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Dating After 60: Finding a Balance Between Intimacy and Independence

By Margaret Manning February 21, 2017 Dating

When it comes to dating after 60, it often feels like women face a choice between intimacy and independence. But, is this a fair assessment?

Certainly, many of the women in the Sixty and Me community have pushed back whenever I have raised this topic. Let’s explore this together.

What Do You Value More? Independence or Intimacy?

Gabriel García Márquez once said that “Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life.” Then, with great insight, he added that our “secret life” is often the one that we keep from ourselves.

So, now that I am in my 60s, I want to explore my own secret life and, in doing so, answer a question that many other boomer women are asking: “What do I value more in life – independence or intimacy?”

Does Dating After 60 Force Us to Make a Choice?

Do I want to live my life in total freedom, guided only by my own heart? Do I want to dress the way I want, say exactly what is on my mind and do whatever feels right at the time? Or do I finally want to let myself be a bit vulnerable, sacrificing some of my independence for intimacy?

Like many women my age, I wonder whether I want to be alone but free or in a relationship filled with compromises.

“That’s ridiculous.” You may be thinking. “Can’t every smart, dynamic and modern woman have both?” This sounds great in theory, but, the reality of life after 60 is different. The more I talk with other single women my age, and a little younger, the more I realize that the “intimacy vs. independence” conflict is very real.

Being Single is Different

The conflict between intimacy and independence is easy to manage when you are married or in an intimate relationship. When I was married, I loved being able to share my darkest fears and my brightest dreams with my husband. In this context, I was more than happy to surrender part of my independence. After all, marriage requires a true compromise between both worlds.

When I had children, I was prepared to give up a little more of my secret life. My children and I were dependent on each other, all in the context of love and trust. I was an independent and intimate woman.

Now, like many single women in their 60s, my relationships have changed. No one is dependent on me and my secret life is exclusively mine. I have ultimate freedom. But I don’t have intimacy. I have a good relationship with my family, but, I lack truly intimate friendships. I don’t have people to ask the tough questions to.

Like many women over 60, I now realize that to fight invisibility and build a positive future for myself, I need to take action.

So, let’s get back to my original question. What do I value more – independence or intimacy? Do I, like so many women, want to take the cynical perspective that I am “better off alone?” Or, will I make finding intimacy a priority?

Of course, I want to find a way to do both. But, the question is what do I need to focus on? What is missing in my life? If I’m honest with myself, I would have to say intimacy. I have a feeling that many women my age feel the same.

What Does a Mature Dating Coach Have to Say?

When I interviewed dating coach, Lisa Copeland, she said that, in order to find love in your 60s, you need to be willing to take a softer approach to relationships and celebrate men as heroes. Maybe it’s time for more women to take this advice to heart.

So, that’s it. I’m committed. This year, I am going to start my search for intimacy. I will not value intimacy above my independence, but, I will make it a priority. I will open my secret doors to others and share myself with others more freely. Will you join me?

Do you agree that many women over 60 have learned to value independence at the price of intimacy? Have you tried dating after 60? Why or why not? Please join the conversation.


Watch my interview with senior dating coach, Lisa Copeland for more dating tips.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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