As you know, attraction and romance doesn’t die with age, nor does the desire for companionship. And having a good companion is also one of the best things you can do for your health.
Generally speaking, there are two approaches to finding that companionship: direct, goal-oriented dating, or what marriage and family therapist Tina Tessina, PhD, calls the “Get a life method”, which she advocates. “If you work on getting out there and doing the stuff you love to do, the stuff that calls to you and is important to you, the special person is just going to arrive out of that,” she says. “In the meantime, you’re having a good time, you’re making friends, and so being single is not a miserable thing.”
Mars v. Venus?
When it comes to new relationships, men and women often have different experiences. According to retired psychotherapist Rosemary Lichtman, men who’ve been widowed are more likely to get calls and offers of help around the house. “Women will reach out to a lonely man generally, bringing them food, offering to come over and talk. When women are alone, they’re more likely to be the ones reaching out.”
Tessina says that men, once they’re back on their feet after becoming single, may be less likely to want to partner up with just one woman, especially if they’re online dating, which “gives men the idea that there are unlimited fish in the sea out there,” she says. Conversely, she adds, “I think a woman is really looking for a partner. Maybe not to get married—she’s past that, and she may have income that would be adversely affected. But what she’s looking for is one person to be her companion to enjoy life.”
Maybe you’ve got a life but still haven’t found that person who you click with. More and more seniors are looking for love online. Community colleges are even offering courses in it (where you may end up meeting that special someone before you’ve even posted your profile!) Ready to get started? Check out Senior Planet’s list of five best senior dating sites.
But, Tessina warns, it’s not easy. “Online dating is advertising, so you need to learn how to advertise who you are” she says. And that’s not easy for most people. “When you’re older, you’re most beautiful parts of you are on the inside, so you need to learn what those are and bring those out. What do people like about you, what do people gravitate toward about you?” Take a look at Senior Planet’s tips for creating an online dating profile.
Another piece of advice: “Focus on making friends. Don’t focus on finding that someone.” Even if you’re online dating, still make sure you are getting out there IRL (in real life.) “You can meet people in all sorts of ways, and those people know other people, so you can have a really broad network.”