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LOVE LETTERS

I live with my elderly mother. Will anyone want to date me?

How to manage dating when you’re taking care of an aging parent.

Globe Staff

Need relationship advice? Submit your questions for Meredith here.

Q. I am 55, female, never married, no children, and while I have had relationships, there have been no really long ones, and not in some years. I live in a part of the state without a lot of people my age, so it seems like online dating is the way to go.

At this point, I am living with my elderly mother. To put it bluntly, I don’t expect her to be around forever (she is 87), but this is my life at the present. I am not able to travel the world due to that and work, and it would be hard at first to negotiate a new relationship as far as sleeping over goes, once it gets to that point. I am guessing that is not a situation most men around my age are looking for.

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Should I just wait until “later” and not put myself out there now? And if not, how much about it should I put on my profile? I do already say I spend a lot of time helping an elderly parent and am not free to move or travel a lot right now, but not that I don’t have my own living space.

— The Proposal

A. I know a few people in their 50s who now have a parent living with them because it was safer during COVID.

That’s the first thing to know: A lot of people your age have loved ones at home. Another 55-year-old could easily have kids who require a great deal of attention. Your peers aren’t all traveling the world, reveling in their lack of commitments.

Your letter suggests you want to try to date now, so do it. If nothing happens, at least you’ll have played with the apps for a bit, gotten used to them, and seen the many ways people put themselves online.

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As for the profile, it’s not supposed to be a list of reasons why people might not want to date you. Show who you are—your interests, your personality. You can say you prioritize family, but you don’t have to put an asterisk on that. All of that stuff can come out in a first conversation. Even then, say what you know, and don’t make any assumptions about another person’s priorities. You can be honest and tell someone, “I’m still navigating how to make dating work while caretaking for a parent, but for the first time in a while, I’d like to try.”

Maybe you’d do well on an app that gives you very specific question prompts. Then you can simply answer and leave the rest for later.

Remember that these dating platforms only give you space to hint at what you offer. A person might note that they’re a parent, but they don’t have room to disclose custody agreements, how that might limit dates and travel, etc. That’s for the best. The first step is to figure out if someone’s interesting. Then you can chat about how your lives work.

One thing at a time.

— Meredith

READERS RESPOND

I’m just a few years younger than you are and at this point in my life I’d fully understand why a woman is living with her elderly mother. It’s not a deal breaker.

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THATGUYINRI


I don’t think that you live with your mom needs to be on your profile, but it would probably come up on the first date and you can explain. Good luck out there!

THENURSE


I would not put that out on a first date. You do not owe a stranger anything. I would wait to see if it even goes past the first one to put any type of personal information out there.

STEPH10


Find the latest season of the Love Letters podcast at loveletters.show. Meredith Goldstein wants your letters! Send your relationship quandaries and questions to loveletters@globe.com. Columns and responses are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters.