Friday, October 30, 2015

On Life and Love after 50 newsletter Champs speak out

On life and love after 50 newsletter
Tom P. Blake - October 30, 2015
Carmen, Barra de Navidad, Mexico

One of our Champs is Carm, who I’ve known for merely 60 years. He and I were classmates at Jackson High School, Jackson, Michigan.

Carm lives a good share of the year in Barra de Navidad, Mexico, which is a couple of hours south of Puerto Vallarata, right on the Pacific Coast. Last week, we exchanged emails on Friday. Carm wrote, “The storm (hurricane Patricia) seems to have mellowed some, but it’s supposed to hit 50 miles north of here at 5 p.m. this afternoon. Gees.”

I responded, “Stay buttoned down, it’s going to get windy.”

On Monday, after the storm, Carm’s email subject line sounded like a divorce settlement: “Lost my garden to Patricia, but the house is OK.”

Then he wrote, “Lots of damage in Barra. Landfall was 15 miles north of here. All restaurants are down. Banana plantations flattened for 30 miles. We had no electricity (no A/C overnight) for three days. Exciting stuff. But we’re OK.”

Art, Margate, Florida

Older couples who aren’t married can still have wonderful lives together. Art is a good example. He wrote:

“I am in a relationship, but am still single at the same time. I have done lots of Internet dating since my wife passed eight years ago, and when I see people struggling with the single world, I like to help where I can.

“I met Joanie, my lady friend, on POF (Plenty of Fish) two and a half years ago, and we have dated exclusively since. We are going on our sixth cruise in two weeks, and have plans to visit Las Vegas in December. We both wear rings with the Infinity sign on them as a symbol of our commitment to each other.

“We are active together on weekends, and we each have busy separate lives during the week. Joanie belongs to several groups with women, and I volunteer with a Hospice organization three to four days a week. We belong to the same gym, and try to work out together several times a week.

“During these eight years, I have dated 35 to 40 women, mostly meet and greet dates, but 12 to 15 for a longer time. One of the women I dated a long time was another of your Champs, a lovely woman who introduced me to your newsletter.”

George, and Mareah, San Francisco

Another couple who has dated for a long time but who are not married, are George and Mareah. George sent a response to last week’s newsletter:

In reference to Becky's lament about the cost of the "Little Blue Pill" at $44.00 per pill - there is a much less expensive approach to solving the problem and is equally effective for men and women. Admittedly, it doesn't work at the same velocity as Viagra, requiring a regiment that demands faithful scheduling over a period of time (just like accupuncture works, but it's not a quickie either, helps me, and I'm 75.

“Dr. Louis J. Ignarro was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery that Nitiric Oxide (NO), a signaling molecule produced organically, is a vasodilator and helps control blood flow to every part of the body. The first practical application of Dr. Ignarro's research led to the development of Viagra.

 “Dr Ignarro authored the book "NO More Heart Disease...a proven program for boosting production of the body's own wonder drug." ISBN 0-312-33581-4 St. Martin's Press - it's available through Amazon Books at a very reasonable cost.

“The therapy defined in his book is equally effective and beneficial for both men and women. However, it does take time to repair the ravages of time and requires faithfully following the regimen in his book. The supplements he names can be purchased over-the-counter at any local health-food/vitamin store or via the internet. It took time, but it works for me and I'm 75 years.

Gina, Long Beach, California

“One City, One Backpack, 5 days”

We read about Champ Gina recently. She’s the 50 year-old who is traveling on her own. She’s been to New York City and Vancouver, B.C. This week, she reports from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“Creating romance while traveling alone! I am sitting at a bistro table for two, sipping a chocolate martini in a lovely restaurant/bar. I will have dinner and I asked to be seated close to the Karaoke Stage. First day of another episode of One City, One Backpack 5 days! I chose a Historic Town and Hotel. Cheyenne Wyoming.”

And then Gina added later, “I just found out about this town (Buford, Wyoming) this week from a guy in a bar in Wyoming. I thought he was making this up. He said I just have to go there and fill up at the gas station and get a cup of coffee! So what better place to see on a solo journey than a town with a population of one?! I went in to the little store and saw a guy sitting behind the counter. I said "Are you the one?" He smiled and said "Yes ma'am !" Now before you get too excited...the original "one" sold the place to a guy in Vietnam. This guy is running the business and he let me know he has a wife.

