Saturday, August 23, 2014

Breaking up by text

On life and love after 50:

Breaking up by text message: a classless act

Has dating after 50 become this calloused?

Pattie emailed, “I've been single for six years. With most of the men I've met, they would just not call after one or two dates. Some were honest and direct, and would tell me in person or by phone that they weren't feeling a connection. If I wasn't feeling a connection, I would be honest and tell them directly or in a phone call.

“In May, I met a man I liked, felt a connection, and, he said the same. After our dates, he would text, asking when we could meet again. He'd text to confirm arrangements. In two months, we talked on the phone two or three times. I found this curious, but suspended judgment to get to know him better, and to let things evolve.

“After our last date, he texted me the next morning to say he didn't think we had enough in common. I was disappointed because I found him interesting and fun to be with, but was more disappointed that he broke up in a text.

“Is texting how we communicate with one another now? I know it's easier than a phone call, but it doesn't feel right. Am I too old-fashioned?”

The invention of cell phones has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they have streamlined our lives, making us more efficient and able to have instant communications, updates, and information. Texting plays a big role in that.

On the other hand, cell phones are a curse. Texting is a large part of that curse. We all know how dangerous texting can be in a car. We all have experienced rude people in public places yacking away on their cell phones so loud everybody nearby can hear. And people can be so pre-occupied when using their cell phones that they walk into you on the sidewalk or in the aisle of the supermarket, oblivious that they are being so rude.

Is Pattie old-fashioned? I don’t think so. It’s nice that there are people like Pattie who feel that personal courtesy still matters when something as important as a breakup occurs.

Pattie’s former friend took the spineless way out. Why not a brief and courteous phone call instead of a text? It was just type a few words, hit send, and poof, relationship over. Move on.

Emily Post, the author of Etiquette, which is in its 18th edition, would have been horrified by modern-day cell phone etiquette.

I asked Greta, my life partner of 16 years, for her opinion about Pattie’s situation. She said, “They only dated a couple of months. He was a texting sort of guy. While getting that text was disappointing to her, she should not have been surprised that he broke up that way. She will be better off. It was ok how he did it.”

I disagree. I’m going to send Greta a text right now and tell her so. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Widowed or divorced. Who is right?

On Life and Love After 60

Divorcees take issue with widowed people’s comments

I suppose it’s only natural that widowed people--at least some of them--have opinions that differ from divorced people--at least some of them--when it comes to being able to love again.

Last week, we featured a warm love story about two widowed people who live together. The widow, Marcia, a facilitator for a grief recovery group for newly widowed people, stated: “I constantly hear from divorced women who date widowers and want them to get rid of the remnants of their marriages. These women should not date widowers, they are too insecure.”   

Marcia’s statement caught Champ Liz’s attention. Liz said, “As a long-time divorcee, I was somewhat offended by Marcia's comment. “I'm sure there are some insecure divorced women who are intimidated by a widower's past marriage and his memories of his wife, but I don't believe we are all that way. 

“There are some widowers who cannot bring closure to the loss of their wives and therefore are still living in the past and unable to move forward in a new relationship. In those instances, it would be difficult for anyone (widow or divorcee) to not feel some resentment if the widower isn't willing to put his energies into building a new relationship with her rather than living in the past.

"I have met some fine widowers who are fully committed to building a new relationship with another. I feel they have a lot to offer and I respect the love they once shared with their deceased wives, knowing that they will always be a part of who they are. Learning about a deceased wife and the life they shared together allows me to better understand who he is.

"For the most part, I suppose widows and widowers who had good marriages make a better pairing and understand each other a little better, just as those who are divorced may have more in common in their shared-divorce experiences."

“But, I'd like Marcia to know that we divorcees aren't all insecure when it comes to dating widowers, and that there is an important balance that must be achieved in any new relationship, whether widowed or divorced.

Liz’s comments had a familiar ring. I researched my records and found that Champ Jessie, Oregon, responded to comments a widower had made in an April, 2014 newsletter. Jessie said, “I wanted to respond to the widower who said that divorced people ‘chose to be in that situation.’ I think I speak for many when I say I certainly did not choose to be single at this time of life. 

“When I married, it was for life. Unfortunately, my ex-husband apparently was not as committed. It bothers me when widowed people seem to think that those of us who are divorced are incapable of making a commitment or of long-term love. Some of us did not choose to end the marriage.

These comments were not the first Jessie had made in responding to something a widower had said. A year ago, she wrote, “I think it is sad that the widower has decided that his deceased wife was his ‘one and only’ love, and apparently has locked up his heart and has thrown away the key. He might benefit from counseling, since he has apparently never healed from the death of his wife. He is missing out on experiencing love again. Not the same love he shared with his wife, but another fulfilling love with a new woman.

My opinion: I think both widowed people and divorced people feel lots of pain. Who is right or who is wrong isn’t an issue. Paul Simon wrote in the 1986 song, Graceland, “…Losing love is like a window in your heart. Everybody sees you’re blown apart…” That applies to both the widowed and the divorced.

