Being single after 45 and into our 50s can be freeing and fun. Many of us have already had the long-term marriage and child-rearing experience. And, even if we still have kids at home; by now they are old enough to fend for themselves if we choose to date. I think the best part about dating at this juncture in life is that we aren’t necessarily looking for ‘the one’ anymore.
When I was in my 20s, I found myself evaluating my potential dates against my ‘are you someone I’d marry and mate with?’ metric. In my second act of dating, after 45, I enjoyed meeting new and interesting people and my new filter measured fun and excitement. I wasn’t looking for a partner in marriage; that opened up many more possibilities for friends, lovers, and companions.
It took a while to get into the swing of dating in my second act. At first, I had to get past a few of my misconceptions about what men and women do and don’t want when pursuing someone to date.
Here were a few of my stumbling blocks and what really transpired.
Myth #1: Divorced People With Kids Have More Baggage Than Those Who Never Married.
Seriously, how is this even a real myth? Everyone, everyone has baggage; even if it’s just a carry-on. Personally, I found those individuals that had never been married and/or didn’t have kids to have secret baggage… The kind of baggage that kept them single for this long and would keep on keeping them untethered to another. If you are looking to date a mature individual; expect some baggage.
“Even those who may have children without having been married or those who never married or had children may have elderly parents that need special care,” says Davida Rappaport, a psychic, personal growth counselor, and mature dating expert. “Most mature men and women do not abandon their responsibilities and obligations. This can impact any prospective dating situation, kids or no kids.”
Myth #2: You Have To Be Thin To Date.
If you look around you, you’ll see that most people aren’t thin. Yet, many seem to have a partner. Yeah, they may have met when they were slimmer and then gained weight, but that’s not the case for everyone.
Not everyone is focused on the perfect body and zero body fat. Overall, being fit is better for the dating scene but it is also better for our health. Women, in particular, aren’t as demanding as men when it comes to specific body requirements. But, both sexes do look for signs of health and self-care. Who wants to take on a new relationship that may quickly spiral into a nursing gig?
Myth #3: Men Only Want Younger Women.
Men look at all women – younger, older and everywhere in between. Lots of younger men are interested in dating older women. Older women can seem lower-maintenance, which they find appealing. Older women can be more established and accomplished. By the time we’re in our 50s, we know how to have a real conversations about real issues… and that can lead to a real connection.
If you are looking for an active sexual partner, younger men might be the way to go. Certain medical conditions that come with age – impotence for example—can make sex more difficult with men. Dating younger might be a great alternative.
And, finally if a man you’re interested in will only date 20-somethings or 30-somethings; RUN, RUN in the other direction.
Myth #4: Dating To Find Someone To Support Them.
The reality is that by this point men and women are more interested in someone who is at a similar financial level; someone who can carry his/her own weight. “They prefer someone who will desire a similar level of extravagance of lifestyle in terms of recreation and travel, and can eventually share equally in expenses,” says Heidi Krantz, a certified dating coach and founder of Reinvention Life Coaching.
University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock has done exhaustive research on the idea of people exchanging traits. Looking at data from 1,507 couples in various stages of relationships, including dating, cohabiting, and married, she specifically focused on the societally accepted gendered version, “in which an economically successful man partners with a beautiful ‘trophy wife,’.
Interestingly enough, the study concluded that women aren’t really out for men with more wealth than themselves, nor are men looking for women who outshine them in beauty. Rather, hearteningly, people really are looking for … compatibility and companionship. Finding those things is driven by matching one’s strengths with a partner who’s similarly endowed, rather than trying to barter kindness for hotness, humor for conscientiousness, cultural savvy for handyman-ship, or graduate degrees for marketable skills.
Myth #5: We Become Less Selective As We Age.
How is this even perceived as possibly being accurate? We’ve all settled at some point in our lives. Personally, I am ok with being by myself so why would I be less choosy? I know what I want now, what I need (or at least think I need) and there’s no rush.
For us women of a certain age, we can take our time to meet someone that we want in our lives. Moments of loneliness pass. We can fill our time with our girlfriends, our kids or grandkids (if we have them), work, and fun hobbies. Settling for any old relationship just because it would help financially, or to prevent being alone is a terrible idea. Being lonely inside a less than stellar pairing can be far more devastating than going solo.
Are there any additional ‘myths’ out there that can be shared? We KUEL women have to stick together; any additional pearls of wisdom are greatly appreciated.