Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Dallas Morning News article: 50+ fastest growing segment on Match.com

Dallas Morning News article: 50+ fastest growing segment on Match.com

On Life and Love After 50 newsletter

January 15, 2016

by Tom P. Blake

50+ fastest growing segment on Match.com

I’ve got to thank my brother Bill, who lives in Dallas, for today’s newsletter. He suggested I look online at an article in the January 8, 2016, issue of The Dallas Morning News, written by staff writer Sheryl Jean.

The title of Sheryl Jean’s article: “Dallas-based Match says its fastest-growing dating group is the over-50 crowd.”

Sheryl Jean did a nice job on the article. And since the subject matter is a topic our Champs often discuss, I decided to make  a few comments about it. The article began talking about a couple who met on Match.com in 2012. She was 52; he was 60. The article stated that this couple meeting was “evidence that you’re never too old to date—or to fall in love.”

Well, that’s true. But, when you think about the majority of our group--10 to 20 years older—and when couples form, now that’s true evidence that you’re never too old to fall in love. Champs Chris, 81, and Tina, 70s, who have a 4,500 mile long-distance relationship, are prime examples of that.

The article alluded to the range of companies that Match.com owns, referring to Match as the Match Group. Did you know that Match owns Our Time, which used to be called SeniorPeopleMeet, Tinder, OkCupid, Chemistry.com, and in July shelled out $575 million for Plenty of Fish? My guess is that the Match Group, with 2.6 million members, is pretty much focused on just plain old making dinero. As some of you have experienced, when you have an issue with them, is there any wonder why getting to a real live person is so difficult?

The article quoted Match Group’s chief operating officer, Navin Ramachandran: “’People over 50 are now more trusting of going on dating sites…The stigma has gone down tremendously.’” 

I have to challenge that statement. Are singles in our age range--50 to 90--more trusting now about online dating sites?

I don’t think so. Look at all of the romance scams and horror stories we’ve heard about lately, including the one from last week about a couple who met on OurTime and now the woman has disappeared?  Sheryl Jean’s article did not mention even once that seniors, widows, and widowers often have to deal with and dodge romance scammers on sites focused on the senior demographic.

I think the article should have mentioned that seniors have to be extra careful on dating sites, that the sites have lots of evil people lurking that want to take advantage of lonely senior singles. Match.com does not conduct background checks on new members.

The article also stated that Match’s “…fastest-growing dating group is the over-50 crowd.” What does that mean? By sheer numbers, or percentage-wise?  If they went from 1,000 over-50 folks, to 2,000, that’s only adding 1,000 people. But in percentages, that’s a 100 percent gain. That wasn’t explained in the article.
One thing I liked about the article was the explanation of what a Stanford University economics professor, Paul Oyer, explained as a “thick” dating market, “…where there are a lot of people seeking a match and results are better.”

College campuses are an example of “thick” places to meet potential mates. Seniors don’t have access to “thick” dating sites, so online dating sites step in and attempt to provide that for older singles. That made sense to me.

The article mentioned that eHarmony has about 800,000 subscribers, of which 80,000, 10 percent or so, are over the age of 80. That’s astounding to me. Apparently eHarmony’s over 50 subscribers are growing by more than 10 percent as well, whatever that means.

I got a chuckle over the article’s comments about marketing of the online dating sites. To get older singles moving again, they show advertising of older couples riding roller coasters and camping. My partner Greta has made it very clear to me regarding our camping outings: Days in the wilderness, nights in a motel. “There are no bears, mosquitoes, or snakes in Motel 6,” she says.

The article quoted Paul Oyer again: “…older customers are more profitable (to dating sites) because they tend to have more disposable income and spend more money.”

He must be kidding. Hey, lots of us are retired and/or on limited incomes. We don’t like plopping a lot of dinero down on dating sites or dinners out. So, I think he’s off base with that comment. At the 50+ Meet and Greet events at Tutor and Spunky’s, my former deli, seniors didn’t spend much at all.

