The last sentences on my last post raised some interesting comments from readers. Some were posted on here, others were received via other messenger apps. In order to dispel any thoughts readers might have about me being all alone in this world with no friends, let me quite clear that I have a large circle of friends, some are closer friends than others. The situation is that nearly all of my close friends are couples, and couples seem to connect better with other couples rather than with someone who is single for whatever reason, that is widowed, divorced, never married, or separated which is my condition. From my own observations it seems that single women connect better with other single women than single men do with other single men. Another observation I have made is that very rarely do single older men have friendships with single older women. Furthermore I believe that kind of friendship would not be acceptable behavior to a lot of my friends,  no matter how platonic the friendship.

I meet weekly with up to four other men,  all happily married, for coffee for an hour or so. Typically the conversations are about, but not limited to, holidays and travel, either past travels or upcoming planned travels, or cars and caravans. Since we are all in the age range of 74-80 years old we like to compare our experiences with the health system. These are mostly about surgeries performed on us and the benefits or otherwise of the outcomes. That is surgery for “mens problems”, joint replacements, heart surgery, skin cancers, and in my case brain surgery. A couple of the men are involved as members of a Men’s Shed.

Another of my social activities is a weekly walking group, where we walk for an hour then have a long coffee and chat at a cafe nearby. Attendances vary from about 15-20 people in winter, up to 40 in summer. The coffee time follows the usual Australian tradition of social division of the men from the ladies. Most of the participants are couples, with perhaps 2 or 3 single ladies and only 1 or 2 single men. Usually the men walk as a group separate from the ladies.

A few days ago ABC  Life published an article on the ABC website

This article says a lot of things I agree with. Wives/partners do organise a couples social life, well it seems that way to me as I observe couples that I have known for decades and it was my wife that invited friends over for a meal or an outing together. When that usual way of organising a social life is disrupted, for whatever reason, divorce, death, long-term illness, separation due to placing in aged care, it can take months, if not years, to come to terms with the fact that the evenings are going to be lonely times. Not only have you lost your social secretary, but also someone to talk with over dinner, or someone to share an evening out at the cinema or a concert or a drive in the country for a picnic.

I don’t know the solutions to this situation. I am just putting this out there for readers to think about.






About labtad

Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. Migrated to Australia in 1968 and now live in an outer South eastern suburb of Melbourne. Married since 1966 to my wife who was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. I am an imperfect follower of the Christian faith who believes that most things in life happen for a reason or purpose. The last 12 years, since my wife showed the first signs of having memory problems, have gradually taught me patience, compassion and some understanding of the situations that arise when a person Is living with dementia.
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