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By Tom Blake
A 75-year-old widower of two years emailed me this week seeking dating advice. I’d heard from him twice before.
In January, he asked me about a widow of nine years he’d been introduced to by friends at church. She was 65, and he wondered if the 10-year age difference mattered. I told him no, unless she had a fear of suffering another loss.
He also said she told him she had no interest in being romantically involved. I told him to be patient. They had six dates in six weeks. He said she told him she didn’t have the energy to go out more than once per week.
When he sent her flowers on Valentine’s Day, she telephoned him in tears, and broke off the relationship by saying, “This is what I was afraid of. I can’t do this anymore. We can still be friends. I’ll see you around at church. Goodbye.”
My impression was that he was trying too hard, probably out of loneliness and desperately wanting a mate.
This week, he emailed again: “I’m embarrassed, I went back on dating site OurTime. I found a lovely Christian lady several states from me, 845 miles away (really didn’t want that). She is a three-year widow, about my age. First, we messaged on the OurTime website as OurTime tells you to do. Then, we graduated to texting via phone. Now we talk on the phone most every evening.
“She has confessed she was scammed last year for over $190,000,” he continued. “She had to file for Chapter 7 and get an equity loan on her home. I was taken back. Red flags went up in my mind. I don’t feel she is trying to scam me. She hasn’t asked for money. She said most things have been settled with her lawyer, and she will be fine, except she will have to pay back, over the next 10 years, an $11,000 equity loan. The thing that nags at me: why is she still on a dating website after being scammed?
“I have invited her to visit me this June so we can get to see each other. I will supply the roundtrip ticket money so she can make the trip,” he said. “We have been communicating (for) three weeks, and neither one of us had mentioned feelings for each other, other than wanting to get to know each other more. I don’t have feelings for her—I like her, but I’m not about to get crazy about her, until I spend time with her. Do you think I am making a mistake here? Do you see any red flags I’m missing because my heart is involved?”
I responded: “Don’t be embarrassed about online dating. Just be careful. You asked for my opinion. I am going to be blunt; I don’t want you to get scammed. Loneliness is causing you to not think clearly. I see red flags. Has she sent you a photo? Have you talked on Skype?
After only three weeks, you are falling in love or are at least infatuated with an image, not a real person. Until people meet face-to-face, they can’t have realistic feelings for each other, only imaginary feelings.
“June is a long way off. If you want to see her, why don’t you visit her soon? Do not send this person money for a round-trip ticket. I think you are slowly being reeled into a scam. You even admitted that you suspect that.
“Please read the reviews about OurTime on consumeraffairs.com. You will quickly notice that similar scams have happened to many, many people posting there. And, finally, do you want a long-distance relationship with a woman so far away? Take a deep breath. Find a nice woman near you. Don’t be so eager.”
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 findingloveafter50.com; vicsta.com and travelafter55.com. To receive Tom’s weekly online newsletter, sign up at findingloveafter50.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.