A fifty-something, divorced woman, asks the question: “Where have all the good men gone? It seems that all the men I meet are either married or gay.” This is not the first time I have been asked this question. Men have asked me the same question.
My response in both instances is the same: “There are many appropriate, eligible men (women) out there, you just have to know where to look.”
Dating at 50-plus is different than when you were in your 20s or 30s. Now that you are no longer thinking of bearing children, raising a family, and wanting to find a mate who would make a good parent, your criteria for an appropriate mate has changed. Hence, your strategy must change as well.
In my book (Someone Right For You: 21st Century Strategies For Finding Your Perfect Someone) I discuss the issue of mate selection and ways in which you can increase the odds of finding a “compatible mate.”
The first step is for you to clearly define what you are looking for. Mates come in several varieties: roommate, playmate, friendship mate, and permanent mate or soul mate. The criteria for each are different. For example, there does not have to be “chemistry” with a roommate and a friend does not have to share your same level of housekeeping. A playmate is someone with whom you play – it could be a fun day out at the park. A permanent mate should have all of the qualities of the first three mates.
Romance is no different from any other aspect of your life. It requires that you take the responsibility for making it happen. Your perfect partner is not going to materialize out of thin air and appear in your living room. It is interesting to me that people spend more time planning for and seeking a business partner than they do in finding a mate. They certainly wouldn’t look for a CEO for their company in a local bar. Yet, they throw finding the most important relationship of their lives – finding a permanent mate – up to chance.
You must develop a plan of action and then act upon it. Many folks are very sincere about their desires to be involved with another person, but are not committed to making it happen. Sincerity is an attitude, while commitment is an action. Sincerity without action does not make anything happen. Once you decide on what you are looking for, you can develop a strategy for finding that person. Ask yourself, “Where am I most likely to find a man or woman with these characteristics, these interests, of this age, and so on?” Keep in mind you wouldn’t look to buy the car of your dreams in a junkyard!
I am reminded of a man who wanted to marry a wealthy woman and he wanted to be in love. He decided it was just as easy to fall in love with a rich woman as a poor one. However, he figured, he must only date wealthy women. And so he did. He developed a plan for meeting wealthy women – heiresses, divorcees, professional women, and high-level executives. He joined the appropriate clubs, became active in the appropriate committees, networked, and did his homework. And yes, he fell in love with one of them and married.
And then there was the woman who wanted to find a man who was active, enjoyed biking, wanted a dance partner, and who loved the outdoors. How could she maximize her potential of finding someone who fit the bill? She began joining various groups that focused on at least one of these, starting with bikers figuring that bikers would be into exercise and like the outdoors – and maybe they could dance. She met “the love of her life” while training for a 90 mile bikathon!
You do not have to be alone and there is more than one partner for you if you are willing to change your attitudes and put in a little effort. But, you must give up certain myths, time-honored beliefs, and begin to take charge of your romantic life.
By Ed Dreyfus, Ph.D.