At some point in most monogamous, over-60 relationships, the issue of whether or not to live together comes up. During the 60s and 70s, moving in with your sweetheart was so common and freewheeling that it earned the dubious label, “shacking up.”
It was a means to save money because in many ways two people could live together cheaper than two people living individually.
Sex, a daily experience for many of us way back when, was another appealing aspect of living together. Sex was always available. Granted, these live-in arrangements were rarely successful in the long term, but few of us were thinking very far ahead.
Now we’re in our 60s and 70s, and the notion of living together, while still having many of the earlier advantages, includes new issues never faced in youth. Caretaker is a word I hear frequently, and I’m not referring to bringing chicken soup to a loved one with the flu.
No, what I’m talking about is providing care for a sweetheart who has an illness that may not ever get better. Alzheimer’s comes to mind, but there is a slew of medical issues less deadly and debilitating that can impact relationships in a major way.
I’ve been a date coach for women over 60 long enough to have often heard the phrase, “I don’t want to be a nurse or a purse.” I don’t have any judgment about women who abide by this sentiment. Deciding to live together with a partner is a decision with implications that we ignore at our peril.
I’m 72 and my partner is 68. We’ve been dating and spending weekends and Wednesday nights together for nearly five years. We only decided to live together a few weeks ago. Since Nancy’s home is larger than mine, we’ll live in hers. But there’s more to the story.
I’m feeling an overwhelming need to have an adventure. I’m a youthful person, but even so, I’m uncertain how many adventures I have left to experience. I’m really Jonesing to live in another culture, at least for six months of the year, so I recently decided to live in Mexico.
There are several reasons besides wanting to live in another country. I love warm weather, so Mexico is obvious. I’ve grown tired of the U.S. political circus that will likely continue for years to come, and Latin culture seems far less burdened – even by its incredibly unpopular President.
My work as a writer and voiceover actor can be accomplished anywhere, Mexico included. But my partner, Nancy, is still working as a therapist and can’t go with me now.
She will visit me a few times during the six months I’m away, hopefully for a few weeks at a time, but we both realize our relationship is about to change. I’m not worried she’ll meet someone else and fall in love, and she feels similarly about me. We’re both already in love.
I’m planning to move into her home in September, then leave for Merida, Mexico late October. We’ll face the typical moving-in-together issues, but with a twist. After two months I’ll be gone for the next six.
Nancy and I believe our relationship might actually grow as we learn to live together/apart, independent of one another.
We live independent lives now, and our hope is that it is our independence that will make this new living arrangement viable.
We have friends separately and together and routinely spend time away from each other. We both reject the notion of being joined at the hip with each other.
I’ll blog about this new and unusual living arrangement as it unfolds. A few people have already asked for more information about how they might do a similar lifestyle change with their partners.
If you started dating again, could you live with someone? Or, would you live separately? Are you living with someone part of the week, month or year? How is that working out? What advice would you give to someone who is about to try dating over 60? Please join the discussion below!
Tags Senior Dating Advice