Bill and Melinda Gates may not be too eager to rebound into other relationships following their divorce after 27 years of marriage, but should the billionaire bachelor and bachelorette elect to do so, some well-known relationship experts believe respectively that each of them should take their time and exercise stout caution.
Psychotherapist, writer and celebrity relationship expert Dr. Jenn Mann told Fox News on Friday that she finds it difficult to imagine either of the two jumping on a dating app and believes that in the event Bill, 65, or Melinda, 56, found themselves spending time with potential suitors, said individuals will likely come from within their own social circles and not someone who they might be completely unfamiliar with.
“I think it’s extremely unlikely that either one will use a dating app. I think that they are far more likely to date someone who is a friend of a friend, who they’ve been introduced to, who’s in their social circle, who they know tangentially,” the “Couple’s Therapy” host said.
Mann, who is the author of “The Relationship Fix: Dr. Jenn’s 6-Step Guide to Improving Communication, Connection & Intimacy,” also laid out specific character traits she believes Bill and Melinda could be drawn to.
“Melinda strikes me as someone who is not going to look for something purely superficial, shall we say,” she said. “But Bill seems like a guy who part of what turns him on is intellect – smart women are very sexy to him. So I think that he’s very likely to be with someone who is worldly, has life experience and is successful in her own right. Perhaps a woman that is very, very, very bright.”
Given the number of years Bill and Melinda were officially a pair, Kimberly Holmes, CEO of Marriage Helper and a relationship expert, tells Fox News that the divorcing couple should give themselves ample time and space to grieve the dissolution of their marriage before jumping into other relationships.
“Research indicates that people should wait at least a year, if not two to three, maybe even five years before entering back into a relationship after a marriage has ended,” she said. “And so I hope that Melinda really does take that time. But the other interesting thing that research also indicates is women who divorce later in life tend to remain single more highly than men.”
“Some of the reasons for that are because they are focused on their children. They’re focused on a passion project, philanthropy. Maybe that’s similar to what Melinda is experiencing right now, but they tend to have more of a family focus and they’re not as focused on trying to just pair with another person.”
Added Holmes: “I hope she does take time to heal and takes that time needed to focus on herself, on her kids in the philanthropy work that she does before diving into something else.”
Holmes echoed Mann’s point in explaining that she also does not foresee either divorcing party swiping left or right on cumbersome dating apps – even those like Raya that cater to the elite and wealthy.
“More than likely within a social circle of some sort. I don’t foresee Melinda jumping on social media or a dating app to find her next person,” she said. “Her friends will know people who they will begin to say, ‘You know what, you should hang out with this person or you should go and just spend time with them. Or this person would be interested in the work you’re doing.’ And that is more than likely the way that she will find even just male friends or dating when that comes to that time.”
Meanwhile, Holmes said she wouldn’t see it as too farfetched should Bill skew younger in the quest for a potential partner in the future.
“For some men, the older they get, they don’t necessarily want to be reminded of their age or what the next steps of their life are,” explained Holmes. “They want to feel younger and therefore they have more of a tendency to skew younger in women that they date after a divorce or death of a spouse happens in older age or later stages of life. And so perhaps he goes younger.”
The divorce rate for couples 50 years and older – also known as “gray divorce” – is up across the board and Holmes and Mann are aligned in their analyses of why the statistics support the notion.
“There are a lot of people of that generation who said to themselves, ‘I just got to wait till the kids are 18, I just got to wait till the kids are 22. I’ve got to wait until the kids are old enough for me to leave,” said Mann. “So that’s one reason. Another reason is that when your kids are grown and you are an empty nester, you’re more likely to reevaluate what’s important to you.”
Despite the looming split, Bill and Melinda are reportedly steadfast on continuing to work closely together in their foundation, an insider relayed to People magazine on Friday. Dr. Mann quipped in her conversation with Fox News that she wonders if Bill and Melinda too will “have one weekend a year where they meet up and are getting along really well” should they remarry other people.
“This is a couple who has demonstrated enormous maturity. They have shown themselves to be very emotionally intelligent, very mature in all of their dealings – financial, the foundation, their children, everything they have presented upfront,” said Mann.
“And look, everybody has their terrible moments, especially during a crisis and when feelings are hurt. But this is a couple who appears to be very mature and evolved. So I think if anyone can pull that off, I would think it would be these two.”
In the Gates’ relationship, the tech honcho was allowed by his wife to spend time with ex-girlfriend Ann Winblad thanks to a built-in arrangement Bill had with Melinda French prior to the now-former pair exchanging “I Do’s” in Hawaii in 1994.
The negotiated consideration said that he and software entrepreneur and venture capitalist Ann Winblad would be able to jet off on annual weekend getaways with each other to pick each other’s brains and bask in the old times they shared while creating new memories of their own, according to a 1997 Time magazine profile on the Microsoft co-founder.
Mann also pressed that each party will likely keep things super secretive and close to the vest so as not to draw much media attention or scrutiny.
“I think they’re going to be very careful because it’s not just about the public, it’s also about their daughters and about their family and about how it could affect the stock, the business, the foundation. There are a lot of complicated factors,” the “Family Therapy” interventionist explained. “So I think that they are likely to be very discreet or in the beginning stages, refer to the person as a friend.”
“But it’s unlikely that they will be on an app,” she added once and for all.