If you’re a woman over 50 and dating – whether it’s online dating or another route, don’t fall victim to the myth that “all the good men are taken.” That’s absolutely not true. If you’re looking for a relationship, use these 10 tips to successfully navigate today’s dating scene and meet a man who’s right for you.
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Yesterday, I posted a special Valentine’s Day round-up of 20 couples who met and married after they turned 50 (including me) so we could all bask in the cozy glow of love. As I researched the post and read everyone’s stories, I noticed many similarities in everyone’s stories. And, as a veteran of more than 5 years on the dating scene before I met my husband, I’ve picked up a few best practices myself. These 10 tips can help you find the relationship that’s right for you. Even if you’re over 50!
1. Become the Person You Want to Attract
I first read this advice in Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, which is a wonderful book to read if you’re hoping to bring more love into your life. Make a list of all the attributes you want in a partner and don’t hold back. List as many things as you can think of. Then ask yourself, “Would this person want to be with me?”
For example, let’s say you want to be with someone with a great sense of humor who will make you laugh. That person is going to want to be with someone is filled with joy and loves to laugh. When I first got divorced, believe me, no one would have described me as “joy-filled.” It took a lot of time and inner work to get my joy back. I shudder to think of what kind of man the bitter, scared women I was then would have attracted. You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.
2. Have a Clear Picture of What You Want in a Partner
Remember the list you made in Step 1? Take it out and keep it with you. I made a list of all the attributes I wanted in my partner and kept it in my wallet for years. I internalized the list so completely that I could typically tell within a few dates if a man was right for me. And if they weren’t, I either stopped seeing them or mentally placed them in a “just for fun” category. Having a clear picture of the partner I wanted in my head helped me to recognize that partner when he came along.
It’s important to realize that your ideal mate may not look very much like your list. But if you’re clear about the qualities you must have in a partner and the qualities you absolutely don’t want, your list will help you choose the person that’s right for you.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Most Authentic Self
I still remember an online dating profile I once saw. The first sentence was “First, you should know that World of Warcraft is very important to me.” I laughed out loud when I read it and briefly thought about sending him a friendly email telling him that he wasn’t going to get a lot of responses with that profile.
And then I realized something. It’s actually totally fine to love World of Warcraft. Woman after woman might read his profile and think (as I did), “Next!” But someday his dream woman, a fellow World of Warcraft fanatic, will read his profile and know she’s finally found her prince. I can picture them now together, bringing pizza home on Friday nights and sitting by each other on the sofa happily every evening.
A lot of people give you dating advice that amounts to “Hide Your Crazy” but I completely disagree. Always be your most authentic self. That’s the way to attract a partner who loves you for who you really are. And if you’re turning off too many people with your authentic personality, that’s a sign that you should probably spend some more time working on yourself.
In retrospect, I’m not sure why I was so quick to dismiss my World of Warcraft-loving potential suitor. My ideal Friday is bringing home pizza and sitting side by side on the couch.
4. Date Outside “Your Type”
Yes, I know that I just told you to have a clear idea of what you want in a relationship and I said to list everything you’d like in an ideal man, including things like “Must Make 6 Figures” and “Must Be Over 6 Feet Tall,” but people are pretty bad at predicting what type of person they’ll fall in love with. That blue-collar worker who’s shorter than you might actually be so kind and make you laugh so hard that you completely forget your earlier “requirements.”
5. Don’t Be Afraid of Online Dating
There are still a lot of myths about online dating, particularly among people our age, but the reality is that the easiest way to meet men who are looking to date is through online dating sites. Check out these safety tips before getting started and do some research to determine which site is right for you. (This guide is helpful.)
6. Don’t Take Things Personally
People join online dating sites for a variety of reasons. Some people are looking for a relationship and others are simply looking to hook up. It’s also very easy for people to fall into the online dating FOMO mindset: the person you’re talking with seems nice enough, but what if the next person you meet is even better?
It helps to take an “all information is useful information” mindset. If you’re looking for a relationship and a man you meet seems more interested in dating a number of women – or worse, acts like he likes you a lot and then ghosts you two weeks later – then I want you to say (and believe) the following:
“We had different goals and it’s good that I found out now. Thank you, next!”
7. Focus on Self-Care
When I was single, I had a pretty strict 3 months on/3 months off policy towards online dating. As an introvert, it was exhausting meeting and talking to people and I could only do it for so long.
Plus, it’s hard when you like someone or want to pursue a relationship with someone and they don’t feel the same way! If that happens to you, take an evening to eat ice cream, take a bath, drink some wine and then shake it off. If you need to take a break from dating, then do it!
You don’t want to hurt your own happiness in the pursuit of a relationship. Remember to always put yourself – and your self-care – at the top of your priorities.
8. Know Your Worth
(Spoiler alert: you’re worth a lot!)
If you meet someone who seems perfect and checks off all the boxes on your list but they aren’t as attentive as you would like or don’t seem as into you as you are into them, then remember that you are a wonderful woman with tons of good qualities and you deserve all the love you desire. If someone isn’t giving you that love, then keep looking.
Similarly, if you meet someone who seems completely enthralled by you and wants a relationship, but you’re just not feeling it even though he seems perfectly nice, don’t settle! You deserve someone that you love completely. (As a side note, it’s not fair to the man when you “settle” for him. Both people in a relationship deserve complete and total love and if you can’t give that to someone, it’s only fair to let them move on to find it with someone else.)
9. Get Active on Social Media
I’m astonished at the number of people (including myself) who connected with their spouse on Facebook. Even if you don’t have a sixth-grade boyfriend out there wondering what you’re up to these days (and you know what, you probably do), it’s fun to reconnect with old friends and make new friends with shared interests. If you have a hobby or interest, there’s a Facebook group just for you. I’ve met several friends in real life who started out as “Facebook friends” and we felt as if we were old friends from the first time we met in real life. It’s a great way to connect with people who lift you up.
10. Remember to Find Joy in the Present Moment
If you had told me when my marriage ended that I would be single for 10 years and then would marry a man who would make me happier than I have ever been, I would have burst into tears. 10 years! I’d be dead by then!
Well, as it turns out, I’m actually not dead and I’m quite happy. And the good news is that those 10 years between marriages were quite happy as well. I raised my family, made some great memories, and healed a lot of hurts. I also had fun hanging out with some nice men who weren’t quite right for me.
I spent waaaay too much time bemoaning my single status and I don’t want to you to be like me because looking back now, the nights I remember most fondly were those I spent with my girlfriends or on the couch watching a movie. I’ve learned the value of finding joy in the present moment as I’ve gotten older and I wish I could go back and share that lesson with my younger self.
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