I met Jim at a grief-sharing session in late March. We were the only two men in the class. We became friends. Recently, we’ve discussed senior dating challenges we’ve experienced.

Jim and I have a couple things in common. His wife, Pamela, died suddenly at 68 last summer. And my life partner, Greta, died in October last year. And because of loneliness, both of us are trying to meet someone.

Jim said, “Now what do I do? Sit at home on the couch missing my lady? Or should I go forward and see what’s out there and test the waters? Some people have told me I should wait for the magical grieving period of a year or two.”

I said, “At our ages, we don’t have time to wait.”

Jim and I agree that the best way for single seniors to meet a potential mate is to get out of the house and interact socially with people.

Some suggested ways to meet: volunteer, attend church, join a book club, play pickleball, or check Meetup.com to attend functions in which you might have an interest. But what if you’re still not meeting enough potential partners?

That’s where online dating comes in. It’s another way to improve your chances of meeting someone. And yes, every dating site has scammers, so caution is important. And all dating sites deal with outdated photographs and other dishonesty issues.

However, online dating can still be effective and give one hope that someone is out there.

Both Jim and I joined two online dating sites each. In our short, later-in-life online experiences, we’ve discovered the four most important compatibility considerations.


1. Distance. How far away do two people live from each other? Within a 20-minute drive or less is desirable. That way, they can see each other as often as they choose and still return to their respective homes on the same day or night, assuming they still drive.


2. Availability. What if you meet someone you like but the person’s schedule is so full of other activities that you’d be lucky to see her or him once a week? That’s a problem. Will the person free up their schedule enough to make it work?


3. Age gap. Because of their respective ages, Jim (74) and Tom (83) find this a huge challenge. What’s an OK age difference? Twelve years maximum? Perhaps, but what if the man is older? Many senior women don’t want to take the chance that their new love will pass away or get sick before they do.

A big turnoff for some women is when senior men are looking for younger women. After a pleasant 35-minute, first-date conversation, a woman, 76, asked Tom, “What age range do you search for?”

Tom’s answer: “71 to 79.”

She was aghast and said, “You senior men are all alike.”

Then, she looked skyward, and added, “The sun is coming out. I’m going to go swim my laps.”

She stood up and left. There was no thank you or goodbye. Game over for them.


4. Chemistry, physical attraction, and affection. These characteristics can’t be faked. For many couples, this is the most important boundary or consideration. If one person is physical, and the other has a low libido, a compatible relationship probably won’t happen. Also, how soon to hug, hold hands, and kiss?

For Jim and me, senior dating, so far, has been a challenge.


For dating information, previous articles, or to sign up for Tom’s complimentary, weekly e-newsletter, go to findingloveafter50.com.

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