By Tom Blake
This week, a woman named Merijoe emailed, “Between all of the articles you’ve written, plus the Finding Love After 50 Facebook group, and the meet and greets at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, did anyone actually get together with someone or become a couple?”
Her question took me aback. My gosh, I thought, I’ve been writing about finding love after 50 for 22 years and she wonders if my material has helped anyone find a mate.
In those 22 years, I’ve written upward of 3,500 newspaper articles and enewsletters, and published three printed books and multiple ebooks on the finding love subject. I even married one couple. Chances are, I’ve likely helped a few couples find each other.
Take the meet and greets at Tutor and Spunky’s. In the two years since those were implemented, I am aware of 32 people (16 couples) who met there. Now whether all of them are still together, I can’t say, but it is a nice to know that 32 people found happiness by meeting there. The couples range in age from the mid-50s to 93.
At the Heritage Park concert last Sunday, I ran into Robert, a longtime friend of mine. He said, “I’m here today with my girlfriend, the one I met at your meet and greet two years ago.”
My latest book, How 50 Couples Found Love After 50, features 58 couples who met after age 50. Not all of them met as a result of reading my articles, but I can assure you that many of them did, which is how I got their stories for the book in the first place.
Also, I would like to think that my two appearances on the “Today Show” and my interview with Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” helped bring a few couples together.
I have been a speaker at the American Association of Retired Persons national conventions five times, talking about finding love after 50. Usually, 500 to 600 singles attended those presentations. I know at least one couple met at one of my speeches when I made the people introduce themselves to those sitting around them. That couple came back the next year and told me they met because I nudged them to shake hands the year before.
On the Finding Love After 50 Facebook page, which I started 10 weeks ago, about 350 people have joined. Have any of them met a mate there yet? I don’t think so. But the 350 people made new friends they otherwise would not have met. And when older singles start making new friends, who knows to where that might lead?
Having friends of the same sex often becomes as important to older singles as having friends of the opposite sex. For single women, having a woman friend with whom to attend social events can make venturing out less intimidating.
I am not a date-matching service; one-to-one introductions and fix-ups haven’t worked well for me. I’ll leave that to the big companies like Match, eHarmony, Our Time and the multitude of others.
My mission as a writer is trying to help older singles overcome their loneliness by providing ideas they can use to get out and make new friends. As we age, people find getting out harder and harder to do.
In 22 years, my No. 1 piece of advice for singles 50 and older hasn’t changed. To improve one’s chances of meeting a mate later in life, both men and women have to get off the couch and out of the house and pursue activities they enjoy; they need to meet new people. Waiting around for a potential mate to appear doesn’t work. It takes time, effort, energy and a positive attitude to make something happen.
When that happens, I’ll be able to report to Merijoe that another couple has gotten together as a result of our encouragement.
How many over the years? Enough to make what I do rewarding and ongoing.
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his website at www.findingloveafter60.com (Time marches on.) To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.