This Is Us

The Perils of Dating in Middle Age

Apps, adult braces, and a strong commitment to my own independence

Katy Friedman Miller
Human Parts
Published in
11 min readJul 29, 2020

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Creative picture with zoom technique of illuminated hearts creating tunnel effect with light trails.
Photo: Artur Debat/Getty Images

Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution. — Mae West

Improvisation (noun): the art or act of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation

When I got divorced, I imagined that after 18 years I might be “out there” dating again, and concerns arose about my appearance.

I know that’s very superficial, but if you ask any newly divorced person, it is realistic.

When I got divorced, I definitely thought dating would be a part of my life because that’s just what people do. It was part of everything I was told or read or witnessed about that unwanted passage. I didn’t want to be “out there,” but those were the cards I was dealt.

I felt scared but looked forward to falling in love again. I just didn’t want to date. I particularly became aware of all the details of my appearance that I would need to attend to while dating in middle age. In the psychology business, we would say I had ambivalence.

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Katy Friedman Miller
Human Parts

I’m a grief therapist and former hospice social worker. Sharing stories from life, death, and work and where they all intersect. TEDx talk at www.ted.com