At the end of the article, this was stated: “Singles 70 and up are the least likely to want to get married (5 percent), Followed by singles in their 60s (8 percent) and those in their 50s (20 percent). I agree with those stats; most seniors tell me they do not want to remarry. Of course, there are exceptions.

The end of the article also stated: “…The desire for sexual intimacy seems to increase or remain consistent over time.” Right on brother! It added, “87 percent of singles ages 50 to 70 said physical attraction between a partner is a must.” Double right on brother!

The article concluded with, “Older singles are happier with their family, friendships and sex lives than any other age group.” Now you’re talking!
Overall, I thin Sheryl Jean’s article was thought-provoking and positive. But, I think people in our age, 50-90, have a lot more to say about the subject.
The link to Sheryl Jean’s article:

By the way, in case you are wondering, my brother Bill is a couple of years older than I and is not available. He’s been married for several years. But, he’s a heck of a good guy. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Willie Nelson still going strong at 82

Willie Nelson still going strong at 82

January 18, 2016

On Life and Love After 50

By Tom Blake

Last August, Willie Nelson was scheduled to perform at the Orange County Fair. My life partner Greta and I, and our Dana Point friends, Ron and Lee Cohan, had tickets for the concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre, an outdoor venue. The four of us realized it would probably be our last chance to see Willie, a country music legend; he turns 83 this April 29.

Most, not all, of the audience appeared to be ages 50 to 90. We were in our seats; the band’s instruments were in place on the stage. And then, it started raining hard; the show was canceled.

Three months later, when the four of us heard Willie would be performing this January 6 at the Grove in Anaheim, we purchased tickets.

On the night of the concert, it rained again, but the Grove is an indoor venue, so we knew the show would go on, although, I will admit the possibility of a rain-caused cancellation crossed my mind as we drove to Anaheim.

Frankly, my expectations about Willie performing were modest. I imagined that his family members, including his sons Micah and Lukas on guitars, and “little sister” Bobbie, as Willie calls her, on piano, would be the primary performers, and that Willie would sing only a few songs.

When the lights dimmed, Willie led his band onto the stage. He was wearing a t-shirt with “Maui” on the front and his usual red headband.

Willie picked up Trigger, the name he’s given to his ancient Martin N-20 classical guitar that he’s had for 47 years--the one with a gaping hole and faded autographs from famous people such as Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings on it. He began with one of his classics, “Whiskey River.” The four of us were surprised with how great Willie and his band sounded.

He was on stage nonstop for over 90 minutes. He sang: Georgia on My Mind; On the Road Again; Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground; Crazy; Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die; Good-Hearted Woman; Always on My Mind; and about 25 other songs, all of them familiar.  

                             Willie Nelson and his band January 6, 2016, Anaheim, California

He was gracious and personable. Fans kept tossing cowboy hats on the stage. Willie would wear the hats for a couple of songs and then toss them to the crowd Frisbee-style. He also threw five headbands to the crowd.

Another Orange County friend, Ken Stetter, and his girlfriend Peggy McGuire, were seated in the same aisle about 20 feet away, although I didn’t know that until a week later. Ken said, “I, too, went to see Willie Nelson - with Peggy. We also had tickets this summer at the Fair. I thought his ‘little sister’ Bobbie was a huge plus - really good musician. I had a great night - like you. Two thumbs up!”

“Little sister” Bobbie is 85-years-old.

                              The one and only Willie Nelson, age 82, tireless

Greta and I didn’t know if we’d ever see Willie again. However, a week later we did, only this time it wasn’t in person. On Friday night, January 15, we watched on PBS TV station KCET, Willie receiving The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

He had received the award on November 18, 2015, in Washington, D.C. A multitude of entertainers performed his music as he and his wife sat in a booth above and to the side of the stage.

