Expert says leave your baggage behind and enjoy the ride!
By Nipa Mukerji
Men and women past the age of 60, who find themselves single again, are often just as interested in dating and relationships as their younger counterparts. But according to Beverly Hadland-Turner, published author of “How to Find Authentic Love,” the main challenges to dating after 60 are the person’s own attitudes to social interaction with the opposite sex and how long the person has been out of the dating scene.
“Admittedly, people who become suddenly single after 10 years or more of being in a relationship are in for a few surprises,” says Hadland-Turner.
For the most part, singles in their sixties, usually have children and grandchildren that come along as part of the whole package. They may also be carrying a lot of emotional baggage from a marriage that ended after many years through death or divorce.
The First Step Before Dating
“The first thing to do is to find out who you are,” says Hadland-Turner, who also provides counseling to individuals and couples. Hadland-Turner, herself, got married in her mid-fifties for the first time in a marriage that has lasted many years.
The person who would like to start dating again should take an inventory of what activities he enjoys. It is important to be making an effort to be active in them. It is equally important to travel in singles circles.
“It will be more beneficial to only date those who are in sync with your interests and values,” Hadland-Turner says. “That one decision will save you months if not years of heartache.”
Protect Your Finances
Seniors should also be careful to protect their finances when entering into relationships. A person’s feelings should not compromise financial security. This is especially true of widows, who have been left with a large estate.
“Financial decisions that involve a new romantic interest should only be made through and with the guidance of a lawyer,” Hadland-Turner says. “Many a person, usually women, have cried many tears after losing their financial security to someone they believed they could trust, someone who they wanted to believe really loved them.”
Dating and Your Family
There are also advantages to dating after 60. Children are grown up and no longer living at home. This allows for freedom throughout the dating process. Grown children naturally show concern if their parents have recently lost a spouse through death and suddenly start dating again. This sense of concern is natural.
“I recommend only exposing your family to your new love interest if you are both serious about moving forward towards marriage,” says Hadland-Turner.
Likewise, grandchildren do not meet their grandparent’s dates until the stage of engagement. It is sufficient to let the family know that the person is dating, to prepare them to meet the love interest in the not too distant future.
In the dating process, those past the age of 60 have different goals than young couples who are just starting their lives together and anticipating children and a mortgage. Seniors typically are downsizing, requiring less expensive homes with less maintenance. This may have an impact on grown children, who have fond memories of the home they grew up in. Some singles after 60 are primarily looking for companionship and not looking to get married again.
Where to Meet Other Single Seniors
Hadland-Turner says that the best places for seniors to meet and mingle are seniors clubs, churches and organizations catering to senior interests. Those who enjoy outdoor activities can find groups to join where they can pursue their interests. The network of family and friends is also a good source to meet prospective partners.
“I would also add don’t be afraid to meet strangers in public settings,” Hadland-Turner says.
Some people after the age of 60 try online dating. John, a single man who is 77 and lives in Toronto, tried the free worldwide online dating site Plentyoffish.com and readily found dates with singles women. The best two tips for successful online dating experiences is to post a good recent photograph of yourself and to be absolutely truthful about yourself in your dating profile.
Dress to Impress
Physical appearance is just as important in dating after 60 as it is at a younger age. Before embarking on the search for a new dating partner, the person should make every effort to be well-groomed. If you are still wearing clothes that are ten years old, it is time to refresh your wardrobe. Likewise, a visit to a good hairstylist can work wonders on your own new image. A stylish new haircut can take years off your age in terms of your physical appearance. And if you are carrying ten to 20 extra pounds of weight, this can also be remedied with a healthy diet and regular exercise approved by your doctor.
Finding new love after 60 is every bit an attainable goal as at a younger age. It requires perseverance, a positive outlook and a good understanding of yourself. It also requires being aware of the qualities that you are looking for in your future partner when you start your search.