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Are you dating? What's it like at "our" age?  Have you joined a dating site? Do you NOT want to date?

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The Gray Gender Gap: Older Women Are Likelier to Go It Alone

I am 61 now, was widowed at 58.  And the longer I'm on my own, the less interested I am in finding someone else.  On Saturday I got my hair done, then I took my sister to a lovely lunch for her birthday, and then went to the first meeting of the "Elder orphans" in my area -- women in my age group who are smart and funny and interesting.  It was the best day I've had in a long time.  Where I live now, there are smart, interesting people everywhere, and so much to do that it's impossible to be bored.  If I am honest, I would have to say that I am happier here alone than I was some of the time with my husband during those last years when he was depressed most of the time and where I needed help around the house and he would only vacuum the living room (nowhere else) and do laundry (but not fold it).  That is the cold, hard truth.  And now if I had a choice between this life here in NC with enough money to live on, a house that's paid for, and great people to make friends with, or my old life in NJ, where I drove 1 to 1.5 hours to and from work every day, and came home to a depressed or angry husband every night, I'd take this one.  Now if I had a choice between this life here alone, or this life here with him in the days back before his brain betrayed him and he was happy and enjoyed doing things, I'd take that one in a second. But that's not what I had.

I haven't dated at all.  I've had times when I thought it might be nice to at least have someone to go to dinner with, but then I meet up with a woman friend for a meal and it's fine.  Yes, I have concerns about who takes care of me if I get sick, but I know in my heart that if I'd been the one that got sick, my husband would not have been able to deal with it because he had too much emotional baggage from his mother's death from cancer.  I even said this to him once and he did not deny it.  Yes, some men can step up to the plate and be caregivers, but not many.

There is a saying I hear that men want a nurse and a purse.  I'm good at both, which makes me a potential mark, except that I am not thin and beautiful so no one would look at me twice anyway.  I spent the years from when I was 11 until I met my husband at 28 thinking the only thing that made me worthy was if boys and later men wanted me...and most of the time they didn't...until I found a smart, gorgeous, funny man who was just as odd as I was who thought I was the sun and the moon.  Why on earth would I want to go back to being judged and snubbed?

Slick & Nolonger, I agree with you both. I'm  66 and it's 6 yrs this past Oct 15. I got into a relationship at 1-1/2 yrs, which  lasted 3-1/2 yrs BUT should never have gone that long - lots of red flags that I ignored & wouldn't have if I'd been in right mind. Anyway been on one date since in Jan. which was over in one hour, no connection nothing. I'm also very independent & do many things  on my own or with the few girlfriends I have. I started riding a motorcycle at 62 & having a great time. As far  as dating, I've not met anyone that I'm  interested  in. I can't  imagine meeting anyone that will love me heart & soul like my sweet Randy did. We were like  peanut butter & jelly. I do know that this grief will always be with me until the day I die  - just like the love of Randy will be with me. My wish for all of us here is contentment in our lives. I haven't  posted much however do read a lot & WV has been a great help. Thank you.

Well said, Lex and Slick. My sentiments exactly. I'm 4 years out. I have thought seriously about dating, had an online profile and took it down right after a first date with a pleasant man that I felt just wasn't for me. I just have this hesitance in my heart. Maybe I'm afraid that it wouldn't work out, and that would be a second loss. .. They say that finding love is worth the risk, but I'm not so sure.. Those who have found love again say it is worth it, of course! My widowed at age 62 grandmother remarried at age 65 and it was a disaster! I believe the stress pushed her over the edge into full blown Alzheimer's at age 73.She died at 93. Terrifying! Yes, I'm scared.

I joined a dating site about a year and a half after my wife passed away from ALS. It was strange at first. Replied to a few profiles but no replies. I think a lot of them on there are just there for attention, or to maybe boost their ego. Then after talking with a lady that responded, women get a lot of replies and some are weird, some married etc. Anyway dated a few ladies over the course of a couple of months and am now "in a relationship". It was very strange at first. Like I was cheating on my wife. Tainting her memory, stuff like that. I'm 63 and I guess I don't want to be alone anymore. I live by myself out in the country, no children, just my cat Bucky. Now a woman I "think I love" is living with me. She is so sweet, kind, affectionate. I feel very fortunate to have her in my life. I just hope I'm not just replacing my wife with another woman. We were together 25 years. The last three I was her caretaker. So it is nice to have someone do for me some. But when I think will I ever marry again, right now I say no. I have a plot beside my wife, my name is on her headstone and I feel like that's where I should be one day. Is anyone going through anything like this? 

Not going through that because I am not dating, but I do get that "cheating on the spouse" thing. I don't think I could have anyone more than just an occasional friend in my life for just that reason.  In my case, I am the only person in the whole world who even cares that my husband ever existed.  He didn't like his own family and they are all dead too.  He didn't want anything to do with my family.  He didn't have lasting friendships except one, and he lived a long distance away so they mostly just corresponded by e-mail for a long time.  So it is a torch that I feel I must carry.  There is no scenario I can imagine where I could have someone else in my life who is that close. I am leaving a bequest for whomever is my executor to pay for a trip to Jamaica to bury my ashes in the Caribbean sea off of Negril, because that is what I am going to do with my husband's ashes next year at the 5 year mark.  There are no right and wrong answers to this question, it is whatever works for you, and it seems that you have found someone else to share the rest of your days with.  Nothing wrong with that.

