Q. I’m a widow who is blessed with the support of a small group of friends and relatives. I also do volunteer work. I’m slim and healthy at 65. But I have no children, and I often feel isolated and lonely. I’d love to meet a nice man, start out with a friendship, and see where it goes. Do you have any suggestions, besides Internet dating?
“Dating for seniors who have recently lost a spouse can be highly rejuvenating,” says psychotherapist Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again and 12 other books. “In my experience, the ‘get-a-life’ method of finding new people (both friends and dates), works best, and shows you off to your best advantage.”
Take a risk and expand your circle of acquaintances; this exposes you to new ideas, resources and possibilities you might never have considered before. That’s how one widow recently became interested in mindfulness and meditation. And you never know. New people may introduce you to others you might like to date. “Fix-ups” do happen.
Explore some of the “tourist activities” in your geographical area, such as museums, small theaters or the aquarium. Check out their special events and start a conversation while standing in line or during intermission. You’re too shy? Just ask an open-ended question, such as, “Where are you from?” or, “What do you think of the play (or this painting)?”
Tai chi is available in some parks. An age-appropriate yoga class is another good place to connect with others. Try a chat with other attendees before or after class, which can lead to coffee or lunch or a movie. Tessina’s husband teaches ballroom dancing to packed classes of seniors in Long Beach, California. Or consider starting up a group of some sort (such as a book or civic club), which gives you an excuse to open a conversation with people who seem interesting or congenial. Sports, religious activities and political participation are other options. When you engage in pursuits that are meaningful to you, you’re drawn to people with common interests.
Tessina also warns against feeling too insecure, self-conscious, or unattractive in our youth- and fitness-oriented society. Try to look your best, and then forget it, she advises. If you do meet someone, concentrate on your impression of the person rather than worry about how you come across.
“Look at character,” she says.
If you have a question for Florence, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Florence Isaacs is a freelance journalist,author — and a widow herself. Her books include My Deepest Sympathies, When the Man You Love Is Ill,What Do You Say When and Just a Note To Say...The Perfect Words for Every Occasion.
Image via Flickr Creative Commons / Terrell Woods