Dating in Your Golden Years

Senior couple sitting outside on bench with man's arm around woman in evening sun
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4 minutes

Ah, February—the time of year when romance and courtship are on everyone’s mind. Even in our golden years, this holds true. But it can be difficult to wrap your head around putting yourself out there romantically. It might have been a while since you've dated anyone, or it might just be that you don’t feel very socially connected. It can be hard to meet people. When considering your heart health, it’s important not to forget your heart emotionally. No matter your age, it’s never too late to go out and meet new people, and dating is no exception.

Related: Four Habits of Healthy Older Adults

Dating Tips for the Over 60 Crowd:

Get Online

While it may seem like online dating is just for the kids, that is far from true. There are plenty of free, easy-to-use senior online dating sites, like Silver Singles or OurTime, which you can use to meet new people your age. Online dating is great because it allows you to widen your circle and meet people you might not otherwise come into contact with. It also helps you get to know someone before meeting them in real life—sometimes the strongest connections are those we make intellectually. There are plenty of guides for using dating apps and sites as an older adult, and if anything else, it’s worth a shot! You never know, maybe you’ll meet your own Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks, You’ve Got Mail-style.

Start Slow, But Don’t Hold Yourself Back

As tempting as it may be to jump headfirst into a whirlwind relationship, it’s better to take it easy and keep things light at first. Not only is it less stressful to go into dating as a senior with an easy-going mindset, but it also takes a lot of pressure off of you and your date if you keep things casual at first. By the same token, it’s okay if you don’t feel like rushing into dating—the important thing is that you put yourself out there. Ease into social interactions by joining local clubs or by volunteering. The more you get out and meet other people, the more likely you are to make a natural romantic connection with someone else. Deep connections are important to overall wellness, but they don’t happen overnight.

Be Yourself, But Be Open to Trying New Things

When you’re attracted to another person, it can be tough not to try to change yourself to fit in with that person’s idea of the perfect partner. While it may seem like a good idea to tone down certain aspects of your own personality to better match theirs, often what attracts us to other people is precisely their authenticity. Over time, suppressing these parts of yourself (like a love of something nerdy, an aversion to sports, or a strong passion for a particular activity) will only erode the relationship and leave you feeling hollow. Instead, share what makes you by inviting them to join you in your hobbies, talking about what you like, and being vulnerable with them. You may just find that they love what you love. By the same token, don’t close yourself off to learning about new things, or to seeing a new side of something thanks to your date’s interest in it. It’s never too late to pick up a new hobby or to appreciate something new.

Related: The Importance of Hobbies

Know Your Limits (and Theirs)

In dating, communication is key. Whether you want to get more serious physically or emotionally, talking about it with your date can help keep your expectations (and theirs) realistic, and will keep you from accidentally hurting each other in the process. If there’s something you’d like to do with your date, speak up! On the other hand, if you have certain boundaries—emotional or physical—let them know, too. Knowing your limits when dating can even be something as simple as keeping your date informed about which activities you’d like to do (and which you might prefer to avoid). If your date wants to go bowling, for instance, and you know it will trigger your carpal tunnel, suggest a different activity. No matter what, listen to what your date needs and wants, and you’ll be more likely to have a great time together.

These are just a few good things to keep in mind when you start dating again. It can be daunting to put yourself out there romantically, especially dating as a senior, but making a connection with someone else can be rewarding in more ways than one. We’re here to guide you in your journey to keep your heart healthy, and a big part of that is making sure your emotional needs are met. So go ahead! Get back out there, and above all, remember: have fun!

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