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Why buy the cow?

Vilamoura Portugal - cow advertising sports store

Last week, a new Champ joined the On Life and Love After 50 newsletter; this week she emailed me. Her name is Nikol. Nikol wrote, “I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 10 years. We are both 69 and met at a grief-support group at Saddleback Church. “We live less than a mile from each other and spend a lot of time together. In the first three years of our relationship he wanted me to marry him. I wasn't ready because it was too soon after my husband passed way. “After three years, when I felt ready for a commitment, I asked him how he saw our future together. He responded that he didn’t intend to get married, or involved in any financial situation with any woman. “His answer really hurt me and still hurts today. He still helps around the house (not financially) any time I need help. We travel together and once a year go on a cruise together and have a good time. “But living alone makes me feel lonely and depressed. It seems not right after 10 years. The hurt is always there and I feel unwanted although I do my best to be a caring woman. “I cook, we eat and spend time together every day--mostly in my house. I spend all my time in the later afternoons and evenings with my boyfriend and no time for friends. “When he decides to go somewhere without me I feel very lonely alone at home, even though I am a professional artist and try to keep busy painting. “Communication with him is not possible He is not open to talk about this issue. I have not met his daughters in 10 years. He is not a giving person. “I need your advice--should I spend my life living with hurt and anger or do I need to make a change?” Tom’s comments: I needed more information so I asked Nikol several questions. She shed light on her situation. Her primary reason for staying in the relationship: “I have no idea how to meet new people if we end our relationship and mostly this is what keeps me with him.” Plus, she said, “Definitely being alone will kill me no matter even though I am active and have interests.” After a few more comments from her, I sensed that she had written to me 6-7 years ago with the same question (she says no she didn’t, but she read my articles in her local paper years ago). All I know is I had heard her story before. Regardless, in those years, nothing has changed in her life. She added, “I have never been in a situation like this in my life. I had very much confidence and a great attitude. Guess I just missed the time and now it’s too late to fix my life.” My updated response to Nikol: “There is an old saying, ‘Why buy the cow when the milk is free?’ That comes to mind in your situation. “I cannot make what-to-do decisions for you. If you break up with him, you will still be living alone without anybody to share meals and travel with. That could be even worse than what you have now. Are you prepared for that? “Your chances of meeting a new man are limited unless you get out and make new friends. To help yourself, you need to make friends, including women friends. Why are you not attending the Saddleback Church? They have a singles group and lots of wonderful activities. “What happens if he leaves you? Then, you will be in an even more difficult situation. “Have you ever considered moving to a senior community where there are lots of activities? That might be an option for you to change your life. And since you said you own your home, you could do that financially and then not have to rely on him helping you around the house. “If you do nothing, your situation will not change—you will be stuck forever, just as you are now. “You said it is too late to fix your life. It is, if you keep thinking the same as you have for 6-7 years. But, if you make changes, it’s not too late. I am recommending you talk to one of our Champs, Christine Baumgartner, who is a relationship counselor and I am providing you with her email address and contact info below: The Perfect Catch | 714-290-6166 | | “We have many women Champs who receive this newsletter who are in much more difficult living situations than you. They would give anything to own a home. One woman might even have to live in her car. Others would enjoy being with a man. You have both. Again, there are many, many women who have it much worse than you.” So, Champs, what advice do you have for Nikol? Can seniors live alone and have a relationship?

Here is what five On Life and Love After 50 Newsletter readers (Champs) said (I edited the responses for brevity): Stella, “If living alone makes Nikol lonely and depressed, she’s going to have those feelings whether she is with him or not. If she feels she needs more companionship, she must get out and make new friends.” Marta, “See the therapist and GET OUT and make new friends!” Joanie, “If Nikol had married this man 10 years ago, she would still feel the same today - angry and disappointed. Her needs make her vulnerable to this man. In her mind, he is better than nothing. Therapy might be helpful.” Joanne, “This whining thing drives me crazy! She is her own worst enemy. As she is now, I can't imagine anyone asking her out.” Gail, “Red lights are flashing! I don't think her guy is honest, he is taking advantage of her low self-esteem; he probably sees other women. She needs counseling--not to find a man but to find herself. Her happiness is her responsibility, not some man's. Then, she can find a partner.”

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