Patricia Lorenz had been married, divorced and had two annulments before raising four children as a single parent. After 27 years as a single mom, she moved to Florida, where she met plenty of widows and divorcees from the ages of 50 through their 80s. She also met quite a few men, and when she was in her 60s, Patricia got married again.
Patricia had gained a lot of experience with men over the years. Patricia has learned from her many experiences with men that "laughter is the most important ingredient to a happy, healthy relationship."
Dating can lead to what Patricia called "a whirlwind of falling in love." Men and women alike can be blinded by the excitement, the romance and the glitter of early dating. "But so often we don’t step back and ask tough questions of the person we’re dating," said Patricia.
Patricia is the author of the book, "57 Steps to Paradise: Finding Love in Midlife and Beyond." Her book is full of stories about her dating experiences.
Some of these are from her early life, but her focus is mainly on dating in middle age. She wanted to encourage people in mid-life or older who might be contemplating a second or third marriage to go for it.
Patricia graciously agreed to an interview with EmpowHER to further spread her message.
The Zero Factors
In her book, Patricia details 37 things that can wreck a relationship. She recommends that men and women talk about these things in the early stages of getting to know each other. Eating styles and habits, religious views, stress management, differences in intelligence are just a few of the zero factors.
"Yoking up with someone for the long haul takes amazingly hard work beforehand," Patricia said. "The Zero Factors are a great place to begin to make sure you’re even on the same path."
30 Questions to Ask While You’re Dating
You may not think that the early days of a romance seem like the appropriate time to ask questions about your beloved's habits, beliefs and the possible future, but Patricia says otherwise. If there are incompatibilities or deal-breakers ahead, better to be aware upfront.
Find out the important things about the person you're seeing. Learn the details of their lives, how they think, what they do.
Ask questions about drinking and drug use. Find out how he'll act with your friends. Retirement may seem a long way off depending on where you are in your life. But it's important to look beyond today, or even around the next corner, with relationships.
Know everything you can about the person you're seeing before you make a commitment.
The Search for Mr. Right
Patricia admires couples who stay together for decades, but she doesn't regret her path. She's had "a myriad of experiences, feelings, and opportunity for growth" with three very different husbands and the men she's dated over the years.
Going through two divorces was painful, but Patricia says they were also invaluable learning experiences.
"My struggles have made me strong, more forgiving, more compassionate, more appreciative, a person with better character and certainly more interesting than if I’d had one happy marriage with the two perfect children and the white picket fence," said Patricia.
Jack, the man in her life right now, will be 80 years old next year. When they got married Jack was 75 and Patricia was 66. She is hoping that they will have 10 or 15 years more together.
"But no matter what happens, I’ve learned that life is a constant ebb and flow, always changing and I, for one, find that very exciting," she said.
Seeking a Life Partner After the Age of 50
To those who have lost a spouse, and who believe they will never marry again, she has this advice: "Keep your options open."
"The world is full of interesting, fun, smart, tender men and women," Patricia said. "In our older years it is extremely comforting to have someone at our side who has our back, will hold our hand at the doctor’s office, chat with us while we eat, travel with, rub our backs, turn to, cry with and just know that another human is going down the same road with us."
Having been single for so much of her life, Patricia was very definite about needing her own space in her present relationship. She and Jack have condos that are 57 steps apart in the same building.
She spends a good deal of her daytime and evening hours in her own condo. This is partly due to a realistic perspective on how they both prefer to spend their time.
She said, "Since Jack was put on this earth to watch sports from a recliner, I knew that as a painter, speaker and writer of books that I needed lots of time alone."
She and Jack sleep together in his condo every night, then spend an hour at water aerobics in the morning, followed by breakfast. After that, Patricia goes her way and Jack goes his.
They have dinner together later at her place, then go their separate ways for the evening. He watches sports at his place, and Patricia follows her artistic pursuits in her condo.
"It’s a marriage made in heaven and continues to grow here on earth. I am blessed, indeed, to have Jack at my side whenever we want or need to be together, but with plenty of alone time as well."
For more information go to Patricia's website at www.patricialorenz.com/
Patricia Lorenz is the author of "57 Steps to Paradise: Finding Love in Midlife and Beyond."
Patricia is an award-winning newspaper columnist and a renowned inspirational, art-of-living writer and speaker. She is the author of 14 books, 75 stories in the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, 60 anthologies, 400 magazine and newspaper articles, 26 Daily Guideposts books.
Reviewed September 13, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN