Loving relationships: A key to a longer life

If you find that special person who makes your heart sing and who could just make your life grow longer, the risk is worth it.

by Irene Conlan — 

One of the keys to longer life is a loving relationship. Data suggests, however, that Americans are becoming increasingly more socially isolated. This is not good news, given new reports linking social isolation to early death. An analysis of 148 studies examining social relationships and their effects on health revealed that people with strong social ties were 50 percent less likely to die during a study’s follow-up period — an average of 7.5 years — than people without such relationships.

Study authors say that the protective effect of having good social relationships is comparable to that of quitting smoking and is greater than the negative impact of obesity or a sedentary lifestyle. In answer to social isolation, online or Internet dating is coming of age. On TV we see commercials for sites like eHarmony and Match.com and, if you Google “online dating” or “Internet dating sites,” you will find many pages of listings. There are even sites specifically for different groups, such as seniors. Yes, seniors want to meet other seniors. Imagine that.

Sites also exist for spiritual people, vegetarians, “conscious” people, New Agers, different religions, ethnic groups and various lifestyles. If you belong to a special group, there is likely a dating site for it. You might want to check into it.

Let us discuss Internet dating for seniors. To some degree, many of us probably hold the belief that as we age, our need for romance and love diminishes. Not true. Just because the face has wrinkles does not mean the fire has gone out. As we approach age 50 and beyond, we may find ourselves divorced after many years of marriage or alone after the death of a spouse. At this point, some may have time to devote to their own interests but are faced with doing them alone or somehow finding a group that provides companionship. Unfortunately, they do not always find a “match,” meaning there is a need to look elsewhere. But where?

Online dating is a wonderful alternative. You will encounter naysayers and skeptics — and you should listen to them. You will also hear from those who had successful experiences. Listen to them as well, and then make your own decision. Ask yourself the questions: What do I have to lose?  Do I really want someone in my life? Is it better to be alone than to take the risk? Do I trust my own judgment?

Like a lot of other things, Internet dating can be fun, exciting, rewarding, disappointing and/or just plain scary. You may meet some very nice people, and you might meet some not-so-nice people. Learn to read between the lines, trust your instincts and proceed with caution. But proceed.

Some cautionary measures to put in place include:

  • Plan the first few meetings during the day, and meet in a public place.
  • Do not give out your phone number or address until you know the other person fairly well.
  • Let several friends or relatives know where you are; program their numbers into your phone.
  • Trust your instincts. If you do not feel safe and/or comfortable, end the date and go home.

If you find that special person who makes your heart sing and who could just make your life grow longer, the risk is worth it. If it does not happen on that first meeting, then keep looking.


Irene Conlan has a masters’ degree in nursing, is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified past-life regression therapist in Scottsdale, Ariz. www.theselfimprovementblog.com or iconlan@cox.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2010.

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