Finding love in old age

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“To those who have given up on love, I say trust life a little bit.”

Maya Angelou

 

Our twilight years are not normally associated with sweaty palms, butterflies and the anticipation of holding hands. Luckily, there are no rules for love. Just as hope springs eternal, so too does our desire for companionship and romance. There are some unique challenges to face in elder dating. Having lived a full life can mean you carry baggage with you. You may have been through a divorce or faced the death of your spouse, but don’t let these hold you back. It is key to remember your loved ones would want you to find happiness. Rather than replacing them, see it as finding an entirely new companionship.  Another challenge is the comfort zones and habits we develop through life. You may have done things a certain way for as long as you remember and find the thought of a new romance uncomfortable. Change is as good as a holiday, so embrace it and be reinvigorated.

 

Luckily the benefits of dating in your senior years far outweigh the challenges. Health experts say that romance increases your quality of life and health exponentially as you get older. It refreshes your mind, fills you with new ideas and makes every obstacle seem manageable. By this stage you know who you are and what you want. Unlike teenage love that chases all the wrong things, mature love is calm and caring. You are able to be more expressive and direct without the fumbling ambiguity of younger years. Most importantly, a twilight romance is the ultimate cure for loneliness.

 

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Before you head off on your dating spree,

here are a few tips to getting back in the game.

Finding senior social spaces for meeting potential romantic partners can be a challenge. Luckily there are local social clubs like bridge clubs or tea clubs. Get involved in every opportunity you come across and make the most of them. There are some fantastic dating websites for seniors that are easy to use and can connect you suitable dates quickly. Try www.singlesover60.co.za for a start. Once you’ve found a suitable date, remember a few things: there is no pressure for marriage or intimacy - you get to make all the rules and take it at your own pace. Decide what you want out of dating. It could be companionship and someone to talk to. Maybe it’s someone to cuddle on the couch while watching your favourite programs. Follow your heart.

 

So now that it’s time for the actual date, let the romance flow.

There really is no age limit to romance, and more than any other time in your life, thoughtfulness is appreciated. Get your date a gift, write them letters, plan a picnic or a sunset walk. These let your date know you appreciate them and are thinking about them when you’re not together. Finally, don’t bring your past relationships with you on your date. You have an opportunity for a clean slate. You may want to talk about your past spouse but your date will be more comfortable getting to know you first.

 

Eve Pell in her essay for the New York times wrote: “Old love is different. In our 70s and 80s, we had been through enough of life’s ups and downs to know who we were and we had learned to compromise. We knew something about death because we had seen loved ones die. The finish line was closer. Why not have one last blossoming of the heart?”

Why not indeed.

Wendy Bezuidenhout