7 Rules for Later Life Dating.
At a time when divorce rates have been dropping for decades in the U.S., why is it that the only age group that is showing a rise in divorces is those 55 and older, as the Gray Divorce rate is double what it was in 1990?
With the ending of something comes the messy middle and the new beginning (if these three stages of a transition sound new to you, check out MEA’s free, short ebook, “The Anatomy of a Transition”). I also enjoyed reading the Wall Street Journal’s writer Carol Hymowitz’s take on the secret to finding love later in life. Unfortunately, the dating odds seem to be more challenging for older heterosexual women, as roughly half of women over 65 are without partners, compared with 21% of men.
Having talked with many MEA alums in the dating market, they’ve come to realize the filters they’re looking for in a mate aren’t the tangible ones you often find on a dating app - like height, age, or race. The intangibles are most important—their personality type, character qualities, and perspective of cohabitation. Our painful life lessons are the raw material for our future wisdom, especially as we scope out a mate.
Here’s a quick summary of the seven things Carol Hymowitz says you should consider if you’re seeking love later in life:
1. Expect baggage, not just the physical kind (if you’re combining households), but also the emotional kind. As we age, we’ve gathered some baggage and habits along the way. No one’s perfect, including you.
2. Get comfortable with online dating as it dramatically increases your pool of potential dates. This is particularly important for older, straight women. And, ladies, don’t assume your date will be older than you.
3. Be open to nontraditional relationships as cohabitation rates among couples over 50 quadrupled from 2000 to 2020, while marriage rates in that age group are steady.
4. Make sure you’re on the same page about your children, as while falling for someone, it’s easy to forget about their relevance, yet they can be a fly in the ointment for a new relationship.
5. Plan how you want to deal with finances as older couples often decide to keep their finances separate because they want their children and grandchildren to inherit their estates.
6. Be honest about health issues and caregiving and not just for each other, but one of you may still have aging parents. This becomes a more relevant issue as we age.
7. Be open to the unexpected, including a new approach to being sensual and sexual. What turns you on may be less the physical and more the emotional or sense of intimacy. Also, be open to forgoing the archetype that has defined you in past relationships, whether that’s the hero or the jester.
P.S. I appreciated my friend Michael Clinton’s recent Esquire interview with the Golden Bachelor and his new wife, even though I’ve never watched the TV series. And, we have a couple of relationship-oriented upcoming workshops you might want to check out in Baja: Love’s Journey: Transforming Our Relationships Mar 4-9 (maybe a Valentine’s gift to you and your partner) and Love, Sex & Death as a Midlife Journey April 15-20.