Seniors and Romantic Relationships
For many of us dating and relationships can be a source of ongoing struggle. Dating for many of us is viewed as either a source of personal triumphs or personal failures. For seniors the process of dating and relationships can be especially challenging as greeting and meeting is taking place more and more online. Just like most things in life a period of adjustment needs to occur in order to effectively navigate the world of dating, specifically online dating. Many seniors may not have had a prior need or desire to search for love and companionship as they were already married or in a romantic partnership with their significant other. A lot of seniors have no experience with or bypassed the process of online dating because they were in relationships at the time online dating became so popular. Typical forms of meeting and dating during the time seniors were actively involved in the dating arena consisted of being set up by friends and family, meeting at work, physical chance meetings, etc.
Seniors re-entering the dating field usually do so following the death of a partner or spouse. However, this by no means is the only reason a senior may re-enter the dating field, many enter as a way of expanding their social network or avoid feelings of loneliness. It is not uncommon for many people to seek love and companionship after their career goals have been met, they have raised their children, or developing a desire to share their life with someone else. Some people discover once they have achieved their career goals they do not have anyone to share their life, or enjoy the benefit of years of hard work with. However, it has become more widely expected as well as accepted to see seniors embarking on new romantic relationships later and later in life. This is due in part to longer life expectancy, eating better, working out, and generally taking better care of ourselves. In response to the demand to find love later and later in life many online dating sites have created a section specifically offering senior dating matches and compatibility. Often, senior dating is not based entirely on sex and romantic relationships but finding intimacy and friendship with another person.
I am sure we are all pretty familiar with the show ‘Golden Girls’ where 4 senior women share a house and a life together, tackling issues such as aging, health, dating & relationships, friendship, and sex. Prior to this show there weren’t many shows (and still aren’t) that addressed dating and relationships of individuals over the age of 50. The show brought to the forefront the ongoing needs and desires we all have to truly connect with someone else. Most of the issues tackled depicted concerns many of us erroneously assumed were no longer a part of the aging process, such as sex. It may come as no secret as we age our social networks tend to become smaller and smaller as we lose friends to death, retirements, relocation, and illness. Seniors like everyone out there in search of love and companionship still experience the same needs and desires, wanting to love and be loved by someone else.
Although, with time some of us may experience a decrease in energy, strength, health concerns, or faced with our own mortality more often than our younger counterparts we all retain the same innate desire, to connect with someone else. Dating and relationships do not have a cut off or a sign indicating exceeding dating age limit. Therefore, everyone should have the option as well as the right to pursue love, even in unexpected places.