when rhonda lynn way was in her 50s and on the dating scene for the first time since she was 21, she had no idea where to start. the only way she can seem to find a date is through an app, but even then, mcneil told me, dating online later in life, and as a black woman, has been terrible. he and others i talked with were tired of the whole process—of putting themselves out there again and again, just to find that most people are not a match. and many of the older women i spoke with said that they were desperate to find someone active, screening dating profiles for mentions of physical activity and asking sly questions about family health conditions.
“it makes me sad to watch it happen.” for reasons like this and others, a growing number of older people are “living apart together,” meaning they’re in a relationship but don’t share a home. suki hanfling, a sex therapist and a co-author of sexuality in midlife and beyond, told me that she knows lots of elderly people having great sex; she mentioned one who had her first orgasm at the age of 83. this is a sharp contrast to what many women now in old age experienced earlier in life. moreover, she said, older adults are freer now to explore the fluidity of attraction and gender. “i think there’s love.” and she’s sharing love in all kinds of ways—reaching out to people in her community who seem like they need it, reminding her kids that she adores them, hosting spaghetti dinners for her unitarian universalist congregation.
in essence most everyone needs to be with something or someone, a so-called object relation, and if of sentimental value so much the better. many great dates simply do not realize this flow factor for fear of losing their leading edge, or are willing to invest in the emotional time it requires to establish a new relationship. it is confusing, and in real life is labeled a control freak, or a person who does not listen.
everyone you meet has a unique life history, with the dating game the disclosure of this past––whether true or not––but as told by the person to you. if your date has a dysfunctional past, or that is your sense, you then have to decide in real time to move on or not, and the other person has the same problems about you––if it is worth the effort to deal with this past, or to rehabilitate and nurse the (supposedly) damaged person back to interpersonal health. it is impractical to think that after a first date magic happens, that the person suddenly drops their life suddenly available at your beck and call. all you really desire is one person in the universe to believe you special, offer a kind word, listen, share, of good character, and that is all enough.
newly single older people are finding a dating landscape vastly different from the one they knew in their 20s and 30s. can relationships with significant age gaps work in your favor? karley sciortino of slutever investigates. as long as there is open communication between partners and clear expectations, relationships with large age gaps can succeed just as well as, dating someone older woman, dating someone older woman, sleeping with a man 20 years older than me, dating someone 20 years older, dating a man 10 years older than you.
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