Experts say the rise in senior dating can be attributed to a multitude of factors, including an increase in life expectancy, climbing divorce rates among adults over 50 and earlier retirements. Many seniors experience feelings of loneliness as they age, especially as spouses, siblings and friends die. A return to romance offers a welcome – and healthy – social distraction. Beyond all the “mushy stuff”, dating can lead to finding a new friend with whom seniors can share their life experiences of today, from exploring the outdoors to talking about grandchildren or just chatting about current events over cappuccino.
Although many seniors are living on a limited income, thanks to senior discounts available for movies, theater, concerts, restaurants and museums, and even public transportation, dating for seniors is not only fun but affordable. For those looking to get away, special “single seniors only” package getaways and cruises are also offered through various senior organizations, travel agents and several major airlines.
Modern technology has also facilitated the return to dating for many seniors. Internet use among adults is increasing, with 70 percent of seniors who own a personal computer going online in 1998. Twenty-two percent of America Online Internet subscribers are 50 years of age or older. Quite naturally, this has led to the development of more than two-dozen online dating services especially designed for seniors, where visitors can pick and click their way to a new romance or a companion for dinner, golf, a vacation or the movies.
There’s another modern way to find a mate. Speed dating couples a man and woman for a short time, usually six to nine minutes, and then those two people are introduced to other potential suitors. At the end of the session, each person writes down the names of the people he or she was interested in based on their short conversation, and then if both people pick each other, a match is made and contact information distributed. Speed dating, which was started as an answer to busy people’s difficulty finding time to socialize, has transformed into a way for people of all ages to expand their circle of friends and contacts, even if romance is not always the final outcome. Seniors across the U.S., Canada and Europe are registering by the dozens at community centers or religious organizations that offer this rapid approach to matchmaking.
Seniors should be careful to decide first what it is they want from any new relationships and what they are willing to risk to get it. If the risk doesn’t pay off, it’s important to take that lesson and apply it to the next dating decision.
It’s also important to trust one’s instincts. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Walk away and be done with it. They recommend against compromising one’s desires or dignity just to be with someone.
Experts also stress the need to learn about oneself to create and enforce dating limits. The more comfortable seniors are with the boundaries they have set for dating, romance and sex, the easier it will be to feel more open and appreciative about the delights of a new relationship. .
So get out and rekindle the flames of romance!!