The men's perspective Single, male and over 50
McNamara says that in New York people move on from relationships faster than in Ireland. “People go through divorces in the US and they dust themselves off . . . The perception of being single is not a big deal in the US.”
That’s not to say that being single is an ideal, and McNamara remains open to the prospect of meeting someone. Travelling between Ireland and the US can be all-encompassing. “I realise the complexity is my lifestyle and I don’t have the same structure as someone who works nine to five. The worse thing you can do, though, is become bitter and resentful and lose faith in love. Ultimately, I think we all need somebody in our lives. If we are honest, nobody wants to go home to an empty house or eat his or her dinner alone.”
Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself
Tony Kenny (72) is a retired research officer with
Teagasc. “I have been living on my own since the mid 1990s. I was separated from my wife in the 1980s and haven’t had any other relationships since then.
“I have four grown-up children, two who live in Copenhagen with partners and children, one in Sicily with a partner and child, and a daughter here.
“I go to Copenhagen and Sicily to see them at least once a year and they come home. I’m very attached to them all and like all grandfathers I would like more contact with them. I am from Roscommon and I live by the sea in north Co Dublin. Although I went to boarding school at the age of 12, I still have siblings and close connections in Co Roscommon.
“I played intercounty GAA for Roscommon and I stay in contact with ex-players and help to organise fund raising activities for the Roscommon GAA Supporters Club in Dublin.”
Kenny explains how he missed both the social and professional contact with colleagues when he first retired in 2008.
“I soon found that I had more time to develop existing interests – I play golf once or twice a week, I play soccer every Sunday morning, I run on the strand a few times a week. I volunteer for the Irish Cancer Society and I help out in the local Arch Club, a social organisation for people with disabilities.”
He says that all these activities have mental, physical and social benefits.
“I’ve always been lucky to have good health and be physically active. I’m conscious of keeping the brain active, too. I go to the theatre and I keep up my scientific interests by going to lectures in the RDS.
“I probably do find it lonely at times but who doesn’t have pangs of loneliness even when they are living with someone else.” Kenny says that he might feel more lonely as he gets older but that he doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself.