Dating Revisited: A Guide to Getting Back Into the Game
By Melissa Hutsell
As the key to longevity, companionship is important at any age. Finding a partner later in life can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of resources and social landscapes available to those looking for love again. Whether you’re ready to venture into the online dating world, or interested in taking the initial steps, we have gathered the resources to help get you back into the dating game.
- Know When You are Ready: Whether you’re divorced, recently widowed, or have just been out of the dating game for a while, the first step is to know that you’re not alone. Ease yourself back into social situations by getting to know others without an agenda to date. Many local senior centers and care facilities offer trips, movies or activities that encourage interaction with others in the community (more on this below).
According to the American Association of Retired Persons’ article entitled Looking for New Love: 8 Ways to Know if You’re Emotionally Prepared to Date Again, it’s important to feel comfortable and recognize your own goals and desires before pursing a romantic relationship. In fact, the article states, “Meeting new prospects before you’re emotionally prepared can feel infinitely worse than sitting home alone every Saturday night.” Dating.AARP.org is a great source for the 50+ populations regarding all things love, relationships and dating.
- Online Dating: Thanks to the Internet and its various dating sites, the amount of middle-aged and aging adults (between the ages of 40-70+) dating online has risen significantly. In fact, according to a study funded by com, most adults between these ages are mainly looking online for love. As the fastest growing online dating demographic, seniors make up 20 percent of all users.
The Internet’s domain ranges far beyond Generation Y, as there are several sites with millions of users exclusively dedicated to senior dating. Some include; OurTime, Match.com, AARP Dating, OKCupid and eHarmony, among others. These sites make it easy to meet others with similar interests, faiths, politics and hobbies.
It’s important to remember that the information you share is at your discretion, and that you can meet others in public places to avoid discomfort.
- Get Involved in the Community: Finding a creative outlet or volunteering in the community can do wonders for yourself and social life. Like exercise, companionship (romantic or not) and hobbies lift overall moods, which are scientifically proven to increase the health of our mind and body. Keeping ourselves healthy is crucial to a successful relationship, especially into the golden years. If you prefer to meet people in person, group activities are great places to find friendships, meet potential partners, and stay active or connected. Plus, you can mingle with people who have similar interests – taking some of the anxiety out of getting to know someone new. Meetup.com is a great source to gather information and join groups with similar interests such as bowling, traveling, and networking of all sorts!
Local care facilities or programs such as Stocktongov.com’s senior recreation list of classes and activities, Oak Park Senior Citizens Center, or O’Connor Woods, offer trips, activities like dancing, haircuts, movies, etc. In addition, events such as local Farmers Markets, family gatherings (with kids or grandchildren), friends, classes, volunteer opportunities, gyms, churches, vacation and senior communities are all great places to meet new people.
No matter what type of companionship you’re looking for, always remember to set your own pace, take it slow, and have fun!