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Finding love over 50 during the pandemic
Excerpt from full Newsday article:
‘A screening tool’
Heidi Krantz, a certified life and dating coach based in Plainview, also noted the increase and value of video-chat use. “To a certain degree, it’s a screening tool with which you can save yourself from disappointment — and time and energy.” Like Fisher, Krantz predicts live video will endure past the pandemic as a vital step of modern-day wooing. “It has its advantages. It slows down the physical element and allows you time to evaluate if the person has the traits you are looking for in a partner,” she explained. “When there is a real connection, people will get tested for the virus and isolate in order to see each other. Holding hands, a kiss or putting an arm around one another requires a lot of forethought.”
The top traits valued in a partner, it turns out, are the same for both older and younger people looking for love. According to Fisher, studies reveal that a person who exhibits respect, trust and humor, as well as makes enough money to support themselves and is seen as physically attractive, is considered the ideal sweetheart. “No one wants to be with a lazy, cheap, depressed drama queen,” she said. “It doesn’t change with age.”
Two years into her search for that special someone after the breakup of her 37-year marriage, Pat Castillo of East Islip met her dream guy. “Just when I was ready to give up, in the middle of this pandemic, I found my soul mate who checked off every box and then some,” said Castillo, 67.
A veteran of online and speed dating, singles support groups and matchmakers, she credited her success to doing her “homework” — that is, identifying and sticking to a list of must-haves and deal-breakers in a prospective companion, an exercise Krantz promotes.
Though with the restrictions of social-distancing, putting the lessons Castillo learned into practice was considerably more challenging. Then a “like” she received on Facebook Dating led to a 20-minute text conversation, a phone call, a five-hour in-person talk by the water in Freeport — and a wedding planned for August to Al Perreca, 71, of Farmingdale. “It’s never too late to live happily ever after,” she said.
“I see a lot of determination. People are reaching out to break the isolation and loneliness,” said Krantz, who also hosts a dating podcast and television series, and is a regular guest speaker at singles events.
“If you are of like minds, I think you can maneuver [within the restrictions of the pandemic],” said Jackie B., a divorced 64-year-old who preferred not to disclose her last name as it is in her dating profile. “You can walk in a park. The plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. Being with a person is the important thing.”
Jackie has looked to Krantz for occasional advice since she saw her at a pre-pandemic speaking engagement at a Long Island restaurant, the location of one of many workshops and activities Jackie has gone to arranged by 7 in Heaven Singles Events (7 for the number of minutes per “date” at its events) across Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Gail Adams, who started 7 in Heaven in 2008 (and met her second husband seven years in, ironically, at one of its outings), noted the comfort many over-50 singles feel attending group events. “We are more vulnerable,” explained Adams. “A lot of us have been married many years, and this is all new territory.”
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