After nearly three decades, Laura Stassi’s marriage crumbled. She was back into a dating scene that had changed drastically since she was last in it. New technology, new social norms, and new wisdom gained from a failed marriage. Laura turned to friends and family for advice on navigating a new dating scene, and now, she’s sharing everything she learned on her podcast “Dating While Gray.”
With 21 episodes and counting, “Dating While Gray” is made up of just 30-minute long episodes. Starting back in early 2020, this North Carolina Public Radio podcast is now in its third season, with Stassi having spoken to psychologists, doctors, sex experts, and plenty of people who jumped back into the dating scene in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.
While so many dating podcasts focus on love in your 20s and 30s, “Dating While Gray” is offering sage advice for people of all ages. Time is the greatest teacher they say. Right? Don’t fact check that. Laura is sensitive to all situations: whether one’s situation is due to divorce, bring widowed, or simply never having gotten around to getting hitched. She explores timely topics for singles of all ages, from sex to personal finances to dating in a pandemic, and asks thought provoking questions to both her interviewees and her listeners.
Most episodic topics are suitable for all ages, but certain episodes definitely cater towards an older audience. Laura discusses dating when you have adult children (or when your partner has them) and balancing personal needs with parental obligations. She’s asked people about “boomerang love:” reconnecting with an old flame, and the pros and cons that can come from that.
The last episode of her second season is particularly fascinating, titled “The Older Brain On Love.” In it, she speaks with Helen Fisher, a prominent anthropologist and author of six books on the evolution and future of human sex, love, marriage, and gender differences in the brain. But Laura wants to know: does love, the feeling and science behind love, change as you get older? We know that estrogen levels decrease with age while testosterone levels can go through ebbs and flows, but do love hormones also do this?
Fisher doesn’t just tell us that, no, those love hormones (dopamine and serotonin) don’t decrease over time, but there is a very logical evolutionary reason that a brain in love is advantageous. She also tells us the differences between men and women when it comes to romance (hint: men fall in love faster and more often) and a whole bunch of other fascinating science behind love.
Episodes of “Dating While Gray” speak with both experts on certain topics and people/couples who have found love, lost love, and experienced romantic love in their older age. From navigating dating while having adult children in the mix, to not wanting to pick up and leave stable careers and friendships cultivated over the years, to dating after experiencing loss, Stassi covers it all. Thoughtful, resonant, and extremely timely, “Dating While Gray” is a dating podcast that truly stands out from the crowd.