Surprisingly, your children may be your cheerleaders and agony aunts in this new experience of dating in later years, and you might realise there's more to a relationship than just physical attraction.
The first time I stepped out for a date after my divorce, I was already in my early 50s. The dating rituals and rules had changed, or so I thought. There was also the pressure of finding someone because all my friends were either married or dating as well. In the beginning, it was my kids, who are in their twenties, who supported me through the process. From setting up a profile on a dating site to figuring out how to meet people in real life as well, they have been supportive. After a certain age, children do become like friends.
It also helped to have a support system while wading into these new waters. Friends, who have been divorced, were the first ones to give me their take on the dating process in later years and fresh after a divorce. However, there were some things that I figured out on my own too, as time went by.
Here are eight things I learned from dating in my 50s:
As an experienced woman, I know what love feels like so I am not going to jump the gun and say "I love you" after only a few months of dating. Those words are more meaningful and precious than before. I have known the feeling of being in love and the difficulty it brings when there is no love. However, it is also true that there is no confusion in my mind about who gives warmth to my heart now.
Since, things have changed a lot, especially with technology taking over how people date, I needed my kids' help in navigating through the dozens of apps and websites available. Also, as my kids have dated more people than I have, I figured they are bound to know things that I don't. Talking to my children not only helped me figure out what kind of a person I want to date, but also what kind of a person I am.
There will be men who will be still wallowing over their ex and might crib about everything that is wrong in their life. But, you know what? 50 isn't all that old; I still have a lot to live for. There's no need to hang out with men who drain my positive energy. So, after a few hits and misses, I filtered out those who had multiple issues and were constantly whining about the life they used to have. I now look ahead to the future and want a person who has a joyful attitude going ahead.
A person in their 50s, like me, will most likely have children and in some cases, grandchildren. Therefore, to know the man better it is a good idea to spend time with him in his environment as well. Of course, he will also do the same. I make it a point to get to know his children and grandchildren. Figuring out what kind of a father he was can be telling about who he is as a person. Is he kind and reliable, or does he have anger issues? Whom best to learn that from than the ones who grew up around him!
If you're going through menopause during that period, there might be surprises for you. I am yet to undergo menopause but the mood swings and other symptoms are beginning to present themselves. On the one hand, I feel more confident about my body and none of the pressure I did in my twenties - of having kids, and actually wanting sex. This is something that will take time now that I'm in my 50s, but of course, it is a different journey for every woman. I took my time to figure out mine.
While there are multiple apps out there, which provide a clean slate and help you feel more liberated. Finding someone to date through friends who can set you up is good too. I found that it is important to be open to both. However, being set up by a friend makes the process quite easier, as I can have a fair idea about that person through my friend. So, there won't be a lot of surprises in his kitty. Also, I like that this makes way for an established social circle to mingle with together.
Regardless of your age, dating can be confusing and exhilarating at the same time. I wanted to find a friend, not just a lover, who understands me. It wasn't only about looks and sex anymore. I found it important to find someone with whom I can share my experiences and interests. Reading together, going for movies together or hiking together... Finding common ground and making sure we're having fun matters. Just because I am 50, I can't stop having fun with my partner; that is what led to my divorce after all.