Why bother dating after 50, you ask? There are so many reasons! Not just because you might land yourself the perfect partner, but because the dating journey alone can bring you amazing things in life.
It will help you focus on yourself
The most attractive trait in just about anyone is their willingness to create a great life for themselves, no matter what hardships they have faced or currently face. What’s more, to stay grounded when you meet people—some of whom will like you, others who won’t—having a focus on your own life is essential. I always say a balanced diary is the first step to an incredible dating journey.
What I mean by that is that once you take an inventory of your life and decide what you are passionate about and want to more of, your diary fills up with you. Plus, of course, you also have to fill your diary with things that are good for you, such as spending time with friends and exercising.
Furthermore, there may be areas of your life you want to become better with, be that your finances, your career, or your diet. To expand and grow in those areas, you might want to set time aside for activities that align with those things.
If you do this, your diary should be filled with things you love, things that are good for you, and things that make you grow as a person. Once you fill your diary with these kinds of activities, you’ll feel fabulous. You might not be where you want to be with every area of your life, but you’ll be creating your dreams (even if you start in a dumpster at the beginning of the journey).
Not only is this attractive to the people you meet, but it also ensures you don’t alter your diary to suit theirs. You’ll feel fulfilled, so you won’t be tempted to sit by the phone, waiting for a text. Nor will you feel terrible if someone doesn’t like you. Lastly, you won’t change your entire life around for a person you just met. Your diary is busy, so you won’t be tempted to lean too heavily on someone else for happiness.
It will make you a better communicator and friend
To be successful at dating, you need to learn to listen well, communicate your needs, understand the other person’s needs and be supportive of them. Those same qualities will make you a better friend, parent, daughter, or son. It may even help you when communicating at work.
To become a great listener, learn to set aside your own stories, questions, and judgment when someone else is speaking. Force yourself to listen to every word instead of analysing what’s being said or preparing a reply. Listen. Then ask a clarifying question, or ask if you’ve understood them correctly by stating what you think they just communicated. After that, you can ask in-depth questions and make suggestions.
Realise that most people look to be heard and understood, not bombarded with questions, analysed, judged, or peppered with your own stories relating to what they just said.
If you need some pointers about listening, google “active listening” or read the chapter on it in Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Great book.
Additionally, to create a happy relationship with someone, you need to communicate your own needs. What are they? How do you make the other person understand them? Both Gary Chapman’s five love languages and Sandy Gerber’s emotional appeals come in handy here. If you haven’t already, check out their websites and learn what your love languages and emotional appeals are. Once you start dating someone, find out what their needs are and how to satisfy those while staying true to your own.
In a relationship, you aren’t just supportive of another person’s needs; you learn commitment and showing up. Sometimes it’s not about going to lengths to satisfy the other persons needs, but simply the promise of being there, even when times are tough. And of course, giving hugs to encourage and soothe, holding hands to show you’re there and so forth. Making a cup of tea. The small things. That, alone, will make you a better friend.
It will force you to step out of your comfort zone
Meeting new people can be scary as you’ll definitively meet ones you don’t gel with if you use online dating sites. No matter how nice a person is online, you might simply not vibe with them in real life. Not everyone’s a fit. And learning to have conversations with people you don’t “hit it off with” is an art in its own right.
Of course, dating is also about rejection. If you go in with the attitude that out of 100 people you meet, ten will be interested, and one will be right for you, you’ll do well. Why? Because you don’t fear rejection. You realise you’re looking for your perfect puzzle piece, and if someone isn’t it, it’s not personal. There are many puzzle pieces out there, and you have to pick through a few to find the one that fits you.
This ability to meet and mingle will people will help you in other social situations. It may also make you better at communicating with other people at large. If you need some inspiration for handling social interactions, try reading or listening to Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
You’ll meet people you’d otherwise never meet
If you choose to attend social events or networking events, and participate in activities to meet new people—be that taking classes, attending workshops, or using Meetup groups—you’ll widen your social circle. You won’t just meet friends of friends, but people you’d never meet otherwise. You’re likely to gradually make new friends. Even people you don’t become friends with might provide insights into life you’d otherwise never have.
