We recently asked older generations of the BuzzFeed Community who found love later in life to share their stories, and it might just change your view of love and relationships. Here are the surprising results:
Note: Some submissions were pulled from this Reddit thread.
1."I was 49. I had been through two divorces, and honestly, I didn't want anything serious. Got on Tinder, met a bunch of people, then met this one guy who was...different. In a lot of ways. Like, his collection of human bones and oddities and his love of anything weird — and the fact that he carries costumes with him in case he needs them. But also, his kindness, his ability to have fun, and this very strong connection that I felt. A month after we met (2020), he quit his job and took a two-month road trip. I flew out and did 10 days on the road with him, and it was life-changing."
"A month later, when he got back, he said, 'I bought a building in Kansas beside the World's Largest Ball of Twine, and I'm going to open an oddities museum. Would you like to go with me?' And I knew I could go back if it didn't work, and I knew I would regret saying no forever. So my 9-year-old and I moved with him. Opened the museum. Got married at the Ball of Twine. No regrets at all."
2."My current boyfriend and I originally began dating as high schoolers in 1987, and we dated off and on for six years. We just couldn't make it work, so we finally broke up for good, and I met the man I would eventually marry. After my divorce in 2020, I tried dating apps for a while but got disgusted with them pretty quickly. I didn't mind being alone so much during the pandemic when there was nothing to do, but when things started opening up again, I really wanted company — even if it was someone to just hang out with."
"It took a couple of weeks to work up my courage, but I decided to reach out to my first boyfriend. He has no online presence, so I slid into his best friend's DMs on Twitter and left my number. He called about a week later, and we've been together ever since. We are having the absolute best time traveling, loving on our kitties, and just enjoying each other. Sending that DM was one of the best decisions I ever made."
3."I fell in love when he was 50 and I was 51. We met online, and I was in love with him just weeks later. We were so happy and in love for seven years. We had so many adventures and taught each other so many things. Everyone we knew thought we had the love of a lifetime. I had no doubts that we would be together for the rest of our lives. Then came COVID, and we were both front-facing workers. The pressure got to him, and he became controlling and abusive."
"I tried to make it work. I moved out, continued trying, and then just ended it after being together for 10 years. I miss who we were but not who we became."
—Anonymous, New York
4."Music has always been my comfort activity. I was widowed at 52 and reentered society by running an open mic night at a local club. Some of the bands that played there also invited me to sit in on their gigs. One night, there was a new man in the band that I sang with, and we had an immediate attraction. Over the next year, we got to know each other, first as musicians, then as friends. It was close to love at first sight, but we were being cautious. We've been living together for more than 10 years now, and things are great."
"My advice to younger people: Find your comfort zone in an activity where you can surround yourself with people. When tragedy strikes (as it always will), you can find a community for comfort, and perhaps a significant other in that community."
—73, New Jersey
5."I was celibate, at least not interested for about 13 years, when, arriving home from holiday, I found my home full of mainly friends I knew and this woman, who I didn't know. We became friends, and all my other friends kept telling me, 'That woman fancies you.' Anyway, after maybe a year, she said, 'Will you take me to bed, just for a cuddle? Don't read anything into this.'"
"She's a cantankerous, old wife, 11 years younger than I am, but we're still together after some 10 years, and I love her to bits. Maybe I'm nuts (but fairly happy)."
6."I have been married twice. Once at 22 for 12 years and had two boys. Divorced and married again. This one lasted for 21 years and adopted three children, plus he had kids, so we were up to nine. Only four lived at home, then three. I live with my oldest son, and we moved from over 30 years in Arizona to Idaho in 2020. I met my boyfriend on a dating site, one I didn’t have to pay for. Been on and off for several years. We had our first date in November 2022. Been dating nine months."
"We had a second date within days and really got along. We told each other a lot about what we were like nowadays. He is 62. We are total soulmates. Friends forever, and he spends all of his weekends at my house. I have never been happier in my whole life! He is so good to me and isn’t like any man I’ve ever known. We share a lot of common interests, and we laugh a lot. Don’t ever give up! By the way, I’m overweight and handicapped, and he loves all of me for who I am and gets along with my 42-year-old son who is bipolar."
7."Not me, but a close friend of the family. For context, we used to live in Australia but moved to Finland when I was in my teens. While living in Australia, we got to know an elderly Finnish couple, and they became our surrogate grandparents. 'Grandpa' was widowed at around age 70, and a few years after his wife passed, he decided it was time to bring her ashes home to Finland as per her wishes. On this trip, he was out at a Rotary Club function and noticed the woman sitting across from him was wearing the same shirt as his late wife had. They struck up a conversation and fell in love."
