Prep Yourself for Dating After 50 - dummies

Prep Yourself for Dating After 50

By Pepper Schwartz

Copyright © 2014 AARP All rights reserved.

If you’re beginning to date after 50, you’ve lived for a considerable while now and gone through many experiences, and that’s both a blessing and a hardship. The blessing: You’ve become wiser, you know the ropes, and you’ve had many experiences to learn from. The hardship: You’ve taken some lumps — perhaps some major ones — along the way, and those experiences have soured your perspective.

For example, perhaps you married the wrong person, were in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, or just haven’t had a satisfying relationship in your life. Naturally, these circumstances could taint your approach to dating; you’re looking at dating from the basement rather than from a penthouse!

No one is blaming you, but those feelings will keep you from getting what you really want — a great companion or a perfect match.

People who have a pessimistic point of view broadcast it more than they know. The lines of their face point down instead of up. They automatically bring up all the old clichés about dating when you’re older:

    “There are no good men.”

    “Women just want you for your money.”

    “Men just want someone to be their nurse.”

    “Women come with too much baggage.”

You’ve probably heard these stereotypes about men and women over 50, and they don’t represent the truth. Like all generalizations, they describe someone, but they don’t describe everyone. They don’t describe the majority.

What’s more, they display a viewpoint that isn’t helpful. If you approach dating from its problems — its “what ifs,” its “hopelessness,” even its “dangers” — you’re defeating yourself before you begin. Dating is a piece of cake, but if you follow the advice here and work on your issues, you can find someone to love.

Look at your face in the morning when you leave, at least once during the day, and when you come home at night. Is your face relaxed? Is it friendly? If not, soften your eyes and mouth and relax your expression. Work on looking pleasant and happy as a natural state of being.

Here are a couple of things you can do to work on your approach to the world:

  • Think of all you have to be grateful for. Start with the basics. Can you hear and see? Do you have the body parts you need? All you have to do is see how physically challenged some people are to know that being able to move around and take in your world helps a lot.

  • Consider the good things about where you live. If you live in a place where you can vote, live without fear of daily attack, and have fresh water, good food, and the right and ability to work, you have more to be grateful for than many of the world’s inhabitants.

  • Realize that you have some financial capability. You were able to afford this book. If you have any financial cushion at all, you’re way more advantaged than most people in the world.

  • Remember who has loved you — even for a while, and especially for a lifetime. Do you have siblings you’re close to or friends who support you? Every person in your life who gives you affection or respect is someone you should treasure.

Bottom line: You have a lot going for you that you don’t always let yourself treasure, and you should. Let that awareness support your mood and your perception of a possible romantic future.

If you tend to get depressed when things don’t work out right away, put a list of things to be grateful for on your bathroom mirror or your refrigerator door. Make sure you remind yourself of all the good things in your life.