Doesn’t it seem kind of ageist that dating resources so seldom cover dating for those 60+? Dating over 60 is just as nerve-wracking as when you’re a teenager–except that when you’re older, it’s much harder to find relevant advice and reassurance you’re not alone in your worries.
Below, find firsthand perspectives on dating after middle age–along with general tips and ideas to address common, specific worries.
“How can I manage my dating anxiety later in life?”
With great risk comes great reward! Remember that, and use the tips below to defuse later life dating anxiety.
Try out some dating apps
You are never too old for dating apps! They can be a great way of meeting new people no matter what your age, and can ease you back into the dating scene.
- Be honest and true to yourself when setting up a profile.
- Be forthcoming about your preferences: it’s the only way you’ll find your right match.
- Be upfront about what you’re looking for–or about the fact that you’re not quite sure yet! There’s no pressure to have it all figured out right away.
Invest in yourself and see who comes along
Plan to take care of yourself with sex
Lots of people are having sex later in life, whether they talk about it or not. As the New York Times recounts of a recent study, sex remains a big part of life even into one’s mid-seventies and beyond: “though just over a quarter of participants ages 75 to 85 said they had sex in the last year, more than half that group had sex at least two to three times a month. And almost one-quarter of those having sex were doing it once a week — or more.”
Again, remember that your body has changed since you dated as a 20 year old and that’s okay. Your sexual experiences will go better when you work with what you’ve got instead of acting like the changes to your body don’t exist.
This article from The Atlantic offers tips and tricks for sex after middle age. You have options to adapt sex to fit your current needs. Viagra, lubes, and getting creative sexually are great ways of honoring your present body and still experiencing pleasure.
Practice positive and confident self-talk
People of all ages benefit from practicing positive self-talk, especially when they’re feeling anxious or insecure. Talking back to your anxious thoughts with positive, realistic affirmations is a great way of increasing your confidence whether you’re dating again or not.
Try telling yourself phrases like “I am vibrant” or “I am wonderful to talk to” or check out this article for more ideas.
If saying it to yourself doesn’t work, try visualizing a time when you felt romantically or sexually empowered—even if that was twenty years ago. Remember that you are still that person who was confident enough to flirt with someone at a bar or go on a blind first date.
“I’m not at peace with my body, so how can I put myself out there?”
Even though it’s easier said than done, remember that many people find love once they stop worrying about their bodies. Your body looks different than when you were younger. That’s normal and okay.
A blog post on The Every Girl features writer Katie Bishop’s story about how poor body image, especially about her weight, held her back from finding love. She says “I eventually did find love, but it wasn’t when I was at my thinnest, or even when I felt the best about myself.” Even when you’re feeling bad about your body, you are still capable and worthy of being loved.
“How can I get through the disillusionment caused by my divorce?”
Consider reframing how you think about the takeaways from your divorce. Your divorce doesn’t mean there is no good match for you–it means you’ve been stuck with a bad match for so long, that you haven’t had a chance to find your “person.”
However, in your past marriage and through the divorce process, haven’t you learned a lot that you can bring to your dating forays? An article from Mashable shares an interesting take on the power of dating post-divorce: “With life experience and possible previous marriages under your belt, you know the red flags and you know what you want.”
Is it possible to find love again? Suzy Brown of Midlife Divorce Recovery shares her own experience with dating after divorce, illustrating how it is possible to find quality companionship in later life.
Remember the #1 goal for dating at any age
While dating goals may vary (e.g. hooking up vs. re-marrying), everyone who dates is looking for the same thing in the end: someone who likes and appreciates you for who you really are. If your anxiety involves overthinking, anticipating, and preparing for all potential scenarios, take a step back.
Remember that you’re looking for someone who likes your un-edited self best. That may help relieve the urge to ruminate and scrutinize yourself. You’re never too old to get back out there, and there are lots of resources to support you in your process.