By Tom Blake
Recently, I’ve received emails from newly single seniors. Some have been widowed, others divorced, and a few never married. Many have asked what characteristics they should seek in a new mate.
Here’s how I usually reply. “Know yourself first. Make your own written list based on the personality traits a new partner must have.
“Keep your list simple and short, limited to five or six must-have items. I don’t like long lists, because the longer your list, the more potential mates you eliminate from consideration. And, at age 70+, it’s already hard enough to find someone compatible. Here’s my list of six must-have items.”
- A person of impeccable character. This means someone who listens to what you say and is willing to compromise and be flexible. A person who is friendly, respectful, honest, pleasant, kind, and has a nice smile and doesn’t criticize others. Observe how the person speaks about his mother and father, children, and even an ex-spouse. How does he or she treat a waitress? Then visualize how the person will treat you.
- There must be a mutual connection. You must like each other. Friends first. You must want to be together and plan a second and third date. A sense of humor is important. Also, each having a love of animals is a tie that binds.
- Personal hygiene. Does he or she take good care of themselves? Is the person healthy and fit? Do they dress nicely, wearing clean clothes? If you are a health nut, and he is a couch potato, it isn’t going to work. I’ve observed that senior women strive to take care of their health and fitness more than men.
- Affectionate/romantic. If you relish being hugged, kissed, and having your hand held, your potential mate needs to want the same things and be romantic toward you. If there’s not that two-way chemistry/physical connection, there likely won’t be a relationship. It’s either there right off the bat, or not. Of course, you can always be “just friends.”
- The person must be available to spend time with you. I’m not saying 24/7. You may be retired, with lots of free time. However, if the person you meet is still working or whose calendar is always full, often at night, you might end up being alone more than you want. And what about weekends? Does he or she spend time babysitting the grandkids or going to Las Vegas with friends? If personal interests and needs mean too much time away from each other, a relationship probably won’t work. What often happens is single seniors purposely keep busy. Social interaction is important and healthy. I’ve observed that particularly with women. However, to be available for a relationship, a person might need to tweak his or her social calendar. You wouldn’t want to miss a great relationship by being unavailable.
- Within a reasonable age difference. What’s an OK age difference? It could be five or 10 years, or even more. Age is just a number. Some seem old at 50; others seem young at 80. It’s best to discuss the age difference with your potential partner right away, so it doesn’t cause a problem later. Remember, a younger person also can get sick.
These are my top six must-have characteristics. Other items such as kids, religious and political differences and finances need to be discussed. That’s where compromise comes in. Good luck meeting a new mate.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: email@example.com.