I’m mid-60s and widowed, and I keep meeting bizarre men. I’ve tried church, the Internet, book clubs, fly fishing classes. Seems the guys range from merely odd to what the hell is wrong?! I’ve dated playboys, commitmentphobes, abusers, and men who had a variety of mental illnesses. Do you have a recommendation for meeting a normal, available, willing man age 60+?
First off, kudos to you. At an age when more than half your female peers are widows, yet over 85% of men are still paired off—or single and looking for Younger— it’s important to cast a wide (Inter)net to meet anyone at all. And you’ve done it. Bravo!
Yet dating post-60 can present a case of “The odds aren’t good, but the goods are odd.” Increasing the number of potential partners you meet is an important part of the plan for anyone of any age, but as you’ve experienced, that alone doesn’t protect you from Weirdness. Time, then, for some alternatives to the Alternatives you’ve found.
(And young ‘uns, keep reading…there’s info for you here, too.)
Get Grief Group(s).
The single, Normal and available men who had good marriages and are open to another pairing are probably…grieving.
Research consistently finds that happy remarriages between a widow and a widower beat remarriages post-divorce, hands-down. Men who remained in a long marriage that only ended with their spouse’s death are your best bet for Normal~ so much so, it’s a shame I can’t recommend this as a dating strategy for women of all ages.
This makes sense. Most divorces are initiated by women; a widower passed at least one woman’s muster for a long time, and it’s fair to assert that the guy’s Normalcy was part of his enduring appeal. Such men are unlikely to be playboys, hard drinkers, druggers, abusers, laze-ers, insane, emotionally unavailable, or any of the other Weird aspects of personality or character that routinely get the heave-ho. These may not sound like great selling points to the inexperienced, but as you’re finding, Normal becomes quite sexxxy once its reverse is endured.
Second, men who’ve been in long, successful marriages are usually men who value long, successful marriages. You could think of them as commitmentphiles (not -phobes), the refreshing single men who want to be married, know they want to be married, and love being married. It’s also possible that these men are better than others at the relationship skills that build up rather than tear down intimacy.
Bonus? There’s no embittered ex-wife hanging about. Nor is your grieving widower cowering from relationships from fear of having his dumped/mistreated past repeat itself. Instead, he probably has a good feeling about women in general, and of his former wife in particular…and he’s likely, research says, to have a strong interest in repeating the experience of commitment soon.
Here’s some common advice I hope you’ll avoid: Give the widower a year or so to get over his wife’s death before you start dating him. Nooooo. Those men who will ever remarry tend to do it within that timeframe. It’s the rare man who grieves protractedly, moves on and eventually remarries. If you wait, Mr. Normal often becomes Mr. Right…for someone else.
Thus, get thyself to a grief group now—one that focuses on bereavement following a spouse’s death. Scratch that; join several if you have time. Worst case, you heal more of your own grief and you make some friends who understand your losses while you help with theirs. Best case? You meet your man and say Yes when he asks you out…even if his wife’s death was recent.
Find Former Flames.
With technology as your guide, it’s easier than ever to light an old flame~and the relationships that ensue tend to be among the very happiest, especially if you’re renewing ties to a first love.
That’s true even if you were both children or adolescents when you fell in love, and no matter what your age is now. And because personality and temperament change little over a lifespan, if you got along back then, you’ll probably get along now.
Just make sure you’re both single before you hit “send” on your email or friend request. First loves are an especially sexually potent combination when they reunite, and they often get involved—much to the woman’s later loneliness and devastation—even when one or both are happily wed to someone else. By comparison, disenchantment from Weird Ones would be a welcome relief.
But let’s say the whole grief-group thing is too Weird as well, and your old flame is unavailable. What then?
Then, you go back to dating in all the ways you’re already doing now…but with a twist I’d recommend for anyone, of any age.
People’s past behaviors –with others as well as us—are by far the best clues to Weirdness, Normalcy and anything else we want to know about them. So when you meet a man, notice how he treats others now, as well as how he has treated people in the past.
Learn about his history—not only as he tells it, but as others who know him reveal it. Does he denigrate former lovers, seethe with bitterness, take pleasure in giving as little as possible, or preen about the would-be wives he eluded? Do his friends and family say things like, “I know Frank really likes you; he’s usually so cheap and stand-offish with women, but he’s nice to you” ? No matter how you’re experiencing Frank, if he’s been Weird with others in his past, Weirdness is in your future with him.
So, Judy, I hope you’ll take a moment to congratulate yourself on doing what it takes to meet many men; keep it up. And I wish you all the best as you put in place a plan for finding the Normal catches among them.
Related Love Science articles:
—Picking a good mate (without settling)
—Women As Sex Objects (beating the odds and becoming more datable age 50+)
—When First Love Is True Love (renewing your ties to an old flame)
—Why Not To Friend Your Old Flame On Facebook (how to ruin a perfectly good marriage)
—Dealing with difficult men
—Dealing with difficult women
—Opposites working out their differences/Solving unsolvable problems
The author wishes to thank the following scientists and sources:
A lot of the information in this article comes from my knowledge of the fields of psychology and aging, social psychology, and general psychology, as well as from topics I have written about formerly. Other sources include these:
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All material copyrighted by LoveScienceMedia and by Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., 2011
Do you have a question for Duana? Write to her at Duana@LoveScienceMedia.com.