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Family & Relationships

An 80s Kind of Love: Roy and Joyce

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More than ever, people are finding second or third chances at love later in life and proving that dating is not just for the younger generations.

Much of the uptick in senior dating may have to do with the obvious – that the population of older adults is also increasing as people continue to live longer, healthier lives.  This also means a lot of older adults – particularly those in their 60s, 70s and 80s are single or single again at this time of their life.

We caught up with one such couple, who are living proof that there’s no expiration date on finding love – and when you least expect it. 

This is the story of Joyce Clarke, 82 and Roy Rieger, 86.  

It was a Friday night and the weekly Pinochle game was in full swing. Around the table was most of the regular gang, but on this particular night, Roy – a cousin to the host – had been a new addition to the table. As luck would have it, on the other side of the table sat a beaming Joyce. 

“Every time I looked across the table I saw this smiling face,” Roy recalls. It didn’t take long for Roy to figure out that when your given a potential second chance at love, you play the hand you’ve been dealt. 

The next morning, Roy called Joyce to ask her if she’d like to have breakfast together. Without hesitation, Joyce accepted and they ended up spending the entire day just driving around. 

Remembering that first date brings an exuberant grin to Joyce’s face as she describes how the day ended. “I lived alone, so I didn’t keep a lot of food in the house,” she says.  “All I could offer him was a hot dog on a slice of bread – and I nuked it!  I didn’t even cook it in a pan!” 

As it turns out, a hot dog on a slice of bread must have been the way to Roy’s heart, because he called the next day and the next (and the next) and they have been by each other’s side nearly every day since. 

Joyce, a widower, strongly believes it was fate that brought them together. “It was just meant to be,” she admits about finding love again.

Not only is their love for each other unmistakable, but their energy and zeal for life is infectious. So what keeps them so vital? For Joyce and Roy the answers were pretty matter of fact:

Be happy: “Happiness if what your make of it,” says Joyce. Find joy in little moments – whether it’s going out for a Sunday drive, enjoying a good walk around the mall or sharing a hot dog on a slice of bread, just enjoy with each other’s company. Smile and laugh as often as you can.

Stick together: On one of their first trips to the mall, Roy took Joyce’s hand, stating “I don’t walk alone.” But, for these two holding hands has become more than a sign of affection. Roy is blind on one side and Joyce is deaf on one side, which means they purposefully always hold the same hands. “This way I can see her and she can hear me,” explains Roy. “We are each other’s co-pilots.”

Share your interests: Finding common interests came easy for these two – starting with Friday night pinochle. They also love to travel, taking frequent bus trips with friends and spending their winters with the snowbirds in Florida. “We just like having fun together,” says Joyce. “It’s as simple as that.”

Respect each other: “We help each other be better together,” they agree. They remind us to be nice, be good, and try to please each other. And Roy’s parting advice for a lasting and successful relationship at any age? “Remember these two words – ‘Yes, Dear’”

Whether your 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 (or even 90!), it’s never too late to find love and companionship. If there’s one thing we learned from Joyce and Roy, it’s much more fun to get old together.

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