"Happy anniversary," I said to my boyfriend L yesterday. "I am so glad you didn't walk out the back door of Starbucks when I walked in to meet you six years ago."
"I can't believe it's been six years," replied L. "Time flies when you're having fun."
Entering the World of Online Dating
Widowed at 50, I wasn't sure what to expect when I ventured into dating after 24 years of marriage. I was older and wiser but totally new to the world of online courtship. I had met my husband M through a personal ad in the Village Voice back in 1982, so finding a match on JDate in 2009 wasn't all that different—except now you could see people's pictures.
L had a full head of gray hair (√), wasn't wearing any polyester (√√√√), was a former New Yorker like me (√ √), and grew up in the Bronx, also like me (√√√).
There was a comfort level, lots of camaraderie, and laughter that we shared in the early days getting to know each other. It was fun to have a companion and partner after more than 18 months of being alone.
"Would I ever want to marry again?" I often thought to myself during the first years of our relationship. "Would I ever want to live with my boyfriend L during my life after 50?" was another popular question. The answer was usually "maybe," as I saw other friends happily remarry after widowhood or a later-in-life divorce.
My boyfriend L and I are still together after our first international trip.
Why Having a Boyfriend Post-50 Is the Best
Now as we celebrate our six years together, I no longer desire a diamond ring or wedding band on my finger. Nor do I wish for a housemate. I love having a boyfriend at this age and love being in a grownup "L.A.T." (Living Apart Together) relationship. It's the best. Here's why:
- I get to sleep with someone and alone. On nights when I crave a warm hug, he's there, and when I don't, he's not.
- I can cook dinner for L when we're together, and he can use his microwave and takeout on days we're apart—and I don't have to feel guilty.
- I look forward to spending time with L on weeknights and weekends. I get excited to see L on our date nights, maybe because we don't see each other every day.
- L and I don't argue over finances. What's mine is mine, and what's his is his. We're committed to each other—just not financially.
- L and I don't argue over the kids either. What's mine is mine, and what's his is his. Thankfully, both my daughter A and my son D like
- L, and his sons like me, too.
Each of us has been single for a long time (L a lot longer than me). Our styles and habits are part of who we are. I have no desire to change him, and I don't want him to want to change me.
- L buys flowers, anniversary presents, and the most heartwarming cards for me. He may not always know how to express his adoration verbally—not many men do—but he sure knows how to find the perfect printed words to show he cares.
My boyfriend L picks the perfect cards for every occasion.
Listen to the text in the anniversary card he gave me: "We're So Good Together. I like that we're best friends, and that we can talk about anything. I like this wonderful life we're building, and that we can always count on each other. I like who we are together. And I love you."
The love note in my birthday card in January was even better: "I don't know exactly where our journey's going to take us or what might happen along the way. But I do know who we'll be when we get there … two cute little old people—still holding hands, still making each other laugh, still totally in love."
I always remind my boyfriend L how lucky he is to have found me. But really I'm lucky, too. Heh L, can't wait to hold hands this summer and be those "two cute little old people" walking on the beach. Please remember to pack your flip-flops!
This post originally appeared on aboomerslifeafter50.com.