Wine, cheese, and 401(k)s all get better with time, why should your dating life be any different? Here are three stellar reasons we love dating in middle-age.
Dating in middle-age presents many of the same challenges as dating at any other age: Where do you find someone to date? Once you found them, how do you know if they’re the “right” one? How do you protect yourself while remaining vulnerable enough to fall in love?
You know the story.
While this won’t answer any of those questions, nor is it an ode to the adage “all the good ones are taken.” Instead, this is a reminder—a celebration of you and three groovy advantages of dating in middle-age. Because in this day and age, we all need occasional reminders of the upside—of the things to be grateful for.
As with everything in life, there are plenty of upsides and advantages if you look deep enough and release your grip over how you thought your life “should” look at this age. Life will throw us all curve balls, and in every moment we are simply doing the best we can to work with what we’ve got. But dating in middle-age can actually present some pretty great benefits towards building a successful and fulfilling long-term relationship.
Advantage #1: Traditional Roles & Relationships Do Not Apply
Women today are more educated than previous generations of women at midlife and have the resources to provide for themselves. They enjoy having their own place and own space and do not need their lives to be centered on one person.
In fact, “54% of older singles say the best things about their lives is their independence and personal freedom.” (Kantrowitz et al., 2006, para. 30).
This freedom allows you to throw away the idea of a traditional relationship and co-create one with your partner that suits both of you. It could mean (re)marriage, companionship and fun, or physical intimacy—in any combination (Watson & Stelle, 2011). You have the resources to choose.
Advantage #2: You Know What You Want
There is something about the wisdom of middle age that helps cut through the bologna and inspires authentic expression of desires, expectations, and feelings. There’s less fear to lay it on the line because your wisdom tells you it’s better to find out now if you’re a good fit than to wait until later.
Treva Scharf said she knew her husband “…was the one because he drove the relationship without his foot on the brakes. He was direct, fearless and didn’t play games. He knew what he wanted, and he proceeded with confidence…” (Emling, 2017, para. 15). His candor helped both he and Treva know where they stood from the beginning and solidified that the relationship was worth pursuing.
By directly expressing your feelings and expectations, you may find, as Michael Liberatore did, that the best thing about finding love later in life is “…knowing myself and what I will tolerate… I don’t put up with the stuff I did when I was young and didn’t realize I had to ask for what I wanted, instead of just waiting and hoping for it.” (Emling, 2017, para. 34).
And speaking of knowing what you want…
Advantage #3: The 3-Date Rule Doesn’t Apply
You are grown. If you and your date are feeling it, then go for it. No one at midlife is going to think you are cheap or easy if you have some fun on the first date. You simply know what you want, aren’t afraid to get it, and have the wisdom to know it doesn’t mean love, it means s-e-x. If you have a real connection with someone, it’s not going to end after one night—it’s going to continue and potentially blossom into something satisfying for both of you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you to practice safe sex. Yes, even for those of us in middle-age and after, we may need the reminder. In 2013, the CDC reported 21% of new HIV diagnoses were in individuals over 50 (“Baby Boomers and Sexually Transmitted Diseases”, 2018). And, from 2015 to 2016, there was a 20% jump in sexually transmitted infections among Americans 45 and older (Lilleston, 2017, para. 1).
By exercising Advantage #2 mentioned above—You Know What You Want—you also know what you don’t want. You can say no to anyone who isn’t willing to protect you or themselves. Educate yourself and be prudent.
Although dating at any age has its challenges, you, as a middle-aged human, have three distinct advantages: 1.Traditional roles and relationships do not apply, so you have the freedom to design your own relationship; 2. You have the wisdom to know what you want and the candor to ask for it; and 3. The three-date rule does not apply.
Celebrate your midlife, my friend, and remember that there are always reasons to be grateful for the situation you find yourself in now. This is a chance to deepen your connection to yourself, to others, and to build a truly wholehearted and healthy life moving forward—filled with whatever relationship dynamics you choose to experience.
- Baby boomers and sexually transmitted diseases (2018). Retrieved from https://www.stdaware.com/blog/baby-boomers-and-sexually-transmitted-diseases/
- Emling, S. (2017, February). Never too late for love. AARP.
- Kantrowitz, B., Raymond, J., Springen, K., Wingert, P., Kuchment, Al, & Kelley, R. (2006). The boomer files: relationships. Sex & love: the new world. Newsweek, 147(8), 50-60.
- Lilleston, R. (2017, September). STD rates keep rising for older adults. AARP.
- Watson, W. K., & Stelle, C. (2011). Dating for older women: Experiences and meanings of dating in later life. Journal of Women and Aging, 23, 263-275. doi:10.1080/08952841.2011.587732
About the Author
Traci Clarida is an author, speaker, and coach whose vibrant energy spreads positivity, love, and compassion to the world. She inspires women to get “stuff” done through authentic living and embracing “perfect imperfection.” She teaches clients how to find freedom from self-judgment and provides proven strategies to guide them to overcome obstacles, complete goals and execute solid plans for success. Follow Traci on FB and Instagram. For more information visit www.letsgetstuffdone.com