Odds and Ends
-      My partner Greta loves movies. Me less so. But last Saturday, we went to “Bridge of Spies,” a Steven Spielberg movie starring Tom Hanks. One word: Incredible.  Possible Oscars for Hanks and Spielberg.
-      Champ Carolyn Cornelius emailed me that she was having trouble ordering my first book, “Middle Aged and Dating Again,” from a website. I told her if she ordered it directly from me instead, I would autograph it for her, and ship it via priority mail so she would have it within 3 days.
-   And I said I would charge her $10 for the book. She ordered it through my Pay Pal account. Carolyn is a great Champ so I included my second book, “Finding Love after 50. How to Begin. Where to Go. What to Do,” also autographed, as a bonus. She was pretty excited about that, which she posted on Facebook.
-      I will make a similar offer to all Champs. If anyone would like autographed copies of two of my dating books, I will autograph them and ship them via priority mail for a total of $12.00. If you are interested, email me and we will work out the details. I will be out of town from November 3 -6, so keep that in mind. To view my 3 dating books, visit the Finding Love After bookstore page. This is the link: and click on the bookstore tab at the top of the page.
-      Email me at

Friday, October 23, 2015

Senior intimacy issues - senior sex

On life and love after 50 newsletter

by Tom P. Blake  - October 23, 2015

A Champ in her 60s we will call Becky, not her true name, emailed this week. She had read the two recent newsletters about chemistry, particularly the comments from Champs who were in relationships that initially had no chemistry, but where chemistry kicked in after a period of time. That happened to her. Senior sex just arrived later for her.

But Becky also wanted to share that even when chemistry is present in older couples, there still can be intimacy issues that couples may need to deal with.

Before getting into Becky’s “intimacy-issues” comments, a little background on her: She said, “Single since November 2011, I've tried various websites, meetup groups, divorcee gatherings, took many international trips, and asked friends if they knew of any eligible, nice, and somewhat healthy middle-aged men.

“But after dating/meeting casually for 3 1/2 years, I wondered why I spent so much time conversing/meeting men. Was it true that nice divorced men were all taken? Of course not, but it felt that way. I truly had given up.

“I thought I could be a great partner to the right person, but wasn't willing to move or negotiate on what a potential partner could or couldn't provide. I mentioned in my on-line profile that I wanted to be ‘friends-first’ with someone. Most of the men I had previously met wanted ‘everything’ by date one or two

“In April, I met a man who lives 15 miles from me. And being ‘friends-first’ is  what he decided to do. We dated about 16 times before he gave me a kiss on the lips. I thought he wasn't attracted to me. I thought he just wanted an activity friend and nothing further. I wasn't a runner and he had told me he wanted a girlfriend who ran.

“Chemistry came later. It became true for me that even in one's 60's, things can move relatively slow and still develop into something amazing. I was looking for a loving, caring relationship, and I found such.”

Becky’s comments about intimacy

So, Becky and her runner boyfriend had progressed from the “just-friends” stage to the intimacy stage. But that doesn’t automatically mean they are making whoopee every night, as Becky explained.

She said, “There are differences as we age in our physical attractiveness, intimacy needs, etc. Aging couples do not talk openly about erectile dysfunction or female issues. When you are younger you snicker at the commercials on television or internet, but then you are in that age group and these things happen.

“As a former pediatric nurse practitioner, I wasn't up-to-date with how intimacy changes as we age. But, now I'm living with it and find that 50% or more of men in their upper 50/60's have some sort of ED and need assistance. The price for the pills is not covered by Medicare or insurance. Sometimes the pharmaceutical manufacture will provide a short-term rebate, but otherwise, around $44 is the cost for the little blue pill.

“Baby boomers want to live their remaining years attempting to do things they used to, but, our aging bodies change and sometimes men or women need to resort to using pharmaceutical drugs with a high price. Pharmaceutical ads specifically state that there are lots of forgery drugs being offered in the states, Mexico and Canada, but there doesn't seem to be long-term financial assistance to purchase such medications in the USA. Not everyone is wealthy.

“I just wanted to share as I had never given much thought about intimacy, potential problems, and solutions until recently. We are happy we found each other and he is very verbally appreciative of my understanding with his intermittent problems.”

