The lockdown has been tough for everyone seeking a new relationship. Hayley Bystram provides some practical advice for over 50s.
For single people of all ages, the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have meant almost no opportunity to organically meet people or go on a physical date.
For younger generations, the solution has been to turn to online and app dating in increasing numbers. But for older generations, who aren’t as familiar with or comfortable on dating apps, lockdown has only compounded a sense of frustration and isolation.
Here are some easy ways that you can continue to proactively meet new people during lockdown (albeit some virtually!), and why the traditional principles of dating can be modified to fit current circumstances.
1) Consider what you are looking for
For the majority of older clients I work with, they are dating again for the first time in a while; they may have previously been in a long-term marriage or relationship, but have divorced or their partner has passed away. As a result, many older people are apprehensive and uncertain about meeting someone new, especially in current circumstances. I would therefore suggest before jumping in that, for anyone looking to date for the first time in a while, they consider and establish what kind of dynamic they are seeking, their criteria for a potential partner and what their ‘dealbreakers’ are.
Also, approach dating with a view to developing a friendship with someone new first and foremost. Romance blossoms from a solid friendship – so take the pressure off yourself and have the outlook of starting a relationship from a friendship perspective before looking too far ahead and overwhelming yourself.
2) Engage with an agency to meet new people
Currently, the opportunities to meet new people are close to nil, but this doesn’t mean that those looking for love should stop being proactive in looking. This is where traditional matchmaker agencies can help. In normal times, matchmakers specialise in bringing their clients physically together to meet, but during the Covid-19 pandemic many have adapted and are introducing clients via the telephone or on video call. Engaging with a matchmaker means one of the hardest parts of finding love during lockdown – actually meeting someone – is taken care of for you.
3) Use traditional dating techniques
We may live in an age of fast-paced dating apps, but that doesn’t mean traditional dating techniques and ways of interacting are dead and buried, even given the lockdown circumstances. Traditional courtship – including phone conversations and hand-written letters – can build up romance and suspense, really help you connect with the right person in a more authentic, considered and genuine way.
4) Embrace virtual dating
You don’t need to be a technical genius to embrace virtual dating! With just a laptop or a phone, there are endless ways of creatively recreating dates that would have otherwise taken place in the flesh. Virtual dinner dates are one possibility, with the same dinner and wine sent to each household and enjoyed over a video call; alternatively, both partners could cook two recipes simultaneously but separately.
Even something as simple as watching a show at the same time and dissecting it afterwards, or going for a walk at the same time and chatting to each other over the telephone as you go, will enable you to build a connection in the right way, at your own pace.
Hayley Bystram, Founder, Bowes-Lyon Partnership