Dating sans baggage

Newport Beach resident Toby Larson always had a problem with falling in love too fast.

At 66, the retired English teacher who volunteers his time with the Newport Beach Public Library’s literacy programs is still looking for someone to share his life with.

He was briefly married several years ago, but things didn’t work out.

“I never seem to have much trouble meeting people,” Larson said. “My big problem is falling in love a little too soon before I fully know what I’m getting into.”

Larson started attending a new support group for singles older than 55 after meeting Newport Beach therapist Karin Crilly at a social function.

Since graduating from Crilly’s six-week course, Larson is seeing someone new, a woman he met on the dating website

“I learned that I need to be content with myself and being single before I can get into a relationship,” he said.

The group meets each Wednesday night at Crilly’s office in Newport Beach and is open to men and women. Singles in the group talk about topics ranging from projecting a positive attitude when it comes to dating to sensuality.

Crilly has had singles as old as 75 attend the group.

At 42, Chey Love is the baby of the group.

“I think before I started all of this, I always wanted to change people,” Love said.

A licensed marriage and family therapist, Crilly said she can commiserate with older singles. She’s been widowed twice and has successfully reentered the dating scene each time.

“After a certain age, people get a little negative or bitter about relationships,” Crilly said. “I help them get rid of that baggage.”

A lot of middle-aged singles just don’t know how or where to meet people, Crilly said. Others need help overcoming issues with intimacy and fears of abandonment after losing a spouse late in life, she said.

“People sometimes think ‘I’m too old, I’ll never date anybody again,’” Crilly said. “But it’s just the mind set that people have that’s limiting.”

If You Go

What: Newport Beach therapist Karin Crilly will begin a six-week support group for singles older than 55

When: 7 to 9 tonight

Where: 1601 Dove St., Suite 230

More information: The first session is free. The next five sessions will cost $100. RSVP to Crilly (949) 887-6320.

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