It doesn’t matter how old we get – we still want to be loved … to know that someone thinks we’re special and important. And this basic human need doesn’t go away just because we’ve reached our 60s or 70s. The yearning for loving touch and intimacy remain as strong as ever.
Our youth-obsessed media would have us believe that love is all about youth, beauty, sex and glamour. But couples who’ve stuck together through 40 or more years of marriage experience love that is deeper, more peaceful and enduring. It’s about wisdom, companionship, acceptance and helping one another. There’s less drama and excitement – and more comfortable hours spent together on the couch, watching movies and eating popcorn.
Love springs eternal
Even if you’ve lost your life partner, love, like hope, springs eternal. It knows no age limits, no retirement dates, no physical or mental infirmities. There’s nothing like the feeling of falling in love all over again after 70. It’s a reminder that anything is possible, that new beginnings are all around us, and that there’s still someone for everyone.
However, finding a new love in later years is not without its angst. We no longer have the confidence we had in our teens. Wrinkles, wobby tummies and bald heads make us feel less attractive and even, less worthy of love. ‘Who would want me?’ we think. It’s important to accept that we are not perfect. Neither are potential new loves! But so what if he or she is a little overweight, or wears clothes that are ten years out of fashion? It doesn’t mean that we can’t fall in love with a pair of twinkly eyes, a kind and gentle heart, or a sense of humour that brings a ray of sunshine to every day.
One advantage of getting older is that we’ve learned a lot about ourselves along the way, and most of us have stopped worrying about what people think of us. We are more authentic, more accepting of others, more relaxed and easier to talk to. All of which are very attractive qualities! There’s also less pressure on dating once the need to find a partner with whom we can raise a family is past. We can take our time really getting to know someone, and even if things don’t work out, we can still enjoy time spent in pleasant conversation or enjoyable outings that don’t necessarily lead to lifetime commitment.
Different kinds of love
Even so, not everyone is lucky enough to find romantic love in later years. That’s not to say life has to become a loveless desert! There are many different kinds of love, and romantic love is just one of them. Consider the love between good friends. Knowing that someone is ‘there for you’, that you can share your feelings with them or have fun together, produces the same feeling of being loved, special and important.
The love of a family is also incredibly special. “I feel really flattered when my daughter’s family goes away on holiday and invites me to go along with them,” says 67 year old Christine. “It’s like all the love I invested in my children when they were growing up is being returned, with interest. Because now I get extra love, hugs and kisses from my grandchildren as well!”
Sometimes, we find love in unexpected places. We don’t expect someone who’s paid to take care of us to love us. But many carers and their elderly clients here at Tafta develop very strong bonds, and are deeply concerned about each other’s welfare. If being loved means having someone who cares about you, enjoys spending time with you, and thinks you’re special, then what are these bonds, if not love?
If you still feel that nobody loves you, remember these four uplifting truths:
- Your smile can bring happiness to anyone.
- You mean the world to someone, even if they’ve never told you.
- When you think the world has turned its back on you take another look.
- Always remember the compliments you received – and believe them.