Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Navigating the hype of Internet dating sites

On Life and Love After 60 Newsletter

Tom Blake               January 27, 2015

Navigating the hype of Internet dating sites

I get a lot of Internet dating junk mail in my inbox. Sometimes I read it just for entertainment. A few days ago, AB Newswire, a paid online press release distribution service, sent out a press release about a dating website called EuroDate, which ostensibly has over 40,000 members worldwide. The press release title: EuroDate Shares 5 Top Cities for Discovering Love in 2015.
The press release said the five cities are “…where a large number of romantic men and women are located.”

I was curious how EuroDate knows that these five cities have large numbers of romantic men and women so I read further.

The release stated, “Hungary’s capital Budapest has a crowd of amorous singles looking to meet their partner from overseas on EuroDate. Although it can get very cold in Hungary in winter, many Hungarians are warm, caring and tender and make a great catch when it comes to dating.”

Hmmm. My partner Greta and I will be in Budapest in May; we will try to locate that crowd of amorous singles there. Perhaps they congregate at the famous Hotel Victoria, the Budapest Castle Hill Funicular, or another Budapest landmark.

Next, the press release stated, “Another fine city represented on EuroDate is Manchester, one of the UK’s top cities for culture and creativity, where singles are always ready for a lively time.”

Hmmm. How does EuroDate know that singles in Manchester are always ready for a lively time? Aren’t singles everywhere always ready for a lively time? At least the younger singles. I was beginning to suspect that perhaps EuroDate’s demographic wasn’t aimed at the over 50 crowd, who are sometimes ready for a lively time, but certainly not always.

Next, the press release stated, “Riding high on EuroDate’s classic destinations of love is Vienna (Austria), a place where the magic of the city seems reflected by the sophistication of those who live there.”

What does that statement have to do with singles and dating? On our European trip, Greta and I are visiting Vienna as well. We will try to find out what dating is really like in Vienna, especially for older singles.

The press release continued: “There is little surprise that New York, the city that never sleeps, has worked its way onto the EuroDate league of passion. The Big Apple has a high number of adventurous and open-minded singles and EuroDate is the perfect place for them to display their can-do attitude.”

“League of passion?” What the heck is that? And why does a dating site named EuroDate include New York City? Oh, it is probably because so many singles of European descent live there. But how does the site know they are adventurous and open-minded?

The press release concluded with: “Last but not least on EuroDates’s list of 5 great dating cities is buzzing Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.”

There was no explanation in the press release regarding why Jakarta is a great dating city, only that it is buzzing.

That’s a lot of hype for five great dating cities without much substance. Nothing was mentioned in the press release about singles age 50+. I guess we just get mixed in with the entire group.

The press release added: “EuroDate expects to receive an even higher level of traffic over the coming months.” My guess is that not a lot of our Champs are going to jump onto EuroDate to find their partner. We all know how difficult long-distance relationships can be. Meeting someone while standing in line at the Boise post office might be more realistic.

Cut the hype. Give us substance.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

When Internet dating doesn't work, try other options

On Life and Love After 60 Newsletter

Tom Blake                             Jan 19, 2015

Senior dating: When Internet dating doesn’t work, try other options

Each New Year, most older singles evaluate their single status. Many contact me in January for advice.

This week, Susan, emailed: “What is the best dating site for over 60? I’m having a lot of trouble finding one for women like me who are young at heart, look much younger than their age and are very active. I have kept myself in good shape, but all of the men that could be my counterpart want younger women. What is a woman to do?”

I responded, “Often, I hear from women who have the same complaint. Internet dating does not work for everyone. Perhaps try things other than the Internet.”
Susan said, “I'm 72 and I think I'm maybe just too old now to play the game. I was a real head turner in my day and now get a glance now and then. My friends do not know of anyone. There is one man I fell pretty hard for about 15 years ago, maybe I should look him up.

I responded, “Yes, look him up. If that doesn’t work, simply say, ‘Next!’ Keep your eyes and ears open. Don’t give up, you are never too old. Reach out, help people, even volunteer. The main thing is to be out among new people.”

Susan said, “I do volunteer and work out at a gym four-five times a week. I did meet someone there, but after a couple of dates, which I enjoyed, he told me he was married. My luck, as they say. I don’t click with a lot of men and I could be dating a lot, but I want to feel magic again and that is why I am still holding out. I have not felt magic in the last 15 years.”

I responded, “Working out is great. It’s so important to keep the body moving. OK, so you found out he was married. At least you gave it a go until you found that out. More importantly, you ended the relationship, married guys are off limits. They need to get things taken care of at home before they start messing around.

