Ask the Old Bag
Advice for the Over-50 Crowd
Gayle Lagman-Creswick | Apr 23, 2012, 6 a.m.
Dear Old Bag: I just don’t get it. These people write in to you saying they have been married for 40 years or more, and they have just now decided they need a divorce. I say if you have been miserable for that long, what is wrong with being married for a few more miserable years? You are on the home stretch of life. I can’t believe people put up with something for 40 years and then all of a sudden they can’t do it anymore.
My wife may have written that letter, but she has not served me papers yet. I say, “I never promised you a rose garden.” Signed, Rose Garden
Dear Rose: Yikes! Are you for real? I am not sure if this letter is a real one, or if someone is trying to get my goat. I do know that there are plenty of marriages out there where one or both have been miserable for a long time, and they will choose to stay together until “death do they part.” They do not ask for my advice, nor would I ever tell someone to get a divorce. However, if they do decide to part and they ask for my advice to help them get through it, I will offer what I have.
My condolences to your wife. You definitely do not sound like a rose garden.
Note from Old Bag to A.B.: You sound like a lovely woman and no doubt you would be a good match to the gentleman widower who wrote in who was also widowed after 60 years of marriage. However, I cannot put the two of you together. I encourage you to use a Friendship Ad, but please tell the truth about yourself. There are plenty like you, believe it or not! Good hunting!
Dear Old Bag: I have been married for 49 years to the same wonderful man. He has always been an easy-going fellow, and I was the impatient and impulsive person. This last year we seem to have traded places. He is not so much impulsive, but he is certainly impatient and even crabby and short-tempered at times. I have had to develop much patience, because sometimes I want to tell him where to get off! As far as I know, he is in good health. He does not even take any medicine. Please tell me how to handle this new guy who appeared after 49 years. Signed, Patience
Dear Patience: It sounds as if your husband has had a change in personality, and there could be an underlying physical or mental reason for it. Please get him in for a thorough check up. It is important to notice changes like this and to report them to your family physician. It is one thing if he had always been this way, but to change, like you described, could be an abnormality.
Dear Old Bag: I have been dating a very nice woman for about six months. She is in many ways my “dream girl.” She is pretty, has a slim figure, is kind and is a great listener. The problem I have is twofold. One, she is of a fundamentalist religion and talks about it a lot. Two, we are absolute opposites in politics. Should we break up, or is there hope for us? Signed, J.K.
Dear JK: I see a bumpy road ahead. Those are two pretty big items: religion and politics. I grew up in a home where my dad was a staunch Republican and mom was a Kentucky Democrat. Mom actually became a Republican to keep peace in the house. (We will never know how she voted.)
It is probably time for you and your dream girl to have some discussions about how much, if any, either of you is willing to soften. Or you may be two of those rare people who can “live and let live,” and you can each have your individuality and respect the other’s opinions without agreeing. Be sure to get it out in the open. Good luck!
If you have a question for The Old Bag, please send it to: Ask the Old Bag c/o Lovin’ Life After 50, 3200 N. Hayden Road, Suite 210, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.