sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Two Ways I Found Later Life Love

By Kathleen M. Rehl October 11, 2021 Family

As I looked out at my smiling family, in our lush backyard summer gardens on that sunny August day, I whispered to myself, “I never imagined this.”

Not in my craziest dreams did I ever expect to be a septuagenarian bride, exchanging wedding vows beside my Charlie, also in his 70s. Yet there I was, remarrying after the death of my late husband.

Fast forward three years. That’s when I recently posted this composite picture below on Facebook, including a card I made for my husband as we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. Our story delighted readers, as they gave us 162 heart-warming likes and comments.

Remarriage Wasn’t My Plan

I was a Boomer who hadn’t dated for decades when I entered the dating game in my 60s. Such a novice I was. A wise widow in her 90s advised me to stay away from men who “want you to be their purse or their nurse!” She was right! I met those fellows she described. My mantra for many years was “I’ll date, but I will never remarry!”

Several Suitors Had Money Problems

As a professional financial planner, I was comfortable asking money questions that pinpointed their heavy debts, spending disorders, negative bank balances, or no plan to fund retirement ahead.

Most were fun guys to date, but I declined marriage proposals as I saw danger ahead. (Indeed, in a scholarly research my team and I published later, we found that money issues were a big problem for many women who remarried later in life.)

Health Concerns Plagued Others

I remember a first dinner date with one older guy who said during dessert, “The way you cared for your husband during his cancer was phenomenal! Would you do that for me when we get hitched?”

Shocked at his question and the inference that a proposal might be coming soon, I stumbled through my chocolate cheesecake choice. I mumbled that we could talk about it later and suggested ending the evening soon. The next week I was ready when we met again.

“You asked me something strange before,” I said. “You seem like a nice fellow, but NO, I wouldn’t take care of you as I did for my husband. Tom and I were together for more than 20 years. I’ve only known you for a short time. Do you have some undisclosed health issues you haven’t told me about?”

He did! He reached for a pen and drew little pictures of his heart, aorta, stents, and more on a napkin. I sure got an anatomy lesson. Yes, he had major health problems and described himself as a “ticking time bomb.” Although we saw each other a few more times, I recommended that he needed to date a healthcare professional. Guess what? He married a nurse shortly afterward!

Later-Life Love Arrived

And then along came Charlie.

I feel blessed to have found later-life love with this man after our losses of widowhood. When we started dating, I felt comfortable – safe and secure. Indeed, we each had thought about priorities we wanted in a partner, and with the help of an online dating service, we came together as extremely compatible.

For example, family relationships were especially important for us both. Financial stability and general well-being were high on our lists, too. I also liked being older than Charlie, which will probably help to even out our life expectancies.  

Charlie and I were together for many years before we married. We meshed well from the start, and within a year were a committed couple. Most folks thought we were husband and wife already.

Although I previously never anticipated I would remarry, my stance softened. I wanted to be a wife again. Just felt right for me. And so… we tied the knot three years ago. For us and our blended family, this was a great decision.

A Second Type of Later-Life Love Also Fills My Life 

But wait, there’s more!

Now in my 75th year, I’m “reFired” with 5 great F words as shown in the graphic below! This focus gives me passion, purpose, and joy in retirement. Yes, I love waking up each morning excited about the day ahead.

Certainly, it’s NOT vintage retirement. This life chapter includes an emphasis on family, fun, focused purpose, friends, and fitness.

I’m still penning pieces centered on widows and money, while also doing legacy writing – stories and poems. Also speaking at selected conferences and college events. That includes leading classes on “How to Write Your Legacy Letter for Family and Friends.” I love assisting nonprofits to start or grow their endowments to help their organizations make a better world.

Since my guidebook for widows was published (about 80,000 copies in circulation now), I’ve moved forward in many ways. So can you – if you’ve experienced a major life transition, such as widowhood or divorce. Later-life love is rich with positive possibilities. The rewards can be very satisfying. Try it. You’ll like it!

Have you found later-life love? In whom – or in what? What later-life love gives you passion, purpose, and joy?

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Author

Kathleen M. Rehl, Ph.D., CFP®, wrote the award-winning book, Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows. She owned Rehl Financial Advisors for 18 years before an encore career empowering widows. Now “reFired,” Rehl writes legacy stories and assists nonprofits. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, CNBC, and more. She’s adjunct faculty at The American College of Financial Services.

You Might Also Like