mature women

To date – or not to date – a widower?

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January 28  |  Grief & Bereavement, Love & Relationships, overcoming adversity, Self-Help, Women ageing, Women and love  |   Cynthia






I was recently asked to contribute to an article in a US publication, about the whys and wherefores of dating a widower.  This is a really tricky one to answer as there’s no right or wrong answer. Every situation is individual and different.

If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few quick guidelines to bear in mind:

  •  Ascertain discreetly how long it is since she died – he may not be ready for another relationship, even though he thinks he is.
  • Don’t rush it – go at his pace.
  • Know that anniversaries and special days will possibly be painful – even many years down the line
  • Don’t ask him about his late wife unless he raises it and if he does, let him talk about it. Don’t try to offer advice – all he wants is a witness to listen his pain.
  • He may want to avoid certain places where they went as a couple.
  • Set your own boundaries – beware of being compared to her, or incessant talk about her.
  • Watch out for warning signs – if he appears to be stuck in grief and it gets pathological then get out. He may not be emotionally available right now – but keep the door open if you want to.
  • Has he got baggage by way of children? If so, can you cope with it? Don’t try and be their mother. The best you can hope to be to them is a good friend. Be prepared for potential animosity from his former in-laws as well as his children and even friends.
  • Manage your expectations of him and the relationship. He may still be fragile. Give time time.

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If Love Is Blind, Marriage Is An Eye-Opener

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March 11  |  Uncategorized  |   Cynthia

Many of us have regarded the recent union of erstwhile famous model Jerry Hall, and billionaire Rupert Murdoch, with abject horror. I must admit I’ve been amongst the incredulous ranks of the Doubting Thomases.  We ask ourselves, apart from his billions, what can Jerry possibly see in Rupert? Surely the best wedding present he could possibly receive, would be a caseful of Viagra. At the ripe old age of 85, isn’t this is going to be a case of “death in the saddle“? I had an uncle who met his demise, whilst on the job with his mistress, causing extreme embarrassment to his nearest and dearest – and I suspect it can’t have been much fun for said mistress, to find herself being rapidly jettisoned from the throes of passion, to having to extract herself from beneath a corpse, “in flagrante delicto“, as we lawyers say. Having said that, for my uncle, could there really have been a more fun way to go?

The point is, what floats one person’s boat, may not necessarily float another’s.  One man’s, (or woman’s) meat, is another man’s poison. And very often why this is the case, isn’t necessarily obvious to an outsider. In my new self-help book, “From Dinner Date to Soulmate – finding love at any age“, I discuss the expectations we all have and the emotional filters we operate through, when selecting a partner.  These are commonly unconsciously tainted by our past experiences, going as far back as childhood, and the “commands” we were indoctrinated with, by our parents and other supposed caretakers.   Then, in ripe adulthood, we can discover that we repeatedly choose the same type of unsuitable partner, ending in a tsunami of tears.  Einstein said that madness is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. This wisdom has never been more clearly manifested, than in the arena of intimate relationships.

Take my beloved third hubby, Peter.  His “previous” include an array of not what you might term conventionally beautiful women.  One had a gammy leg and another used to remove her false teeth every night, carefully placing them in a glass on her side of the bed. The point being, that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, and frankly it’s none of our business anyway!

As for myself, I was an ardent “beardist“, all my life.  I did NOT do beards and bald patches. When I met Peter in 2002, on our second date, I brazenly pointed to the offending facial fuzz, exclaiming, “and THAT will have to go“. It was almost the end of a beautiful potential relationship.  Which just goes to show that what I knew about healthy relationships 14 years ago, you could have written on a postage stamp.

I’ve discovered that often what we think we want in a partner, ie no beard, bald patch and must be over 6 foot tall – isn’t necessarily what we need. It takes a lot of  inner work to deconstruct the illusions we’ve created, but without The Work, the painful lesson will be repeated until it’s learned. In my book, I cover this aspect fully, and provide a plan for successfully doing just.

I very quickly learned to love that quirky beard and the sexy little bald patch, just as much as the man who sports them. Indeed, the latter provides a useful signpost, from the back of any aircraft, preventing me from mistakenly hurtling myself onto the lap of the bemused man in row 14 instead of the correct seat.

So Jerry and Rupert – I wish you “bon courage et bonne route” together – and don’t forget to relocate to an area where there are excellent primary schools!



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Sugar is s***!

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August 25  |  Fitness and the mature woman  |   Cynthia

8 days ago I decided to finally throw in the towel and give up sugar.  I suffer from musical addictions and despite my high levels of denial, and a massive dose of the “poor me’s” because this Saturday, it’ll be 18 years since I gave up booze, and I felt entitled to compensate with sugar, I’d finally given up the fight.

When I say I’ve given up sugar, I say that slightly tongue-in-cheek, because the wretched stuff is in absolutely everything – or so it seems. You can make a decision to never touch booze again, and as tough as that is, if you never pick it up again, you’re a winner.

However – sugar is another drug altogether.  And make no mistake, it IS a highly addictive toxin.  Bottom line – if you’ll pardon the pun – your body just doesn’t need it. The lawyer in me loves undertaking research and I’ve compiled a file entitled “Sugar Is S***” and I’m continuing to add to my findings and analysis on a regular basis. Knowledge is power, and boy do I need power to kick this mama!

This is hard.  I’ve had to kick booze, prescription meds, and compulsive spending, and have have a lifelong tussle with codependency issues.  However – remission IS possible from the disease of addiction.  To coin my favourite phrase of the moment, it’s a case of progress and not perfection.  I don’t kid myself that I’ll ever be addiction-free.  There is no cure as such, but a daily reprieve from its lashes.

