The advertising world delivers a constant message that couples who get engaged are a bunch of spring chickens. Wrinkle-free, wide-eyed, and ten years from gray hair, they’re the picture perfect of new love. But in real life, not everyone fits that bill. What of old love?
Many people are marrying later in life.
For some, it isn’t their first marriage. Widowed or divorced, these betrothed know firsthand how difficult real marriage can be. So, there’s something uniquely inspirational about them taking another leap. And what great stories so many of them have!
“I love the whole infinity, forever, eternity thing it represents,” Bill said. Widowed at 54, he still wears the yellow-gold band from his first marriage but on his right hand. “Seeing that simple ring on the hand of the person you love is nice, especially if you thought you lost your chance decades ago.”
In high school, Kathie and Bill ran in the same circle but never actually dated. They each had a crush on the other, and the rest of their friends saw it, but because Bill was on the shy side, he was oblivious. The crush went unspoken and unrequited. When Bill went off to college, he kept in touch with old classmates, Kathie included.
“He’d send me things from time to time. Every couple of years, I’d get some memento, like a framed newspaper clipping about our yearbook club. He was always thoughtful like that, to everyone.”
Twenty-five years into his marriage, Bill lost his wife to ovarian cancer. His two adult children encouraged him to keep an open heart to new love. Two years later, he reconnected with Kathie. It turns out that old love was more like it.
“It’s not that we ever really lost touch,” Kathie said. “We just went on different trajectories for a long time. We had sporadic contact, but we both were married and never entertained any ideas. I always got some butterflies when I saw him, but we were friends.”
Kathie and her first husband were married nearly 20 years before he asked her for a divorce. She says she was devastated but not surprised. Gradually a part of her began to feel optimism at being given what she calls a second a chance at happiness. That’s where Bill came into the picture. He found her on Facebook. After several months of chatting there, and talking on the phone into the wee hours, Bill asked Kathie to meet for a date in Chicago, midway between where they were living at the time.
“We had the best first kiss,” Kathie said, “like it had been waiting, like we were really meant to be.”
“We were,” Bill says. “Life led us apart from each other but brought us back full circle. I never thought I’d have the chance to kiss that girl, not to mention put one of these gold bands on her fingers. But I’ll tell you what, when old love and true love mix together, it’s a pretty amazing thing.”
We couldn’t agree more.