Tips for dating in midlife

Dating in midlife can feel overwhelming at times, this is very true. I know that when I started dating again after the ending of my marriage I felt way out of my comfort zone. Perhaps you’ve just joined Lumen and are looking for some helpful tips or advice on how to enjoy this time in your life. Read on if you’d like my thoughts on what to consider and how to make the most of online dating.

Remember that it’s not just you feeling nervous

You’re not alone in feeling scared. This is all new and you aren’t expected to know what it’s going to be like. I’m guessing that online dating probably wasn’t in your plan, yet here you are! Doing something new can fill us with both excitement and nervousness. That’s normal. Know that others online are feeling similar things to you. You are in charge here and can explore at a pace that suits you. You might like to jump right in or take your time by dipping your toes in the water. Just notice when your nervousness is getting the better of you and see that you don’t have to take your thoughts quite so seriously!

Make sure you’re having fun

We can approach online dating many different ways — earnestly, taking it all very seriously or with lightheartedness. Guess which way you’re more likely to have fun? Get curious about all the different possibilities! It’s easy to become rigid in our thinking about the type of person we’re looking for and miss out all the other people we’re dismissing because they don’t fit our criteria. The more fun you can have, enjoying the process the better your whole experience. Laughter is always good!

Take time to look after yourself

This is key. Dating for the first time in a while can feel exhausting, both mentally and physically. We can end up questioning ourselves a lot about why we’re doing it, whether we want to go on another date, whether the person we like wants to see us again. It can be draining. Make sure you’re making time for yourself and your mental health needs especially. 

Don’t take it all personally

Not everyone you like is going to like you back. That’s the way it works. Please don’t take it personally. It’s actually got nothing to do with you (and yes, I appreciate it does feel that it is personal). The less fixed we can be in our thinking about how a date/relationship/connection needs to look the more disappointed we’re likely to be. 

Be prepared to do something different

To get different results we need to do things differently. Agreed? Yet, so many of us get stuck in our ways, determined to keep doing it the way we’ve always done it and then wonder why things don’t seem to be working out. Get curious (my favourite thing to do!) The ‘something different’ could be considering people you’d never considered before. It could mean doing something different on your dates. It might be looking at your own expectations of what a relationship looks like. Remember; change only happens when you’re prepared to take a chance on doing something different.

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. 

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