Dating after 50 might seem intimidating or worse — completely impossible. It’s no secret that people in the second half of their lives come with a lot of baggage, and that’s bound to complicate dating for anyone, right? But before you go worrying about what problems could arise, here’s some dating advice to put those worries out of your mind.
Surprisingly, dating at 50 and — and even sex after 50 — isn’t a lost cause. To the contrary, this time in a person’s life can be one of the best times for dating.
If you’re feeling the nudge to start dating over 50, know that this can be one of the most exciting times of your life, and there are plenty of dating tips out there to make it wonderful, too!
You have so much to bring to a relationship now, and with the help of some practical dating tips, you can attract a significant other worthy of your wonderful qualities. My 50 plus coupled clients are having the time of their lives with many new adventures with their newly found life partners
TODAY conducted a “This is 50” survey to get the low-down from people in their 50s on attitudes and practices regarding dating as an older person. The results really set the stage for understanding dating and relationship goals for this mature group of people.
Below are some of the most telling results. Where do you fit in?
- Only 18 percent of single people in their 50s said they were dating.
- Over 40 percent said they were considering dating, but weren’t actually doing so.
- 60 percent said they don’t need a relationship to be happy.
- 40 percent don’t believe there is anyone out there worth dating.
- 30 percent don’t know where to begin.
- 30 percent think dating at 50 is just too stressful.
- For over 40 percent, other priorities (career, raising children, caring for a loved one) were more important.
- Almost 25 percent believe dating after 50 is too difficult.
Before exploring tips for dating after 50, it’s worth looking at the reasons you may be looking for love at this stage of life in the first place. Below are some of the most common scenarios.
- You’re divorced but still believe in true love (and want it in your life). This time, however, you want to get it right.
- You’ve been a single parent, and now the kids are grown and on their own. Perhaps they are even entering into their own love relationships and are inspiring you to do the same.
- You’re widowed, have done the difficult grief work, and are now ready for love and desire companionship again.
- You’ve never married (for any number of reasons) and finally, have the desire, time and energy to focus on a relationship.
Considering that so many baby boomers are single, divorced, or widowed, it shouldn’t be surprising that they are hitting the online dating airwaves in record numbers.
And technology has answered the call with a teeming selection of dating sites for over-50 singles looking for love in their golden years. Some of the most popular choices are Silver Singles, Zoosk Singles and Our Time, as well as, eHarmony, Match, and JDate. Just know that over 80% of my successfully coupled clients met their life partners through an online dating site and over half were 50 plus!
Dating at 50 and beyond comes with the same dating advice as dating in your younger years. Even though you will have more life experience and different needs to refine your search, the basic approach and fundamental questions are the same.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and some dating tips to help guide you:
1. What’s the life you envision for yourself?
If you are dating after 50, your needs and desires probably have little to nothing to do with raising young children, for example. And if someone you’re interested in still has children at home, you need to be honest about where that responsibility fits into your life vision. Is it a deal breaker? Would you relocate for the right partner?
It’s important to be realistic about your needs, desires and tolerances. One thing that does separate dating over 50 from dating in your younger years is how many years you have left to enjoy. I encourage you to be honest with yourself, even as you strive to be open-minded and flexible.
2. Do you share the same core relationship values?
By this point in life, you probably have a very strong sense of yourself and what matters to you. While there can be a fine line between being set in your ways and having strong convictions, it’s important to be honest about your relationship values.
You both come with long life histories. Exploring how these lessons have shaped your lives going forward only makes good sense.
3. Know how to put your best foot forward.
Dating over 50 comes with some “extras” that dating in your younger years didn’t have. There are physical changes to be embraced and managed. And confidence can take a big hit by this time in life. After all, you have had time to have some bad experiences and maybe gain a few extra pounds.
This is a time to look in the mirror and think about how you can polish up what’s there while highlighting the non-physical attributes that have been honed by life.
Do you have a great sense of humor? A capacity for being a good listener? Are you an active volunteer? An experienced handyman? A great cook? Someone with a wide circle of wonderful friends?
Know your strengths and be willing to share the lessons of your weaknesses. Do focus on having a positive attitude and enjoy feeling grounded in who you are.
4. Broaden your social circle.
Dating over 50 often starts while enjoying activities in the company of like-minded people. Regardless of what has brought you to the point of dating at 50, this is a time to engage with life and just be yourself. Be open to different activities and interests … and the people who pursue them.
You meet people through people so by widening your social network, so you’ll be increasing your chances for meeting that special someone.
5. Get outside your comfort zone.
You don’t need to jump out of an airplane, but at least open yourself to things that make you stretch your mind, your creativity … and maybe even your body.
Take in a lecture on a topic you know nothing about. Take a trip with a group you don’t know. Sign up for a trial month at a new gym. Offer to volunteer at a local fundraiser for a cause in which you believe.
By stretching yourself, you’ll open up a world of new opportunities for personal growth and bonding with new people.
6. Try online dating.
If you don’t feel comfortable taking on the “biggies” like Match and eHarmony, then narrow the field a bit and start with dating sites for over-50 singles.
No matter what site you choose, learn to date safely.
7. Look for other relationship-seeking singles.
As the survey pointed out, not every 50 plus single person is looking for a committed, long-term relationship. They key is to be able to pinpoint others who also desire a lasting relationship. Also, you need to recognize the signs to look for so you don’t waste your time with someone who likes to date and not get attached.
8. Don’t rush through it.
On the one hand, you want to get out into the dating world. On the other hand, you want to remember your reasons for dating and the lessons you have learned in love and life.
Above all, don’t rush into a sexual relationship. Wait until you know you are really ready. If a potential match seems overly eager about the topic of sex, s/he probably is. If you are truly seeking a lasting relationship, don’t set yourself up for the regrets of your 20s.
Remember, egos can be very fragile. And many 50 plus jump into bed by the third date! I recommend that you learn how to express your needs and desires in a positive way that would support your new relationship instead of hurt it.
9. Develop a support system.
If you are dating over 50, you don’t need to keep it a secret. To the contrary, this is a time to reach out to your fan club and ask for support. Adding a certified professional life and relationship coach to the mix will ensure you have someone helping you achieve all your life goals, while your friends and fans will lift you up and cheer you on as you pursue a new love relationship.
In the “This Is 50” survey discussed above, the over-50 daters felt smarter when choosing dates. And nearly 60 percent claimed they “make better decisions now.” Add to that the bonus of not worrying about a ticking biological clock, and you have an open window through which to explore life and love on your terms. Moreover, you have a lot of love still to give so go for it!
This article originally appeared on YourTango.