|Sunset over Catalina Island from Waldorf Astoria Resort, with friends, Dana Point, California, November 2021|
|On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter – December 3, 2021|
by Tom Blake author and columnist
The senior dating status as 2022 approaches
The year 2021 changed senior dating dramatically. Covid 19 was the culprit. In-person social events were canceled or switched to being presented virtually.
For example, I had a “Senior-dating-in-the-digital-age” speech scheduled for September 24 requested by the Orange County Aging Services Collaborative. I was to appear at the Dorothy Visser Senior Center in San Clemente before an audience of 50 people.
My talk was scheduled to be aired simultaneously to nine other OC senior centers with an expected live audience of 40-50 people at each center for a total of 500 people. I was hoping one or two potential couples would meet at each center, but because of Covid, the speech went entirely to Zoom so none of the 500 people could meet in person.
During the pandemic, libraries, restaurants, bars, social clubs, and other gathering spots were closed or open with limited access and saddled with mask restrictions and six-feet apart requirements. Senior social interaction was reduced by at least 80 percent (my guestimate) for most of the year.
Face-to-face meetings, which are essential in cultivating relationships, were rare. Most seniors understandably didn’t want to risk catching Covid. Yes, restrictions have been lifted somewhat in the last three months, but many seniors are still leery and hesitant to venture out. To combat the face-to-face restrictions, many seniors, not all, turned to internet dating, which is a great way to meet new people.
Romance scams and romance scammers
However, singles weren’t the only people using internet dating sites. Romance scammers used the sites to spoof and scam vulnerable seniors. Some seniors tragically lost their savings. The pandemic has been tough on couples who live in different states or countries. Canada’s border was closed for months, which made seeing a loved one in person who lived in Canada nearly impossible. And vice versa for Canadiens.
People in long-distance relationships saw each other less often than they liked. Even flying and driving long distances to see a loved one within the United States was challenging. Larry, a friend, and former neighbor I’ve known for 28 years met a woman in the Philippines Islands a few years ago. He lived with her there but came home to the USA on a short business trip just before Covid started. Since then, he’s had nine trips scheduled to return to be with her but each time the P.I. government did not allow him to reenter the country.
I asked him this week, “Did you finally get to the P.I?” Larry responded, “Still in the OC. Patience has turned to anger, and I really don’t care if I ever go back to the Philippines! But, Emy and I really love each other, so we have other destinations in consideration.”
During the pandemic, I’ve received many inquiries from readers about where they can go to meet someone or if I know of someone that might be right for them. It surprises me when I respond to them with comments or suggestions, some don’t have the courtesy to respond back. How the heck can I help them during this difficult time if that’s how they operate? And do they treat potential dates that way?
And now, there’s a new Covid Variant called Omicron that is possibly contagious and dangerous. Will that make senior dating more difficult again? That’s hard to say, but it certainly is creating more uncertainty. In the 26 years, I’ve been writing about senior dating and relationships, I’ve never seen the senior singles scene so challenging.
Last month, Greta and I met our friends Ron and Lee at the renamed Waldorf Astoria Resort in Dana Point for happy hour and to watch the sunset. Neither couple had been out with friends much for more than a year. The picture above was taken from our outdoor table. Catalina Island is on the horizon. I suggest singles try to get out with vaccinated friends, but oh-so-carefully. Wear masks, avoid crowded places, gather outside when possible. Be vaccinated.
Network through friends and organizations by asking people if they know of other singles who would like to meet people. That was the old-fashioned way of meeting potential mates pre-internet. Also, consider internet dating, but if you go that route, do so carefully. Beware of scammers; they lurk on every site. Trust your instincts. And if you do connect online with someone interesting, meeting in person sure has its challenges. Don’t give up. Modify your expectations. You never know who’s around the corner or in the next aisle at a store. Be friendly. Be upbeat. That guy wearing the Santa Claus suit and beard might be perfect for you.
Hopefully, 2022 will be better for senior dating. We’ll keep you posted.
Part 2 – One more “Tutor & Spunky’s Deli. A Dana Point Landmark” book signing
My third, and likely final book signing for my recently published book, is scheduled for Saturday, December 11 at, where else? Tutor and Spunky’s Deli in Dana Point from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. If any of you would like an autographed copy shipped to you, I will sign and mail one for $24.00, which includes tax, shipping, and handling. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.