Becky concluded: “Actually, I don't see this as a problem as we have been able to work around this very well. It is a learning curve. When you start to ‘date’ again in your late 50's or 60's or older, just be aware and sensitive to male/female sexual issues, but - heaven's - don't throw in the towel. It is just another stepping stone in gaining knowledge about the aging process.”

I applaud Becky for bringing this subject up. It is a fact of life. Although I tend to tiptoe around this subject, as a Champ we’ll call Oscar Meyer pointed out three weeks ago, I will say this: “I have never taken the ‘little blue pill,’ or any similar pills that claim to achieve the similar results--not that they wouldn’t be helpful--but when you hear those TV commercials stating the possible side effects, I prefer to find other creative solutions to the older-male dilemma.

By creative solutions, I don’t mean standing on my head and whistling “Dixie.” Nor do I mean having a snake charmer play the pungi (flute-like instrument) as is done to get the cobra to rise out of the basket.  

However, electrical appliances can work wonders. (One woman responded, if it comes to that, I give up on sex). Too bad, she's missing out.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Why I keep writing this newsletter

On Life and Love after 50 newsletter
By Tom P. Blake   October 16, 2015

Writing newspaper columns for 23 years and this newsletter for 15+ years has rewarded me with friendships and benefits I could  not visualize when I wrote my first article. The most recent example is the Facebook page.

We started the Finding Love After 50 Facebook page about four months ago at the request of a few Champs who wanted to be able to exchange photos and messages with each other. I thought maybe 100 or so would sign up. For me, two surprises came from starting the page.

First surprise: Approximately 445 people are currently on the page, a far cry from the anticipated 100. Most are newsletter Champs; some came from friend referrals and others found their way to us from the outside world. I see fresh, new names appearing each day as well.

Some bad apples have slipped through our FB security controls but you Champs are diligent and have helped by letting me know when someone is suspicious. For example, Jackie Laird, Linda Traylor, Joanne Popp, Janice Bowlin, Gail Metter Swain, Carolyn Cornelius, Zelda Quinn and Rosemarie Friese Kerr patrol our FB site like the California Highway Patrol polices the freeways, helping to keep us safe.

The second surprise has come from discovering the high quality of our newsletter Champs and Facebook members. If one scans the posts on the FB page, there are great topics being talked about by intelligent and experienced people. There is a wealth of information on the page coming from people all over the country, and from some foreign countries as well.

And new discussion threads are started by the FB members when they feel the need, without prompting by me, which I think is terrific.

For example, I love the subject that Gina Woodruff, Long Beach, California, has been sharing with us, about learning to venture out and travel on her own. This is a 50-year-old single woman making these trips. This takes “gumption” as FB member Sandra Lee so succinctly put it. And I think a lot of us are learning from Gina’s posts. Below are some snippets that Gina has written:

A dating story: This past week I was in New York for an event for just three days and I had a date on my last day. I met a guy on Weds. night at Starbucks…” And then Gina described the date.
She also wrote: “I love train rides! I visited Boston and took the 4-hour journey by train to NY then from NY to Philadelphia. It was lovely!

On another post, Gina said, “This past week, my second trip was to Vancouver, Canada. This was my first visit to Canada. I stayed at a hotel on Davie St. with an abundance of quaint restaurants, shops, coffee houses and bakeries. It was a beautiful walk to a park and ocean/harbor…” She went on to describe her Vancouver visit.

Gina also said, “…I am finding that great ways to practice initiating conversations with people are in taxis, elevators, subways, airports and coffee houses. I used to think it was hard meeting new people.

“What I have discovered is I was reading people all wrong. I would see someone and assume they were unfriendly and didn't want to be bothered. On my plane ride over the guy next to me in the middle seat…I am discovering that there are people everywhere...I just needed to look up and say something!”

Gina’s venturing out solo into the world reminds me of the wonderful story that Zoe, our Champ from England, shared with us last year when she walked the Camino de Santiago trail from France across Spain to the city of Santiago de Compostela--on her own with a pack on her back.
Gina added, “I believe the universe is showing me signs that I am getting closer to a relationship. Not him (a guy she had met) but someone.” And she said in a FB post to Christine Baumgartner, “I now believe that there is no shortage of good men.”

