11 Dating Tips From People Over 50

While I still talk to my mom about my dating life (or at least, some of it), there are some things she knows not to do. Like, give me advice about what to do in any particular situation. After a few snippy phone calls, exaggerated eye rolling (that luckily, she couldn’t see), she finally threw in the towel and lets me vent instead of getting involved.

Even though my mom was single until the, ahem, ripe ol’ age of 24, when it comes to our experiences in dating, we have some pretty vast differences. You know, so big they take up generations. When my mom was on the market, there were no dating apps, text messages, cyberstalking sessions — nothing digital. My dad scored her home phone number and called her every Saturday for six months asking her out until she finally gave in and gave him one date. Four months later, they got married.

As for me? Well. Let’s just say there have been plenty of dates, not too many relationships, and far too many unsolicited dick picks. That being said, it’s not all bad these days. There’s still some romance. There’s still love out there. And really, the kind of advice that applied decades ago isn’t as out-of-touch as you’d think. Just take it from these 50-something folks who gave me their very best dating wisdom:

1. Kim, My Mom, 55

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“I never thought I would meet someone like my husband of 30 years, but I sure had to date a lot of people before meeting him. Through it all though, I never once considered settling because I didn’t want to be alone. He was worth the wait and the bad dates, and I’m so glad I never threw the towel in or I would have missed something truly wonderful.”

2. Trudy, 57

“If they don’t care the same way you do, let them go. Don't waste your time with someone who doesn't want to better themselves or pulls you down. Always remember to make good decisions. Most important thing of all is don't waste your time if they are not the right one let them go, because one day, before you know it, you will be my age and you can't go back. You only have one chance so make good choices and you won't be sorry.”

3. Diane, 67

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“By your late 30s or even earlier, I found that making a timeline helped me so much to understand myself. You can literally draw a line and mark when things happened in your relationship, work, family and anything that comes to you. Examples can be if your relationship, work and health are suffering, you can actually see why you're having a hard time and think: ‘No wonder we are struggling, anyone would with these particular stresses of life, would be too.’ Then I could go back to whatever was upsetting me and decide what to do. You do have to have lived long enough to look at this timeline and understand.”

4. Christine, 53

“Be yourself, no games. I farted on the second date with my current partner of 15 years. He asked, ‘Did you just fart?’ I said ‘Yes, is that going to be a problem?’ And he just laughed and said ‘No.’ I said ‘Good.’ (And it has been open season ever since!) The guy I dated right before him, let me know under no uncertain terms that farting was off limits. Not the guy for me! It's a natural function of the body, dude. I'm not saying be gross about it, but it happens sometimes. So yeah, be real right up front, that way you will eliminate those who can't handle your unique realness, and reveal it to those who will love and appreciate it.”

5. Stephanie, 56

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“Be selective and pay attention to your gut feeling. If they make you feel uneasy, run! Someone that is comfortable and adores you will be the best long-term choice.”

6. Susan, 53

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“Make sure other people like them. Because if other people like them, they're a good person. They also need to like to have a good time, like go out and do things—they can't be a bookworm who likes to sit in the house all day.”

7. Valerie, 55

“There aren’t any ‘rules’ about how long you should wait before calling or texting someone you just met or after a date. Or when you can start getting intimate. Or when you should introduce them to your friends or family. Or when you can tell a person you love them. Or whether you should move in together. There are virtually no rules, other than don’t do anything illegal and don’t hurt other people. So make up your own rules.”

8. Calico, 54

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“If I was to give my younger self some dating advice it would be: Listen and don't judge. No one person is ever going to be 100 percent of what you're looking for. You need to prioritize the things that are really important to you. Know when to compromise and when not to. A couple of other things that are important to me: honesty, ability to communicate well (although this does take time to develop) and most importantly, be able to have fun and laugh! Dating is tough at any age, just always be true to yourself.”

9. Mama T, 56

"Play Hard to get! Listen more, don't tell all. Don't always be available for his schedule because you are important too. Instead, make him arrange his schedule to fit your schedule.”

10. Julie, Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker, 50-something

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“Enjoy the process and not overthink what the outcome will be. Know that you’re meeting different people and the more you date, the better dater you become. Dating goals in your 20s are different from your 30s. The best advice is to have fun meeting people and dating and keep the communication open so you’re on the same page. If it doesn’t work out, chalk it up to a life lesson and move on. You have a whole life ahead of you.”

11. Chris, 55

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“Don't let others judge you based on their expectations, beliefs, or societal standards. There's really only one 'should' in life — you should live life on your terms; not anybody else's and yes that includes parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, and what folks think you should do.”

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