By Tom Blake
Earlier this month, I received an email from a recent widow. She gave me permission to share its contents in this column. I will call her Maggie Mae (not her actual name).
Maggie Mae wrote, “I follow your articles in the San Clemente Times. I enjoy hearing the male perspective on dating. I haven’t noticed women writing to you saying something like this, so I will say it: ‘I am 60, recently widowed after 40 years of marriage (COVID-19 took my college sweetheart) and wanting to date.’
“I tried the dating apps and failed. I am not willing to pay $5,000 for a professional matchmaker. I contacted a matchmaker; she was very nice initially. Then she found out my husband and I had opposite religious faiths, which was never an issue for us in 40 years. We celebrated both religions. She turned cold. It was shocking.
“Also, friends and family don’t know anyone for me to date.
“I am physically active. I volunteer and play sports, but I just don’t see a chance of dating again. Where do I start? Are you sure you aren’t a matchmaker?”
Tom’s response to Maggie Mae: “Thank you for mustering the courage to contact me. By writing, you have already started to enter the senior dating arena. More importantly, please don’t give up on the chance of dating again. You are young, and just beginning your quest.
“You didn’t fail with online dating; it just didn’t work out for you. While online dating has been successful for some seniors, many feel as you feel; it’s not their cup of tea.
“And, no, I’m not a matchmaker, but lately, a few south Orange County single guys around your age have contacted me. Perhaps you can exchange emails with them.
“You said friends and family don’t help you. But consider this: perhaps a neighbor down the street or across town appeals to you, but he isn’t available. However, life can change in an instant. That guy might become single overnight. He may feel like you, asking himself, ‘Where do I start?’ Keep reminding your friends and family that you’d like to meet a nice guy. Don’t give up asking them. It only takes one.
“Another indication that you have already started is by your volunteering and playing sports, places where you meet new people. The important thing: continue to get off the couch and out of the house and pursue activities you enjoy. Maybe even add a few more activities.
“Finding a new relationship doesn’t just happen. However, you can help make it happen by interacting socially with people.
“If you see a man who appeals to you, and, who appears to be available (no wedding ring or maybe he winks at you), strike up a conversation or ask him a question, whether in the produce or wine section of a store, at church, or wherever you go when you are out and about. Be assertive, but not aggressive, and always be friendly and smile. Exude positive energy.
“I recommend you sign up for my free weekly newsletter. Simply email me, and I’ll add you, or you can sign up on the homepage of my website listed below. I attempt to answer all emails in a timely manner.
“Having lost Greta, my partner of 25 years, last month, I understand your loneliness and pain. Perhaps, via my column in this newspaper, I can help you meet some new single men. But, remember, I’m not a matchmaker!”
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.