On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter July 14, 2017
Has senior dating changed over the years?
Seventeen years ago, I was sitting in a chair on the set of the Today Show, at the NBC studios in New York City, waiting for Matt Lauer to interview me.
I could see a few-hundred people gathered on the street in Rockefeller Plaza, waving signs and placards, and although I had been on Today two years before, I was still nervous. After all, the show was being broadcast across the country.
Matt introduced me: “Tom Blake, syndicated columnist and author of the book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, has some great advice for people dating the second-and-third-time around.” (At that time, I had been a columnist for six years and had published the book two years before.)
Middle Aged and Dating Again. Tom Blake's first book
Tom's first book. More than 500 orders for the book came in immediately after the Today Show. I did not have enough copies. I had to do an emergency printing to fill the orders. I have less than 100 copies left. If you'd like an autographed copy, I will ship you a book for $9.95, which includes tax, shipping and the book, of course. Email me for arrangements.
Matt’s first question: “Do you think the dating rules have changed in your 50s vs. in your teens, 20s and 30s?”
I smiled and said, “Some of us haven’t had a date in 30 years—you bet they are different.”
During the four-minute interview, I attempted to explain how dating had changed and why dating after 50 was so difficult. These five items summarize what Matt and I talked about.
1 - Older singles aren’t prepared. After a long-term marriage or relationship, perhaps 30 years or more, our spouse or significant other is gone. We had been preparing to spend our retirement years together, not preparing to date
2 – There aren’t places to go where there are relatively even numbers of single men and women in our age range. The ratio is often four-or-five-to-one, women to men, making it difficult for women to meet available men
3 – Baggage. Matt mentioned the word baggage often. There are ex’s, kids, grandkids, fear of getting hurt again, financial issues and an endless number of factors that can bog down a relationship
4 – We’ve aged. On Today, I explained to Matt that age made dating more difficult compared to those younger years he mentioned. We don’t have the energy we once had and dating takes energy. Plus, we’ve added wrinkles and wear and tear on our bodies
5 – Compatibility with a mate is hard to find. As we age, we are more set in our ways. We aren’t going to accept someone to share our life who doesn’t measure up to our standards or who has vastly different beliefs.
17 years later
Now, 17 years after appearing on that show, I see how senior dating has changed since even then. The basic premises of the five items above remain the same, but the degree of difficulty of each has increased. And now, it’s dating after 60, 70 and 80.
If singles weren’t prepared for dating after 30 years in a relationship, think how unprepared they are now, after 50 years in a relationship.
And, as if those four-or-five-to-one women to men ratios weren’t challenging enough for single women, now the ratios are more like six-and-seven-to-one. According to census statistics, as we hit 60 and 70, the number of available single men decreases significantly.
Plus, in 17 years, we’ve aged even more. I saw Matt Lauer on Today last week and he’s aged right along with us. We don’t move like we did at 50. We have aches, pains, bad hips and knees, and a myriad of other health issues, making it harder to get off the couch, out of the house and into the dating world.
And one very big factor is technology. Think how the Internet has evolved with social media, dating sites, and romance scams. Texting by phone is how some singles communicate. They even break up by text. Technology can be intimidating and overwhelming for seniors. Some don’t even own a computer; some have never sent a text.
So yes, senior dating has changed; it’s more difficult now. But, it’s not impossible. Maybe Matt will have me back again on Today and I can update him on what senior singles can do to find a mate.
Senior singles need to keep smiling, keep trying, keep moving, and be positive and appreciate life. And above all, they should never give up. Miracles can happen.
To view Tom’s Today Show interview with Matt Lauer, visit Tom’s video page at http://www.findingloveafter50.com/videos. The interview is on row two, far right, and row three, far left.
Part 2 – Comments from two male Champs
Dave Southworth, Michigan, “Tom, you have been blessed with a special gift of discussing, presenting and translating what we, your Champs, are experiencing into options, into reality.
“I have been blessed to be your friend for 14 years.
“Here is a poem I wrote last month:
Great events we often find,
On little things depend.
And very small beginnings
Have oft a wondrous end…
Our lives are made entirely
Of moments multiplied…
That unites us all together
Enjoying life’s awesome ride.”
Tom's comment: Thanks Dave, beautiful. With your permission, I will add to my website, as we have done with your other magnificent poem, “The Sands of Time.” To view Dave’s Sands of Time poem, follow this link:
Dr. John F,
“Your newsletter last week about unconventional courtship and marriage struck a chord in me. A while back, I did some reading about arranged marriages in other cultures.
“Did you know the folks have about the same degree of satisfaction in their arranged marriages vs. Western couples who based their marriage on our conventional ideas of love?
“A Chinese phrase struck me, ‘marriage first, then love.’ This is the opposite of our ‘happily-ever-after’ marriage lie-and it is a lie. This Chinese phrase implies that a couple must WORK at love after the marriage ceremony, and I think there is a great deal of truth to that, no matter how the marriage comes about.”
Tom's comment: Some of our Champs may take issue with John's stance on marriage. There is no doubt that marriage and relationships require energy and work. I kind of like the idea, however, of being able to choose who I'm going to marry, although my marriage track record isn't exactly exemplary. There probably are no stats on arranged marriages where the partners can't stand each other from the get-go. There have to be some of those.
So, Champs, send me your comments, stories, questions and typo corrections (just kidding on the latter).
Have a great week-end.