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It’s Never Too Late to Find Love

It’s Never Too Late to Find Love

It’s Never Too Late to Find Love

You won’t find the word “opsigamy” in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. You will find it Oxford English Dictionary’s online version. So what does it mean? Its definition is “marriage late in life.”

While you may not be looking up archaic words in the dictionary, you may be wondering whether finding love later in life — or at least senior companionship that’s more than just platonic — is possible or simply something reserved for “The Golden Bachelor.” This reality show has put mature dating on the map, proving that senior love is possible and dispelling any stereotypes previously associated with romance later in life.

A 2020 Pew Research study reported 21 percent of men and 49 percent of women age 65 and up were single. And Susan Brown, a professor at Bowling Green State University who studies demographic shifts in marriage and divorce, says about 14 percent of single people between the ages of 57 and 85 are in a mature dating relationship.

Whether your previous marriage(s) ended in divorce or death of your spouse, you need to give yourself time to recover before diving into another relationship. When you are ready to test the dating waters, it’s important not to compare your new love interest with your previous spouse. If you’re divorced, you may find yourself comparing the new person’s flaws with those of your ex. If you’re a widow or widower, you might tell yourself that no one will ever compare with the spouse you lost. Neither of those approaches will serve you well in your quest to find a new partner.

Before you jump into the dating pool, first focus on yourself. You won’t be ready for a relationship until you’re in the right frame of mind. Whether it’s therapy, meditation, or prayer, find ways to heal emotionally. The good news is that by this stage in life you should know yourself, your likes, and your dislikes. Before you can combat the loneliness that often comes with age, you must address any inner demons keeping you from pursuing a new relationship.

Your physical wellbeing goes hand in hand with your emotional state. Make sure you’re getting some type of physical activity daily. Not only will you feel better, you’ll have more energy, too. That will translate to a more positive outlook overall.

So is mature dating (dating over 60), really that different from dating when you were 20 or 30? As they say, love is love. Mature love still produces the same butterflies-in-your-stomach feeling as it did decades ago.

Today, though, technology has made meeting your soul mate a lot easier. With today’s dating apps, you can simply swipe your way into the arms of someone new. A recent survey found that one-third of seniors who have dated within the last five years have utilized dating apps.

However, with this new tech comes new caveats. Here are a few guidelines (that apply to all ages) to stay safe:

  • Don’t share personal or financial information.
  • Keep the conversation online a while before meeting in person.
  • When you do meet, make sure it’s in a public place.
  • Let a friend or family member know when and where you’re meeting.
  • Listen to your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. 

If you want some mature dating advice, talk to friends who’ve been there, done that. If you need “tech support,” enlist the help of your children, grandchildren or anyone familiar with online etiquette.

So where do you meet mature singles? Senior dating really isn’t that different from dating in your younger days. If you’re seeking senior companionship, start by finding common ground: music, movies, sports (such as Phillies or pickleball), food.If you’re retired, you probably have more time for hobbies. Do they share your love of word or number puzzles? Arts and crafts? Dancing? Birdwatching? Whatever your passion, you’re likely to find someone who shares it — or who wants to share it with you. And you’re likely to find it at Meadowood!

That’s exactly what happened with Meadowood residents Gail Klein and Erik Nelson. When meeting new residents, they introduce themselves as a “Meadowood couple” because they met through the Meadowood Players Theater Group. 

Coincidentally, they were cast in a scene from the Players’ production of “Auditioning for Love.” When rehearsals first began, Gail says, they were unable to even make eye contact. However, during the many months of rehearsal, they learned about each other’s lives, experiences ,and families. After the play ended, they had their first date in the Bistro. Little did they know that their audition would lead to the real thing — a second love.

There’s also the subject of intimacy. According to the National Council on Aging, being in a positive intimate relationship can benefit your health. For starters, it can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress,  better healing after surgery, ward off depression, and even lengthen your lifespan. 

That said, seniors may find intimacy more difficult for physical reasons, emotional ones (more baggage, loss of desire), or cognitive ones. On the other hand, reports the National Institute on Aging, many older couples derive greater satisfaction from their sex lives because they have fewer distractions,  more time and privacy, and no longer have to worry about pregnancy.

Money can be a relationship deal breaker at any age, but even more so with older individuals who likely have amassed considerable savings during their lifetimes. Financial experts advise to take the following into account before saying “I do” if you’re 50 or older.

First, if you have planned to leave your estate to your children from a previous marriage, you should protect that by setting up a separate trust. That way, any assets you bring into the marriage will belong only to you and your heirs in the event of divorce or death.

Next, if you receive death benefits from your late spouse’s pension or another fund, decide to whom you want to leave those benefits to: your children, your new spouse or someone else. 

Lastly, If you and your soon-to-be-spouse are still working, discuss how filing taxes as a married couple will impact your tax rate. Should you file jointly or separately? Meet with a tax professional to determine what’s best for your financial situation.

In your younger days, you’d worry about introducing the new person in your life to your parents. When it comes to dating for older adults, the roles are reversed.

When you do find someone you want to share your life with, remember that if you have adult children they will need time as well to get used to the idea. No one will ever replace their mother or father, so they will need to forge their own relationships with the new person in your life. Your friends also will need time to adjust to the new dynamics.

Sharing one’s life doesn’t necessarily mean marriage. Some people are happy living together or simply sharing senior companionship. That doesn’t mean it’s the most popular choice. A 2022 Bowling Green study revealed that unmarried adults age 50 and older had the lowest level of cohabitation at 10%. Among women, the lowest prevalence of cohabitation was among those 50 and older, with only 8%. The lowest prevalence for men was also among this age group, at 13%.

The best approach to finding love later in life? Never say never. It’s often when you least expect it that you’ll find that special someone.