Most of us think of romance as a natural part of early adulthood. That's when the mating game really heats up. With the right partner, it can stay on simmer forever. But suppose you've been widowed? Or divorced? Or never happened to meet Mr. Right?
Now you're in, say, your late sixties, or seventies, and single. So what are your options?
It's Up to You
Thanks to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, the advent of internet dating services, and, most important, the improved health and vitality of both men and women over 55, romance, dating and sex can still be an important part of any woman's life.
The traditional ways of meeting men--through friends, church, travel, etc., are still available, but internet dating services have added a host of new resources (see below) and are organized in useful ways. You can meet men of your faith, your ethnic background, your common interests, your age group, your sexual preference, your neighborhood, your politics, and more.
So let's say you decide to join an online dating service that specializes in people in your age group who live within driving distance. You look at photos and read info about each potential partner's interests and background. You email likely prospects and, finally, you agree to meet one of them in person.
The First Date
It may be more than 40 years since your last date, but 3 things never change.
- You're nervous, he's nervous: The best way to deal with your nerves is to help him with his. Ask him about his interests, his work, his favorite movies. These are friendly, undemanding topics that can help you both to relax while you get to know each other.
- You hope he'll like you: He will like you if you show an interest in him (and visa versa!). You're already doing this by asking about his interests, etc. This will also help you decide whether or not you have enough things in common to consider a second date.
- Could he be more than a friend: Usually this question takes more than a single date to answer, but sometimes the chemistry (or lack of it) is very clear. Rule A: It's usually best not to jump to conclusions. Rule B: There are exceptions to every rule.
The Seventh Date
By the seventh date the two of you may be beginning to think of yourselves as "a couple." Family members may agree and want to be introduced. It's probably best to hold off including each other in family get-togethers until you're sure about the nature of your relationship. Most people will have an opinion ("He's wonderful, don't let him get away," "She's not good enough for you," etc.) which can muddy the waters if you're still uncertain about things.
When you do finally introduce your new significant other, bear two things in mind:
- Your relationship with this man is for your pleasure and comfort alone. You hope your children and friends will approve of him, but that is not necessarily essential to your or their happiness.
- Your children are adults with lives of their own. You, too, are an adult. You have earned the right to a private life.
If You Marry
Should you decide to marry, there may be financial issues affecting your children that you will want to consider. Under such circumstances a pre-nuptial agreement may be advisable and, at the very least, your will may have to be revised. Consulting with an estate lawyer is probably a good idea.
Listed in order of overall membership ratings, these were: match.com; eHarmony; OurTime; zoosk; chemistry.com. Of the five, only OurTime described itself as "designed for seniors," but all had large membership bases that included many seniors.