Friday, July 31, 2015

Adversity often results in a better life situation

On Life and Love After 50 newsletter by Tom P. Blake

Four lessons arise from today's story

Champ Glen worked for 30 years in Santa Barbara County, in southern California, as a deputy sheriff for seven years, and as a district attorney investigator for 23 years. The majority of his time at the DA's office was spent in child support and parental child abduction, with stints in the bad-check, domestic violence, and elder abuse programs.

Glen said, "I loved my career but was ready to retire and have a change of pace.  My life was turned upside down when my ex left approximately six months after I retired. I was totally blindsided and never saw it coming."

I relate to Glen's story. I was totally blindsided on Xmas Eve 1993 when my wife cleaned out the house, took what she wanted, and filed for divorce three months later.

But, Glen picked up the pieces. He tried on-line dating. He said, "I met Cheryl on-line July 21, 2010, through the dating website Both are 57. 

Each of us was going through a bad divorce at the time and thankfully, Cheryl's girlfriends gave her a subscription to the website. Otherwise, on her own, Cheryl never would have tried on-line dating.

"Since meeting in the summer of 2010, we continued to date long distance. I lived in Ventura, about an hour west of Los Angeles, and Cheryl lived in Huntington Beach, 45 minutes south of Los Angeles, in northern Orange County.

"In February, 2011, both of us sold our homes and moved-in together in Huntington Beach. Over the next 3 1/2 years, we completely remodeled the inside and outside of the residence and made the home ours by getting rid of 99% of the furnishings and items we had from our former lives. In November, 2014, we held an 'open house' and had 70 of our friends and neighbors over to celebrate with us. What a fun day!"

"Our time together is spent during the school year with Cheryl working as an elementary school teacher and me, retired from law enforcement, taking care of domestic duties and volunteering.

"We both love to travel, attend concerts, Los Angeles Angels baseball games, go to movies, work in our garden, dine out, attend church activities/sing in the choir and get together with friends.  

"We're hopeful that in a few years, Cheryl will retire and we'll have more time to travel and decide if we want to relocate to somewhere less urban, either in Ventura County, San Luis Obispo County. or maybe out-of-state like Prescott, AZ. In the meantime, life is good in the OC and we're happy, healthy and content."

I asked Glen if there were any marriage plans in the future.

He said, "No marriage plans in the works or contemplated at this time for either of us. Frankly, our current arrangement seems to work just fine and we're extremely happy with our situation. We both love to travel and spend much of the summer on the road. This year it was two weeks driving through Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands (our 3rd trip to Europe driving). This is a picture of us in front of the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam.

                                             Cheryl and Glen

 "On August 3, we leave for two weeks in Colombia, South America, where we'll visit Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin. A few years ago we spent two weeks driving through Panama and had a great time. We're hoping Colombia is just as much fun (although we're not driving this time!).

How did I get Glen's story? My partner Greta and I were standing under a tent to stay dry at the Orange County Fair when a couple walked up and said, "Aren't you Tom Blake?"

They introduced themselves as Cheryl and Glen; Glen said he had been reading my articles for years. They were at the Fair to celebrate their 5-year anniversary and were looking forward to seeing Willie Nelson, because they are country music fans.

Glen mentioned he had shared his and Cheryl's story with me a few years back; I asked if he'd send me a reminder. Goes to show when people get out and about interesting situations can arise.

Four lessons for older singles arise from today's story:

1 - From adversity in our lives comes opportunity, although at the time we may not realize it. We must recognize that opportunity and do something about it. A better situation may emerge months or years later

2 - Finding love after 50 can happen, but it's up to us to make it happen

3 - Long-distance relationships can work, but at least one person in the couple must be willing to move if the couple wants to live together

4 - By getting out of the house and pursuing activities we enjoy, good things can happen

Part 2 -Facebook group update

Our closed Facebook group - Finding Love After 50 - is up to 300 members and there are now 24 men. There are many sage comments from the members. Heck, I am even learning from what is being posted.

If members feel they are being bombarded by too many emails, they may simply turn off the chat option and then pick and choose the posts they want to read.

To join the group, a person must send a request via the Facebook page and I will approve your request. I have turned down some requests from people who in my judgment are suspicious of their motives for joining. If you see anything questionable, please email me immediately. 

