Dating tips for older men and women in their 50s, 60s or 70s

By Pater Sambian of Armenia Chat

You wake up one morning and see an empty pillow next to yours. As your hand feels the cold sheet for human comfort, you shudder feeling an acute sense of loss.

You no longer have a companion—a soul mate. You need an extra blanket on the bed and socks on your cold feet. There is no morning deep chuckle to greet the day. After so many years of feeling a vibrant warm loving body cuddled next to your own, the king size bed is icy and the familiar bald head brings you face to face with your solo self.

No longer in a comfort zone of a twenty-one year marriage, you hate the thought of being alone. You’re old? Hair grows where it shouldn’t, and where it should – doesn’t. You want to share your days and nights with someone, but you don’t know how to ferret out that special someone.

The search is more difficult for older women that men, just in the statistic that so many more wives outlive their husbands. Dear Abby calls these hungering seekers for potential mates the “Casserole Brigade.” Not having dated for years, many of them feel as if they are on borrowed time without any years to waste. A swarm of single women are now venturing to fish in the same dating pool and the rule among them is “every woman for herself.” So when taking that first hard step to join a senior club or go on a cruise alone to find companionship, the Casserole Brigade feels threatened.

Thinking about that first date when you are single by choice, widowed, or divorced after reaching senior status takes on a whole new dimension. A nerve-wracking uncertainty that feels almost insurmountable. Where do I meet him, where to go, what to wear, and what to talk about? But as my single sister-in-law once told me, “You may not be twenty anymore but you’re still not over the hill either. Finding a partner is only exploring the lay-of-the land. You start alone and learn as you go.”

However, to improve your search for the hard-to-define, hard-to-reach, and hard-to-meet begins by throwing caution to the wind.

One of the easiest ways to hunt for a honey begins by searching the daily newspaper. Places to meet both females and males are Senior Centers, Library Book Clubs, Foster Parent meetings, Tea Dances, Single or Line Dancing, Historical Society programs, and poetry readings. Also, don’t forget friends that can help introduce you to someone. Or try going back to school – law school, cooking school, instruction in playing bridge, pinochle or poker.

Becoming aware of what’s out there in the dating world is a valuable first step toward protecting yourself. Remember, being single as you grow older is just another journey through life and every dating experience you have prepares you for the next one. With that in mind, this is the day for new beginnings.

Forget about living faint, foolish or unfriendly. Get a jump start from adventurous women and a brave man who have searched for romance by not watching life go by but living it. Below are some juicy tales of the good, the bad, and the ugly told to help educate Senior Daters. Learn how to navigate through the Cougars and Sharks that are out there, and see what others have to say about the funny side of life. But, most of all, be adventurous!

“After a couple of dates, I decided he didn’t want that special woman what he really wanted was a nurse with a purse.” — Dianne, 54

“After my husband died, I went to a couple bereavement meetings. I met a man there who had lost his wife. He just kept crying telling me he had lost his soul mate, his great love. At the third meeting, I found out he’d gotten married. I decided then that women are the more capable people with more strength.” — Dee, 73

“I’m going to be 80 in June and when my husband died, I stayed home, not doing much in the way of meeting people and making friends. Finally, I joined a garden group. A member asked me to come along with her and her husband for a night out. I did and had a great time. The following Friday night, I went dancing and got all the dances I could handle! The men and women that go to this senior center are outgoing and helpful. ‘Time really does fly’ when you are having soooo much fun.” — Penelope, 79

“When my wife of nearly seventy years died, I found myself alone. The most astounding thing happened in the following weeks. Casseroles magically appeared on my doorstep made by every single elderly woman in a five-mile radius. They all assumed I was starving, I guess. Most were delivered personally. The women would stand awkwardly at my door waiting to be invited in to perhaps share a meal with this lonely widower.

When my daughter came to visit, she was shocked by my refrigerator. My shelves were stuffed with casseroles of all shapes and sizes. I didn’t the heart to toss them, although I hadn’t tasted one. My daughter put a stop to the Casserole Brigade invasion. She cleaned out my refrigerator, washed up the dishes, and looked up their phone numbers. She left the clean dishes in a neat box on my front porch for pick up. Since then, not a single casserole has found its way into my life. Can’t say I’m sorry. Those casseroles scared me to death. Besides, I’m pretty busy. I go bowling three times a week.” — Jim, 90

You never know who you’ll meet in a coffee shop. That’s where I got myself a boyfriend! Every morning before work, I’d go to this restaurant, have coffee, read the paper and order a bagel with cream cheese. And every morning, this older guy who was also drinking coffee and reading the paper would nod hello and ask, “See any good recipes for a single guy to make?” and I’d laugh and say, “Why? You wanna learn how to cook?” He’d answer “Nope,” and continue to read his paper and drink coffee. The kidding went on for a couple of weeks when he slapped a menu down in front of me. “I hear this place makes a good spaghetti sauce. How would you like dinner with me tonight to try it out?” I did, and now we go once a week for spaghetti dinner. It sure beats being lonely. ­— Joann, 70

I was working as secretary-receptionist at a country club. The day George joined, I was busy when he was escorted to my desk for the club tour, but as usual, I extended my hand across the desk to welcome the new member with a handshake. As we shook hands, I instantly noted his tight grip and comfortable shake. After introductions, I returned to my work and they went on their way. Over the next months, I had spoke to George whenever he made reservations for monthly dinners and other club social events. Since he was always a “single” I took extra care to work him in when bookings were already filled. We continued a professional yet friendly banter until one day George handed me a yellow ruled paper with the question: “Can I have your phone number?” I wrote down my number and handed the paper back to him. That night, he called and asked me out. As a gentleman, he asked me where I wanted to go for dinner and I immediately said “Red Lobster.” George arrived on time but I didn’t recognize him. He wasn’t the cute goofy guy with the smile and tip of his cap from the club. This guy had his hair combed straight down in front in a long widow’s peak, lots of gold jewelry and smelled to high heaven with hideous cologne. At the restaurant we both ordered halibut, had great conversation.  He admitted he ate Red Lobster frequently with his elderly aunties, and afterward they went to Marie Callender’s for pie.  My response “I like pie!”  He, threw his head back, laughed a hearty laugh, and after dinner we too went for coffee and pie. We continued to date, for a couple months, he toned down the cologne, de-jewelrized himself, gave me a kiss on the cheek, which lead to staying overnight, and within four months George presented me with a diamond ring.  The prince I’d been waiting for all my life had finally appeared (after 50 years – George is 73 and I am 62) and he has stayed to make it a wonderful end to a delightful fairytale.  I’m described by his family as “his lady faire” and it all started with a handshake and a smile. ˆ— Bernadine, 62

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