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When we were in our 20’s, many of us envisioned the excitement of finding true love, meeting the right person and spending our lives planning a future together, but now that we are seniors; much of that anticipation has been lived.  The majority of seniors have loved, travelled, had a career, had children, are now grandparents and the future is much shorter especially if one is in his or her eighties!  While some seniors have a partner, there are many who are single and wishing to spend their last days with another compatible person.  Some are single because they have lost a spouse.  Others may have gone through a divorce or separation and there are others who have always remained single.  Nonetheless, there is now a new challenge for singles called FODA – the fear of dating again because of the pandemic. 

Years ago, I watched a movie called The Good Liar.  An elderly con artist looking to swindle well-to-do widows, finds himself meeting a senior woman online who changes his life forever in many ways.  In some cases, there are seniors who are looking for a supper-date, but there are as many looking at long-term relationships.  Either way, many are lonely and long for some kind of companionship. 

The other fact of the matter is that as women, we are from Venus and have a different perspective about dating than the men from Mars.  I decided that I would love to hear a man’s perspective on the whole dating game, so I asked a senior friend of mine to share some of his experiences and give me some advice about this whole dating landscape.  I was thankful he was candid and willing to divulge much information pertaining to seniors and dating; specifically on-line dating. Life is like a pie with different slices allocated to sleeping, eating, coffee meet ups, personal interests, family and then a slice reserved for a relationship.  So how does one navigate this dating “scene”?  Here is some of his advice:

First of all, having an honest profile on one of the dating sites; whether that be Plenty of Fish (POF) or Zoosk, is imperative. Many of the sites are not free and you will need to sign-up and pay for a membership.  Perhaps that’s to keep one more committed to being honest?  You also need a recent photo of yourself and a short biographical write up that doesn’t reveal everything about yourself, but has many of your interests, likes and dislikes.  It’s about being honest.  

Apparently, there are far more women on dating sites which is to the male advantage because there is less competition; however, he was warned that a vast majority of women in prison also have profiles on these sites!  He shared one experience of an intriguing woman who polished and sold gems from Romania, but was soon asking him for thousands of dollars to “help her out.”  When he mentioned that he would have to talk to his neighbor, a police officer, the relationship came to an abrupt end.

Then there is the initial telephone or email contact and eventually the meet up.  This is always done in a public place and the reality of the photo on the profile should match the physical face across the table over that cup of coffee. If you ever feel uncomfortable, you are always able to leave the “scene” in a dignified manner.  Once a person has “established contact” it is about conversation, connection and candid conveyance about the other person’s personality, interests and information.  Again, honesty is imperative. 

My friend then shared that it is sometimes difficult to see what is happening because the eyes and heart are conflicting with the mind and gut intuition.  It’s good to have a friend to share thoughts and get other perspectives about some of one’s dates and experiences.  And if you don’t’ have someone to bounce ideas and opinions off of, then be cautious about rushing into a relationship.  Get to know the person.  For example, he shared, one of his friend’s dates was a beautiful woman, but she certainly had other views about topics that were not in line with his thinking.  It’s best to be up front about a variety of topics including medical issues and other topics such as, 4/20 (cannabis use) and even views about “masks and vaccines!”  

There are of course other methods for meeting people such as Meet-up, social clubs and groups, introductions from friends or family and interest, work or volunteer groups.  First impressions do speak volumes and once each person shows an interest in the other, dating can be a fun, exciting, interesting time for a couple.   My friend mentioned that the most fun dates were those that were relatively low cost.  Over the past number of years and countless dates, he still finds dating interesting and rewarding and has learned much about others and himself.  Sometimes sailing out of our safe harbours affords us the opportunities to explore and experience things we might never have dared to do.  It might be more exciting than sitting home on a Friday night watching re-runs or Netflix.

 “There are three things that are too amazing for me,
    four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
    the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
    and the way of a man with a young woman.   Proverbs 30:18-19

The main thought to remember is to take time to gain that confidence, feel good about who you are as a person and have an open mind to possibilities.  Just recently, a friend of ours found a companion and is back to loving, enjoying and living her life full speed ahead!  Let’s make our days count.  We are worth it!

Lorrie Morales is a published author of the best selling book   We Can Do This! Adult Children & Aging Parents: Planning for Success. She writes a weekly column for LCCMedia Foundation.

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