Johnny Cash’s daughter, Rosanne, performed “Pancho and Lefty” and Alison Krauss of the group Union Station performed, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground.” Paul Simon and Neil Young also sang. It was an incredible night of music.

After Willie received the award on stage, he strapped on Trigger and did a few songs with all of the guest performers joining him. With a career that spans six decades, his final song was, appropriately enough, “On the Road Again.”

Greta said, “Just because we are older, doesn’t mean we stop doing what we love. To Willie, 82 is just a number.”

                                       Tom and Greta ready for Willie to come on stage

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Samson Finds a Home

On Life and Love After 50

By Tom P Blake

Samson finds a home

On the night of December 16, my partner Greta and I picked up her granddaughter, Ashley Avalos, and her two great grandchildren, Ava and Anthony, at LAX. They had flown in from North Carolina. We arrived at Greta’s San Clemente home at 10 p.m.

When we opened the front door to enter the house, the five of us were joined by a 150-pound German shepherd, who just walked in with us, right out of the night.

At least he was friendly. He had a collar, but no name tag. I grabbed him by the collar and took him outside in case he had just gotten away from his owners. He was as strong as a horse. One time, he pulled so hard I hit the pavement but held on. 

The street was empty. We walked him around the neighborhood but no one was out looking for him.

Greta telephoned her friend Jane who volunteers at the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter in San Clemente. Jane suggested we telephone the Shelter but no one answered. A message on their recording gave a number to call the Sheriff. It was 11 p.m. The Sheriff said they could do nothing.

We could not keep the dog at Greta’s home because of the two great grandchildren, and Greta is allergic to dogs. Her backyard is not enclosed. What were we going to do?

The only solution was for me to take him to my Dana Point home and he would stay there with me. I had no idea how comfortable he’d be in the car, let alone the house, or whether he’d devour me on the drive to Dana Point.

We pulled into the garage and I shut the garage door before we got out of the car. At least he couldn’t get out of the house.

He did a full inspection of the house, with me moving breakable things out of the way. I let him inspect the enclosed  backyard.

I decided to sleep downstairs on the couch pull-out bed. All I had to nourish him with was bread and water.

At Midnight, I climbed into bed. He tried to do that as well. I finally got him to lie on the rug next to the bed. He was moving around most of the night. He’d put his nose under my arm every 20 minutes or so. Sleep was scarce that night.

At 3 a.m., I remembered we had one Jimmy Dean’s sausage croissant sandwich in the freezer. I warmed half of it for him. He inhaled it. After that, he settled down and slept from 4 to 6 a.m.

For breakfast, he got the other half of the croissant, again, inhaling it. I had coffee.

My mission: get him safely to the Animal Shelter, where I arrived at 10:15 a.m. No one had called to ask about Samson.

I was assured by one of the workers that he would be adopted after a quarantine period. She said, “He’s a magnificent dog.”

This experience opened my eyes to the wonderful San Clemente - Dana Point Animal Shelter that we are so blessed to have. The volunteers there love dogs and cats. Greta’s volunteer friend Jane sent a picture of him. His name was “Samson.”

That night, I found myself missing that big German shepherd who dragged me around for 12 hours.

I checked with the Shelter three times over the next week. He was still there.
On Tuesday, December 29, Greta and I went to the Shelter to check on Samson. Good news, he was being adopted that day. The new owners had visited him four times before deciding.

We got to see him before he left for his new home. Dog trainer Esther Horn took us to his kennel, and explained all the loving care the animals get there. She said, “Samson’s a big puller.” I couldn’t deny that.

It warmed my heart that this story had such a beautiful ending. Visit and support the San Clemente – Dana Point Animal Shelter. It will touch your heart as well. And maybe even adopt one of those beautiful and lonely animals who just want to go to a home.

