It’s been a little more than a year since I’ve ventured into the world of Dating as an Older Adult. The Reader’s Digest version is that during that time, I’ve met eight men in person. Among these eight, I’ve made some new friends and acquaintances, but lasting romance remains as elusive as it was at the beginning. If you want a few of the juicy details, read on.
A few demographics: They grew up in eight different places: Minnesota, North Dakota, Puerto Rico, Texas, Vermont, New York, Louisiana and New Jersey. Of the eight, four live in the American Southwest, and four in the Twin Cities. I met seven of them online, and one at church. I initiated contact with six of them, two initiated contact with me. Five I’ve seen multiple times, three of them I’ve met only once. They range in age from 54 to 70, with four being older than me, and four younger. Six have children, two do not. Four have advanced degrees, two have bachelor’s degrees, and two have no degree. Five are retired, three are not. Six are Caucasian, two are Latino. Two are widowed, seven are divorced (one being both divorced and widowed.) Five are not religious, one is a Presbyterian, one an Episcopalian, one a Jew. Three are or were college professors, two are or were businessmen, two are or were civil servants, and one is a prison guard. Five of them dress well, three of them do not. All of them write well, and none of them has a motorcycle, boat or dead thing in their profile pictures. Only one travels much and can afford to do so.
In reflecting on all of this, one on the eight keeps rising to the top. Putting him into the matrix above, he comes out like this: he is from Minnesota, lives in the Twin Cities, and we met online, with me making the first move. He is younger than me, has two advanced degrees, is not retired, is Caucasian, non-religious, divorced, has children, dresses well and is a self-employed business consultant. He loves the arts, and I would describe him as energetic, creative, funny, upbeat and the one who likes to and can afford to travel.
He is also the one who is not interested in dating. We met in January, have traveled together, and get together about once a month. We always have a great time. We went to a concert and then dinner on Sunday. At dinner he said, “Do you think we are dating?” My response was, “No, do you?” His response was “No, good!” He then said he valued our friendship, and didn’t want to screw it up by trying to date. Maybe this was the truth, maybe just a gentle way of saying he’s not interested.
I told him that when I when I was young, a good friend and I tried dating, that that it nearly ruined our friendship, and that we had the good sense to stop before before it it was too late, and that we are still friends to this day. Then he asked if he could visit me in Arizona this winter, and I said, “Of course.” He loves New Orleans. Then he said something about maybe going to Mardi Gras together next year. As friends.
In this process, I’ve learned alot about myself and what I want. I need to find someone who is social, energetic and engaged in their community, and not a homebody; someone who would rather go to a play, concert, festival or gallery than watch a movie; someone who is interested in exploring the world beyond Minnnesota or Arizona; someone who has had a modicum of success in life. Most of this this was not clear to me at the outset. I owe a debt of gratitute to these eight men for what they have taught me about life. And about me.
Katie Couric’s advice on dating is to ask your friends to introduce you to their friends. So friends, I am asking you to keep me in mind. Meanwhile, Year Two, bring it on!