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"I'm looking for friendship — it's possible I might meet someone."As Lindenau lingered around the room, 71-year-old Brian Connolly fearlessly approached several women, asking them one of the ice-breaker questions on his clipboard.Connolly's exuberant grin and rosy cheeks seemed to make him an ideal candidate for a speed-dating event, where a willingness to put oneself out there is perhaps the most important factor in potential success.He came out to meet people, but he had little confidence that he would find someone."They think they're going to be my caretaker," Wagner said of his potential love interests.

Women generally live longer and are more likely to be widowed, and divorce has also become increasingly common.

"Some people are going to be wanting somebody 24/7 to sleep with every night, some people are looking for travel companions, some people are looking for someone to go out to dinner." The challenge for some women, like 76-year-old Norine Cohen, is meeting someone who makes her feel a certain way.

She lost her husband 10 years ago, and since getting back out into the dating world, she's been unimpressed."There are too many boring people," Cohen said.

On average, women spend about 17 years in widowhood, according to University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee professor Kathy Black, who focuses on aging studies and social work.

Trends differ significantly based on gender, Black added.

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