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How Old Is Too Old?

If you’re a senior woman looking for love online, your must-have list probably includes an age limit. Let’s hope that limit is negotiable. If it’s not, you may miss the chance to meet some really great men.

There’s nothing wrong with looking for a guy whose age is close to your own. But keep in mind that some men are old at 50, and others are active at 80. If your idea of a perfect partner is a man who is virile, adventurous, and ardent, you may also have decided that only men in a certain age range have these qualities. But age is not always a reliable measure of a man’s potential.

This year’s trip to my high school reunion brought this home to me. I did spot a few men with walkers or canes. But I also chatted with a man whose arborist career has him still climbing giant trees. Two men had recently run in half-marathons, and another is baking artisan bread when he’s not skiing the Rockies or steering his fishing boat out to sea.

Just What IS a Geezer?

Near the end of the evening, I was approached by a woman with unruly grey hair and a vintage necklace with an oversized ‘60s peace pendant. She told me that she’d lost her husband three years ago, and was now ready to date. “I don’t want an old geezer, though,” she said emphatically. “I want a man who can keep up with me and give me what I want.” How did she define geezers, I wanted to know. “Anyone over 65,” she said.

My own geezer experience happened several years ago when my neighbor – I’ll call him Phil – insisted on taking me to dinner. Phil has 23 (yes, twenty-three) years on me. The few hours we spent together were painful. Our vastly different ways of thinking were clearly a function of age. He seemed to me to be locked in outmoded, fossil-like attitudes, while to him I seemed impetuous and scatter-brained.

I would still argue that a wide age gap is not by itself a deal-breaker. My cousin’s marriage has flourished (she’s 61, he’s nearly 80), but these people have passed through multiple adjustments and compromises, and they are growing old together.

Old Habits May Not Die

If you start dating a new man when both you and he are in your sixties (or beyond), you’re going to encounter habits he formed way before you came on the scene, and some of them could be hard to tolerate. It’s not always about the deeply entrenched, incurable stuff (such as extreme frugality – which is pretty awful and the subject of an earlier post). Something as benign and unself-conscious as obsessive neatness or a persistent clearing of the throat can be what ultimately drives you away.

This is where I want to say that if I had been unwilling to date a man who is nine years older than I am, I would never have met PASHA. Although the mutual friends who encouraged our meeting fibbed a little, cutting 2 years off his age, he sounded so interesting that I didn’t think about how old he is at all. I still don’t. He’s either young for his age, or else I think he is, which in relationship terms is nearly the same thing.

Sienna’s Practical Rule:

We’re supposed to be fighting ageism, remember? When you post your dating profile, always say you’ll accept contacts from men who are (at least) 10 years older than you are. If they turn out to be impossibly decrepit, you just push the eject button.

Always keep in mind that first  dates with senior men are not about finding a permanent partner; they’re about finding a nice someone with whom you can pass a few pleasant hours. Then you take it (or not) from there.

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'How Old Is Too Old?' have 28 comments

  1. September 12, 2017 @ 12:58 pm Sienna

    Patty — I’m grateful to you for sharing your description of this senior man’s attempt at flirtation. I do, however, encourage you not to dismiss him based solely on his age. Not all men over 70 have saggy genitalia — and most do not lack potency. What I hear from readers here affirms the sexual power of men of 70 and beyond. As for your own preference for younger men, I definitely understand, but several women have told me they left younger-guy relationships because they tired of the constant (self-imposed) pressure to look and act young. Thanks again for commenting.

  2. September 11, 2017 @ 12:25 pm Patty

    I am a fit 63, young at heart, and full of energy. Recently, I moved into new neighborhood where man 10 yrs older has been trying to hit on me. I’ve been nice by pretending not to get his hints. Several weeks ago he told me about a third blind date with yet another 70 year old woman, and he declared he does not want to date another woman his age, and that he wants what he wants.

    I took this as the opportunity to share with him how I felt his pain because I also prefer to date men younger than myself. He went on to tell me I was too mature for a younger man. I am interested in men from maybe 55-65 years old.

