The research has clearly shown that people in healthy relationships live longer, happier lives. NBC News reported that the risk of death was 32% higher for single men compared to married or coupled men. Livescience.com linked people in healthy relationships to longer lives as opposed to single people living alone.
I never thought I would be part of the dating scene at this age.
After all, isn’t this the age when you are supposed to be settled? It has definitely reinforced my belief in the fact that nothing is certain and that we must embrace the uncertainty in life. Even if you are in a relationship now, there is no certainty that you will be in one tomorrow. That is just reality.
Dating at age 55 has been both fun and frustrating at the same time.
I have met some amazing people and learned a lot as a result. Some of the people have even turned out to be great friends. On the other hand, I have met some interesting characters also. I always go into the date with an open heart. However, more often than not I am finding that it is not my heart they want open if you know what I mean.
I have heard it all and continue to hear things such as, “I don’t know what I want.” Is it possible to be over 40 and still not know what you want at that stage in your life? I can understand being in your 20’s and not knowing what you want, but 40’s and 50’s? Certainly not judging, just trying to understand.
I also hear other things such as, “ I need more time,” “I’m not quite ready,” “I’m still getting over my X,” “I’ve got too much going on right now,”……………………………………..The tales get frustrating. I call them tales but in a way I see them as excuses driven by fear or the need to continue to explore what else is out there. I’ve been guilty myself of telling the tales.
The smorgasbord is just too large with too many options making it difficult to settle on a certain entrée. Also being able to swipe right on your smart phone to order in, has certainly changed the face of dating. Again, I have been guilty.
So when do you settle down? When does one stop with the tales and embrace the beautiful gift that is before them?
Listen, I get it
Perhaps not everyone wants a relationship. At least not now. But what about when you are 65 years old sitting on the sofa alone? There is a great chance that your options will be more limited at that point. Just something to give some thought to. A study by Karen Fredrikson, Ph.D, found that 58% of LGBTQ seniors live alone compared to just 25% of straight older adults. It also found that 15% of that population had seriously considered suicide within the previous 12 months. What does this say about our community?
I think the LGBTQ community is different from the straight community in that many of us do not have children and at my age, our parents are deceased. This leaves us with a smaller support network as we age, which in my opinion is reason enough to settle down and stop looking over the smorgasbord for a better entrée.
I am certainly not suggesting that one settle just for the sake of “having someone.” I am only trying to provoke self-thought and examine the behaviors of my fellow LGBTQ family as I continue to date. I’ve come to understand that the muscle dude in the park and the man I may look at as a troll, both have feelings and that we are all making our way in this world as best we can.
I have learned to stop chasing the rainbow and perfection.
There is no perfect being or perfect relationship. I am open to meeting Mr. Right with no limitations. Limitations get in the way. In the past I have told myself, “Oh he’s too young,” “He’s too big,” “He’s too small,” His butt is too small,” He walks funny,” “He talks funny,” “He’s too Nellie,” “He’s the wrong race,” and the list goes on.
I have learned the importance of accepting and loving people as they are and at the same time being completely open to the possibility of a relationship even though they may not have EVERYTHING I want. No one will ever have EVERYTHING we want.
At the end of the day, it is about having someone to share life with. I have found mutual caring and great conversation to be important for me. I have found it increasingly important to look at the person’s inside and not so much the outside. Color of skin, fat bootie, no bootie (like me), masculine, feminine and anything else we deem as necessary. I guess we all have our preference and there is nothing wrong with preference.
Things I find important in someone are kindness, caring, adoration, loving, respectful, laughter, fun, and motivation. I commit to look beyond the surface and not value the wrapping over the content.
So I will continue to date, knowing that the kind, caring, adoring, loving, respectful, fun and motivated man will show up for me. And when he does, we will both know. We will leave the stories, excuses, fears and tales behind. None of those will be an issue anymore.
In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy the dating process. I would love your feedback. What has your dating experience been like? Are you kissing a lot of frogs? Let me hear from you at vinceshifflett.com