Senior Dating Tips For The Young At Heart
Updated February 08, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Amy Brown
Dating is often considered a young person's game. Though finding love later in life happens every day, negative stereotypes and unfavorable statistics have a way of convincing us that it won't happen for us. They tell us that getting married after 30 is unlikely and that finding a life partner once you're 40 is even more improbable. Starting a relationship in the golden years? Unheard of.
These pessimistic cultural outlooks surrounding dating when you're older have become a lot harder than they should be. Our ticking clocks, nagging family members, and current commitments can push us in one of two directions. We either treat dating like a job interview, constantly critiquing or pressuring our dates (and ourselves) or avoiding dating altogether. So, what does this mean for those over 50 but still young at heart? First, you should forget the naysayers and embrace the fact that the dating world has no age limit. Then equip yourself with tips that will help you meet someone new and embrace every romantic connection you encounter from here on out.
Dating As a Senior Tip #1: It's Not About Numbers But Knowing Yourself
Now that we've established that the dating world isn't just for millennials, there's something you must know. Dating after fifty is different. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. For one, young people tend to be age-prejudiced, while those looking to date after fifty-five tend to be a lot more flexible with numbers. A forty-five-year-old courting a twenty-year-old would probably turn heads, but someone in their late fifties dating someone in their seventies is much more accepted.
Instead of focusing on the person's actual age, you're interested in narrowing your focus to similarities in physical health and the type of activities they enjoy. If you're very active and enjoy going on hikes and traveling, look for a potential partner interested in being outdoors and going on trips. If you're a homebody who prefers to stay in with a glass of wine and a good book, physical activity (or lack thereof) probably won't be on the top of your love list. The key is knowing a lot about yourself and finding a partner that is compatible with your lifestyle, needs, and wants. If you're not sure what to start, consider creating a soulmate wish list that will highlight attributes that are important to you.
Dating As a Senior Tip #2: Focus On The Physical
Another thing that shies some senior daters away from finding love is worrying about their appearance. Sure, looks matter to many people, but for those over 55, research shows that appearance takes a lower priority than common interests and activities. With this being said, everyone wants and deserves to feel their best while jumping back into the dating game. You can boost your dating confidence and desirability by taking on some of the following focuses:
- Improve your physical health through exercise. Like dating, exercise isn't just for young adults. Getting fit will help you feel better about yourself and improve your dating prospects. You might even meet someone at the gym while you're working on your fitness. A health club is a great place to strengthen social bonds and work your way out of your shell if you usually shy away from public activities.
- Update your wardrobe. When you purchase your gym membership, you should consider buying yourself a few new outfits as well. If you're not sure what styles, colors, and fit will work best for your body, don't be afraid to ask someone! If you have a friend or family member (possibly someone of a younger generation) who has a good sense of style, take them shopping with you. If you can't find anyone to tag along with, find a helpful department store employee and ask for assistance. You don't have to make drastic changes (unless you want to), but just having a few solid, current pieces can make your dating self-confidence soar.
- Revamp your hair and makeup. Once you're embracing a new look as far as fashion goes, you might want to take it a step further and change up your hair and make-up. A clean shave and fresh-cut are usually all it takes to feel ready to embrace dating head-on for the gentlemen. Ladies can consult a stylist and shake up color, cut, or both. Many department stores offer free makeovers without making you purchase products. So, if you're wanting to try some new makeup brands but don't know where to begin, put on your new wardrobe and head to the nearest makeup counter.
Dating as A Senior Tip #3: Improve Your Outlook
Many daters find that once they have a good idea of what they are looking for and have spent some time improving their physical appearance, dating becomes easier. For others, there may be psychological hurdles that prevent them from embracing the dating scene and possibly finding love. For one, if you're over the age of 55, you've probably been married before and most certainly dated in the past. Past hurts, losses, and concerns over children's feelings about dating again are all challenges.
If you aren't sure if you're ready to date or have concerns about what the world has to offer as far as love goes, you aren't alone. In fact, this is one of the unique issues that arise with dating when you're older. Instead of ignoring or tackling these feelings alone, you might consider sharing your fears and doubts with a professional. One great option is Regain relationship counseling. They offer an easy online sign-up, and because their professional counseling services are offered remotely, you don't even have to leave your home for support. Many people shy away from getting professional help, but going at it alone isn't always the best option. Services like Regain can help you prepare for love and improve your outlook during this phase of your life.
Dating As a Senior Tip #4: Put Yourself Out There
One question many seniors have about dating is, "Where will I meet someone?" Surely, it won't happen from the comfort of your couch. That's unless you're web dating, and we'll cover that later on. If you have no problem meeting potential partners, feel free to skip to the next tip. If you're not sure where to meet quality partners, consider the following:
- Find old friends. Many people find love with people they knew in their youth. This was the case for long-lost sweethearts Marcella and Johnny Vick. They dated in the year 1950 but drifted apart, going on to marry other people and have children. After both of their spouses passed away, the former couple reconnected at a local reunion. In 2014, they married after 63 years apart. If you can't find any places in your area to reconnect, try social media. People of all ages are rekindling friendships with people they haven't seen in years through Facebook and other social media platforms.
- Join Senior Date Groups. Once you're on social media, check out some of the senior date groups found on Facebook. Search 'senior date' in the search bar, and hundreds of groups will come up. As with other forms of online dating, you should always be cautious with meeting people online. Still, senior date groups can be a great way to meet new people in your area or even across the country.
