A surprising find in a recent study by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research showed a dramatic increase in the rate of divorce for people age 50, and older. In 1990, fewer than 1 in 10 marriages of couples age 50+ ended in divorce, but by 2010 the rate had increased to 1 in 4.
This means there are more and more people older than 50 are starting to date again, and their last dating experiences had nothing to do with texting, sexting, or online profiles. How do you know when you’re ready to date again? You may never feel completely ready to date again; however, there are a few things you need to be sure of before you get back out there:
1. The divorce is final, really final, with no pending legal issues to resolve.
None of your belongings are at your ex's house. You have your own space, and your own things, just the way you like them. The legal status of “divorced” makes you eligible to be available to someone new.
2. The children, no matter what their age, are adjusting.
They’ve stopped blaming you or your ex spouse for the changes in their life. You can hold your tongue and resist making negative comments about your children’s other parent, even if she or he has a new “friend” the children have been introduced to.
3. You’ve made some physical changes.
You've plucked some stray hairs (when did they start growing there?). You’ve covered the gray or are rocking silver. You dusted off the gym membership, have been going regularly, and it shows in your body and your spirits. You changed your hair/wardrobe/makeup routine for something a little updated that makes your true personality shine. You no longer look like the man or woman who survived a divorce. You are thriving, the reflection you see in the mirror is confident and full of new life.
4. You no longer rely on your ex.
With a few trials and errors, and hilarious stories to tell, you’ve skillfully learned to do things on your own. You can change the furnace filter, make a gourmet breakfast, take the car in for service, call the plumber when needed, get things to the dry cleaner on schedule, and manage financial matters.
5. Your conversations no longer revolve around your ex or the settlements, court dates, and legal fees.
You don’t need to vent your anger about your spouse and how you were wronged during the divorce (although you will probably hear that conversation from someone once you are dating).
6. You're happy with the person you've become.
You have new skills, interests, and truly are looking forward to sharing new adventures with someone. It may have been a long journey both in timing and in life changing transitions, but the results are worth it and you know it.
The decision to begin to date again, especially at mid-life, is often daunting. No one can tell you when the time is right for you, but if you watch and listen to your internal and external messages to yourself about yourself, the time will come. When you’re ready to be fantastic and turn a few heads, you’re ready to rock someone’s world!