I love a great debate. Last week, I was sitting in a café near my gym when I overheard a group of women my age in a heated conversation about senior dating.

Since this topic comes up quite frequently in our Sixty and Me conversations, I ordered another coffee and discreetly listened in.

Is Senior Dating Really So Horrible?

One lady, with beautiful grey hair and a sporty red outfit, was explaining that she was tired of all the arrogant, selfish, immature men that she had met online. She concluded that “all older men really want is younger women.”

A second woman, in bright purple baggy yoga pants, agreed with her friend and said that women should not have to play games with men. She said that she had spent her entire life giving to and pleasing others and this was her time to live life on her terms.

The final lady at the table, with pixie hair and a gorgeous beaded top, responded that she was going to speak her mind, no matter what. She said that she didn’t care of men thought she was attractive and concluded with a sentence that I have heard quite a few times from women in the Sixty and Me community – “I refuse to be a man’s nurse or his purse.” She concluded by asking “Aren’t we all independent, compassionate, responsible women who just want to be respected for ourselves?”

As they left the café, all walking in different directions, I felt several strong emotions. For starters, I was happy they had each other to talk to. Loneliness is a big issue for baby boomers and having friends who genuinely care about you and who share your values is a blessing.

On the other hand, based on their entirely negative views about men, I was pretty sure they weren’t in relationships. Beyond that, the overall negative tone of their conversation shocked me. I couldn’t help but asking myself, “When did some of us baby boomers become so bitter?” “Is it fair to point aging stereotypes at others and then complain when society pushes anti-aging nonsense at you?”

Is the Gap Between Intimacy and Independence Really So Wide?

So, here’s my question for all of you. If an older woman is emotionally, financially and physically independent, does this mean that she can never find love? In a perfect world, people would love us for who we are. They would ignore our appearance and see right into our souls.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Relationships require sacrifices. All of us – men and women – are deeply flawed. In order to find intimacy, do we need to be willing to give up a little independence?

As I listened to their conversation, it occurred to me that all three women had set an impossible bar for finding the man of their dreams. I worried that, in searching for perfection, they had given up on love – not love as it is portrayed in the movies, but, love as it exists in the real world.

Are We Too Old to Play Games?

When I interviewed dating coach, Lisa Copeland, she emphasized the importance of compromise in finding and keeping a partner. In her own life, she said that she was not looking for perfection. Instead, she hit the “reset” button and learned to play the dating game. It took time and patience. 40 dates later, Lisa met a wonderful man.

Lisa says women should make men feel like a hero (don’t snarl) and use the four magic words to get their attention – “Can you help me?”

Yes, that sounds like 1960’s dating technique, but, the question is – does it work? And, if it does, are you willing to compromise a little to give yourself a chance of finding love?

Before you respond that “True love is unconditional,” or “Real men don’t need to have their ego stroked,” think about whether this is really the case. Don’t we all need to feel good? Aren’t we all looking for someone who sees our potential, not just our current state? Don’t you want to make someone feel good when you love them?

I started Boomerly because I wanted to help baby boomers to meet people who share their interests. Boomerly is not a senior dating site, but, if any of our members find love, so much the better! Whether you are looking for a friend, a travel partner or a romantic partner, finding intimacy will almost certainly require you to give up a little independence. That’s just how relationships work.

Have you tried senior dating? What was your experience? Please join the conversation.

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Here is a short video that I recorded on the topic of senior dating.

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