Today, women and men in their 60s and older are having—are living!—a life that previous generations might never have dreamed of. They stay vibrant, intellectually curious, health-conscious, and actively involved with their work and personal life.
This is especially apparent when compared to their predecessors. There are many websites, such as AARP, the New York Times, and sixtyandme.com, which address new dating trends for people who are 60 and older. These sites provide an abundance of very helpful information regarding finding love for singles in their 60s and above.
In this blog, I would like to share the real voices of people in their 60s who formed a committed relationship after each had been in a long marriage that ended.
Javier and Lana
Finding love after the hard divorce
“We met each other at our friend’s Christmas party two years ago, and we’ve been seeing each other ever since,” said Javier. “We are around the same age: I am 62, and Lana is 65. I’d been hearing about Lana for a good decade before meeting her. I’d heard about her from a mutual friend, but Lana and I were both married at that time.
"Seven years ago, I went through a painful divorce. Then Lana and her husband divorced four years ago. We both remained single for a while, and that time was very much needed for each of us to recover from our previous relationships and the painful divorce process.
"But when I saw Lana a couple of years ago at that party, I fell in love. It began with a great conversation, and afterward, I could not stop thinking about her. I got Lana’s phone number from our mutual friend, and we started dating. It has been just about the best two years of my life!”
“What I love about my relationship with Javier," said Lana, “is that we can be both independent and loving at the same time. What sustained me before, during, and after the divorce was my job—my career. I have been a writer for fashion magazines, and my need to travel regularly was a great source of conflict in my previous marriage. But Javier is a writer, too, and is very understanding of my job.
"He respects my time, my space, and my career. Unlike my ex, he is not threatened by my success. He has even come on some of my business trips. Javier likes to travel (Lana says her ex-husband would have never even considered this)—and he especially likes to travel with me!
"I did not think that I could be in love again after being married for almost 30 years. The divorce was necessary but was so painful. I lost all kinds of things while going through the divorce: confidence in myself, trust in a partner and partnership, and a sense of my own ability to build a relationship. I felt so broken. The relationship with Javier is refreshing, loving, and caring. It is all so unexpected.”
Respect is important for their new relationship
“We have talked about moving in, says Lana, “but I like having a separate apartment.” Lana thinks about moving in with Javier sometimes but feels that things are good the way they are right now.
“I really like what we have now, the perfect balance of independence and love. I think that sharing a living space could bring us a lot closer, sharing work life, finances, families, and friends. Yet I am still a bit afraid of falling into an old, bad habit of becoming a caretaker of the relationship and putting my professional goals aside. I am enjoying myself in this balanced state of freedom, independence, and love.”
“Honestly,” says Javier, “I have mixed feelings about us not living together. I want to live with Lana, but at the same time, I am adjusting to having my own space."
"My ex-wife and I were trapped in a very distant, cold, angry place at the end of our marriage, and I am still trying to make sense out of how we both got to the place. Everyone says we had a very bad ‘empty nest,’ but I think there were problems that went way beyond empty-nesting. I can say with certainty that we both took each other for granted at the end. I don’t want to take Lana for granted. I want to appreciate her and our relationship.”
A parallel process of healing from the past and building love is key for this couple
It seems that Javier and Lana are committed to each other and respect each other’s needs during the process of building their relationship. They each learned painful life/relationship lessons from their previous marriages, and they are consciously committed to not repeating their mistakes.
“For me,” says Lana while looking at Javier, “I like the commuting. It reminds me of my young adult years when I commuted to date my boyfriend.”
“Yes, it’s true. I do find it very romantic!” Javier says. “There is something special about being able to miss your girlfriend. I feel very excited to see her after not being together for three whole days.”
As I listen to Javier and Lana describe what they need from each other while they express how much they love and appreciate their relationship, I think about the recent article in New York Magazine on the wide variety of ways that couples are relating to each other these days.
I think we can fall in love—can be in love—at any age and that love can take all kinds of unexpected shapes. We can each custom-create a relationship in the way that fits our own desires and needs.