life coach for women, midlife, empty nest, coach, next act, coaching for women
27
Apr
2015

Getting Married for the First Time at 51: Treva’s Story

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Screen shot 2015-04-25 at 1.27.13 PMOne final heartbreak was the catalyst Treva needed to come to terms with her single life, to let go of her expectations, and to find lasting love in the process.

Tell us a little about you…

I grew up an only child in Beverly Hills. Sounds fancy, but it wasn’t. There were no big mansions or butlers. My parents divorced when I was 8 years old and I lived in an apartment with my working single mother, Sonjia Warren Brandon, the first woman in L.A. to open her own commercial talent agency, Commercials Unlimited. She still runs the agency today.

Treva FitnessI graduated from UCSB, and moved to New York City, where I got my start in advertising as a copywriter at BBDO. I’ve been writing ad copy and content of all kinds ever since. I’m also a fitness professional, with my own private training business, and I’m a group fitness instructor at Equinox.

 

What about your love life?

I really wasn’t in a hurry, nor did I feel ready to get married when I was in my 20s and 30s and everyone else was. I was too busy trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted in life. I always dreamed of getting married; I just assumed it would happen in its own time.

When I hit my early 40s though, the clock went off and all hell broke loose. I decided it was time to get married and have kids, but every guy I met was either unavailable, newly separated, or divorced with kids and not interested in jumping back in. My timing sucked.

As a result, there were some doozy breakups that left me heartbroken and bereft. I had a run of these in my 40s and couldn’t understand why. I wanted a stable, healthy relationship, but could never seem to close the deal. Maybe because deep down inside I wasn’t really that healthy and stable myself. I knew something was broken.

 

What was your catalyst for a change in midlife?

When one of these breakups brought me to my knees, I had had enough. I was about to turn 50, my career was stalling, marriage still alluded me, and I forgot to have kids. It was a perfect storm of despair. I knew I wanted better for myself, so I set out on a journey to heal my heart and fix what was broken. I faced the hard truths about myself, did the work, resolved issues with my parents, and got clarity. In the process, I reclaimed my power, my worth, and my value.

I didn’t so much chart a new direction as I let go of the old one. As soon as I came to terms with being 50 and single forever, I felt something shift. I had made men the focus of my life and it was getting me nowhere. Realizing I’d be just fine without a husband was an incredible relief. I’m not a quitter, but I gave up—and it set me free

This revelation sent me on another journey: to get pregnant on my own. I had no husband, boyfriend, or partner even, but it was ok. I went to a sperm bank, purchased some donor sperm, and went to work. But after three years, six inseminations, three IVFs, and two donor egg embryo transfers, I ran out of time, money, and eggs and had to give up.

 

And that’s when you found love?

After all the tears, dashed hopes, and heartbreaks, I finally made peace with being single, and accepted my life as it was. And that’s when I met someone.

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Robby and Treva at the Karaoke party

Instead of having a pity party for my 50th, I decided to throw a big bash at a karaoke bar with all my friends and half of Facebook. One of the guests was a guy named Robby Scharf; I knew him through mutual friends and he seemed nice (and cute), so I invited him on a whim.

I couldn’t believe he showed up. Being a few sheets to the wind, I welcomed him with a huge, drunken hug. It was better than love at first sight—it was instant warmth.

A week later, he took me out on a proper date; six months after that, he proposed; and eight months after that, we got married.

 

 

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Tell me about Robby…

Robby is 57 and never been married either. We’re both marriage virgins, as I like to say. He’s funny, smart, good-natured, and he has one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever seen. He pushes me, challenges me, and makes me want to be better. I’ve definitely met my match with him.

One of our first dates was volunteering at Special Olympics, an organization he’s been involved with for nearly 30 years. That should tell you all you need to know about Robby—he’s got a big heart and he cares.

His family is thrilled he finally tied the knot, as is mine. I think everyone gave up—which, as I’ve learned, is one of the best things you can do.

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What is your next act?

My next act is learning how to be a wife and partner, and to keep evolving as a woman and writer. Right after getting engaged, I started a blog called The Late Blooming Bride; it’s an ongoing journey of finding love later in life. Getting married isn’t the end all, be all, but it did give me a voice and creative inspiration.

My goal is to take all the experience, wisdom, and hard knocks I collected as a single woman to the next level. My hope is to become a midlife role model for people looking to find love later in life.

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Treva on the “Suddenly Single” Panel at The Motion Picture and Television Fund Conference in 2014

What inspired you to start blogging about your experience?

Being a first time bride at 51 is an unusual story, and one I felt compelled to tell. Not only do I have all these experiences as a new wife, I have a higher calling to share what I’ve learned from 50+ years of being single.

I’ve been told that many people find my blog a good source of support and guidance. My friends and family love it, but my husband has to be sold on it sometimes since the stories are so honest it makes him cringe. He’s like my reluctant muse—he loves being my inspiration, but doesn’t always love being the star.

 

What challenges did you encounter, getting married later in life?

For two people who’ve never been married, the adjustments were huge. He has his system, I have mine, and our systems have worked just fine all these years. But when he tries to impose his system on me, that’s when we get into trouble. He forgets sometimes that I’m a strong, self-reliant woman totally capable of doing it on my own!

Another challenge is that because I’m an only child and have been single forever, I had a lot of old habits I needed to break, like giving up control, allowing myself to be loved, and releasing old fears.

 

What words of advice do you have for women seeking to reinvent themselves in midlife?

Once you hit 50, the rules don’t apply anymore. You’ve earned the right to define yourself on your terms. It’s not hard taking the plunge to reinvent yourself—just plug your nose and jump.

I’ll tell you what helps though: finding gratitude and acceptance wherever you can in your life. That means letting go of the bullshit, and making peace with who you are and what you’ve got right this minute.

My tips, in short:

  • Get comfortable in your skin
  • Learn to love being alone
  • Detach from the outcome
  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Quiet your mind
  • Get busy with other pursuits
  • Honor your highest good

The goal, if you’re single, isn’t marriage; it’s being the happiest human you can be. Remember, there is magic and power in letting go and giving up—you just have to have the faith and courage to do it.

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What resources do you recommend?

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Don Miguel Ruiz

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better by Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth

MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), a form of meditation, continues to help me enormously.

 

Contact Treva Brandon Scharf at Treva@thelatebloomingbride.com

The Late Blooming Bride

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7 Responses

  1. Exploring your sexuality and keeping yourself satisfied generally makes you happier and less stressed out. Set aside a few minutes of your day when you find yourself swamped in one of those insanely busy weeks and you just may keep your sanity afloat.

  2. Angela

    Thank you for your story. I really needed this confirmation. I’m 45 with challenges of taking me off focus of being happy single or married. Your story has inspired me to keep living a happy life throughout being single and/or married if that’s Gods will for my life. Thank you!

  3. Holly Pederson

    Dear Treva,
    I just love your blogs! Thank you for sharing. I struggle with being single sometimes as well but am very grateful for all of the wonderful blessings I do have
    Holly

    1. Holly, you have the right attitude. Gratitude is everything; it takes the edge off, eases pain, and makes life much fuller. The next time you feel like you’re struggling, just remember all that you’re blessed with.

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