My husband was an overchiever, committing both financial and physical infidelity over the course of our four-year marriage. It was to be expected, based on my mothers crystal ball. She confirmed all men cheated while in my twenties and suggested I cozy up to that idea if I wanted a relationship. My stepdad, on the other hand, only suggested I become acquainted with kitchen appliances, mainly the stove. It was his opinion that no man would choose any woman who had not progressed beyond entry-level cooking classes since high school. (No worries if you are a single female and hate to cook, I’ve proven his theory wrong, carry on!). Five years post divorce I moved beyond the thought process that all men were related to my ex, and decided quality men still existed. I didn’t need perfection, I simply needed to find the one whose demons played nicely with mine.
My re-entry into the world of dating was exactly like that of college, daunting and both occurring after an extended absence. Each initially caused heart palpitations because times had changed while I was immobilized by fear. I wasn’t “in the know” regarding technological advancements. While being completely disengaged, both dating and obtaining a degree became possible directly from the comforts of home. The good news, I simply needed to create an online profile which saved a lot of time with my busy schedule. The bad news, I was sidelined before even exiting the gate when it came to settling on an age range I was comfortable with. Prior to online dating, I’d never once taken age into consideration so had no facts to support the best decision. In my day you met in person, often unintentionally somewhere in public, decided whether you liked the person or not, and age was a discussion that happened in person and usually came later. Online dating creates a new challenge. I have to piece together the perfect man with my selections, who doesn’t exist.
Since the beginning of the year I’ve altered my dating range three times, starting off with an age difference of 5 in both directions (no rhyme or reason, it just seemed like a good idea at the time). At 50, I was still active in the gym and had just began enjoying life, for the first time in my life. I’d gotten out of debt, (deciding not to date until this goal was met so I had more to offer than baggage), work was stable and my kids were grown. I was emotionally and physically ready for my last partner and assumed the average man my age would be in the same place. What I found were men with health challenges they wouldn’t address, emotional baggage from past relationships that they weren’t yet ready to part with, and quite a few only interested in knocking the boots. Sometimes all three were present at the same time! My Dating Coach suggested I lower the age range to 35, even though I’m 51, to widen my options. Which lasted all of one week. I felt like I would end up experiencing the horrors of breast-feeding all over again.
What I hadn’t considered were men over 60. Although my concern for their physical health was wasted energy, my mind had an automatic mental block for a different reason. I finally realized it stemmed from the ancient (?) stigma which assumed women that dated much older men had daddy issues. I couldn’t see past the difference in age, and 9 plus years seemed excessive if I only looked at a number, not the person. What I failed to consider is that while I certainly used to be, I haven’t been that troubled girl looking for a father figure for over two decades. I sometimes create problems in my mind that doesn’t exist as if I have nothing better to do.
Based on that epiphany, I created a new possibility of finding happiness with men over 60. I don’t go in search of them, only approach with an open mind if interest is shown. It’s been an eye-opening journey with lots of humbling lessons. I’ve found that I relate easier to men over 60 (based on my mindset), they are often more stable in their own lives and know where they are headed, and so far the two I’ve dated (64 and 67) are more active (and possibly more fit) than I am! In fact, it was quite embarrassing when the 67-year-old handed my butt to me on a platter during a recent hiking date up the very challenging Piestewa Peak! He could have made it in thirty minutes except it took an hour with the breaks I needed to shove my heart back into my chest. By the time I arrived at the top of the mountain, I realized age is really nothing more than a number.