    I’ve phone him twice since this conversation and he doesn’t return my calls. I am flabbergasted due to the fact he thinks it’s alright for him to want what he wants (apparently me), and that I should want what he wants. The nerve. I don’t want an old man with no energy pawing at me because he has a blue pill. I don’t want see sagging scrotums, empty gums, and droopy skin. Just like him, “”I want what I want.”

    And most of all, I don’t want anyone stuck under me complaining all the time. I am a realist and fine with occasional sex and a few outings. I may even reduce my age qualifications to see a nice firm body every now and then!

  3. August 3, 2017 @ 2:59 pm Sienna

    KatieR – This is a perfect Dating Senior Men story! Thank you so much for posting. It’s sure to be an inspiration to readers who are struggling with myths about age differences.

  4. August 1, 2017 @ 10:22 am KatieR

    I’m a 58 year old woman, dating a 71 year old man and we’re crazy about each other. Never would have thought that I’d find everything I’m looking for in someone 13 years older, but I have! He does pilates twice a week and runs, has all his teeth and gorgeous white hair, we’re in a country band together (which is just fun), and he has an incredibly vast and varied social circle — and that’s been a blast (shows, concerts, dinners, trips). And the sex is off the charts great. Who knew?! His body is really good – still muscular and smooth — and he has the advantage of experience. And no viagra needed. We met online, but only after I had wasted years on other dating sites looking for mr. right my own age or younger. I don’t know how long this will last, but I’d rather spend ten great years with someone who is 13 years older, than then 20 mediocre years with someone my own age. It’s about quality of life, having similar interests, a mutual healthy lifestyle, and similar energy. I could die tomorrow. There are no guarantees in life.

  5. June 19, 2017 @ 9:47 pm Mimi

    Divorced at 55yrs have not been with anyone else for 10 years. I have no experience dating older men (over 55) now
    I am interested in dating again I have never seen a 60 or 70 naked men let alone have sex with one.

  6. June 1, 2017 @ 1:25 pm Sienna

    Vicki – You are definitely living the vida loca. How lucky you are to have found such a gem of a guy! As to worries that you’ll be left alone — a healthy man of 66 is likely to have another 20 pleasant, active years ahead of him. Relax and enjoy!

  7. May 30, 2017 @ 10:49 am Vicki

    I am 58 and dating a 65 almost 66 year old man. I dated a few years with 61-64 but this guy, a 22 year old Air Force vet / Nurse was by far the most interesting man I have ever met. He’s all into Science, History, looks like Santa but has a brown ponytail. He writes poetry, good poetry, paints, sculpts and does ceramics. He plays the harmonica! He can get geeky at times, like finding the weirdest caterpillar on his apple tree, doing research and watching over time, the cocoon, the birth of the biggest moth in North America and all with the excitement of a child at Christmas. He has 3D TV, has virtual reality goggles and reads and reads. But this geekiness can also come out late at night, outside, to name stars, planets with his arms around me tight. This man also has a sensitive heart that gives and gives to others. I feel like an absolute princess when I’m with him. Physically, he does has some limitations, 8 back surgeries, 3 neck fusions which makes him walk with a cane when out of the house, but this just makes him stronger as he pushmows his grass, gets up on ladders to install fans, and keeps up with a prize garden of tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, and herbs. He also has an apple tree and 14 raspberry plants. He never stops. He makes me feel old as he wears me out sometimes. He is to me a Renaissance Man. Sure I worry a bit of a future as a widow but as he says, no one but no one can know what is to be. So, I just ignore the concerns, and look forward for every time we are together. Oh and he is definitely a creative, experienced man in the bedroom too.

  8. March 23, 2017 @ 1:19 pm frank Frank Allen

    I just had my 88 yrs on 3/22/17. My 3rd wife of 34 years died Nov. 10, 2016. She had dementia and her two older sisters died of the same problem years ago. I would like to date again, but have no desire for sex. I did have seven children in my first marriage.

  9. April 21, 2016 @ 8:21 am Sienna

    CS – Thanks for posting such a thought-provoking question! The answer depends on the quality and length of the relationship, of course, but independence is an important point that must be made. If you find him sending out a message of intolerance for women’s vulnerability, you might let him know – tactfully, and certainly not defensively – that an interest in companionship is not always tied to husband-hunting.

