It doesn’t matter how old you are, dating can be one of the most daunting things in life.
But it’s certainly true that if you’re getting back into dating when you’re over 50 years old, it can be especially terrifying.
And the rules of dating at that age are somewhat different to when you were in your 20s and it will most likely be a whole different experience for you.
As an over 50 you’ve experienced so much in life and have probably completely changed as a person – you most definitely know far more now than you did back then – plus the dating scene nowadays has evolved drastically from when you used to date!
You now have to navigate your way around terms like ‘ghosting’ – which means when someone cuts off communication with you completely with no explanation – and ‘breadcrumbing’ – which means when someone sends just enough messages to keep your interest but not enough to appear too committed.
All of these things can make dating over 50 seem supremely daunting, but don’t worry because in this article I’ve listed all of the rules and tips that you’re going to need to get back into the world of dating as someone who is over 50!
Still Continue To Pursue In-Person Dating
Believe it or not, in the age of technology, traditional methods of dating – a.k.a in-person dating – are actually still around and continue to be a great way of getting to know someone.
It’s a good idea to meet people like this by allowing your friends and family to match you up with someone they know or going to meet-up groups (for example book clubs) to find someone with similar interests to you.
Because you’re over 50, you might find yourself better suited to this and less nervous than even a modern younger person would be simply due to the fact that you already have experience of dating this way, as that’s how it used to be back in the day!
Don’t Dismiss Online Dating
If you’re over 50, online dating will probably be completely alien to you because the technology to do such a thing wasn’t around when you were in your 20s!
However, nowadays it’s all the rage and can be a great way to meet someone because you can browse through so many people at once and have online conversations with more than one person at a time, meaning getting to know people tends to be faster and easier than in-person dating.
Make sure you take your time with creating your online dating profile and choose the best recent pictures of you – it can be fun to do this with a friend!
It’s up to you whether you join a free dating site or one you have to pay for, but I would recommend paying for one because that way, if they do anything bad, the site has their credit card information and you can easily report them to the company who will then take action.
Don’t Take Rejection Personally
Rejection is something that everyone suffers at some point during dating, but if you haven’t dated for a long time and you haven’t got your defense barrier up to it anymore, it can really hurt and discourage you from staying on the dating scene.
But, the fact of the matter is that any rejection you face probably won’t be personal, thus you shouldn’t take it personally.
People reject others for many different reasons, from the fact they’ve decided to take it further with someone else they’ve been talking to instead, or the fact they’re simply looking for a different type of person for themselves.
It can feel disheartening and harsh if they ‘ghost’ you – as mentioned earlier, that means cutting off communication with you suddenly for no reason – but try not to take it to heart, as there are plenty more fish in the sea who will like YOU.
Don’t Give Up After A Couple Of Bad Dates
It can feel very easy to give up hope if you’ve been on two or three dates that didn’t go very well and you didn’t find anyone you liked.
But try and remember that dating is usually a long process with a lot of highs and lows – it’s very unlikely you’re going to find your perfect person straight away.
In fact, you might have to go on ten dates or more – and it could take up to a year – to finally find someone you really connect with, which is completely normal so don’t feel at all disheartened by this.
It might be easier said than done but you need to try to just enjoy the ride and try not to get too frustrated if it’s taking you a while to form a connection with someone.
Leave Any Baggage Behind
If you’re over 50, you may well have some sort of baggage from your past – as everyone does in some way or another – that might include anything from toxic relationships to health problems.
These will have been extremely important experiences in your life that have shaped you as a person and it can be tough to leave the hard things in your life that you’ve been through behind.
However, when you get back onto the dating scene, you really need to try as best you can to let all of this baggage go, because you can’t allow it to prevent you from discovering happiness in the later years of your life – it’s time to enjoy yourself and live in the present!
Know What You Want
If you’ve been in long-term relationship or have been married before but those relationships didn’t go very well – perhaps they were quite toxic or you simply didn’t have the right connection – then now that you’re starting to date again, you’re going to need to take a moment of reflection as to why your past relationships didn’t work out.
It’s likely that you’re going to want to go for someone this time around who has different attributes or personality traits than what you’ve chosen in the past.
So, for that, you should just ponder over what kind of person you’re looking for this time and keep those attributes in mind whenever you go on a date with someone, a bit like a checklist.
This will help guide you toward meeting the right person.
For example, my friend Gina (name changed for privacy) is a widow and originally from Italy. She speaks Italian, cooks Italian, and embraces her heritage. Gina really wanted to meet a man who was also from Italy.
That’s a tough order when you’re 70; right? It’s hard enough to find a nice guy, but he also has to be a particular ethnicity — tall order.
Gina did it. She’s been dating Tony for 8 months now and they’re both very happy.
Where did she meet him? At a dinner/dance hosted by an Italian-American club! She knew what she wanted and focused on venues where her guy might be. And it worked!
If they then tick off all the right boxes, it’s a positive sign for you.
Allow Three Dates To Get To Know Someone
An important rule of thumb is to not give up on someone after the first date – unless it really did go ridiculously and completely horribly!
It’s rare that you can be completely sure after a first date whether you’re going to have a connection with that person or not, so don’t blow them off just because there wasn’t an instant spark there with them.
Going on at least three dates with the same person is a good number, because by then you’ll have given them a chance and can better determine whether you feel as though there might be some potential there.
And hopefully, it turns out to be third time lucky rather than unlucky!
One warning here, however. If you get really bad vibes on the first date trust your instinct. One advantage of maturity is that we unconsciously have lots of saved experiences. So, if something is “off” run for the hills. Better safe than sorry!
Only Have Sex When You Feel Ready
When you re-enter the dating world and you haven’t been in a relationship for a while, the subject of sex is definitely something that will pop up in your mind, because dating the right person will almost inevitable lead to sex.
It might be nerve-wracking if you haven’t done it for a while, so it’s important that you only do it when you feel completely ready and comfortable with the person you’re with.
Whatever you do, don’t let them pressure you into anything you don’t want to do.
It’s also probably a good idea, when you feel ready, to have a talk with the person you’re seeing about how you feel about sex – for example, if you’re nervous and want to take things slowly – and what it is that you like and dislike.
Don’t Call Them If They Don’t Call You
It might be the case when you begin dating again that the person you went on a date with said they would call you but they actually didn’t bother in the end because it turns out they were just playing games with you.
Give it a few days to see if they’ll call but if they don’t – even if you enjoyed the date and want to see them again – do not call them yourself under any circumstances!
You don’t want to get involved with someone who makes promises they can’t keep and are just messing you around.
Dating is difficult at any age, let alone when you’re over 50 and you’ve been away from the dating scene for so many years!
Don’t be intimidated by it, though, and really go for it as much as you can because you deserve to be happy with someone.
I hope the dating rules I’ve included in this article will help you navigate the world of dating if you’re over 50!