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Later Life Love

Later Life Love

Red hearts, cupids, flowers, and chocolates.   All the trappings for St. Valentine’s Day celebrations, encouraging us to re-affirm our love for that special someone in our life.  Lots of hype, presenting images and promotions typically targeting younger adults, while failing to recognize the need and legitimacy of later-life love.  How did we ever get to the belief that love is only for the young? Our need for relationship and companionship stays with us throughout our lifetime.  Some even suggest that this need for affiliation actually increases with age, and when this connection is present and positive, contributes toward not only to our quality of life but to our longevity as well.  Speaking of longevity, with the average life expectancy now creeping into our 80s, and the average age of widowhood 56 — there is the potential for many to be living 20-30 years on their own.  The reality is that finding love again in later life can have its challenges. · Uneven playing field for heterosexual women.  According to US Bureau of the Census, 1998, 45.2% of women over 65 were widowed, while only 14.9% of men over 65 were widowed. · Putting yourself ‘out there’ in the dating scene can be intimidating, especially when it is likely that mature adults haven’t dated in many decades. · Online dating requires a familiarity with the technology and a comfort with initiating digital relationships. · Fear of potential exploitation and rejection. · Adult children may discourage the pursuit of new relationships, feeling that this is a betrayal of their other parent, or a threat to the existing family, social and financial arrangements.  Here...