Originally Published: February 20, 2017 5:55 a.m.
Have you ever made a mistake so huge that it was life-altering? Yes, I suppose with the privilege of growing older, we get to occasionally really make a mess of things. The question is: how do you go forward after you have wrecked your own life?
You might recall my best friend, Jan, and her husband Bob. Married for over 35 years, happy and content, both were in retirement and enjoying the good life. Except that Bob, age 78, meets up with an old flame and ends up leaving Jan for his “one true love” who lives in Hawaii. Guess he wasn’t so “happy or content.”
When Bob left, his grown kids, grandkids, friends, family and wife were in total shock. Jan has said she could never pick up one clue that Bob was restless or unhappy. And then he flew off to be with his 76-year-old girlfriend, leaving his 62-year-old wife wondering what he had been smoking. Bob wanted to “live an authentic life” and moved to Hawaii.
I guess the Hawaiian shirts, ocean breezes, endless beaches, fruity drinks and gorgeous sunsets all got boring pretty quickly. Yes, the grass skirt may be greener on the other side of the ocean but it all came crashing down in just six short months. Bob has left the “island of sin” to repent and made it back to the mainland just in time to see his house with a “for sale” sign being installed in the front yard. Looks like Jan has moved on and has no interest in “getting back with a liar.” Bring in the lawyers.
Till death do us part? Hey, not so fast. There is a growing trend called “gray divorce.” Couples over the age of 60 are divorcing in astounding numbers! In fact, couples over the age of 65 divorced in 2016 at over twice the rate since 1996. This seems to be the first time in a century that records show seniors are not sticking with each other so they can spend the rest of their lives together. Yikes, what is happening? Perhaps the “new thinking" is why stay with someone you don’t like anymore.
Oh, but to bust up a pretty good marriage with a woman you claim to have loved for 30-plus years and then realize it was all a big mistake? Now that is rough. Sort of like a nightmare. I asked my husband, Doug, his opinion and he shook his head and said, “Poor Bob just lost it. And Jan was such a good cook too.” Not sure I like that response, Doug! What has cooking got to do with this? This is about love and commitment! No more Hawaiian shirts for you, Doug . . . look what they can lead to!
For Valentine’s Day Bob sent Jan a box of chocolate-covered cherries, three dozen roses and a diamond ring as a token of his sincere love and apology. Not sure what Jan will do next, but she did keep the ring, gave the chocolates to a neighbor and took the flowers to the local hospital to be distributed to patients who have no family close by.
Psychologists claim that many older people get divorced not because they are terribly unhappy with their spouse, but because they are seeking a new “adventure.” Sadly, the “adventure” they get is sometimes not what they bargained for, such as loneliness, financial burdens and emotional distress. Dear Readers, evidently love is not always lasting. Life’s circumstances (and people) can change in a heartbeat. We all make mistakes. So be careful! It is a treacherous world out there. Choose your next “adventure” wisely.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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