“As far as looking for the magic you felt 15 years ago, nearly all singles would like to find that, but is that realistic? It probably won’t happen. But, being with a kind, considerate person, to whom you might be somewhat attracted, is the modern-day magic for singles 60-plus.

“Keep your spirit up, and be thankful for what you have. You are on the right path. Perhaps find a couple of women friends to pal around with. You will meet some men along the way.”

One suggestion for Susan and other south Orange County singles would be to attend the singles age 50+ Meet and Greet at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, located in Dana Point, California, on the last Thursday of each month. After a two-month hiatus during the holidays, the next event is Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. There is no cost.

Over the past two and a half years, approximately 15 couples have formed, having met at those events.

Upcoming Events

·         Thursday, January 29, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Age 50+ singles Meet and Greet, Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, Dana Point, 949 248-9008, for questions, no cost

·         Sunday, February 15. 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday at the Bookstore, San Juan Capistrano Library, Local Author lecture series, featuring romance writers. Tom Blake will be discussing senior dating, his newspaper column and his dating and relationship books.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Coping with the holidays: The Rose

On Love and Life After 60

By Thomas P. Blake     January 9, 2015

The Rose: How four women Champs dealt with the holidays

During December, I received lots of mail from Champs. Now that life’s routine is somewhat back to normal, I have had a chance to read through my correspondence and wanted to share messages from four of our women Champs that illustrate their resiliency, energy and positive attitudes.

Vicki wrote, “My co-workers and I went out before Christmas, and they kept asking me if I had any plans for Christmas, so I had to answer in front of everyone that I was going to stay home and watch the Downton Abbey (British TV series) marathon on Christmas Day. They couldn't believe it! (Note that no one was concerned enough to invite me to join them).

“I was really looking forward to spending Christmas Day enjoying Downton Abbey with my newly adopted dog from the shelter. We had a great time; I made my favorite clam dip and didn't have to ‘perform’ for everyone. Besides that, I've been recovering from a very bad flu, and needed the down time. 

“I've had many good Christmases with friends and family, and some boring and depressing ones with an emotionally distant ex. So this year, I talked on the phone with my mom, my sister, and my recently widowed aunt, stayed in my pajamas and had a great time.  

“Sure, I would like to spend a Christmas with that special someone again, should I meet Mr. Right, but I have learned to entertain myself and enjoy my own company as well. For extra encouragement, I re-read Sense and Sensibility.

“Thanks for reminding us that we are complete as we are, whether or not we are part of a couple. It's so sad that many women I know think they are incomplete unless they are part of a couple, no matter how lousy or unsatisfying the relationship is. And over and over again, I hear women saying. "WE like this restaurant; WE like this movie, WE like the mountains," as if ‘I’ no longer exists. Then where is our identity if "WE" break up?  If we develop our other relationships, we will always have friends when we are lonely.”

Alicia, “I needed to hear your upbeat message to Champs because I was feeling lonely this Christmas. Although I enjoyed the season with my family, I am not dating and felt the crunch of not having ‘someone to share it with’ as they say.

“In just three days after Christmas, I felt great, feeling myself again, living a full life, looking forward to reaching and setting more goals for 2015, working in a job that I enjoy, feeling fantastic about my end-of-year report of reaching some important goals, and proud of it!  

“I amazed myself in 2014 and I did it without someone beside me. Granted, it would be nice to have someone but my point is, I can reach goals on my own. I am repairing an old 1935 home that I grew up in and I have learned so much in the process.

“At my age (in my 60’s), I learned how to pull up carpet, drill, saw, cut, etc., and with more to come! It’s been hard work and so gratifying. It’s a beautiful world. I thank God for letting me see the potential in myself.”

Laurie, “I enjoyed your last newsletter that featured the Beatles song, We can work it out. I am at the beginning of a long-distance relationship…I think. Not sure but we shall see where it leads.

“He is in Oregon; I am in southern California. We met at an entomological conference in Arizona last year. He is WAY younger than I. Not sure how old he is. And all he knows is that I am over 55.”

A.C. “So many times your newsletter helps me think through things going on in my relationship with my boyfriend. It's been on again and off again for eight years. Right now it's going well.

“He walked out on me in July 2011 and left me with the lease of our apartment. By the grace of God I found someone to take over the lease. It was $2000.00 a month and working at a school as a health tech there was no way I could afford that. I found a place I could afford alone. For more than three years I have had my own place.

“I started seeing him again and it's ok for a while, then it's not. He's an alcoholic and has gone back out a number of times again. He is sober 11 months now and I've chosen to see him again. Of course he wants to go fast, like move in, and I've learned the lessons the hard way, so go slow and no moving in just yet.

