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Senior Passion Fading? Has this become a senior platonic relationship?

By Tom P Blake – Finding Love after 50

A 65-year-old widower from California is concerned that his romance of two years is fading away. He asked that I not use his real name; we’ll call him Bob.

Bob said, “About five months after my wife’s passing, I asked Carole, a long-time family friend and great friend of my wife’s out to lunch. That evolved into a relationship,” Bob said.

He mentioned that Carole is a great companion who hasn’t been intimidated by pictures (three small ones around the house) and stories of his wife, and that she has told her family members that she adores him and is happy because he treats her well.

Carole even told him that’s he’s the type of person she’d been seeking for 20 years. And she’s told him that she talks spiritually to his deceased wife to tell her she’s taking good care of Bob.

Bob says Carole is self-sufficient, that she’s dated only one man briefly since her divorce in 1983. “She’s enjoyed having a man and companion in her life again. We’ve had a lot of fun: Hawaii, San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Tahoe and Vegas several times and many nice weekends together.”

But Bob is concerned: “Something has changed over the past several months. Our relationship seems to have lost the spark. I began noticing last fall I wasn’t so important in her life anymore.

“She isn’t seeing anyone else, but, instead of being here with me on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s more often only one night. We used to have dinner in the middle of the week, but seldom do that anymore.”

Bob mentioned his concern to her in November: “She said she was shocked; she thought everything was fine between us.” Yet, he doesn’t understand why she’s spending less time with him. Since New Year’s, their time together has been what he calls “piecemeal.”

Bob added, “She stayed over last Saturday night and by the time we went to bed, a little hugging and squeezing was all that was going on, we were tired. I’ve been known to be amorous in the morning, but she was sleeping so soundly, I figured she needed the rest and just got up and made coffee.

“I mentioned to her later that we needed to get some intimacy back in our life and she agreed that it had been quite some time. That’s part of my dilemma, I want/need/desire her to desire me too, for her to be aggressive once in a while. Don’t I bring that out in her or doesn’t she have it? And she’s planning trips together in the fall, etc.

“Our relationship is drifting toward a platonic level. Is this now a senior platonic relationship? She doesn’t have any passion toward our romance and I have become physically turned off. We’re just losing the spark.”

Bob added, “I care for this woman, but I want someone special in my life, not someone on the periphery. I’m looking for more than what our relationship is becoming.”

This theme of fading love and passion isn’t new.

Bob’s story brings to mind the song “Smoke Rings in the Dark” by country singer Gary Allen, in which Allen sings, “The flame that burned has somehow turned to smoke rings in the dark.” Allen decides he must be moving on because “love’s already gone.”

And, the story brings The Righteous Brothers song, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” to mind.

Why has Bob’s relationship turned to smoke rings in the dark? It could be for any number of reasons. He needs to evaluate if he’s causing her to lose interest.

I asked Bob if she always visited him and he didn’t go to her place. He said he visits her, but she seems happier and more comfortable at his house. “I cook for her, take her to dinner, have dinner delivered. She has cooked for me only once.”

Bob is perplexed, “We’re good together 99% of the time, but she is satisfied seeing me less than I’ve ever experienced in past relationships. Passion seems to be on the low end of scale. I don’t want to be sliding into that mindset. I’m beginning to think I miss the passion I had with my wife.

If Bob tries, but finds the flame is gone, she may be bored and likely prefers being on her own. If that’s the case, it might be time for him to move on. But he shouldn’t until he’s taken his best shot.

One thought. Carole has dated only one man since 1983. That to me is a sign that she just doesn’t need or want a man in her life, even though having Bob around has been nice. She likely just is not into the intimacy end of things. Bob sees the passion slip sliding away. A bit of fall off between couples as they age might be normal, but not to the point where there is no intimacy, and intimacy just can’t be faked, although people have been known to try.

Love after 50 and Love after 60 needs as much attention and excitement—maybe more—as love in the earlier years. The mutual sparks still need to fly. Senior love and passion go hand and hand.

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