Making A Point
It's virtually impossible to express a strong point of view about dating, sex, and relationships without provoking anyone. When I hear a boomer woman say she's given up dating, my knee jerk reaction is to argue against her decision. Giving up dating conflicts with my lifelong attitude about never giving up on anything worthwhile. Granted, what's worthwhile to me doesn't necessarily apply to everyone, but I'm honestly puzzled why a woman would voluntarily spend the next several decades without a partner. Maybe it's because I'm a guy and we're hardwired differently. I have friends, so it's not about being alone.
Sexless In Seattle
My dating experience with boomer women suggests that few are fans of casual sex, so it's likely that giving up dating also means giving up sex. Considering the physical and emotional highs associated with sex with a loving partner, this seems an awful lot to surrender. Since there's no shortage of couples in their seventies and eighties still enjoying sex, there's no age limitation.
My desire to find a life partner increased noticeably after sixty, and it was as much about my need for emotional intimacy as physical intimacy. Even though dating often feels frustrating, having a supportive, loving, caring partner by your side for the rest of your life seems worth the effort. There's no expiration date for finding love, so if you're a woman who's given up dating, please don't be offended by my suggestion to rethink your decision.
I've been writing about boomer dating, sex, and relationships for several years, and a significant number of the thousands of men's, and women's comments reflect negative feelings about each other. While there are several reasons women give for eschewing dating, a few consistently top the list. My goal is for boomer men and women to engage in a dialogue and bridge the gender gap. We all have to be willing to acknowledge each other's attitudes, and be open to changing behavior that doesn't work. I urge everyone to weigh in. Non-judgmental dialogue is the most productive.
Boomer Women's Dating Issues
1. Boomer men act as if they're doing boomer women a favor dating them, particularly online dating where single women far outnumber men. But it's not men's numerical advantage that generates women's ire. It's their attitude. "This is who I am, take it or leave it," refers to several issues, one of which is men showing up for a first date dressed in old shorts, a T-shirt that barely covers their belly, and flip-flops. Since I've never shown up for a first date disheveled, and never had a first date with a woman who did either, I'm at a complete loss to understand why any guy might think this is cool. Men with a take it or leave it attitude about anything associated with dating boomer women may want to rethink that attitude, because if who you really are is disrespectful and impolite, women will leave you, not take you. Showing up on a first date wearing clean jeans or khakis, an ironed shirt, and shoes, is dating 101. If you really don't respect women, you really shouldn't date.
2. Boomer men expect first date sex. I dated on and off for decades, and was no stranger to first date sex. But, by fifty, it no longer felt satisfying on any level. In fact, casual sex left me feeling sad and empty. I'd never learned how to connect my heart with my body, but I knew guys who had. Their best sexual experiences were with partners they shared a deep emotional connection with. I spent considerable time talking with men friends who had done relationship work. I quickly discovered that they were right, and no matter how good casual sex was, it couldn't equal the raw sexual energy, passion, and satisfaction that sex with a woman I love provides. The sixties are over, and so is casual sex for most boomer women.
3. Boomer men just want to play the field and are reluctant to commit. I disagree with women that the majority of boomer men feel this way. I don't know any single boomer guys who enjoy dating enough to avoid relationships. The rift between the genders around this issue is due in part, because we don't express what we want and need in the same manner. Women may be more adept at emotional dialogue, but whether men are as capable or not, most boomer guys date to be in a relationship. A man who is reluctant to commit may simply not be interested in spending the rest of his life with a particular woman. Considering the failure rate for boomer men's second and third marriages (60%-70%), women should appreciate a man not committing too quickly.
4. Boomer men only want to date younger women. Sure, some guys drink the Kool-Aid and buy into the myth that younger women are easier to please and less bitter and angry than boomer women. But the reality is that younger women want everything boomer women want, and more. Most also want children. Forgive me, but I think a seventy something year old man attending his child's high school graduation is bizarre. And, bitter and angry may better describe a man's ex-wife than boomer women in general, because I never met a bitter, angry boomer woman in years of dating.
I hope that boomer women will reconsider giving up dating, and that boomer men be willing to meet them halfway. The gender divide can be narrowed, and the proof is the millions of boomers who routinely meet and make a life together. Finding a partner in my sixties seemed like a miracle at the time, but the reality is that we both made it happen by continuing to date even when it felt hopeless. Giving up is an option, just not the best one.