Guide to Dating After 50

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A growing number of people entering the world of dating are over the age of 50. While some things have changed since they did this the first time around, the rules of dating have largely remained the same.

During an episode of the popular sitcom, "Seinfeld," George Costanza experiences extreme anxiety from the thought of his recently separated mother being "out there" in the dating world.

"I'm out there," offers Estelle. 

"No, you're not! Because I'm out there, and if I see you out there, there's not enough voltage in the universe to electroshock me back into coherency," George says.

However, the fact remains that many seniors are re-entering the dating world after divorces or the death of a spouse. Some eternal bachelors and bachelorettes may have never left. 

For those about to re-enter the dating game in their senior years, these tips and tidbits may help make the process a bit easier.

* Use dating sites. For those shy about simply mingling in the singles' social scene, online sites offer a measure of anonymity and can take away some of the pressure. Plus they enable daters to pool from a wide array of potential mates. Dating sites also give those seeking mates a chance to learn a little about what makes the other person tick, which can be a good starting point for conversation when a date is eventually set.

* The numbers are favorable for men. Senior men entering the dating world have an easier time of finding a potential date simply because there are more women than men in the senior age bracket. Women tend to live longer than men, which widens the dating pool for gentlemen.

* Use tried and true tactics. Some of the same ways people landed a date in the past remain the best ways to land one now. Individuals can ask to be set up by friends with single acquaintances. People can participate in activities they enjoy and chat with others who share the same likes. Simply being friendly and getting the word out that there is an interest in dating may help.

* Get a makeover. Now may be the time to explore some new wardrobe options or experiment with a different haircut. Potential mates will likely want a date who looks put together and current. Although you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, most people still do.

* Remember to be safe. Those who plan to date and become sexually active should take precautions against diseases -- they don't discriminate based on age. Keep in mind that, although rare, pregnancies are possible even for a women in her 50s if she hasn't yet gone through menopause. Individuals may find themselves at the pharmacy once again sheepishly purchasing condoms.

* Realize it may take time. Finding the right match may take several dates and patience. Just because a person is now older doesn't mean he or she has to be desperate and accept the first person who comes along. If there's no chemistry, say so and move on. Once that special person is found, it will be worth the effort