Former letter writers (especially recent COVID-era writers), please update us! Let me know what’s happening by writing to email@example.com and putting “update” in the subject line.
Also, are you single? Coupled? Ready for a cold winter? Tell me your relationship issues and questions by filling out this form or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a 56-year-old woman and never been married. I always thought I would be, but it just didn’t happen. Either the guys weren’t a good fit, or the ones I wanted to be with didn’t see a future with me. I got frustrated in my late 30s, to the point that I gave up on dating. I haven’t dated much since. Every time I make an effort (my latest was with Bumble) I get reminded of why I stopped in the first place. Men seem clear about what they want and feel entitled to get it; forget about courting or getting to know someone.
Life has been full for me. I took care of my elderly parents for a while, and that took up a lot of my time (both are now deceased). I have a good career and great friends. Maybe it’s the pandemic circumstances talking, but I am thinking marriage may be something I just … let go. I know the chances of my getting married at this point are slim to none; I read a story about a study that said first-time marrieds after 50 are about 7 in every 1,000 people. I feel like I don’t even want to date. So I guess I’m asking: Is it OK to just let this go? If I did date someone, is it all right to do so for the sake of company and fun and not a future?
“I read a story 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 that 56-year-olds aren’t meeting people they could marry. I would assume they have less reason to make that kind of legal commitment.
With that in mind, I’ll encourage you 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.” I understand why 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. Still, you can remain flexible about that too. Maybe someone will be the kind of company you want to keep for a very 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.
Readers? How do you stay open to all experiences? What does it feel like to date without marriage as the ultimate goal?