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By Tom Blake
Some women didn’t like the advice I included in my most recent column: “Woman worries that her boyfriend might leave her” (April 9-15 issue). Two women in particular, “M” and Theresa, took me to task.
M wrote: “I enjoy reading your column in the Dana Point Times even though I’m not over 50 🙂 I just finished reading the column about the 65-year-old woman Corrine who is afraid her boyfriend might leave her.
“I had such a visceral reaction to your advice to her that I am compelled to write you.
“I’m saddened that you are encouraging this woman to not voice her own needs in the relationship for the sake of her boyfriend’s comfort. And for encouraging her to settle for something sub-optimal because, as you said to her, ‘there’s no guarantee you would find someone as compatible.’ ”
“She’s been with this guy for eight months, and she’s in love with him. I think it’s appropriate for her to express her desire to move the relationship to the next level.
“She is looking for a ‘life partner.’ Her boyfriend responded that he may not be that life partner for her and now he feels pressure, which should tell her a lot. She should take him at his word and get out now.
“Corrine says she feels insecure in the relationship. That is not a good feeling and that is NOT how one should feel if she is in a loving, respectful relationship.
“She shouldn’t be afraid to talk about the future and ask for what she wants out of fear he might leave. That is not loving, and no one should settle for that.”
And Theresa wrote, “I have been enjoying your column for years. Usually, I find myself nodding in agreement, but not this time. I am miffed.
“Why would you suggest Corrine just tiptoe around her true feelings? After eight months of an intimate relationship, it is natural for a woman to begin to think longer term. It’s how we are wired. You seemed to advise her to hide her feelings to keep the guy sticking around.
“This is messed up. It’s like play acting a false reality out of desperation. If it were me, I would be honest about how I felt and what I was hoping for, and if the guy freaks out and runs, then he wasn’t the right person for me.”
Tom’s written response to M and Theresa: “I appreciate what you say. But a woman younger than 50 hasn’t walked in the shoes of a woman, 65. There were two reasons I advised Corrine to stay in the relationship, even without a ‘life partner’ commitment from him.
“First, if she left him, she’d be sad and might look back with regret, thinking, maybe he wouldn’t have left her.
“And second, age might be a factor. Corrine feels it would be difficult to find someone as suitable now that she is 65. The ratio of single women to single men at that age is close to four-to-one. She figures she’d rather be happy now than have to start over again at such challenging odds.
“The approximate ratio of single women to single men below age 50 is close to one-to-one. Women younger than 50 have far more men from whom to choose than their older counterparts. If a guy they like won’t commit, there are plenty of other fish in the sea.”
In a follow-up email, M wrote: “That age 65 ratio is certainly depressing!”
When I submitted that column to my newspaper editor, a woman far younger than 50, she said: “If I were Corrine, I’d been on the next!” (I think she meant the “next” train out of town.)
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.