The thought of dating again can feel overwhelming at any stage in life, but putting yourself out there later in life can feel particularly intimidating. So how do you know if you’re really ready to dip a toe back into the dating pool?
When you’re young, friends who think you’re not settled down start trying to pair you off. This can happen again when you’re older; friends who are couples used to being together may think you’ll only be happy if you are in a relationship like them. But the first rule of dating in later life is to do things in your own time, when you feel it’s right, not when someone else feels it’s right for you.
Ask yourself: “Am I ready?”
Whether you’re on your own after the loss of a spouse, divorce or splitting up with a long-term partner, when will you be ready to begin dating again?
Generally speaking, the best time to start dating is when you feel confident and happy in your own skin, and when you aren’t seeking the affirmation of someone else. Some people arrive at this point more slowly than others – everyone has their own timeline, and love isn’t something that should be rushed.
In fact, scientists suggest it’s our relationship with ourselves that lays the foundations for all other interactions, and that self-love could be the secret to a healthy, fulfilling relationship with a significant other.
Only you will know when the time is right, but, if you’re feeling unsure, here are six questions that’ll help you consider whether you’re ready:
• Am I happy?
• Am I ready?
• What do I want to gain from dating?
• What worked well, and not so well, in past relationships?
• What are the boundaries?
• Am I excited by the thought of dating?
What else to consider
With a bit more age comes a bit more baggage. And it’s highly likely that your new date/online matches will most likely have been married before.
You and your date might have children from other relationships and it can be difficult knowing how to introduce a new partner to children or loved ones. However, don’t let your former life interrupt your new one – and hopefully any children will be supportive and happy for you now that you feel the time is right to move on.
Dating in your 50s and beyond inevitably means you’ve lived and loved before and your combined experiences will mean you’ll both have endless stories to share!
Online dating is bigger than ever, with around four in ten couples now meeting this way. You can take plenty of time getting to know someone via phone, email, or video chat before actually meeting up with them in person. And if you speak to someone online and instantly realise that they aren’t the person for you, then it’s much easier to cut contact politely.
Like everything in life, online dating does come with some negatives, such as trying to weed out the good dating profiles from the bad, not being able to form a first impression of someone based on physical interaction and, of course, concerns about scams.
It’s important to remember that when talking to someone new online, you should never give out personal information that could put you or your finances in jeopardy. This includes, but is not limited to, your home address and your bank details.
Whatever happens, try to remember that there are plenty more fish in the sea and the right person will be out there somewhere! And sometimes you just can’t hurry love…
Breaking hearts and wallets!
As if finding love again isn’t without its challenges, nearly £17 million was lost to romance fraud in the first six months of 2022 alone, according to analysis of UK finance data by TSB bank. The average victim lost around £10,000, with 51-65-year-olds accounting for almost half (46%) of money lost to romance fraud. The over 65s account for a further 26%.
What is romance fraud and how can you prevent it?
• Romance fraud, as the name suggests, is a type of scam where fraudsters develop fake romantic relationships with people, both online and in person, with the aim of either stealing their money or personal information. TSB bank suggests that the average relationship with a scammer will last around 53 days.
• Paul Davis, Director of Fraud Prevention, TSB, said: “The best way of beating romance scammers is by talking to friends and family about the relationships you’re in – if you’re ever asked to send money then it’s time to stop.