It all started with a match.com profile. It was my first full-fledged attempt to find a date online and I pledged to stick it out for three months. It was a very long three months. I was widowed after a long marriage, gun-shy and scared. On the other hand, I was an educated, attractive woman and I felt I was a catch. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to catch, but I knew I had to try.
First I received the ridiculous responses. Men who were obviously not even close to being right for me and men I rejected immediately because of looks or age (yes I am that shallow). You will have to make some choices.
Then the dates started. And almost all of them were bad. Most men (and I thought only women did this) lied in their profiles and didn’t look anything like their pictures. Often their face bore a slight resemblance, but I would look for them in a restaurant or coffee shop and find they had aged 15 years or were barely over 5’3” inches tall carrying about 30 extra pounds. I didn’t hold the weight against them but I am 5’9” so that wasn’t going to work. But the physical quirks were only the beginning of the problem. It was their personalities that were the real kicker. Those problems included the “never marrieds,” the men still holding a torch for their previous wives, and the men obviously married to their work. There were some nice guys but conversations were just not flowing. Most of my early dates were simply unappealing men.
Then one day, when I was losing hope, I received a long letter. It was thoughtful and sincere.
The man who penned it was named Steve and he was married, but separated. His wife had left suddenly a year previous after nine years of marriage taking 2/3 of the money and much of his self-respect. He was interested in me but admitted things weren’t perfect. I read the heartfelt letter and agreed. I decided I wanted to meet Steve, but because of his marital state that all we could ever be was friends in the short term. He agreed.
First, he looked just like his picture and that was refreshing. Soon I found that Steve was also charming and smart. I liked him right away and we closed a local restaurant down just talking. We talked about our grown kids, our marriages, our jobs and our lives. It was familial and close and I loved it. I knew, however, that I didn’t want to be involved with a separated man. That said, in the interesting, attractive, smart portion of the program, he was my dream man.
“Friends” lasted four months. We saw each other every weekend with each of us never leaving a date without making a new plan to see each other again. Steve had been separated over a year and was ready. The divorce was going to be in the next six months and he let me know he wanted more than just friends.
I finally decided to have faith that the universe had handed me this imperfect but perfect man for some reason and that it was time to let fate play a hand.
Steve was warm, easy to talk to and I felt like we were a match. We were falling in love fast, just like when I was 25. Better than when I was 25. This time it was a mature relationship where all the baggage was all out on the table. Steve really let me see him and he really saw and accepted me. Through the worst and best of times. That strengthened us and our love for each other.
Then some hard reality hit. His divorce. It was hard and challenging and to this day I am not sure how we got through it, but we did. I was weakened, he was weakened, but we stayed together. And I loved this man. We had a lot in common and I felt a connection I had never had with any man. The divorce on the other hand was contentious and it was frankly hard to have “another woman” in the picture of him and me. I stuck it out. I had faith he was who he said he was. And he was.
After the divorce was over, we got married within three months. That was over three years ago, I am very much in love and very happy. Steve is not perfect, but he is a perfect companion for my later years and the man I have loved the most in my adult life.
I get Steve and he gets me and because neither of us has flung a false self out there, we accept each other for whom we really are. I have never had that in a relationship. That doesn’t speak well of my previous relationships but I am grateful I have that now. Plus we want to grow together and apart and both of us are old enough to respect that. That is new too.
There is a chance of love after 60. It just takes a little gumption, a little bravery, and a dedication to being honest. Try to empty all the baggage out first and see if your bond becomes stronger. It may not be a fairytale but life never is. On the other hand, love at any age can be a true revelation and force you to grow. I know because it worked for me. It can work for you too.
Clover Mahoney is a writer from NC and has had poetry and articles published in the past. She is working on a new book about older mothers and daughters. She is married and you can follow her on Twitter @CloverMahoney. She would love to hear from you.
Image courtesy of Tiny Tribes.