DATING IN RETIREMENT (Part 1)
Our need to emotionally bond does not change with aging as some have suggested. We will evaluate for different character traits when dating in retirement. But, the course of romance remains the same. I have talked to many women who, for various reasons, have given up on trying to find another mate. Some women don’t feel attractive or interested in men anymore, and some say they don’t want the trouble of a man. I can understand these reasons very well.
My sister is 58 years old and has been divorced for about 12 years now. But, she won’t date. She finally told me she just lost interest in sex. I know she wants companionship as she has a male friend whom she see every weekend. So, the need to bond with the opposite gender remains healthy and intact. She was a little surprised when I mention that males loose testosterone as their sex drive diminishes too. But, that still didn’t get her to date as she said, “Who wants to date an old lady like me?”
Maintaining a positive self image is important at any stage in life. As our bodies change, its common for both genders to be concerned about our self-confidence. But, we have all been rejected numerous times in life and we survived it. Remember not to let a prior difficult relationship cloud your judgment about moving forward to a better one. It’s probably the men who are more prone to being rejected since they initiate contact and ask for a date.
I checked with my female consultants who confirmed a few suggestions regarding confidence. The first is to always look your best. Men are very visual beings, as we all know, and they often go with first impressions. That means they take your entire appearance into consideration. Since looking attractive is important, dying your hair and wearing stylish attire are efforts you can easily make according to my group.
The second suggestion is to look available and, if you’re comfortable with the idea, even sexy. Many of us have lost our connection to intimacy. But, it’s time to reconnect. If you think you can’t look attractive over 60 years old, have you seen photos of Connie Stevens, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, Glenn Close, Goldie Hawn or Martha Stewart lately? Just being healthy is attractive at any age.
The third suggestion we all agreed upon is to try online dating. If your social circle is smaller in retirement, you need to be a bit more creative. Online dating narrows the field to people who are interested in a relationship and you don’t have to leave the house. It gives you the opportunity to browse the profiles of others anonymously. In this scenario, there is certainly no risk to you as you evaluate the possibilities in the safety of your home. I seen some reports that say up to 25% of new relationships are found online.
The fourth recommendation is the importance of displaying a positive attitude. No matter what happened in the past, we will make the future brighter. I personally like to use positive affirmations and imagery. Before I meet somebody for any reason, I close my eyes and visualize how the meeting will go. If it’s business, I envision a successful agreement. If it’s personal, I expect a successful connection. It’s amazing how behavior follows mental imagery. I started using guided imagery after reading Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.
If there is still resistance to dating at our age, I sometimes ask the question, “Do you want to grow old and die alone?” It’s a blunt somewhat rhetorical question meant to be provocative. But, it gets people thinking more practically about the future of their social health. I would say that having a partner in retirement is more important than in midlife, since this relationship becomes the primary social support for many. Most of us will have medical procedures that require some help during recovery. Imagine if you became disabled for some reason, what would that be like without a partner who loves you?
In the next installment of Dating in Retirement, I’ll address the impact of reduced libido and the different character traits we now look for in a partner. L.J.
More at: www.creativeretirementforwomen.com
Photo by Ambro. Published on 11 May 2011
Stock Photo – Image ID: 10041092