Dating over 50 can be a challenging and nerve-wracking experience. According to the results of TODAY's "This is 50" survey, a surprisingly small number of available singles over the age of 50 are actually dating. TODAY reported that only 18 percent of participants were putting themselves out there, while a significant 40 percent of respondents were considering dating, but not actually doing it. Successful dating over 50 is all about having fun, keeping an open mind, and trying not to be self-conscious about your age.
Expand Your Horizons
One great way to meet new people is to try a new activity. This can be particularly helpful if you find that your circle of datable singles is small. So sign up for a cooking class, join a book club, or volunteer at your local animal shelter. You can also seek out your old contacts. Therapist John Gray advises “If you remember someone fondly from your past, it could be worth looking them up online,” in an interview in "7 Tips for Dating After Age 50" with US News & World Report.
Leave Your Baggage at Home
When you're on a date, it's natural for you to want to find something that you have in common with the person you're out with, if only to avoid awkward silences at the dinner table. However, don't make the thing that you two have in common your baggage, advises relationship coach Bobbi Palmer in an article for TODAY. As much as it might feel like a relief to find someone with whom you can commiserate about your marriage horror stories, you'll be better off if you start fresh, and look for more positive topics to bond over.
If You Date Online, Date Safe
Online dating has become increasingly popular over the years, with singles of all ages. If you do decide to explore online dating, be safe, especially when giving out personal information or meeting someone. When setting up a date, choose a public place, writes AARP dating expert Ken Solin. Make sure a friend knows where you are as well. Solin recommends arranging that your friend will call you while you're on the date ahead of time, with instructions to call the police if you don't answer. Finally, never invite someone you don't know well into your home, or tell them where you live.
The Old Rules Still Apply
In many ways, dating over 50 is just like dating at any other age; the old rules still apply. You might be surprised to find that experts like Palmer still recommend that you wait until you're really ready to have sex, and that you don't call him if he doesn't call you (even if the date was phenomenal). Look for someone who's interested in an intelligent, active older partner rather than a younger date. Then relax, enjoy yourself, and have fun with the butterflies you get from being on a date with someone you really like.