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Senior Lifestyles: Dating over age 50 – what we really want

In my last article I discussed the topic of loneliness and isolation, and the negative impact both can have on your health, longevity and quality of life. Without friends and people to share your ups, downs, challenges and life’s celebrations, life itself often becomes a gray, drab timeline with no light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s a known fact that throughout all stages of our adulthood, the population of single women in America is larger than the number of single men in the same general age groups. Older men often suffer under an illusion of their desirability to much younger women, and while that is occasionally true, too often the best looking aspect of an older man to a younger woman is his net worth statement, although there are some very successful “May-December” relationships that do stand the test of time and change.

However, the fact that there are more women than men, and the numbers of available men in their 50’s and  60’s doesn’t present a large pool of eligible bachelors or widowers, women in that same age group are often at a disadvantage if they wish to establish a meaningful and intimate relationship with men of their own age.

But current research involving women in those age groups is providing some very surprising insights about how they feel about sex, dating and long-term relationships. Not surprisingly, men and women ages 40-59 rated physical attraction as a key factor in establishing a relationship.

Those in the age groups 60-74 and 75-plus continue to value physical attraction highly, but rated it less important than did the younger members of the research study. Not surprisingly, it was the men in each of those age groups that valued looks far more important than did the women in the same age cohort.

Women also valued the idea of physical attraction, but ranked “characteristics like personality and kindness much higher than looks alone.” While those factors were highly rated, the study also showed that a lower physical attraction factor had a negative effect on their own self-image. In some cases new relationships ignited or restarted a sexual passion that was more fulfilling than in their earlier relationships.

One other misconception about women, widows or divorcees, is that most are looking to remarry, have a serious long-term relationship or even date. This is especially true in the cases where the woman was the caregiver for a spouse who passed away from his illness. Here, research has shown that while they do enjoy the company of men, they want to retain their newfound independence and have no desire to remarry. Their preference is to not again become a caregiver and they would prefer to have a dating companion and remain independent.

What many men don’t understand about these women is that while they like being with a man, they don’t need a man to be happy. Some will consider a long-term relationship, but when asked by a researcher will also clearly state that such a relationship will definitely not include marriage. While it continues to be confusing to men, for many older women, dating enhances their lives if they find the right person. But they’ll also state that if the right person doesn’t enter their lives, that, too, is okay, because for them life is already comfortable and nice as it is.

Ron Kauffman is a consultant and expert speaker on issues of aging, Medicare and Obamacare. Ron is the author of “Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease, available as a Kindle book on Amazon.com. He may be contacted at 828-696-9799 or drron561@gmail.com.