Question: Dear Luise: Well, here I am writing to you about the possibility of a senior romance, but what the heck! I’m in my seventies and a widower. I was happily married for fifty-six years and never thought another woman would turn my head. But, you got it, one has. We both participate in the same volunteer group and I find her to be energetic, smart, interesting, funny and attractive. How’s that for openers? She’s been making it pretty clear that she likes me a lot, too. Here’s the rub, lots of our basic attitudes and preferences differ quite radically…from religious beliefs to the way we manage our money. We really aren’t on the same page about much of anything except that we enjoy each other’s company. She was recently widowed and I am well aware that some of the other men in our circle of friends are interested. What should I do? Joe
Answer: Dear Joe: How wonderful to be reassured, yet again, that romance isn’t over ‘til it’s over. I’m not entirely unfamiliar with this type of situation, since my husband, Val, and I live on a large senior complex. It’s been fun watching the love bug bite couples in our nursing home, in assisted living and out in our fully independent campus. Last year, four couples that met here, paired up.
I hope you don’t mind, but I have talked your situation over with Val, so he could put in his two cents here. We urge caution and want to encourage you at the same time. Since you find this lady so attractive, (I hate having to call her that but you didn’t give her a name), we would suggest that you spend some quality time with her and see where that takes you. Take her off-campus on dates, attend campus events together and meet each other’s families. When you feel ready, initiate some in-depth conversations with her about your mutual feelings and concerns. You say she’s pretty smart, so she’s probably as aware as you are of your rather glaring incompatibilities. If she feels as strongly as you do about your mutual attraction, why not create a monogamous friendship? That way you can be a couple and still live separately. She can follow her religious preferences and handle her finances independently, and so can you. Why can’t you be in love and not marry? Love, if it grows into that, is still love. If she is willing, give her a beautiful friendship ring and then spend as much time together as you can! Blessings, Luise