A friend recently widowed confided to me what most of us seniors are thinking. “I wouldn’t even know where to begin with senior dating and finding another partner.” And even though living alone after many years of marriage is daunting, it may seem even more petrifying to enter into the world of senior dating.
There are many reasons for seniors to want to find another marriage partner. Due to better healthcare and senior fitness levels, many of us are living longer. If we’re alone in our sixties or seventies, we may have many years left of life. Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy it with someone? We also have increased opportunities to socialize today—much more than previous generations. There are church and community activities of all kinds from which to choose. And while enjoying these events we meet people of similar age and circumstance.
Seniors today often value their independence from younger family members. They enjoy living on their own and are able to “make it” financially. However, it is more manageable to create a workable budget with two incomes. There are tangible benefits to sharing the expenses of life.
Most everyone agrees: it’s lonely living alone. The intimacy, companionship and love that have sustained us in earlier years are still desired. We want someone to talk to and to enjoy daily life with. Some choose to live together without entering into marriage to avoid some of the pitfalls that are encountered in an after retirement marriage.
What are some of the pitfalls in a remarriage after retirement? Many of the problems that arise are related to resources and finances. If you and your longtime partner had a will and left everything to your children, what happens now if you remarry? Will inheritances be jeopardized? And what if the new partner wants to include his or her children in the will, thus “diluting” your resources?
I know of a senior couple who remarried in their early eighties and enjoyed only a few years of happiness before he fell into the depths of Alzheimer’s. Then her health failed and the children had to step in and support both of them. Yes, there are possible pitfalls in remarriage at a later age. But aren’t there always challenges in marriage relationships?
There are often strong feelings expressed by children when their parents want to remarry later in life. They fear that loyalty to their deceased parent may be threatened. They worry that the family memories will be lost. They wonder if their inheritance is still theirs. They may feel some jealousy and confusion about the new love relationship between their parent and the new parent figure. What do to?
Here are a few tips on this senior citizens online guide for dealing with the situation should you find your senior parents desiring to remarry or if you find yourself in that situation.
Take the whole process slow and easy. Remember you have had a lifetime of habits and ways of doing life and this new person has done all of these things differently. You’ll never replace your previous partner—be sure you aren’t trying to do that. A new relationship will come with a new and different lifestyle.
Take the time to talk about big life issues. What about faith, politics, financial situations and values? What about your extended family and his or hers? What are your expectations about sex, money, division of labor for the home, family holidays and more?
Get good counsel from a number of people you respect. Your friends and family members, your mentor or pastor, others who have chosen either to enter into new relationship or chosen not to. Take the time to be both cautious and wise. A mistake made in senior years can be very costly.
Isn’t it wonderful that seniors have choices to make in their latter years? And isn’t it wonderful that the quality of our lives can be so high? We can enjoy friends, family and a huge assortment of activities from part-time work to volunteering to travel and social events. We can make our own decisions about the way we spend our senior years. If a new relationship is on your horizon, good for you. Be sure to proceed carefully and wisely and may you fully enjoy each and every day of your life.