Ever since I wrote that article back in 2016 (Dating Over 50: Home Depot Hook-Ups), I’ve had dozens of people ask me for the sequel. Did I ever find love in the garden section? What happened to the date who insisted on checking out the action? Is it still a great place to meet guys on a Saturday night?
Truth be told, just a few days after writing that article my heart was badly broken. I couldn’t bring myself to go to Home Depot for the longest time. I had been dating the fun guy who insisted on checking out the action, but suddenly and with no explanation—he disappeared. We’d been getting along great (or so I thought), but one morning I woke up to an email which started with, “Over the last 24 hours I’ve done a lot of soul searching…”
It was a Dear Jane letter.
I had no idea what I’d done wrong. I re-played the few weeks we’d known each other searching for answers. There were none, just like there was no response to my texts, calls, or emails. I eventually gave up trying to reach out. Everyone said, “You’ve been ghosted.” I never knew my heart could hurt so badly. The only thing I could think of is that maybe he remembered he was married…..it seemed like the only reasonable answer.
Not knowing what really happened has got to be the hardest hurt in the world.
It was finally time for the great pity party and I called my neighborhood hot line. Four ladies ranging in age from 45-74 were at my house within 10 minutes. They each brought comfort food—imported chocolates, bottles of wine, Jack Daniels, popcorn, and a bag of pita chips. I cried my eyes out and they consoled me. They gave me sage advice:
“If he calls, don’t answer.”
“Forget about him.”
“Go have some one-night stands.”
He didn’t, I couldn’t, and I never did.
It took months before I got up the courage to try and date again. It wasn’t at Home Depot, but I did meet a wonderful guy on one of those online dating sites. And he actually seemed sane. (Prior to meeting him, I had gone on a coffee date with what seemed like an interesting guy. But as soon as he started complaining about how much it cost to get his shirts dry-cleaned, I became less-interested. Did he think I was going to be his new laundry lady? The clincher was when he asked if I thought the touch of gray in his hair looked nice. Then he leaned in, looked closely at me and whispered, “You dye your hair, don’t you?”)
Who asks those kinds of questions on a first date??!!!!! We were done.
Back to the really wonderful guy. We were together for the next two years. We were right for each other at the right time. We’re still sort of together, but in a mutually-agreeable different way now. Our paths have changed from a romantic togetherness to a supportive friendship. It’s kind of a strange break-up, in fact at our age and stage in life, we decided not to even use the word, “break-up.” There’s no drama, no crying, no lingering longing, just honest communication about what we each want in life and the need to move forward, but not as a couple. When I asked, “Are we good?” he gave me the most heartwarming response:
“We’ll always be good.”
So dating after 50 has taken a new turn. A new chapter is about to unfold. I have no idea what’s going to happen. Am I going back to Home Depot on a Saturday night? I don’t know. Stay tuned.
Bottom line? We’re all in different stages. Life changes. Being centered and grounded helps you through the difficult times. Sometimes there are no answers. It’s just time to take a deep breath, focus on yourself, and move forward.