"After years of them traveling back and forth between Australia and Finland, he decided to move to Finland. They got married in their 80s and had many beautiful years together."
8."I found love in the early time of COVID. June 2020. I decided to go back to online dating after a horrific dating experience with a psychopath. Met a wonderful man who swept me away from NYC to NJ, and I love it. New Yorkers really don't know New Jersey. It's so beautiful. By November 2020, we moved in together in NJ and have been very happy. One of the positives is that we both have gone through our share of life's ups and downs. We know what we want and don't want in a relationship and aren't afraid to be vocal about it. Companionship rules over sex, which is something younger folks spend too much time worrying about. It's one thing to be horny; it's another when you think it's the glue that keeps the relationship running. It's important, but not nearly as much as really, truly enjoying each other's company."
"I don't have children, but he does and is still supporting three young adults until they turn 22, and that time can't get here fast enough. I tell my young nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. to slow their roll when family planning. I have had several relationships with men who had multiple children, and they are strapped for years and years after divorce. Kids cost a lot.
Love in my 50s has been extremely rewarding. We have learned to let go of the petty BS that dragged down our marriages and relationships of our 20s, 30s, and 40s. Pretending to have money we didn't have to keep up with the Joneses, jealousies of what other friends had, just all the pretenses that we thought made us so important. Ha! Young people, enjoy your youth. Go dancing, hiking, travel, date, marry late, and have children even later."
—59, New Jersey
9."Not me, but my dad. He was a lifelong alcoholic and drug addict, suffering from long-term substance abuse and PTSD. I’d seen a revolving door of women spin for him my whole life and been privy to many species of toxic relationships. Randomly, he met a woman named Sherry, and it’s like something in him switched. His life improved substantially; he still drank, etc., but his very spirit and personality became purified, made clear by whatever it is about deep love that shines like light. His toxic behaviors stopped, but this woman truly cared for ALL of him. Because of her, we made amends after 15 years of estrangement."
"I’ve never seen love like that and never thought I would from someone like my dad. He settled into a truly happy life enriched by unconditional love for about 20 years, caring for her before she passed. I, in turn, was able to do the same for him when he became ill. True love can make an old watch tell time again, and it touches more than just the two people in love. That kind of thing radiates and leaves deep impressions."
10."In 2005, my wife of 42 years passed away. I grieved for quite a while, but then, in 2008 I met this beautiful, kind lady. We both felt the spark between us. We've been together since then. She has seen me through a couple of serious health issues, and I love and appreciate the love and dedication she has shown me."
11."We dated when I was 15, then 19, and then as grown-ups when I was 35. We both had to go live separate lives — his was being responsible and having a house/family, and mine was making a lot of bad choices. Once I'd gotten my life together, his marriage fell apart (not because of me lol; she cheated), and we just found our way back to each other. I gotta tell you — that's where my heart's home is and always has been. He's the only man I've ever truly loved, and he loves me back wholly and completely."
"Finding love later in life is so...calming. You already know what you will/won't tolerate in most aspects; it's a 'come-as-you-are' deal, so all the little stuff is on the surface. The only advice I'd give to those who are older is really consider how fast you want to cohabitate with another person. Make sure the person you're with is worth sacrificing your comfort. I refused to settle until that was true."
12."I’m 69, and my wife is 68. I was 41 when we met. We have five kids, two of mine and three of hers. I love her more each year it seems and can’t imagine life without her."
"We both screwed up big time in the first half of our lives, but we learned from our mistakes. When we met, we were ready for a real, committed relationship and went all in. It hasn’t been easy."
13."Met my partner when I was 45, and he 54; I can see us growing older together. We both went into it thinking it was probably just a short-term thing, but at the same time, we both knew what kind of partner we were also looking for. All those past relationships, the crying at night over broken hearts and dreams, the feeling lonely or having unreal expectations due to lack of communication — it was all learning to be, and how to see, a better life partner."
"I’m old enough now to not be shy to say what I want and need after so many years wasted being hurt that my previous partners couldn’t understand me (aka, read my mind) or I wasn’t their priority. I became my priority not in that I feel my needs are more important than anyone else’s, but rather how was I giving the best of myself to the relationship if I was always holding myself back? This, by the way, has started to improve all of my relationships with family, friends, and work colleagues.
Neither of us is perfect, but we both try to be the best partners we know to be. Still needs tweaking here and there, however having someone who lived hard and knows how to love hard, and who has the life experience to know what is truly important to them, is a huge comfort to me."
