After a divorce or the death of a spouse, it can be very difficult to get back into the dat­ing scene. Many of these people have been involved in committed relationships for many years; consequently, they find that the dating environment has changed drastically since they were younger. For example, consider a 54-year-old man and woman who have been married since 1975. In 2006 they decide to divorce. Dating in 2006 is very differ­ent from dating in 1975. The relationship between the sexes has changed, casual dating is more common, women initiate dates and sexual activity, sexual activity may be more frequent, and one has to be more worried about sexually transmitted infections. It is not uncommon for newly divorced people to feel frustrated or confused about this unfamil­iar environment.

In fact, men and women who have been divorced or widowed often have a difficult time dating again. Research has found that widowhood is a major barrier to repartner­ing (Wu & Schimmele, 2005). One widowed 49-year-old man explains:

It was very hard for me to get into the dating scene again. I had married very young.

Honestly, there is no one to match my late wife. I don’t know if I am still responding

SEX in Real Life