For more articles:


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Willie Nelson rain out at Orange County Fair 2015

Rolling with the punches: Sunday July 19, 2015
On Life and Love After 50 Newsletter
My partner Greta and I had our first date on June 27, 1998. We met at my deli when she ordered a fresh carrot juice. A couple of weeks later, we attended the Orange County (California) fair. I remember vividly going to the fair that year because we saw Jose Feliciano perform.

That 1998 concert was a no-ticket-needed, no-reserve-seating, event and I was pleased that Greta insisted we get in line early enough to get a great seat. When the gates opened, she ran, and I mean ran, and grabbed two front-row seats. I said to myself, this is the type of woman I want in my life.
The annual fair has become a tradition for us. Each year since 1998, we've checked out who is performing in concert at the fairgrounds' Pacific Amphitheatre, choose an entertainer or group we like, and purchase the best tickets available as early as we can. A concert ticket gets you into the fair for free.

I'm a country music fan. Greta enjoys some country but isn't as avid as I am--for her no cowboy hat or boots, no Hank Williams Jr. t-shirt, just comfortable summer clothes for an outdoor concert under the stars.
We've seen Alan Jackson a couple of time's there. I call him "The Dude." Once we sat behind the mixing control booth and after the show, the producer gave us Alan's hand-written playlist, which I thought was a big deal.

This year, I ordered tickets for us to see Willie Nelson this past Sunday night at the fair. I've been a huge fan of Willie's, even before I got to work with Johnny Cash in 1977 and 1978. Johnny and Willie were buddies, but I never got to meet Willie. I said to Greta, "Chances are, this is the last time we will get to see Willie Nelson perform. He's 82."
Greta insisted I read Willie's new autobiography, "A Long Story," on her Kindle, on the flight home from Germany in June. It's a great book and it fired me up even more about seeing him in person--the guy is a classic.
I was excited because also Alison Krauss and her group, Union Station, were going to be the opening act. How often do you get to see a legend like Willie Nelson and one of the hottest bluegrass-country acts in the world (27 Grammys for Alison Krauss) on the same stage for $47 a ticket?

Our seats weren't the greatest, they were in the back of the Amphitheatre, dead center, about 10 rows behind the mixing control booth, near where we had sat for Alan Jackson. But, at least they were in the arena. On the day before, we received an email from the OC Fair reminding us of the concert.
In California, it never rains in July. Never! We are in the midst of the worst drought in the state's history. Water rationing is everywhere. On Saturday, a little, much-appreciated, El Nino rain fell on Orange County. It was supposed to let up on Sunday.

On Sunday morning, we received another email saying, "Rain or shine, the concert will go on." That reassured us somewhat, even though the skies were grey. We took rain ponchos to the fair with us just in case.
Our plan was to meet our friends Ron and Lee at the Baja Blues Restaurant that is located within the fairgrounds at 5:15 p.m. They would be with another couple and the six of us would eat and attend the concert together.

Rain started to fall at the fair around 4 p.m. Greta and I headed for the restaurant early to secure a table for six. By the time we got there, it was pouring rain and there was not a vacant table inside or out. The humidity was high. It felt like New Orleans or Houston in the summer.
Greta and I were standing outside under a roof overhang, with ponchos on, when lo and behold, a group left a table that was under an umbrella next to us. We grabbed it and gathered six chairs.

Our friends Ron and Lee arrived shortly. The other couple had stayed home. We ordered food and drink, had our meal, and kept repeating, "This rain will end soon." Here's how the table next to us looked:

The tables next to ours

And Ron took this picture of our table
The rain was letting up. Ron checked the night time local weather report: 73 percent chance of rain. He said, "That means, a 27-percent chance it will be dry."

Ron asked to see our tickets. He said, "We have our friends' tickets in the car. They won't be using them. They are great seats and you can have them." He said he'd come to our seats to get us and lead us down to the other seats.
Greta and I went to our seats behind the mixing booth. There were rain covers protecting the mixing equipment , completely blocking the stage from view. That would have been a real bummer, but I reminded myself that Ron was going to move us to the better seats. Greta, in her always positive way, said, "See how blessed we are."

The new seats were in Row B, 10 feet from the stage. We could not believe that we were going to see Willie Nelson from the best concert seats we had ever had.

Close to the stage but no concert

The rain began to fall again. We had our ponchos on. A public announcement was made: "It is OK to put your umbrellas up, but during the show, you will have to put them down." A sea of umbrellas opened like spring flowers.
Stage hands were busy using squeegees to remove the water from the partially covered stage. The microphones were covered with plastic bags. Instruments were covered. I started to get that sinking feeling that these wonderful seats were not going to be of much help.

Showtime, 7:30 p.m., came and went. The stage had puddles everywhere.
At 7:45 p.m., the public announcer said, "The news is not good..." The show was cancelled, it was too dangerous on stage. The show would be re-scheduled. An email later that night at home repeated that the show would be re-scheduled.

No one booed. Most everybody was wet to some degree. People stood up and left orderly. It took two hours to get out of the parking lot because everyone was trying to leave at once.

Ron sent me a text from his car: "I can't figure out how, but somehow we still had fun."

And Ron is right. Sure it was disappointing to not see Willie and Alison Krauss. But, you can't mess with nature. It just wasn't meant to be. We had a memorable time, which we will never forget. I do hope there still will be a chance to see Willie in person sometime soon. He's an all-time classic.
On Wednesday, we received the fourth email about the concert: "The concert will not be rescheduled. You can get your refund at..."

Yea...yea...yea. (We did get the refund from Ticketmaster, within just a few days)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Exercise: keep the body moving

On Life and Love after 50 Newsletter

by Tom Blake

Exercise: keep the body moving

Last week, I asked what Champs do to exercise.  Today, we include what 10 women and five men do to keep fit.

Jessica, Oregon, "I'm 60 and weigh the same that I did at 18. The sand has shifted some though! Twice a week, I work out at a gym. I spend 30 minutes there and lift weights and use the elliptical machine. I still work full time that fortunately has a mix of walking and desk work. Five days a week, I use a 10-minute exercise DVD as part of my morning routine. I just move around a lot, everyday."

Noelle, "I've been going to 24-Hour Fitness for years; I consider it an addition to my health insurance. I work out with weights for at least two hours a session, usually four times a week.

"I'm 79; most people think I am in my 50s or 60s. I was an avid downhill skier until a few years ago and also love West Coast Swing dancing." 

George, 75, "I live on the fourth floor. I walk up and down the stairs except when carrying loads of laundry or groceries or other heavy stuff, then it is the elevator. I walk every morning as well for local errands and chores. My car mostly sits in my garage. I do slant pushups against the kitchen counter."

Sheryl D., "I love to hike and it's a great way to keep in shape, in addition to meeting friends and my partner who I've been with for 12 years after meeting on a hike. Every weekend we go to the local mountains like Mt. Baldy, the Three T's, Cucamonga, Mt. Wilson and many other wonderful places to hike, which are an hour from our South Bay home (Southern California).

"My resting heart rate and blood pressure are low, and hiking keeps my body looking good for age 67. When I retire (I am a special education teacher like your Greta was), I hope to cycle again and to continue hiking."

Joan, "One or more of these every day: Pilates, Lindy Hop and other social dancing, Zumba and Zumba toning with weights, hiking or walking up and down hills in a park, burst exercises (high impact interval training) and swimming."

Gordon, Michigan, "For me, exercise includes exercising the mind, the soul, and the body.

"The mind: I have a hobby building radio controlled gliders/sailplanes. It requires me to problem solve while building and flying my models. An added benefit is social interaction with fellow fliers and friends. Many of our group started this hobby well after age 50 and retirement.

"The soul: "I love to fly fish for trout on area streams, rivers, and lakes. I refer to it as 'going to church' because the beauty of the water tends to be very spiritual to me. Wading in fast currents or just walking with bulky waders on is good physical exercise.

"The body: In the warmer months, I bicycle 2-30 miles a day, many days of the week. Bicycling does not over-stress your limbs and develops stamina. If you bicycle your local trails during the week, you will likely find the majority of riders are over age 50 and many are single.

"I have lost 25 pounds since April.

Merijoe, "Beachbody DVDs. They have a 10-minute DVD, a senior one, a full-hour one, some yoga ones, dance ones, just targeting your butt, and more. The latest is a 20-minute DVD: 'The 21-day fix.'

"I am also involved with a German Shepherd rescue group and get walked by the dogs every Saturday and more if I want. I walk in a nearby park that has stairs that I go up and down. At work, I walk in the parking lot on break. I do free weight lifting at home (good for the bones) and drink healthy juices."

John, 78, "I sold my car nine years ago. I go everywhere by walking, bicycle or public transportation. My bike has a small electric motor that helps with steep hills. In Europe and many foreign countries, people don't have autos, I have adapted to that lifestyle. I admit, however, that my wife does have a car, but I seldom ride in it, only out of necessity." 

Chris, San Clemente, California, "My favorite: walking from North Beach along the Pacific Ocean to the end of the pier (about 1 1/4 mile each direction) sometimes to T-Street (another 3/4 mile). I also walk the new Marblehead trails. I love the beach and fulfilled my retirement dream by moving here when I recently retired.

"I shed 35 pounds, leading to more confidence and getting back into the dating arena. Met a nice gentleman on OurTime (Senior People Meet) and though it's too soon to tell where things might go, we're both having fun enjoying each other's company and I'm enjoying life."

Cheryl B., "I will be 57 on Monday, and have joined the YMCA near my house. They have classes for all energy levels and I'm glad to re-start my exercise routine.  It's not easy getting back on track, but I am starting."

Note from Tom: Start slowly. I know of people who have been so eager to get their bodies moving again that they push too hard at the start and end up with sore knees and ankles.  

Gena, "When I turned 65, I moved from Lansing (Michigan) into a very old farmhouse near a quiet village. Taking care of a large garden and a few laying hens is pretty good physical exercise, and writing provides a good share of my mental exercise.

"At age 74, I joined a line-dancing group at the local senior center, where the other dancers are about ten years younger than I, and have been dancing three mornings a week (two hour sessions, we take no break) for six years. Good exercise and camaraderie. Benefits: reduces stress, and helps with flexibility, balance, weight control, rhythm, and best of all, lots of fun, with much laughter."

Cheryl, "I take an exercise class for an hour four mornings a week, and take walks whenever I can. I balance my diet with big, healthy salads, almond milk, and almond butter on whole wheat bread, nuts and seeds. I am slim and in good shape. Last year, I had two surgeries--one on my rotator cuff, and one on my foot. Am regaining my strength very well, and going to physical therapy and messages."

Doug, "Before I retired, I got stuck in a desk job for the last few years and found I was gaining weight as well as getting tired too quickly when climbing stairs or hiking. I joined a gym that was on my way home from work so I could stop for a quick evening workout. I have kept my gym membership but only work out three times a week. Those workouts keep my weight in balance, keeps me alert, and I no longer puff on stairs or while hiking."

In our household, Greta does water aerobics three mornings a week for an hour, and tai chi twice a week. Tom does stand up paddle boarding four to five times a week in Dana Point Harbor. We also walk together in the neighborhood one to two times a week.

Hopefully, these stories from our Champs, mostly in their 60s and 70s, will inspire other Champs who need a nudge to get the body moving. We all know how important exercise is for us, and hopefully these comments will inspire all of us to get moving a bit more.  Not to mention that exercise is a great way to lose weight, as we've heard today also. Also, social interaction is important and some of the exercise routines described result in that as well.

Lots of Champs have dogs. Walking them is good for the dog and for exercise, and it is a good way to meet people, maybe even a potential mate or two.

Remember, start slowly, but make exercise a top priority. The important thing: keep the body moving, as Champ Jessica stated.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Blind dates can be challenging for older singles

I admire single women age 50-plus who make the effort to get out and meet men instead of complaining about the lack of available men.

While there are lots of things to do and places to go in South County where meeting a potential mate might happen, using the Internet to meet men improves a woman's chances of finding a compatible match.

The internet is one of the tools that Jacquie, not her true name, uses to meet men. She's 58 and lives in the tri-cities area.

In March of this year (2015), she emailed that she had met a man online in Oregon. She visited him and said, "He was polite, sweet, kind, and, very, very much a gentleman, no 'octopus arms.' But, he has not come to see me and I refuse to spend any more money to go see him."

Jacquie uses Match, Eharmony, and Our Time to meet men. "I have been dating about every day for the last month or so. It's been VERY much an eye-opener. I get lots of flirts, etc.," she said.

"Some dates have been pleasant, and I thought that I had perceived some sort of connection...then NOTHING. Online dating doesn't work until it does. So I slog onward."

Jacquie described a first date she had July 31: "It was at Starbucks. He was late so I got into the coffee line as it was very long. He arrived and looked his photo. We got our coffee and seated ourselves.

"He proceeded to interrogate me about everything from why I divorced my husband, what my kids do for a living, what work I do, how much I make, and what my activities are.

"I felt like it was a job interview. I answered politely, and tried to be charming and fun, because I happen to like a FUN time rather than a BORING time. I tried to ask him questions as well, which in my opinion, he answered with a bit too much detail for a first meeting, but everybody's different.

"We wrapped it up, and headed out the door. He said that he had had a nice time and asked to meet me again, I agreed. So far, so good."

Thinking that you may have met a potential match is a positive feeling after a first date; how quickly things can change. As soon as Jacquie got to her car, a text message arrived on her cell phone from him.

Jacquie said, "It read: 'Hi! It was good to meet you. You are different. I like that. But you did not ask me anything about myself. You did all the talking. You seem manic today. Are you bipolar?'" Jacquie thought: (Honest-To-God. Really?)

She added, "He followed with another text: 'You are a little grandiose as well. This is also a symptom of bipolar. And you mentioned that after your divorce you were depressed. This is also a symptom of being manic-depressive.'" Jacquie thought: (Normally I have to pay for analysis!).

She replied to his texts: "'This is offensive. I am a very accomplished person having created two successful careers in my 58 years. If I am too animated and/or proud of my life and my accomplishments for you, then it is a good thing you found out about it now. Thank you for the nice coffee date, best wishes.'"

She emailed me. "Tom. What the heck was THAT all about? HE kept grilling ME...and I talk too much? NEXT!"

Blind dates can be a big challenge. The good news for Jacquie, she saw his true colors without investing any more time. His loss.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Single supplement that cruise lines charge. Traveling solo

Traveling solo. Dealing with the single supplement cruise lines charge

by Tom P. Blake "On Life and Love After 50" newsletter

With summertime arriving, people often talk about travel and taking trips. I've received lots of questions about the vacation Greta and I recently took to Europe. Champ Donia, San Clemente, California, emailed a question about travel companies that cater to single travelers. We address her question today.

Donia, San Clemente, California, emailed, "Have you written anything about traveling solo after age 50. I love to travel but find that, especially, on cruises, the single supplement is daunting. I have traveled to India, Thailand, and Europe on my own with women friends (no tours) and would love suggestions of web sites catering to our type of traveler."

What Donia is referring to as the single supplement is when cruise lines display the list price of cabins for a cruise, the prices are based upon two people or double occupancy. So, for example, when Greta and I check out a cruise, and the price for the stateroom is let's say $2,000, that means the price for each of us is $1,000.

But when Donia checks out the same cruise and the same sized stateroom, the cost for her is $2,000, which is known as the (dreaded) single supplement. It seems unfair to singles, but the cruise lines are trying to maximize revenue. The single supplement makes cruising for many singles prohibitively expensive. But, when you think about it, hotels do the same thing with their rooms.

As a coincidence, the April/May print issue of AARP's The Magazine, featured an article written by Myrna Blyth, titled, "Somewhere Beyond the Sea." It was about a widow who took a cruise to honor her deceased husband. In the article, there is a sidebar titled "Save Going Solo," written by Christina lanzito, that discussed the single supplement:

"...The industry is adapting. Five Norwegian-line cruise ships now have studio cabins priced far less than double occupancy, and some lines periodically slash single supplements or waive them altogether.

"Many river lines are courting solo travelers, too. Fox example, cruise operator Tauck has four solo cabins on new riverboats and is charging no single supplement for basic cabins on 2015 European cruises.

"If you can't find any solo deals for your dream cruise, ask. Practical companies would rather book a single in a double cabin than have it sail empty."

I asked travel agent, Ann Ronan, San Juan Capistrano, California, to comment on single supplements. Ann said, "The cruise industry recognizes the growing numbers of single travelers and is getting creative in balancing the need for profit with the demand for singles cabins. Norwegians Getaway, Breakaway and Epic ships and Royal Caribbean international's Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas--now have solo cabins.

"In the luxury category, Crystal Cruises is the most popular with singles with nearly 25% of solo passengers on some of their sailings. Silverseas also offers discounted single supplements on many sailings. All of the major river cruise companies also offer waived or discounted single supplements on select sailings. For example, Tauck has no single supplements on ANY European river cruise if you don't mind the category 1 cabins with a small window. Their French balcony cabins have discounted supplements."

"I have had such a demand for singles travel that I now send out a brief, weekly update of all the reduced or waived supplement cruise and tour itineraries and dates each Friday to all the singles on my email list who request it." 

