By Tom Blake
Dating again after losing a mate can be overwhelming, particularly for senior women. This week, Brenda (not her true name) shared her frustrations.
Brenda said, “I am a widow of two years. A year ago, I was on two internet dating sites for three weeks. I met several men, but they were mostly just awful; they were negative or had issues. So I got off both sites.
“Recently I got back on one to try again! It’s very strange to be ‘dating’ at this age! I am not looking to remarry or even live with a man, but I do want a special relationship. I had a loving and devoted husband for over 30 years, and I miss being someone’s special someone.
“Trouble is I am 68, and for people over age 60, I read that there are four to five times as many women as men. So, the older men have their pick of women. I have met about 12 or 13 men for coffee dates that I would not be caught dead with.
“There were four men I dated for more than a few dates. So many loser men out there. I hate ‘dating.’ I don’t think I am ‘afraid’ to love again—I want to!
“I have a full life with friends (even male friends) and activities. I do volunteer work and take salsa and square dance classes. I am fit, healthy, active, intelligent and educated. I am attractive, fun-loving, warm and nurturing. I am financially set and have a nice home.”
Brenda, I understand your frustration. Your marriage of 30 years to a loving and devoted husband has set the bar very high for another loving relationship. And I commend you for putting yourself out there on the Internet. Since you asked for my opinion, I will comment on five items. Do not take the comments personally.
- The number of available men. At age 60, the ratio is not four or five women to each available man, but closer to three-to-one. At 68, it is a bit wider. So, although the ratio is daunting, it’s not quite as bad as you have suggested. Plus, the lack of men doesn’t appear to be your problem. When you first went on the dating sites for three weeks, you met “several” men, whom you said were “mostly just awful.” I assume that means that one or two of those men weren’t so bad, they just weren’t what you are looking for.
You say you’ve met 12 to 13 men for coffee dates, over about a year’s time. That is pretty darned good. Many women who write me haven’t had a date in several years, and you are out with a new guy on average about once a month?
Also, in that year, four of the men you dated “for more than a few dates.” That’s pretty darned good also. Again, it’s not the shortage of men that is the issue.
- Your attitude toward dating and the men you are meeting. You say you “hate dating.” That feeling is evident in your email and might be just as evident when you meet these men in person. Drop the word “hate” from your dating vocabulary.
Also, regarding those 12-13 coffee dates you had, you said you would not be “caught dead” with any of them. Drop those words from your dating vocabulary as well.
You also said, “…so many loser men out there.” Your negative attitude toward men may be turning potentially good men into disappearing ones. No man will match what you had with your husband.
- Your problem isn’t meeting men, it is meeting the wrong type of men. The words, “I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places” from the 1980 Johnny Lee song “Lookin’ For Love” may apply to you. I suggest you be more selective in the guys you agree to go out with. Look in the right places. Try different internet sites and get out and volunteer in a myriad of places.
- From what you say, you’ve got it all: health, friends, active lifestyle, financially set, a nice home, intelligence, fun-loving attitude, warmth and a nurturing side. Look in the mirror, appreciate what you have, and get out there and help others who are less fortunate. Give back.
- How soon is too soon to give up seeking a mate? Age 90 to 95 would be when you might say, “I’m not going to look for a man anymore.” That’s about 22 years from now.
Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his websites at www.findingloveafter60.com; www.Vicsta.com and www.Travelafter55.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.