels, and pricey restaurants. Included below are the responses of nine women (responses edited for length and clarity):

Bobbi, San Mateo, California, emailed, “I understand the 50/50 arrangement. My partner and I had that type of relationship. Sometimes he would pay the entire bill and then I would reciprocate the next, but most times we shared.

“Some restaurant portions are too large for each to consume so we’d share an order. “I have no problem sharing expenses. I am financially secure so no big deal and it’s only fair to both parties especially with the rising costs everywhere. Unfortunately, I am now single again, as my partner passed some time ago. 

“Most women in our age group should be willing to share expenses.” 

Bonnie, San Juan Capistrano, California, “How nice that Wayne explained his circumstances, and his wish to have his resources to rely upon through his retirement years. 

“California is expensive. I hope that he can continue to live here, as it sounds like he is happy doing so. “For the woman who cares about his life, security, and planning to remain solvent…she will stand out in the crowd and would be worth a relationship.”  

Bring your calculator on dates?

Gail, “I see nothing wrong with sharing the cost for entertainment and travel expenses. However, I would add some conditions.

“Each person in the relationship would first have to be honest and committed to each other—- this does not necessarily mean they are married but committed and not still looking for someone.  

“Once that is done, they need to discuss with all honesty and be willing to show proof of their annual income. This would be confidential. Their most recent tax return could suffice. 

“So now, each person knows the other’s annual income. Then, the incomes are added (just for illustration purposes) and used to figure percentages.  

“For illustration: “Female X has a yearly income of $50,000Male Y has a yearly income of $80,000 

“Combined the income is $130,000. Female X makes 38% of the total Male Y makes 62%.  “Hence, when they travel, dine, or purchase groceries, etc., the female would pay 38% and the male 62%. Our smartphones have calculators, so each person’s share would be easy to figure on the spot.  

“I feel this would be the fairest and most honest way to do things. “I didn’t consider each person’s assets- that would be up to the couple.” 

Confession from Tom: Gail’s example above unburied an old memory. More than 30 years ago, a woman I was dating and I agreed to share expenses on a trip to New York City. I kept track of every penny each spent (a little anal one would think).

On the flight back to San Francisco (coach class), I said to her: “I calculated what we both spent, you owe me .83 cents.” She went ballistic. That’s probably why we stopped dating.  

Shari, “A senior woman who is dating should insist up front that she believes in paying her dating expenses. That puts both parties on an equal footing. In that way, the woman is not beholden to the man. Also, it does not put undue pressure on one party to pay for everything.  

“And when both parties pay, either one can suggest places to go without hard feelings creeping in. I wouldn’t dream of letting a man pay for all the dating expenses.   Consensus: Avoid 5-star and pricey places.

Sandy, “Regarding Wayne’s 50-50 sharing of expenses: 1) What if the girl of his dreams could not afford half of the first-class flights and five-star restaurants? 2) Would he want to limit his net to women in a specific financial or social bracket?

“Stephen and I are both Champs who met online and married in 2014. While we were both working – there was a significant financial disparity. We were both employed in long-term career positions but his financial remuneration was greater than mine. We both had our own homes and stellar credit scores.

“I addressed this by being transparent about my finances within the first four dates because I was asked about my ‘pension.’ It was my hope that Stephen could decide if I was acceptable including my less than stellar portfolio before knowing each other too long.

“For us, neither finances nor medical history prevented our commitment and marriage.

“My message to Wayne: I could not afford half of first-class airfare or five-star restaurants. He might be throwing away an opportunity with a woman whose value exceeds her balance sheet.

“And not being able to afford those privileges does not mean a woman is poorly educated, lacking in intellect or culture. It is just a financial inequity.”

Gina, “Interesting that Wayne gave the example of first-class air, five-star hotels, and expensive wine and dinners. Does he have to fly first class to enjoy the trip otherwise he doesn’t want to go?  

“If he wants to cultivate a relationship with a special-quality woman, he can hold off on the first class and five-star trips and instead be creative with his time and attention and do what he can afford.   “If a guy I was newly dating said ‘I love to fly first class and only go to 5-star hotels, let’s plan a trip and split 50/50,’ I’d say no.  

“Once there is a strong connection and a desire to spend more time together, within the first three to six months, a couple can have a conversation about travel dreams. The man can be honest about what he can afford and ask how she feels about sharing expenses.

“A man who has similar values, world views, and, is a good listener, and is thoughtful within his means, goes a long way.”

Cris, “The key is to discuss expense-sharing early so your companion knows what to expect. A conversation starter could be ‘I’d love to take a cruise next fall, it would be fun if you could join me. Is that type of expense in your budget?’

“This should open the door to a conversation about future travel and a discussion about what type of situations they would each pay their share of expenses.

“I’m sure many women would have no problem paying their share, especially if the alternative was to not travel at all. And, I bet many women have no problem picking up the tab for dinner once in a while.”  

Nancy, “First time responding to your newsletter. “Money is an intimate topic…When I was single I would sometimes make a bet with a friend that money was a more intimate topic than sex.

“To prove the point I would engage a guy at a bar in a conversation which eventually led to a discussion of sex–likes, desires, things they had tried, etc. They spoke openly. But when I questioned their net worth or annual income, they clammed up! 

“I can afford to share expenses with my significant other but I would much rather offer to do it than be surprised when a check arrives or I feel obligated to contribute a pre-arranged amount.  

“Looking back over the last year together, I can say that my ‘voluntary’ contributions have greatly exceeded 60%….and I don’t feel bad about that because it was voluntary. And I must admit I enjoy seeing him smile when I randomly pick up a check, suggest we have dinner ‘on me,’ or prepay a hotel bill.  

“My advice to Wayne is to discuss the topic of sharing expenses, in generalities, and suggest that he and his partner share expenses informally, but do not expect a rigid 50/50.  

“His misfortunes are not her problem. Figuring out a fair way to share expenses is…as a couple. Not by edict.”

Kathy, “If I were dating right now I would want to split expenses; I don’t like to feel that I owe anyone, anything. Paying my way has always made me feel like I’m an equal partner in a relationship.

“When I remarried my husband after four years apart, we came into the relationship with separate checking accounts and a household account that we both pay equally into monthly. It works great, I wish I’d done this the first time around.

“There’s no discussion when I come home with a bag of new clothes or even a new car that I’m spending his money, or too much money. It’s made life so much easier.”