By Tom Blake
Most singles who are over 50 that I encounter agree on one thing: they would like to be in a committed relationship. But what they don’t agree on is the kind of a committed relationship.
Some want marriage. Take Ben, 77, a widower, for example. He and his fiancée are getting married in September. He said he can’t wait.
“She is the last woman I will ever love,” Ben said.
This February, my partner Greta and I attended the Dana Point wedding of Chris, 83, and Tina, 77, after the couple had endured a 13-year, long-distance relationship.
Marriage still happens with older singles, but it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
Some older singles are in a long-distance relationship. She lived in England, Chris in San Clemente.
Another example – Trent and Rachelle. When they met, he lived in Utah, she in southern California. They married and now live in San Diego. Often, long-distance relationships morph into a different type of relationship.
If long-distance relationships don’t grow, they will often fizzle out.
Then there are committed couples who live together, but don’t plan to remarry. My partner Greta and I fall under that umbrella. We’ve been together as a couple for 19 years and have lived together for the last 16 of those years. We have no plans to marry.
Now, there is a relatively new category of senior committed couples, the LAT relationship. LAT is an acronym for “Living Apart Together.”
The University of Missouri Health describes this relationship as couples who have an intimate relationship but live at separate addresses.” Apparently, this type of relationship is growing in Europe.
Why do LAT couples choose to live apart? In a Next Avenue article titled, “Older Adults Embrace ‘Living Apart Together,’” author Sheena Rice said, “Researchers found that (LAT) couples were motivated by desires to stay independent, maintain their own homes, sustain existing family boundaries and remain financially independent.”
One would expect that while people in LAT relationships are free to do as they please, the same expectations about commitment and fidelity as in other committed relationships would be honored.
Not everyone in a LAT relationship is happy about it. One Orange County widow cooks dinner every night for her male friend and then he returns to his own home to sleep. She said she is lonely and would like to get remarried. But he doesn’t want that. So, she will have to decide what is most important to her and make a tough decision.
No wonder senior dating is so difficult. Deciding what type of relationship to have is the final piece of the puzzle.
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. To receive Tom’s weekly online newsletter, sign up at www.findingloveafter50.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.