I receive far too many emails that state something like this, “I just turned 71. I’ve been single for 10 years. I’ve given up on meeting a mate.”
Emails similar to the one above come from widows, widowers, divorced people, and sometimes from people who’ve never married. The common thread is loneliness; they would like to have someone in their lives, but finding someone seems impossible. So, they don’t try.
Yes, the dating world for people age 60-plus can appear bleak. But, in the 23 years I’ve written about senior dating, I’ve also received hundreds of emails from singles telling me they’ve met someone and to remind older singles to “never give up.” And these emails are not from spring chickens, but from people age 70-plus.
On February 12, 2017, my partner Greta and I attended the wedding of Chris and Tina. They met in 2004 on a cruise. Chris was a dance host and Tina a passenger. He lived in California; she lived in England. It would have been easy for them to give up seeing each other because the distance between them was 5,419 miles.
But they hung in there and saw each other as often as they could. Chris said, “When you’ve met the right person, you have to figure out a way to make it work. Tina and I never gave up hope and never gave up trying. Now we are man and wife.” By the way, Chris is 83 and Tina is 76.
In early March, 2017, I received an email that said two of my high school classmates, Phil and Sue, both 77, had gotten married on February 24. I was dumbfounded and frankly did not believe the news. They had not seen each other in 50 years, except for a half hour at their 50th high school reunion. They had never dated. She lived in Michigan, he in California. I wondered, how was it possible that they got married?
Later, I received the rest of the story: Both were widowed. Both had been caregivers for the last few years.
On February 1, Sue took the initiative to call Phil to tell him the person she had been caregiving passed away. Sue was assertive and called him again the next day.
They spoke on the phone every day until February 12. They were openly honest with each other. Finally, Sue said to Phil, “If you want to marry me, why don’t you ask me?”
Phil said, “I just did.”
Sue flew to California on February 24. They were married an hour later.
Both couples simply refused to allow health issues, mileage distances, public opinion, family members and other obstacles get in their way in their quest to share life with a mate in the waning years of their lives.
They stopped at Greta’s and my home on March 11. We were amazed at how thrilled they are to be together.
When I hear from naysayers who say it’s too hard to meet someone later in life, I say that is simply a hurdle to overcome.
Older singles should attend their class reunions. Plus, older singles—men and women alike--should be assertive (not aggressive—there is a difference)—as Sue was—in trying to meet someone.
Love can happen, as these two stories illustrate, with a little effort on both parties to the relationship. Being with someone later in life is a heck of a lot better than being alone.
The above article appeared in six 50plus Life editions in PA. April 2, 2017
To see the different issues, click on the underlined link below. Then in the "Our Publications" (in red ink) section, you will the cities listed just under the blue Tweet logo.
Click on the link to see each individual paper, and then click on each individual paper and then go to these respective pages
Chester scroll to page 8
Cumberland scroll to page 2
Dauphin page 8
Lancaster page 16
Lebanon page 5
York page 3