Dating in your 50s? Beware a guy seeking a purse and nurse

Just as there is pressure on ageing women to look as fab as possible, so too is there the tyranny of expectation that a single woman - even in her fifties or sixties - is in want of a fella, any kind of a fella. So says Colette Sheridan
Dating in your 50s? Beware a guy seeking a purse and nurse

Author Alana Kirk Repro Free: Picture Jason Clarke

“EXHAUSTING” is how midlife coach and author of Midlife Redefined: Better, Bolder, Brighter Alana Kirk described dating in one’s fifties on the radio recently.

Or at least it can be if you venture out on dates with unrealistic expectations, like hoping to snag a guy who’s both hot and handy around the house.

Chasing hotness is a little unseemly for menopausal women (unless you’re Madonna, who has one hell of an image to live up to).

Seeking someone who’s adept at fixing kitchen appliances is a sensible enough desire - practical, economical, but not very romantic.

Still, it beats feeling you have to dress up and be sexy if you’re to appeal to some guy you met on a dating app.

Women of a certain age shouldn’t have to reboot their twenty-something look. Let the hair go grey and to hell with ensnaring a bloke. Really? Not quite.

Most of us would like to be liberated from hair dye, unafraid to let the grey shine through. But we’re not quite ready to relinquish those aids that make us look a little younger (or so we think).

And for those who still want to meet men, with a view to having a relationship, fair play to them for being so vividly alive. Personally, I’d rather go shopping for comfy shoes.

If that sounds like a fatalistic capitulation to getting older, then so be it. But take note - it’s quite liberating to see oneself not from the male gaze perspective but rather, as we really are.

That tends to include thickening waist lines. And keeping an eye on the selection of supportive shoes in Eco. Who needs to teeter on high heels when all you want is to put your weary feet up?

Alana Kirk, who got divorced this year, now finds herself on the dating scene as a 52-year-old single parent of three teenage girls. She said that she used to go on dinner dates (which can be a trial if your instinct is to flee from a date that is going about as smoothly as a cement mixer at full throttle) but now restricts first dates to walks in the park, with dog-in-tow.

That way, you avoid intense eye-to-eye contact as you basically interview the person sitting opposite you.

That is what makes first dates such a trial - all that scrutiny, all those questions. And at the end of it, you often want to just bolt home and have a comforting cup of tea.

But if you are going on a first date, it’s a good idea to keep conversation light and fun. That’s Alana’s advice. But she adds that she has learned to ask potential prospects the following question: ‘What would your partner say about the end of your marriage?’ The response can be telling.

If the person insists that their ex is ‘mad and bad’, they might not have processed their own part in the break-up.

As Alana says of herself and those back on the dating scene later in life, “some people are trying to find the one, again. Another one. A new one. Like any of these things in life, it can be great fun and it can be incredibly draining and difficult. Figuring out who you are and what you want is a really key part of it.”

And who you are in your fifties is very different to who you were in your twenties. Back then, you were footloose and fancy free - a state that many women in midlife are not in. They may be caring for ageing parents or children.

Throw into the mix trying to run a busy household while navigating a career. It’s no wonder that Alana advises women to be a lot more circumspect about how they date later in life.

Why date at all?

Just as there is pressure on ageing women to look as fab as possible, so too is there the tyranny of expectation that a single woman - even in her fifties or sixties - is in want of a fella, any kind of a fella.

The truth is that for many of us singletons, we have become set in our ways and embrace the couch and the telly rather than some guy who looked handsome in his profile pic but in real life, is gap-toothed and has a paunch.

Alana looks at the brighter side of ageing. Older women (when not burdened by caring roles) “have freedoms and opportunities and financial freedoms that women in past generations maybe didn’t have.

We can redefine many things in our lives...” That includes relationships. In other words, don’t put up with some guy on the rebound who is really just after a purse and a nurse.

You are worth a lot more than that.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more