                                          Samson the German Shepard  (photo by Tom Blake)

Dana Point Times Jan 8 2016

San Clemente Times Jan 14 2016

San Juan Capistrano Dispatch Jan 8 2016 Samson

Finding Love After 60 website

Friday, January 8, 2016

Widow gets dumped follow up comments by readers

Widow gets dumped follow up comments by readers

On Life and Love After 50 Newsletter 

Jan 8, 2016  

by Tom P. Blake

Widow gets dumped follow up comments by readers

Last week, the newsletter featured a widow who has had a hard life. Most recently, she was dumped by her man-friend after four and a half years. I asked for your opinions, and you really came through. Our Champs are intelligent, experienced and caring at the same time.

There were so many sage emails that I can’t begin to do justice to them all. I could easily write an entire ebook on the subject of getting dumped later in life. It has happened to a lot of our Champs so it is more common than one would expect.

What I am doing today, is sharing the advice many of you offered to her—5 women and 5 men. The men were more direct in their comments. Again, these are just some of the highlights. Many requested anonymity so I will just use a first-name initial.

We begin with comments from five women:

L, who dated a widower for 1 ½ years before he bailed, said, “I will never again believe that my happiness is tied to a relationship. I am responsible for my happiness and delighted to be independent. If I meet someone that I can share that happiness with in the future, it will be a good thing too. But, I won’t compromise my life, my love, my self-care or financial well-being, thinking that I will find those things in a partner.”

G, “There is no cure for heartbreak, only time will heal. There are few words of comfort for this lady, just to let her grieve out and go on.

“What always helped me was writing about it. I kept a journal and after some time you look back and you know you are healing.

"The gentleman, as she called him, was not a gentleman; he was already seeing someone else when he told her he needed a break.”

ML, “It is necessary to have a relationship with self before all else. Although my fiancĂ© and I were together only 2 ½ years, I was still knocked off my pins by his desire to leave our relationship. Use your pain to examine your life, not to see who was wrong or what you did wrong, but to get to know yourself. Maybe take a year off from dating and just explore who you are. Take classes, join meet ups, get some exercise, things like that. There is so very much to life.”

E, “I detect a victim attitude. I have seen this with women who tend to get into abusive relationships. What she needs to do is get over that because people will take advantage of it.”

J, “Donna@lovefraud.com is one of the better websites including books to order for people who have been addicted to narcissists (love them and leave them types).  During the last of four years I was hung up on one of those, I read everything I could get my hands on realizing that I wasn't dealing with a 'normal' human being that grows more compassionate with age but with someone who doesn't have the capacity for real love or empathy at all.  It's been 2 1/2 years since no contact with him, and I am just starting to feel 'over' him and almost ready to look for someone else. 

“I am 67 and haven't dated in a long time. Since your reader was preyed on by Bernie Madoff as well, my guess is that she needs to do a lot of homework and study to recognize people that aren't really human beings (due to different wiring in the brain) and accept that there are so-called people that only live to use and abuse others. It's about one in twenty people so they're everywhere.”

And five men also commented:

C, “So she had a husband for 30 years, a boyfriend for almost 5 years who loved her and she loved them. Plus, the courtship. At least she had a couple in her life. She hasn't lost a child. She hasn't been in an abusive relationship. Considering everyone has bumps in life. Hers isn’t that bad.”

W, “I had a couple of questions. What else is going on this lady’s life that can give her some joy? Kids? Grandkids? Hobbies? Charities?

Relying on simply a relationship for her happiness is risky business. She needs to focus on a variety of things and ‘let the game come to her.’

“Also, many Madoff victims have been able to recover a significant portion of their losses.

“Something does not smell right…”
N, “This is a quandary on how to respond without appearing calloused or uncaring. Bottom line this woman appears to be a nice, sweet lady. But as we all now she first must take responsibility for her situation.

“There are some serious questions here. Why did a woman in that situation not have life insurance? There are questions about losing her investments. The situation that the boyfriend she had a wonderful relationship just walked away is also suspect? She sounds like a woman who has not taken responsibility for her own life. People don't willingly walk away if their needs are being met. Denial is not a river in Egypt.”