  10. April 20, 2016 @ 9:33 pm cs

    I’ve noticed that a lot of older men assume that the women will be pursuing them to commit while it is up to them to set limits and declare they are not interested in commitment. If the woman is not interested in commitment, do you think it is necessary to disabuse them of this belief or would it be OK just to continue the delusion.

  11. March 27, 2016 @ 9:56 am Sienna

    Suzana – You are quite a positive lady, and your attitude is clearly appreciated by a number of eager men! You have validated one of my central themes, which is that rejecting men on the basis of age alone is foolish. “When I look into his eyes I don’t see age at all” – wonderful. And inspiring! Thanks for commenting.

  12. March 26, 2016 @ 8:24 pm Suzana

    Omgosh I am 65 and on 2 dating sites. There are plenty of men who are looking for their contemporary, not a much younger women. There are those that want younger-and express that, so you really have to stick with the ones that are looking for your age group.
    mostly I have been staying with my age 65 to 70. Although I am going to meet a 75 year old next week. ok Ladies, here is the interesting part…When I was 61 I had saw someone on the site however I live in San Diego and he lived in Pasadena. My daughter and I just happen to be in Los Angeles, so I took a chance to meet him for dinner with my daughter. I did like him but shortly after that I met a wonderful man who lived close by and we went together for a little over a year. I reconnected with Mr. Pasadena
    6 months ago, and found that I really liked him. More than really like him, felt love for him. He has lied about his age on his profile. I know he is much older than the 70 age he listed. It is so difficult as he is in really good shape and takes care of his appearance. He is a very classy kind of guy-he has completely melted my heart. And you know what, his age doesn’t bother me…I am not thinking about what age is he going to be convalescing but I am thinking more like-I want to enjoy every second with this man. He still has his law practice and probably will never retire…When I look in his eyes-I don’t see his age at all. I know what he onced looked like thru his pictures but I don’t see the lines in his face. He is my favorite and if things come together-he would be the one I would choose. I have been a widow just as long as he has been divorced-31 yrs. In fact, his divorced wife did pass 10 yrs ago-so (lol) we are both widows. The dilema is…he has been a dater for so long, I wonder if we will be able to commit to one another. So, I am taking things slow, what can I do-he lives in Pasadena 2 hrs away from San Diego, while still meeting local men. He is the oldest person I am seeing I think he is about 76, but as I said the age is unimportant to me with him. . My point is I am not putting all my eggs in one basket but meeting and dating, meeting and dating until it will all come together for me with the best person for me to love and cherish no matter what age he is. I do have alot of guys in the 55-58 age range requesting to meet me but that is just under the radar for me-I don’t feel comfortable dating someone less than 1 or 2 yrs younger than me. I like my age up to a few yrs older but you never know so far Mr Pasadena is alot older and it doesn’t bother me. Please feel free to comment or ask me any questions.
    Love to you Suzana

  13. October 12, 2015 @ 4:57 pm KLee

    This sounds good, but i’m with those who say they’ve tried it and it didn’t work. Where are these men you talk about who are supposed to be fit at 80? I have trouble with 70-year-olds and I am 67.

  14. October 4, 2015 @ 12:36 pm Mary

    I am a very young 61 years old. I am very fit, own a successful business and a beautiful home on 6 acres. It seems like the most interest I get is from men who are 65 and older. I have been trying so hard to have things in common with them. But it seems like a lot of men this age have given up on taking care of themselves, or really don’t want a long term relationship because they are set in their ways and have a hard time making changes. Realistically, I think that women my age try harder to stay fit and are much younger at heart than men. Why is it that men automatically think they should have someone much younger than themselves and they don’t really look at women who are 2 or 3 years older than them even when they are much more fit and young looking? It just seems like an outdated cultural model. I have been told to lie about my age on my online profile because I look so much younger than my age……but I am looking for honesty in a relationship and this would be doing the same thing that I don’t want someone else to do to me.

  15. July 14, 2015 @ 6:05 pm yankele

    Here I go again. You women are just too picky. I’m more lively than most guys in their 30s and I’m certainly more interesting. Get with it, girls.