14."I was divorced at 40 from a very bad marriage and had no desire or interest in dating, despite all my friends trying to push me into it. Would go out on Friday, a ladies' night out, with some of my co-workers at the bank. We called it our 'stress management meetings.' Safety in numbers with a bunch of women. Then, I needed to have my washing machine repaired. My boss suggested this guy who she had already been trying to hook me up with. Her selling points: 'Nice guy. Hard worker. Divorced. NICE GUY!!! He also did maintenance on several of her properties.' OK, OK fine..."
"He fixed my machine and wouldn't take any money from me because I was a single mother — he asked for a homemade chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. Well, alrighty then! I like to bake. Long story short, we started to see each other casually and then got serious. Then, we got married when I was 43. Just celebrated our 29th anniversary. How can that be?! it feels like just yesterday. He is my best friend, my lover, and I can't imagine life without him."
15."I was 52 when I met the woman I would marry in a hiking club. First, we were acquaintances for two years, then we went on dating sites, and we both came up #1 for each other. Her profile pic was of her sitting high up on a huge rock overlooking the east coast of Spain. We decided to try dating each other, and a year later, we tested our compatibility with travel by visiting her sister in Spain. We have a picture now of us both on the same rock overlooking the coast."
"We became a couple, got a sailboat together, brought it up from North Carolina to the Chesapeake Bay, and a year later with July 4th fireworks going on and us having steamed crabs and beer on deck, I asked her to marry me. Been married 16 years now."
16."I was 41 when I met him. We were friends for a year. One day, he reached for a hug, and when we touched, the earth moved for both of us. To say we were surprised didn't even come close. I firmly believed I would be single forever. I had never been married before. My last long-term relationship was 20 years prior."
"Anyway, we dated for two years and have been married almost six now. I'm very blessed. Anything is possible, I believe that now."
17."I wish my story had a happy ending, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. I met my fiancé in November 2019; I was 50, and he was 54. I’ve never felt the way I felt with him. With the first touch, I had the feeling that all was right with my world. I didn’t feel like he was my other half or my missing piece or anything like that — it just made me safe and right. He was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in April 2020."
"He was a fresh transplant in my state with no family and no friends. He moved here from Alaska but was originally from Nebraska. I believe we met so that he could fight as long as he did, and he wouldn’t be alone. If he’d been in AK still, he would've had no insurance and wouldn’t have gotten the treatments he needed. He fought hard for our future together, but in the end, his heart gave out. He passed away December 23, 2021 💔."
18."I met my woman when we were young; she was 12, and I was 14. Unfortunately, her parents moved away for work. We didn't stay in touch and life went on. She got married, had a son, and got divorced. I did the same. Even though her last name was different, somehow Facebook suggested us as friends. She lived in Illinois near her family. I lived in Texas near my job. In 2020 on Facebook, I said I was going to Mexico for a vacation (as I always do). She had never been and was seeing someone who was using her as a maid and paycheck (her words), but she said, 'I want to go.' So, I said, 'Sure.'"
"I retired and we've been together since October 31, 2020."
19."We both are in our 60s and I (a 68-year-old woman) had stopped dating completely at age 60 and had been single more years than coupled (even after two failed marriages, 20 years apart). I have always been happier single, so at age 58, I decided to remain that way for the rest of my life. My partner (a 64-year-old man) and I knew each other casually but didn't become interested romantically until we started a tandem story via Messenger. We realized we both had a good sense of humor, and we agreed on the big stuff, like religion and politics. We communicated this way for over a year until we met in person for a lunch date, and the rest is history. We happily cohabitate with our cats, and we give each other enough space to pursue our own interests. It's never too late for love, but I think you have to be happy on your own."
"Put your own needs first for as long as you want because that's how you know what you really want. You don't have to be in a relationship. You don't have to have kids. You do have to learn how to live with yourself before you can live with another. You need to know your dealbreakers and not settle, or think the other person can or will change. And for us, you think it would be easy — we are older, neither of us has kids or parents, but it still takes effort on both our parts. People say, 'Don't sweat the small stuff,' but if you don't address it, the small stuff can turn into big stuff. One would hope as you age, you have a plan for yourself regarding money and lifestyle. At an older age, you are hopefully more independent and don't need to either be taken care of or to take care of someone else. Finding love at an older age is not just possible but wonderful as long as you watch your emotions, your money, and your expectations.
TLDR: Finding love at an older age is not only possible but desirable. Both partners are hopefully financially stable, independent, and know what they want from the rest of life and each other."
Have you found love after 40, 50, or later in life? We'd love to hear your story. Feel free to share in the comments below, or if you prefer to remain anonymous, you can use this Google form.
Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.