On life and love after 50 eNewsletter
October 14, 2022
By Columnist Tom Blake
Dating a still-married man, while enjoying the domestic side of life (bouncy/bouncy)
Let’s say you’re 60 or older and single again. You might be divorced or in the process of getting a divorce. Or perhaps you’re a widow, or a widower. You admit you are a bit lonely, so you’ve decided to put yourself out there into the dating world in hopes of meeting a compatible mate.
You are committed to getting off the couch and out of the house to focus on interacting with friends and meeting new friends. Perhaps you are considering online dating.
You don’t want marriage, just someone you’d enjoy being with. Someone who shares your values and interests. You’ve managed to have a few dates, but no one has clicked yet.
And then someone comes along who adds a little spark to your life. You think that perhaps a relationship could evolve. It’s hard because you find yourself comparing that new person to your ex and they don’t have all of the qualities that your former partner had.
Dating a still-married man
You’ve had some interesting conversations with the person, which have revealed a small red flag or two. Take, for example, Jane (not her true name, changed by request), who emailed, “Four months ago, I met Bill (not his true name either) online. He’s been separated for two years from his wife of 26 years.
“On our first date, the hours flew by. We had fun conversation and seemed to connect. Afterward, he emailed saying he had a great time, and our interests were similar.
“I wrote back expressing two concerns based on our discussion. One being that he is from Canada (his company transferred him to the USA) and his family lives 16 hours away by car. What would happen if he got homesick and wanted to move back there to live?
“And second, his marital status: I would be dating a still-married man, separated for two years. What is really going on there?”
These two issues trouble me a bit but he and I discussed them.
“He assured me that he’s here to stay, that his family is in full support of his being here and his divorce is pending because he owes his attorney money and that was all that was needed to get the ball rolling.” Hence, I’d be dating a still-married man.
While Jane mentioned that she intended to proceed slowly with Bill, she rationalized that she too was once in the same position: separated, heart ready to move on, but a legal system that can take a long time to finalize a divorce.
Jane added, “I have seen his divorce papers, so I know he’s working on the final stuff, and he was truthful with me. I gave him a chance because I had someone take a chance on me while waiting for my divorce to be final. So that concern has been eased a bit.
“We’ve had an awesome four months together. He helped me with remodeling my townhouse and he met my family. We spent a weekend away exploring galleries and hiking. We enjoy our downtime after work and making dinner together—enjoying the domestic side of life.
You bounce my heart around
“Then, suddenly, the rug was pulled out from under my feet. Now he’s telling me that his head says one thing but his heart another, that there is a wall up. Apparently, he was hurt as a teenager by a relationship and again when he arrived in the states. It’s taken him six months to get over his latest heartbreak. He thinks if people must work at a relationship, it’s not the real thing.”
Jane rationalized again, stating: “He is bewildered and confused by his feelings, due in part to a lack of senior dating experience. This guy hasn’t ‘found’ himself yet.
“I must let time take care of things. I like him, but only he can find himself. He feels bad that he hurt me. His being in my life has been a positive thing; I experienced how wonderful it is to have someone REALLY treat me like a woman, which I haven’t experienced in a very long time.”
I hear what Jane says, but Bill didn’t treat her like a woman for long. She feels he backed off because of “a lack of senior dating experience.” What the heck does that have to do with it?
Rather, her situation reminds me of the 2004 book “he’s just not that into you.”
Seniors who choose to date again need to trust their instincts and keep their expectations in check. I think Jane needs to get on with her life.
Remember the Bobby Vee hit song “Rubber Ball” that was popular 61 years ago in 1961? Jane fits that mold. Perhaps if he finds himself and bounces back into her life, she’ll avoid becoming a rubber ball by ensuring he is only true to one woman (she).
Here’s the second verse:
“I’m like a rubber ball.
“Baby that’s all I am to you (bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)
“Just a rubber ball
“Cause you think you can be true to two (bouncy, bouncy) (bouncy, bouncy)
“You bounce my heart around (you don’t even put her down)
“And like a rubber ball, I keep bouncing back to you.