Friday, June 26, 2015

Making friends via our Facebook Finding Love after 50 group

Making friends via our  Finding Love after 50 Facebook page
by Tom P. Blake

Two weeks ago, we re-activated a Facebook Finding Love After 50 group.

When I asked Champs if they preferred an open, closed, or private group, most voted for closed, where people could see the page, but not read member posts unless they joined the group. To join, I have to approve the member requests. In this way, we improve our chances of keeping people who don't belong out of the group. As of yesterday, we are up to 63 members, six were men.

One woman initially thought if we changed the name of our group to "Finding Love after 50 & 60," more men over age 60 might sign up. But then she changed her mind.

She said, "I now realize that the members are of all different ages and my concern was not valid. I can't thank you enough for reopening the "Finding Love After 50" FB website. Because of this I've been given the opportunity of meeting and getting to know some wonderful people with the same commonality as me which would not have happened otherwise!"

Even though only a few men have joined the group, their posts reflect intelligence and caring. We all can learn from them and the experiences they've had in their lives.

This week, George, from Traverse City, Michigan, posted, "If anyone is considering going on-line or is having very little response to their postings, they should take a hard look at their profile and what it says or does not say. No or little response usually means it is not working.

"In my professional life I worked as an employment specialist and during that time, I worked with hundreds of clients to develop more than 3500 resumes/cover letters, letters of applications, vitas, scholarship application letters and much more.

"I was fortunate to have many hours of training from innovative and talented writers. All emphasized that the sole purpose of an application, or in our case a profile, was to get the reader to respond in a positive manner. No response or rejection indicates your profile is not working because that is the only thing the reader sees about you.

"Once you put your information in your profile, it is there to market or sell who you are and what you are looking for. Make it high-quality, fun, and interesting. Is that not what we are all looking for in a prospective companion or partner?

"The best of responses I have read always leave me with a smile on my face, comfort in responding, and reasonable confidence that the person is genuine, intelligent, and sincere.

"It may seem intrusive to some, but I also researched people that responded. It is amazing what you can find about a person in this modern digital age. Google your own name and city and see what is out there. Also be careful it is the person you are looking for and not another with the same name.

"More times than not, it is good information. After searching my name I see things going back 10 years and activities I was involved in at the college I work for, plus some newspaper articles that mentioned me including family deaths and births. If you are concerned about anyone looking at your information on line…use an alias.

"On-line dating can be very good if you do it effectively and safely. One more thing from this guy; be honest and don’t put your H.S. graduation picture on your profile or your pet's picture. LOL."

We have another man, Art, from Florida, in our Facebook group. He is in a relationship, but has also shared valuable information about how he finally found the woman who is a perfect match for him.

So, even though we'd like to have more guys participate--and we will as time goes on--the ones we have are valuable contributors. Our group is not a dating group, but a friend-finding group. I am going to mention it in my newspaper columns so that should give us a membership boost.

And while we are speaking of single men, a quick update on Larry, the widower from Texas. I am very proud of him. He has established friendships with a few of our Champs, and is getting away from the ranch some and meeting new people. He is on his way to opening up his life.

Part 2 - A word of caution about online dating

In his last paragraph above, George reminded us to be safe in our online dating. He is right. A few months ago I received an email from a public relations firm representing a company called North Star Integrity, that does background searches. The press release quoted the FBI.

"The FBI claims that 'the most common targets (of scammers) are women over 40, who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk.

And then the Founder and CEO of North Star Integrity, Stephen Dorr, said, "Online dating fraud is a very real threat and can happen to anyone. The sheer number of scammers has risen dramatically over the past few years. Some may lead their victim on for months or even years to build trust, or they may strike immediately. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine who you can and cannot trust."
I only mention this about online dating as a reminder to be careful. That doesn't mean you avoid online dating, just be careful.

