Love, Lust and Older Adults

Some of our most popular articles here at The Oldish have to do with dating and sexuality. As the old saying goes, while there may be snow on the rooftop that doesn’t mean there isn’t fire in the furnace! Love, lust and the desire for romance doesn’t have to lessen as we age and for many who are past child-rearing age and unencumbered by work, relationships take on a renewed focus. As we approach another Valentine’s Day we’ve linked some of these articles as we explore how older adults meet and date in 2023.

As we age, our needs and desires change, and this includes our approach to relationships. For many who have been widowed or divorced, the idea of formalizing a new relationship may not feel like the right path. Believing that they’ve already experienced the love of their life, feelings of betraying previous promises or enjoying a taste of the freedom that being single offers may leave some unenthralled with the notion of a formal commitment.

Fortunately, there are several options to consider. For many people over 60, the idea of having a “friend with benefits” can be a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. A “friend with benefits” is a person with whom one has a sexual relationship without the expectation of commitment or emotional involvement. This type of relationship can be especially appealing to those over 60 who may not be interested in a traditional romantic relationship, but still have a desire for intimacy and physical connection.

Taking one’s friend with benefits to the next level may see a relationship that includes travel, a dinner or theatre companion or a plus one to weddings and other events. Enjoying some social time together in addition to some benefits while maintaining separate residences might be the perfect balance for some. Even though the love word may enter the picture many find that being set in their ways doesn’t offer room for sharing lives fully. For others, adult children may have opinions that sway their parent’s behaviour. Whatever the situation, finding what works best for all involved can take time and patience.

Online dating, in this day and age, has become the ‘go to’ for finding partners for everything from casual dates to those wanting marriage. We all know at least one friend or acquaintance who has successfully found love on dating apps however there is a need to be cautious as the frequency of love scams increases. Be careful with what information is shared online, do not send money no matter how attractive the offer sounds (or how badly you want the connection to continue) and make sure your initial meetings are in public places. As with most things in life, a little common sense and a willingness to listen to one’s instincts will go a long way.

The tried-and-true experience of meeting potential partners at social club meetings, book clubs, sporting events or volunteering helps us connect with other who share similar passions and values. Make sure your friends know you’re open to introductions as well. It can be challenging for singles to find a comfortable spot within social groups that are largely couples, particularly for women, so make sure that your social attentions are inclusive and non-threatening to existing relationships.

As we age, we need to celebrate all that we’ve learned about ourselves and stay true to what we want out of life. Being comfortable with yourself is the first step to others feeling comfortable with you. Patience and optimism are important tools that we gather up as we grow older and the search for love is a good place for using those tools. Love can come at any age and from the most unexpected places. Enjoy your life along the way!