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“At 60 you are no longer old today”: Spring fever in the autumn of life

How is it loving when you are over 60? Somehow different and somehow the same. Irene and Bert fell in love when they were old and are happier than ever. You are not alone in this. More and more older people are looking for a new partnership. Two experts from the dating agency reveal how it works

When Irene and Bert inaugurated their friends in May 2020, they sound like teenagers. “I felt that way again.” She beams. “It’s so good to love and be loved.”

The two have now survived their first crisis, that was when he moved in with her. “Much too early,” says Irene, “only two months after we got together.” It was her kingdom, now he too lived in it, in the yellow house by the river. He was sitting at her table, in front of her fireplace, on her porch swing. Irene had spent her old age here with her husband John, and here she had mourned him for two years.

He asked: “Should I find something of my own?” She said she did not know. “And I really didn’t know. I wanted him to go and stay at the same time. ”She was mean. He says: “I don’t think so. You didn’t scream or hit any doors. “

“But I haven’t spoken a word for hours.” Anyone who knows Irene knows that this is a bad sign. “I love her and didn’t want to lose her a second time,” says Bert. He stayed.

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He hadn’t shown as much patience in the 1950s after entering a monastery as a novice. As I said, who knows Irene … Soon she stepped out again, the life behind the high walls that separated her from the colorful world outside was not for her. “Back at home I found out that Bert had married. I was surprised. And disappointed. ”But Irene didn’t just believe in God, she also believed that it shouldn’t have been. Especially since there was a second man in her life: John. The marriage turned out to be a good one. At least most. “When things got into a crisis, I thought of Bert, asked myself if I had married the right person. Then I pulled myself together and we made up again. “

Both families have children, they are friends and meet several times a year, the men work together for a while. When John was 70, he died of cancer. During these hours Irene seeks consolation in phone calls with friends, including Bert. She talks to him on the phone particularly often. “In his last days John opened his eyes and said: Bert should take care of you. – That came out of nowhere. Just like that. ”In Irene’s voice there is still astonishment and immediately afterwards anger:“ I don’t need someone to take care of me. ”But what she definitely needed was company, life in the shack, as she was used to , and why she left the house every day after John’s death in her little red car to go to the still living. “Back in the evening, I sat alone by the fire and cried.”

But where is Bert in this story? While Irene had had a very happy marriage, his had long been broken, and the woman had been in need of care for years. “I stayed with her, I had sworn that at the altar.” Nevertheless, he met Irene, seldom, but they talked a lot on the phone. “At some point we really longed for the talks.”

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Then Bert’s wife came to a nursing home. The rest is history. The two take turns telling them. “The next day I drove to Irene and we talked and talked and talked and talked.” In the evening he refuses to stay with her, he does not want to “discredit a lady”, but the way home is long. The “lady” calls her best friend, Johanna. Johanna comes over and lies down in bed with her, while the gentlemen’s visit spends the night in the guest room.

The next evening the girlfriend stays away. “Do you know what I would like to do?” Irene asks her Bert. “Lying on the bed. Next to you. Simply that way. Let’s see how it is. ”He nods. Yes, he wants that too. After a while, she rolls over to him and immediately has the feeling that she has arrived. “As if these arms had always been waiting for me.”

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Now, in conversation, she is terribly sorry that she was so mean to him shortly after he moved in. “I’m so grateful that you’re still there and still love me.” The turning point was an operation, of all things. Irene was looking forward to the four days of hospitalization ahead of her as to a vacation in a wellness hotel. “Finally being alone and thanks to Covid no visitors are allowed.” The miracle happened in the hospital bed: She missed her new partner so much that she spoke to him on the phone again every day. And made a conscious decision: “Yes, I do! I want to live with this man. ”It’s been going on, they’ve had sex ever since.

Wedding bells?

According to Parship, 44% of 50 to 70 year olds can imagine getting married again. According to the dating agency, 8% of customers are over 60; In the case of the Rhein-Main dating agency, it is even more than half. The majority of these are over 60-year-olds (around 60 percent). 30 percent are 70 and older, 10 percent over 80 and some over 90.

Really, he lived in the guest room first, Bert protests. They now share the bed – on one condition: “He has to sleep on the right side. John has always been lying on the left, that’s where I am now. ”Bert didn’t take John’s place. It is important for Irene to emphasize this. “Is that so?” Bert laughs. “I didn’t know that.” “You just forgot,” she says. “Either way, that’s totally okay with me,” he says. “Bert is as patient as John,” says Irene.

In general, the men have a lot in common. “How you can use tools, for example – great!” That is the only role cliché that the mother of a son and three daughters allows. “It is definitely not my job to stand in the kitchen all day.” So they walk in together, she does the dishes, he dries off. “So that he learns where the dishes have to go.” Teamwork is an important word in her everyday life. “In the morning we discuss what we want to do and do it together. Dig up the garden, cook, clean … make love! “

And with that back to the topic. “Since I’ve been with her, I can’t get enough of it,” shouts Bert. It is no longer the fulfillment of marital duties as it used to be, but rather: “Pure pleasure.” He repeats this sentence several times in conversation. “Sometimes we turn night into day. I look at the clock and suddenly it’s three in the morning. Madness! ”-“ But that doesn’t mean that we have sex for four hours at a time, ”interjects Irene. That would come in waves, including holding hands for a long time, for example. “The great thing is that we don’t have to worry about me getting pregnant.” She chuckles.

