By Tom Blake
When women contact me about senior dating, I am surprised at the number of times the word “settle” is included in their comments.
The latest example came from a woman, age 60, who wrote, “I won’t settle! But I admit the relationship I’ve been in for four years puzzles me. I would appreciate your opinion.”
Fearing that her boyfriend would read today’s column, she requested her true name not be used. I will call her Stacy.
Stacy said, “After 26 years of marriage, I divorced. In 2015, I met Bob, a wonderful man, on Plenty of Fish (POF). We live an hour away by car. We instantly hit it off. We share many similar characteristics, likes and dislikes, temperaments, and values. I knew early on that he was a man of integrity and quality.
“When we met, Bob said he had been divorced for 13 years, after a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage. He admitted he hadn’t healed from the scars. While I was happy and feeling hopeful about our future, Bob has always held back.
“During the first two years of dating, he broke up with me twice, but we got back together. We have been dating for two years since.
“Bob told me he doesn’t want to remarry and that I should date others, because he knows I want a lifetime partner.
“Once, I saw that he had checked women’s profiles on POF. I confronted him. He said it was just a hobby. He removed his profile.
“We spend most weekends together. Plus, we call and email during the week. We both are busy in our work.
“Now, into our fourth summer, we continue to have our ups and downs. The COVID-19 (pandemic) makes seeing each other more difficult.
“Although I see love in his eyes and his smile, he has never told me in four years that he loves me.
“Recently, I saw an ad on the OurTime senior dating website and found a profile that matched Bob’s 100%! No picture or words; I’m guessing he doesn’t want to pay. I cannot tell you how hurt I am. I didn’t mention it this past weekend to him, because I don’t want him to know I know.
“After visiting him this evening, I went online, and he had been active within one hour of me leaving him—looking at dating profiles. I think he is just enjoying his hobby.
“I stay with him, because I cannot imagine any other person making me as happy as Bob makes me.
“I want him to stop looking at dating profiles! I’d settle for some kind reassurances and travel plans. Bob needs to find a more appropriate hobby.”
My answer to Stacy:
“Stacy, since you asked, here is my opinion.
“You are part of the problem with Bob. In the second-to-last paragraph, you said, ‘I’d settle for . . .’ You have already settled for four years of not being told he loves you. You have settled, because you are afraid that the truth will be painful. You are afraid if you rock Bob’s boat, you will be alone, possibly forever.
“You have settled by believing his perusing women’s profiles online is just a hobby. A man of ‘integrity and quality,’ as you referred to him, would not do that.
“You have settled for him telling you to date others.
“You see love in his eyes and his smile. But, his actions don’t connect with love. This is a man who hasn’t healed 18 years after his divorce. Bob is not going to change. You need to:
- Put the cards on the table—not just about his “online hobby,” but about all things important.
- Be prepared to be on your own, because that may happen. Meeting someone new is harder during the pandemic.
- Find self-esteem and courage.
- Stop settling.
If you don’t take action, you will be stuck in the same “settle” rut you’ve been in for the past four years.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and San Clemente resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: firstname.lastname@example.org.