5 Myths about Dating After 50 - dummies

5 Myths about Dating After 50

By Pepper Schwartz

Copyright © 2014 AARP All rights reserved.

You must be able to think of yourself as a worthwhile, highly datable person over 50 before you actually start dating. Some people have an overinflated idea of themselves as a gift to the dating marketplace, but more people suffer from the opposite problem — insecurity about who would want them.

This is particularly true among older people who haven’t dated since they were awkward high school dweebs or heartthrobs (if they ever were). If you never thought of yourself as popular or self-assured with the opposite sex (or with the same sex, if you’re gay), you may never have gotten over that image, even if you subsequently had a great relationship. So wouldn’t you say it’s high time to shuck that image?

The self-confidence of many attractive, intelligent, amusing, and interesting people dissolves when they think of entering the romance market. But you have to get over these feelings of inferiority. You should be realistic — perhaps George Clooney or Angelina Jolie wouldn’t be blown away by you — but there’s a lot of latitude outside of that rarefied air.

If you really don’t think you’re all that great for anyone, get some counseling to help you realize your strengths and help you approach or be approached by someone worthy of who you are and what you have to contribute. Here are five myths about dating over 50 that simply are not true.

You have to be thin to date

If you look around you, you’ll see that most people aren’t thin. And yet they have a partner. True, some people met when they were slimmer and then gained weight, but many of them met when they were packing more than a few extra pounds.

Believe it or not, some people aren’t that body-conscious, and your body fitness isn’t their gateway requirement. Yes, you’ll do better on the dating market if you’re fit, but being fit isn’t the absolute key to the kingdom. Women in particular aren’t as demanding as men in this arena — many of them figure they can fix the guy afterward!

Men are more likely to prefer a woman who isn’t obese, but not all men want a woman to have zero body fat. Remember, you’re older now, and though many people like a fit person and certainly look for signs of health and self-care, the lessons of life prove that weight is only one consideration, not the consideration.

You have to be under 50 to be datable

You may have heard that the biggest growth in online dating is people over 50. It’s true. People over 50 have a harder time finding other single people in everyday life, so they’ve come to the Internet for convenience in locating potential partners.

Most of the people they’re looking for are within a ten-year range of their own age, and the vast majority, men and women, would be happy with someone their own age.

Granted, most people think they’re “younger” than everyone else their age, but they still act on what they see in the person they meet, not what year they see on a birth certificate.

Sure, some 60-year-old men date 40-year-old women, but they’re the exception, not the rule. In general, younger partners aren’t cruising around looking for much older ones.

You have to be wealthy to date

Most people aren’t wealthy. Many people are on a budget — sometimes a strict budget — but they still find someone. Money is alluring, no doubt about it. But most older people aren’t entering the dating market because they’re looking for someone who will make them rich.

Of course, that’s most people — you do need to worry about the scary minority who are looking for a sugar daddy or sugar momma and who will say anything you need to hear, and certainly try and get in your pants, if they think it will help them get into your pockets.

If you see a personal ad or online profile that advertises a beautiful woman or attractive younger man looking for someone “generous,” stay away. A lot of these people are professional scammers or sex workers.

You can’t have children at home and date

Some people love children, even other people’s children. And because you’re not going to get rid of your own, you probably have to look for someone who thinks kids are a plus, not a minus.

Sure, some people are finished with parenting and just don’t want to face renewed family obligations. But many people want someone who loves children and will be a welcome presence with their own children.

Many parents who’ve dated women or men without kids have found that it’s a big problem when someone they love doesn’t understand the priority that one’s own children have in life. They often realize that it’s usually a better match when two parents find each other.

In online dating, people have a chance to decide whether they can deal with a partner who has kids at home. If you enter your deal breakers and must-haves, you’ll only meet people who are open — or not open — to dating someone who’s still parenting her kids daily.

You have to be good looking to date

Few people are as good looking over 50 as they were under that age. But they’ve gotten used to it! Changing the way you look also changes the way you see others. Though some people can’t change their idea of who they think is attractive and still want someone who they would have wanted when they were young, most people aren’t that constrained.

That isn’t to say that people aren’t attracted to handsome men or beautiful women — just that they generally change that definition to be age-appropriate.

You can increase your attractiveness by how you act, smile, and focus on other people. Clean, high-quality clothes and good personal hygiene go a long way to creating some chemistry.