Remember that some events will be a bust—you won’t find anyone interesting there. But maybe you can learn something new or have a laugh when you leave—running full speed toward better entertainment on Netflix!
Likewise, if you choose to use online dating sites and apps, you will meet new people. Some will be great, others not so much so. I always say dating should be a romantic comedy—when you meet someone who is not at all your cup of tea, have a laugh. Yeah, there may be awkward silences (always go on short first dates, and preferably include an activity so you have something to tap about) and embarrassing moments. That’s part of the journey. Enjoy it.
If you’re looking for ideas to help you find love in your 50s, have a read of this article.
You’ll have fun
Some people you meet will be fantastic. You might not end up dating them, but you’ll either have a lovely one-off meeting or become friends. It might even lead to new career opportunities!
Some people might also introduce you to new activities or other people. One person can change your life for the better—even if they don’t end up becoming your partner!
You’ll have a reason to get dressed up
Let’s face it—it’s nice to have a reason to put on some perfume or a nice shirt. Whether you enjoy fashion or not, just that little bit of effort to look good can lift your spirits. If you put in a bit of effort every week, well, your confidence might just improve!
If you want to have some fun, you can take it one step further and do a makeover. It doesn’t need to be extreme; something as simple as a haircut and adding a few new items to your wardrobe can be all that’s required. Or, if you’ve always wanted nicer calves, get a gym instructor to show you how to get those calves! A makeover can involve many different things—take your pick!
You can go on all the dates you didn’t go on when you were younger
If you were an awkward teen, you might have had few to no dates. Or the dates you went on weren’t as fun as you’d have liked. Or maybe you were so wild you never had a chance to experience a romantic picnic. Whether you want to stargaze from rooftops, or drive a convertible to the seaside, now’s the time to try it out—without the teenage acne!
If you’re looking for more date ideas, check out this article.
It’s never too late to find love
We no longer live in an era when we are forced to stay in mourning for two years if our spouse passes away. Nor do we live in an age where divorce is frowned upon. We can even be considered decent living with a partner who isn’t our spouse! In short, this is not the Regency or Victorian period of England. However, some lingering beliefs are hard to shake, such as the idea that dating is for the young. It isn’t. Even if you already have a partner, you should be dating and exploring date nights you’ve never tried before from time to time!
Unfortunately, films and TV shows tend to focus on younger people, but if you are looking for inspiration, check out “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix.
Dating aside, finding love can brighten your life at any time. The companionship it provides is marvellous. So is having someone there who can cook chicken soup for you on a rainy day. While establishing a circle of friends who offer the same is vital for a healthy social life, a partner is more intimate. They share your life on another level.
It will add another dimension to your life
As already mentioned, you need to fill your diary with activities and events that fulfil you. Once that’s done, you lead a life where you grow, learn and do what you’re passionate about. However, dating can add a bit of spice and zest that other activities can’t. While you may get butterflies in your belly doing something you love, it’s a tad different from falling in love. The intimacy, the physical contact, the support, the friendship…it comes in a package unlike anything else.
You might find the kind of love you’ve never experienced before
You’re not the same person you were last time you fell in love. And chances are slim you’re falling in love with the same person you did back then. Furthermore, if you're serious about filling that diary of yours, you’re growing as a person and improving your life right now. That means that the kind of love and partnership you’ll experience with a new partner will be different from what it’s been like in the past.
On the subject of experience, Relationships & Couples coach Andrea Balboni, from Harley Street hypnotherapist Zoe Clews and Associates, told Age Times: "Dating after 50 brings the benefit of wisdom. You likely will have experienced or witnessed relationships that have or have not worked for you or those close to you. And can decide for yourself with greater awareness, what is right for you. And when it comes say ‘yes’ to it."