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Golden Roommates

Why Older Women are Coupling Up with Their BFfs

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  • This community not only provides diversions, but also allows women to support one another, especially when they become less mobile. "Many of our friends live close by," says Hoffman. "If someone is sick, we gather a group together and find out what that person needs."

    Focusing on friendships rather than romantic relationships may actually be a healthier way of maintaining balance for older women. "People who get married, they take those love songs seriously," says DePaulo. "They want to be each other's everything. That might be fine if the relationship is going swimmingly. But if there are problems, or one partner dies, they're in trouble."

    Friendships, especially once women have matured, tend to be less fraught. "With friendship, there is less exclusivity," says DePaulo. "You like the time you spend with a friend, but you don't feel bereft if they go away for a week. You don't put such severe, exhaustive demands on your friends, because you don't expect them to be your only emotional support."

    In many ways, single older women, historically shunned by society, are actually luckier than men. "It's harder for guys to develop really close friendships because of the lingering homophobia that pervades our culture," says DePaulo. "But women can go out to dinner, they can put their arms around each other in public, and increasingly, they can live alone together without questions being raised about sexual orientation or motives."

Golden Roommates
Why Older Women are Coupling Up with Their BFfs
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