Dating Over 50

When I started my company, A Little Nudge, I didn’t know who to expect as my client base.  Part of me thought that I would work with a lot of 30-something women, looking to have children before they decided their time for this had passed, whether true or not.  Another part of me thought I would work with people who are simply too busy to put the time and effort into online dating. Was I right? Absolutely.  But the group I wasn’t counting on was the 50+ segment of the dating market. 28% of my client base, which includes both men and women, are 50 or older, and, while many aspects of dating are the same at any age (the nerves, the anticipation, the awkwardness), some things are unique to this age demographic.

Based on my own observations and those of my clients, let’s take a look at the five things to keep in mind when dating over 50:

     1. Every Person Comes as a Package Deal

It’s not reasonable to assume that someone will come to the table without some form of baggage.  Whether that baggage is in the form of a bad divorce, a ruptured relationship with a child, or a sick parent, there is something that is going to be a priority in this person’s life.  No matter how much you may want to be #1, and no matter how much your date wants to make you #1, there are other factors at play.  A client of mine in her 60s, who has no children and thereby no grandchildren, was reluctant to date a man who was the caretaker of his grandson.  I encouraged her to give it a shot because it showed his dedication to family.  While they can’t take all of the weekend trips she was dreaming of, she’s actually grown very fond of the young grandson and respects her beau for making that role a priority.

     2. Manage Expectations

While most of us wish that each first date will also be the last first date, we are setting ourselves up for failure if we go into dating situations with such high expectations. The best way to go about dating is to simply take each experience for what it is—meeting a new person.  Maybe you’ll learn something about your date, or even yourself, that might help you in life.  Maybe you’ll hear a funny story.  Or maybe you’ll simply meet, chat, and end your night knowing that while this person may not be “The One,” you gave it your all.

     3. Everyone Ages

Almost all of my over-50 male clients tell me that women don’t age as well as men.  And you know what my female clients tell me?  Men don’t age as well as women.  The moral: We all age!  Everyone gets wrinkles, everyone’s metabolism slows, and everyone isn’t the 20-year-old sports star that he or she used to be.  But that’s okay.  Please don’t make overarching assumptions.  I know plenty of “old” 30-year-olds who sit on the couch and knit at night, and I know plenty of “young” 70-year-olds who love skiing, sailing, and chasing their puppies.  It’s all relative.

     4. Don’t Overlook Common Sense

People often tell me that online dating is scary.  They reason that you don’t know who’s out there, and most of the people are likely creeps.  I hate to say this, but creepy people can be anywhere.  Are there more of them online than offline?  I have no idea.  What I do know, however, is that if you avoid online dating to try to evade the “creepsters,” as some of my friends might say, then you’re also closing yourself off to meeting many wonderful people as well.  If this rationale holds any water, then I’d say you might as well also avoid the subway, the supermarket, or really anywhere people are.  Instead, take precaution when meeting someone for the first time.  Meet in a public place.  Tell a friend where you’re going.  Yes, scary things are everywhere… but common sense will take you further than you might think.

     5. Love Yourself

While it may sound cliché, I ascribe to the conventional wisdom that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.  Finding a partner will not create happiness.  Will it add to happiness?  Sure.  But first, you need to find (or re-find) that happiness and confidence that you have in yourself.  Treat yourself well, heal from the last relationship, and rediscover yourself.  Only then can you add someone else to your world and know that he or she complements it, not completes it.

It doesn’t sound so daunting anymore, does it?  (If the answer is yes, then let’s talk!)  Remember to take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and one date at a time.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating. Her services include: writing unique profiles to get you noticed, helping to choose your best profile pictures, writing one-of-a-kind emails to get someone’s attention, and planning dates. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter for updates and tips.
  1. Interesting about men and women over 50 both thinking the other sex ages less well. Ver few women, though, only want to date younger men; many men in their mid-50s, though, set an arbitrary age limit half a dozen years or more younger than them for women they’re willing to date. Do women really cross a threshold when they turn 50? Silly. Meanwhile, the same men who won’t consider women their own age complain that it’s “all about money” for women. Well…if a man wants to date women 10 – 15 years younger and is an average-looking non-rock star, he has to bring something to the table in exchange for her youth and beauty, no?
    Still, I am hopeful. The good part at this age for women is we’ve had our kids and don’t have that pressure anymore.

  2. Eliza,

    Thanks for your comment. I often ask my male clients why they choose this arbitrary age, like you said, and most of them, when I drill them on it, really don’t know. It just takes someone knocking some sense into them. I do the same with my female clients who pick an arbitrary height that men “have” to be. Both can be overcome.

    Thanks for reading,
    Erika (the author)

  3. Thanks for the advice. On the one hand it is obvious. On the other – in the light of recent personal events they were can be very useful. You just articulated my thoughts. And yet … look the same age, older or younger man? Whether to hide my age, hoping that other qualities make it less important?

  4. If women do marry for security and men for beauty and sexuality … then women are getting the much better deal after 50 !!

  5. I have met too many men who embroider their bio and age to the extent they are unrecognizable when met in person. I know senior age is a turnoff to most, but it’s better to acknowledge it upfront in order to give the relationship a chance.

  6. Hey Paris, thank g_d women don’t show old photos………sarcasm

  7. I always thought that women aged much sooner than men. Over the years I noticed more that ethnicity had much to do with it as well, certain skins would wrinkle sooner or many thin Latinas I had met put on much more weight than many of the American girls, who knows. The important thing is they say that men live much longer if they marry much younger so I like to stick with that assumption, aging well or not.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *