Stuart asks: I'm about 60 years old and I haven't been with anyone in over 30 years. I have been taking care of my ailing Mom who is in very bad shape and will not let anyone else help her. I want to meet someone with experience, caring, and understanding about what I go through daily. It is very difficult since I can't really get out that often to meet someone. Help!
Bonny answers: Stuart, I'm really glad that you took the time to ask this question, because it's a pressing issue for singles everywhere today, and one that weighs heavily on many of us. I've heard countless stories from folks, just like you, whose family commitments impede them from finding someone to love. So, before we get into specifics as to 'what to do,' let me first say that by reaching out like this, you've made a huge first step, and I applaud you.
From what I can tell, your most pressing issue right now is time. You've made the commitment to your mother's care, and don't want to change that situation, or can't. So you still want to provide support to your mother, while focusing a bit more on your own life and situation. I think that's a great idea, but do let me say this: If you want an intimate, romantic and/or love relationship, you're going to have to find more time in your schedule to allow for one. Because if/when you do meet someone who understands and appreciates your situation, you'll want to spend time with them, get to know them and perhaps more - and you can't do that while on call, 24/7.
Therefore, your next step, in my opinion, is to find a local-to-you organization or support group that offers assistance to folks like yourself: people taking care of ailing family members. About.com's Guide to Senior Living has an excellent article about Where to Look for Caregiver Support Resources, which may help you find groups that offer support, ideas and suggestions specific to your situation. If nothing is available in your area, think about creating your own group so that you can lean on each other.
Next, you'll need to find someone that your mom trusts and cares for, that she's willing to have help her when you do go on dates or meet people. That may well be another family member, as it sounds like your mom doesn't want a stranger caring for her needs - which is normal and understandable. So that's your next step: finding someone, even for a few hours once a week, that's willing to help out with your mom, perhaps bringing her to appointments or a support group of her own, so you can get some time to yourself to meet new people and potentially a date.
After you've gotten these two things taken care of - and I admit, they're both big - I suggest the easiest way to meet new people because of your time constraints and lifestyle is to go online. Many dating sites focus on folks in your age bracket, who are dating again after a long period of being single. Now, you could try at your support meetings, as where better to find a supportive soul who understands your specific situation. Having said that, if you want to use this group as an ongoing tool, you may want to keep dating separate, just in case things don't work out and one of you feels that it might be too awkward to interact in that way.
So, dating sites. You'll want to think about what you're after in a relationship, and write a dating profile, first. Once you've tackled that task, it's time to delve into online dating, and see what happens.