According to the 2016 census, nearly 20 million Americans over the age of 65 are unmarried. And while some of them may enjoy their freedom, many single seniors are interested in finding love and companionship. Dating can be challenging at any age, but has many benefits as an older adult. From having a better sense of yourself and what you want in a partner to not feeling society’s pressure to marry, navigating relationships as a senior can feel liberating.
Of course, you have to dip your toe into the dating pool first in order to reap the rewards. Here are a few tips to consider as you get back out into the singles scene.
Utilize Dating Apps
The dating world may look a lot different now than it did when you were last on the market, but the good news is that you can use new technology to your advantage. Dating apps are highly popular and are great ways to connect with people you otherwise may not encounter in your day-to-day life. Additionally, online dating can help you form a connection with someone digitally prior to meeting them in person, which some feel is a safer approach. Though many reputable sites exist, such as eharmony, Match and OkCupid, there are a few specially tailored to adults aged 55 and over, like SilverSingles, SeniorMatch and OurTime.
Protect Your Financial Well-being
Unfortunately, senior citizens are common targets for those seeking financial exploitation opportunities. In fact, as many as 20% of Americans over the age of 65 have been subjected to some sort of financial abuse or fraud. There are many scenarios that can leave seniors susceptible to exploitation, and dating is among them. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to be instantly suspicious of every potential partner you meet. You should, however, keep an eye out for red flags. If you are dating someone who asks a lot of questions about your financial situation, takes an unusual interest in your net worth, hints at needing financial support, or expresses an intense emotional connection very quickly, these could be red flags. And of course, never give your financial information, such as bank account details, passwords or your Social Security number, to anyone unless you have established a committed relationship and they have proven themselves trustworthy.
Safeguard Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Many people do not realize that the rate of sexually transmitted infections has risen sharply among the senior population in recent years. A study from late 2019 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found dramatic increases in cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia in Americans over the age of 55, rising 164%, 120% and 86%, respectively. This data is troubling, and it’s all the more reason to protect yourself against disease. If you plan to date, take time to educate yourself on how to be proactive about prevention.
Don’t Settle Out of a Fear of Loneliness
While the desire to form relationships with others is natural and understandable, don’t be tempted to settle for someone who isn’t a good fit for you or your life. The right person will love you for who you are already and won’t ask you to change—and, of course, they’ll always treat you with respect, dignity and care. Trust your instincts and don’t hesitate to end a courtship if anything feels off. Any relationship you enter into should make you feel good about yourself and your life—and if it doesn’t, something is rotten in the state of Denmark. You deserve better, so be patient, don’t rush, and know your worth.