Last month I stopped by for a surprise visit to my mother at the senior living community where she has lived for the past two years. Being widowed for the past decade, we thought she should live in a community surrounded by people her own age, where she would play bingo, gossip with other ladies and be in bed by nine every night. We were wrong … she has more life in her these days than she did in her 30s! So I wasn’t surprised when I showed up to find her dressed up with makeup, fresh-from-the-salon hair, and perfume. But today, there was a little something extra in her attitude. She was smiling, humming tunes and a sparkle in her eye.
She went on to tell me she was going on a date. A date? Really? It turns out, she had reconnected with a high school flame online, and they had been chatting for a few weeks, and were finally going to go out to dinner. I didn’t realize she even knew how to “chat” online. I quickly learned that seniors no longer sit around in rocking chairs and eat dinner at 4:00 pm. In fact, seniors are the fastest growing population on social networking sites like Facebook. They are more active and social as any other population.
Still, even for today’s seniors, dating can be a pretty intimidating idea. Many find themselves alone after having been married for many years. It is normal to wonder if dating has changed dramatically, or if you’ll even remember how. But there are many good reasons to get back in the game, not the least of which is companionship. Why spend another Saturday night alone, when there are plenty of other people your age looking to spend time with someone, too.
You might be looking for romance, or just a casual partner to enjoy activities with. However you envision your love life, you have to be proactive – don’t wait around for Prince or Princess Charming to come to you … you might have to do something out of your comfort zone.
Join a gym, attend events, and travel excursions for singles. These are great ways to introduce you to new people in a stress-free environment.
Attend your high school reunion. Don’t fret about the extra weight or a few wrinkles … chances are you have a lot in common with your former classmates.
Tell your friends and family you’re interested in dating again and ask them to set up you up. Ah, the dreaded blind date – but are they really as bad as everyone makes them out to be? Who knows you better than your family and friends … in fact they may know more about your perfect match than you do.
And yes, go online! This is the new dating reality, especially for those over 50. Instead of getting dolled up and trekking to out to a singles bar, you can have your pick of hundreds of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes in the comfort of your own home and wearing pajama pants. Websites like Match.Com and eHarmony offer hundreds of people of all ages who are just waiting to find the one! Create a catchy but honest profile, upload flattering photos that show your personality or an activity that you enjoy, and no matter what – be yourself!
And most importantly, remember to keep your options open. Since most fifty-plus men and women already have raised families, they aren’t necessarily looking to get married and settle down. When you have too many expectations, you limit yourself so much that you’re not going to be successful. Just have fun.