In 2007, a new newsletter subscriber questioned my qualifications to write from the man’s point-of-view on dating after 50. My readers responded.
By Tom P Blake - Finding Love after 50
Note from Tom: This article was published in 2007, when there was a charge for the newsletter.
This week I received an email from a new newsletter reader. He wrote: "I recently subscribed to your newsletter. I am surprised to have read in your last newsletter that you have been married so many times and in so many relationships.
"When I work out I select a fitness trainer that is knowledgeable and practices what they preach, for example they look healthy and fit.
"How can you provide us over 50 people with words of wisdom when your own track record leaves something to be desired? Is it simple trial and error or is it for us to learn from your misfortunes?"
Tom's response: "Thanks for writing. You asked an excellent question. I appreciate you signing up for the month-long free trial. In this way, you can read what I write to see if it benefits you before committing $16.95 for an additional 52-issue subscription.
"You state that my track record leaves something to be desired. Can you imagine if I wrote this column for singles if I had never been divorced? It’s life’s experiences that give us knowledge.
"Is being married three times bad? I feel the three marriages have helped provide background for my writing. I understand what being alone is like and what it takes to bounce back. My last marriage, by the way, was in 1987, 20 years ago. I've had the common sense to not add another notch to my “shaky” marriage track record.
"You added the words, 'so many relationships' and I take issue with that comment. I believe I mentioned two, which includes the one I have been in for the last nine years.
"My expertise--if I may--comes from 14 years of writing more than 1,000 newspaper columns on the topic. It's come from the estimated 35,000 people who have emailed, sharing their comments, knowledge and advice. The information and wisdom they've shared has helped me author three books leading to multiple appearances on the Today Show and Good Morning America. I've been a keynote speaker at AARP national conventions three times and just served on a panel at the convention this year.
I write from the man's point of view on dating after 50, and am not aware of any other man who writes on dating and relationships for people 50-plus.
And, I don't know of anyone who writes on this topic who would take the time to answer an email such as yours in such great depth, and as quickly as I did.
I say this with a sincere smile. Stick around for a month, give the newsletter a try--it won't cost you a penny--and then you can decide whether to pony up a few bucks for a year of informative fun--that is, if you feel my credentials weather the storm.
Several readers responded to the man’s email. I share them with you:
Karen: "Even with a broken arm I had to respond with a big HOORAY FOR YOU in regards to the freebie reader. You were right on when you said what you provide us with is "informative fun!" I must add that both times I have emailed you with a problem in regards to a man and a relationship, you have been honest and correct. Even though I didn't like your advice, I took it and was glad afterwards, since you saved me months of pain and heartache."
Paula: "I would like to apologize for that rude man who wrote you that awful letter about the number of your past relationships. It is great that you can openly share your experiences while making us aware that the over-50 group can still have a life. Good or bad experiences should always be passed around; we all should be in a learning mode.
"You write an incredible column and I totally look forward to Friday's when it arrives. I have been married 5 times and have had some wonderful and bad relationships so I can appreciate where you are coming from.
"That man is probably shallow and it appears he definitely does not have an open mind. The earth seems to grow these kinds of people."
Marge: "Being married three times, widowed twice and divorced once myself.... how can you beat experience.... it's the best teacher of all. Advice without experience WOULD be in the trial and error mode. It takes one who has "been there" to give the best advice."
Marta, "Whoever said all relationships are supposed to last forever? Facts are people grow and change and we've all seen enough stagnant relationships to know that isn't really living. Keep on and thank you!"
Tom’s October, 2016, update: I have no idea if the guy who wrote that email is still a subscriber—I doubt it. Since, 2007, the newspaper articles + newsletter columns now equal in excess of 3,500. And, there have not been any more relationships—Greta and I have been together for 19 years—we must be doing something right. I am still proud of writing from the man’s point-of-view on dating after 50, although now that man’s point-of-view reaches into the dating after 70 and 80 age range.