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Advice for widows: Don’t give up the pension to remarry

Tom Blake. File photo
Tom Blake. File photo

By Tom Blake

A majority of widows and widowers loved being married. Many want to recapture a similar happiness and security by remarrying, but by doing so some risk losing a deceased spouse’s pension and health insurance. I suggest they not remarry if it means losing those benefits.

Carolyn, a widow of three years, understands the importance of protecting her deceased husband’s pension, and she plans to marry. She’s just got to be a bit patient.

Carolyn said, “I was widowed in March 2010. Although we loved each other very much, our marriage wasn’t as good as it could have been. After he died, I spent the first year adjusting and not seeking any new relationship.

“The death was quite a relief since the final struggle had been so enormous. I grieved like an hour glass, with a little bit of sand going through the neck of the bottle each day. When it was over, I was able to move on. Most of my crying was done beforehand.”

Carolyn continued, “After the first year, I started thinking about a new relationship. My husband was supportive of me seeking a new relationship and told our boys, ‘Your Mother will someday be with someone else. I want her to find a new man. Please be supportive of her when she finds someone.’”

Carolyn is turning 55 in a few days. In 2011, she tried internet dating, but it wasn’t her cup of tea. She just didn’t meet the right man for her. She said, “After feeling discouraged about the online prospects, I looked around. There was a man at my church that I had been aware of for some time. He and I started attending a weekly church meal event. After six months, we started dating.

“I am in love with him,” Carolyn said. “We have been dating for a year and a half. We have been on an international trip together, as well as two domestic trips. He was dumped twice by previous gals for completely odd reasons.

“There were some aspects to my marriage that were very challenging and difficult. My new friend and I both have had difficult relationships that allow us to connect in a way that is healthy for us both. We allow each other to bring up past difficulties with no judgment or comparison to our new relationship.”

Carolyn added, “I receive a government pension that does not allow me to remarry before age 57. I only have two more years to go. We are maintaining separate households, I still have one child at home and he has a brother living with him. We have determined that we will either sell my house or rent it out in a couple of years. We will move into his house (he has the better home).

“I am delighted to have found my match,” Carolyn said. “I would advise people to try the different avenues available for dating, but look around you to see who may be in your immediate path. Waiting has allowed us to take our time with family getting used to the idea. We plan to marry in December 2015. The brother knows he will be moving out by then.”

Carolyn has a good plan: Wait to marry and keep the pension.

To comment, email Tom at

The next singles age 50+ Meet and Greet is Wednesday, November 20, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, located at 34085 E Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 116 in Dana Point. For more information call 949.248.9008 or visit

Tom Blake is a Dana Point business owner and San Clemente resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at

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