Most women never thought they’d be in their 60s and hitting the dating scene. But life has a way of throwing you curve balls and dating after 60 (or 70, or even 80) can certainly be one of them.
If the last time you “dated” was 30 years ago or more, beginning to date again can feel intimidating, to say the least. But even if you’re feeling rusty, unsure of yourself, or confused about where to start, there’s good news – dating mid to later in life can actually be more fun and exciting than when you were younger.
The first thing to know is that dating now vs. then is different in a lot of ways, and many of those ways are positive.
When you date later in life, the objective is to find someone you genuinely like and whose company you enjoy. You’re not looking for “Dad” material, and hopefully not someone to “complete” you. By now, you’ve probably figured out that you’re complete on your own.
In addition, you have a good knowledge of other things.
By the time you’ve reached your 60s, you’ve accumulated a wealth of life experiences. These experiences give you a deeper understanding of what you want in a partner and a relationship.
Your priorities shift as you age. In your 20s, you might have been focused on exploring new experiences, building a career, or starting a family. In your 60s, you prioritize companionship, emotional connection, and shared values over other considerations.
Just because you’re not looking for someone to start a family with doesn’t mean you don’t want someone family oriented. At this stage of life, you likely have adult children, grandchildren, or even caregiving responsibilities for aging parents. These family dynamics can impact any relationship you start, so the person you date will need to be willing to be a part of things.
Ultimately, dating in your 60s is an opportunity to someone to share life experiences and explore new adventures with, and who appreciates the wisdom and maturity that comes with age.
So, we’ve established that there are a lot of positives when it comes to dating after 60, and you’re saying, “That’s great, but where do I start?”
One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the where-to-meet-a-nice-guy conundrum. The options are a bit different now, but the problem is the same.
The following are good options for getting back into dating life.
The best place to meet people you’re most likely to be compatible with is in activities you have in common. So, if you’re interested in meeting people, including those you may want to date, start by joining clubs or groups that interest you, such as:
These are just a few examples of groups that bring people with similar interests together.
Often, these groups are organized through local senior centers (I prefer the term Wisdom Collectives, but it hasn’t caught on yet) or churches.
Have you always wanted to see the Grand Canyon or go to Greece? Or even just go to plays in the next town over?
Group travel is not only more fun but also safer, possibly cheaper, and a prime opportunity to meet new people. A quick internet search can tell you what local organizations put together trips and other adventures.
If you’re in your 60s, you were probably ahead of the online dating craze. But technology has made the world smaller by increasing the opportunity and ability to meet new people.
Consider trying online dating, even though the thought is likely intimidating. It’s the most popular and common way to meet new people today, and many websites and apps cater specifically to older adults.
If it’s new to you, here are some words of advice:
If you’re interested in dating again, you should also let friends and family know. You never know if Sarah’s daughter’s mother-in-law has a cousin who’d be a perfect match. And if the tech aspect of online dating is confusing, ask a younger family member for assistance.
There are no rules per se when it comes to dating, but some general guidelines can be applied to any generation.
Be open to meeting people from diverse backgrounds and with different interests. Don’t limit yourself to a specific “type” of person. Sometimes, compatibility can be surprising.
If you’ve been feeling lonely or are just really excited about someone you met, jumping in with both feet can be tempting. But don’t rush into anything. Take your time getting to know someone before committing to a serious relationship.
Even if you aren’t meeting perfect matches, allow yourself to enjoy getting to know new people and building connections. Make having fun your goal, as opposed to pressuring yourself to find a date before the annual Christmas party.
Prioritize safety when meeting new people. Inform someone you trust about your plans and whereabouts. Be especially cautious when sharing personal information and trust your instincts.
No is an acceptable response to anything that makes you even remotely uncomfortable. You’re under no obligation to go on additional dates with someone you don’t connect with, nor are you obligated to become physically intimate. So, say no when no is what you want to say.
No one wants to waste time, so be honest about your expectations, interests, and intentions. The right match for you will be someone who appreciates your honesty and has similar goals and values.
When you’re dating later in life, there are some considerations that, although they parallel those in your younger days, are distinctly different.
Interest in sex doesn’t end just at 40 (or 50, 60, 70, etc.), but it may change. If you’re interested in a sexual relationship when you meet the right person, that’s great. But if you’re not, that’s fine too.
As they age, many couples forgo intercourse in favor of simply being close. Physical intimacy can be touching, sitting close together, holding hands, or snuggling.
Determining what’s right for you is very personal. The right person will either understand and share your perspective, or be open to working together on a mutually appealing compromise.
Companionship is typically the primary goal for relationships at any age. The older we get, however, typically the greater the desire for companionship. This is something to really keep in mind as you’re meeting new people and developing new connections.
These are all things to consider when looking for the right companion.
No one likes to be lonely. But loneliness and being alone are different. You can ward off loneliness by being socially active and spending time with family while still being romantically alone. There’s nothing wrong with that.
In fact, it’s better to be alone (not romantically attached) than being with the wrong person. Don’t let your fear of loneliness drive you into a relationship with someone who’s not a good fit or is potentially controlling or emotionally abusive.
Dating and developing feelings for someone doesn’t mean combining finances or paying for everything. Ultimately, how you handle finances is a personal decision, but if you’ve set things up so that you’re financially stable in these years, you don’t want to jeopardize that.
There’s nothing to feel awkward about when protecting your assets, future, and legacy. Anyone you’re compatible with should understand and respect that.
I recommend using dating to test for money issues and other potential red flags. You can do this by splitting all expenses and seeing how the person you’re dating responds. A man can still show he’s a gentleman by respecting that his date is a fully capable woman who doesn’t need to be cared for.
At 25, your parents may have had opinions about who you were dating. At 65, your kids or grandkids may want to weigh in too.
While their opinions should be respected and likely come from a place of love, you’re the one in charge of you. If you’re being smart, safe, and true to your desires (not pressured or manipulated), their comfort with your dating life is for them to deal with – not you.
Dating in your 60s can feel intimidating, but it’s a chance to begin a fresh chapter in your life that’s enriched by wisdom and self-awareness. It’s also a time to enjoy being yourself and feeling comfortable building healthy relationships by being honest with potential partners about your desires, interests, and intentions.
Remember to always prioritize your well-being, be patient in your search, and enjoy the journey. Swiping can be a lot of fun.
Are you in your 60s and ready to date? Does dating in your 60s sound exciting or scary? What’s worked or not worked for you? What advice would you give others just starting? Please share your experiences and join the conversation.
Tags Senior Dating Advice