And speaking of Christine Baumgartner, we are blessed to have her as a newsletter Champ and a member of our Facebook group. She has years of relationship counseling and experience. She uses that experience to make very informed and astute observations that can be helpful to others. She also is a widow and knows how difficult that can be. She has talked openly and personally about losing her husband on the FB page as well.

On the touchy subject of sex (the subject one male Champ accused me of tiptoeing around), Christine said, “The first step is to figure out if you even want to have sex with him (usually a man won't take you out if he doesn't want to eventually have sex with you) so it's up to you to decide. What I've found is as you start to get to know each other better and you feel open to being more physical with him you can then start talking about what each of you want and like in a physical relationship…”

 Heck, you have to pay for that kind of advice if you go to see a therapist and here Christine is dispensing it from the goodness of her heart on our FB page.

By the way, I personally know Gina, Christine and Gail Metter Swain and they are three of the finest women you’ll ever meet. I have high respect for them and admire their tenacity.

And then we have great men contributing to the FB page: Gordon Grimm, John Johnson, Joel Blackwell, Art Schmall, Terry Johnson and Neils Andrews—just to name a few (I apologize if I left anybody out). These men are sharing their male points-of-view, which are hard to come by these days. Older guys are usually too reticent to speak up.

My point in all of this is to illustrate the wealth of information and people on our pages sharing stories and experiences from which we all can learn. It’s not the biggest group in the world but for the quality of individuals we can’t be beat. There are stories of hope, inspiration, frustration and loneliness.

Oh yes, we will have the occasional turkey chimes in and make some silly accusation or frustration about somebody else on the site, but we are all only human and sometimes say things we haven’t thought through. Let’s just keep that petty stuff to a minimum. Do not let someone’s negative attitude or comments drag you down. Kill ‘em with kindness as they say.

When you step back and think about belonging to this elite group, to which all of you Champs are a part, we are blessed. Where else can you find a group of friends, ages 50-90+, from such a diversity of locations and walks of life, who share such a common bond while aging together?

I am proud to be your conduit of information. And that is why I keep writing the newsletter.

Friday, October 9, 2015

More on chemistry and senior sex

On Life and Love After 50 Newsletter

Tom P. Blake    October 9, 2015

 More on chemistry and senior sex

Last week, a widower said his girlfriend of four months told him she felt no real chemistry. I asked for your opinions.
There were so many wise responses about chemistry and senior sex that I have tried to organize them into categories. Here are what the Champs said:

Move on

One man said, "If a woman tells you the chemistry is not there, it's time to saddle up and ride. I was in a brief relationship with an all-around great woman. One flaw is she had hang ups about her religious upbringing that made her a cold fish when it came to romance.

"We parted company a few years ago and we regularly text and email and have coffee. She's had quite a few three or four-date relationships since, but, they all end the same way. Men our age just aren't prone to wait around or deal with frigidity for very long. For certain, I'm not.

Mark, "Long ago, when I was in the shoes of the 72-year-old widower, someone much wise than me (you Tom) told me that the very first thing to look for in a partner is someone who likes you back. Everything else--appearance, age, money, intelligence--is secondary.

 "The woman he likes doesn't like him back. She already has plans on two future Saturday nights. My guess is she has met someone else. I strongly encourage this man to move on and avoid further pain."

Vicki added: "He should get her to express her fears and desires, listen to her, then if she doesn't come back around, move on. Too many women out there want a good man; he shouldn't waste time on one that doesn't.

Stop talking about your deceased spouse

Chris: "OK, you're getting this from an 81-year-old guy who has been around the horn many, many times. Advice to this newbie: She doesn't want to hear about how wonderful your wife was and how much you loved each other and how happy you were. That gets old really fast. This applies to women also.

"I don't care that she was talking the same way. What else was she going to talk about while you were going on about your marriage. All they want to know is that you didn't kill her and you are available. Keep the talk light. Get her laughing. How about a night out dancing? Make it fun being with you, not talking about dead people. You will be surprised how fast the chemistry will come when you do as I say. She will want to be with you because she likes being there."

Linda, "Honesty is a good thing but in this case talking about your respective spouses could put a cold front on anyone's horizon. I guess the timing isn't right."

