They might never have thought it possible, but many people on the far side of 60 find themselves looking for a new partner. The reason can be the death of their spouse, a divorce or a separation. Their search criteria for that special someone, needless to say, have likely changed since they were twenty-somethings.
“When you’re young, you look for a partner with whom you can also start a family, ” notes Dorothee Doering, a 70-year-old life and conflict-resolution coach who has written a book about looking for love late in life. Absent this criterion, it can be easier to find someone who suits you, she says.
Older women in particular are loath to sacrifice their accustomed freedoms for the sake of a new partner. Living together, for example, isn’t a given for them.
“Many men would very much like a woman who’s always around and takes care of everything. This is precisely what women don’t want – they’ve done that already, ” Doering remarks. “They want to get together with their girlfriends and, when they feel like it, do something with their partner.”
But seniors don’t only want a partner for bowling, day-tripping or games of gin rummy. Sex can also play an important role, points out Alexander Wild, the founder and manager of a German social networking site for the 60+ generation.
“In a survey we did, nearly 40% of the respondents said they’d had the best sex of their lives after age 60, ” he says.
When looking for a partner, seniors should take a two-track – offline and online – approach, Wild advises. “I think that mixing with people remains very important. It’s still probably easier to meet someone in real life.”
At the same time, the Internet is a rich hunting ground and at one’s fingertips. “It’s naturally the most efficient way to pre-screen candidates or simply establish contact, ” Wild says.
But it also encourages dishonesty, a problem that Doering hears about in her seminars. “The women say, ‘If I state my true age and it’s over 50, they click me away’, ” since men the same age often look for a lady 15 years their junior. “This leads to lying, of course, ” she says.
The deception is exposed during the lonely hearts’ first face-to-face meeting at the latest.
Wild recommends using an up-to-date photo for the online dating profile, but otherwise providing as little information as possible. “The photo and city of residence should suffice for starters, ” he says.
And even if “likes” are exchanged, he warns against giving out a telephone number until a chat has established a measure of trust. Romance scams are one reason for caution.
“Older people are specifically targeted on the supposition that they’re lonely. The scammer feigns romantic feelings (towards the prospective victim), and then at some point makes an urgent request for money, ” Wild explains.
Julia Rehberg, a lawyer for a consumer advice centre, says swindles of this kind are increasing. She advises meeting one’s online sweetheart in person as soon as possible at a public place.
“Then you can see if the person really exists (as advertised), ” she says. – dpa/Christina Bachmann
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