The trials and tribulations of dating in your 50’s

What an unusual position I find myself in. I couldn’t in my wildest dreams have forecasted I would be 50 and single, even if you asked me just 18 months ago, I would have thought it was a mad crazy suggestion. But here I am. And it’s a tricky one.

So where the hell to start when you have been in a relationship for near on 20 years?! Good question!

Life significantly moved on and changed since the last time I was on the ‘dating’ scene, so there were some new crazy rules to get used to. Plus, being 50 and dating is quite different to being 20! And the things you look for in a partner change significantly, whether you do or do not realise it.

Add to that being newly disabled and you have a true brain scrambling series of issues to sort out!

Where does the dating happen?

Statistics now show that more people meet online than do in a real genuine social situation. That’s a totally crazy fact! When I met my ex husband online 20 years ago, online dating was NOT the done thing and my mother looked down her nose at us for doing something so unheard of. Between then and now things have flipped around completely! So whether I like it or not, this is something I need to embrace. This means the old fashioned non verbal cues we used to use to gauge someone new are out the window. We now have new rules to consider. Here’s a few examples how vastly the dating game has changed since the last time I was in it.

  • Same offline as online – so however they come across – is probably what they are like in person (negative as well as positive)
  • Look at the photos – why are they choosing to represent themselves by hiding behind things, backs of heads etc etc if this is the case?
  • Look at the words chosen – answer questions but don’t ask: could be a narcissist. Saying things like ‘getting divorced’ could suggest they are still emotionally unavailable.

Age related factors to consider

There’s usually a reason why you’re 50 and single. And it’s not normally because you chose life that way.

Some things to bear in mind:

  • Divorced, with an Ex (& also possibly with children). This can make being fully engrossed with a new partner much more challenging. Not to mention finding someone who will accept both you and your situation.
  • Plenty of ‘relationship history’ – which should be avoided. Don’t start by asking this – bonding over your baggage is never going to end well.
  • High stress – kids, ex, aging parents, job, financial burdens all impact on the energy left for a relationship.
  • Compromise is harder than it used to be – by the time you reach this age you have some set patterns of how you behave and feel. Set values, goals and ideas of how your life should be. This can all make you less accommodating to someone else. You will not be growing up together, you will be grown up and trying to fit with someone. This will be a lot more challenging.
  • Set in your ways – in your 50’s you are much more set in your ways and values than you were in your 20’s. This can mean you have less patience for people you don’t vibe well with in your 50’s.

Social factors to consider

Let’s face it, the available pool of people is smaller than it was in your 20’s. Most of your friends will be in relationships now when it used to be the opposite. And many people feel self conscious going out alone. I personally don’t. And feel like you just can’t be that way these days if you’re 50 and single. I don’t give a stuff what others think. But actually, I think it’s more acceptable than you may think.

  • Don’t do it just to avoid being alone. You need to make friends with yourself first before you can start adding anyone else into the mix
  • Don’t compare now to then. Bitterness doesn’t suit you and will put people off.
  • Remember, another warm body next to you may not necessarily stop you from feeling alone. You can feel lonely in a crowded room. Make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons.

Sexual health factors to consider

Yep, this has changed also, you are 50 remember, not 20. Every individual is unique. However, for example, remember that men of this age may suffer with inconsistent erections, which are interrupted more easily. Post menopausal women May view their bodies and sexual desires very differently than when they were younger.

So yep, I would consider dating this time around to be much more complex than before, with a great many factors to consider that I didn’t even think about. But what about the disability element?

Dating and disability

I have always felt strongly about disability and pre judgement of others.

The first few dating sites I went on – I didn’t mention it, or even show a photo of the prosthetic. I spoke to a few men about this (online mostly). W

When I didn’t mention it.. it made it a ton more awkward when I planned to meet them and it became a much bigger deal than it should have been. One guy told me he met someone he had been talking to online and didn’t realise till he walked into the arranged meeting place that she only had one arm. Where it wasn’t an issue for him, it certainly was a shock.

I reflected on this and thought perhaps I should get over myself and be up front. So now one of my photos is full length and I’m wearing a skirt. Obvious to see, I don’t have to talk about it and if you’re a d*ck and have a problem with it, you don’t have to talk to me either.

If you are someone who is looking for mr (or ms) right later in life, I wish you luck. Be confident, be bold, but most importantly, just be YOU.

Author: Melanie

I am a massage therapist and part time athlete, blogging life thru a disability lens. On wheels, with flipper and occasionally on feet.

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