Dating over 50 is an experience in itself. Complicated. Very. Should we be looking for the one who makes our heartbeat faster when we see him? Is that still a thing at this age? Or should we be looking for a companion? Someone to go to a wedding with? Spend NYE with? Maybe dinner twice a week? Or should we look for the one who can make us more secure financially? And keep us comfortable in our old age.
Is there one out there that is a bit of all of these?
Not sure. And what makes us look for a certain one? Is it our past experience with love? Is it what we saw growing up in our own family? Is it what we see on TV and in the movies?
My first love was in 2nd grade. We would meet at the pencil sharpener and say hello. Junior high came and I set my eyes on an older guy who hung at the same park I did. He wore a black leather jacket and thought I was some cute kid. For two years I spent my time watching him play basketball and softball. After I went to high school he decided I was old enough to like. Did he ruin me by giving me a false idea of love? Always putting me first and doing romantic things like saving all his money to take me to an Eric Clapton concert, or writing I love you in the snow in the football field and coming to get me at 6 am to have me walk there and see it. Was life really like that?
A few years go by and I walk to my best friend’s house and see a guy with long hair and the prettiest blue eyes I have ever seen. What was this? Was I falling out of “love” with the guy from the park? It wasn’t easy to hurt him because he had been so good to me. But I did. And I cried and he cried. He still came over on Monday nights to play cards with my grandparents. But I was on to the next adventure. And that is exactly what it was. An adventure. This one had lots of girls who followed him around. And I waited patiently thinking that I was really the one he loved. Would he make it back from his California dreaming trip to take me to senior prom? He did. And then we married the next year. That was Hubby #1. Lasted 3 years and then we both realized we wanted different things. And we both needed to grow up and stop playing house. Still in my heart always and yes still in my life. We do dinner a few times a year. He is very sick and I always visit the hospital when he is in it. There is a bond between us like no other.
Hubby #2 came when Hubby #1 hurt me by getting a girl pregnant after we were divorced. We had decided to get back together after a year but then the big Hurt happened. I told him to go his own way and make it right with this girl. I could not come back after that. So my friends decided I needed to live a little. Quit being such a good girl. Party! Have a one night stand! Quit being such a Madonna. See I was one of the good girls who only slept with the guy she married. So #2 comes along gives me some line of BS and the adventure begins. He had a great family that I was drawn to but we were not going to make it and that was noticeable from the beginning. But I didn’t listen. I married him anyway. My son was born and my marriage mourned.
#3 happened while I was on a rampage looking for #2 to pay child support. A friend called from a local bar and said #2 was there. I called a friend who was a county sheriff and said meet me there and we can catch him. In walks #3 all tan and in a white sweater. Someone I never seen before in this neighborhood bar. I looked at my friends and said this will be my next husband. And it was. My heart went faster than it ever went before. Much older than me but that is what I was told I needed since I already came with a kid. The adventure was great. Had all the grown up things. A house, a car, a chance to be a stay at home mom. And a daughter who came as a very big surprise. Did the age difference ruin this one? Or were we just two different people who loved each other but could not compromise? It did last over 10 years so that was a record for me.
So 3 husbands in 10 years. And I was just 30 by the time I married the last one. So some say I was the common denominator in the divorces. Some say I just don’t know how to pick them. Some say I am always looking to save someone. Some say I was lucky to have 3 men love me enough to marry me.
I am still friendly with all three of my husbands and my first love from the park. I think of them as lessons learned and all brought something to me that stuck in my heart. So what should I be looking for the next time? Or should I be looking at all?
These past encounters of love have taught me many things. I have learned that my parents have been married 63 years so that one love is still possible for some. I have learned that in the movies it is usually a happy ending. I have learned forgiveness and that sometimes hurt can be resolved. I have learned that it is not me who should be saving someone; it is themselves that should be doing it. I have learned what I could and would put up with, and what I cannot compromise on. I have learned that there are some things I should have compromised on. I have learned that when things get hard you shouldn’t just be done with them. I have learned that sometimes love is worth fighting for and sometimes we should have checked our egos at the door. I have learned that some people cannot stay in your life because they took away who you truly were. I have learned that I let some of these people do this to me. I have learned to come back from that and it wasn’t easy. I have learned that I have to look for what I want, whether it is a heart pounding experience or just a companion. I have to let go of my notions of what love should be at this time of my life or if it should be at all. I have to learn to just love and see where it takes me. Maybe to my happy ending.
Donna is an administrative assistant at a local school district. Worked many years as a customer service manager and sales rep in the publishing distribution field. Non profit is her passion, but it doesn’t pay the bills, so Donna is an avid volunteer in her community. A mother of two adult children and a Schnoodle named Vinnie all who still reside in the nest. A divorced woman over 50 who has been on at least 50 first dates in the last few years but still has not given up hope. Donna grew up in Chicago and had a great childhood in her neighborhood. She currently lives in the outlying burbs. She swears she has the best Italian/Polish family and has a fabulous support system of childhood friends. Her “Girls Club” keeps her sane and tries to help her not sweat the small stuff. Looking forward to becoming Golden Girls when the time is right. Her life has been a roller coaster of love and loss but she always keeps that ticket handy for the next ride. A big shout out to her 8th grade English teacher Mr. Purton who always said she had it in her. Donna tries to leave a little sparkle wherever she goes.