Feelings can change

Joan, "I dated a man for a year with no chemistry between us. Then, for some reason, the chemistry button turned on and continued to last. Ultimately, we found we were not right for each other in other areas of our lives, but it was lovely while the senior sex and chemistry lasted.

Vicki, a widow (marriage 48 years), wrote that she met a man who escorted her and her friend to lots of events for months. Then, when she started dating him, she no longer felt chemistry. She backed out of the relationship.

He persisted, very patiently, very much a gentleman. No pressure. She dated another man but it didn't work out. Months later, the gentleman called and asked her out again. We took in slow and the chemistry fired up and we are exclusive now and planning our first cruise together. We are still deciding if we want to live together, or just date. Regardless, we want to be together.


Joan said, "He should ask her directly if she can define what chemistry means to her and if there is anything he could do to generate it. He may find out there is something simple he can do, or that her expectations are not realistic.

Another woman stated: "She said she feels no real chemistry, but she may mean something other than what she is speculating on. He needs to get that cleared up by asking.

I assure you! There is chemistry and senior sex in our later years!

Here's a guy in his early 70s, having to worry about stuff he had to worry about as a 20-year old. Yikes, dating for older singles is challenging.

Friday, October 2, 2015

How critical is chemistry in senior relationships?

On Life and Love after 50 newsletter

Tom P. Blake October 2, 2015

A widower needs advice. He wrote, "My question has to do with female chemistry.  My wife passed away suddenly two years ago. I was married for 50 years to the love of my life. I am 72.

"I met a lovely lady on and have been seeing her for four months. We both work so it is usually on the weekends when we get together. She was widowed  six years ago after a 37-year marriage to the love of her life. She is 65.

"We have an incredible number of things in common and wonder how we never met as we ran in the same circle of friends. I am the first man she has dated and she is the second woman I have dated. I liked the first woman I dated but we were from different worlds and we parted as friends after two months.

"The woman I am seeing now is terrific.  We talk a lot about our spouses, which seems to be the best "counseling" for both of us. We said from the beginning that we would be open and honest with each other.

"Now to that point of all of this: we are in no hurry to have sex but both seem to enjoy being together, holding hands, and cuddling very affectionately. Two weeks ago, after having dinner at my house and cuddling, she telephoned the next morning. She told me she was going to tell me this the night before but could not bring herself to do it, which is why she called.

"Her call was to tell me that she liked me and enjoyed my company and was not saying goodbye, but that she felt no real chemistry. This blew me away considering her behavior the night before. What do I do?

"Is there a magic bullet to light her chemistry or is there no real chemistry when you get to be so old?

"I really want to be with this lady but it is awkward knowing she doesn't feel the same way about me as I thought she did. I have always been a fighter for what I want and I want her in my life.

"Is female chemistry so different from men's? I don't know if what I feel is chemistry or just a strong longing. I think of chemistry of what I felt when I met my wife; maybe that was chemistry and lust. I was much younger then.

"Any suggestions would be better than anything I have come up with."

I responded: "I would not do anything different, at least for now. Enjoy her and see where it goes. It's good that you are attracted to her. You wouldn't be interested if you weren't attracted to her. There is no magic wand that you can wave.

"Yes, you want to be with her, but be a little less available and she might start to realize what she has in you, which might perk up her attraction for you. Just be cool about it and listen to what she has to say.

"I assure you! There is chemistry as you get older! Over time, if this lack of mutual attraction continues, it could become a deal breaker for you, then you will have to make a decision."

A week went by.  He had two more dates with her.  Her position didn't change. She told him that maybe her husband had treated her so well that she might never change.

He asked her to reserve Saturday nights as date night. But she had plans on two upcoming Saturdays.

I took a little stronger position in my second response. I said that at least she is being honest with him. He is the first man she has dated and perhaps she is simply proceeding cautiously. Or, maybe that spark just isn't there for her, which is what she said.

I said to him that a man of 72 has a strong chance of meeting a fine woman who would be attracted to him and perhaps he should spread his wings a bit. I would hate to see him wait around for her, only to find that she will never change and to have his heart broken again. Still see her but date around a bit; maybe check out again.

I think he is a little too available.  Plus, for a relationship to work, each person needs to make the other a top priority, and that includes from the chemistry standpoint as well.

I am curious what both women and men have to say here.