Sex and love in old age: Many people of retirement age long for a new partnership

Is there anything else that sex is different in old age? “It’s different with every partner.” Bert adds: “I learned a lot from her. I have always been loyal to my wife, I only knew a lot from hearsay. ”Now, with his new partner, the second of his life, he is experiencing what is possible. Bert startled: “But I’m not only with you because of the sex, Irene!”

John had wanted a “guardian” for his wife. Bert sees himself more as a “companion”, “lover”, “friend”. At the very beginning of their relationship, on one of those afternoons they spent on the porch swing, she asked him how long he had been in love with her. He looked at her and said: “Always.”

He says he’s enjoying life a lot more now. “When we’re not in bed, we sometimes turn the living room into a dance hall.” She nods: “Polka, waltz, cha-cha-cha … That’s how we finally met. At that time, as a woman, you still had to wait for someone to ask you to dance. So there I sat, saw this handsome man on the other side of the room and thought, ‘Oh, if only he would come to me.’ “And he came.

In a few weeks, Irene and Bert want to move into a small apartment, more or less on neutral ground, which is also age-appropriate. They don’t want to get married again.

Expert in dating agency: “At 60 you are no longer old today”

Ingrid Kreuzer has been running the Rhein-Main dating agency for 37 years. Psychologist Markus Ernst has been advising Parship customers on the phone for 14 years. What people over 60 would like from their new partner – in a short interview:

Have you always counted older people among your customers?

Ingrid Kreuzer: Only for a little more than ten years. Society has changed. 60 is no longer old today. In the past you looked after your grandchildren, today you make travel plans. You are looking for a partner to spend your free time and to live out common interests. People don’t want to sit around at home.

Markus Ernst: Someone who is 60 may still have 30 years ahead of them. After the death of a partner or a divorce, more people now allow themselves to be re-entered into a relationship. In the past, this was more than betrayal for those affected and those around them. That has changed and yet many people ask me how they can tell that they are ready for a relationship again. There is no silver bullet. Sometimes it takes a few months, sometimes five years.

Kreuzer: The men tend to come to me earlier, sometimes in the same month after the death of their partner. Some women take years to come. They focus on themselves, deal with the grief, team up with their girlfriends, take care of the grandchildren. My appeal: get out of your grief earlier or overcome it together with a new partner. That makes it easier.

How does history affect a new relationship?

Ernst: On the one hand, the new partners shouldn’t feel like they’re comparing each other with the old ones. On the other hand, the previous history must not be hushed up, otherwise the relationship cannot work. For example, if a woman is sad because it is the anniversary of the death of her deceased husband, she needs the understanding of the new partner. Openness and acceptance are important – by the way, also with regard to the family environment and the circle of friends. Most want the new love to blend in well.

Do you move in together again in old age?

Kreuzer: A lot of women don’t want that anymore. You have settled down in your solitude, maybe you have started your career again, are learning a foreign language, and have furnished the apartment in a stylish way. They don’t want to put a man’s socks away again. The gentlemen, on the other hand, usually want to have a common household, and it definitely plays a role that they have enjoyed the care of a partner throughout their life and that they now lack that. But many are also rethinking and learning to cook, for example.

Do you still look at your looks at that age?

Cruiser: Absolutely. The man wants an attractive slim woman who smiles and shows her shapes. The woman is more careful: How does he dress? Is he well-groomed? Was he at the hairdresser’s? However, I notice that after almost two years of Corona and increasing loneliness, the claims are being scaled down a bit. Men have become more humble, they concentrate more on the essentials, the main thing is that they are no longer alone. Then the woman no longer necessarily has to be blonde.

Ernst: Attractiveness is no longer as important. Much more important are common interests and hobbies that the new partner is interested in the life story. Harmony plays a big role.

And what role does sexuality play?

Ernst: It’s still important. Most of the time, clients ask me whether they should mention the topic in their profile or when is the best time to address it. One advantage of this age group: They can live out sexuality without time pressure and the pressure of family planning.

Kreuzer: Around 70 percent of my female and 90 percent of my male clients want sexuality and physical contact. However, it is often mostly about holding hands and skin contact, such as hugging each other. The pure act plays a lesser role.

Do you do it better in love at that age?

Ernst: People over 50 have the great advantage that external constraints such as family planning or a career are eliminated. Young people put themselves under a lot of pressure, according to the motto: Now it has to work out. Another advantage is that you know yourself better and know what or who is good for you, which search patterns have proven themselves. The disadvantage: You may set many filters too early, limit the search radius to 50 kilometers or exclude smokers per se. One should be more willing to compromise.

Interview: Uta Nabert

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