While exploring a number of issues related to single seniors, Carroll shares real-life stories from those who have “been there.” He guides mature bachelors and bachelorettes using a detailed road map that will help them re-evaluate their goals; recover their lives after divorce, illness, bereavement and financial challenges; and create new personal objectives. While sharing valuable information on dating services, ways to build self-esteem, and the complexities that accompany new relationships, Carroll offers singles practical insight into a dating world that can often seem intimidatingif not even a little scary.
Don’t Ever Give Up on Love provides hope, inspiration, and support to single seniors ready to begin the next chapter in their romantic lives.
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About the Author
Timothy Carroll was born in England and owned private enterprises before joining the United Kingdom pensions industry, where he specialized in providing advice to British expatriates—eventually becoming one himself in Hong Kong, Spain, Belgium, and ultimately the United States. He currently lives with his wife, Yvonne, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Read an Excerpt
Don't Ever Give Up on LoveTrue Stories of Senior Romances
By Timothy Carroll
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Timothy J. Carroll
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Courage to Date Again
Love doesn't make the world go 'round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
—Franklin P. Jones
It would be nice, wouldn't it, if the people who sought us out during our busy youths would miraculously reappear when we are lonely and older?
Surely many of you women can remember dating men when you were at college. There were social mixers, fraternity parties, and dances. Friends and friends of friends, or even parents, would fix you up. You had some connection, however tenuous, with the men you dated. You were rarely in the company of a total stranger. It was different then because most of us lived at home when we were not at college. We were largely living in a protected, supportive, and familiar place.
A girl was typically expected to return home from college with a husband or at least a prospective husband in mind. Outside the college environment, many who are grandmothers today were married by the age of sixteen or seventeen. There was even a social stigma in being "left on the shelf". No girls wished to disappoint their parents or families by remaining single beyond their mid-twenties. For the majority, great importance was attached to establishing a family as soon as possible. The well-being of young women was quickly placed in the hands of their young husbands.
Now that more than twenty or thirty years have elapsed, our expectations of romantic partners in our lives are different. Our desires for such relationships have grown out of more than half a century of living experience. Our goals have changed. We have grown up, hopefully gained some wisdom, and become more comfortable with ourselves. If we are even ready to approach the concept of dating again, it is with a different attitude.
When we were young and broke up with a girlfriend or boyfriend, getting over it, in most cases, lasted about as long as it took to find a replacement. However, after many years of marriage, and after experiencing the loss of a loved one through divorce or death, it may take years to recover. It is therefore important to complete the healing process and feel good about oneself before launching into a new social life. It would be unfair to work out one's temporary adjustment on someone new and innocent, someone who may have genuine feelings for you and long-term expectations.
Overall, when contemplating the second or third time around, the focus of a relationship shifts away from establishing a family and moves toward companionship, intimacy, sharing, caring, and security. Of course, we want the positive ingredients of humor, love, romance, and good times, but we may be more inclined to choose a partner, companion, or spouse based on mutual interests.
The prospect of dating again can be quite daunting at first. Conventions have changed. We are out of date. It is confusing. There is, as always, the possibility of rejection. We have lost the bloom of youth and may have gained more weight than we would have liked; we may also feel that we have become rather set in our ways. It has been so long since we were on our own, and we are more than a little shy. Having lost once, we may fear losing again. Can we cope with the disappointment?
What about sex? Women and men who have been accustomed to the same sexual partner for many years may feel anxious about going to bed with a stranger. And imagine a girl's former college sweetheart returning in later years to become her boyfriend. He is familiar and close but still a comparative stranger to her body. Then there is the matter of how well our body parts still function. Is our libido sufficiently strong? Certainly one's sex drive tends to diminish with advancing years, but for men, the introduction of drugs such as Viagra can help maintain active sexual relationships. They can also lead to excessive promiscuity. It is claimed that sexually transmitted diseases among older people have increased at the fastest rate on record. It is a matter of behaving responsibly and taking the necessary precautions.
Regardless of age, consensual sex is good and forms the intimate cornerstone of most romantic relationships. It not only excites and thrills its participants, but it also confirms their oneness, their togetherness, the two halves of their single whole. It establishes the essential bond of mutual trust and exclusivity that makes each partner feel complete in the presence of the other.
As we mature, we appreciate the comfort and the value of simply being hugged and touched tenderly by someone we admire. It may have no sensual connotation at all, but it can create much warmth, energy, and a feeling of worthiness.
People have said that lust can kill, whereas love never can. Lust is a self-gratifying drive that can sometimes be mistaken for love when it occurs simultaneously in people who are attracted to each other. Love, on the other hand, is a more unselfish emotion that places its object on a higher level of importance than one's own.
