Dating As We Age

Throughout my time teaching our singles class, PICK a Partner, at ShowMe Healthy Relationships, I have met an array of wonderful people. These people are smart, funny, and eager to learn about dating and relationships! No matter their differences, the eagerness is there…especially for those age 50 years and up. Why? Dating changes as we age.

Now, this is not something I pulled from a textbook or a research article. “Dating changes as we age” came directly from participants in my class. Over the course of a few classes, it was clear I was the one learning from them about dating in later life.

  • “What if I don’t want to live with anyone, but still want to date them?”
  • “How do I date someone when his or her adult children do not give me a chance?”
  • “How do I meet people now? I don’t go to bars or events much anymore.”
  • “How do I know if someone online is telling me the truth about who they are?’

These questions are just a snapshot of the several asked during class. My first words for them were, “You’re right, it sounds like dating does change as we get older, but you know what? That’s okay.” Through group discussions, we were able to come up with some ways in which people could adapt to the dating scene as life around them changed: kids and grandkids, split family holidays, separate finances, owning a home, and similar things one might gain or experience throughout life.

Here are a few points we have discovered and discussed together in our classes:

  1. Maintaining your own separate home while in a committed relationship is actually not that uncommon. In fact, there is a term for it now: “Living Apart Together.” As this becomes a rising trend, researchers are discovering that many people who choose to live apart together consider it a lifestyle choice, not a convenience (Benson & Coleman, 2016).
  2. When adult children are involved, either yours or your partner’s, get to know them. Prioritize your time with them and be willing to negotiate. However, make sure they know your stance on the relationship and that it makes you happy! This may help ease uncomfortable situations overtime (Bernstein, Next Avenue).
  3. Although it may not be a “catching eyes across the room” love scene anymore, as one class participant phrased it, meeting someone later in life is still possible. More and more, people of all ages end up meeting new partners through online dating sites. If that’s not quite your scene, you might try attending special events or volunteer opportunities to meet someone who shares your interests. For example, small local concert venues may be a good place to meet someone with the same taste in music! Whatever your hobbies or interests are – follow them (Schwartz, 2009).
  4. Lastly, how can you trust someone if you are trying the online dating scene? My class participants and I discovered there is no right answer here. To improve your odds of finding out, though, we suggest a first-time meeting be at a public place for coffee, tea, or a small bite to eat. Make sure it’s a place where you will be able to hear each other well so that you can have a good conversation and get to know them. Ask each other questions and be open about who you are and what you are looking for. Research shows that open communication and sharing are important for a first date, especially after meeting online (Brenner, 2017).


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Benson, J. J., & Coleman, M. (2016). Older adults developing a preference for living apart together. Journal of Marriage and Family78(3), 797-812.

Bernstein, L. (2013, February 11). What to do when your adult kids hate that you’re in love again. Next Avenue. Retrieved at

Brenner, G. (2017, April 18). How to have a successful first date (after meeting online). Psychology Today. Retrieved at

Schwartz, P. (2009, December). Where to meet great singles. AARP.  Retrieved at

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