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Dating at Midlife/Declining dates gracefully


Hi Dr. Belove,

Thank you for providing advice.  It's much appreciated.

I'm a 59 year old woman.  I've had 1 marriage and 2 long term relationships in my life.  I'm no longer in a relationship and choose to stay that way.  I've really given it a lot of thought and my happiest times in life have been hanging out with girlfriends.  I enjoyed dating, but choose not to do it anymore.  Since I have no interest in a relationship, it doesn't seem right to go on dates.

My question is, how to decline offers for dates nicely without getting into too much about the reason.  People assume if I don't want to date that I'm bitter.   I'm not.  I just want to do things differently.


Just say you're taking a temporary break right now and it's really sweet of you to be interested but for now, you need a rest and then
say, no, I don't want to go into details with someone I've just met, sorry.
that's a vague response and reveals even less than saying, "I'm out of the relationship game,"  which is a bigger statement.
Beleive me you are not at all alone in this. Many women reach this point. Along with a collection of darkly humorous stories.  

So you give a vague reason and it's a neither yes or no, just a not now and that will probably back off the amateur psychologists.

I'll add that several of the women I know who've come to this place do maintain sex buddies but several do not.

Germaine Greer, who wrote the Female Eurich and also The Change, about menopause  said in that second book,
"I don't believe how much time and energy I wasted just trying to get laid."  She was in her 60's when she said that.

When you pass a certain age you can do life any way you want and you owe no one an explanation.  

It's good to have intimate friends to talk to.  I think a reflected life is better than one where you don't talk about
certain deep decisions. You owe some of that thinking to yourself. But not to strangers. And your friends are there to support you
and you choose them wisely.

How's that?


Dating at Midlife

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Philip Belove, Ed.D.


Hi. I`m Philip Belove (that is my name, really). I`m 71 and I`ve been a psychologist all my midlife, the past 35 years. My specialty has been counseling and coaching other midlife adults.  I think we all figure things out as we go along, but even more so at midlife. Being between 40-ish and 60-ish and single is like being a stranger in a strange land. I`ve learned which questions help people find their own way. I created this category, I publish a blog at and I write articles for various web sites. My commitment is to help people 1) understand and improve how they deal with others, 2) understand the forces that rule the relationships they are in, and 3) make the decisions which will shape, or create, or end those relationships  so they achieve the goal of midlife development  to finally live with personal satisfaction. I`ve been divorced twice myself. I`m in a satisfying relationship with a fine person. I`m very interested in learning about your challenges and in offering what I can.


Professionally: Licensed Psychologist. Marriage and Family Therapist. Coach.Author. University Lecturer. Personally: I'm 71. I've probably made all the big mistakes, er, learned the big lessons.I've forgiven myself and made many apologies and I've made it into a good, stable, sweet relationship. I now have a perspective on midlife.

Please check out my book, Rabbis in Love, at Also my blog at The Rabbi book was done as part of a research project. My collaborator, Marilyn Bronstein, and I wanted to interview couples with very successful marriage and also we wanted to talk to people who cared as much about their spirituality as love. Maybe being able to love and be spiritual were one and same, we thought. So we found a rabbi couple and the interview was so astounding that we interviewed nine more rabbi couples. One dropped. They'd revealed too much. It's a fascinating book and, Jewish or not, religious or not, these couples do a lot of things right and there is a lot to learn from them.

Masters in Counseling Psychology, Alfred Adler Institute Doctorate in Consulting Psychology, focus on family therapy, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

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