By Tom Blake
For single senior women aged 60 and up, finding love again is difficult.
One of the biggest reasons is the number of available single senior men diminishes as the women grow older. For women in their 70s, the ratio of single women to available single men is often 4-to-1, or even higher.
A single 78-year-old woman, who requested I not use her name, contacted me recently. I’ll call her Betsy. She asked for my opinion.
Betsy emailed, “I have given up on dating, but I do have friends I go out with every Thursday. One of them is an 80-year-old man who lost his wife three years ago after 55 years of marriage.
“He has often shown an interest in me. For example, last night, at our usual sports bar gathering for dinner and drinks, I leaned in to say something to him and he said, ‘If you keep leaning in like that, I will have to kiss you; I have wanted to do that for a long time.’
“I was taken aback and said, ‘OMG, really? You are embarrassing me!’
“I blushed. My lady friends who were in attendance said maybe it was the ‘drinks’ he had while we were talking? I don’t know, but we all agreed he is a very nice guy. We all watched him take care of his wife in a wheelchair before she died. He was devoted to her and is a genuinely nice person to everyone.
“I won’t consider a relationship with him other than friendship, because we live in the same retirement community.
“If our relationship didn’t work out, it would be awkward seeing each other, and I fear we could possibly ruin a wonderful friendship. What’s your opinion? Should I go out with him?”
I responded to Betsy: “At your age, good men are hard to find, especially a man who is interested in you. I see some positives about dating him.
“The age difference is only two years. You two live near each other. There would be limited or no driving to meet for a date. No public street driving at night to go home.
“Since he is a nice man who was married 55 years, he’d likely be a loyal and dedicated mate. He cares about you and is attracted to you. That’s the biggest positive. That’s usually more than half the battle. You likely would be good for each other.
“Have you discussed your concerns with him? Share them and see how he feels about it. If you can reach an agreement on what would happen if it doesn’t work out, (it would be a kind of a post-nuptial type of relationship agreement), and if you are both comfortable with it, take a chance. At your respective ages, sharing life together could be magical.”
Betsy’s response to me: “If he broaches the subject with me, I will discuss it with him.”
My reply: “Are you attracted to him? Enough so that you are willing to have that ‘What-happens-if-it-doesn’t-work-out?’ conversation.
“What’s more important? Having someone in your life who warms your heart and is there for you and who loves to hug, kiss, and hold you?
“Or risking losing his friendship because it might not work out? And even if it didn’t work out, you still might be friends.
“The main question: Are you attracted to him?
“If so, don’t wait for him to initiate the conversation. Tell him you’d like to talk privately and take that initiative. Agree on remaining friends if dating each other doesn’t work out. “Take a chance, Betsy.”