“Love is wonderful, the second time around,” as the song lyric goes. Nevertheless, romance in the senior years can be a delicate issue – especially for adult children. I have seen love bloom between some of our residents here at Bethany Village and have watched the family dynamics that can result. Let me share a few observations with you.
People seek relationships later in life for various reasons. A desire for companionship is probably the biggest factor. It’s fun to share meals with someone, go to the movies together, even just sit and watch TV with another person. Having a partner also takes away the social intimidation of going to events and gatherings alone.
Entering a new relationship doesn’t diminish what you had with your previous partner. After you’ve been married for 50 or 60 years, the need for intimacy and touch continues even though your spouse is gone. It’s natural to want to feel close to someone and to count on him or her for support and unconditional love.
Sometimes, however, the adult children of seniors who have found new partners in life feel confused, fearful and even threatened by the new relationships. Inheritance issues may arise. My best advice: Talk honestly about feelings and concerns among yourselves and with a counselor or pastor. If there are serious concerns about finances, speak with an attorney and make sure everyone involved understands the situation.
If you are an older adult who is interested in meeting someone but don’t know how to go about it, here are a few tips:
- If you live in a retirement community, take advantage of activities planned for residents. For example, at Bethany Village we offer a wide range of opportunities such as movies, lectures, parties, special interest clubs and fitness classes.
- Things may have changed since you were last on the dating scene, but courtesy and respect are still at the heart of a budding relationship.
- Remember you are not looking for a breadwinner or for the father/mother of your children! You are seeking companionship for yourself.
- If you decide to try an Internet dating site, NEVER give out personal information such as your phone number or address online.
- If you meet someone with whom you feel you might become physically intimate, talk with your doctor about testing for sexually transmitted diseases and having safe sex.
Becoming acquainted with someone new and developing a friendship based on mutual respect and shared values is an adventure you may enjoy.
Need more resources? The L.A. Times recently wrote about single seniors finding love. If you would like to share how you met your new friend, please leave a comment below.