Does the number 1 rule in real estate value also apply to finding new love? Hometown dating field reports are filed by listeners including Marina, in Denmark’s capital city; and relational coach Diana Lockett, in a ruggedly scenic part of Canada. (Photo on Episode Page)

More from Diana Lockett (edited for clarity and conciseness)

 LAURA STASSI: Let’s say we want to find love, but we’re not necessarily doing anything about it. What tips can you share to motivate us to do something, and to keep going in face of rejection or lack of interest from other people?

DIANA LOCKETT: Number one: Men need men, women need women. Women, fill your life with sisterhood — women who share similar interests, that you enjoy being around, so that you can have a community and your focus isn’t 100 percent on finding a partner and they have to be your everything. That’s never fair or healthy in a relationship. Men need to be surrounded by men. They’re not going out drinking and partying and talking about the latest ski equipment, but they’re actually sitting and talking about real things. And what I always say, and it’s actually in my dating profile, is my hope is that you have your connections and male support and nurture yourself in those environments, and then you bring the best of yourself back to our relationship.

Number two is to really become connected to yourself. So people might use the word self-love, and self-love is a really hard term to understand. But everybody can understand self-connection and practices like meditation, breath work, journaling … talking to a therapist or a coach, anything that allows you to become more aware of yourself and feeling how you are doing in each present moment.

I go through this a lot – thinking, I wish it weren’t so hard. I wish I could wave my magic wand and have the perfect and right person appear in my life, and it takes no effort, and we live happily ever. Of course, I’d love that. That’s not my reality right now. It doesn’t define me. Still, I’m a miracle; just like you, Laura, just like all of your listeners. The chances of any one of us being here is essentially and statistically zero, one in 400 billion chances. We made the cut, and not in spite of everything we’ve gone through, but because of everything we’ve gone through — all of the heartbreak, all of the pain, all of the loss, all of the disappointments.

So remember, you’re a miracle. And in the day, every day, get up and say, “I’m a miracle.” And if you’re a miracle, that means everybody else is, too. And boy, that comes with a big dose of forgiveness for whoever broke your heart.

Marina created a “Lady Dating” group in Copenhagen to find like-minded friends.

Marcia finally found a love prospect in her rural corner of Pennsylvania.




Call it an adage or a mantra, or the number one rule about real estate value: Location, location, location. I wonder, does that also apply to finding new love? Take out your maps because we’re exploring on this episode of “Dating While Gray: The Grown-Up’s Guide to Love, Sex, and Relationships.” I’m Laura Stassi.


Ah, the ocean. It’s the place to clear my head, lose myself in a novel, get my creative juices flowing. I’m really lucky. I own a small vacation house in a beach neighborhood. It takes maybe three minutes to stroll from the top of my driveway to the community walkway. And that leads to the wide, sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

I’ve been renting out my house now for over 20 years. But lately, I’ve been wondering what it would be like to live in it full time. It’s a lot of fun to be here in the offseason, with family and friends. It’s also comfortable on my own. It feels remote but when you want a little action, it’s close enough. A three-and-a-half-mile drive takes me past a couple of grocery stores, little shops, a movie theater, and my favorite bistro and martini bar.

As enjoyable and therapeutic as time at the beach is, I do have concerns about the older dating pool. The full-time population is about 3,800 people. Who knows how many might be my definition of age- appropriate and available?

LAURIE 01:59

The bigger the pool the more turbulence there is, I think. The deeper the water, you have to dig deeper.



That’s Laurie, a longtime close friend of one of my sisters. She’s a very positive person. And she also knows how much I love idioms and metaphors. Laurie happened to settle down in a slightly smaller town – 3,700 people. It’s about a half-hour drive to the big military base. Marriage is what brought Laurie here. After getting divorced, she stayed, worked, and raised their kids. Eventually, Laurie started dating. When she was in her mid-40s, she got remarried. So far, it’s a happily ever after — especially now that they both retired and built a big house on a wooded lot with a water view.

On one of my beach house visits, I drove 10 miles over the bridge and had lunch at Laurie’s. Afterward, we sat on her porch, and she tried to assuage my fears about dating prospects in this particular geographic location.

LAURIE 03:07

It just eliminates some of the variables. You may not have as many options. But …



How many options do we really need?

LAURIE It just simplifies …




You know?