Beware of Misunderstandings
Daphne became frustrated by a recent blind date. She met him at a popular venue, where they talked over a couple of drinks and then danced together for a while. He was a pleasant man, and Daphne, who had not been out with a man in quite a while, appreciated his company. She had baked some cookies during the afternoon and thought he might like one. So as they were about to bid each other farewell, she invited him back to her house for coffee. She had been used to having people visit her at home while she was married and didn't really think anything of it when she invited her date to do the same. When he was leaving, however, he mentioned that he had learned that when a woman invites a man home "for coffee" it means that she wants to go to bed with him. Daphne was horrified.
It actually takes a lot more attitude and signaling for such an innocent invitation to be interpreted in this way, and this was probably just a guy trying to get a reaction.
When you least expect it
In another example, Barbara was married several times before she moved from California to Florida. She had originally immigrated to America from England, where she had worked for British Airways and subsequently for TWA. She was still with TWA when she was invited to move to America permanently. She was quickly promoted to senior management. However, other interesting opportunities lay ahead.
In Florida, Barbara became a commercial real estate broker. Romantic relationships occurred while she pursued her busy and challenging career. However, there came a time when she found herself tiring of her second try with the same joyful but feckless boyfriend.
She had lost interest in men altogether by the time the affair ended. She is a generous and helpful woman whose kindness and success had been abused. Some men had tried to take advantage of her. Consequently, her ideas about relationships had become jaded. Yet she remained optimistic, cheerful, helpful, and shrewd.
She was friendly with a woman from Bosnia, named Halida, who owned a dress shop that she visited from time to time. It was located near her home at Sunset Beach.
Halida told Barbara about a male friend of hers who had recently been divorced. She described John as a good man who was steady and reliable. Barbara was in no mood for a blind date, and apparently, John had not expressed any interest in meeting her either.
One day, while Barbara was in the shop browsing the selection of dresses, Halida secretly telephoned John on his cell phone and tricked him into coming to the shop on the pretext of helping her fix a leak in her roof.
Being the good friend that he was, he immediately went home and changed into some work clothes, put his tools in his truck, and drove straight to Halida's shop. It was a testament to his promptness that, surprisingly, Barbara was still there.
Halida then sat John and Barbara down on a bench and served them tea and coffee as she normally did for her customers. She made the introductions and then suggested that John return home to change so that they could all go out to dinner together right away. Then they would be able get to know each other better
They met for a couple of dates after that. At that time, there was not much interest on Barbara's part, even though John was keen to pursue their friendship. She decided to take a trip to Copper Canyon in Mexico with a female friend who was a travel agent. Barbara's attitude toward men in general had softened very little. She was looking forward to some reliable female companionship.
The trip did not go as well as she had expected. Her companion turned out to be a difficult traveling partner. She was always complaining and was frequently late for the bus. Yet others blamed Barbara for this behavior because she shared the same room.
John had foreseen that Mexico might be short on snacks for the journey, so he had taken the trouble to give Barbara a liberal supply of candy and nuts beforehand. When the trip and its frustrations were over, Barbara landed at the airport in the United States to find John meeting her with a dozen roses. The relief in seeing him after such an awful week away convinced her that he was the right man for her after all.
Some six years later, having pooled their resources, they are still happily sharing each other's lives in a beautiful lakeside home in Florida. They run a lucrative business together and own a beachfront property in New Zealand, where they spend several months a year. All they ever needed was the courage to date again.
Chapter TwoIt's Okay to Be Single
The best feelings are those that have no words to describe them.
We should remember that as we go through life, through relationships, through marriage, children's upbringing, divorce, and bereavement, we are growing as people and developing. We are not always growing wiser, more intelligent, more beautiful, or happier, but we are certainly growing older and more experienced.
What does experience teach us? It varies from one individual to another, doesn't it? It may depend on what we are willing to learn. Sometimes we are sheltered or thwarted from knowing ourselves and our capabilities by the very nature of our lives and the people with whom we interact. Many of us simply become what we believe we are supposed to be. We become the grown-up, the wife, the husband, the mom, the dad, the breadwinner, or the boss. We become what life expects of us in the role that we have adopted to play. Who are we really, though?
When we find ourselves single in later life, for whatever reason, we should be able to revel in that fact—not disparage it. There is nothing to be ashamed of in being single. It allows us the freedom to know and love ourselves for who we truly are. It is a wonderful state with overwhelming possibilities. It also permits us to follow any course that we may choose. We can explore. We can travel. We can do something we love instead of something we have to do. Above all, we are able to engage in a variety of new relationships and friendships. They need not necessarily involve long-term commitments. They can be developed from the perspective of experience and devotion to our personal growth, which may not have been acceptable or possible before.