When you think about it, our Finding Love After 50 Facebook group is a heck of a lot safer than the big online dating companies. We all will be watching each other's backs and having fun sharing stories with each other.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Widower dating: Responses to West Texas Widower Post

Widower dating: Responses to West Texas Widower Post
On Life and Love After 50 Newsletter
by Tom P. Blake

Rarely have I received as many comments as I did from last week's newsletter about Larry, 63, the widower of four months, who lives in a remote area of West Texas. Larry stated in last week's post that he doesn't want to be alone for the rest of his life. I asked Champs to send messages for Larry and you did, close to 40 of you.

Larry wrote, "I am still overwhelmed at the responses to my situation; I did not think that my problem was much different from anyone else's. I was expecting a few reactions, not 20+."

Even I have learned from Larry and from so many of the sage comments from Champs. There has been so much warmth and wisdom shared that I hope I can do it some justice today. We don't have room to include what everybody wrote so I've picked a few to feature. But they were all good. Many who contributed are widowed, both men and women.

Karla said, "I think four months is way too soon to start dating. Larry is likely still grieving, and his ranch is probably full of memorabilia, which is normal. However, that would probably be a turn-off for any prospective new relationship.

"Personally, I won't date a man who hasn't been widowed for at least a year and probably two years. I say that because I've dated recent widowers, and all they've talked about are their deceased wives and their lives together.

"I question dating online so soon. But, this week, I've seen ads for an online cowboy dating site. Just Google 'cowboy dating sites.' There are several."

Manu said, "Similar to Larry I explored my interests-golfing was not for me but I did try-and am now involved in singing with a city-wide gospel choir and bee keeping. Finding out who YOU are is always first before you explore sharing your life."

Virginia, from California, said, "Larry would be well advised to move forward towards the goals you so clearly stated, as soon as his mourning process will allow him. 

"Although he feels a sense of loss and wants to replace his mate, he is now (and will be for a year or longer), in a very vulnerable state of mind. Four months is a short time.

Kit, Wisconsin, agreed with Virginia, "The problem is he is a prime suspect to be taken advantage of; I wish him luck but he is very vulnerable."

Karen, a widow from Michigan, wrote, "Two years ago, my 65-year-old husband died and I came to the same realization as Larry. Because I am used to doing research in my job, I took myself on as a client and researched the heck out of the early years of widowhood. That in itself made it easier (to some degree) to go on. It is helpful to know one is grieving 'normally,' even though one's world is anything but normal.

"Loneliness isn't a good reason to begin dating. Begin dating because you meet someone you want to get to know better, not because you are lonely.

"Many men think they are ready around the 3-4 month timeframe. They try it out and find out it is too soon. You've got to do the hard 'work' of grieving before you can go forward in a happy new life. I met a wonderful man around the one year mark.

"Larry says he is fit. To meet new people, he might try a gym or community center with physical fitness opportunities or take part in some 5k or 10k walks or runs. Also volunteer at those events to help register people on race day or hand out fruit (or water). That is how I met some wonderful men."

"Larry, please know there is a good life waiting for you."

Art, Florida, emailed, "I was widowed in October, 2007, at 69, after a 29-year marriage. It took about four months to begin looking at the Internet dating sights. I am fortunate I live in a very busy area in South Florida. I joined Plenty of Fish and OKCupid.

"For the next few years, I met and dated at least 40 women through the Internet dating sites. In June, 2013, I met Joanie on POF. Since that first date, we have taken five cruises. I bought us each an infinity ring last year, and have been invited to a number of her family holiday events, and consider her to be my forever sweetheart and the queen of my heart.

"My advice to Larry: never give up, and use some creative thinking to find someone to explore the rest of your life with."

Cheri said, "A fellow who served his country and now a volunteer fire fighter sounds to be a person of interest. Put me on the list of writers to Larry."

There were many more great responses; we just didn't have room for them all.

More about Larry

I've gotten to know Larry over the last week as we've corresponded often. He explained why he's so protective of the ranch. His grandsons will be the eighth generation to hold the land. "Almost every last one of them is buried on the ranch. It isn't the land, it's the heritage," he said.

Larry said so many women asked to see a photo that he mustered one up and gave me permission to include it as well.
Larry - widower - West Texas
But what Larry wrote to me on Wednesday is what really grabbed me. This man is a true soldier with a big heart: "Most of my adult life was spent as a soldier; I still am a soldier in the strictest sense. I was trained to come to grips with the possibility that I might die as a soldier and die in a tough way in a faraway place. That is what goes with the territory.