I think it’s like with anything else. If you live in a very large city, you’re going to have so many, thousands of things to do: big parks, restaurants, you know, every type of restaurant imaginable. But then the work that it takes to get into a restaurant in a place like Northern Virginia, Boston, New York City, L.A. You’ve got to plan ahead; you’ve got to make sure you have reservations or you’re going to eat at 10 o’clock at night. Whereas in a smaller pool, there may be fewer fish, but they’re easier to catch.


Oh, there you go.




So maybe Laurie has a point. To throw out another metaphor, if you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, don’t you want the haystack to be a short one? As Laurie mentioned, there are other variables to consider. For example, I found a report where some group looked at a bunch of data to figure out the best and worst states for older singles to find love.

One caveat, they defined older as 65 and up. We who are ages 50 to 64, apparently we don’t count. This report found the best dating pool is Washington, D.C. Fifty seven percent of all residents 65 and older are divorced, widowed, and never married. Speaking of caveats, D.C. also has the most lopsided ratio of older single women to older single men. It’s also the most expensive place to date. FYI, it also has the highest number of older singles with sexually transmitted infections. Florida, in case you’re wondering, is also in the bottom. But Florida ranks better than Delaware, New York, Maryland, New Mexico, California, and Alaska.

I found another study, this one by AARP. It’s called “13 Great Cities for Older Singles.” Now, if I’m reading it correctly, they include factors like access to health care and social outlets, but they don’t consider relationship status. And they define older adults as anyone who’s reached the age of 18. They give two age breakouts: adults defined as 18 to 64. And seniors defined as 65 and older. Seniors, you knew how much I dislike that ageist term. Come on, AARP. If you’re going to use seniors, shouldn’t the other category be juniors?

Anyway, the AARP study found that the top city for older adults is the Big Apple, New York. Others on the list include Denver, Pittsburgh, and two Arlington’s — one in Virginia, and one in Massachusetts. Here’s some more data coming at you. It’s from a Yahoo Finance study, ranking the 25 best cities for singles over 50. Here, they look only at population, because they figure the best cities for singles over 50 are those with the highest percentages of singles over 50. Can’t argue with that logic.

The top spot goes to Detroit, Michigan, with Rochester, New York, at number two. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard of any Dating While Gray listeners in Detroit. Are you out there? And the one listener I know who lives in Rochester, he’s recently coupled up. Hmm.

Washington D.C., by the way, is number three on this list. And fun fact, none of the AARP best cities are on the Yahoo list.

Curious what it’s like for older daters overseas? I asked longtime Dating While Gray listener Marina to send a voicemail about her experiences.

MARINA 07:36

I’ve actually been on dating sites since I was 18, back when they were newspaper ads. I got married twice. And I finally got divorced. The last time, 19 years ago. I’m 63. I’ve got two children and a granddaughter. And I’m working as an artist. I did date a lot of men. And when dating was quite new in Denmark — because I’m from Copenhagen, Denmark — when dating was brand new in Denmark with the first dating website, online, there were hardly any women online. So the few women that actually had the dating profile, they got completely swamped in mails from men that were interested in dating.

And I remember that I had about 600 replies on my first online dating profile. Those were the days. I felt so obliged to, to date these men, like, you know, they showed me interest. And of course, I need to reciprocate that going out with them. And I was working in the middle of Copenhagen. And I was actually dating three men a day. I had one in my lunch break, one after work, and one in the evening. I went on like that for months and months. Every other week when I didn’t have my youngest son. My purpose was finding husband, and, you know, build on family life. So I had hope, meaning somebody also with a small child, but I didn’t succeed. Finally, I thought to myself, why not find more like girlfriends that are in the same situation?

So I put up an ad, as if I was a man, and I had about 100 women replying in two weeks. My profile name was Girlfriends Wanted. And I wrote in the top line, that is not a sexual thing. I just want to meet somebody to drink coffee with. I call it lady dating. So I started dating all these women. And I noticed that these women had similar stories. They had all been married for years and years — 25, 35, 40 years — and they were now on the market, not being aware of how to meet a man. And because a lot of the men had had much more experience in online dating, these women had really awful experiences. So I started telling them how things work. And I made a blog, it was called Dating Queen. And it was quite popular, and expanded from that into me, in a period when it was really hard this, this blog, not being able to get any dates at all, because the men were afraid that I was just looking for stories to tell on my blog – which, I wasn’t, because I had tons of stories that I didn’t have to get new ones.

