By Glenn Baja
Dating after 50 can be a very daunting task to address and adapt to. Just the idea of starting over can be very overwhelming and intimidating. Is it worth the amount of time and effort to do this…yet again? Just the challenge and perseverance required to begin taking the seemingly “micro-steps” that takes place before one feels fully comfortable and at ease with another can be unnerving, daunting, and trying.
We wish to appear open and interesting to the opposite sex, but often that involves patience and a willingness to endure opinionated shallow-talk, personal discomfort, and protected vulnerability which can be a challenge for either gender. Vulnerability equates to trust, and too many of us have had our hands smacked and hearts forsaken to do that again. It also often involves being receptive enough to hearing and listening to topics that may not be of any interest to you. Just the thought of compromising ourselves, especially at our age, for the purpose of putting our “best-foot forward” can make one’s head swirl with dread, doubt, and apprehension! Over 50 dating is not easy, but is it worth it?
Pros And Cons
Some of us are coming off long-term relationships that have ended due to death, divorce, or simple incompatibility with a partner. All three situations/scenarios presents various challenges, but at the crux of each is the uncertainty of what it means to start over once more. Most of us are aware of the blessings and benefits of what a fulfilling relationship can bring: a partner to explore, travel, and grow with; the joy of deep, meaningful conversation and intimacy; someone you can trust and has your back; a best friend; a sense of belonging and helping each other along in life; and the joy of knowing someone cares about and loves you. Add to this list the many studies showing that people who are in fulfilling relationships are happier, more joyful, and live longer lives than those who don’t.
Solitude and loneliness sucks. They are harmful to our health and rob us of greater potential happiness and extra years of life. They can make us feel and believe that we are worthless, unloved, and unseen. It’s no fun to be lonely, struggling with the feelings that you have no significance, no purpose, and no one really gives a damn about you. Continued solitude and loneliness leads us into that long, slow, descending spiral of low self-esteem and worth, all leading to depression, isolation, and emotional pain.
But is getting back into the dating scene when you’re over 50 worth it? Is it worth the aggravation, the uncertainty to trust, and the uncomfortableness of starting over again? And if so, where and how do we start? How can we protect ourselves? Where do we look for that special someone at this age? Questions arise: Are they just after my money? Are they looking just to be taken care of? Are they only interested in sex, exerting control, or having their egos massaged?
Where To Look
Assuming you’re interested in something long-term rather than a quick romp-in-the-hay, most of us have met our partners through old-fashioned, established ways––through frequent exposure to a person over-time that organically built itself into something special. Call this old-school, but most of us met our partners through school, the workplace, at special events, or through common, daily activities that brought us into close contact with one another. It may have been a slow process, but it worked.
Meeting people today is not as simple and/or old-fashioned as it once was. Nor do we have as much time ahead of us to be as patient as we once were. Nowadays we have STD’s to be concerned about, addictive personalities we wish to avoid, concerns over the safety of our finances and inheritances, fractured families to deal with, aging parents that need our help, needy children that think we still owe them, let alone our own aging and body-image struggles, trust issues that still plague us, and habits that we’d rather not change. How do we deal with all this while at the same time risk finding a new partner?
There’s a number of options to consider
Internet dating sites
Online dating provides individuals with access to more potential partners than they can find in their daily activities. This is especially true for individuals interested in partners of a particular type, orientation, lifestyle, or who live in isolated areas. But remember, online communication is designed to make an initial connection, not set the foundation for a whole relationship. So keep your initial online conversation focused on finding out the basics quickly, and then setting up an actual date at a public place when and if it feels comfortable. Generally, a few short emails or quick conversations over the phone will suffice. Long, drawn-out introductory emails may be counter-productive and overwhelming. Save it for the date. If you’re crunched for time or still a bit apprehensive, make plans to meet for coffee.
Listed below are some of the more popular dating sites for those over 50
- Match.com has allegedly the largest base of “over 50” users of any dating site. Allegedly, it features an easy-to-use matching system that has led to more dates, relationships, and marriages than any other dating site.
- SilverSingles caters exclusively to 50+ age group. It offers simple, safe, and effective online dating tools.
- Elite Singles is exclusively for educated professionals, both active and retired. Over 80% of its members hold either a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree. It offers an advanced Fraud Detection System that verifies every profile.
- eHarmony offers a simple compatibility matching system that makes the site a popular choice for seniors seeking deep, long-term relationships. It offers a guarantee that if you don’t find a meaningful connection, the first 3 months costs are on them.
- OurTime, an exclusive 50+ dating site, is quickly gaining popularity amongst older singles. It features an extensive profile search and a simple to use interface. It is designed to bring older singles together.
- ChristianMingle is the largest and most popular dating site for devout Christians of all ages. A significant portion of its paid user base is over 55.
- SeniorPeopleMeet.com is the most popular dating site exclusively for those 55 and older. It is safe and easy to use, with a free trial to view profiles. It is a niche senior dating service for single older women and single older men.
Become more of you, and do more of you. Get involved in what interest you and chances are you’ll find yourself exposed to others who have the same or similar interest. Whether volunteering, joining a church group, working-out at a recreational or yoga fitness club, joining a book club, or taking singles-only cruises and/or travel excursions may lead to someone special. Have a special educational interest? Go to a week-end seminar that features guest speakers that interest you. Network, and find other like-minded people in the audience. You say you don’t have the time or money to go to such an event? Check-out your community college and see what classes they offer that appeals to you. Get involved in what you like to do.
Join a singles meet-up group or active local community group
Go online at com and do a search for “singles.” With a little additional searching you can find age-appropriate groups that feature a wide assortment of activities that you can get involved in. It’s a great way to socialize and get out of the house and, who knows, you may find a mate to boot! You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce to find regional groups that may be of interest to you. Hiking clubs, cooking classes, restaurant taste-testing…the opportunities abound!
Ask friends and family
Probably the most common way to meet a partner is by using the resources you already have––friends and family. These people know you and most have a pretty good idea of what might interest you, so ask around! More often than not, this is a safe way to test the waters and doesn’t involve “putting yourself out to the world” like social media or internet dating sites may.
Sites such as Facebook can put you in touch with past classmates that you may have lost contact with from the past. It can be a great way to reach out and say hello. People’s life circumstances change, so what may of been unavailable in the past may not be the case today. It can be a safe place to reach out to people you already know.
Words of advice: Avoid places that are conducive to additive behaviors, be it bars, night-clubs, casinos, or racetracks to name a few. Yes, this is judgmental and a generalization, but most of us have been down those roads before in our pasts and know the risks involved.
While the above answers the how’s and where’s to begin looking for that special someone, you must rely on your internal compass and wisdom to look for any “cracks” in the egg and determine the safety and risk levels with any new prospect. Unfortunately this takes time and effort, leading to additional dates, which requires you to risk being more open and willing to share who you are. Is it worth it? That’s up for you to decide. But in my opinion that’s what life is about…taking calculated risk and chances to find greater levels of joy. Relationships can be all this and more if done with care, a little planning, and some forethought.
Ready to dive into finding that special someone, yet been out of the dating game for awhile? Need to “catch-up” on the latest Dating After 50 Rules? If so, click here.