By contrast, recycling worked for my college friend Paul, widowed at 68. He was dating a doctor I'll call Fran. Paul loved Fran's credentials, and he loved detailing them to anyone who'd listen (as I dutifully did). I met Fran for the first time when the two of them came to New York, and was surprised to find they weren't the least bit lovey-dovey. Indeed, they weren't even on the same wavelength.
A month later, they broke up.
At Fran's suggestion, however, Paul began dating a friend of hers — a retired teacher. Like Paul, she is a golfer, a foodie, a theater buff. When I saw them recently, their mutual affection and enjoyment were palpable.
"What does Fran make of all this?" I asked. Both reported that she was cool with it, and that the three of them remain close friends. Now that's what I call mature recycling!
The third R of dating entails taking new looks at old acquaintances.
At last year's faculty Christmas party, a fellow instructor introduced me to her date. As soon as he disappeared for refills, she giddily revealed that "He's the one!"
By March, he had moved into her apartment. "That was fast," I observed.
Except it wasn't — not at all, for she'd met the guy 15 years ago. "For me it was a case of 'the right guy at the right time,' " my friend explained. And often the right frame of mind.
At camp when I was 13, my bunkmate Ellen started going steady with Bob, a fellow camper who adored her (and who wanted to keep things going after the closing banquet). But they lived in different cities, and cute, popular Ellen ended it when she got home.
Then, at 22, Ellen married her college boyfriend. Bob got married, too. By the time he hit 50, Bob had been divorced three years. That's when he heard that Ellen, too, had separated from her husband. So he called her out of the blue, and both were smitten. Bob and Ellen recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary — a successful retread that was 37 years in the making.
Nancy Davidoff Kelton is one of AARP's dating experts.
Originally published 09/26/13
Also of Interest
- 6 reasons you should date your own age
- Photos: 7 reasons you might be packing on the pounds
- Health Law Answers — How the law works for you and your family
See the AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more