Starting a new romance in your golden years comes with unique challenges. You may be anticipating a certain dating scene but come across a very different romantic landscape. The circumstances that may have initiated or disintegrated previous partnerships have likely vastly evolved. New technology, old traditions, changing politics and grown children could all play a role in what you might be facing in today’s dating world. If you’re looking for some insight into what you might find on this side of the dating pool, stay tuned.
Here are a few real issues you may have to tackle if you are considering marriage later in life.
1. Replacement Spouses
The death or divorce of a spouse is a devastating loss for any potential partner and their family. Dealing with grief brings its own issues to courtship. But another hardship to hurdle could be facing the need to rapidly replace a lost partner. Replacement spouses are people who are quickly courted and wed to fill the void left by the missing family member. They may or may not remind the widow(er) or divorcée of their ex but this person’s purpose is essentially the same. They’re used to being married so they will marry again to keep their world intact.
2. Cutout Spouses
Cutout spouses fulfill a similar function as replacement spouses. However, cutouts play a specific and well defined role in their new spouse and family’s life. The widow(er) or divorcée’s life is already constructed and has a hole in it that can be filled by anyone who fits. This means the marriage is not necessarily about you, but about the position you play. Your own life, views, values, traditions and family must fit within the relationship you’re signing on to. This often happens when older gentleman marry younger women. Younger people can be more easily molded into the perfect partner in their marriages. Mature people with lots of experiences and opinions come fully formed and strike a balance within their marriages that may not be welcomed.
3. Emotional Baggage
Abandonment and loss are not the only issues you’ll face as you traverse dating in your golden years. Untreated trauma, mental illness, behavioral and personality disorders, plus unresolved emotional problems and insecurities can plague any marriage. But can be particularly pervasive in late in life marriages. Some young marriages are built around immature ideals by under-developed emotional beings who may not have the resources or desire to resolve their internal issues. This could lead to the dissolution of one or several marriages before retirement age and may be compounded by the time a late in life marriage occurs.
4. Stagnation and Growth
The older someone gets the more they can become set in their ways. This could prove valuable as a healthy outlook on life won’t be destabilized by stressful experiences. This can help your late in life marriage survive its inevitable challenges. But unhealthy attitudes and behaviors can pose a threat to your union. Old habits are hard to break and sometimes stubborn seniors are not interested in adapting to new circumstances or choosing new routines.
Marrying later in life can provide amazing opportunities for lifelong companionship. But don’t be afraid to face some life phase specific hurdles head on. In the end, marriage at any point in your life is a big decision, and should make your life feel fuller and richer. If you’re feeling boxed in or left out of your relationship keep your head up and your options may open.