Over 50’s Dating: Looking for Love
Over 50’s dating is hugely popular. And for good reason.
Meeting a soulmate in later life can be challenging compared to your 20’s.
Priorities have changed and as older adults, our needs and wants are completely different.
In this article, we’ll look at dating before and during retirement and discover how to find the perfect partner in crime.
Let’s get started.
Reasons to start dating
Many over 50’s invest in their romantic lives for similar reasons and invariably you may have much in common with those you meet.
Despite our best efforts, many marriages hit rocky ground and end in acrimony or divorce.
Couples may stay together if children are involved but then separate when the kids leave home.
It could be that over the years you’ve drifted apart and simply grow in different directions with varying needs, wants and expectations.
This could mean that people in their 50’s and 60’s find themselves single for the first time in years and seek renewed companionship or romantic connection.
Many later lifers might experience the loss of a loved one, a terrible scenario for any family.
This can sometimes be sudden and come as a complete shock, or otherwise, a gradual process, whereby a spouse becomes a caregiver over a prolonged period.
While it takes a long time to recover from such events emotionally and psychologically, eventually a person might start seeking friendship and embarking on dating again.
In the aforementioned scenarios, loneliness can be a driving factor for over 50’s dating.
After all, coming home to an empty house is tough, especially when getting over a previous relationship.
Alternatively, perhaps you’re working hard in your career and setting your sights on a well-deserved retirement
The desire to consciously create this time life with someone special and share these golden years is natural.
Friendship or companionship
It might be that you’re not particularly interested in the romantic aspect of a relationship and would rather meet someone as friends.
While many dating sites are geared towards romantic partners, as long as you’re clear about your intentions from the start, you might find the perfect match.
Perhaps you’re after someone who shares similar hobbies and interests to accompany you to different activities and events.
As such, dating can be a great gateway to meet likeminded companions.
There are common issues affecting many later life daters who want to meet their match. Let’s take a look:
If you’ve been single or married for many years, the thought of dating can be paralysing.
Perhaps you’re uncomfortable in social situations, feelings which are exacerbated by putting your emotions on the line.
As with any challenge, it’s mostly a matter of practice. That which initially feels impossible becomes normal with repeated exposure.
Even if your first few dates are incredibly awkward, by feeling the fear and do it anyway, you’ll grow in confidence and ability.
If you’ve come out of a relationship and have children, renewing your dating life can be difficult not just for you, but also your kids.
If they’ve experienced emotional trauma through divorce or bereavement, they might not understand your desire to date and meet new people.
This is a delicate issue and requires open and frank discussion to ensure your children are part of the process and supportive of your decision to date.
Similar to the above, getting over ex-partners isn’t easy.
If you’ve shared most of your life with someone, meeting new people can be challenging.
Depending on the circumstances around being single, you might miss your old partner and constantly compare new people with your old relationship.
Know this is natural and that it takes time to adjust.
The how-to of over 50’s dating
Firstly, it’s important to decide what you want out of the process. Are you hoping to meet the one or simply a companion for new adventures like travel or social events?
It’s best to be clear on this before you start meeting people, so you can be upfront about your expectations.
Obviously, what starts as friendship may develop into something more, but in the beginning, it’s best to avoid sending mixed signals.
Join social clubs and groups
At Mirthy, we’re all about bringing later lifers together through shared interests.
We do this primarily through public speakers who share their stories, lessons and adventures with an eager audience. Such events are the perfect forum for meeting new people.
While traditional dating can appear relatively imposing and scary, attending social activities you’re genuinely interested in removes significant pressure, allowing you to make new friends.
While such events aren’t intended for dating, simply forging connections over existing interests can be a gateway to closer relationships.
Speak to friends
While you don’t want your friends to be overtly obvious, it can be helpful to share your dating plans with a trusted circle of loved ones.
Your existing network can often make subtle introductions on your behalf, meaning that anyone you meet should have been pre-vetted!
And even if there’s no romantic connection, it can easily lead to lasting friendships.
In-person dating events are organised regularly and often cater to specific audiences like over 50’s and 60’s.
This could be anything, from an informal meetup with drinks to a more organised speed dating, where you have two minutes to speak to other attendees before deciding who you’d like to meet again.
Live events like this can be great to get back into the swing of things, and even though they’re intimidating for some, are a great way to meet many potential dates in one place.
If you’re not as confident to attend live events, you might try dipping your toe into the dating scene using the wonders of modern technology instead.
Using web and app services allow you to sign up with an account, create a profile submit information about your interests and expectations, all from the comfort of your own home.
Each service works slightly differently, but on the whole, you’re introduced to potential suitors and if there’s a consensus or match, you can begin an online chat.
Through the conversation, you can decide whether to take the interaction further and meet in person for a date.
Such vetting can remove much of the awkwardness around meeting strangers as by the time you attend the date, you already know what to expect.
Dating advice for later life
Dating etiquette doesn’t really change depending on your age and the art of good communication is timeless.
Nevertheless, it’s always good to prepare, especially if you’re out of dating practice.
It’s always good to tell someone where you’re going, especially when meeting someone for the first time.
Most first dates will be in a public place and it’s important that you only agree to meet where you’ll feel comfortable.
While you might want to keep the first meeting fairly light, some matches may prefer to know upfront what you expect from a relationship.
Are you there to make friends or seeking a soulmate?
This conversation, although potentially awkward, can save time in the long run, as you decide immediately on your compatibility and the likelihood of taking things further.
When you’re nervous, it’s tempting to speak to fill every silence and mask your dating jitters.
However, no one likes to be talked at for two hours!
Listening to the other person allows you to get to the know your date and reveals if there’s a genuine connection.
When nervous, it’s tempting to build Dutch courage with a few drinks. But be careful.
While you want to enjoy the experience, overdoing the alcohol may distort the evening, making you question whether you had a meaningful connection after all.
Even in later life, we can easily succumb to people-pleasing, especially when meeting someone we like.
While it’s a natural reaction, there’s a fine line between putting your best foot forward and pretending you’re someone you’re not.
Engaging in the latter becomes a tiring pretence, and difficult to maintain in the long run. Therefore, just be yourself.
Sometimes you have an immediate spark on a date, which is great! However, like anything, finding the perfect person can take time.
If you don’t feel any attraction at the outset, it’s best to be honest so your date knows where they stand.
Then you can either continue as friends or go your separate ways.
Post date, it can be hard to know how soon to follow up with someone, especially if you like them.
Fear not, they’re likely wrestling with the same dilemma!
Generally, it’s good to take the initiative and send a message saying you had a nice time, which can also help you gauge their interest in another meeting.
Finding the perfect match
It might seem daunting to re-enter the dating arena, especially if you’re out of practice, but it’s still possible to meet someone special at any age.
Arguably, the explosion of online dating sites and meetup groups has made it even easier to bond over shared interests, from which romantic relationships may develop.
If you’re intimidated, take small steps to start. Decide what you want from meeting someone new and talk with friends and family.
Research your options and decide whether you want to attend in-person events or upload an online profile.
After all, you’re only one match away from meeting that special someone.
Browse more Mirthy articles by clicking here.