Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happiness is Finding Your Best Friend

While developing friendship between spouses may be the road to happiness, it is rarely easy to do. Friendship implies an equal relationship between partners. It also feeds and grows on trust, respect, thoughtfulness, and courtesy. Each partner needs to know that the other appreciates him/her. Not surprisingly the more one spouse feels
appreciated, the more that person is likely to help and to please the other. We look for the excitement of passion and mystery in a relationship and look at friendship as perhaps a little boring. Passion may fade; friendship grows stronger.

Usually we think of a friendship as existing between women or between men. Let's start by defining what friendship is! Women who are true friends are supportive of each other and have many activities and interests in common. They frequently vent about problems and confide their feelings to each other.

Men more often have buddies and are reluctant to reveal any weaknesses and/or doubts within themselves for fear of appearing that they do not have their lives under control. I am reminded of a story an editor of Reader's Digest once told me. He and three other men played tennis with each other weekly for several years. They described themselves as friends. Suddenly one of them committed suicide which surprised and shocked the other three. They had had no idea their 'friend' had had any unhappiness or problems.

Men and women think and view themselves and their roles in life in different ways. I wrote about the difference in their egos and their brains in my most recent blog of theromancegame. (see link on the right) Communication is certainly a key factor in being friends, something most men resist. But partners, which friends are, do talk and they are not afraid the other will think less of them. They also do not criticize each other. They do go out of their way not to irritate the other.

What kind of marriage you have will also influence your ability to become friends and truly achieve happiness for both parties. Traditionally the man has been the head of the family and the major bread winner. The wife takes his name at the time of the ceremony as well as the role of wife and mother. Major decisions have been frequently decided by the husband. Today there are myriad marriage patterns which include the woman becoming the breadwinner, the husband taking care of the children, and any number of variations in between. Probably the marriage that has the most possibility of happiness for both people is one in which both feel they are partners. They are friends who talk about where they are going together, about their feelings, and how they are going to spend their money. They are considerate and helpful to each other. Yet for many, the old ideas of marriage in which the man is dominate often lingers on and may make becoming friends almost impossible.

Following my own advice in my book, "50 Ways to Find romance after 50" I met an interesting man, Harry Borgman, on an internet dating site. We have similar life styles. He is a recognized artist in both the commercial and fine arts fields and like me, has worked a good share of his life independently. I had been a widow for over 23
years and his wife had died the year before we met. Unfortunately we live many miles apart, our homes are quite opposite in architectural design, and we have roots and friends in our own communities. Thus our road to romance is not always smooth except we have become friends.(See my website for special book offer).

I was stunned when a business associate told me I should give up my own life and move to Harry's town. The woman should obey the husband, she said. Obviously that advice would cause more problems than it would solve for us. Nor does that attitude lay the groundwork for an optimum situation in which to develop a deep and exciting friendship.

Couples may need to look at their lifestyles to find how best to develop a life in which they can both achieve their own goals yet share adventures and responsibilities together. A good example of being supportive yet being honest with each other after retirement is the story of Bob and Ann Redd. Bob had been an accountant and an engineer and was really an energizer bunny. He exuded energy. Ann was more laid back. They had raised their children. Over the years Ann had developed her routine including a great interest in rug hooking. Suddenly Bob was at home and expected that Ann would change her life to suit his wishes. Ann was not willing to do this. She was not going to stop in the middle of her busy day to make his lunch and was firm and honest with him about this. This eventually led to his writing a book, "For Better or for Worse, But Not for Lunch." In fact in a way this freed him to follow his passion for writing and he became a regular contributor to "Choices" a magazine I was publishing at that time. He also became very supportive of Ann's interest and artistry in rug hooking. They eventually traveled around the country to seminars and to national shows becoming experts in the art together.

Being supportive also means helping the other when health problems arise which is often a part of aging. Pursuing good health can become a mutual goal. One of the couples in my book set the date of their wedding so that each could care for the other after their scheduled surgeries. Then once good health was achieved, they celebrated by enjoying life together.

With understanding and a good sense of humor, we may discover our most important best friend is across the breakfast table from us. There's the classic story of "The Acres of Diamonds" in which a man sold everything he had and ventured far and wide to find a diamond mine. He died lonely and penniless. The couple who bought his house found a diamond mine in their own back yard.
Sometimes we look for romance, for excitement, and most of all for a good friend in other places when that person is our mate. Put your new glasses on and look at your relationship in a new light. You fell in love with your spouse or your significant other once, perhaps long ago. With 'care and feeding' you may discover your best friend is right there beside you.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Putting Romance Back Into Relationship

It's difficult to put romance back if you never see each other. No matter how busy you both are, you need to set a designated time to spend together every day. It could be over coffee (or tea) at breakfast time, a short 'check in' with each other in the afternoon or a 'date' with each other in the evening, possibly for dinner, maybe just a romantic few minutes before bed time with a relaxing drink and a chat about the day. Then what about adding a delightful date once a week doing something you both like! cocktails and dinner? A weekend of hiking and bird watching! A fun trip to the zoo with the little ones if you just can't get away alone! Then during their nap time, a little cuddle or two! Whatever tickles your fancy.