And also, I learned so much from dating myself, how to meet men and what I wanted myself and what they were looking for, and like decipher the whole writing and getting to the first date and on the first date deciphering was, was actually being said or meant or wondered.

So just before the years up to COVID. I was very busy. But I had given up on dating local men. I only dated businessmen that were working in Copenhagen, maybe a couple of days a month, that would return here every so often, for dates. Some of these men only wanted somebody to have dinner with because they hated eating alone. Some of them were extremely interesting. I must admit, I didn’t have sex with any of them. It was merely an intellectual thing. And I also found them much more in the moment, instead of dating local men that were always thinking ahead, you know, is she gonna be like my ex-wife? Can I get into bed with her?

They were thinking far too far into the relationship and not being in the moment. And not being curious about me — who I was. It was like, I could have been anybody. I was just an object, any woman will do, was the feeling I had with the Danish men, whereas it might have been any woman would do with the foreign men. But there were so much in the moment. And we had such interesting conversations until COVID completely ruined that.

And it has not come back. I mean, nobody travels for work anymore, to the extent that they did before COVID. So I did go on one single date, I think after the first lockdown, and it was just so uninspiring and not interesting at all. So I have completely given up on dating, completely — not stopped looking, because I still have my Tinder profile.

And I’m still on Facebook Dating, hoping that somebody will contact me. And in fact, one guy, a friend of a friend, did contact me on Facebook. And we spoke on the phone a lot, writing a lot. But he does not take the initiative to meet and I’m like, leaned back in my femininity, and I want the men to be the the outgoing the, the initiative–  the initiator of a date. But they don’t, they simply don’t. I don’t think that local men in Denmark recognize what being leaned back into your feminine energy. They don’t recognize it. They think that women are not interested if they’re not grabbing them by the throat and dragging them to their house. So it’s kind of boring in that way that I don’t get a lot of male perspective on things. And I would like to have that. It’s not been possible to have male friends because they they’re only friends with you until they give up having sex with you or in until they get a new girlfriend. So this is this is my story. I hope you can use it. Thanks for a great podcast. I really, really like it and I’m gonna listen to the latest episodes now that I found you again. Thank you, Laura.



Marina proves to me once again that dating stories, while being unique, are also universal. Still, I’m intrigued with the idea of meeting up with out-of-towners to simply share a meal and a conversation. Maybe Marina and I can figure out some sort of business dating exchange program. I’ve never been to Denmark.

Coming up next, we’re going to hear from two more listeners sharing what the dating scene is like in their respective corners of this wonderful world. That’s after the break.



Pennsylvania, the Keystone State — though officially, it’s a commonwealth. As I mentioned at the top of the show, Pittsburgh pops up in the AARP study. In the Yahoo study, Philadelphia is number 24 of the top 25 cities for singles over 50. But those are industrial and urban locales, and Pennsylvania is the third largest rural state. For those Pennsylvania residents like Marcia, dating can be challenging. Marcia is in her late 70s. And she sent me this hometown dating field to report.

MARCIA 16:13

I moved to this particular area with my husband about 37 years ago. My husband died in 2010. It took me about 10 years before I decided I wanted to date again. That’s been challenging. The dating prospects close to home seem limited to hunters, fishers, motorcyclists, and campers online. I’m not interested in any of those things. I’m more of a museum, art gallery, traveler, reader-type of person. And also not motivated by their profile pictures of themselves, sitting at their kitchen table drinking a beer.

Now, I’m not opposed to drinking beer, I’ve been known to down a few myself. Please, guys, get your granddaughter to help you take a better selfie. The closest big towns are about 40 miles away. So I’ve expanded my search and thank goodness I still drive and am in good health. I’ve been on six different dating sites and have gone on a few dates. And I’ve even had a couple of relationships. They’ve been long distance and this comes with issues like spontaneity whether and frequency.

I was off the dating sites for over a year and just re-entered and basically, the same scenario has played out. So you can imagine my surprise when a man with many of my criteria from less than 10 miles away, sent me a heart. And we began a conversation. It’s been about a month now. And we’re dating regularly and are very attracted to each other. I guess it pays to be patient and hopeful. We don’t know what the future will be for us. But we think it looks bright.



Can I just say, no matter where we live or who we’re looking for, let’s all avoid selfies in our dating profiles. Can I also say only 10 miles away, after all this time? I surely do love that. We wish you all the best, Marcia.

