Finding Love at 50 Plus
Let’s face it, nobody likes the prospect of having to start all over again, in search of a new partner. Never is this truer than when you’re of more mature years. But finding love has no sell-by date - even if you’ve been out of the dating “jungle” for a long time. I’ve witnessed countless family, friends and dating coaching clients find joy in later life.
It’s never too late to find love
I married my third husband Peter when I was 48 and, 15 years later, we’re even more in love than we were when we met 20 years ago. My mother-in-law remarried at 81. It’s possible – but you have to approach your mature love search with wisdom and tenacity. Do make sure that you’re in the right place in your life, in every way, to find love.
The first question you have to ask yourself is – do you really want to be in a relationship? You may think you do because everybody else seems to be in one, but in fact you might just be happier with your own company. And that’s fine! Or perhaps you’ve been hurt in the past which makes you petrified of trying again. It’s disheartening when you suffer from a bad experience. It’s difficult not to become “relationship-jaded”, and decide that it’s safer to remain alone, but by doing so you may miss the chance of a lifetime to find lasting love and all the benefits that entails.
First, love yourself
Finding love is an inside job. You have to learn to love yourself before you can love another. Self-care doesn’t equate to selfishness. When you feel truly good about yourself, you’re far likelier to attract the right person. Remember the oxygen mask principle on a plane - you’re advised to put on your mask first, before helping others. Do whatever is necessary to build your self-esteem before you go searching.
Proactive doesn’t mean desperate! It involves embracing all methods of meeting a potential partner. I used to advise my dating coaching clients that finding love is a numbers’ game and that online dating is like eating your vegetables – nobody wants to do it, but it’s good for you. Yes – it can be irritating, but if you view it as a tool in a larger bag of re-emerging dating skills, it does truly have advantages. You can keep your dates short and sweet – which is a great starting point from which to reignite your dating mojo. You must always, however, follow strict safety rules and if you smell a dating rat – get out immediately.
I encourage you to also embrace every opportunity to meet somebody new. This means using your networks in a sensible way, telling friends you’re on the lookout for a great partner and joining singletons’ organisations. I used to own Dinner Dates and we ran multiple events on a weekly basis, which afforded our clients the opportunity to meet in a safe environment, at hosted events. Mature dating needn’t be doom and gloom. You have so much more to offer a partner in terms of richness of life experience. Of course, with Pandemic dating, use of the internet becomes even more essential, as many events are now held online. This is a positive, as it means you can attend from anywhere in the world, and thereby increase your chances of making new connections.
Expand on your friendships with both sexes
Seek out people who raise your spirits, and never dump your close friends when you’ve found a partner. In this circle, include some who have what you’d like – a fulfilling relationship. You can learn from them and their example will propel you on when, inevitably, you get knocks along the way on your mature dating journey. Hanging out with your friends will also enable you to not to feel overwhelmed by the process. You’ll need all the support you can glean. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
Bury your baggage before entering a committed relationship
Don’t drag all your relationship yesterdays into today. Many people blow their chances during embryonic dating, by suffering from emotional and verbal incontinence and telling all to their date, way too soon. This gives totally the wrong impression about you, may scare the pants off your date and is also an indication that you probably aren’t yet ready for a new relationship. No prospective partner wants to hear how hideous your ex was – at least not in the early stages! Inevitably, we all unconsciously drag our relationship “previous” into our next relationship, but too much too soon can spell sabotage. In my book, “From Dinner Date to Soulmate – Cynthia Spillman’s Guide to Mature Dating”, I suggest various methods for dealing with troublesome emotional baggage.
Good communication is crucial
Practising mindful communication is the lifeblood of your relationship. Mindful dating and communication open up a whole new world of relating to others and yourself. Mindfulness isn’t any fanciful notion whereby you have to sit cross-legged and chant “aum”. It’s about being self-aware and present in all of your relationships, which is hugely beneficial. This also enables you to manage your expectations of yourself and of your potential partner, so that you don’t end up reeling with disappointment. You learn to “mind the gap”, take it one step at a time, and not buy into either catastrophising or reading too much into your relationship situation, way too soon. Your love life isn’t a dress rehearsal. Seize your courage – and go for it!
- Finding love is an inside job – if you don’t feel good about yourself, your chances of relationship success are less
- It works if you work at it. You have to put in the effort. Love won’t just magically come to you.
- Stay upbeat and positive and don’t believe you have to be a certain age or physically be in perfect shape, or have a specific “look”. Compare and despair at your peril!
- Draw up a list of all you’ve achieved in your life to remind yourself that you’re enough. You have transferrable skills which will help you on your current mission.
- Take it one step at a time with a prospective partner. Always go at your own pace. You’re not running in the Grand National.
- Be mindful of your personal safety and do tell at least one person where you’re meeting a stranger, and if necessary, have them phone you during the date to check you’re okay.
Cynthia Spillman (@CynthTellsIt) was CEO of The International Dating Academy, a one-stop dating shop for people who wished to improve their dating skills. Her area of expertise is in mindful relationships for the mature person. Her second book, 'From Dinner Date to Soulmate, is a witty and empowering route map for older women searching for love.
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