Don't know what that may be? Then each make a list of activities you would like to share with your friend - your spouse. Start with no expectations, just plan to have a pleasant experience with each other. When you compare your lists, consider each suggestion with an open mind. Do not pounce on what you may consider a dumb idea or criticize what you may think is a silly or stupid notion. do not criticize. This is your friend after all. Remember how you treat a friend. You share good experiences. You give compliments to each other. You are supportive of new ideas and open to the discussion of new directions. You have fun together. You like each other. You may not agree with everything your friend says or thinks, but that's O.K. You don't have to! In fact, do you really want a clone of yourself or would you prefer someone with whom you can talk about a variety of subjects? And you certainly do not tell your friend what to do. This is a partnership, not a dictatorship.

Many of the couples whom I interviewed for my book, "50 Ways to Find Romance after 50," met doing things which they both enjoyed. One couple discovered each other on a theatre trip and after they married continued to attend the theatre regularly. Another couple found each other singing in the church choir; two musicians shared their love in the community orchestra. Volunteering at a nature center was the means for two singles to help others and to find romance. One widow was determined to meet a new man on a cruise and after several, she succeeded. A new pet can bring a smile and a shared delight to some and perhaps a new hobby if both agree. Whatever love that friends share can become a love that brings happiness into their lives.

A couple in my book met while she was out walking her dogs. Several others renewed old romances from high school and found that their roots ran deep. Whether you have been married for a few months or many years, something drew you together. You may not be as different now as you think. Find that root. Find that attraction which first beckoned to you. Look at this endeavor as an adventure and suddenly you may find that there's a new sparkle in your eye and a bounce in your step and that your love is happier as well.

If you have questions or an experience to share with others, you can leave a comment on this blog. For those who would like a cop of my book, I am offering a half price special which you can find on my website:

Note: I'm still learning about MSG and all the effects. It's much more complicated than I thought at first. More later.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Unrealistic Expectations Kill Romance/More on MSG

Note: There is a little more information about MSG at the end of this post. However, I will blog more about MSG in the future. Today it's back to romance!

It may sound simplistic to say that friendship is the basis for happiness in marriage as I suggest in a previous article. At the time many of us married we had stars in our eyes and we were so happy. We certainly expected our future would hold endless excitement, romance, and our very own specialness in this new and wonderful relationship. Sadly it may be these very expectations that eventually breed those gnawing dis-satisfactions and frustrations we often experience after the wedding. Where, we may wonder as years go by, is the happiness we expected? Where, is the pizzazz? What happened to all our dreams?

Both the romance and our expectations for happiness in our marriages are modern day inventions. For centuries marriage was a means to join fortunes, to breed heirs, to acquire property, and to gain titles. Women were rarely in charge of their own lives but rather a pawn of fathers, families or the state. Whether a woman was attractive or not didn't matter. What kind of dowery she brought to the union did. Even today in some countries and some religions, marriages are still being arranged. Occasionally it still occurs in the United States which often makes headlines and which some people find hard to believe. Perhaps this brief history of marriage can bring a more realistic perspective of the relationship and thus the development of more reasonable expectations for your merger or for re-evaluating a current relationship.

Most couples in the western world toady have the freedom to marry for love.
We have the right and the privilege to seek a romantic relationship. But in turning our back on the old ways and embracing the new we have failed to form guidelines. Frequently the premise that opposites attract is all too true. It may be great for genetics, but not for companionship as the years go by. If our expectations are unrealistic, if neither likes the same things, and if that hot thrill of romance grows cold, how can couples live happily ever after. Nor does it help when a lovesick dolt of a song writer tells us that we never have to say we're sorry. We certainly do if we don't want to be considered unfeeling! Unless the relationship has been so fractured that nothing can mend it, you and your spouse can take the opportunity now to work toward becoming friends and to find happiness. Or if you are considering a committed relationship again, you can keep your expectations and the possibilities of a comfortable and enjoyable relationship in mind. What do you both enjoy doing together? Where do you want your relationship to go from here? Developing any relationship takes patience and persistence, but the reward are endless.

A good, lasting relationship takes time and great care! Suggestions for increasing your togetherness will be in another blog.

