Life has been full for me. I took care of my elderly parents for a while (both are now deceased). I have a good career and great friends. Maybe it’s the pandemic talking, but I am thinking marriage may be something I just . . . let go. The chances of my getting married are slim; I read about a study that said first-time marrieds after 50 are about 7 in every 1,000 people. So, is it OK to let this go? If I did date, is it all right to do so for company and fun and not a future?
A. I read about a study that said first-time marrieds after 50 are about 7 in every 1,000 people.
I can’t argue with math, but please consider that this statistic reflects people’s lack of desire to get married for the first time when they’re over 50. It doesn’t mean 56-year-olds aren’t meeting people they could marry. Perhaps they have less reason to make that kind of legal commitment.
With that in mind, I’ll encourage you to be less all-or-nothing about your dating plans. Instead of giving up and stepping away, maybe it’s better to say, “It’s not happening right now, but I’m always interested in change.” It can feel good to pretend you have control over the possibilities and limitations of your dating fate, but it’s better to admit that anything could happen.
And yes, you’re absolutely allowed to date for the sake of company, as opposed to a long-term future. Dating is more enjoyable without the pressure of marriage hanging over your head. Companionship is an excellent goal.
You can remain flexible about that, too. Maybe someone will be the kind of company you want to keep for a long time. Maybe you and this magical partner won’t have any desire to get married, but you’ll have a lovely party to celebrate your commitment in a COVID-free future. Maybe you’ll register for some pots and pans and I’ll buy you one.
The point is: Who knows? There’s no pressure to be anything but good to yourself — and open.
You didn’t conform to societal pressure to settle down, get married, and have children? Good for you! JNEWCOMER27
There is no reason to get married or to date with any goal other than company and fun. If it should turn into something else, great, if not, that’s great, too. CRUCIZIEDOFF
Being happy and living a good life should be most important. Lots of people are married and miserable. WIZEN
I was married once, but don’t have the inclination, time, or guts to “get back out there.” If it happens, great. Otherwise, my life is full with family, friends, and my cat. MHOUSTON1
Catch Season 4 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show or wherever you listen.