Finding yourself in the dating pool at 50+ can seem overwhelming and maybe somewhat disheartening. Digging through a myriad of advice blogs and dating coaches’ sites, we here at Kuel Life have compiled a manageable quick list of things to keep in mind.
1. Baggage Is a Forgone Conclusion
If you’re dating age-appropriate people then you gotta make room for their baggage. As a matter of fact, if it looks like they don’t have any – they’re either lying OR boring, boring, boring. The last time I can remember being bag-free myself….well, I just can’t. All sorts of interesting, juicy, and probably painful things are stored in our bags by this age. Divorce, sick or dying parents, teenaged kids, career challenges, and a bunch of others I can’t think of at this moment.
It may be short-sighted to automatically avoid dating someone based on an arbitrary list of criteria. However, I am not suggesting you don’t have standards or a few absolutes – knowing what works for you and what doesn’t is pretty critical in dating. It’s ok if you know you absolutely don’t want kids – yours, theirs, or ours…. It’s ok if you know you only want to date someone who has been in at least one significant long-term relationship. Honestly, at this age, if you have been perpetually single; you’re probably staying that way. But, maybe it’s ok to bend a little on some of the carry-on sized baggage.
2. Take It Lightly
Going into every first date hoping that it is the beginning of a beautiful, meaningful, long-term relationship will most assuredly lead to disappointment. Keep a sense of humor about it all. When I was in the dating pool in my late forties I had a gajillion first dates – ranging from banal to secretly promising myself a monastic vow of solitude. I took to nick-naming each of them and regaling my coupled friends with the horror stories. There was Science Guy (he worked as a science teacher), Paul Bunyan (he was ridiculously tall and wide), and Mr. Cologne (this one doesn’t need an explanation) – you get the picture. To this day, I have no memory of any of these people’s real names but the monikers and the escapades live on.
3. What’s Good For The Goose……
Whether we like it or not, a fair number of men are looking for someone younger. Even if it’s unfair, social norms support the man being older. I personally was quite frustrated when many men I found interesting (and older than I) were excluding me from their acceptable dating pool because of my age.
I dated, for a brief time, a man fifteen years my senior. I went round and round, struggling internally with the question if he was ‘too old’ for me. No need to ponder it too long as he answered the question when he dumped me for a women who was 15 years MY junior. See Point 2 above.
If men were reading our articles, I would suggest to them everyone gets wrinkles – including them – and that maybe they shouldn’t exclude women in their own age category. There are plenty of attractive, fit women in that 50 plus category. Alas, our readers are women and for us – all I can say is that if a dude excludes you from his dating pool because you’re not ‘young enough’ forget him! Seriously, that person has done you a favor right out the gate.
4. Practice Common Sense
Online dating can be scary and dangerous if you don’t employ some basic safety measures. Never have someone pick you up at home on a first date. Choose somewhere public – preferably a place where people know you. Tell a friend where and when you will be out.
I used to go to the same bar/restaurant each and every time. I previously had conversations with the regular staff and let them know I would be meeting my online first dates there. The bartenders were incredibly supportive and caring, letting me know that they’d have my back if things got weird or out of control. Luckily, I only needed their assist once – out of about 50 dates that’s not too bad.
5. Don’t Be Polite
Dating can become a full-time job – and, that is not fun. If you have a half-decent photo up, the winks and emails pour in. I do have a polite streak and at first tried to answer each inquiry. It became a daunting chore and I had to learn early on that it was ok to ignore some of my wanna-be suitors.
Most importantly, it’s ok if you take yourself out of the dating scene, every now and again, to spend time with your best date – you!
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