To be dependent on any activity or substance, is an abomination to the human spirit. As I age, I want to be free of the shackles of dependency.  I won’t wake up one morning and be “normal”, whatever that word actually means.  But am I ashamed of having a compulsive personality?  Certainly not!  I spent way too many years of my life beating myself up.  If I had cancer or diabetes, would I punish myself mercilessly?  Nope! So why should being an addict be shame-inducing?  It just is what it is.  And there’s hope.  18 years of continuous sobriety, which has given me an incredible, joyous life,  is a clear manifestation of that.

So here we go again.  I’m seeing the face of the devil once more, and this time he’s sporting the “S” word – sugar!  But 8 days on, let me tell you that I’ve not had so much energy in years.  My aches and pains have greatly diminished and in less than one week, I’d shed almost 4 pounds, which reinforces that a) I must have been consuming one hell of a lot of sugar b) that, as always, the dis-ease of addiction is one of denial (I’m not THAT bad!)  c) that 13 years of futile attempted controlled eating of the dreaded substance has led to nada, save an ever-increasing girth.

The madness theory applies yet again – doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.  So now I’m taking action and doing something different. And it’s well-worth enduring the discomfort of sugar cravings, which are now subsiding.  My foot injury is much better and I’m now swimming 30 lengths daily as I resume My Silver Vixen Reclaim Your Body/Swim The Channel Challenge!

I’m proud of myself!  I got through a very difficult week in my first 7 days.  Eating out 3 times and painful personal issues which would have previously got me reaching straight for the chocolates. Yippee – it works if you work it, so work it – you’re worth it!SugarPoison pic




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Shaken but not stirred – the phoenix shall rise again!

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August 13  |  Fitness and the mature woman  |   Cynthia

They say life happens when you make other plans.  Do I know that one well!

Yesterday I was all set to carry on with my Silver Vixen Reclaim Your Body Challenge. I was motoring, and was up with the lark, brought HM Peter breakfast in bed and set off to walk Lola and her boyfriend Bailey.  Three-quarters of the way round the park, I was suddenly felled by a large marauding hound who knocked me for six, sending  me and my glasses flying. I landed somewhat inelegantly in a heap – right onto my hooter, feeling a hideous “ouch” moment in my foot as I went down. Snap, crackle and pop! Just like the old Rice Crispies advert.

The offending mutt made off at  high speed with its owner, leaving me to find my specs, whilst contemporaneously attempting to manage 2 dogs and get up off the ground.

My very first thought was that this was going to ruin my swimming challenge.  I hoped the pain would wear off but I eventually ended up in A & E in the afternoon and am now hobbling about on crutches, with a hooter the size of a large potato. Beautiful, I do not look right now!

So it’s confined to barracks and no swimming for now. However, my previous vast experience of overcoming adversity, has taught me through the school of hard knocks, to turn a negative into a positive.  So I’ve dusted myself and my crutches down, and am determined to get over this obstacle asap without losing too much of my fitness momentum.

Notes to self:

  • When the going gets tough – the tough get going – and I’m tough!
  • When life gives you lemons – make lemonade
  • This will only derail me if I allow it to
  • Hey presto – plenty of time to work on my book!
  • The Swim The Channel Charity Challenge doesn’t start until 7 September
  • Si on veut, on peut – where there’s a will, there’s a way
  • There’s always a bright – and a funny side – to absolutely EVERYTHING!



No oil painting today!

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It’s Not What You’re Eating – But What’s Eating YOU!

August 7  |  Fitness and the mature woman  |   Cynthia

The Silver Vixen Reclaim Your Body Challenge – Day 12

I can barely believe it!  I’ve actually stuck to my own challenge for 12 whole days, without slithering out of it – much as I’ve sometimes felt like doing.  Making it “public”is such a helpful mechanism.  I stick to what I’ve said I’d do – and hopefully I simultaneously encourage others to give it a whirl too.

Yesterday I had a really rubbish day.  The sort which would in the past have compelled me to head straight for the chocolate, biscuits, crisps and other such crap, and engage in a full blown-out binge.

Somebody hurt me deeply and despite the binge impulse resulting from the wounding offence, I chose to “mind the gap” between impulse and action, share the upset with a few wise, close friends – and not permit what was eating me to compel me to eat something really damaging.

This is the beginning of a new habit for me.  And it’s going to be a case of progress and not perfection in transforming it into a permanent change in my way of being.  I’ve been reflecting on how much we self-medicate with food.  Perhaps this comes from the early association of food and comforting mothers – for those of us who had a nurturing mother – which I didn’t!  Many of us were probably given food to soothe or reward us.  Perhaps this was because we did have mothers who just couldn’t give of themselves, so food was used throughout our early lives as a kind of dummy.

As somebody who’s battled multiple compulsions my whole life – mostly successfully over the last 18 years – I appreciate how tough it can be to choose wisely, when the addictive madness is upon us.  The “normies” just don’t get it – the fact that the compulsion will win hands down, over logic and rationality.  And for so many of us, once we’ve achieved some sort of reprieved status with one compulsion – up pops another and here we go again!

The bottom line is – we do have that moment of choice to choose another way of being.  At first it’s so damned tough. Then bit by bit, one minute, hour or day at a time – we make progress – but never perfection!

So – the painful moment is passing – as long as I don’t keep feeding it with more fuel.  Impulse has been restrained, just for today, so that a bad situation isn’t made worse, and can perhaps be addressed face to face later on.  I don’t self-medicate with food, booze, drugs, spending, compulsive internet surfing, look for my husband to fix me – because I’m here to tell you after 3 husbands – that the only one who can fix you is YOU! I focus on the gratitude I have for this amazing life which I’ve created and I sit with the discomfort, knowing that this too shall pass – and I practise self-care, albeit it by taking baby steps.

Have a great weekend!


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