Seniors and Romance: Finding Love in Your Golden Years

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Your husband passed away two years ago. You have had time to mourn his loss and now are ready to move on. Since his passing, you've gained another grandchild, and you visit your three grandchildren all the time. All of your children are happy and thriving, but you miss having someone to share your home with.

Your son suggested getting a pet to help keep you company while you're at home. Together you went and adopted a cat from the animal shelter. While your tabby Marie keeps you company, it's hard to have a conversation with her. You miss the social scene on date night and being able to double date with friends.

New Possibilities

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You met Bert at the senior center pool about a year ago. He was swimming laps while you did your aqua aerobics class. You'd smile and say hello to each other while you were both leaving the pool. You became friends, and would chat for a half hour after finishing your workouts. When Bert invited you to start playing bocce ball with him and his friends you didn't think much of it. After all, you just gained a new social circle of friends.

When you were talking on the phone with your daughter, she said “Mom, it sounds like he really likes you.” You hadn't started to think about dating again. “But why not?” your daughter asked. “I think it'd be really good for you, Mom.” Before you know it, you and Bert are meeting for dinner and a movie once a week. Things are going well, and your family enjoys spending time with him. Your grandchildren are soon looking to him as a new grandfather. As time passes, you both decide that you're ready to merge your lives together.

Expanding Horizons

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Now more than ever, seniors are getting married or starting a new relationship later in life. While the idea may seem new to you, take a glance around your social circle. There's probably a couple who got together in their later years among your friends.

And while you never anticipated this happening, you're ready to start a life with Bert while honoring your late husband's memory. Your children and grandchildren help his memory live on while welcoming in a new dad and grandfather.

But the second time around isn't the same. You're older, and what you want in life has changed. Many of the goals of a first marriage such as buying a house, working a new job, and having children, are no longer goals in a second marriage. Instead, you're looking for someone to settle into retirement with, to share travel destinations with you, and to be your bridge or tennis doubles partner.

Differences in Relationships

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  1. Take it slow. When you were younger, everyone kept saying to “take things slow” and “you have all the time in the world.” Back then, it never felt like that. Now that you're older, you understand what they meant. There's no pressure to settle down and have a family, or to buy a house and save for retirement. You've already done all that, and can instead enjoy every day of life without the stress of providing for the future.

  2. Explore similarities. While similarities are important in any relationship, they're especially important the older you get. Since you're both retired, you'll be spending a lot more time with each other. Use the time to explore things you both like to do. Hike together, play tennis together, go see live theater—the list goes on. You will enjoy the time spent with each other.

  3. Respect differences. No two people are alike. You're bound to have your differences, and you're most likely set in the way you do things. Make sure you both have room to pursue your different hobbies.

  4. Be ready to downsize. Are you moving into his home? Is he moving into yours? Are you buying or renting a new home together? No matter your situation, be prepared to downsize. Consider renting a storage unit so you have a place to temporarily store items. Let go of furniture and accessories that you no longer need.

  5. Don't fight the adjustment period. As with any relationship, there's always an adjustment period. This is the time to sync your lifestyles. You both haven’t lived with a significant other in a while, and that's going to take some getting used to. Be patient with one another while you sort out your space.

A New Beginning

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You may not have expected to find love again later in life, but you're sure happy you did. You and Bert are planning to take the grandchildren to Disneyland to give your children a break. A trip to Scandinavia is in the works. You're waking up excited to see where each day takes you. And the best part? Your cat Marie really loves Bert too.