Recently I gained a new neighbor, an older gentleman who I’m guessing is in his early 60’s based on his appearance and station in life.  He is a nice guy, friendlier than most and since our introductions, stops by if he sees me out to chat.  The other day we were talking about his path, about his move and life in general.  In discussing his path he mentioned his experience with Hodgkin’ disease, an affliction seemingly in remission following some very aggressive treatments. He also mentioned how grateful he was to his partner, who, together with her sons, made his move much easier and which evolved into a discussion about both dating at our age and to a lesser degree, with cancer.  Since this has been a topic I have touched upon in the past and which I broached a bit more intimately with a recent post; I thought I might begin acting on a long thought about series on dating and cancer.

In broaching this topic I believe it important to start at the beginning, to describe who I am and the evolution of my ‘dating’ persona. I suppose in beginning this exploration I may start with adolescence and my high school days. Perhaps not an eventful time really, but a good summation being that I didn’t date in high school, perhaps surprising to some, but not remarkable for others.  Interestingly, while I harbored an inordinate degree of shyness, more aptly a lack of self-confidence, compounded by an even more profound fear of rejection, I’ve come to learn most of these ‘concerns’ were exaggerations.

In my college days many of these ‘hangups’ mitigated themselves and while I never came close to the status of ‘player’, I did begin to embark on a few adventures most refer to as dates. These ‘adventures became a little more common by my junior year, but most being intellectual interludes, extensions of things begun in class or during impromptu discussions among friends. They waned with Maggie, a lab tech with whom I worked closely, but who was seeing a fellow student. The issue was not based in some forlorn heart, but rather the realization I became the object of arguments between Maggie and her boyfriend. Given both were friends of mine, I chose to withdraw, leading me to digress to old patterns, this despite the reality the jealousy being baseless for neither Maggie or I had any such inclinations toward each other. My remaining time at Cornell, while there were a few who piqued my interest, was uneventful and failing tradition I never kissed someone I loved on the suspension bridge as a student. 

My first serious foray into the relationship scene came with ‘California Girl’, someone whom I met through business and whom with time, evolved into a girlfriend; technically my first real girlfriend.  The interlude involved a considerable effort on both our parts because I was on the east coast and she in the Los Angeles area.  We talked extensively on the phone and I flew out there for the weekends, something the airlines loved.  I learned a lot from California girl, I learned about an inner arrogance which sometimes surfaced and I learned about love in other than a plutonic relationship.  I also learned of the deep pain of loosing that love, of betrayal and that which makes long distance relationships extraordinarily difficult.  The betrayal discovered when I learned she was seeing another she met in a bar during my absences; something she revealed when I told her I would be coming to visit and she asked I did not.  I returned to my shell, to that place within my walls, those walls well described in the Simon and Garfunkel song, ‘I Am a Rock’.

Fast forward a number of years and a few, what I would call more of flings, and the meeting of my ex-wife.  My meeting her was a bit different for the times, something a bit more common these days, albeit the method being a bit different.  I met my ex-wife through a personal ad I happened to read on the rare occasions I read the paper.  It was a different progression of events, I sent a letter to the P.O. Box in the ad and really forgot I had done so.  Several weeks later she wrote back and we began telephone conversations.  She was different than most women  had met to that point, some degree of intellect while appearing to compliment that which dominated me, filling the gaps, as I saw them.  We married six months later and given we both were in our 30’s, decided to have a child.  My son was born 12 months following our marriage which endured, with considerable periods of turbulence, for 14 years.  I was 48 when we divorced and then 9 months following her moving out, I was diagnosed with my high risk prostate cancer.  It was, by many accounts a very challenging year for me.  The reprieve between my diagnosis and divorce, did allow me to get a ‘taste’ of mid-life dating which I did using an online  service.  Unlike the stereotypes and perhaps stigmas associated with the forum, my  experiences were generally good and I met a number of nice women, some of whom evolved into relationships.  It is those experiences and relationships that will be the topic of future posts, but for now, I will sign off and begin compiling the journey.

As always, feel free to comment or you may email me at



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