Where she lives? It’s only about a 42-hour drive to the home of Dating While Gray  listener Diana Lockett. Along with being a speech language pathologist, Diana is also a conscious communication leadership consultant and relational coach. I connected with Diana after she emailed to tell me about her work and how it might relate to dating. Around the same time I received Diana’s email, another listener contacted me. She’s a psychotherapist who was a little embarrassed to admit that she’s been having some trouble keeping positive about being single. You’ll hear more from that listener in a future episode. For now, I’m sharing my conversation with Diana. Her dating insights are in spite of, or maybe because of, her home in a scenic and sparsely populated community in Canada.

DIANA 19:24

I am in a beautiful little mountain coastal town north of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



What’s the dating scene like there?


Ha-ha, there is no dating scene in this little town. I moved here from the Toronto area two and a half years ago. And yeah, the pickings are pretty slim here.



When you say little, can you give us an idea?


The town is primarily 20,000 people. The primary demographics is couples, roughly between the ages of 25 and 40, coming here with their families. So even finding cohorts my age as friends was a challenge here. So I now have a community of women that I’m so grateful for. The men, a little bit harder to find.



Interesting. So tell me how you ended up in this small town.


So two and a half years ago, I moved here with my son, who was then 14 years old. And I was living in Toronto when COVID hit. Toronto was very severely impacted, everything shut down, everything went remote. And our remote experience was almost for 16 months, few moments of openings, but mostly closed. And so I learned how to do all the work that I do, which at the time was a speech language pathologist, relational coach, yoga teacher trainer — I did everything remotely. And at this exact day that COVID was declared, my husband of 15 years left our family and didn’t come back. And so …



I’m sorry, can you unpack that a little bit?

DIANA 20:55

I would have been 55 that – no, 54 at the time. And we had been together and I truly thought he was the love of my life. He really showed me so much just capacity to receive love that I didn’t know was possible. I come from a very traumatic background. And so I’d been unpacking that for the last 20 years or so. I was really ready to receive love when I met him.

And we had a child together, we opened up businesses together, we failed businesses together. The trauma of that really impacted our relationship. I recovered by getting more into my masculine mode of go, go, go; do, do, do; make sure my family is taken care of. And his mental health challenges at the time made it very impossible for him to step up in that role, which means I had to step up more. I you understand feminine and masculine dynamics, I became very masculine in our relationship out of necessity. And it really impacted our dynamic.

I was in Iceland with my kids when the COVID pandemic was declared, and we were supposed to be there for a couple of weeks. We ended up pivoting, changing our dates, coming home sooner. The day we got home, my husband left our home so that we could quarantine — which we knew was the right thing to do at the time. And he never came back. It became you know, almost like washing my hands, we’re done with this.

And I did all the things that I, as someone with an anxious attachment history, if you know what that means. It means when people move away, I try to cling even harder. I did all the things I could to try to keep him in our family. And he really didn’t have the capacity. And I had to learn to release him with grace and love and understanding — and became pretty quickly a single mom, during a situation where there were four of us — two adult children, my daughter and her partner, and my child who was 14, our child who was 14, living in the home trying to navigate this COVID environment, working and living and studying from home. It was very difficult. And it was also a blessing in disguise.



Well, it’s interesting to me because you say it almost matter-of-factly now — I had to learn how to let go with grace. And I’m thinking okay, how traumatic was COVID anywhere, the shutdown especially. It was unchartered territory. International, it wasn’t just one neighborhood or one community or one country, affected everybody. And your marriage is, at the same time, falling apart.

DIANA 23:33

Absolutely. The reason I can speak to it matter-of-factly now is because I’ve released a lot of the trauma from my body. I had been writing a book for seven years, I did not have the last four chapters written. In the meantime, I wrote five other compilation books, which was for some reason, very easy for me. But the end of my personal book was really challenging. And it’s because I needed to live these last four years, really, and experience them and do some deep healing and understanding and compassion and love and loving kindness. And in doing so, I not only healed my relationship, but I healed all of my past relationships, including childhood trauma. And it was hard. And it was messy, and it was uncomfortable. And it was, you know, despicable at times, and it was gracious and it was beauty and it was incredible.

I did not want to project pain into the world. I wanted to turn my pain into love and project love into the world, which is what I do through my coaching and my all the work that I do now. So it was — it required me to really be in the center of the mud.



