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Boomer Unchained: Dating In Your 60s

What’s it like dating when you are over 60?

I have a handful of women friends in the ‘over 60’ demographic who are in dating relationships, myself included.  My friends seem quite happy from the outside, socializing, going to restaurants and art openings, playing golf, and traveling with their guys (Friends? Boyfriends? Companions? Partners? What do we call them at our age?) Two got married. Of those, one says she has to pinch herself every morning to make sure her life is real.

I have been asked what it’s like to date at our age. I’ve also been asked how does a woman over 60 meet someone.

Late-in-life Relationships

I can only speak for myself. I have found that having an unexpected, late-in-life relationship (which evolved from dating) is a lot more peaceful and enjoyable than it was when I was in my 20s: impulsive, emotional, and quick to fall in and out of love. Dating was a game, and heartbreak was real. I saw guys as challenges and objects, and not as vulnerable human beings. I was judgmental and steeped in the Cinderella complex, waiting for someone to save me from a dysfunctional childhood (I am beginning to understand my bad choices!) I was a tree-hugging and wild California girl of the ‘60s, living in L.A.

Now, in my 60s, I live in coastal Delaware and am dating a man named Peter whose attentiveness to me, kindness, sense of humor, intelligence, and company I truly enjoy. We appreciate each day, and what we have. I know this through discussions. We talk.

He brings me flowers. We cook at each other’s homes and we go out, a lot – alone and with friends. I took care of him when he had his knee replacement surgery, and he took care of me when I broke my ankle. I got the better deal. I couldn’t walk or drive for nine weeks.

Over the two-plus years we have dated, we have been happy to discover that we have many of the same moral beliefs, and interests such as, history, politics (same party), art and photography, family, and the outdoors.  We are studying Jewish ethics and spiritual practices, and are active in the local Jewish community. We have introduced each other to our respective friends, and found a compatibility in these friendships. We respect each other’s feelings, our personal boundaries, and our independence. Our grown children approve.

Image file: Enjoying time with his grown children.
Enjoying time with his grown children.
Image file: In the summer, we enjoyed several concerts and shows including at the Freeman Stage.
In the summer, we enjoyed several concerts and shows including at the Freeman Stage.

Meeting Someone In your 60s

My friends who are dating met their ‘companions’ (That’s a nice, safe word for us seniors. I gag at ‘boyfriend.’) doing things they enjoy. They met their men accidentally. I do know of a few women who have met men on online dating sites, and one got married. I signed up on JDate (the Jewish one) several years ago. A guy from the site invited me to go sailing with him for a day on his gorgeous boat (pictured on the site) docked in Annapolis. That meant I had to drive back and forth from Lewes in one day, and I hate driving long distances. Anyway, I started to imagine him slicing me up, killing me and dumping me over the side and so I chickened out. Irrational, I know, but that was that for me. I figured someone can tell you anything on a dating site. You have to hire a detective agency as a caveat. You’ll find many of those in a Google search, too (Detective agencies, Delaware).

Peter and I met at Seaside Jewish Community’s break-fast in 2015, the evening meal you share with members of your congregation following the 24-hour fast of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

I was sitting at a table with about nine good friends in a hall in Rehoboth with several hundred people. It was a festive evening. The buffet table was packed with salads, fruit, lox and cream cheese, bagels, white fish, herring, blintzes, and lots of homemade kugel (noodle puddings). Everyone was happy to be able to eat again, and conversations were about everything from the beautiful music and spiritual messages at the service to updates on children, grandchildren, and the activities of the upcoming week.

Peter, who was sitting next to me at our table, started talking to me. He was a friend of several people at the table. Though I was enjoying our interesting conversation that touched on subjects of history and living in Europe, it never dawned on me that something was happening. I had been divorced for years and had finally come to the conclusion I was too old to date. There are more unmarried women around than men, and men are looking for the younger women, right?

I had no idea Peter was interested in me, until he sent me a sweet and somewhat romantic, boyish email through my personal blog two weeks later.  My friend Marjorie called me the same day as she had just learned her husband had given Peter my last name, but not my telephone number.  She was annoyed and called to find out if I had heard from Peter. Peter, on the other hand, had used his online investigative skills he uses in his ancestry research.

I guess we do sound just like 20-somethings after all.

I read an article about older adults dating that was published in 2013 in the Journal of Marriage and Family. It said that those of us who date are active, healthy and social.  I guess that description fits every woman I know who is dating, and who was lucky enough to find a person with whom she is compatible. I guess the compatibility has to be real, and I think it just happens.


Susan Towers, 2020

Susan Towers

Susan L. Towers, M.S., retired from Beebe’s Marketing & Communications department in 2017 to pursue her writing, and to experience new adventures with friends and family. She has published stories in Delaware Beach Life magazine, as well as two fiction short stories in anthologies. She is member of the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild and the American /Society of Journalists and Authors. She is an advocate of the arts and humanities, and is passionate about the outdoors.