Brianne posted this response in the Widowed in 2013 group. It has some valuable safety tips for those who are just venturing into the online dating sites, so I asked for her permission to share it in other dating-related discussions here in the Village:

I am happy to share my experience on Match.  I was careful to protect myself, first and foremost.  I created a new email account which would not reveal my name. This is easy to create on Gmail. That was the email account I used on Match so that all communications from Match went to that  email instead of my personal email.  I also did not use my real name in the profile.  In my profile comments I was honest as I wanted to find someone who closely aligned to myself.  I had initially thought that finding someone who was also widowed would make it easier.  I indicated my status as widowed.  In my comments I did say that I had a long, 39 year marriage and was looking for someone who also had experience of a long relationship.  I said that as our past experience makes us who we are today, I wanted to be able to speak freely of my past and expected who I met would also be free to talk about their spouse. For me it was important to include I wanted someone who was financially stable as I heard from widows who indicated men chased them for their money.  When someone contacted me and I felt we may have something in common from their profile comments, I made arrangements to meet at very busy coffee places like Starbucks, in a district not close to my home.  In my case I could park in the Walmart parking lot and walk over to Starbucks.  I used my profile name in that first meeting.  I never gave out my phone number.  Some men asked for it so that they could text me in case they were late but I resisted, again to protect myself.  By using a 'persona' I didn't feel like they could find me if they turned out to be a risky person.  I honestly never met anyone who I was scared of.  I met some very nice men and after coffee we would both be honest on whether we wanted a second date.  Dave, who I am with now was the 10th man I met for coffee.  We sent messages back and forth thru Match until we realized we knew people in common and then we exchanged email addresses and continued to talk every other day for a month before we met.  I never revealed my true identity until we were going to meet.  He fully understood why I used another name.  I know that everyone has a different experience but for me it has worked.  I am in love for the last time in my life.      

i have a man who sent me a letter several months ago asking if I would be interested in dinner or something. He's someone i knew from my old work place. I could say more but the big issue for me and pretty much why I said no is because he has the same first name as my deceased husband. I am having a big issue with the same name. I'm still back and forth on it and probably being too close minded. It's hard!

Haven't posted in quite awhile but decided I would put my thoughts down about dating.  In the beginning felt I would never date but at 4+ years out I met a very nice widowed man I was attracted to and decided to test the waters.  Enjoyed going out with him.  It really lifted my spirits as he is very personable and made me laugh.  It was nice talking on the phone daily and looked forward to hearing from him and seeing him.  The problem now is he is pulling back.  For him he is nearing the one year anniversary of the loss of his wife.  For me it opens a wound that is not completely healed.  I will respect his needs and step back myself.

I am very independent and have a full life but was missing this element in my life.  And yes if he doesn't come around I will date again if it is meant to happen.

For what it is worth I felt the need to put this in writing.  And yes it does hurt.


I've tried the dating sites. I'm 62 but some of the men I see I just think they're just a bunch of old men. I don't think of myself as being that old I think I must want Ken,Barbie's boyfriend. A guy I can play around with and then put him away when I'm done. I want companionship,a little romance,friendship and all the rest of the good things,but not anything fast moving and high pressure. A lot of the men think its a race to the finish. Well then just finish without me. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments. It puts a smile on this lonely "old" ladies face so early in the morning.

You brought up a very good point, and that is the difference between how we see ourselves/how we feel, and how we perceive others.  My husband died when I was 58, which was kind of "on the bubble" of it being "ok to give up" -- to not go through the dating thing.  A few times between when I was around 60 and 62, I would "just look" at a few dating sites and was put off by what I, like you, perceived as a bunch of old coots. Of course if I looked in the mirror honestly, I'd realize that I too am an old coot.  

But when you're married for a long time, you don't see yourself OR your spouse aging. Or if you do, you're dimly aware of it, but in your mind's eye, your spouse is only marginally different from how s/he looked when you were young. I didn't realize how much my husband had aged until he became ill. I don't think either of us were physically attracted to each other anymore, but we had that strong bond that comes from being with someone a long time.

I realized along the line that what I wanted was that bond, that familiarity.  I didn't want butterflies or the agonizing uncertainty that comes with dating.  And I sure as hell didn't want the endless judgments, that all too often even when I was young had me deemed too short, too homely, too chubby, and just plain too weird.  And when I looked at the dating sites and saw men looking for "a woman as comfortable in an evening gown as in jeans", "a woman who turns heads when she walks into the room," "a woman who still wears sexy lingerie and heels" -- and specifies an age that is always at least ten years younger than the man himself, I knew that there was no way I wanted to go through that again. It was hard enough when I was young. In those days it was still the endless male search for arm candy and quick sex, combined with an unwillingness to commit.  I see little sign that this is any different now.

And now I am 65, which means my realistic "dating pool" would start at what, around age 72 maybe?  I come from long-lived stock.  Do I really want to start another new relationship and risk losing that person too?  At my age? 

I'm not going to say that I don't get lonely, especially now in these pandemic days, when I am in forced solitude much of the time.  The cold hard truth is that my life really doesn't mean much to anyone other than me at this point, and that is sometimes hard to deal with.  I've been scanning old photos the last few weeks and realizing how much time just utterly evaporated while I was taking it for granted. And torn between wishing I had more photos of my life with my husband (we both believed in living it rather than documenting it for later), and realizing that photos would just keep me stuck in a past that's gone.

I have a nice circle of women friends, and most of the time I'm OK with my own company.  I don't really do any activities where I would be meeting men, and quite honestly, when I have gone to such things even if it's a "do things you're interested in" activity (I don't do "singles" events), I still feel that I'm being judged as to my sexual desirability -- and always, inevitably being found to be in adequate.  So I avoid them.

My life isn't the one I wanted, but it's the one I have.  And at the end of the day, at this point in my life, the only man I'd want is the one I had, and he's gone, never to return. 

  1. Nolonger i like your point of view straight to the heart of the problem without illusions or too i'd like to be with the man i had...he can't return unfortunately...ciao roxi


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