12 Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore When Dating in Your 60s, According to Psychologists

You know those clichés like "it's never too late to find love (or love again)" and that "age is nothing but a number"? Psychologists say they ring true for dating. 

"Once upon a time, an unmarried or available 60+ year-old was considered an anomaly," says Dr. Michele Leno, Ph.D., LP, a licensed psychologist with DML Psychological Services, PLLC.  "However, a new mindset is gradually taking over, and some may say that 60 is the new 40...We thrive in connection to others and the need for love, attachment and belonging does not change with age."

However, dating in your 60s can feel like diving into new, rough waters, and understanding when something seems fishy can help you protect your heart (and, real talk, finances).

"Red flags are important to be mindful of regardless of age," says Dr. Helene Geramian, Psy.D., an assistant professor of psychology with NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "With the advent of technology and online dating, generational differences may be especially prominent, and individuals dating in their 60s may need to be cautious in ways that were not of concern in prior decades."

See: Online catfishing or fraud. You're not here for either of those, so psychologists share red flags of dating in your 60s to help you find companionship sans unnecessary heart and headaches.

Related: Actually, Sex Over 50 Can Be Really Great—5 Real Women Share Their Experiences

12 Red Flags When Dating in Your 60s, According to Psychologists

1. Poor communication

Communication is essential in any relationship at any stage and age. However, it can be especially concerning if someone lacks communication skills and is trying to date in their 60s.

"When dating in your 60s, your wealth of life experience can be a jumping board from which you both share with each other at a reasonable pace," Dr. Geramian says. "Secrecy or emotional unavailability should be met with caution."

For instance, it could be a sign of unresolved emotional issues or catfishing.

2. Rushing

The idea that the clock is ticking can become significantly pronounced for the 60+ crowd. Yet, you and yours should be strolling at a similar pace.

Dr. Dianne Mani, Psy.D., the senior clinic director and a psychologist at Octave, says signs of "rushing" include the pressure to get married, move in or be intimate immediately. A person may also expect you to "drop everything to meet their needs right away."

"This is a sign of poor boundaries and doesn’t allow for thoughtful partnership," Dr. Mani says. "The person is likely focused on their own agenda and would not take the other person’s needs and values into consideration."

Related: 'Love Bombing' Sounds Romantic, but Here's Why It's Actually a Red Flag

3. Hyper-focus on children

Doing a double-take? Don't. 

"This is a red flag that catches people by surprise because many presume that by age 60, kids are no longer a point of interference," Dr. Leno says. "However, people are healthier than ever and conceiving later."

Even if the person has adult children who have flown the nest, Dr. Leno says it's problematic if the person consistently ditches you for their kids. Wanting to spend time with children is a good sign. However, it can go too far.

4. You feel like a nurse/parent

Dr. Leno says to stick a pin in any feelings that the person seems to be looking for someone to care for them (and them alone). 

"While you are seeking companionship, dating and possibly marriage, they just want you around to meet their physical and emotional needs," Dr. Leno warns.

Your needs matter too, and healthy relationships are two-way streets.

Related: 6 Signs You Have an Emotionally Immature Partner and How to Deal, According to a Psychologist

5. Poor relationships with themselves

The longest relationship a person has is with themselves. If the person you're seeing has a wonky one, consider it a flag.

"A healthy relationship is dependent on both partners being comfortable with their sense of self," Dr. Geramian says. "While younger adults may be less sure of their preferences and values, these aspects of self can be even more critical when fostering a healthy relationship in your 60s."

6. Attachment style disconnect

Questionnaires on dating sites can help you find a love connection, but they aren't fool-proof.

"One of the red flags to be careful of is attachment style or how your partner connects and interacts with you," Dr. Geramian says. "Individuals with secure attachment styles often feel most safe and consistent and can communicate appropriate boundary setting."

While secure attachment is essential at any age, people in their 60s may especially struggle with and benefit from it.

