Dating can certainly combat loneliness, but it can also make you wish you were home alone instead. It can take you from the heights of anticipation and excitement to the lows of disappointment in mere seconds. And dating as a retiree might have the added issues of biological time, health concerns or the emotional loss of a partner to make getting to know one another that much harder -- but don't let that deter you.

Think of dating like taking cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is good for the body, and most people who take it want the benefits, but don't necessarily look forward to taking it over and over again. But it's also one of those healthy substances that can be bad for you if you take it in excess or improperly.

With dating, sometimes you just have to close your eyes, take a big gulp and believe that eventually making a great match will do wonders for your heart and will make up for all of the gut-wrenchingly bad dates. Seeing the results of getting out there and having it go a little better or easier each time is good medicine for the spirits -- an ongoing exercise in learning to laugh at yourself and with others. But can it really benefit the body, too?

Making and growing social connections is very important to overall health. Having friendships and sharing experiences can decrease depression and loneliness and encourage physical activity [source: The New York Times]. People do live and enjoy life alone to a great measure, but studies show, for example, that we laugh 30 times more when we're with others than when we're alone [source: Phillips]. Being social and having friendships brings laughter, and laughter benefits the body's organs, can increase tolerance to pain, and relieves stress and anxiety at any age [source: Phillips]. It may be enough to "grow old together" with friends and family and forgo all of the late-in-life romantic stuff, but there are some characteristics that set dating apart from just socializing.

Does retiree dating have any health benefits? Yes. Take a look at what it can do for body and mind.