Most people want to find a friend or a life partner, and to meet the dates who may fulfill this desire, many 50-somethings, about 80 percent in fact, do it the old-fashioned way — through friends or family. Dating after 40 or 50 means taking control of your love life, just like you do the rest of your life. Baggage bonding is when an early date shifts into deep conversation about some baggage you have in common. You start comparing your horrific ex-spouses or your crazy awful dates. Men know who and what they want, often better than we do. The last thing you want at 55 is to wake up in the morning with flashbacks to your days as a 20-something, right? His manners, his shirt, his smile, the way he talks about his kids. If he walks away from the date having shared too much or hasn’t learned about you, then there won't be a second date.
On the positive side, the age 50-plus daters seem to be pretty darn smart when choosing a date-mate. More than 30 percent don’t even know where to begin and nearly 30 percent say they find it too stressful (think back to those sweaty palms and awkward conversations.) For more than 40 percent of respondents, other priorities are simply more important, and nearly one-quarter say it’s just too difficult to date when you’re 50-plus. That’s true whether you’re 16 or 56, but more than 40 percent don’t believe there is anyone “out there” to date.From far too young, I longed for the affection, safety, and intimacy I anticipated with a wife. I experimented too much with our hearts and allowed things to go too far. And now my singleness is a regular reminder that I messed up, missed opportunities, or did it wrong. Maybe all the suggestions and advice you’ve collected has become a confusing mess of good-intentioned contradictions and ambiguity.Sadly, my immature and unhealthy desires predictably did much more harm than good. Maybe dating has been hard for you, too, for these reasons or others. It’s enough to leave you like an 8-year-old, asking, “Mom, where do weddings come from?