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Will your lover stand by you in difficult times?

By Tom P Blake – Finding Love after 50

Traumatic events that happen to us often result in an evaluation of the depth and importance of our relationships.

Pat, a 55-year-old single woman living in San Diego, dated Oscar for nine months. She wanted a committed relationship, but at age 66, he had never married and was a confirmed bachelor. During the same time period, Pat had also dated Jim on a “friends only” basis.

And then a devastating event changed her dating arrangement. Pat was waiting in her carport for the Cloud 9 shuttle to take her to the airport at 4:45 a.m., for a 7 a.m. flight to Orlando. She was leaving on a 10-day, three-state, three-conference business trip for her company. She went back upstairs to turn off the lights and lock up the house.

“My backpack (with my entire life in it) and laptop were stolen from my carport. When the shuttle arrived and I realized the theft had occurred, I could not continue on my journey. I had no driver’s license, money, credit card, or cell phone/pager/laptop. But, I knew I had to make the trip. My company had spent thousands of dollars in exhibit space, nonrefundable tickets, hotel reservations, yada yada yada. I had to go on this trip,” e-mailed Pat.

She called Jim, her “friends only” male pal who lived close by. “He dashed over, gave me $200 in cash, and offered to watch my house (they had stolen my extra house keys as well).”

Pat filed a police report and cancelled her credit cards. She had her passport so she knew she could get through airport security, and she had a personal credit card, which she usually didn’t carry, which hadn’t been stolen.

When her company opened at 8 a.m., Pat had the Information Systems Department issue a new laptop, cell phone and pager. The company travel department re-booked her on an overnight flight to Orlando. She went to the DMV for a temporary driver’s license so she could rent cars.

“My friends and co-workers were offering up prayers and positive vibes for me...I truly felt that! It’s what gave me the ‘HUD spa’ to keep on keepin’ on. Believe it or not, I was on a plane by 2 p.m. I got to my first conference on time and everything else just rolled out fine…no hitches, no delays,” said Pat.

She called Oscar from Orlando on the first night to tell him what happened. “I asked him to keep me in his thoughts and hoped he would call me in a few days to see how I was doing. He never did.”

On the third day, Jim called to tell her he had changed the locks so she wouldn’t have to worry about future break-ins. “I didn’t ask him to do this, but I had been having nightmares for the first three days of the trip, which involved people breaking into my house and murdering me! After Jim’s call, the nightmares went away.”

Pat deserves a huge “well done” just for having the composure and tenacity to overcome adversity and board that airplane seven hours later.

And, her story has a happy ending. “I learned a huge lesson about who really cared for me from that experience. I said good-bye to Oscar soon after I returned from my trip, and Jim and I now live together.”

Pat’s experience also underscores the importance of building a relationship on friendship. It’s who will be there for us during the tough times that counts. And true friends always are.

Reader Comments and Tom’s Responses

Eileen, San Clemente: “Many women are conditioned to think they need a man and fail to develop themselves as whole people. They wait for some guy to ‘save’ them. All of us need to develop fulfilling lives that are not dependent upon another person for happiness.” Response: Important advice, but difficult for some to implement.

Joe, ex. Orange County, now Los Angeles: “Women always feel there are more women than men at singles shindigs, anytime there are less than 10 men per woman…Just like in National Geographic, dozens of Walrus bulls pursue one female, and sadly only one gets to mate, the others slink back into the sea with sad and forlorn faces.” Response: Dating for men in LA must be tougher than in Orange County.

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