There are 97 million Americans over the age of 45, and of those, 40%, or 36.2 million, are single. If you’re over 50 and looking, I have some good news. Like a good coach, I’m going to pump you up!
The ratio of females to males increases with each decade, but does it really matter? No, for two reasons. First, all it takes is one, and a 100% hit is a 100% hit. Secondly, think back to when you were dating in college. How many of those boys would you consider potential for dating? If you’re like me, not one in 50. If you’re dating just to date a warm body, that’s no problem. For serious dating, I’ve always been discriminating, haven’t you? It’s always been “hard” to find the right material, so it’s the same game, just played on a new field.
Emotional intelligence generally increases with age; this is about “life skills.” Older people are better at dating, as they are at just about everything except a few non-consequential motor skills. From experience, maturity, and common sense, sometimes innate, sometimes acquired through the School of Hard Knocks, we interpret reality quickly and correctly. We know how to look in the horse’s mouth.
Likewise, we can maneuver in the social world. We don’t fumble for topics of conversation, faint at the thought of a formal dinner, wonder how to behave at an opera, or think planning a vacation is “hard.” We don’t fall apart when our hose run, and we operate from a deeply centered standpoint, not chasing about the fickle and changing opinions of others. We answer to ourselves. We have lifeskills, aplomb, sophistication, and experience!
We aren’t run by hormones, which is how many mistakes are made, and the good news, the guys aren’t either. According to Trish McDermott, at Match.com, the largest dating site, “The one thing that our research continually shows is that the older a person gets, the more he or she becomes a practical dater, as opposed to being emotionally driven.” This gives both sexes a better chance at a wise choice.
Men in our age range have had a chance to learn what matters, and what makes or breaks a marriage. As one of my clients says, their former wife has trained them in some important areas, as has life, and in some cases, divorce; or they have used poor judgment, married someone unsuitable, and learned the hard way. There’s nothing like being able to eliminate immediately things, people and relationships that don’t work for you and when men can do this, it saves us all time.
Men have explored the sex thing ad nauseum and tend to focus on the bigger picture. One of my male clients told me recently, about a woman he’d been dating, “We’d only get along in bed, where it’s fantastic, but we’d be fighting the rest of the time.” He decided to pass on that one.
Men like to date younger women, but the smart ones, only once or twice. After that, they learn. The odds of a marriage working where the man is 10 or more years older are small, and remember the “practical” thing. We’re all too smart after a certain age to play with a deck stacked against us.
Corollary: there’s a growing interest in men for dating older women. Why? Hey, this is an article for women over 50 and we KNOW why. The hysteria and attitude of women in their 20s and 30s is not appealing. If not fighting outside the bed, it’s banality, histrionics, and the fantasies of the naïve and uninformed.
We don’t ask “Does this make my butt look fat?” or any other fatuous, passive-aggressive, whiny, dependent, obsessed, annoying questions. We’re more likely to ask where the Dow Jones is, or “How do you think Prescott should respond to the allegations of bullying in his office?”
We don’t wake him up in the middle of the night before his big sales meeting, sniveling, “Would you marry someone else if I died?”
Ask any man over the age of 40, and he’ll say he wants “a companion.” For a marriage partner, according to the AARP, people over 50 say “personality” matters the most. Marriage ends up being that 6-hour drive to the kids’ house, and he doesn’t want to listen to a ninny talking about the latest sale at the Gap or what a horrible boss she has, or how unfair her life is. It’s also about the logistics of a well-run life, and he doesn’t want someone who sits on the floor and sobs when the washing machine overflows.
We can handle our emotions. We enjoy them, but aren’t driven by them. We can also modulate them. And we are capable of silence for extended periods of time. We are also unlikely to do the thing men dread them most: make them the sole determination of our happiness. (You will see this repeatedly on Internet profiles.)
Now here are some of the latest stats from the AARP. Nearly half the people 40-69 didn’t have a first-date last year. Statistically, of people in their 50s, 15.4% are divorced, 6.25 have never been married, and 4.4% are widowed. This matters because men who remain embittered and terrified of involvement after a divorce, aren’t datable and should be required to wear warning signs of their backs.
Should this discourage you? No. If you’re a winner, if you have your act together, if you aren’t dragging the past around on your own back, there is someone out there looking for you just as hard as you are for them.
Where to look? Start with places you normally go (opera, theater, museums, SCUBA, hiking) just amp it up. Churches with large memberships are also a good choice. Just be awake when you’re there. Internet dating sites also score high. About half the people over 55 believe it’s possible to meet via the internet and fall I love. It happened to me. I know it’s possible. Match.com has 1.5 million members over the age of 50, the fastest-growing group, with a 65% increase last year.
There are sites that sort by any variable you could care about – religion, age, interests, location. Of special interest is http://www.rightstuffdating.com/v_schools.cfm for those who went to pretigious schools. My alma mater made the cut, maybe yours did too.
Good marriages are between equals. Except in fairytales, successful marriage are between people with similar backgrounds and histories. This means, if you aren’t where you want to be, get busy. Get some coaching, get back in shape and have a makeover, take a good nutraceutical and supplement, and enrich the biggest sex organ – your brain. When you fall in love with learning, you never have a broken heart. You also make your heart and mind a lot more attractive to other people.
Dating over 50 is a competitive game. It requires fitness, skills, and a good coach. Even Tyger Woods can improve his swing with the right coach. Your coach can give you a game plan, workable rules, shorten your learning curve, improve your skills, give perspective and increase your stamina and resilience.
When you’ve heard as many stories as I have, you can see the trends and the ins and outs; also the successes. There truly is a lid for every pot. I could mention movies or books, but I’ll go back to the oldest form of enjoyment, opera. It’s been around hundreds of years, for a reason. Go see Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote,” (The Magic Flute). For every Papageno there’s a Papagena, for every Tamino, a Pamina. It is so sweet the way that works. It’s a game you can win, with a good coach.
So, have good cheer, and good luck!
©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc, mailto:email@example.com. Susan offers coaching, Internet courses, a blog for singles, ezines, Arbonne nutraceuticals and safe cosmetics, and ebooks for your relationship and professional success. She trains and certifies Wellness and EQ coaches all over the world, and is the founder of Club Vivo Per Lei/I Live for Music. She is the author of “Midlife Dating Survival Manual for Women” ( http://www.webstrategies.cc/ebooklibrary.html ) and The Rules for Midlife Dating.