Behind the doctor's mask, is a lonely doctor-widower who can’t meet anyone in New Zealand. He feels the pain of being lonely.
By Tom P Blake – Finding Love after 50
Note from Tom: This newsletter was written in 2009. Now, in 2016, there is no charge for the newsletter.
To keep this newsletter financially viable, I need to continually add new subscribers. Hence, I offer a no-cost, four-week trial to people who land on my website home page. Several people sign up for the trial every day. Converting them to paid subscribers at the end of the trial is a challenge as we see from the following email exchange between a guy named JR and me.
JR wrote, "Thank you for the 4-week trial. In all honesty, what do you try to achieve with your newsletters? I didn't find love nor any advice as to what to do about it. So, thanks, but no thanks."
When that email came in, it made me angry. My gosh, the trial is free. I felt JR's email was a personal attack, and I was tempted to respond with a zinger. But what good would that have done? I thought, how do I keep this guy as a reader? So, I emailed back:
"I'm sorry you were disappointed. I'm not sure what you are looking for; thank you for taking the time to express your viewpoint. If you have suggestions on how to improve the newsletter, I would appreciate it."
JR responded, his demeanor had changed: "The loneliness is a reality. What can be done about it? As a Physician, it is not difficult to get a date! But if you are not a womanizer, where do you find somebody to love, to be loved--not for what you are, but for whom you are? On the internet? Unfortunately not. For many women, Physician = money = prey [own experience].
"This is not a vendetta against your newsletter. I'm possibly a bit desperate. God made us in 'pairs' and since the death of my wife I'm living as a single."
I realized his initial abrupt salvo had nothing to do with the newsletter or its content; it had to do with his own frustration.
I hoped to engage him more so I answered: "A physician-widower combo would be a special find for a woman. When were you widowed? Where do you live? You aren't desperate; you'd simply like to be with a special woman."
JR said, "Thank you for your kind words. I'm 66 [28 in my mind] and living in New Zealand, although I'm as African as a lion.
"My wife died in 1994 after 30 years of marriage. I was 'married' after that, but the lady wanted more than one gent in her life and walked out on me. That will never happen again. I will stay single and take the pain of being lonely rather than go through a divorce again.
"I'm in the process of registering with the New Zealand Medical Council, to enable me to do locums in this beautiful country. I have attached a photo."
Surprised by his change in attitude, I emailed, "I've traveled to New Zealand twice. The country and people are beautiful. My guess is you will meet a kind and caring woman in NZ and your loneliness will become a thing of the past. I hope you allow that to happen by not being bitter towards women."
JR wrote back, "Your letter added to the quality of my day. I'm not street wise; rather innocent ,or even worse, naive. Meeting the right lady is where the tyre strikes the tar! Where, good man, where? I'm not the pub-crawling type. I'm an alien in this wonderful country. I can't just go up to the first lady and volunteer: 'Excuse me, I'm very lonely. Are you interested in getting to know me?"
I replied, "That's precisely what you need to do. You know very few New Zealanders. Be assertive when you see a single woman you're attracted to because that may be your only chance to meet her. But, be realistic by focusing on women relatively close to your age."
I'm happy I didn't lose JR as a reader and learned a couple of things about email etiquette. First, people shouldn't be rude or abrupt by hiding behind the invisible shield of the Internet. Since JR felt the newsletter was of no value to him, he should have simply unsubscribed or said nothing.
Second, on the email receiving end, people shouldn't judge too harshly others' opening comments or first impressions. By me not striking back, a beneficial email exchange and friendship resulted between two people in different countries, thousands of miles apart.
Communication is so important in the world. Be kind, be gentle.