By Tom Blake
It’s funny how column topics come about. In my online newsletter last week, I shared with subscribers an email I had received from a woman named Jessie in Oregon.
Jessie wrote, “I’ve been reading your column for years. I’m one of the fortunate ones. I found love! Thanks for all you do. I was single for 15 years before Paul and I found each other. Your column was wonderful for helping me realize I wasn’t alone in being older and without a partner. You even quoted me in your newsletter once.
“If you ever do a Volume 2 to your How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 book, I’d be happy to be interviewed, and I’m sure my guy would too.”
That second paragraph in Jessie’s email elicited several responses from subscribers offering to have their stories of meeting a mate later in life included in a book I hadn’t even thought about writing.
Two of the responses came from men whose wives left them after several years of being married.
Glen, Huntington Beach, said, “A few years back, you featured my story about how my wife (high school sweetheart, married 23-plus years), out-of-the-blue abruptly left me in 2008 and filed for divorced, shortly after I retired from 30 years in law enforcement.
“My divorce was the divorce from hell,” Glen wrote. “My ex put me through 39 months of litigation over nothing (no minor children, no business, no off-shore bank accounts, etc.). Why she did what she did is and always will be a mystery, but I don’t dwell on it anymore.
“In 2009, I met Cheryl, a teacher in Orange County. We’ve been living together since 2010. I am beyond blessed to have found Cheryl and thank God every day for her love and devotion.”
Glen added that he’d be happy to have his and Cheryl’s story included in the book I hadn’t even thought about writing.
The second man, Trent, emailed, “You and I corresponded several years ago when I first found your online newsletter. I’m the fellow who—like you—had the unfortunate experience of having an ex clean out my house and take off with another man while I was out of town.
“I have to sort of thank my ex because I feel like I won the love lottery. I now live in San Diego, and Rachelle and I are happier than we deserve. We met while I was on a business trip to California, and after a year of long-distance dating, we were married.
“If you ever write a volume 2 of your How 50 Couples Found Love After 50 book, I would be happy to have you include our story. I’ve been so blessed; the least I can do is pay it back by lifting the spirt of someone else who may be doubting they can find love and companionship in their later life.”
To clarify Trent’s comment about my ex-wife cleaning out my house and taking off with another man, the former happened but I don’t think she left for another man; I never got an explanation.
But like Trent, I have to sort of thank my ex because what she did in leaving is the reason I started writing 23 years ago about love in the later years, and it also opened the door for Greta to enter my life 19 years ago. Like Cheryl, Greta was a teacher in Orange County.
Men and women can learn from Glen’s and Trent’s stories and to a lesser extent my story. When a spouse leaves without notice, it can be devastating, life-changing and mighty bleak when it first happens. I know of a man who falls into that category currently.
But, in time, both men and women pick themselves up and dust themselves off. Love can return, and often, the new love is much better than the previous situation. It’s like a blessing.
Now, about that book I hadn’t even thought about writing, a second volume of How 50 Couples Found Love After 50: If I decide to do it, Jessie, Glen and Trent have already offered their stories. That leaves 47 more couples. Certainly, in South Orange County, there are couples who found love after 50 who would enjoy sharing their stories. If so, I’d like to hear from them at email@example.com.
As I said earlier, it’s funny how column topics evolve. Some weeks, I just never know from where they are coming, and this was one of those weeks.
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his websites at www.findingloveafter50.com; www.vicsta.com and www.travelafter55.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.