The risk of dating older men

June is 70, but is often told she looks to be in her mid-50s. She's been dating a 75-year-old man and shared her concerns: "I have been seeing a man (not exclusively) for 9 months, which is a platonic one (relationship) because of his inability to have sex.

"He is a friend who is looking for the 'perfect' woman and dates me while searching for her. I offered my friendship because I thoroughly enjoy his mind and gentlemanly manners."

What do they do on dates?

June said, "We eat meals, dance, watch TV or movies, tour our beautiful coast line (Southern California, including Dana Point), as well as, sit and converse about topics of interest."

June explained why their relationship will likely change: "I detect that in a few years, he'll be a different type of companion than he is now. The minor changes in him, like slowing down physically, and being only slightly forgetful don't bother me right now, but I am wondering how I'll feel when it increases."

And then she laid a little guilt on herself: "I'm concerned how obligated I'll feel to care for him, should he not find THE special lady, as he deteriorates with age. Because he doesn't have any close relatives nearby, I know I would not abandon him."

June added,"In the future, I will not be dating 'older' men after experiencing this 75-year-old. Currently, I am dating (very recently) someone my age."

Tom's comments: It's nice for seniors to have an opposite-sex companion with whom to share activities. Some women would even relish the lack of intimacy. But, of course, not all.

June's right, the relationship will change as he ages. He's already showing signs-impotence, slowing down, slightly forgetful. At some point, they won't be able to do all of the activities they currently enjoy. That time could arrive before "a few years."

His pursuit of the perfect woman won't materialize. No woman is going to want to start dating a man who's on the cusp of needing a caregiver. June's as perfect as he'll ever find.

But it's the guilt June fears and the "I will not abandon him" comment I want to address. Why should she feel obligated to care for him when he wants someone more perfect than she? She says it's because he doesn't have relatives nearby. That's his problem, his relatives' problem, but certainly not her problem. He's already, to a degree, using her but, she, to a degree, is also using him, both in an equitable sort of way.

How would she feel being the default caregiver when his condition deteriorates? My guess: resentful and angry. June should explain to him that he needs to make arrangements now to have himself taken care of before he is incapable of making those arrangements.

June has the right to thoroughly enjoy her remaining good years without being saddled to an obligation that could severely limit her freedom and happiness. It's not as if they've dated exclusively and been lovers for years. He isn't her spouse or even her roommate. He's playing her until he finds someone better. It's good she is also dating someone her age who may realize he's found the perfect woman in June.

At her age, June is fortunate to have a choice of men. She should back off the guilt and enjoy her life. Your comments by return email are encouraged.

© 2010, Tom Blake

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Tom Blake is an expert on dating after 50. He has appeared twice on the "Today Show" and has written more than 500 columns on dating and relationships. His "Single Again" column appears in The Orange County Register in southern California, is read worldwide and is often featured on msn.com. He is a professional speaker. He spoke at the national AARP convention in San Diego in 2002, and in Chicago. His book, Middle Aged and Dating Again, is a humorous account of his first year of dating after his third divorce. His second book is Finding Love After 50: How to begin, where to go, what to do. His latest book is titled How 50 Couples Found Love after 50. To ask a question or receive Tom's free weekly column on middle-age dating and relationships by e-mail, click on www.findingloveafter50.com or E-Mail.

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