"Starting dating again in your 60s can be anxiety-provoking, especially after other meaningful relationships have ended," Dr. Geramian says. "As such, securely attached individuals may help provide comfort and security throughout the process."

Related: 9 Subtle Signs of Gaslighting That Are Often Easy to Miss, According to Psychologists

7. Comparisons

Everyone has baggage, but a hyper-fixation on the past can affect your present and future. For instance, a person may compare you to a former partner.

"This could signal unhealed trauma or unresolved grief that isn't allowing them to heal and move forward in a healthy way," Dr. Mani explains. "It could signal rigid expectations that they are set in their ways, which can make it hard to compromise in a new relationship and future. Dealing with constant comparisons can also decrease your self-esteem and happiness over time, possibly leading to symptoms of anxiety or depression."

8. Gloomy outlook

It's OK if your person isn't an eternal optimist. However, a chronic pessimist, such as someone who thinks their best years are behind them, can truly bring you down.

Dr. Leno warns that this flag isn't always something you'll spot on the first date.

"At a glance, they appear wise and realistic while speaking their truth," Dr. Leno explains. "After numerous conversations, you realize they are simply a hyper-focused pessimist."

Related: 25 Red Flags That Signify a Toxic Relationship, According to Psychotherapists

9. Financial instability

Money isn't the sexiest topic. However, it's one you'll want to be mindful of, especially when dating in your 60s and especially if you've spent years saving for your future (and estate plans).

"Financial strains can be difficult in your 60s since many people are carefully financially planning for retirement, addressing health issues and upholding other responsibilities to their family, such as helping children or grandchildren with their finances," Dr. Mani says.

Struggling to pay bills or asking you to pay for everything are signs of financial instability.

10. Goals don't align

Dating may not be the only life change happening when you hit your 60s.

"Dating in your 60s can be a unique juncture as it is a transitional time for many people," Dr. Leno says. "Some may be retiring or becoming empty nesters. As such, it is very important to be sure that both you and your partner share similar short-term and long-term goals. What are your desires and hopes during this phase of your life? Do they align?"

If your partner wants to spend winters in a warm locale while you adore four seasons and prefer to put that money toward luxury traveling, it could lead to strife.

11. Minimal social connections

Unfortunately, loneliness can increase as we age. However, Dr. Mani says having few friends not connected to their family might be a problem,

"This could be a sign that they struggle with forming and maintaining meaningful relationships," Dr. Mani explains.

12. Hyper-focused on age

Dr. Mani says constant references to age—theirs, yours or others—and a nagging feeling they are living in the past could signal unhealthy perspectives on aging.

"When you’re in your 60s, it’s normal to have increased health issues and to change physically, mentally or emotionally," Dr. Mani says. "When you find a partner who embraces change, they’ll be more likely to embrace you as a partner no matter what comes your way."

Related: If You Want to Live to 100, Here's the Surprising Thing to Prioritize

5 Tips for Dealing With Red Flags When Dating in Your 60s

Find yourself nodding a little too hard while reading these red flags of dating in your 60s? Psychologists offered some ways to manage:

  • Communication. Dr. Geramian says discussing concerns with the person can help lead to solutions and compromise—or help you determine whether the issue is a deal-breaker.

  • Boundaries. Dr. Geramian says that knowing and expressing your limits shows maturity and self-respect.

  • Look at the full picture of the relationship. Dr. Mani suggests stepping back and asking yourself whether the relationship adds value to your life, how it makes you feel and whether it aligns with your future. You might benefit from creating a pro/con list.

  • Seek outside opinions. Friends, family and a therapist can help you explore your concerns and offer a different perspective on the relationship, Dr. Mani says.

  • Tune into yourself. Trust yourself. "With red flags, it is critical to gather information and listen to yourself," Dr. Geramian says. "If you feel uncomfortable in any way, always protect yourself and stay true to who you are."

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