K, “My advice to her is to take heart from all the incredible people that wish her well. She sounds like a fighter with an irrepressible sense of life! An honest, open person like her will rebound well!

J, “I have advice for the widow, although she may not be receptive to it.  It's based on what I have been through in my life:

“It's clear she sees herself as a victim. I used to see myself as one. That doesn't help. When you are a victim, things are done to you, that are out of your control. When you refuse to play the victim role, you do things, that are under your control. The only part of her letter where she does not take the victim role - and it is almost always a choice - is when she went back to work after losing investments. In that instance, SHE did something positive to improve her life.

“Yes, a series of unfortunate events has occurred - guess what? That's life. There are people to whom better things have happened, there are people to whom worse things have happened. She has her health - an ENORMOUS plus - and the skills to be employed at a well-paying job - another ENORMOUS plus.  Although she has lost investment money, it does not appear she is in debt - a third ENORMOUS plus.

“I would advise her to look into herself to see why She chose an unsuitable man - because it was her choice.  A therapist likely could help with this.  Then move on.”

Part 2 

The Facebook page.

We started the Finding Love After 50 Facebook page about six months ago. It quickly grew to about 475 members, and that’s where it stands now. Actually, 479 members.

But, I have some concerns about whether we should keep it operating or not.
My biggest concern is the people who want to become members. I have blocked 122 people, mainly because I think they are scammers and not who they say they are. 

Currently, there are six men who have requested to be added. But, I simply don’t trust them. They don’t provide information about themselves. No information on where they live, what they do, and some are new to Facebook within the last few days. Others joined a year ago and belong to 30+ groups. Others are from far away foreign lands and on their timelines post suspicious material. I have become more of a policeman that an administrator. Above all, we must protect our members.

My second concern is that very few of the 479 members make posts anymore. It seems our Facebook page is dominated by a handful of people, often posting multiple comments each day. I am wondering if this situation has turned off the others. It’s like our FB page has become their personal FB page.
I would like your comments. Should we continue?

Part 3

Another senior scam reported. Thanks to Champ Kathy for providing a link to a Kingman, Arizona, newspaper article about a very scary situation that happened on the senior dating site, Our Time. I recommend that you click on the link and read the story. The woman who met a man on the site has disappeared. We have to be so dam careful with the people we meet.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A widow gets dumped after four and a half years

So you think you’ve got it bad…A widow get dumped after four years

On Life and Love After 50

January 1, 2016

So you think you've got it bad...A widow gets dumped after four years

Just before Christmas, I received a book order from my Finding Love After 60 website bookstore. But the order form did not specify for which book the order was intended. So I emailed the woman to ask her and she responded: “Finding Love After 50: How to Begin. Where to go. What to do,” and, voluntarily explained why she wanted the book.

She gave me permission to share her email with you today. I don’t think there are many of us who’ve had things as tough as she. Perhaps, some of you will have suggestions for her.

She said, “I am a 67-year-old widow and have not been lucky enough (yet) to find a long-term companion. I thought I had been successful, but the gentleman left me after 4 1/2 years together. That was six months ago. I still am very broken-hearted.

“I have had a tough time during the last 15 years. My husband of 30 years was a physician who died from a medical test in his own hospital. The legal term is unlawful death. I felt compelled to bring the physicians to trial who caused his death, even though being a physician’s wife I never thought I would sue another physician.

“I was then preyed upon by his partners and our stockbroker and my health took a nosedive. After recovering from these horrible events, I was a Bernard Madoff victim and lost everything that my hard-working husband and I had accumulated during our working careers.

“I am a registered nurse, so I immediately returned to work at the age of 63 and worked seven days a week, four different part-time jobs. During that time I was slowly retrieving as much as possible from the theft, and that is when this gentleman entered my life. He was the only bright spot in many, many years. He showed me a wonderful exciting life filled with sailing, club events, bike riding, hiking, and we were best friends. He made me feel special and cared for.
“I never saw his departure coming. 

