I talked to writer Francine Russo about her optimistic new book, Love After Fifty: How to Find It, Enjoy It, and Keep It. This practical and candid book is full of useful tips for anyone starting over after 50. Not only does the 74-year-old New Yorker interview a ton of people, she also tells her own stories, which includes being widowed twice in ten years and entering the dating scene in her mid-sixties. A few topics covered- doing the headwork first, succeeding on-line, red flags to watch out for, ghosting and how to move on, having great sex (it’s not all over!), and dealing with (unhappy) adult kids. As someone who has found love in later life, I enjoyed so many sections – they either rang true or were helpful for the road ahead.
- Your book is so helpful and upbeat, what are some of the biggest myths out there about finding love after 50?
I think the myths are the negative ones. The idea that there’s nobody out there is just ridiculous. Just look around you. Everyone you know has a story about their cousin or their aunt or their girlfriend or their boyfriend meeting someone when they’re 50, 60, 70 or 80. It’s happening all around you so the idea that you’re too old or there’s no one out there is ridiculous. Furthermore, the statistics show that the divorce rate among people in their 50’s doubled a couple of decades ago. So many of them are looking for partners, and they’re actually very good prospects because they’ve figured out what they had that they didn’t want and what they’re looking for.
- I don’t know many men who are single, but I know several great women who are single. These women aren’t doing much about it, but I still can’t figure out why they’re not meeting anyone in their everyday life.
You don’t know many single men. Neither did I. I asked all of my friends if they could fix me up with someone. I think I had two blind dates. And then I went on-line and there were literally hundreds of single men who lived within two miles of me. I might have stood behind them in the grocery store. They were single. They were available. Many were the kind of people I wanted to meet. They were all there – on-line. But I and my friends didn’t know them.
And beyond that, you have to want a relationship, and you have to do some work to get it. First you may need to work a little on yourself. Second the dating process especially on-line takes some work. You have to do the profile, then you also have to devote time to it, especially in the beginning. And to write to people, to decide who to meet and all of that.
- Do you think there are a lot of crazies out there, on-line?
I’ve heard of some scams where people from a foreign country try to get money with a sad story, but I haven’t heard about a single axe murderer. I met my second husband and all of my later life relationships, including my current partner Michael, on-line. If you just use your common sense and judgement and pay attention and read the tips that I give in Love After Fifty, on-line can be a great way to meet somebody.
- I also liked how you say it’s important to laugh…
Yes, a lot of the woman I talked to – when funny things happened to them – they shared it with their girlfriends, they all had a good laugh. Like the guy who is pretending to be single and he sends a selfie taken in a bathroom mirror and you can see a ladies’ bra hanging over the shower door. She thought that was hysterical.
You can read the rest of my interview with Francine here on 26’s monthly newsletter. I also loved this interview on U.S. radio station NPR. Not only is the book a gem, so is its author.
Author photo by Jane Hoffer