Article in Lifestyle / Health & Fitness / Aging
I recently lost the love of my life to lung cancer after a rather brief illness. The trauma of those nightmarish months spent taking care of him left me devastated and emotionally fragile. I have the help of family and friends, bereavement groups, therapy, and my innate ability to bounce back.

I am in the process of reinventing myself. No easy task but I believe that being a retired Reading Specialist has given me an edge in learning so much about others, in addition to learning about myself and my emotional strengths and needs. Reading between the lines, or making inferences, is a skill I have taught my students. Today, that ability is standing me in good stead. In the process, I have become a human radar screen because I have found out more about a person from what is omitted than from what is said.

I recently lost the love of my life to lung cancer after a rather brief illness. The trauma of those nightmarish months spent taking care of him left me devastated and emotionally fragile. With the help of family and friends, bereavement groups, therapy, and my innate ability to bounce back, I am secure in the knowledge that there are things I cannot change and I need to move forward. I need to “let it go,” as my therapist told me and I learned that I definitely want another person in my life. I feel that I have so much to give and I want to fall in love again and bask in the glow of that wonderful sensation. I am earnestly searching for the next love of my life.

But, how to proceed to find that Mr. Right?

The obvious sources are attending singles groups, bereavement groups, waiting for an introduction from a friend, or trying the internet dating services. Since the first three choices left me wanting, I plunged into cyberspace. After writing a catchy profile and posting my photos, I have met some men this way but only one or two that I really wanted to see again.

One magical day, you might call it Serendipity, I ran into a man at Publix who recently lost his wife. I knew this person as an acquaintance through mutual friends, and I also knew his wife on a superficial basis. They had had a special relationship, a perpetual love affair. His loss was equally devastating for him as mine was for me. We chatted briefly and we went out for dinner two days later. We found that there was chemistry between us that was vibrant and alive. Was it the need for commiseration or the real thing? Who can say, and only time would tell. It was reassuring to think that such feelings were able to be resurrected.

We decided to keep our meetings confidential and met for several dinner dates. I found him to be utterly charming and attractive. His background was interesting and his radio announcer voice had me mesmerized. But, and here is the big but, he was still so in love with his deceased wife and, therefore, I was insecure about my future with him. I am ready to admit that I cannot change the past and am eager to move on. I don’t think, however, he was in the same place as I was emotionally. The dilemma was that I wanted to be with him so very much but I needed to give him the space he required. I insisted that he must want me for me, and not as a transitional person to help him over the rough spots only to advance into someone else’s arms. I enjoyed the time we spent together, but what was missing was the sense of permanence I sought, and which he was not ready to offer. He didn’t want to hurt me and I didn’t want to hurt him, yet I feared that is what was going to happen. And so with reluctance but with my goal in mind, I once again pursued my cyberspace quests and continued to read between the lines.

Often in the internet profiles, people list as their interests those things they would like to do and not what they actually do. The age and weight things are a given misrepresentation.This has become almost comical and a source of laughs when I meet someone for the first time. The thing is that I don’t play that game and can prove my age and weight. However, I will admit that I recently changed my age on one dating site in order to level the playing field and to see if my respondents would be younger than they had been. It has made little difference in the type or number of responses I received.Another misrepresentation is in the part of the essay that asks the responder to list an ideal date or what they are seeking. They always state that they are seeking a long term relationship because no woman wants to hear “one night stand,” which is another way of saying, a date, a friend. They don’t explicitly say “sex,” but use terms such as romance, public displays of affection, hugging and holding hands. The men usually write about how good they are sexually and infer that they know just how to please a woman. Pleasuring a woman is an individual thing. What pleased their wives or former girlfriends in the past may be a turn off to someone else. After a fifty year marriage to a very sexy man, I’ve learned a few tricks myself. Most men should realize that a really good lover does not need to advertise

Divorced men are better choices than widowers, in my opinion, because they are less hung up on their former wives and not quite as needy or lonely. A divorced man is generally more into the dating scene and knows how to treat a woman as far as manners and savoir-faire are concerned.They have a storehouse of interesting places to eat and where to meet.They accept the fact that they may have to drive a distance in order to date a variety of women, and don’t seem to mind. Many of the senior swains I am attracting enjoy going to romantic places anddoing fun things. Their interests are varied and most of the men have good relationships with their children and remain close to them.

I’ve had my share of long, getting-to-know you telephone conversations with men from the internet and most seem charming and have potential. Some, I’ve actually met for coffee or lunch. There was only one that I found interesting and worthy of a second date. We had a pleasant lunch and the second date was a casual dinner. So, was that three dates if you included the initial interview/coffee date? My daughter tells me that the third date is when it is expected that the couple would go to bed together. Indeed! Again, more enlightenment! Kisses and hugs are expected these days on a first date among seniors. I am told that many men use chemical enhancements and in addition are also proficient at oral sex, both giving and receiving, especially among the elderly. Seniors recognize their physical limitations and avoid the sexual acrobatics of their youth. This is good stuff to know.

Compassion and passion go hand in hand. With both in your arsenal, senior sex can be beautiful and a lifelong pleasure. This is the start of true intimacy between a man and woman. Sex is the bread and butter item and the rest of the meal follows, which hopefully will be delicious. I’ve been told that sex among us older folks is very much alive and well because the true aphrodisiac is between the ears........ the mind. Bodies change over time: the breasts sag, the butts are not that tight and curvy any more, the male organs shrink a bit, ladies grow their kimono arms despite exercising, hair on men appears in unwanted places. So what! The smiles, the laughs, the caresses, the hugs, the hand holding, the meaningful glances, the compliments, the desire to be with each other are what really count in a relationship.

Did I also mention availability? Are you phoneable, approachable, open to new ideas? If yes, then not to worry. The next great love of your life is out there and waiting to meet you. Remember your critical reading skills and if you encounter that special someone that can make your heart sing, maybe he has a friend or two? I’m ready for the adventure and I don’t mind reinventing myself. to Shut Down Permanently on December 31, 2017

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About the Author 

Madelon Sheff
Born and educated in New York City. Diverse interests include tennis, baseball, Mah Jongg, Bridge, Scrabble, Music, Art, Writing. Traveled

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