I am responding to "Single Still in Little Rock," the 34-year-old woman who is anxious about whether she'll ever marry. I married for the first time at 67. After retiring from a 45-year career in nursing, I met a wonderful, caring and interesting man who had lost his first wife years earlier. Neither "Sam" nor I was looking for a spouse at the time. (Truthfully, I had given up.) We were introduced by a mutual friend at church and soon knew we were meant to be together.
My advice to "Single" is to continue living a full and productive life, remain open to making new friends, look for a man who had a happy first marriage and don't give in to your anxieties. My husband and I know our time together is limited. We strive to make the most of every day, overlooking small and unimportant differences, and focusing on making each other happy. I am an integral part of Sam's family, including his sons and their offspring. It's a wonderful life, and I'm grateful I was able to endure some loneliness when I was younger for all that I have now.
- Rose in Tucson
DEAR ROSE: Your letter is inspiring. "Single Still" requested that I ask readers for their success stories in finding love "later in life," and true to form you responded in huge numbers. Bless you all! Read on:
DEAR ABBY: For many years I desperately wanted to be married. Therefore, I measured everyone who asked me out as a possible husband and either scared them away or allowed myself to be used. Finally, after living in a number of large cities, my career moved me to a tiny rural town. By then I had lost hope of finding Mr. Right, so I quit looking.
Best thing I ever did! I learned to enjoy life for what it offered each day, not pine for a mate. I found myself enjoying friendships with men because I saw them as friends, not potential husbands. Out of the blue, some pals arranged a blind date with "the only eligible bachelor" left in town. We were married less than six months later - at ages 34 and 38 - and just celebrated our 21st anniversary.
- Loving My Life in Minnesota
DEAR ABBY: I consider my "failed" relationships opportunities to learn something. The main lesson is I must love who I am first and be less concerned about where a relationship is going. When you're happy, pursuing your own interests and developing yourself as a person, someone with a similar perspective will come along. Instead of bemoaning my single status, I'm on Internet dating sites - a great platform for meeting people who share my interests.
- Sondra in Tennessee
DEAR ABBY: I held off on marrying until my career was stable. My wife and I married when we were 35. For years we have traveled without worrying about babysitters or being home by a certain time. We have formed friendships with other childless couples and share "family" holidays. We dote on our nieces and nephews. If "Single" still wants children and is concerned about the health aspects of pregnancy at an older age, adoption is available.
- Married Man in Texas
DEAR ABBY: At age 30, with the help of a therapist, I realized I was approaching this thing all wrong. Instead of dating men who were looking at me, I was running after every gorgeous guy I saw. It didn't work, so I stopped chasing and let myself be chased. I was married in five years. Love isn't always "at first sight."
- Been There in Oakland, Calif.
DEAR ABBY: I used my single status in service to others and having a stellar career. I have no regrets, and am sad for the women I know who are lonely in their marriages. "Single" should count her blessings that she hasn't said "I do" to "Mr. Wrong."