Now I would like to include a couple of references for those interested in learning more about MSG. "In Bad Taste: The MSG Symptom complex"by Dr. Sehwartz and Dr. Russell Blaylock's book, "Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills." The more I learn about MSG, the more complicated it becomes. Other than organic fruits and vegetables, I have found that other countries seem to offer MSG free food. For instant, from India comes "Tasty Bites" with lentils and another with eggplant which is all natural, vegetarian, no MSG, no preservatives, and no additives that I can discern! For cookies there's Walker's shortbread from Scotland. Again no additives. Yum.

I am finding to my distress that since I inadvertently 'overdosed' on MSG I seem to be more sensitive to other additives. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, etc., but I am a skilled researcher. I'll pass on my findings in future blogs. Would like to hear your encounters with this 'excitotoxin' and also any recipes you might suggest for MSG free living.

And last but now least, think of my book "50 Ways to Find Romance after 50" as a great gift for someone you love who is looking for love. You can order it on my website,

Until later, ciao.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

MSG Can Destroy Romance

We seem to be destroying our lives and thus our chance at romance
by some of the things we eat. I knew that I was "sensitive" to MSG but like many I thought that it was primarily Chinese food that contained MSG. The first time I encountered it was several years ago. I had eaten at a Chinese restaurant and about 15 minutes later my whole body felt heavy and lethargic. Whoops. Gee. It must be MSG.

Then last year Harry and I decided on Chinese at a restaurant I had been told did not use MSG. Again, by the time we walked to the car I could hardly move. Wrong. They did add it to their food. We returned a few months later and I asked. They had practically no dishes without it.

Then a few weeks ago I bought a large jar of snacks consisting of pretzels, small crackers, and orange curls, to eat while I drove home, about 100 miles. The following morning and again in the afternoon I munched on a handful. This continued for several days. I felt steadily more heavy, both in body and mind. My legs ached so badly I could hardly sleep. Finally I checked the ingredients and found to my dismay that every piece of the munchies in the jar contained MSG.

I went on the internet and started researching, what for me, was almost a lethal additive. I found to my horror that while companies had to list MSG as an ingredient, there are many forms of it they do not. What do I EAT?

Well, it's a very complicated subject. And I can't help but wonder if this and other approved additives have been the source of my fatigue for most of my life. It also is a problem which is seldom talked about. I discovered that another of my friends found eating MSG in anything was like eating poison.

I suggest if you have these or a myriad of other symptoms including those like arthritis, insomnia, tightness of the chest, etc start thinking about the possibility you are sensitive to MSG. Some internet sites to peruse are Health, Battling the and

It now takes me double the time to shop and I am finding only a few things to eat. Of course fresh vegetables are good but watch the salad dressings.

I'll try to add other snippets of information as I continue blogging. That is when I am not searching the grocery shelves for MSG free foods or cooking my meals from scratch! In the meantime let me know your experiences. I am continuing to feel better as I detox my poor cells. And don't forget the huge amounts of sugar, sodium, and sulfites in food and drink (such as wines) which can also have bad effects. Or there are simple (relatively) food allergies. A friend was being treated for arthritis. It was suggested that she might be allergic to milk. Her brother, a doctor, laughed. She tried not eating any milk products for a couple weeks. Surprise! She didn't have arthritis.

As I said this is not a simple subject. There is a long list of alternative names and a long list of symptoms. I'll try to include a note or two on my experiences and how avoidance of the bad additives is changing my life and certainly making romance a whole lot more fun for both Harry and me!

Don't forget that I have my book, "50 Ways to Find Romance after 50" on special for a limited time. Just click on the link to my website. From there you can order the book and use Pay Pal. You'll receive your book within one week.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Secret to Happiness in a Loving Relationship

What's the secret to happiness in marriage and/or in a long term commitment?

Whether you have been married for what literally may be for most of your life or if you have recently found a new life partner, everyone wants a happy relationship. Is it possible? Can even a long-term, tired marriage be revived? Yes and yes! First of all time is in your favor. People over 50 are generally happier than those under 50. Married people tend to be happier than those who are single. Through many, many interviews spanning 40 years with hundreds of couples, I have indeed found the secret for happiness in marriage and the steps to find and develop that happiness. It takes time and effort for both partners, but with a sense of humor and persistence, happiness can be yours and of course your partner's...... your other half, your soul mate...... your friend!

In the 1970s I began publishing a magazine which explored the changing relationships between men and women at the time women had begun to expand their lives outside the home and to emerge as a force in the working world. During this time, I and another writer Ruthe Miller began researching happiness in marriage with numerous personal interviews of couples plus over 400 people filled out an extensive scientifically designed questionnaire to find predictors of marital happiness. This was the beginning of my lifelong exploration of the changing relationships between men and women.

Desire for a successful, happy marriage changed as the last century progressed. In the 1980s women and men who had been widowed or divorced were most anxious to find another partner. By the 1990s, both started becoming more cautious and less driven in their search to become a couple. The view of 'old maids' changed and became obsolete. Single women were no longer considered losers. Still men tended to marry sooner after a death or divorce than women, sometimes with disastrous results.

Regardless, in the new 21st century both men and women continue their search for that perfect partner hoping that they could find happiness but not sure how to meet that new love. Ways in which they met and what drew them together prompted me to write my book: 50 Ways to Find Romance after 50, Love and Lust in Later Life.

Included in the book is more about the secret to happiness, how to flirt again, and financial considerations to be discussed.

There is no doubt that the most important factor in the secret of happiness in marriage is to find that special person who can become your best friend. Over and over, throughout the years, this was the most frequent reason given by couples for being happy with their partners.

Sounds simple but it's not. To begin with men and women think of friendship differently. Men seem to have buddies and rarely discuss their feelings. Women talk and frequently discuss almost everything. Following is a good example of how men and women differently interpret what their spouse is saying. If a woman complains of a problem to her husband, he feels honor bound to fix it. But that is rarely what a woman wants. "Once I convinced my husband that I just needed to vent and that I didn't need a solution as men think they must find and that their egos demand, our marriage became almost perfect," related one wise woman.

I've heard this same complaint from a hostess on TV, a well-known radio personality, and couples whom I've interviewed. Obviously, one of the most important aspects of being a friend is to listen to the other and to be aware of his or her wishes.

You need to take time to be friends. Develop trust and respect for each other. Perhaps you could designate a specific time to bring each other up to date. Some couples enjoy relaxing over cocktails. (Do not turn on TV!) Or have a date night and find comfortable surroundings in which to discuss new ideas and mutual goals. If you trade confidences, never betray those to any others. As a writer I have been told many secrets which I have kept secret. I have a reputation for trust and so all of those I interview talk freely to me.

If you would like to learn more about romance after 50, along with financial guidelines, and how to meet a new romance, you can now order my book directly from my website: or just click on the link on the right hand side of this page. For a limited time there is a special half price sale and you can pay directly through Pay Pal.

More on happiness in a romantic relationship in my next blog. If you have any questions, I'd very much like to hear from you.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Lately on TV there have been many discussions about how you meet someone new. Of course, all anyone has to do is read my book, "50 Ways to Find Romance After 50, Love and Lust in Later Life." Naturally I'd feel that way. After all I met Harry following my own advice.

Be that as it may, one of the primary rules is that if you are not meeting any one new and interesting in your present environment, then you should get out of your comfort zone. Harry and I found each other on the internet. Actually I found his cat, Laura. He was holding her in his arms and as I have had cats all my life, I felt that here was a man with whom I might find many things in common. In fact, that was true. Also our lifestyles were similar as he was an artist who worked free lance for many years and as I was a writer I had done the same. We also both had traveled extensively During the 23 years that I was single having been widowed many years before, I would date a very nice man who had hardly been out of the state or another one who felt in competition with me which I could never understand. I was never trying to be better than anyone else. I just do what I do.

Which brings me to a second 'truth'. Look for someone who has similar interests. When young our raging hormones often would lead to an attraction to someone quite different from ourselves. Maybe this is a way that nature keeps a good mix of genes, but living with someone can be difficult enough let alone if that someone has totally different ideas and pleasures. Often in my book a man or woman would express how much s/he enjoyed life now that s/he had someone with whom to share their special joys of life. This doesn't mean you have to be like the Bobbysey twins, but too often I've encountered, for example, a couple where one loves to travel and the other wants to stay home or one adores sports and the other could care less. It gets old soon trying to be interested in something you care nothing about.

In future posts, I'll talk about how to use the internet to date as well as the other 50 plus ways to find romance under or over 50 years of age. But whatever you do, look at finding romance as an adventure. If your expectations are too high or too set or too rigid you'll be constantly disappointed and probably give up too soon. Even if you never meet the right one, you could have a lot of fun. And who knows, the wrong one could have a right friend.

At first I was afraid that the cats which drew us together would keep us apart. I recently brought my two down to Harry's and after a couple days peace reigned - more or less. The biggest problem is getting them in their traveling cases and then lifting them. My Snickelfritz weighs 18 pounds without the case. I'll include their photos as we go along.

Whatever your age, you can still find enjoyment dating. You can also be bored. Going out with the girls - or fellows - can be fun too. I've done both. But meeting Harry has definitely enriched my life. We are engaged and to some degree we are comfortable in the relationship as is. However, we have agreed we need to get our act together. One of these days!

Harry's cat JPEG joins the mail.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Hi dear friends,

Have had an energy low for a few months but will return in February with new stories and photos. In the meantime, romance can be, and often is, better the older we get.

Happy New Year.