My friend was an energetic woman full of fun, ideas, and organizing skills wherever there were needs, into her late-60s.
Until early dementia started, and finally Alzheimer’s.
Her husband, who’d been the quiet one, took over as full-time caregiver in the most capable way, until he had to place her in a nursing home, where she died peacefully (just before COVID-19 entered our area).
During that last year, when he visited his wife daily, women would invite him to dinner. He refused those invitations.
Now, there’ve been more calls and invitations to him as a widower.
Suddenly, there’s a new social stratum among seniors - those who are trying very hard to become part of a couple again.
I even heard of one man, healthy and active in his 80s, who married three months after his wife died.
Is this yet another “new normal” for our times, creating late-life relationships?
Dating When Old
We’ve known for decades that “Boomers” affected their world and relationships differently:
The outsized demographic born between 1946 and 1964 after the post-World War Two baby boom, they had the benefit in developed countries of a bounding economy and major medical advances.
Still a huge bulge of population, even beyond the upper limit of 74, seniors have been wealthier, more active, and more physically fit than any preceding generation.
So why be surprised that they want to stay in the game of dating, coupling and socializing in the ways they always have?
It doesn’t mean they cared little for their former spouse, or don’t grieve the loss and miss that partner of many years.
Instead, it sometimes reflects how much that bond of love and companionship meant to their own well-being, and why they seek it again.
Now, a lot more is changing because of the global coronavirus scourge, with its devastating effect on more vulnerable older people.
I believe it’s already become common in many seniors’ social environments, to take a “practical” approach to life as it unfolds.
To relatives and closest friends of the deceased, the revelation of the survivor’s budding new relationship may not be immediately acceptable… but, generally, this is what the future looks like for healthy older folks.
Readers’ Commentary Regarding the couple who took one-week separate vacations from their young children (March 30):
“These two were adults who'd travelled with friends until they married and had careers.
“Their young children, ages three and five, have natural anxieties about being left. Their concept of time isn’t well-developed. Being left for an hour is as upsetting as a day.
“But this mother also complains about "too little adult relaxation.”
“Not only does the couple go on separate vacations with friends, they often tack on a long weekend with a friend for each of the two of them.
“As an added bonus, the partner who’s the non-travelling parent at the time gets relief one or two nights from a grandparent.
“It's not surprising that the youngest child had a meltdown when the father left her at daycare during the mom's latest absence.
“The older child was angry with the dad for two days when he returned from his golf week away. Again, no surprise.
“Yes, parents need some down time but not at the expense of tiny children. At least the mother questions whether they’re creating insecurities for their children. Well, duh.
Ellie - There’s an unnecessary overlay here of judgment.
The mother already revealed her concern about whether they were creating “insecurities” in their kids.
Counselling about youngsters’ separation anxiety would help.
Dear Readers – This question was sent to me without clarity on the nature of the relationships or genders involved:
Q-My girlfriend broke up with me 10 years ago, then returned after five years.
Later, her husband tried to hit on me! I freaked out! (I’m married, too).
I distanced myself from her family and limited socializing with her.
She didn’t understand why, so put pressure on me.
But then her father wanted to move on me and her single brother too!!!
After four years she suddenly broke up with me because I don’t socialize with her as much as I do with other friends!
She blocked me off her social media and everywhere, but remained friends with my friends whom she’s tried to steal. What should I do?
Get a grip on reality during the COVID-19 pandemic: People are dying, loved ones are sick and can’t have visitors.
Mindless cheating and hook-ups may soon be considered social crimes.
Tip of the day:
Adapt to the “new-normal” in our changing world.