Dating after 50 has a whole NEW set of rules.
Nothing wrong with that if you ask me, a dating coach for women. It's important to know what will and won't work for you in a match, especially when you're dating in middle age and beyond.
The survey revealed three big deal breakers that prevent someone from choosing a particular partner. I've also heard plenty of others over the last 11 years in my practice.
1. Poor health (78 percent)
2. Financial instability (76 percent)
3. Not physically attractive (75 percent)
These concerns aren't too surprising, are they? Successful women of a certain age have told me how they don't want to be a "nurse with a purse." Dating over 50 is frustrating sometimes because it seems like many mature women meet older men who are ailing physically, financially or perhaps both.
Many singles have worked hard to build their nest eggs and don't want a partner without means to drain their bank accounts with health or monetary needs. I see the point, but also want to mention that there are degrees of everything. You never know who will stay healthy, get ill or need funds.
On the other hand, if you meet someone who is already down the road to poor health and financial troubles, it's smart to question whether getting involved and taking that on is a wise choice. There are plenty of other singles to choose from who won't need constant care and attention.
Now let's talk about physical attraction. There's no denying that a lack of physical attraction means there's no spark, no chemistry and no hope for a relationship. Patti Stanger, the Bravo TV Millionaire Matchmaker, claims men are more visual; either they feel attracted or they don't. Women, on the other hand, have a wider range of what is acceptable in terms of physicality, and can be warmed up by a man's charm or endearing personality.
The good news about the difference in men's and women's attraction is that you can do things to improve your desirability!
1. Lose some weight, exercise, and get in better shape.
Getting fit is not only good for your dating prospects, but also good for your health. Plus, it might help you avoid being affected by deal breakers #1 and #3.
2. Wear quality clothing that fits well and looks good on you.
If you don't know what colors or styles work on your body type, ask for help in any high-end retail store. You can also ask a girlfriend who has a good sense of style. The right colors for your skin and the right clothing for your shape can make a tremendous difference in your appearance and confidence as well. Ladies, there's no need to be a slave to fashion, but current styles do help you look younger.
3. Gentleman, please get a new pair of shoes and a new belt too.
Yes, women notice these details and judge you accordingly. Scuffed shoes and a worn belt won't do. You deserve to look good and dress well.
4. Ladies, update your hair and makeup.
Plenty of women wear makeup daily, but others just can't be bothered. There's no question that makeup helps you look more youthful and attractive. Take five minutes in the morning to put on some blush, mascara and lipstick. In addition, as the years go by, lightening your hair softens the contrast with your skin, especially if you were originally a dark brunette. While short cropped hair might be super easy, a little more length does catch a man's eye.
The next three deal breakers come from my dating coaching clients and are also very telling as to how people judge their dates.
1. Lack of vitality or activity.
To attract love, you should have a spring in your step and a desire to do things. If you just want to sit at home and watch TV, you might need to do that on your own. Most singles over 50 are a vibrant, active group who still want to do and see so much. Perk up and leave the house more often if you tend to be a home body. Getting out gives you more energy and stimulates your mind; it also makes you a lot more interesting and gives you things to talk about when on a date.
2. Negative outlook.
So many of my dating coaching clients complain about people with negative attitudes. Both men and women prefer a partner who is optimistic and feels good about life. If you are feeling down about what life has to offer, don't expect a partner to fill that void. You need to feel good about your own life before you get to share in someone else's.
3. Unrealistic expectations.
I wish I had a dollar for every man and woman who called me to say, "I look 15 years younger than I am, and only want to date people 15 years younger." Really? While I understand what attracts you to youth, I have to ask these callers: "What will they see in you?" This May-December thing absolutely does happen, but it's not something you can totally insist on. If you are only willing to date people significantly younger than you, that severely limits your prospects and could impede your ability to find the love you want.
Finding love after 50 is absolutely possible. My clients find love and so do millions of other singles over 50. Knowing what you are looking for and what to avoid in a partner is a smart strategy to find a good mate. Doing your part to maximize your own attractiveness will definitely improve your chances, too.
Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan is the author of Is He the One? Find Mr. Right by Spotting Mr. Wrong which radically simplifies understanding men. Get more dating wisdom in her free book: 7 Dire Dating Mistakes that Keep You Single.