Sex & Sociability

Question and commentary on connections, both sexual and social

Finding a Date/Mate When You Are No Longer Young

Your methods of searching may need to change as you get older.

It used to be when folks approached me for tips on how to meet new people they often added “I don’t go to bars though." “Is there any hope for me then?” was the underlying plea, as if bars where the sole possible place for single people to meet one another.

These days, when an older person asks me about finding a partner they usually add “but I don’t want to go on of those online matching things.” I don’t think it’s because those over 50 who ask are not computer literate, although some aren’t. I think, like meeting in bars, it’s the prevailing myth of the chief way of modern meeting. Often that’s true, it is. One hears so many anecdotes. Think though, how much less of a story it makes when someone says, “She’s dating someone she met at a lecture,” although something like that happens just as often.

A disinclination to do the computer matching thing could also be that we who are no longer young are less likely to want to be chosen on the basis of a photograph when our looks are no longer our trump card. In any case, even with the miracles of modern technology and match-up sites for every conceivable sub group as well as universal online free-for-all meeting scrambles, the plight of the older single, especially women, who want to meet someone is very common. If you have a computer, however, why not use this tool for connecting as well as more congenial methods.

While it is no longer an ironclad rule that women want older, smarter, taller, richer partners only, it is still fairly common that they do. With women looking younger longer, and many having their own worldly success, there are still many more women of a certain age than there are men. If those same male peers also still tend to want younger and slightly less successful partners (which thankfully, many no longer require) there is often still an imbalance in the numbers. The older and more financially independent a woman is, the fewer are existing male peers. So where are they, women and men, to find someone to date or romance or simply to keep company with?

I have written here and here before on finding partners in general. The tips therein apply to men and women of all ages, yet it is still often harder as one gets older. It was easier for mostly everyone when there were natural meet and mix arrangements like school or work, encountering many others in natural and neutral day-to-day settings.

For those over 50, not in school (although attending adult classes is a good recommendation) or in the full-time work force, an effort must be made to bring new people into your life. Even if the effort is no more than letting your friends and relatives know you would like to meet someone and giving them some particulars. “I’d love to have a bridge partner” or “someone with whom to try new restaurants” will set people thinking along more specific and possibly fruitful lines. More older people have met through social introductions by others than in any other way.

The most specific suggestion I can make for older woman particularly is to keep an open mind. You don’t have to marry the guy to enjoy his company over a lunch. He can be younger than you, less well educated, have less money, and still be fun to hang out with. The partner standards one had in youth need to change as you yourself have done. A person of 50+ does not require the same sort of things as a young person looking for a first love. Re-examine your search methods and your search criteria and see if you have more success. Happy hunting.

Isadora AlmanM.F.T., is a Board-certified sex, marriage, and family therapist, lecturer, author, and syndicated advice columnist of "Ask Isadora."

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