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Life is an inside job: What is it we need from ourselves to be successful in a relationship?

Facts, nothing but the facts ma’am. This is what has happened: I was suddenly widowed 4 years ago after 23 years in a wonderful marriage. I went through a very severe depression for 2 years. I gained 40 lbs. I began to come out of the fog about 2 years ago. I started working out and lost 25 of those pounds. I started online dating a year and a half ago at the age of 61. I have been dating a nice man for the past six months. I met him through a friend. It has been a lovely, fun, and overall delightful experience. I fell in love with him. https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--5Wuz4_0l--/dstp0ntdwdz8lurndrhy.gifThe relationship began to unravel several weeks ago. We were dialoguing about the relationship. About 3 weeks ago, I detected he was pulling away subtlety. This felt painful to me and I suggested that we begin the process of saying goodbye. I have not heard one word from him since, despite my numerous attempts to reach out to him. I have felt hurt, angry, frustrated, confused, incredulous, and just plain disgusted. Like, “Really? At this stage of life people act like teenagers?” Duh … They do! Fortunately the NY Times recently published an article “Ghosting: the ultimate silent treatment” that speaks to this strange silence. Bottom line: when a relationship turns, silence says everything.

esherSo now what? First of all, I realize that it is not my responsibility to try to figure out what he is thinking. That is his job. Instead, I need to look within and get clear about what I truly need at this stage of life. The ideas and questions I am beginning to explore are:

1. What am I learning about me from the different types of men I have met?

2. What do I need to do to make myself happy?

3. What do I want in future relationships?

4. My destination point is ultimately to arrive at the belief that I am full and complete without a man in my life.

5. I am waiting to arrive at this place and will only find it within myself. Life is an inside job.

6. Once I know what I need and who I am NOW, then I can be clear in my expectations of myself AND others.

7. I believe the right person will show up rather unexpectedly when I am feeling whole and complete and standing on my own two feet.

So I ask you, dear readers, to consider: What is the inside job you are currently exploring in your life?

Meanwhile, let’s enjoy our freedoms. Happy 4th of July!



  1. At first was very surprised to hear that a guy in his 60s is that immature, thoughtless, cowardly, and rude. Am so sorry – truly, what a jerk, and sad that he was your first experience back in the dating world, but glad that you are reflecting. However, then thought about it more, and actually am not so surprised, since why should we assume that age necessarily brings eradication of bad traits or habits! After dating for 30 years (did not marry Brian until my mid forties and having several long relationships and one very long relationship in my 30s), saw it all (sadly) – could and probably should write a book! Before meeting Brian, had finally reached the conclusion that I would be fine if I stayed single for the rest of my life and made plans with single girlfriends to create communal living situations in our retirement – had a wonderful group of friends. When dating the last five years or so before marrying, by then I knew exactly what I wanted — and did not want — in a guy and was quite adamant (against all the rules) that I was unwilling to spend another year or two dating someone seriously without the eventual goal of marriage; otherwise, I insisted that dates would stay casual and only for fun and companionship. I was extremely reluctant to let my heart and hopes get involved. Oddly, think that position made me strong enough and ready to make it happen and work – and was lucky to find a man of like mind at the right time. By the way, we met via online dating in a fluky situation.

  2. Dance as if no one is looking, love like you’ve never been hurt and work like you don’t need the money.

    This is what I noticed about Kathleen when we first met at an MFT luncheon 10 years ago.

    I am not there yet.

    I am not able to love like I’ve never been hurt in Santa Barbara for some reason.

    Thousand Oaks is different. There is an unbelievable amount of single midwestern quality men that I see everywhere there in my age bracket. It is astonishing!

    And although entertaining the idea of maybe dating one of them, I would rather eat whatever I want without getting fat.

    Instead I have fallen in love with Alexander Scourby the great Shakespearean actor who reads the King James Version on my iPhone. The words mysteriously get grafted in giving me peace, joy and love while I am stuck in traffic on the 101.

    Thank you Kathleen for your transparency and your willingness to be vulnerable.

    We need more Legally Blondes and legally Brunettes!.

  3. Honest and well written post. Yikes! Putting oneself “out there” following major life disappointments is the most courageous of feats. I congratulate you in your bravery. How do we enjoy the blissful moment(s) when we know the moment(s) will definitely end–someday–someway? Ouch!

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