By Tom Blake
Last week, I received an email with this subject line: “Both widowed, he is living an amazing life.” The email had been sent from a link on my website. I did not recognize the sender’s name or email address.
The message read: “Dating a high school friend. We really connect. We are both widowed. I have kids … they are fairly independent. He is an amazing father of three daughters ages 45 to 51 and has seven grandchildren and a 96-year-old mom living near him.
“We love each other … I think. But we are in a long-distance relationship. He is in California; I am in Illinois. He texts me his day-to-day happenings, and we talk on the phone every 10 days. It’s been four and a half months since we’ve been together.
“He had a knee replacement and is recovering well. He seems all on board, and his daughters seem receptive of me. But I am afar. I feel like a vacay gal.
“Where do I fit? Am I wasting the time I have left? What do you think?”
I felt it was not my place to advise her about wasting her time or not. I’m a columnist, not a relationship counselor. Besides, she didn’t provide enough information to give her an intelligent answer.
I get questions like this often from single seniors. In responding to a situation like this, it’s best for me to ask questions that might nudge her to answer her own question.
I emailed her back. For openers, I asked, “What is a vacay gal?” Followed by:
“How often have you been together in person?”
“Did you re-meet at a reunion?”
“What do you want? To move to California or him to Illinois?”
She responded: “A vacay gal is when you are in a long-distance relationship, but you only take vacations together. I knew him in high school. We are both 72 and widowed. We reunited at our last reunion in 2018.
“A year ago, we started emailing, texting and talking. He visited me in Illinois for a week last October. I visited him in California at the end of December. We really hit it off. We would have visited again, but he had knee replacement surgery March 8. He is doing well and will visit me May 15 for three weeks. Plus, we have a trip planned to Hawaii in September.”
And then she added: “I doubt he would move, because his three daughters, seven grandkids and mother live in the same California town.
“I want a partner in life and a loving relationship.”
I responded to her: “Wasting your time? Heck, I think you’ve got a good thing going. What do you expect him to do?”
“You didn’t answer the key question: “Would you be willing to move to California, and would he want that?”
We’ll see what she says. Her emails remind me of a 1972 song by Joni Mitchell called “Big Yellow Taxi.” More specifically, this stanza:
Late last night, I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi took away my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?
The final sentence “Don’t it always seem to go. That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” is repeated five times in the song.
Maybe, she’ll realize she’s got a good thing before the big yellow taxi takes him away.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.