  16. April 21, 2015 @ 4:48 pm Stella

    This makes me laugh. I got involved with a man who was 15 years older than me. We dated for a while and then he moved in with me. Then it started. He didn’t like me to go running or ride my bike. He was jealous of my young friends, and he kept telling me that I dressed too young. If I bought something, even though it was my own money, he’d say you can’t afford it no matter whether it was something big or small. He wanted me to be dressed up all the time, and he made bad remarks about my kids. I decided to get rid of him but he wouldn’t go. I finally had to call his son, who is a lawyer, and tell him to get this man out of my life. It was a long struggle and he was nasty about leaving. No more old men for me. I learned my lesson.

  17. April 21, 2015 @ 11:15 am Patsy C.

    I have to agree somewhat with “Still Kicking”. I think it’s fine to think about men who may even be in their seventies, but today’s 70 year old is tomorrow’s 80 year old. I know there are 80 year old marathon runners, but what are the chances you’ll get one of those. Mostly they are lying around in front of the TV and waiting for you to make them lunch. OR worse, visit them in the old folks home. No thanks.

  18. February 13, 2015 @ 3:18 pm Still kicking

    I have tried, I’ve really tried, but older men are just — old. I am 63 and tried dating a man who is ten years older, 73. He just can’t keep up with me, although he thinks he can. He thinks he is as cool as they come, but the “cool” things he says in front of other people are just embarrassing. He looks silly talking about rappers and such. In bed he is actually not bad, because he reads Men’s Health and follows the directions it gives to 30-year-olds hahahaha.

  19. December 1, 2014 @ 11:06 am Sienna

    Good for you, Linda. You’ve stated your case so well! Sexuality has no age limits, and neither has the chance to find good sex. It’s something we should be looking forward to, not shunning because we’re “too old”.

  20. November 30, 2014 @ 7:08 pm Linda

    I have been widowed twice, once after a 6 year terrible illness and once after several years, and I told myself that if there is a next time, I want someone who is able to not only be on the same plane as me, emotion-wise, intelligence-wise, and humour-wise, but sexually as well. I think a lot of older women don’t care about sex anymore.. would prefer it not be there. I don’t fall into that bracket!

  21. November 22, 2014 @ 5:18 pm Sienna

    Gail, you’re expressing what so many women our age are concerned about. Many of us have nursed life partners through fatal illnesses and are wary of starting relationships with men who may require the same kind of nursing in the too-near future. Without having shared decades of devotion and closeness, couples share a different dynamic when it comes to the intimacy of illness and dying.

  22. November 17, 2014 @ 9:31 pm GAIL

    I think it’s good advice to give older men a chance, but you leave out one thing, and that is how old they will be in a few years. I’m fine with a man who is 65 now, but what about in 10 years? I don’t want to be taking care of an old geezer if he gets sick.

  23. October 28, 2014 @ 10:53 am Lisa H

    I’m sorry, but i have to look to the future, and i figure if a man is 75 right now and is still active, he will one day in the too-near future be 85. Then it’s probably going to be no more travel, no more theater, and probably having to be a nurse. No thanks, I want a younger man, period.

  24. October 23, 2014 @ 2:59 pm Penelope

    Chronological age is by no means a determining factor of energy or spirit. I’ve dated a younger man and I felt 10 years younger than him! It’s all in how you act.

  25. October 23, 2014 @ 1:48 pm Joyce

    It’s pretty hard to remember your rule when you are stuck at Starbucks with a loser. Again.

  26. October 22, 2014 @ 2:32 pm Lily

    Good one. I’m not online dating, but I get it that some men are old and some are young when they’re the same age. I don’t want to take care of an old man, though. Do you think it’s okay to ask them for their medical history on the first date haha?

  27. October 22, 2014 @ 2:01 pm MitzitheAlias

    I don’t want an older man at my stage in life. My friend who is dating a younger man is having the time of her life both in and out of bed. Why would I want someone who can’t get it up?

  28. October 22, 2014 @ 1:26 pm Patsy R.

    I dated a man 18 years older than I am for about 2 years. He was a loner type and I don’t know whether our difficulties were due to that or to the fact that he was older. He would space out from time to time and I couldn’t get him to talk except about trivial matters. Or he would not show up for dates. Eventually we just grew apart, no big breakup, just not together any more.


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