“He's a good guy with a good heart but has the disease so I'm seeing him but protecting my heart. I'm in Al-Anon for 22 years and work a good program.

“Life is good and I do find joy when we are together. Going slow one day at a time is the answer for me. 

“If this helps anyone it would make me happy. At 65, finding a partner is not easy. So I'm giving this a try and will see how it goes. It is good sharing a life with someone but having a broken heart many times is so very hard. Lessons learned through the years and I keep on learning them.”

After reading these messages, I couldn’t help but think of the words from Bette Midler’s 1979 song “The Rose,” particularly the last verse.

Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun’s love
In the spring becomes the rose

The entire song is worth listening to again. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Salvaging a marriage

On Love and Life After 60

By Thomas P. Blake     January 2, 2015

Salvaging a marriage

Champs often write me seeking advice. When that happens, I am honored, but also know that I must be cautious. I do not want to advise someone to do something that is beyond my scope of expertise. I am not a licensed therapist or counselor.

I am a columnist who has formed opinions based on 20 years of writing about life and love, and hearing from thousands of people, who have shared their relationship experiences and wisdom. Plus, there are always two sides to each story and usually I just hear one side. And rarely are there enough facts to know the entire picture.

When people ask what makes me an expert on senior relationships, I simply say, “Three marriages. Three divorces.”

This week, a man I’ve known for close to 20 years contacted me after he read last week’s article, which stated that people often evaluate their relationships during the December holidays.

He wrote, “My marriage has me concerned. My wife has put on weight. Nine years ago when we met she was much thinner. I love her even with the extra weight, but would like to grow old with her and not worry about her health.

“Also, we don’t get along as well compared to when we were just living together for five years. And she has been dragging her feet about the pre-nuptial agreement we were trying to do before we married a year and a half ago.  

“These things have me so frustrated I wish we were just living together. One of my concerns is what you said to me years ago about protecting one’s heart and one’s money.”

I told him I would ponder his question and get back to him. Before I could respond, he sent a follow-up email.

He said, “She never admits she is wrong, even when I show her. I do lots of things for her as she also does for me. I try to thank her most of the time. But the same is not true with her. I would be happy if she did so once in a while.

“She says she loves me but her words do not translate into actions. And now little things she does are starting to bother me. I don’t have the holiday blues; I think I am just facing reality.”

My response: “The pre-nuptial agreement should have been signed before the marriage, not 18 months after the marriage. She may be dragging her feet now, thinking the marriage is on unstable ground.”

I suggested if he mentions the added weight to her, he should emphasize that it is only because he is concerned about her health. Women aren’t particularly fond of discussing weight-related issues.

I asked him if they loved each other enough to try to salvage the situation and recommended he insist on getting that pre-nuptial agreement signed.

He responded: “Today I will INSIST we sign the post-nup. I am so fed up that I am going to take a while to think hard about a divorce whether she signs it or not.”

Then he responded again the next morning: “I have made up my mind, having analyzed the situation overnight. I am getting a divorce. Forget the post-nup. I would just rather live alone right now. It will be tough but it is the right decision.”

I—feeling a little horrified—said: “Just be sure this is what you really want. I hate to see you get a divorce without the two of you talking it through.”

He: “Yes I am sure. It has been festering with me and the column last Friday caused me to re-access my life and decisions. I just needed to vent to make sure I was thinking straight.”

Me—feeling even more horrified—said: “I do not want to be the one responsible for the breakup.”

He: “Don’t worry, I don’t hold you responsible. The same thing happened when I broke up with another woman years ago; you helped me sort it out. I made both decisions. I go with the flow until it gets to a crossroad where I have to make a big decision. I have known it for a while. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.”

He, 14 hours later: “I have decided to insist we go to counseling in order to save our marriage. If she refuses, then we get a divorce.”

Me (relieved): “Yes, go to counseling. Try to talk. Try to work it out. Do your best to salvage the deal.”

And then, the strangest thing happened. This email exchange reminded me of the 1965 Beatles song, “We can work it out.” I was in a relationship back then that had soured and often listened to that song, particularly these lyrics:

Think of what you're saying
You can get it wrong and still
You think that it's all right

Think of what I'm saying
We can work it out and
Get it straight or say good night
We can work it out
We can work it out

Yesterday, New Year’s Day, 2015, he wrote: “We talked last night. She has agreed to get the post-nup completed without me threatening a divorce. She still refuses to go to counseling; I will go by myself.”

Trying to salvage a 10-year relationship instead of going through another heart-wrenching divorce is a much more positive way to start the New Year. Keep talking to each other, old friend. You can work it out.