Dating After 50: Things to Think About & Tips for Success

by Alison McIrvin
A man and a woman hug on a boardwalk

Those of us over 50 and in the dating world have found ourselves single either by choice or via death or divorce. Regardless, if you are new to this thing called dating, it can seem quite different from when you dated in your 20s and 30s. Sometimes it is a whole new planet, managing to be humorous, frightening, and quite daunting at the same time.

What It’s Like to Date Over 50

I reached out to people in my circles and got some interesting comments and stories.

A man I’ll call Rob had dated a woman who had previously sued the Department of Homeland Security for $500,000. It turns out that she was caught having an affair with her supervisor and decided to make up a story that her boss made her his sex slave. Rob quickly bowed out of that relationship. I would say that he wisely dodged a bullet, wouldn’t you?

Another friend had exchanged messages with a man she met on a popular dating site. They shared many interests and she felt they had a playful rapport even before they met. Upon walking into the restaurant, Janet saw him across the way and realized that he was at least 15 years older than his images indicated.

“It wasn’t like it would have been a huge age difference,” Janet explains, “but it was the deception that bothered me… like I wouldn’t notice he had ‘aged’ from his profile pictures? It turns out he was also a smoker and his profile had said otherwise.” Honesty matters.

One friend who has chosen not to date quipped, “Dating after 50? Do they have STDs? Why weren’t they ever married? Are they a serial killer? Lol!”

Well, that sums it up for some people.

But many singles over 50 do date successfully and have found a significant other to spend the rest of their life with. The key to success seems to be clear on what your goals are for dating: meeting a lot of new people or meeting that next forever someone?

It is also important to be clear on who you are at this stage of your life and what kind of a person will or will not fit well with your lifestyle and personal goals. Take stock of the elements in your life that are important to you.

Have you braved dating past 50?

Health Issues Over 50

This can be a touchy topic, as some of us over 50 may still be in a bit of denial regarding the aging process.

While it’s important to be proactive to maintain our fitness and health as we age, certain issues can still crop up despite our best efforts. The following health issues may not affect all of us, but everyone should face reality and accept the fact that they may become issues:

  • Knee and joint pain that may prohibit some activities
  • Sleep cycle issues related to postmenopausal women
  • Erectile dysfunction affecting approximately 26% of all men
  • Skin issues due to decreasing elastin and collagen
  • Bone and muscle loss

The good news is that we can do a lot to take charge and reduce or even completely eradicate these issues. Keep your weight in check to reduce stress on your joints, and take supplements to protect bone and collagen loss. The Mediterranean diet addresses erectile dysfunction issues, as does cutting back on alcohol.

[Related: 5 Tips for Feeling Great as You Age]

Tips for Successful Dating Over 50

Image via Pixabay

Follow these tips to avoid creating any dating horror stories:

  • Make a list of what aspects are important to have in your life, and know which of those are just nonnegotiable, such as activity level, desire for travel, smoking, family priorities, etc.
  • Get out there! If dating sites are not for you, get involved in your community, volunteer, or join clubs, gyms, and activity-based groups, such as a senior sports team.
  • Be an active listener and try to learn who that person really is. You will likely be pleasantly surprised and may even make a new friend, if not a life-long partner.
  • Be honest with yourself about who you are and equally honest when presenting yourself on dating sites. No one wants to be deceived.
  • Don’t judge by appearances alone. Quality character can be a rare thing these days; learn to discern and express appreciation when you see it.

Want more tips on living your best life after 50?

Technology and Dating Over 50

The ability to have so much information right at our fingertips is great. Technology in the way of dating sites, background research tools, and quick access to restaurant guides can all work together for successful dating.

Dating sites and apps can be a great way for busy career people to save time and “meet” a larger pool of people online first, sort through those that would potentially work, and then meet face to face.

Technology can have some drawbacks, however. While in a bar or restaurant, you may see someone who appeals to you, yet their head is down, glued to their phone, leaving no chance for that electric moment when your eyes meet across the room.

Or how about that post-first date period when the lines of communication have gone silent despite the person having expressed clear interest in you. You get the impression that they may be on their phone furiously “swiping right” to see if they can find someone better.

Worse yet, while out to dinner with a person, they can’t seem to stop checking email or text messages as they come in. That’s just rude in any world, dating or not.

Beat the technology pitfalls by being present in the moment, remembering the manners your parents taught you (we do tend to have that edge over millennials), and having the courage to step forward and meet someone in your real-life encounters despite having no dating profile to preview.

[Related: Digital Detox: How to Unplug From Your Technology]

Popular Dating Sites for Those Over 50

Image via Pixabay

These sites may make meeting someone new over 50 easier:

Dating Mindset Torpedo Syndrome

No, this is not an American Medical Association-defined illness, but it can send your dating life to the bottom of the sea.

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck defines a mindset as “a simple idea that has a profound effect on a person’s life. Mindset is the view that you adopt for yourself that determines the way you live your life, see the world, and make decisions.” This also includes positive and negative decisions in your dating life.

This fixed mindset can also be applied to the preconceived view we have of others. For example, if you’ve met someone online and have a “first meet” set up, oftentimes, just from the profile and the few messages you have exchanged, you may already have a mental story created about them and why they’re perfect for you. If their profile highlights fitness activities, a similar spiritual background, and family values, you may already be imagining all the ways this individual fits into your life.

Your perception of him or her is already set and has little room for variation. Once you meet them in person, the individual can’t possibly meet the bar of your preconceived view, and disappointment and disconnect are inevitable.

A growth mindset, according to Dweck, is the opposite of a fixed mindset. When applied to dating, it allows you to be open to personality traits and life values that you had not considered, yet could very well be complementary to your own goals and lifestyle.

So take stock of your mindset and be sure that you are not creating limiting preconceptions about someone. Go on dates with the goal of getting to know people, with the expectation that you will learn something interesting about them.

Yes, dating over 50 can present some challenges, but it can also be a wonderful adventure with something or someone new around the corner. Rather than being “on the hunt,” pursue a vibrant life for yourself that brings you joy and you will likely attract and find a fabulous person who shares your passions.

To join like-minded individuals in the Fit After Fifty community, follow us on social media!

Featured image via Pixabay

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