Being fortunate enough to have fallen in love - and, perhaps, even marrying - brings with it many important life experiences.
Unfortunately, every relationship must come to an end. Whether the cause is divorce or the death of a spouse, we are often left with feelings of loneliness, emptiness and loss of companionship.
Don’t despair. Online dating services have opened a new world of possibilities for people looking to get back in the game in their 50s, 60s,and 70s. The process of joining one of these services usually requires answering some personal questions on topics such as hobbies, alcohol consumption, religion, children, etc. Once the application is complete, the game begins.
The online service will provide potential matches for you to review and decide whether to contact the person, depending on his or her profile information and photo. Although this is somewhat impersonal, in our society and the age of computers, this is how relationships often begin.
If you pursue online dating, it involves, emailing, texting and, if you have good fortune, talking on the phone and, perhaps, making a time and place to meet.
While this may all be common knowledge, what isn’t obvious – or often discussed - is the impact of this new form of dating on people in older generations who are accustomed to more tradition forms of social interaction.
Online dating can certainly bring up surprising strong feelings of rejection, fear, second guessing yourself and concerns about your appearance. In addition, issues and concerns around sexuality can readily arise.
Sexual relationships often come with some anxiety, even in the younger population. In the older population, however, this anxiety can be acute - many individuals haven’t been sexually active in a while and become overwhelmed by the idea. What is real and happens in this area of a relationship does have to do with age.
We all know there are hormonal changes, but the issues created by these changes can be particularly difficult to discuss. For instance, when women go through menopause, the lack of estrogen can cause a lack of interest in feeling sexual.
Many women find it necessary to use lubricant during sex, due to genital dryness. Patience, understanding and support are needed by the men post-menopausal women are dating in the new online scene. I am not suggesting this is a conversation for a first date, but as you approach the time when you are becoming more intimate, these topics should be addressed openly and honestly.
Men also have issues which they are not always comfortable discussing. What isn’t often spoken about within the older male dating populations, although more now than ever before, is erectile dysfunction. Some men believe “it can happen to someone else, but not me."
And if it does happen to them, they don’t know how they going to bring up this discussion with someone new.
This is a big dilemma for both sexes to know how and when to engage in conversations about sex. How do I let the other person know about my problems? Once again, if you find yourselves getting closer, it is perfectly reasonable to say there is something you would like to address and then to gently approach the subject.
Although these topics can be embarrassing, they shouldn’t be. After all, it is a natural part of the older dating scene. If someone cares, they will understand. If not, that person was not worth dating anyway.
Don’t be discouraged. There are some of the intimate details of getting older, but that does not mean we cannot have perfectly happy, satisfying and loving relationships. You will both feel relieved to know that each person is wondering what to say and when. Stay in touch with your heart, it will help you decide when the time is right to bring these issues to the surface.