- Try New Activities. The bingo hall, ballroom dancing events, gardening clubs, senior cruises and travel groups, fitness classes, church groups, book clubs, and volunteering events are good places to meet someone new. If none of these options interest you, think about your interests and see if any local clubs/groups support the same hobbies.
Also, think about places where the opposite sex might be and try those activities. For example, a lot more men play golf than women. If you're a single woman interested in golf, you're likely to meet single men by joining a golf club. Are you likely to find single men at your local knitting group meeting? Probably not.
Dating As a Senior Tip #5: Set Realistic Expectations
Another senior date tip has less to do with you and more to do with the world you're living in. The dating scene today is likely much different than the one you encountered in your youth or even 5, 10, or 15 years ago. Not every date will lead to marriage, and dating opportunities may not be traditional.
For one, most dating is happening online. If you're tech-savvy, this might not seem an issue. But you must remember, these platforms are built to meet young adults' needs, not the young at heart. Even the online dating sites that market themselves towards an older age group don't always do a good job at catering to the specific needs of those of us finding love later in life.
Then there's also the added risk of being 'catfished' or taken advantage of by someone falsely representing themselves online. Just remember this rule of thumb: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Does this mean you can't try online dating? Of course not! It turns out that the age group 50 and older are the fastest-growing demographic on Match.com, and they make up around 20 percent of the site's daters. When creating your profile, enlist the help of close friends. Add a recent picture and keep things honest (no lying about age, height, weight, etc.)
Just make sure to exercise caution and proceed slowly regardless of where you are meeting your dates. If you keep a positive attitude, realistic expectations, and an open mind, you'll have the hang of dating in no time.
Dating As a Senior Tip #6: Know How To Turn A 1st Date Into A 2nd
Dating, as a senior or otherwise, should be fun. You don't want to put too much pressure on yourself or the other person. Instead, focus on having interesting and exciting experiences if it leads to more, great. If not, you can keep having fun or work on building a stronger connection with someone else. Not every first date will lead to a second one, but there are some ways you can increase the chance if that's something you want.
- Plan an interesting date. Great dates start with planning. Restaurants and the movie theater are go-to date spots, but they're not the most creative. Other options include the beach, concerts, museums, art galleries, public parks, dance lessons, paint and sip events, bingo, and wine tasting.
Worried about the cost of dating? There are many free or close to free dating options that will be fun and won't make you look like a "cheapskate." Making sure that your first time out suits your date's interests will help you secure a second one.
- Avoid touchy topics. When returning to the dating game, it's just as important to know what not to do as it is what to do. Although you want to be yourself on a date and come off as open and honest, some topics are best discussed later on and can ruin a date if addressed too soon. Talking point "no-nos" include:
- Your ex or past marriage(s). Make sure your date is your topic, not a ghost from the past. If your date asks specific questions like how long have you been divorced/widowed, it's okay to answer. Just don't bring your past up yourself or dwell on the topic.
- Family, medical, or money issues. The fact that you're dating again might be a sore issue for your children, living on a pension or with a chronic disease can be hard, and all of us have issues in our lives. These, however, are not issues to bond over on a first date. Complaining about family members and bringing up money issues falls into a category called "too much too soon." Think of getting to know someone like peeling an onion. If you peel back all the layers at once, you might ruin your chances of scoring a second date.
- Political and religious issues. Politics and religions can ruin a date as no other topics can. Having similar religions and political beliefs can make a strong connection, but these topics shouldn't be brought up at the first meeting like personal issues.
Not sure what to talk about on your date? This list from eHarmony is a great starting point. Specific suggestions include passions and dreams, your bucket list, and things that make you laugh. Taking these conversation starters and turning them into questions for your date is a good way to get to know him or her as well. As long as the topics are positive and you're listening more than you talk, it's okay to share.
- Embrace these "senior date do's." Now that you know what not to do on a first date, hone in on the things that will make your first date a smashing success.
- Dress comfortably and smart. Pull out some of the new duds that you purchased when preparing to date again. But always make sure what you're wearing is appropriate for the particular date you're going on. On a hiking trip, heels would be a disaster, as would a suit for a stroll down the shore.
- Look for red flags. Although we all want our first date to turn into a second, it needs to be with the right person. If your date is throwing out red flags during dinner or something doesn't seem right with their backstory, consider moving on to a different suitor. Dating at an older age can be difficult, but it doesn't need to be desperate. If your date doesn't seem like a good fit or you're not having fun, trust your gut.
- Be confident and show your date that you're interested. If you've enjoyed yourself and you want to go on a second date, say so! Confidence and the ability to go after what you want are attractive qualities. You'll probably find that your date is feeling the same way!
- Don't rush into intimacy or monogamy. Sex on the first date isn't unheard of, but it is risky. For many people, rushing into intimacy too soon will kill growing feelings and end a would-be relationship before it even begins. It can also be dangerous since HIV and other STDs are rapidly spreading in all age groups, including those over 50. Instead of focusing on the physical/sexual aspects, take your time to get to know your date on a deeper level.
Dating at any age can be challenging and overwhelming, but it can also be exciting and energizing. Through self-reflection, by focusing on improving your physical health and image, setting realistic expectations, and getting some professional help if you need it, you'll be ready to date again. Hopefully, the first won't be the last, and you'll be a dating pro in no time!
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