Does money matter in senior relationships? When the man has no money, is that a deal breaker?
By Tom P Blake Finding Love After 50
An anonymous woman wrote about her new love, "I am deeply in love (which is truly wonderful), and yet---
"We dated 30 years ago for a year and stopped when he became too serious. We married other people. I divorced after 25 years and decided to find him. I did not expect a hook-up; I genuinely cared about him, and just wanted to reconnect.
"His wife had died five years earlier, and he was just coming back into the world. He had not dated anyone.
"We talked for over two hours the first night, continued with emails and then I decided I wanted to see him. He wanted to see me.
"All of our old chemistry resurfaced, and we developed our yearning for one another over the six weeks it took for me to get to Maine, where he lives. I live in Arizona.
"Our time together was the most sensuous, sexual, loving, wonderful time I have ever had. He felt the same. That was a year ago. We have made seven trips back and forth since then, lasting from 5-12 days each. I feel like he is the love of my life, and I am grateful to be feeling this way, since I will be 60 soon. He is 55.
"THE PROBLEM? I am not sure what is right on the financial front. He has no money. He worked full-time when married, owned his home and they raised two kids.
"After his wife died, he sold the house, lived off that money throughout his grieving. Now he works only enough to live week-to-week (saving meager amounts), and enjoys his freedom to hunt, fish and hike. He says he wants to enjoy his life and not be so stressed.
"He recently moved out of his apt and in with his mother, who needed to have someone there with her, especially in the winter. She (73) is not an invalid and has a busy life. He lives in the basement when he is there. He is a college graduate, but now tends bar on weekends.
"I do not have a lot of money, but I do support myself as an adjunct faculty and have about $150,000 invested. I don't own my home.
"My question is: I am confused about the importance of having the money be more equitable. Am I feeling so much in love that I am not seeing a crazy future in front of me?
"He would not move, he loves where he is. I don't think I could move completely because I have two daughters here. I just am not sure what to do. I do not need to do anything right now, but I don't know how long I can do this back and forth. I love him, and know he loves me. Does love conquer all?
"I don't know if I could work there. Maine is very beautiful-I just do not know if I could live there all the time. I feel very at home there, however. Whenever we are together, it is like we are on vacation, wherever we are.
"I treasure a very deep connection with him and want to proceed in a way that is good for both of us. We have not really talked details about living together. I do know his mother is planning on moving to CT to live with a daughter eventually, but wants to stay in her home a bit longer. I would not live there with her.
"I truly value what we have in our relationship. Maybe money is the question--but maybe it isn't. I want love to see us through, but will it? I know there are no certainties in life, but want to know I'm going in a good direction."
What would you advise this Arizona lady?
Part 2 – Responses from readers to the above column
Jan, "Money would not be the biggest issue, but rather their disparity of life style. He marches to a different drummer; she would come to resent that, especially if she continued to work full time while he didn't. Or worse yet, she didn't work and their combined life styles used up her investments. If he is wildly in love with her, why doesn't he move to Arizona?"
John, "How do EACH of you feel about the inequity money-wise? Can you limit your activities to things that EACH of you can afford? I have strong doubts about this."
Anabela, "It has nothing to do with money. The relationship is based on sex, and sex without commitment (someone has to relocate) will vanish like the fog in the morning."
Roger, "He's broke, lives with his mother, and likes his freedom to hunt, fish. Oh, come on. She has saved a pretty good nest egg. If she keeps on with this 'lothario,' she will soon be out of money."
Lynne, "Sounds like trouble. Lots of people have worked while married, raised two children, etc. and still manage to not have to live with their mothers. He sounds like a potential sponge."
Betty, "If you relocate to Maine, you may lose respect for him. Your best bet is to continue as is. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and you don't have to argue about finances vs. love. You would miss the weather and your family in Arizona. Spend more time with him in Maine (like a month or so) and get a better feel of the matter."
Barb, "Tell her, 'No, love does not conquer all.' Think hard before you leap. Your savings will not go far, it is much easier to make those kinds of tough decisions beforehand."
Tom's opinion. I agree with Betty. Do not move, but visit Maine for a month, perhaps in the heart of winter. Trust me--I've been in a similar situation--your money will run out, and when that happens, the relationship will fizzle.