Center of the mud – that’s a visual. I’ve never heard that before, center of the mud. When you wrote to me, you said a lot of your single friends have given up on dating. And I’ve certainly heard that from people who write to me. But it sounds like you have not given up.

DIANA 24:52

I really can’t give up because I’ve done so much personal development and spiritual growth work that I am prime. I’m ready to attract the right person into my life. And I know my next relationship is going to be my life relationship. I will not be in a relationship that doesn’t feel like that for me. Of course, I can’t control everything. I feel like I have so much to offer. So the right person for me, is really going to have to be the right person who can’t command tons of my time, who is willing to meet me on this spiritual playground that I believe relationships are.

And so when people say to me, I’ve given up on relationships, I wonder, and if they’re my friends, I actually ask them, like, what are you expecting out of a relationship? And usually, it’s, I want someone to take care of me. And of course I do, too. I have taken care of two men, I’ve had two long-term relationships, I’ve been the primary breadwinner. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want someone who can meet me and my financial stability that I have now. And I really believe that the right person is the person who will help me to grow even more, and not just provide for me.

And so when people are saying, I’m giving up, I ask them, have you given up on yourself? And what work do you need to do to be able to be in relationship with yourself — so much so that if anybody dares to knock at your door and want to be in relationship with you, it’s because they amplify your beauty, your grace, your growth, not make it more difficult.



Everything you’re saying makes sense to me. And at the same time, it also sounds pretty heavy. It doesn’t sound like you’re looking to casually date until you kind of find the one. It sounds like you are really intentional about, I want a partner, not I’m going to just check out what’s out there. Yeah?



Yeah, and I’m realistic. In order to do that, I have to do some dating. And I have a 26-year-old daughter, and she’s the first one to say, Mom, you’re not dating enough. And I kind of like have to go through and do my weeding through the potential connections. For me, it’s all virtual right now. There’s nobody live in my community. So I have to do a little bit of virtual searching outside of my community. I would love to say that I will meet someone organically, I will know our hearts will connect it will be the right thing. But that hasn’t happened.

And for me to even consider going on a date, the potential connection needs to have some level of awareness, some level of having done some personal growth of understanding personal and relational dynamics, and how we intertwine together sometimes in really unhealthy ways. And hopefully in the future in more healthy ways for me; what their attachment styles are, in other words, when things get tough, do they want to run away? Do they try to grasp? Or can they take time and then work through it?

I’m on two dating sites. And you know, I get occasional hits. And sometimes I initiate the hits. And I’ve learned to start with casual conversations, because the deeper questions that I really want to ask are sometimes, I think, a little triggering to the recipient. I don’t give them my phone number. I ask for social media evidence of their existence. And if someone says I don’t have social media, to me, that’s a red flag because we live in a world where at least LinkedIn is a social media site.




I need to verify the person’s identity before I get into more of the deeper conversations. And then I often will meet with them for a coffee, and I only do that when they come up to me. So I live about 45 to 75 minutes outside of Vancouver, depending on where, so if they come up and they meet me for coffee, I’m really happy to do that. And I believe that any connection has the potential to be a great connection. It just may not be a lifelong connection.



Okay, so you’re not meeting somebody halfway, geographically halfway.

DIANA 29:00

There is no halfway unfortunately, where I live. It’s their place or my place.



Oh, interesting.


Halfway is the highway along the ocean.


Oh, God, I’d love to come visit. It sounds really beautiful.

DIANA 29:12

Yeah, it’s really beautiful. But the challenges definitely are in the dating realm.



Diana tells me that for her family’s sake, she’s committed to staying put for at least a few more years.

But she’s open to long-distance dating and eventually, perhaps moving. In her capacity as a relational coach, Diana does have advice for anyone, in any location, whose confidence about dating might be faltering. To learn more, go to and the Bonus Content page, and then click on the link to this episode.

You may remember me telling you, I sold my house last summer and eventually moved about 90 miles south. In five months, I’ll need to either renew the lease on my rental or move. Coincidentally, my passport expires a month after that. I don’t know yet what I’m doing about the lease renewal, but I will get that passport renewal in motion. Whether it’s for vacation or relocation, I don’t have anything specific in mind yet — other than being open to the possibilities of anywhere


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I’m Laura Stassi. Thanks so much for listening.

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