If any of you are interested in receiving Ann's weekly update on the reduced cost of staterooms for singles, email her at

On July 12, 2015, I received an email from AMA Waterways announcing that it was waiving the single supplement on many of its river cruises. The email stated, "Book any 2015 or 2016 river cruise in Europe, Asia or Africa and pay no single supplement on select categories! Ask for details."

And speaking of Ann, and cruises, I have not mentioned in quite some time the short cruise that Ann has arranged for November 12 to November 16 on the Star Princess out of Los Angeles. She calls it the "Tom Blake Loving Life After 55 Cruise." We now have seven cabins booked from our group of Champs.

My partner Greta and I will be on the cruise and I'm told by Ann that I will be giving a short presentation or two on the sea day when we sail between Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico.

If you have never cruised before, this is a perfect way to sample cruising on an extraordinary ship, the Star Princess. Ann is working hard to get the cost as low as possible for each of us.

If you care to join us on the cruise, contact Ann as follows:


Phone: 949 702-3977

November 12-16 Star Princess Cruise information/flyer/registration page Tom Blake "Loving Life After 55" cruise November 12, 2015 


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Documentary film maker seeks love

Documentary film maker seeks love - another romance scam?
by Tom P. Blake

Last week's romance scam newsletter caught the attention of several Champs. Several responded. A couple of the responses are featured today.

One of our Champs wrote, “I read your story about the women who have lost vast sums of money to scammers. I never have sent money to a scammer, but currently have a match on Eharmony who says he is a wild life documentary film maker from Rhode Island.

“He has posted a picture, a ‘favorite’ of his, with Jane Goodall. He only said ‘Jane’ but I recognized the image, maybe from a wax museum, of the Jane famous for her work with African wildlife.

“I may play along to see if he is for real. I’m not going to spend too much time and never will send money to someone I don’t know. I hope many people read this story and resist temptation to respond to these gold diggers.

“If you know of any good men in their 60s up my way, you know where I live (Wisconsin). I won’t ask them for money!”

In addition to never sending money to someone you don’t know; don’t send money to someone you do know, unless you don’t expect to receive it back.

She responded later: He also pictured himself with Madeline Albright. This picture looked like he was at a mall or somewhere outside. I'm surprised she would allow a picture to be taken and shared--guess I watch Madam Secretary too much. Ms. Albright hasn't been in a Cabinet position for a while but to think anyone could pull her aside and take a picture before she could react is scary. Or maybe he is, instead of being a name dropper, a 'picture dropper.'

"I've decided not to contact him at all to see if he tries to contact me. I've let him take too much of my time already."

Tom’s comment: Whether the man described as a documentary film maker is for real or not remains to be seen. If a romance develops, it would still be a long-distance relationship between Rhode Island and Wisconsin. But it is good that this Champ is aware that this probably is a scammer.

Another story as a result of last week’s column

Another Champ sent me her story this week. I had been familiar with this part of her story from years ago: She was a widow after a 31-year marriage and decided to move to the East Coast to jumpstart her life. She met a man on Catholic Match who lived near her new location. They met for coffee in 2005, got married six months later. As of 2009, four years later, everything seemed to be fine with the marriage. But here is what she wrote this week:

“I was basically scammed in my marriage and the unraveling and dissolving of it. I lost well over $150,000. I paid for more than 90 percent of everything during the marriage and probably closer to 95 percent. I lost nearly $100,000 on the house from when I bought it. (I bought it when values were inflated and sold it when values were low).

“Worse was when he admitted in writing that he was out to use me, and not seek work. He wrote that he was just along for the ride, just one of the many things he wrote in emails. Some of the things he wrote were so horrific it made me think I never knew the real person, just who he wanted me to think he was.

“He had a tremendous gift of gab and could feign a great personality, but that could only last so long, then reality and truth came to light. Only a few people saw most of the emails, my lawyer, the annulment board for my church and my friend and pastor at church who helped me through this…not even to family members could I show all the crap he wrote.

“He sent the annulment board a letter stating he was out to use me in whatever ways he could.

“On the somewhat brighter side, through walking my dog, I have met a friend. Our dogs became friends, so we started chatting while the dogs played. We are now friends, who get together out of convenience on the weekends for dinners and movie watching. Due to religious differences, and that we both had horrible last relationships, we may always stay as just friends. For now, that’s ok.”

Tom’s comment: It is hard to say what happened here. At the four year mark of the marriage, all seemed ok. However, they did marry rather quickly--six months isn’t very long to get to know somebody.