So, let’s understand each other. We’re all licking our wounds, we’re all trying to heal. A little empathy between the two sides will go a long way to recovery and finding love regardless of our scars.  

Widowed or divorced, we’re in this journey together.

You Tube Link to Paul Simon’s singing Graceland in Central Park in 1991 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Widow and widower find love - choose not to remarry

Widow and widower find love, but not marriage

Five years ago, I published a book titled, How 50 Couples Found Love After 50. The purpose of the book was to show how 100 singles age 50-plus found love after 50, and to give hope to older singles that finding love later in life is possible, and to never give up looking.

The couples featured in the book are from all over the USA and Canada. Some of them I had met before, but most I had not.

One of the couples, Marcia and Russ, live in Sacramento, California. Last week, they stopped by Tutor and Spunky’s, my Dana Point deli, to introduce themselves. Both were widowed after 34 years of marriage.

Marcia, now 65, said, “I am a facilitator for a grief recovery group for widowed persons called Widowed Persons Association of California (WPAC). There are chapters all over California. We are not a dating service but a grief recovery group that has many activities for widowed people.

“I met Russ, now 72, while facilitating a workshop. We live together, but have chosen not to remarry. Instead, we had a commitment ceremony. We have two signed legal documents: one a co-habitation agreement and the other a medical-care agreement.”

When I asked how she introduces Russ, Marcia said, “I tell people that Russ is ‘the husband of my heart.’”

Russ said, “We have been together for six glorious years. We get along great and have traveled extensively, including trips to South America, China, New Zealand and Australia.”

Marcia said, “When we are not traveling, we are involved in our community. We love to bowl and play pool, and we attend Renaissance Society classes sponsored by Sacramento State University. We are on campus with the younger students, who seem to enjoy having a bunch of gray-haired freshmen mingling with them.”

Russ smiled and added, “We just went to a Woodstock revival party, which brought out many seniors from that generation. We just keep having fun, that’s what matters to us.”

Marcia said, “Widowed people that had happy marriages are wonderful companions, but they did not choose to be single. Even though Russ and I suffered through long and devastating illness of our spouses, we still had and have the history. The children, grandchildren and who we are, is permanent. Our ex-in-laws are very happy for us. I love his wife because she trained him well and he has no bitterness.”

Russ chimed in, “I love her husband because Marcia carries no baggage. We are creating our own history now, but at our ages we see that it is different than it was with our mates who fell in love with us in our 20’s and shaped who we are.”

In the book, Marcia is quoted: “I constantly hear from divorced women who date widowers and want them to get rid of the remnants of their marriages. These women should not date widowers, they are too insecure. I see many widowed couples, both widowed, who are very happy together in this phase of life but for many reasons cannot marry. I am very happy and lucky to have met a companion who likes to do the same things I do and thanks to his wife, is a low-maintenance male.

“We are having a ball and just enjoying each other.”

Tom’s comment: Marcia and Russ are embracing life in a beautiful way. Their relationship is an inspiration to older singles. They met because they were willing to get out and mingle with people who had had experiences similar to their experiences.  

How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 can be ordered as a hard cover book or E-book at For an autographed copy, email me at I will personalize a book for you. Cost will be $10.95, which includes the cost of priority mail shipping.

Friday, August 1, 2014

When a younger woman enters the scene

On Life and Love After 60 Newsletter     August, 2014
by Tom P. Blake
When a younger woman enters the scene
Last week, we wrote about Kathryn, 69, a widow, whose boyfriend of three and a half years, invited his ex-girlfriend’s 54-year-old daughter to learn to play golf, play tennis, swim, and go out to dinner. This is happening often. Sometimes Kathryn is invited, sometimes not. “We’re just friends,” he tells Kathryn, when speaking about the young intruder. Kathryn and her boyfriend have two overseas trips scheduled together this year. Kathryn is so upset with this turn of events that she asked our Champs for their thoughts.

Most Champs sympathized with widow Kathryn.

Stella said, “Oh boy, oh boy! I was in a similar situation and to top it off the other gal was married! She bought a house in AZ and the husband lived in LA. I finally told my boyfriend that he wasn't going to sleep with me and be HER boyfriend! Her interference led to our breakup.”

Jan,Kathryn has the right idea about leaving the relationship. If
this man is as naive as he appears to be, I would find myself losing respect for him. I can't be in a relationship with anyone I don't respect!”

Jody,This is sad and maddening. He is being disrespectful of Kathryn. She deserves better!”

Pat,Kathryn is correct in feeling uncomfortable about the ‘sudden’ relationship after four years of no contact. Fifteen years age difference would not necessarily be a barrier to a ‘romance. Maybe she had a crush on him when her mother was with him and now that she finally found him she has decided to go after him for herself or even worse, break up Kathryn and him so the Mom can come back into the picture. 