"I love men and animals," said Cecilia, "but not necessarily in that order." In reality, Cecilia loves life passionately. That includes all humanity. She is a mature, attractive, eloquent lady with a wide range of intellectual interests and activities. Playing tennis with great enthusiasm at least twice a week has kept her in good physical shape. She has a direct manner, an impish sense of humor, and particularly enjoys the freedom, contentment, and personal space that a single life provides. When so many people crave the companionship of a live-in partner, what brought Cecilia to this happy alternative?
Isobel Cecilia Rostkowsky, the daughter of a Russian Jewish father and a mother whose parents were Polish Jewish immigrants, grew up in the north London suburb of Highgate. Her father died from pancreatic cancer when she was only fourteen years of age. She was then attending Henrietta Barnett, a girls' school in Hampstead Garden Suburb, where she won awards for her writing and performing skills. She nursed a secret desire to pursue acting, not daring to share that with anyone, especially her mother.
When she left Henrietta Barnett, she allowed herself to be enrolled at the French Institute for a two-year bilingual business course. She remembers how sad her English teacher, Mrs. Fayers, looked when she heard of the plan. To this day, she wishes she had plucked up the courage to ask why.
While at the French Institute, Cecilia joined Unity Theatre. Because of the opportunity to rehearse and perform at Unity, she was able to tolerate the French Institute. Finally, the two dreary years ended, with the principal writing across her final report, "Un gaspillage de temps," meaning "a waste of time." However, she was immediately able to get a job as a bilingual secretary with a Russian-owned company in the city. While there, she was still with Unity Theatre and took two weeks off to go with them to perform in Warsaw. The entire experience made a profound impression on her: the train ride through Belgium, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and of course, Poland—and also the detour to Auschwitz on their return.
Cecilia decided that to become professional, she should attend an accredited drama school. She went to Webber Douglas, a well-known school in London. To this day, she is not sure it was a good idea, even though, upon graduation, she was immediately accepted for a role at the Theatre Royal in Windsor. That was followed by a brief stint at Guildford Repertory Company as assistant stage manager. She also appeared in minor roles. This was frequently how young actors got started at that time. She still has a vinyl record of her singing, heard over the radio in one of the Guildford plays. She remembers being hunted down at a movie matinee to take over a major role that same evening. She did well.
That wasn't enough for the Guildford manager. She wanted more work and reminded him of her successes: "Don't you remember my singing and my famous last-minute saving of that evening performance?" He didn't care. She returned to London to do some TV and film work. She found rejection distasteful and was beginning to think that perhaps her future lay elsewhere.
Fate took Cecilia to a party where she met Joan Naismith, a woman who was sailing to New York in the New Year. The idea excited her so much that she immediately asked if she could tag along. Her life was about to change forever.
Before she left England, fate stepped in again when she went to another party. There she met Jonathan Bauer, a handsome young Jewish architectural student. They spent a glorious week together. Then off she and Joan sailed to New York, leaving her romantic inclinations behind with Jonathan, two years her junior. Her fantasies, by which she lived, included a suitor at least two years older. That's how it always was in novels by Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, and the others that she devoured.
Joan and Cecilia arrived in New York on January 20, 1961, to find deep snow. It was the day of President Kennedy's inauguration. Her intention was to find work and stay for just a year. She relished missing Jonathan, his missing her, and their loving letters back and forth across the Atlantic. His letters always began, "My darling Cecilia." She has them still, reminders of her misbehavior, immaturity, and what might have been.
Excerpted from Don't Ever Give Up on Love by Timothy Carroll Copyright © 2011 by Timothy J. Carroll. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsPreface A Fairy Tale....................ix
Chapter One The Courage to Date Again....................3
Chapter Two It's Okay to Be Single....................9
Chapter Three I Want to be Married, But ....................17
Part Two—Social Interaction....................27
Chapter Four Is It Ever Too Late to Date, to Mate, to Tarry, or to Marry?....................29
Chapter Five Meeting Mr. and Ms. Right....................36
Chapter Six It Was All in the Stars....................45
Chapter Seven Taking It Easy....................56
Chapter Eight Baggage or Blessings....................66
Chapter Nine Run at First Sight....................87
Chapter Ten Singles Club Opportunity Knocks....................92
Part Three—The Internet....................101
Chapter Eleven Internet Dating....................103
Chapter Twelve The Art of Love Online....................121
Chapter Thirteen From Cyberspace to Elvis....................135
Chapter Fourteen Friends Can Be Lovers Too....................143
Chapter Fifteen High School Reunion....................147
Chapter Sixteen Fate Lends a Hand....................153
Chapter Seventeen Church As a Catalyst....................159
Chapter Eighteen Good Grief....................171
Chapter Nineteen Moving On....................181