Back when I first set about the dating scene in earnest (which was, in fairness, quite a while ago), I couldn’t imagine dating at the age of 60. For one reason or another, it seemed too abstract. After all, aren’t all the over 60s married, and if they aren’t, surely they don’t have the same needs and wants as me?
Well, after 37 (almost 38!) years of marriage, I learned something. I learned that dating over 60 is not only natural but is happening all around us. Those lessons didn’t come easily though because I came back to the dating scene with all the embarrassment of my 23-year-old self-looking at a 63-year-old climb back on the horse.
It took me a while, but I learned that no, I shouldn’t be embarrassed about dating over 50. Here’s what I learned:
1. Popular culture is not reality. This is going to sound like an odd observation, but stick with me. The reason why we feel embarrassed about getting back into the dating scene in our 60s is simply that it’s not highlighted about in popular culture.
Instead, we’re shown endless parades of young, attractive and athletic people finding love, usually to help sell some products. Since when did we take TV, films and magazines as a perfect mirror to society? Just because the thought of you going out on a date isn’t going to sell a sofa doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve it.
2. It seems like you’re the only single person out there, but you aren’t. When I first became single again, it seemed like I was the only single over 60 in the country. Women at my age all seemed to be married or against the idea of dating again. Which, of course, made me feel embarrassed.
The mistake I’d made was thinking that dating remained the same in your sixties as it did in your twenties. We’re busier, quieter and our priorities have changed. Oh, and we’re all using online dating. That changed everything for me, as for the first time I could see just how common it was to be single over 50, and just how eager people my age were to find love. That alone took away so much of the embarrassment I felt at the time, and really gave me the boost I felt I needed to get back on the horse.
3. Being over 60 doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve love. This one should go without saying, but we often forget it. Age has nothing to do with what you want, need or deserve. As over 60s, we have the very same desires as those in their youth.
Often we feel like getting back on the dating scene might embarrass our kids or make us seem lonely, but those are just the lies we tell ourselves to avoid getting hurt. We deserve love, and we should go get it.