Dating and Mate Selection — 02 March 2008
Hope for mature single women who wish to remarry

Some single middle-aged women, despite their desire to be re-coupled, needlessly resign to spending the rest of their lives alone. There are several factors that contribute to this attitude, none of which merits giving up hope about a later years’ loving relationship.

Common reasons for mid-life women’s discouragement about finding a life mate are: statistical data, high competition, mixed emotions about autonomy and feelings of resignation.

According to The New York Times analysis of U.S. Census results: “ In 2005 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse, up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000” (This includes women of all ages). The analysis also states that: “Older women who are widowed or divorced are more likely to delay remarriage”. The data does not specify whether the delay is volitional or situational. It only reports that men remarry within two years of being widowed or divorced, while women do so after five or more years.

Older women believe that there are more available women than age appropriate eligible men. This is true, since women usually live longer and men remarry more quickly. Yet, there are many single older women who are not interested in remarriage due to previously failed marriage or to relishing their newfound autonomy. Thus, the total number of interested, single, mature females as compared to the available males may not be as much of a challenge as some women believe.

Many mid-life single women shy away from the competitiveness they observe between other females for the few available males. One woman put it this way: “I am not willing to enter a race that I must win at all cost”. Yet, she does yearn for male companionship and a life-long committed bond.

Some women in mid-life so relish their new freedom and autonomy that they are willing to trade it only for a truly compatible partner. So they are actually selective, rather than not selected by an appropriate soul mate.

Yet others do feel defeated, by the numbers, their age, their rusty dating and mate selection skills and the energy a mate search may entail. They feel unskilled in the behaviors that may lead to a new partnership and thus become resigned to a lonely life as their resentments mount about their lot in life.

Finding a life partner later in life is very similar to doing so at a younger age. It starts with the woman valuing herself and carving a productive and satisfying path that pleases her. A happy and fulfilled woman is a much more attractive person to anyone who encounters her. Being happy with her lifestyle rids the woman of feeling victimized, forcibly lonely, insecure and undesirable. Finding personal pleasures ignites optimism and self-respect that reduces the need to mate out of desperation.

Here is one true example of a mature woman’s path to remarriage. Miss A, age 65, has been single since her divorce 30 years earlier. Retired from a prospering career, she kept herself busy with her women friends, took classes in literature and art, stayed fit, traveled and though desiring a mate, felt happy and satisfied with her full life. Friends introduced her to a recently widowed man, whom she had actually met years earlier at work. These friends were unaware of their earlier acquaintance. What struck them was the active, intelligent, productive, secure and happy lifestyle these people had in common. Though the man had been previously introduced to other women, their sour disposition rendered them unsuitable mates. The love affair that blossomed between the couple was made possible by their happy and active ways and even inspired their married friends to recharge their own intimacy.

If you are a middle aged woman who desires to be in a committed relationship:

• Make yourself your first project. Create a rewarding life based on what gives meaning to your life and joy to your heart.
• Resist statistical data, concerns about supply and demand, or feeling like you are pulled into a competitive race. Keep yourself as happy and positive as you can.
• Avoid acting desperate to be in a relationship, it will make you less appealing and less wise in your mate selection.
• Befriend more women and stay socially involved. You are a treasure – make it easier to find you.
• Find your source of joy in life – the rest is likely to follow to your satisfaction.

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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