As novelist Barbara Neely said when turning 65, “I look in the mirror more often, smile at the lovely lady, and hope I look as good as she does when I reach her age.”Inevitably, a widow or widower will turn to other people, seeking to rebuild the social life they experienced before the death of their spouse or partner.
Dating after 65 is both similar and different than dating as a teenager.
While life expectancy has increased from previous generations, the likelihood of having considerable time after the death of one’s mate remains high.
And the Boomer Generation is unwilling to waste precious time with regrets or feeling sorry for themselves. George Bonanno, a psychology professor at Columbia University who studies grief, explains that most surviving spouses initially oscillate between periods of deep sadness and distress and recalling good moments of laughter and joy.
However, it’s always better to wait until you have a chance to get over your surprise and can think of the relationship objectively.
It is important to keep in mind that the situation is not about you, but the future happiness of your parent.
However, as 80-year-old poet and children’s book author Judith Viorst notes, seniors have already experienced “bad stuff” – holes in the brain from which names and dates have dropped, ailments you’ve never heard of, and attending funeral after funeral of dear friends and family.Generation Xers are beginning to turn the corner, midway between their teens and retirement.Now in their late 30s and early 40s, they have lived through three recessions, 9/11, and culture wars amidst starting families, buying homes, and struggling to repay student loans.Be cautious when making judgements about your parent’s potential mate and remember that they are also sailing uncharted water with as much apprehension as you are experiencing.Losing a lifelong partner is devastating and frightening for the survivor.Many feel, having fulfilled their responsibility to others as a spouse or parent, that they are finally “free to be me” for the first time in decades, to take roads not traveled and revisit choices made in their younger years.