Susan Winter never set out to be a relationship expert, yet life has a way of nudging us in certain directions. Beginning her career as an opera singer, shifting to business communications, becoming a spokesperson for Fortune 500 companies, then television host on the Financial News Network, Winter has had a front row seat to the intricacies of human behavior.
She noticed that many mature adults seeking relationships are left feeling frustrated, overlooked and undervalued. Dating today is not what it used to be, necessitating a whole new vocabulary. Terms like ghosting, catfishing, window shopping and breadcrumbing are now part of the social lexicon, leaving those returning to dating for the first time in decades feeling lost, confused and overwhelmed.
Additionally, she observed that part of the aging process is that people lose contact with their business associates, friends move away and social groups dwindle, all factors that necessitate creating new relationships.
“I think a lot of women have found themselves in the same situation,” she said. “And finding someone to be with isn’t easy.” Single and searching, she was left to wonder, why should age make a difference? Why should she limit the playing field instead of expanding it? Her quest to find out why led to her first book, Older Women, Younger Men, which became an international bestseller.
Winter says finding great relationships can be too difficult. “So, they just give up on love,” she said. “They start to believe they’re too old, or they don’t want to start over, or they’re fine with what they have, but by giving up on romance they limit their quality of life.
“To live to the fullest, we need meaningful connections with others. We need that spark, those butterflies, the sense of connection, companionship and belonging that can only come from great relationships.
“Do we set unrealistic standards as we get older? I mean, do we? You know what? It is tough to get out there and to meet people,” she says. “Then you finally find somebody you can tolerate, and the next thing you know, you’ve given it all your attention and focus only to realize it’s not the right person. And you feel like, well, this isn’t for me. I’m never going through this again.”
Winter believes great relationships are worth working for, and to find them takes planning, effort and intent. The search for love is a process which requires the determination to push past inevitable disappointments and along the way helps develop an important quality.
“I think resilience is something we all need in every aspect of our lives,” she said. “Aging comes with some serious challenges. We all deal with health issues, financial issues, and so many uncertainties. We must believe in ourselves to move forward. So, I’m a big advocate for getting the ring. Get out there, be active, try to find love if you want to. And, if you don’t want to date, and you’ve made an intentional choice, don’t let anybody make you feel guilty about it.
“As people retire and move into their golden years it is common to suffer a loss of identity,” she said. “So, staying connected to people, passions, and things you love become the things that keep you alive. We all need to have a mission, a purpose, a feeling that we’re needed, that we’re wanted. These factors ignite the vital life force within us all at any age and isn’t that what we all want?”
This article is featured in the August 2022 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.