Dating After 50: The Most Important Thing To Know
When I said ‘I do’ in my mid 20s I never imagined I’d be dating again 25 years later. I was a single mother to three children ready to meet someone new; I was online and terrified! Dating in later life was probably the last thing on your mind a few years back as well and yet here you are, and perhaps like me back then, you have feelings of both excitement and fear. It’s all totally normal. So, what can I say to put your mind at ease? I’m often asked for my top tip for dating over 50, I think about it often, and my answer is always the same.
Your state of mind.
Being aware of your state of mind is vital. It’s not about controlling it, simply being aware of your thinking and how you’re feeling is enough. Good days and bad days come and go. Some days dating can feel extremely hard and painful and other days it’s a breeze. That’s just the way it is. That’s life. Being able to shrug your shoulders on a bad day and move on is so much more helpful than taking to social media or emailing your friends and pouring out how difficult it all is.
And here’s something else worth considering. You may well have a dating profile and photos that you’ re thrilled with, but if your internal dialogue is not great then you’re going to struggle and you’ll probably find the whole experience painful. Trust me, I know.
Whether we know it or not we’ve all got a full-time running commentary of our lives going on in our heads. Some of it’s helpful and interesting and some is extremely unhelpful and self-sabotaging. If you’ve become used to paying more attention to the negative and unhelpful soundtrack then it’s time to find a new one.
If you’re used to taking these kinds of thoughts seriously:
- men in their 50s are only interested in women much younger than themselves
- women are more interested in my bank balance and success than in me as a person
- men make no effort at conversation
- women only want to talk about themselves
- I’ve heard too many horror stories
- I’m too old for this kind of thing
- I’ll never find anyone
- I’m too fussy
- I think I’m coming across as desperate...
...then you might want to reassess what you’re listening to and why ask yourself why you’re believing all your thinking.
What if you were to let go of all the stories you’ve got about dating?
What if you were open to something completely different and new showing up?
What if you could be curious and intrigued about possibilities rather than bracing yourself for difficulty and failure?
This may be the first time you’ve been online or you may be an old hand. Whichever is true, why not start over again? Come at this with fresh eyes, and an open mind and heart and see all the old beliefs you have about dating in midlife as simply stories that have no basis in fact. I’m not suggesting that you take a Pollyanna attitude and pretend it’s all sunshine and roses. What I am suggesting is that you become aware of your own state of mind and how that affects your experience of dating in later life. Lighten up on yourself and enjoy not knowing what’s around the corner.
Following a divorce, Rebecca Perkins found herself a single mother to three children and 45 years old in 2008. She hadn’t dated since her early 20s and found that much had changed! After a number of years of good and bad dates she met her guy (online naturally) and fell in love just before her 50th birthday. Midlife has taught her to be more open-minded, to take more risks, to worry less and live by the motto, ‘If not now, when?’
Rebecca is a qualified wellbeing and resilience coach and has worked with individuals and groups across all ages and sectors. Her passion is getting right to the heart of what her clients want for their lives, helping them see beyond what they currently believe is possible.
Rebecca is co-founder of Irresistible Dating which she set up with award winning dating photographer Saskia Nelson. Their expertise lies in guiding clients into the right mindset for dating success as well as helping them create a dating profile that stands out.
Rebecca is also the author of Best Knickers Always: 50 Lessons for Midlife. Her latest book, co written with her daughter, Recovery from Within: A mother and daughter’s journey through anorexia will be published in the autumn. Rebecca has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, BBC London and writes regularly for Medium where she was featured as one of their top writers on mental health.