How Do You Start Dating Again in Your 60s?
There is no time restriction or age limit when it comes to love. For instance, it's not unusual for people to begin dating after they reach the age of 60. Statistics indicate about 25 percent of people in the United States who seek divorce are older than 50, and 1 in 10 are older than 65.
More people than ever are venturing into the dating pool in their 60s, hoping to give love another shot.
Reflecting this trend is the growing number of dating programs and services specifically marketed toward older people. It is now much easier for individuals of any age to connect with others who share their interests.
How do you know if you're ready to date again?
People who have lost a loved one or who have decided to part ways often experience feelings of isolation. Maybe you have more time and would like to share it with somebody or you simply miss having somebody to interact with.
"Take your time," said Kristin Davin, Psy.D., a New York City-based psychologist. "Ask yourself, do you feel ready to date again? Have you worked through the challenges of your divorce? Do you feel that you have healed?"
How can you meet new people?
Knowing where to begin when considering new romantic relationships can be difficult.
Expanding your horizons and engaging in novel experiences are often the most effective ways to meet new people and make new acquaintances. You could sign up for a walking team or a book group, take a course to learn something new or join a choir. Alternatively, sign up for an online dating site or find people through mutual friends.
"It's important to become aware that times have changed, and the landscape is very different," Davin said. "For people who are embarking on the dating scene after many years of marriage, being aware of and recognizing the changes is an important first step."
Talk with your loved ones
Inform your loved ones of your feelings and why you've decided to look for a new romantic relationship.
You may discover that your friends and family oppose you trying to start a new relationship. This can be especially true for adult children, who have the impression that another person is stepping in for one parent or the other.
However, if you let them see your newfound happiness, it's not unusual for grown children to eventually feel relief that you've found a new partner.
"Let friends and family know you are interested in dating so they may be able to help you find suitable dating candidates," said Iris Waichler, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., a licensed clinical social worker in Chicago. "Make sure you tell people who know you well and whom you trust to find compatible people to date."
Online dating websites
Online dating is currently one of the most popular ways to find a companion. Several dating sites cater exclusively to seniors, while many others have age filters. Of the many different dating sites to explore, some are quite specialized and appeal to particular interests or backgrounds, including religion or ethnicity.
Your first task is to build a personal profile that other users can view to see if you might be compatible. Most dating websites encourage you to upload a photo, describe your hobbies and select the type of person you'd like to meet.
Waichler emphasized it's important to decide what kind of person you're seeking when entering the dating scene. Are you looking for a companion to go out with once a week? Are you trying to find a partner for a serious ongoing relationship? Are you looking for a satisfying sexual relationship? Do you feel comfortable talking about intimacy?
Think seriously about what you want for yourself as you begin dating other people. You can be clear and specific about your desires and expectations, which will improve your odds of success in finding someone who has similar relationship goals.
In general, online dating is quite secure. However, when you're on a date, it's easy to let your guard down and stop thinking about your safety.
Always follow some basic safety rules:
- Always let someone be aware of where you are going and when you anticipate returning.
- For a first date, it's recommended to meet someone somewhere public, like a café or restaurant.
- Please wait until you are certain about someone before giving them a ride in your car, inviting them to your house or going home with them.
"Consider online dating," Davin said. "Although there are scary stories out there about online dating, it is a very popular way to meet people that you might not otherwise meet. However, safety is key. And taking the time to get to know someone is also important."
Don't rush into dating
Leaping into a new relationship before you're ready is never a good idea.
"Embrace your life experiences," Davin said. "If we're not careful, we will often compare ourselves to others, maybe younger people. However, embracing your life experiences and all you have been through can be uplifting and empowering."
Before you ever consider dating, you must give yourself the time to complete the grieving and healing after your previous relationship. Finding your best self after the age of 60 can be a challenge, especially as you might be feeling low on confidence.
"Be open. Just because you are in a different phase of life does not mean you cannot date," said Gabrielle Juliano-Villani, L.C.S.W., a burnout recovery coach in Sarasota, Florida. "It also does not mean you have to get married again. You can create this relationship however it best serves your needs. You can discuss this with your family as well."
Even if you are older, you can still crave connection and companionship. Dating can also provide an older person companionship, intimacy and even physical health benefits.
"Use your social circle to meet new people. Ask friends you already have to introduce you to someone they know," Juliano-Villani added. "Put yourself out there. No one is going to come knocking at your door asking for a date. You need to be vulnerable and put yourself out there so people know you're available."