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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Senior Dating: Helen Fisher

Navigating the dating waters can be challenging on many levels.

Helen E. Fisher, biological anthropologist and member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the anthropology department of Rutgers University, understands this and offers her insight into the process of dating for those who are ready to undertake the finding of a mate.

She notes that in the past 50 years, dating and marriage have changed more than in the past 5,000 years. This is largely due to the entry of women into the work force. Fisher notes, “Women are expressing their natural sexuality, experimenting with love and sex before marriage, living with their partners, marrying later, divorcing, and remarrying…in a sense we have returned to a social life style similar to the hunting and gathering societies, before people settled down on the farm and marriage codes got more rigid.”

Believing that people of any age can feel intense romantic love, she has studied the romantic element in some 800 men and women of American and Japanese decent. Fisher has concluded that we can fall in love at every age—even in our 90’s. This calls to mind every sweet story we’ve ever heard about octogenarians and nonagenarians who have found each other and moved in together or married--sweet, hopeful, life-affirming tales.

According to this expert, senior dating is a lot like junior dating—full of excitement; anguish; at times euphoria, when things go well; and despair when they don’t.

Laraine Jablon

Laraine Jablon, BA, MA, is a writer living in Nesconset, New York. She welcomes your thoughts.