The Minefield of Dating After 50
Whether you've been dating for a while or you're just getting back in the game after a heartache, dating after 50 can be pretty uncomfortable. Some wonder how they should begin - maybe call that old high-school flame? Approach that work colleague? And when you have scored a date, what should you expect in terms of sex?
Dating may seem a little scarier now than it did when you were in your 20s, but in many ways nothing has changed. Dating is still about getting to know someone, taking the time to see if you connect spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and physically. This does not take away from the fear of not finding the 'one', or feeling exhausted from the many years of failed dating.
For 53-year-old Mary Ann Chung*, dating after 50 is uncomfortable and has not been on the top of her to-do list. She is no longer satisfied with superficial needs, and is looking for deeper connections.
"Being over 50, I have more knowledge and experience in what I want and don't want. Settling is no longer an option and I'm able to rule out prospects earlier, saving me the aggravation of wasting my time entertaining dead ends," she told Outlook.
Chung admitted that though she does not feel pressured to find the right one, she often finds herself assessing every male she meets, wondering if they could possibly be the one for her. Unfortunately, the results of her assessments have been very discouraging. With all the egotists and opportunists, her conclusion is that the men she has dated seem to be looking out only for their personal gratification.
"I am yet to meet someone who is not already taken, who strikes me as willing to be reciprocal in a relationship. Even though I'm not feeling hopeless, I'm more leaning towards the reality that I will not find the one. As the years go by, I find that I may give up on a few of my youthful requirements, like good looks and fitness. I am more focused on temperament and characteristics that make for a peaceful existence fused with laughter and music," she ended.
For 51-year-old Janice Cedricks* the dating world at her age has been quite interesting. Cedricks believes she is not as marketable as when she was 35, when she could pick, choose and refuse.
"I am not as particular, and I see men for the laughter they bring to my heart and not the money they throw into my purse. At 40, I would never take up a man earning less than me. Now, I am paying the cheque without squinting an eyelid, I am more willing to share my good fortune," she added with a laugh.
A MORE PRACTICAL OUTLOOK
When she was younger, Cedricks had a 'no-care' attitude. Now, she is easy-going and wants to be sexy. "I am not looking for a sweet boy, and I don't admire a man because he has a good body. I am attracted to his intellect, and what he brings to the table in terms of making me laugh. Laughing is the best medicine," she added.
Cedricks went on to share that she is not going to wait for three months to have sex. "There is no need for long courtships, because most times I am looking for companionship, not necessarily a husband. I am not quick to live with anyone either; I have grown to like my own space," she added.
Cedricks also admits that there is added pressure to find the 'one' when dating after 50. She does not believe that any man or woman really knows when they have found the 'one'. Even after years of being together, sometimes that person is not the 'one'. So, she lives for the moment and never places her expectations too high.
"I love as deeply, but don't hurt as hard, because I am a realist," she said.
Name changed to protect identity*
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