Q. I was divorced two years ago after a long marriage. Lately, I have been thinking about what it might be like to be in a relationship again. My friends are encouraging me to get out there and date, but at 67, the thought of starting over makes me nervous. I’ve been out of the dating scene for a long time. Do you have any advice?
A. First, you are not alone. The idea of dating again likely seems strange, and it may be hard to imagine being with someone new. However, I am glad you have friends who can support you during this new phase of life.
The recent success of The Golden Bachelor, a reality dating show featuring a 72-year-old man looking for romance after losing his wife, highlighted how the need for connection and romance isn’t reserved for a certain time of life.
Millions of older adults are entering the dating scene, and more of them than ever before are experiencing their own happily-ever-after later in life, according to AARP. Here are some tips as you think about dating again:
Do it for you! Dating now versus when you were young won’t be the same experience. You aren’t the same person (and neither are your potential dates). Enter the dating scene with a positive mindset when you are ready. There is no “right” time.
Be clear about what you want. Take some time to think about what you are looking for in a relationship. This can help you avoid wasting time on people who aren’t a match.
Build a social circle. Find opportunities with friends and family to get out and meet new people. Putting yourself out there can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but it’s a natural way to connect with others. Let others know you are dating, and word will get around. Take your time and keep an open mind.
Go online. Research says one in five adults over the age of 50 have used a dating website or app. It’s an easy way to get into the swing of things and meet new people with shared interests and experiences There are several sites designed just for older adults that you may want to check out.
Whether you chose to start dating online, in person, or both, beware of people who may seek to financially take advantage of you. If someone seems “too good to be true”, or they ask you to send them money or gifts, think about whether you might be being scammed. You could ask your family, friends, or other trusted person to help you determine whether this is the case.
Have fun. Think of dating as a way to learn about yourself and others. Not every date will work out (some things haven’t changed!), so if you aren’t connecting move on. Be patient and try to enjoy the journey.
Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.agespan.org for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joan Hatem-Roy is the chief executive officer of AgeSpan.