Almost everyone I know—of any age—watched Bridgerton on Netflix at least once last winter. It’s all about love, and we do love that. A lot.
We need and seek connections from the time we’re born—someone to hold us, love us, comfort us, and entertain us. That never goes away, especially during a pandemic.
“I think a lot of people put the big picture in perspective and realized that they hadn’t been prioritizing personal life and don’t want to go through another pandemic alone,” says Ali Migliore, co-owner of Simply Matchmaking in Seattle. Simply Matchmaking serves clients from 21 to 89 years old.
In the last year, Migliore says people have become “a little more grounded in who they are, and what they’re looking for, and whom they’re going to spend their last chapter of life with.”
Of course, there are extra precautions involved in meeting someone during a pandemic. Masks and distancing are part of a first date, unless it’s virtual. Maybe there’s a COVID test before a first kiss. Migliore, who previously created carefully choreographed, in-person dates, incorporated technology and CDC guidelines into her work. Some of that will continue post-pandemic.
“It’s pushed us to get more creative and give people more options. A lot of people have enjoyed virtual dating,” she says. “Some people don’t want to spend a lot of time driving to a first date. Others hope they never do another virtual date for the rest of their lives—they want to meet in person.”
As viral risks diminish, we can go back to worrying about all the other concerns that come with romance at “a certain age.” Some are physical, and there are solutions for those. Your physician will be happy to help you deal with erectile dysfunction, vaginal dryness, or a leaky bladder, among other uncomfortable conditions. Make an appointment and ask.
Women who gave birth may have been left with scar tissue that causes pain during sex. There’s actually physical therapy for that, which both makes sex better and gives you a funny story to tell your friends later. Get a referral from your doctor.
Then there are worries rooted in our psyche. As one woman told me about a new romance, “OMG, he’s the oldest person I’ve ever dated. And I’m the oldest person he’s ever dated, too.” “What if” fears can swirl around in our brains. If you wouldn’t dream of wearing a bathing suit in public ever again, for instance, the idea of abandoning the camouflage of clothing is more unnerving than erotic. It’s enough to make you crawl back into a batch of brownies and an old Hugh Grant movie. Don’t do it, though. You might miss something wonderful.
Talk with your partner, or potential partner, about things that worry both of you. If that feels too difficult at first, talk with your friends, or even a therapist. They’ll be supportive and could have helpful ideas. And here’s a suggestion for women who want to hide some extra pounds: When it’s time to get physical, borrow one of his shirts and appear wearing only that. It’ll make you look and feel adorable.
Finally, consider the reasons you want to date and who you’re looking for, then go out and enjoy the search. Look for someone to expand your vision of what’s possible. You might fall in love, possibly get married, or simply find a companion to share dinner and adventures. As Migliore says, “You deserve whatever you want. Have an open heart and an open mind.”
Priscilla Charlie Hinckley has been a writer and producer in Seattle television and video for 35 years, with a primary interest in stories covering health and medicine, women’s and children’s issues, social justice, and education. She enjoys taking a lighthearted approach to serious topics.