“Men can be easily fooled when it comes to female motives. A fling with a 54-year-old after building a relationship with Kathryn for 3 ½ years may hurt him more in the long run than he knows. Sadly, it may be time for Kathryn to move on; she sounds like a strong, sensible woman but ‘moving on’ is easier said than done.” 

Louise,I see a HUGE RED FLAG! Kathryn is in love with a man who wants his cake and to eat it too. Accept that you are the only person who can make you happy. Get off the roller-coaster ride now!

“Demand Respect in an Audrey Hepburn way or end the relationship. He will keep stringing you along.”

Joan, “The boyfriend is putting Kathryn in a situation where she will say ‘It’s her or me!’  The other woman is manipulating. And the man is being flattered by her attentions and allowing himself to be manipulated! Kathryn may need to set up a counseling visit for her and her man. This is wrong of him. It’s an anti-relationship move.  If he wishes to be with Kathryn he needs to get this other woman out of his life. But he may want both of them.”

A few Champs saw the situation differently.

Linda said, “Yes, it is a bit strange that he seems to have such a close relationship with the daughter of his "ex" all of a sudden, and yes it may be that the ex's daughter has an agenda ~ but then again..... maybe not.

“Perhaps it is just a happy re-establishment (after 4 years of ‘healing’ time) of a close relationship that the two of them had when he was with her mother.   While it might not be an ordinary situation, I don't think he is out of line in being kind to her and inviting her for visits occasionally.

“He doesn't seem to be treating Kathryn poorly when the daughter comes. In fact, he invites her to join them.

“If Kathryn can't tolerate being around her and declines joining them, fine. That is her prerogative.  However, she really doesn't have the right to tell her boyfriend who he can be friends with (male or female) and/or dictate to him who he can invite to his home.  After all, they have separate homes and are not married.

“However, if the daughter wanted to move in with him, that would be different, and some serious discussion would need to take place.  Or if he was becoming romantically involved with the daughter, then I would say dump him immediately!

She said they have invested in a couple big trips coming up.  I would tell her to not make any rash decisions until they have taken the trips and spent ‘alone’ time together (without the ex's daughter).  She may find that their relationship really hasn't changed at all. That he cares for her and values their relationship just as much as he always has.  That's how it sounds to me anyway.  He just obviously enjoys the friendship and company of the "ex's daughter" also.  Where's the harm in that?  Is it just because she is female?  I don't think she would think that much about it if the son of an ‘ex’ was visiting him and golfing with him, etc.

As long as that friendship doesn't turn into something else (i.e. romantically, sexually, etc.), I say leave it alone. Don't try to tell him who he can be friends with.  Kathryn doesn't have to like her, that doesn't mean he isn't allowed to enjoy being around her.  Perhaps after the initial excitement of the rekindled friendship wears off, she may not be around so much.”

One man, Carmen, felt similarly to Linda, “Kathryn is over-reacting. She should enjoy her partner and let it go.”

Kathryn updated the situation yesterday

She said, “There are no changes in the situation. The only one that will be changing is me. I do not want to end the relationship and will leave that alone for now. I enjoy having him as part of my life and as I said last week, he is very helpful and sweet to me and an all-around fabulous man.  

“Given time, the other woman will reveal herself. She is very intrusive. She is a psychologist and does manipulative things just to observe your reaction.  She also makes assumptions based on casual comments that are made.  My boyfriend takes it in stride.

“The activities they share now include the golf range, the golf course, tennis court, bocce court and pool (all in the same day).  I got a call from my boyfriend from the bocce court gushing that they were playing bocce with a friend of mine. My boyfriend is enjoying this. Me, not so much.

“Part of my changing is not to react at all. I keep very busy with my grown kids, grandkids, business and social events both inside and away from my community. He is invited to anything social I am involved in and family gatherings. If he does not want to go, that no longer precludes me from enjoying my friends.  

“When my husband passed away, I found myself alone on days like the 4th of July and other holidays.  Then I realized if I was alone, it was my fault and invited some friends over. When they asked me what they could bring, I said, "Bring a friend."  Now I have several parties every year and always invite my guests to bring a friend. Recently, I had a party and held my breath. I was glad to see he did not bring his new friend.

“We leave for London in a few days and have been spending a lot of time planning and plotting our course so we can pack as much as possible into the time we have there. After the trip, I will come home; he will stay in Europe to visit school friends and family there.

“I am not sure about the November trip we have planned. I am still feeling out that situation since it includes neighbors. Since that trip includes more rugged terrain, I am ‘in training’ trying to build up a bit of extra strength, whether or not that trip happens.”

Tom’s closing remarks: It will be interesting to hear from Kathryn after their upcoming trip. She will be able to judge whether their relationship has changed. Then, as she points out, she will be able to decide about the second trip planned for November, and also decide on what to do about the relationship.
Still, I would not want to be treated this way. One of the biggest must-haves in a relationship is to be considered a top priority by my mate, and, in return, I must make her the top priority as well. The boyfriend is not making Kathryn a top priority. 

Link to Finding Love After 60 website