Sometimes, people feel safer or more comfortable dating people of their own religion. But, that does not guarantee happiness or success. Quite simply, we just have to know the person we are with as well as we can, regardless of religious beliefs. Some scoundrels use religious shields to hide their true self.

And speaking of later-in-life marriages, that topic has been discussed quite a bit on the Finding Love After 50 Facebook pages lately. In fact, a woman named Lee Ann posted this comment on Tuesday:

“I am 55 and in a domestic partnership. I found Tom’s writing when I became interested in dating and relationships for people my age. My interests include reading, acting, travel and I sing. I wish to marry and my partner does not. I have two grown sons and a dog I love named Ralphie.”

Both Gordon Grimm, a Champ in the Facebook group, and I responded to her comment about marriage. We suggested that no one is going to want to marry her while she is in a relationship.

And speaking of our Facebook group, we are up to almost 180 members in just three weeks. To join, follow this link

I will receive the request and approve you.

That’s it for day. Don’t send strangers any money, even if they say it is to finance the film they are making.

Oh, I'd love to hear what our Champs do for exercise to try to keep in shape.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Online dating and romance scams

This is the Tom P. Blake "Finding Love after 50" and "Finding Love after 60" newsletter for Friday, July 3, 2015.

Online dating: Success stories and romance scams

My life partner Greta and I were in Costco this week. As we were leaving the store, an older gentleman walked up and asked if I was Tom Blake. He said he had been reading my newspaper articles for years and wanted to know if I'd be willing to give a speech to a retired men's club he belongs to.

"On what topic?" I asked.

"Retirement, and perhaps some dating tips for older guys."

I said I'd be happy to and gave him my business card.

And then he said, "I'm 77 and met my girlfriend on last year. She lives about an hour away; we see each other several times per week. It is quite an interesting story."

I asked him to email me the details and perhaps I could do a story about them. I like to hear good news stories regarding how older people met because meeting a mate later in life can be difficult. I particularly like hearing about older people who meet via the Internet. When I get his story, I will share it with you.

When I got home, there was an email from Barbara Sluppick, a woman I've known for years, who heads up an organization called Romance She has dedicated more than a decade trying to warn people about the dangers of romance scams.

Romance website home page statistics:

Membership as of March 15, 2015: 20,689

Total membership since June 6, 2005: 59,000+

Scammers reported as of May, 2013: 5,529

Scammer photographs submitted as of May, 2013: 10,502

Money Loss reported as of May, 2013: $25,892,000 by 1,813 people

Barbara was excited because she is quoted in a very detailed, heart-wrenching story in the latest AARP magazine about a widow who lost $300,000, her retirement savings, to a scammer. I strongly encourage all Champs to take the time to read this story. We've got to protect our Champs from getting scammed (link below).

So, today we have the good news and bad news sides of Internet dating. My intention is not to make our Champs so leery of using the Internet for dating that they stop using it. After all, there are success stories we keep hearing about. It can be a helpful tool for meeting potential mates. But, I want you to be so educated about it that you will never fall victim to scammers and people who have bad intentions.

That being said, I recommend people who plan to date online or are dating online to also read a post on our Finding Love after 50 Facebook page by Champ Patricia Klages Thomas regarding what she has learned about online dating. She posted it late Tuesday and you can find it there if you are a member of our Facebook group. There is a lot of common sense in her post.

Informational links from today's newsletter:   (remember, it is .org and not .com)

AARP article about woman who lost $300,000

Finding Love after 50 Facebook page

Enjoy your July 4th week-end. Be safe.

Part 2 -Solo travel and Facebook update

A. More about women traveling alone

My sister Pam in San Diego, who often travels alone, sent the names of two books that are helpful for women traveling alone, which both can be found on

  • "A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe" (stories by different authors)
  • "Nothing to Declare" by Mary Morris
B. Facebook group update

Our closed Facebook group - Finding Love After 50 is up to 98 members and there are now 12 men. There are many sage comments from the members. Heck, I am even learning from what is being posted.

For example, look at Gordon Grimm's comments about marriage later in life on July 1. I agree with him.

And give a big shout out to Larry Coats, the widower from West Texas who so graciously shared his story with us three weeks ago. And now look at him, he's on our Finding Love After 50 Facebook page with a nice photo.

Remember, you must request to join the group and I will approve your request.