Thursday, September 11, 2014

The roller coaster of love after 50

On life and love after 50: The roller coaster of love after 50

In June, 2014, I spoke to a lovely couple (Mary and Dan, not their real names) in my Dana Point, California, deli who said they had started dating about 10 months before. They were in love and thrilled that they had found each other.

Dan was divorced after a 40-year marriage and Mary had been mostly alone for 20 years but attending lots of group and activities. Mary said, “I had met some nice men, but never the one. I was usually OK going it alone; I had great family and friends for support.”

I asked Mary and Dan to send me an email describing how they had met so I could share their information with other age 50-plus singles.  In the email that Mary sent, she concluded: “Our life together just flows. It’s as if we have a significant history together already. We are standing on solid ground. Dan fits perfectly into my life and he feels the same about me.” They were so happy that Dan had moved in with Mary.

She added, “The moral of the story: there may be a slim chance to meet someone if you put yourself out there, but there’s no chance at all unless you put yourself out there.”

On July 17, Mary sent an update about the relationship. Dan’s ex-wife had moved from the East Coast and was living in his home. He was renting it to her at a deeply discounted price. Mary said Dan felt sorry for her because she had fallen on hard financial times. Mary was not happy that the ex-wife had re-entered his life, although not romantically. “We would have never gone through this if she had stayed on the east coast,” Mary said.

Mary and Dan discussed the situation and worked it out. She said, “Both of us realize what we would be missing if we walked away…or let her break us up.”

On July 25, Mary sent an email that shocked me, “I’m lucky this relationship only lasted 10 months. He is looking to rent a room until next June when his ex-wife would leave, and he suggested we could just date until then. When I said that wasn’t going to work for me, he got aggravated and said it would be best if we never saw each other again. I went through three days of wailing and literally had no sleep, read three books, lost three pounds, and then I went to anger that kept me from feeling so sad.”

Mary said she was going to attend the Meet and Greet gathering at my Dana Point, California, deli on July 31 to meet some new people.

On August 21, she emailed, “Coming to your Meet and Greet gathering led me to meet two really great people and their input led me back to communicating with Dan, a trip to a male family/marriage therapist and discovering what I was really upset about in the relationship. Dan and I have gotten the situation settled to satisfy the both of us, so we are again living together and I think stronger for the experience.

“Maybe we needed a dose of real life to test our mettle. My kids and grand-kids are very happy to. Dan is the only man I dated who truly became a part of the family. I will let you know what is happening at the end of another year.”

Tom’s thoughts. After Mary’s story, I felt like I had just been riding the Big Dipper roller coaster at the Boardwalk Amusement Park in Santa Cruz. I guess if there is a lesson to take away from Mary’s story it’s this:

If you are in a relationship with a good person and you both love each other, for gosh sakes, try working out the issues via communication and counseling should issues surface that are driving a wedge between you and your partner. It’s so hard at our age to find a compatible mate, finding a compromise is so much better than walking away from something great.

Enjoy your Labor Day 2014 week-end. 

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