He began a new relationship three weeks after telling me, ‘I need a break.’ To this day, he has never given me any explanation. His sisters told me that his explanation was that we had too many ‘bumps in the road,’ which was his expression for arguments.

“This came as quite a shock to me and I'm still recovering. I am dating several men who seem to enjoy my company, but it will be awhile until I can open my heart again to someone else because I am still in love with the man who left me.

“I've been doing a lot of reading about being addicted to someone because of my inability to get over him, and it appears I have something called Attachment Hunger. I have been seeing a therapist who has been an enormous help to me in trying to sort my way through this sad event. I have never had another living human being inflict this much pain on me.

“So, when I hear that others have had this experience of deep pain and heartbreak caused by another, it does help me connect to all humanity. My husband's death was an entirely different type of pain.

“My personal opinion is that the pain cuts deeper now because of our age. I would like to think we have learned to have more compassion and kindness for others as we have aged. Would you agree with that statement? Thank you for taking the time to read this and I really look forward to receiving your book, and I always enjoy your newsletters. You help an enormous number of people without even knowing it.”

Tom’s comment: She has been through difficult situations: loss of a husband from “unlawful death,” preyed upon by doctors and a stockbroker, and then Bernie Madoff, and then being dumped with no warning by a guy after 4 ½ years of dating. Any advice from you for her on how to get through her latest challenge?

You Champs are pretty good at advising in situations like hers. Send me an email; I will forward it to her.

Biggest retirement challenge: Deciding which bucket list items to tackle first

Biggest retirement challenge: Deciding which bucket list items to tackle first

Before I retired on January 30, retired people often told me: "You will wonder where the time goes and be busier than ever."

I suspected they were right. I had been building a bucket list over the years and it had several items on it. The top item: travel with my partner Greta as much as we can while our health permits. In April and May, we took a nice trip to Europe.

Second item on the list: exercise. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) at Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor fulfills that goal 3-4 times per week.

Other items: continue writing this column, and then there was preparation for the fantasy football season, which kicks off this week.

One item had been on the original bucket list since 2005, the year the movie Walk The Line--the portrayal of Johnny Cash's life--was released. I had a problem with the movie; I felt the portrayal of Johnny was way too negative.

Why did that concern me? I knew Johnny Cash and worked with him for two years in the mid-1970s when I was the marketing director for the Victoria Station restaurant chain. I had hired Johnny to do our radio commercials and got to know him well. He was one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

That 10-year bucket list item: Write a book that would reveal the kind and caring side of Johnny Cash that I had witnessed first-hand. I simply wanted to set the record straight. Before retiring, I didn't have time to finish it.

Finally, 10 years later, over this summer, I wrote the book. Last week, I put the full-court press on finishing it. If you don't do it that way with a book, you'll never get it done. On Friday, I uploaded the finished book to one of the largest online Ebook bookstores in the world, Smashwords.com.

The title: "The Johnny Cash I Knew. A Kind and Caring Man." Most of the 17 pictures were taken 40 years ago with my old Kodak camera and there are many examples of Johnny's kindness in the book.

The most unique experience with Johnny: Going into San Quentin Prison with him for a concert.

Many older people tell me they want to write a book, to leave a legacy for their families. Ebooks are a great way to accomplish that goal without much cost, and, after they are published, they can be updated and changed. I invite readers to contact me if they have questions about ebook publishing.

So, with the book published, it's time to turn to other bucket list items, but which ones? Therein lies the challenge of retirement: which activity to tackle next? Those retirees who said "You'll be busier than ever" were right.

Maybe I'll open a restaurant. Nope, already done that one for 26 years. It's probably time for another trip with Greta.

To read the first 15% of this ebook at no charge, or to purchase the book for $3.99, tap on the link below on Smashwords.com: