Dating Over 50
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Dating Over 50

According to Clinical Psychologist Judith Sills, adults who enter the dating world after age 50, face unique challenges. "You have a 50-year-old body with a 20-year-old headset. You are anxious and giggling the way you were when you were 19. You feel like you have dialed the clock back." Baby boomers often carry excess baggage from past relationships, or from their current life situation with them.

Explore New Activities

One way to begin to socialize in a non-threatening environment where people can just gather to share an interest, is by deciding to explore new activities. Enrolling in a cooking class may help you meet people, but it can also help you learn about new foods and ways to vary your own cooking. Hiking groups are also a great way for people to meet one another, while providing the opportunity to venture outside, explore new surroundings and get some exercise. Other possibilities include joining a book or music group, or simply volunteering at community centers, parks or museums.

Take Advantage of Online Resources

According to a report by Emily Brandon in U.S. News, one of the fastest growing demographics on dating websites, is people over the age of 50. The stress of bad economic news, and the rise and fall of the stock market, often prompts people to look for comforting things, including relationships on dating websites, especially niche sites where the members are likely to share some sort of common bond. Post a flattering picture (not one that is 10 years old,) and a descriptive, but honest profile.

Don't Be Too Intense

Avoid going into a first date with any preconceptions or expectations -- other than a desire to have a good time. When people go into a first date with any type of expectation, the date can wind up sounding like a job interview before anything actually happens. Think about those awkward silences, and plan for them so there aren't embarrassing moments that turn into disaster. Plan to talk about neutral things -- a favorite meal, a favorite book, movie, place to travel, or type of international cuisine.

Opt for Short and Simple First Dates

Dr. Perry Schwartz advises 50-something adults to make their first dates short and simple, like meeting for coffee. That way, if it doesn't work out, you aren't stuck with someone for a prolonged amount of time. When deciding on an activity for a date, look for things to do that provide opportunities for talking. Movies, plays, sporting events, concerts, museums and other activities that revolve around mutual interests are ideal choices. Avoid activities that open the door for awkward silences.

Dealing With Kids

If children are still living at home, Dr. Schwartz suggests that people who are over age 50 and are in the early dating phase of a relationship, not invite their date into the house. Doing so can create an uncomfortable situation for both the children and for the date. Don't hide a relationship from your kids - regardless of their age, but don't flaunt it if they aren't prepared to deal with it. Make sure that dates know you have kids, but don't make kids the primary topic for discussion.

Reach Out to Old Friends

Reaching out to old friends doesn't have to mean that you call an old boyfriend or girlfriend. Get in touch with a former classmate, an old college roommate, or a pal from high school. Reconnecting with old friends is a great way to begin to relate to people again - especially in a non-threatening way.

Many baby boomers have elderly parents with health issues for whom they are, or feel responsible. Your parents don't expect you to give up your life because of them, so don't use this as an excuse. Likewise, your adult kids don't expect you to stop living your life because of the death of a spouse, or divorce. Don't allow these circumstances to become excuses that stand in the way of your potential future happiness.

Re-entering the dating world is a scary prospect for anyone, but it is especially scary for someone whose life was previously all wrapped up in a neat little package. Accept that circumstances change, and allow yourself to change and grow with those transitions in your life. Look to people who share your interests, and start slowly. If a dinner date feels too "formal," go out to eat on a Dutch treat. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are relationships.