Intimacy & Aging

Dear Lura:

My mother passed away unexpectedly almost three years ago. Since that time, my dad has been pretty down. In the last few months, however, he’s started talking about dating again.

I have to admit, I’m not wild about the idea. It’s hard to imagine him with someone other than my mom. They were married for over fifty years. But I hate seeing him so lonely and sad.

He wants to find an online dating site that might help him connect with women who have his same hobbies and interests. Any suggestions for how I can help my father safely transition back into the dating world?

Ryan

Helping an Aging Parent Begin Dating Again

Dear Ryan:

This is such an emotionally charged issue for adult children! I think you will find many children feel the same way you do. At least initially. Not wanting to see your Dad alone but not wanting to see him with someone besides your mother is a tough struggle to reconcile.

It sounds like your Dad may have been thinking about this for a while now. In all likelihood, it took a lot of courage for him to broach the subject with you.

The dating world has definitely changed in the last 50 years since your Dad was single! So it’s good that he has you to look out for him.

What might help is to pull together a few articles about romance and sexuality in later life for you and your Dad to review together. A few good ones include:

If you think it may make him too uncomfortable to talk about these topics in person, you could always print them out for him to read on his own.

Online Dating and Seniors

A study conducted by Oxford Internet showed that 36% of adults between the ages of 40 and 70 met their partner online. So it’s no surprise your father is considering going that route. But there are a few things to caution him about including:

  • Remind your Dad not to agree to meet anyone until they have at least spoken on the phone a few times.
  • Safety experts often recommend talking on a mobile phone that can’t be traced back to his home address.
  • When it’s time to meet in person, choose a public place during daytime hours.
  • Also be sure your Dad lets you know where he will be and at what time. He may feel like you are being a bit overprotective but, as the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

As far as senior-friendly dating sites, Senior Planet created a list of their top five:

  1. Match.com
  2. AARP Dating
  3. eHarmony
  4. Our Time
  5. OK Cupid!

You can read more about the pros and cons of each at Senior Planet.

I hope this helps you and your father, Ryan!

Kind Regards,

Lura