In recent years, western society has undergone a marked change in paradigm where the subject is senior dating. Where once this type of relationship was viewed as something to be frowned upon and criticised, nowadays it is seen as perfectly acceptable, if not even commendable. While before senior citizens who chose to date after becoming widowed or divorced were seen as less than morally sound, nowadays western society is far more aware of the benefits a friendship or romance can have for elderly men and women, and plenty of mature singles have thrived as a result.
As dating among the elderly continues to gain in popularity and veer in new and exciting directions, however, one question arises in the mind of many who witness this paradigm – namely, what might have been the main factors responsible for the rise of senior dating. Such a marked and radical change in status quo can certainly not be attributed to only one or two aspects, and thus, those with an interest in sociology have begun trying to ascertain what conjunction of circumstances may have led to senior dating going from reviled to revived. A few of the many factors which may have contributed to the expansion and advancement of over 50s dating are listed in the lines below.
One of the main factors responsible for the rise of senior dating has undoubtedly been the change in mentality western society has experienced over the past few decades. Up until the end of the twentieth century, the western world was still bound by somewhat limited (and limiting) mentalities carried over from more conservative decades; the dawn of the new millennium, however, brought about a significant change in paradigm, with mind-sets and outlooks suddenly becoming far more open and accepting than ever before.
This, in turn, made it possible for alternative or less traditionally orthodox lifestyle choices to find their place within western society, and recent years have seen previously frowned-upon practices become widely accepted and considered perfectly natural.
One such practice was senior dating. As described above, for most of the twentieth century, it was heavily frowned upon for older men and women to engage in romantic relationships at an older age. While some exception was made for bachelors and, on occasion, widowers, it was generally considered the ‘done thing’ not to re-marry or otherwise become romantically engaged after a certain age, particularly if the person was divorced. Men and women who did choose to become romantically linked with another in their twilight years tended to be seen as reproachable, regardless of the reasons which led them to try and rekindle their love life at an older age.
Fortunately, as noted above, that was one of the many paradigms which changed for the better as western society became more accepting. Nowadays, senior dating is seen as perfectly normal, and many people even encourage older singles to seek out a relationship, romantic or otherwise, in order to stave off the loneliness typical of the late years of human life. This has, evidently, allowed the number of seniors seeking new relationships to steadily increase, leading to senior dating as a whole experiencing a marked rise.
Lifestyle Changes for Seniors
Important though it was, however, the change in mentality undergone by western society was only one of the factors responsible for the rise of senior dating. Another one, just as important and which should by no means be overlooked, has to do with the changes in lifestyle elderly men and women themselves have experienced over the past few years.
Once again, this cannot be dissociated from the change in overall outlook undergone by society as a whole, and which allowed seniors to express their individuality and interests more openly than before. This, in turn, led to many elderly citizens willingly becoming more active, and actively working to better themselves from both a physical and mental standpoint. More and more over 50s began engaging in physical activity, for instance, or otherwise exploring the social and intellectual resources at their disposal, such as dating agencies in an effort to better themselves, in turn leading to a more active and engaged lifestyle than previous generations of seniors.
It is easy to see how senior dating fits into this new paradigm. With older men and women becoming more comfortable with expressing their personalities and pursuing their interests, it comes as no surprise that many have sought to rekindle their romantic life as well, perhaps aware of the health benefits such relationships bring to over 50s. Also unsurprisingly, this ended up being one of the main factors responsible for the rise of senior dating over the past few years.
Finally, mention has to be made of the advancements in scientific research, which allowed western society as a whole to become more aware of the benefits senior dating can bring to those who engage in it. Recent studies have proven a romantic relationship late in a person’s life can contribute to said person’s physical and mental well-being, to the point of enhancing it, and that people who engage in friendships or romantic relationships in their senior years tend to stave off depression and loneliness easier than those who do not.
In addition, senior dating has been found to be a good coping mechanism for older men and women dealing with grieving situations, such as the loss of a partner or a hurtful divorce; research suggests that by finding like-minded partners with whom to share their feelings and emotions, these men and women are able to get over the grieving process faster and in a healthier way than those left to cope on their own or who do not benefit from additional support.
As such, it is not hard to see how advancements in scientific research have contributed to the expansion of senior dating, as well.
When the fact that these are only some, not all, of the factors responsible for the rise of senior dating, it becomes apparent that the increase in popularity this practice has experienced over the past few years cannot be boiled down to just one or two simple, boilerplate aspects. Rather, it is a combination of a series of factors, all coming together to create optimal circumstances for this phenomenon to thrive as it has!