Recently a few of my special friends have lost loved ones and this caused me to re-read a blog I wrote a few years ago about Grief. I felt it necessary to read the blog again to see if, over time, I should update anything that I had written, before I recommended that my friends read it.
In the wrap-up of the blog about grief, I wrote that I would write a blog about online dating for over 60-year-olds and, so here it is.
I grew up in a small town and had two brothers. I had never been on a blind date in my life. The thought of going on one in my early 60s terrified me. I am sure that if I had not promised my dying partner that I would ‘go out and find someone else to love’ I would not have even thought about doing online dating.
He was rather sneaky, my love, he enlisted a promise from my daughter that she would help me find another partner. Time passed after his death and I began to feel whole again.
It was then that my daughter and son-in-law suggested that I needed to ‘find someone your age to play with’. They had kindly let me tag along to all fun catch-ups with friends, BBQs and the like. Their friends always made me feel very welcome but something was missing in my life.
Creating a Profile
Without my kids to assist me with this I think I may have given up before I began. Get someone to help you with your profile. It is actually great fun to do.
You need to put up a few photos of yourself. I recommend being as honest with the photos as you feel comfortable with. At least when you meet someone they will recognise you from the photos.
I uploaded a few different ones, hopefully showing me in situations that I enjoyed and thought that anyone interested would gain a better understanding of who I was.
Then came the interesting exercise of completing your profile. Listing things that you enjoy as well as things you dislike. I remember my kids laughing hysterically when I answered ‘I just like to have fun’ when asked what it was I liked doing. Apparently ‘having fun‘ has an altogether different meaning with online dating than I had thought.
I think the profile is excellent for ensuring that you don’t attract interest from the sort of person or people that you would not otherwise be interested in.
Being able to avoid people I didn’t think I would hit it off with was one of the things that I liked the best about the site.
For instance, I do not like being around people who smoke and would not consider agreeing to meet someone who did. Other things such as religious beliefs, and whatever else is important to you can be dealt with in your profile before you need to meet anyone.
I enjoy drinking gin and tonic, red wine and dark, interesting beers, so it makes sense not to choose a teetotaler.
Whilst my kids were setting up my profile I merrily went on the site and gave ‘kisses/ticks’ to all the males that I thought looked interesting. When they noticed what I was doing, I was told to pull my head in and to read the profiles fully before sending kisses or ticks.
I was fascinated by the number of men out there looking for a partner/date.
Some profiles were really interesting and some gave cause to move on rapidly to the next one. I guess that is the same with life.
Eventually, it got to the stage when I had to go out there and meet someone. I think that is one of the scariest things I have ever done. Many people arrange to meet for coffee. I figured I was so nervous coffee wouldn’t cut it for me so I arranged to meet at a local pub on the wharf.
My daughter, Karyn and I went to the place where I had arranged to meet the first man. We walked through the pub and worked out a plan that I could leave by saying I needed the toilet and walk out onto a side street where I could call Karyn and she would rescue me if I felt uncomfortable any time during the meeting.
Crunch time – the first date
Karyn dropped me off at the pub and I ordered a beer and sat down at the arranged spot. My new friend, John, arrived on time and we got to know one another over a beer. It was fun, not as scary as I had imagined it to be.
So much so that when he went to the bar to get us another beer I looked at my phone and saw that I had missed heaps of messages asking if I was OK. I got so involved in chatting with my new friend that I forgot I had arranged to say I was OK as soon as I was. I sent a quick message to say all was good and asked that she collect me on her way home. She had indicated she would be about another half hour.
Picture the scene. Me nervously sipped my beer whenever the conversation ran dry and now on my second one. I didn’t think it would be a good idea to drink a third beer with all that adrenaline rushing through my body.
We got so engrossed in our conversation that I didn’t notice the messages from my daughter saying that she was outside and ready to pick me up.
It was so funny, when she walked in, both John and I jumped up like guilty teenagers would when a parent walked into an embarrasing moment!
