On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter – July 12, 2019
by Thomas P Blake columnist for 25 years
Senior Movin’ Out is harder than Movin’ in. Where are those five sewing machines?
Movin’ Out (from the Broadway musical, featuring the music of Billy Joel) link to song Movin’ Out at end of today’s column
Last August, I received the following email from Stacey, “After 35 years of marriage, I was widowed in 2008. My husband died as a result of injuries received as a Marine in Vietnam Nam; I will not marry again in order to maintain my benefits.
“Since he passed away, I’ve had two significant relationships. The first lasted two years, but ended when his middle-aged adult children, most blatantly the daughters, did not accept me, and at times were passively, aggressively rude.
Seniors Living Together
“In the second relationship, I met Roger in 2013 on Match.com. It was his first relationship since his wife passed the year before. He begged me for two years to move in with him. I have been living in his home for the past two years. (I still own my own home which my daughter and her husband are renting from me). I’m 67; Roger is 73.
“He promised to make an arrangement through a lawyer, that if something happens to him, I will be able to stay in his home long enough, at least a couple months, in order to make other living arrangements and move, as his children will inherit his house and will sell it immediately.
“He still has not made that arrangement. We’ve had ups and downs. Other than not making the arrangement although he promised, we seem to be on fairly steady ground with one exception. As was the case in my first relationship mentioned above, middle-aged daughters are causing the problem.
“I feel Roger’s intent is to let me know that I am not, and never will be, part of their family, or even considered a friend of the family.
“Here’s why I feel that way: family group texts include everyone but me, invitations arrive with only Roger’s name on them, Christmas gift cards and Christmas cards come with his name only, to name two examples.
“We both sign invitations, cards and gifts to them, but I have NEVER been thanked or acknowledged. I feel his children call the shots and are worried that I may ‘get something that should be theirs.’
“All the while Roger continues to sing their praises and brag about his children.
“I worry about being locked out of his home should something suddenly happen to him. I have brought it up several times, to no avail.
“His children, mid-40s, are very vocal and openly discuss what they will get when he dies. Roger avoids any conversation about the problems with them when they occur, even though he sees it and knows it’s happening.
“The only time he addressed it was when he took his entire family, kids and grandkids, and me on vacation (he pays for their family vacation every year, and I pay for my family vacation every year). On that vacation, his daughter ignored me the entire week.
“He noticed and knew she ignored me; he told me ‘that’s just how she is.’ The following year, I would not go with them because it’s too uncomfortable for me to be ignored all week, actually, all the time by her.
“After my refusing to go along and forcing the issue, he did tell her to knock it off. She now says hello and goodbye to me…unbelievable.
“We love to travel and do things. I am trying to ignore the negative and enjoy life. Not feeling warmth and acceptance from his side is a huge turn off that I am forced to intermittently work through when stuff happens.
“For now, I am continuing in the relationship, but it gets difficult at times. Your newsletters inform me that there are fewer older single men, and it’s so hard to start over again. I am thinking that sometimes even though it’s not perfect, it can still be good.”
Tom responded to Stacey last August:
“Roger would have to put the living-in-his-house provision in his will to keep you there for x period of time. My estate planner says it takes a minimum of six months to get a property to market and sell. You should ask for and insist on it.
“Are you financially comfortable? Do you have the financial ability to leave? Do not stay in this relationship only because there is a lack of senior men.”
A woman friend also gave Stacey the same advice: get something legal in writing.
This week, Tom heard from Stacey with an update
Stacey wrote, “Over this past 11 months, I have pressed for what you and my friend suggested, with no response or positive action towards securing my staying in Roger’s home for six months if something happens to him, i.e. death or a nursing home.
“I finally made a request that he at least have something prepared stating that I will be able to get my belongings out of his home and won’t be locked out by his kids if something happens to him. I have five industrial sewing machines and equipment. Fabric, notions, in a makeshift workshop in his basement. I am a lifelong seamstress and it’s my main hobby since I retired.
“My 34-year profession was a paralegal and I’ve seen that happen more than once. Still no action. Finally, I pressed, it got heated, he told me to get the f… out, so I did.
Where are those five sewing machines?
“Six weeks ago, I moved back into my home, the day after Roger said that to me, with my daughter, her husband and my two grandsons.
“Financially I am ok. We are making our living accommodations work for now, and my son-in-law moved the rest of my belongings, including my sewing machines, this past weekend.
“In hindsight, what a waste of my time, and all love was lost for him when he began disrespecting me. So, it was not a difficult decision in the end. It was not a real relationship.”
Tom’s response to Stacey in July, 2019:
Good to hear you got out with your five sewing machines and other equipment. When respect is lost in a relationship, it’s just no good.
I’m surprised at how he treated you. A waste of time? Not really, consider it a life experience that didn’t work.
Moving-in together lessons stemming from today’s story for Champs
1. If you own property, keep it, in case you need to go back to it
2. Before moving in with someone, have a written guarantee in a will or estate plan that you will be able to stay there for at least six months–or however long you’d need–to make other arrangements. This is particularly true when the man is older than the woman, as there is a more likely a chance something will happen medically to him first
3. Do not move in with someone, if you sense there will problems created by his or her adult children, because they feel threatened or whatever. Don’t wait until after you have moved in to figure out how adult children are going to act toward you. Relationships are difficult enough, without that added baggage
4. Don’t stay in a relationship because there is a lack of men in the dating world
5. Don’t stay in a relationship where you aren’t respected
6. Always have an escape plan—in case things don’t work out
Billy Joel song, “Movin’ Out”: