All too often, when a spouse dies, the surviving spouse’s life seems to fall apart. Loneliness, depression, poor eating habits, boredom and lack of purpose plague those widowed. Today’s longer life expectancy and changes in the social scene have made it possible to find romance again; often times giving a renewed sense of purpose.
In this post, we share some dating tips for older adults:
1. Some may have feelings of guilt for being the surviving spouse. It is very important to work through these emotions, and be sure you're ready before dating. We recommend finding support groups, attending counseling, or at least confiding in close family and friends to talk through the emotions.
2. Trust your instincts about someone. While some of the social norms have changed, others remain the same. For women who are meeting a man for the first time, it’s a good idea to tell a friend where you are going and to meet in a public place. And just like you did in high school, a group date is a good way to get to know someone without pressure.
3. One change is that it’s no longer a hard and fast rule that men initiate the first date or always pick up the check. Women can make that first phone call or send the initial email.
4. Expect to be nervous. It’s probably been a very long time since you’ve dated, and that’s okay! First-date jitters are normal. Try to go into the date with an open mind, and open and honest communication.
5. Take your time. Go at a pace you are comfortable with – dip your toe in, but if you find you’re just not ready yet, that’s okay, too.
6. Be resilient. It is going to take time to find the right person to enjoy your time with – this is to be expected. You aren’t going to enjoy everyone you meet, and maybe feelings won’t be mutual. Stick it out and keep trying.
7. Be creative. There are lots of places to find love, including senior centers, dinner dances, community events, volunteering, your church or temple, or classes such as dance, cooking or continuing education. Put yourself out there and have fun.
8. Online dating? Do your homework. There are all kinds of dating sites, so be sure to spend some time researching different sites and find one that suits you. Enlist the help of family or friends when creating your online profile.