On the next date, I decided to brave it and drive myself to the pub. I had still not felt able to meet over coffee…
We both arrived at the appointed place and time. Each with our beers. After ten minutes it became clear to me that this man had not been the same person responding to my email conversations. I have never known one beer to take so long to drink. Seriously people, at least write and answer your emails personally.
I had gained confidence now, knowing that I could easily escape from any uncomfortable situation. I arranged another meeting with yet another potential suitor.
This time I had arranged to enjoy a light meal at the pub on the foreshore.
We enjoyed each other’s company and the man, who had advised me earlier that he had to leave early to attend a jazz class. He was a jazz dancing instructor. He asked me if I would like to go with him to the class. He advised me that I would be on my own as he had to teach others and couldn’t give me any preferential attention.
Sounded like a good idea to me but I had to call into the home to change my shoes on the way. Whilst he waited for me in the car park, my kids peeked through the curtains and assessed the man. I had felt comfortable enough to ditch my car and travel with him to the classes.
During the evening I received texts from my children reminding me that I had to open for Rotary early the next morning. I was confused, goodness, did they think I would sleep with a man on the first date?!
When I got home both kids were sitting on the lounge with folded arms and serious expressions on their faces – I was advised that I could NOT go out with that man again as he had been the partner of my son-in-law’s aunt and behaved abominably to her. Talk about role reversal…
I eventually got confident enough to ‘go for coffee’ with one man. The meeting was great and comfortable. After arranging to meet again I received a text to say he had reconsidered and realised he was not yet ready to go out with other women yet, so cancelled our date. Hey, no harm done, but it did put me off going for coffee!
From the beginning, I had been interested in meeting a man called Flinders10. Whenever I contacted him he was seeing someone else. Whenever he contacted me, I too was seeing another person.
Trust me, online dating is complicated, I do not believe one can successfully date more than one person at a time.
Eventually, I sent him a message to say that I would be at the local Jazz Festival with friends in the afternoon and that he was welcome to join me.
I mentioned that I would also have my granddaughter with me.
Ken arrived as we were enjoying lunch. We hit off immediately. things were going well until my granddaughter had finished her lunch. She reminded me that we always danced at this festival and suggested that now was the time.
Oops – I had forgotten to mention on my profile that I enjoyed dancing. I turned to Ken and said ‘We have been coming here for years and every year we dance. You have three choices, you can join us, you can watch us and enjoy your beer or leave. But my granddaughter and I are going to dance’.
Fortunately for me, he came and danced with us. The three of us had a ball, dancing and bopping to the Jazz music. We enjoyed ourselves so much that have hardly been apart for the past 10 years.
Sex in Your Sixties
Oh goodness, sexual intercourse is the most difficult thing in a new relationship when you are over 60.
Desire is universal and has no age barrier. It is just our minds and low self-image that make things awkward.
After many passionate embraces, it came down to the universal question
Are we going to do this thing?
Well, one thing is for sure, having sexual intercourse when you are in your sixties is less complicated than when you are a younger woman.
No fear of falling pregnant is great. Relax and enjoy.
I wrote a blog about Sex a few years ago. Follow this link if you wish to read more: https://bronhogan.com/sex/
Having things in common is important
Ken and I have been fortunate in that we have so many things in common. A reminder, that the online dating sites allow you to check out each other’s likes and dislikes.
As we approach our tenth anniversary we often remark upon how lucky we are to enjoy so many things together.
We spent nearly six years living aboard a 10m sailing boat exploring the east coast of Australia and the South Pacific Islands. When COVID-19 made us land lubbers, we transformed our small block into an amazingly productive garden which continues to give us great pleasure.
The secret to a good relationship is communication. Do not be afraid to talk about things that concern you. We have discovered that teamwork is amazing and together we have, literally, climbed mountains.
Trust your gut instinct – if it feels ‘right’ is usually is
If it feels too good to be true, walk away and try someone else
(I went an many dates before meeting Ken)
Meet in safe places until you feel comfortable
Do not lend any money to anyone
Do not share information about your financial situation
Once you feel comfortable, introduce your new friend to your special friends who know you – they will pick up on things if something is not right
We only have one life, do not waste it sitting at home alone.
Be brave and try online datine. I did and it has transformed my life.