Looking for a partner can be 'scary'

Looking for a partner can be 'scary'
"I'm set in my ways. If I ever have a man, my whole life would change. I'm not prepared for that," Ms Shamim Moledina, 68, says.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

After the end of her second marriage about five years ago, Ms Shamim Moledina, 68, did not expect that men would approach an older woman like her.

She was chatted up by men she met in different situations, including through her club, Singapore Recreation Club, at dinner parties and at community centre events. Some men sent private messages on Facebook.

"They were mostly in their 60s and many of them were married," says Ms Moledina.

Once, during what she thought was an innocent tea with a married acquaintance, she realised that he wanted something more when he urged her to call him whenever she felt lonely.

Despite these experiences, she has not ruled out dating, but would only go out with people she knows and trusts.

"I'm not the kind to have dinner at somebody's expense if I'm not interested," she says.

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"I also know I get attached very easily. If I go through a break-up, it's hard for me."

Regarding dating prospects of women her age, she says that while some are lucky in finding a good partner, it can be "scary".

"Well-to-do women might get taken advantage of. Also, some people I know have been conned by men they met online."

After the end of her second marriage, which had lasted 22 years, there was a period when she felt "lonely and helpless".

"I was quite dependent on my ex-husband. I felt the need for a companion at that time."

She is financially independent although she had been a housewife since she was in her 20s. Her two adult children from her first marriage of 19 years live in France and Britain. She and her second ex-husband, a retired engineer in his 60s, had travelled and played competitive bridge together.

She attributes her current reluctance to date to a "very protected" upbringing.

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Born in Bombay the fourth of six children, she lived in India, England and Pakistan as the family moved on account of her father's work running an import and export business. She "regrets" that she was never allowed to go out with boys for fun. Her first experience of love, as a shy schoolgirl of 18, was conducted mostly through letters.

She has had only two long relationships with people she had known previously. Her first marriage, which ended in divorce, was a matchmade one while her second husband is a relative.

Two years after she divorced her second husband, they got together briefly again. "I had been very hurt, but my heart is very soft. I had been with him for so many years," she says.

She and her ex went on dates like any other couple, having meals together and going to places such as the Botanic Gardens and museums.

She "found the strength to end it" when he asked, after two months, if he could date other women as well.

Now, she keeps herself busy with bridge at various clubs, as well as ad hoc volunteer projects, such as organising clothes donation drives for foreign workers. She travels a few times a year to visit her son, daughter and other relatives.

"I'm set in my ways. If I ever have a man, my whole life would change. I'm not prepared for that," she says.


This article was first published on July 19, 2015.
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