"You just accept that it can happen, you put on your game face and go. And soldiers know that their buddies on their left and right may die as well.

"But nothing prepared me for the death of my best friend and the love of my life. I'm having some problems now in finishing this, so all I can say is thanks to all of you for your help. I just hope that I deserve it and maybe can return it myself someday."

I am proud of all of our Champs.
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Widower from West Texas wants to restart his life

"On Life and Love After 60" newsletter
by: Tom P. Blake
Widower from West Texas wants to restart his life
I received an interesting email from a 63-year-old widower this week. He would like to meet a nice woman. I am sharing his story and would like Champs to respond to his situation. Who knows? There might be a potential candidate within our group who would enjoy exchanging information with him.
Larry wrote, “I am still trying to restart my life; my wife of 40 years died of lung cancer in early February. I’m coming to terms with my new reality, slowly, and have decided that living alone for x number of years is not for me.
“My problem is that I live in a very small town in a rural area of West Texas, and consequently, my prospects here (of meeting someone) are virtually nonexistent.
“Moreover, I can’t move as I am doing my best to preserve my daughter’s inheritance, including a ranch, house, etc. I’ve looked at online dating/matching sites and have been less than impressed with the way they operate. I have told some close friends of my intention to get back into dating and hope they may eventually be able to help.
“As it stands now, I honestly don’t see any practical way of meeting someone who would be remotely interesting (Tom’s words: “or who would be interested in such a remote environment).”
“I am just wondering if I’ve overlooked other options, angles, etc. I am 63, but feel 43, am a retired US Army officer, a volunteer firefighter, have one adult, married daughter. Would appreciate your advice as I feel like I have hit a wall.”
Tom’s response: Larry, let’s look at the positives in your situation:
- First, you were a good husband who stood by your wife for 40 years. Be proud of that and realize she would want you to be happy so pursue being happy with her blessing.
-At 63, you are young and since you feel like 43, you are likely in great physical shape. An attribute that single women appreciate.
-As a retired Army officer, you likely have a pension and you own property so you likely are financially ok. That is another plus.
-And most important, you realize you don’t want to spend your remaining years by yourself. Your grief is lifting a bit. As Gloria Estefan sang after her tour bus crashed, “Coming out of the dark.”
So, you have a lot going for you.
But, you are shackled by your own thinking. That is understandable with what you have gone through; after all, your wife has only been gone for four months. But you can change your thinking and I feel you are taking the first steps to do that.
Yes, it will be very difficult to find a woman under the circumstances you described because there aren’t many who live near you. And, if you did find someone, would you be interested in her? And would she be willing to live so remotely? And since you don’t want to use Internet dating, you are going to have to go where the women are.
So, rethink using the Internet for dating. Dab in it, give it a try, and see for yourself. Maybe start with Don’t expect miracles.
Next, preserving your daughter’s inheritance. Do not sacrifice your chance at being happy by remaining a hermit or recluse. That is ridiculous. Work something out with her. Let her and her family take over the ranch now, and you get away and travel or go live in a city like Dallas or Houston. Have an agreement that you can always come home and stay for a while. Maybe they can pay you a stipend or work out some other arrangement.
If she is not willing to do that, then she probably doesn’t want the ranch after all, so consider renting or selling it so you are not shackled by having to stay there just for her.
The most important thing you can do is to get away from the ranch, take some trips, take a cruise, go visit some old Army buddies, and expand your life. By using the Internet for dating, you might meet a woman in another city or state and you could go visit her. I bet Joanne from Albuquerque, whom we wrote about last week, would be willing to show you around her city.
Your fate now is in your hands. Make it a priority to get away. I imagine there will be some women Champs who would enjoy corresponding with you. If they email me, I will forward their emails to you. Please keep us informed. Another option for Larry is to read my ebook, Widower Dating: Gold mine or Mine Field. The book can be found on, or in the bookstore at the link on the Finding Love After 60 website.
Link to Finding love after 60 website