The age of 50 is a new life journey for many of us. Many are confused as to whether to continue to want to look and feel younger and playful or simply settle down into middle age and be all old and grown up. But for many of us, the blessing of having the same partner whom you’ve probably been with for 20 or more years means that you don’t need to do much to impress them. You two now know each other completely – warts and all and there’s nothing new anymore to discover about your partner.

But if you have been in the unfortunate situation of losing your partner either through death or divorce, getting back into the dating game could be a minefield. If can be especially difficult to know the new generation dos and don’ts of dating and you could find that you are committing a load of faux pas if you are still relying on the dating rules and games of the 80s or 90s when you last dated.

It’s easy to get the feeling that as an older single you’re one of the few. But this is certainly not so – in the UK there are more and more people wanting to start dating again over 50.

Be the best version of yourself

If a long break has left you out of ‘the game’ for some time, it’s a good idea to first take the time to reflect about who you were prior to your last relationship. Being single again may mean rekindling some of those old hobbies you hung up during your relationship: often passions become diluted when sharing time with someone else. Being single again is a great way to return to doing what you love – and lets you build the most interesting version of yourself you can be. Whether this is resuming clubbing, retrieving your paint brushes from the loft or simply riding a bike again, these things all help build self-confidence and give you common ground with others searching for love later in life.

ELITESINGLES’ partner psychologist and relationship coach Sam Owen recommends older singles to try new things and meet new people as a way of expanding your horizons, the more new information you absorb by interacting with new people and engaging in new behaviours, the more you will see new ways of thinking about the world and life. By doing so, you will also learn more about who you are, what you do and don’t like and which values you hold dear, all of which help you to find the right companion.

Don’t talk about your divorce.

The feeling that a new partner has an on-going attachment to an ex-partner is often an unassailable obstacle. It’s important that those who have been through divorce get back into dating only when they’re confident there is sufficient ’emotional space’ for a new partner. It’s crucial to be forward-thinking, positive and focused on the new people you meet – sharing your divorce problems over dinner (especially early on) is a definite no-go and may serve only to push people away.

Taking things slowly after a loss.

Getting back into dating for widows and widowers is often particularly difficult. Many find it best to see dating simply as a way of meeting new people and reconnecting with others. As Sam Owen says, endeavour to increase your friendship circle as a way of finding Mr or Mrs Right. This can feel more comfortable than just looking for a life partner. Of course, the best relationships are also grounded on deep friendship.

After a loss, getting to know new people gradually and focusing on establishing meaningful friendships is therefore a good course of action. If this slowly blossoms into something more, you can be happy. But dating isn’t about getting back to the life you had before, it’s about slowly – and respectfully – moving on.

Over 50 Dating: surround yourself with possibility and potential.

For those of us who grew up without the internet, looking online for love may seem somewhat unnatural. But simply the easiest way to find a compatible partner is to join the thousands of others on dating websites. As Sam puts it, as we get older and our children have flown the nest, we can have fewer people in our social network which can increase our feelings of loneliness. Looking outside our natural social networks, there is no other meeting place in the UK that has a so many older singles actively looking to find what they’re looking for.

Lose your inhibitions

Finding the person who suits you is much more achievable than many people think. While it’s understandable that some over 50s may feel like it’s perhaps ‘too late’, or that they have lost touch with their dating self, this is an attitude that should be forgotten! With over 50 dating, the pool of interesting, successful and like-minded others is very large and it can never be too late to find a match. So just do it – it could really be the best decision you’ve ever made.

One might like to think that the pool of dateable or eligible persons of the same age are few at this age but the fact is that many are hiding themselves away in the same erroneous belief. Many have given up finding someone suitable and others simply cannot be bothered

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