I’ve always liked the music of Australian singer Paul Kelly.
In his song “Love Never Runs On Time,” he explores the idea that meeting the right person often seems to happen at the most inconvenient and unexpected time.
As Kelly sings: “you know and I know that love never runs on time…”
If you’re wondering whether you can still find love at 50, I’m going to take an honest look.
Finding love is always hard
Finding love is always hard. It’s difficult whether you’re 25 or 50 or 70.
Now, being middle-aged does change the equation somewhat. It’s harder to find love when you’re getting on in years and experiencing physical changes that make staying in shape harder.
You also have a harder time numerically: more people in your age range are married.
Of course, you could take the Leonardo Dicaprio route and try to date significantly younger, or take a page from Brigitte Macron, whose husband French President Emmanuel Macron is 44 compared to her 69.
Of course, you’re likely not a dashing celebrity or a famous presidential wife about to hit 70 with a geopolitical boy toy on her arm.
Nonetheless, the options at 50 are still there, especially if you take each day as it comes and approaches this as an adventure.
Being 50 places you in a prime spot in life if you look at it a certain way.
In one sense you have had more of a chance to establish more self-sufficiency and financial independence, as well as to gain self-knowledge about your own strengths and weaknesses as well as what you’re looking for in a partner.
Dating and finding love doesn’t have to be a grind, especially because it can become part and parcel of working on yourself.
Here’s what I mean:
The self-development and love nexus
The more you develop yourself, the more attractive a mate you become.
This is as true in your middle years as it was in your younger years.
The only difference is that you now actually have the advantage of more life experience, self-knowledge, and progress under your belt.
All that you have learned in your life, including the frustrations, can feed into a mission to become stronger, smarter, healthier, and happier.
The more you develop yourself, the more you provide a place for a mate to feel cared for and supported around you, as well as intrigued by your energy and drive.
The adventure of finding love at 50 can be part of the adventure of finding yourself and truly be a win-win.
This doesn’t mean every day is going to be a home run, but you may find you have a lot more passion and potential than you realize at this point in your life.
Being 50 makes your search different, but not impossible
Being 50 is more difficult because many people are established in their lives at this age and not as available as at a younger age.
Official statistics back this up in many countries. Taking a look at the United States, for example, we can see that between 50 and 65 the dating pool is a little bit restricted.
According to the Pew Research Center, 28% of Americans between 50 and 65 are single, while 41% of 18 to 29-year-olds are single and 36% of those over 65.
This means there are a bit less of those lucky singles ready for you to date, but it does not mean that the situation is impossible by any means.
In fact, it’s a good chance to become more open about forming new connections and increasing your patience.
“Of the half who are not looking for a relationship or dates at the moment, having more important priorities and enjoying being single are their top reasons why they are not looking to date.
“For those who are on the dating market, about half are open to either a relationship or casual dates, and relatively few are looking only for something casual.”
This means you have a relatively smaller percentage of individuals who may be looking for exactly the same thing as you.
Thus, instead of trying to find somebody who wants precisely the same thing as you, I advise going about the search a little differently.
Adjusting your sails
As Paul Kelly noted, “love never runs on time.” It also rarely arrives in the manner we expect.
Thus, even though you’re at 50 and feeling there might be a relatively smaller pool of candidates, this is a chance to let things happen in their own way.
As you go about your self-development journey and engage in activities that you love to do, you also hike up the chances of meeting close friends and finding love.
Adjusting your sails in the direction of following your passions draws more people to you and brings you into an optimal state of well-being and proactive empowerment.
Finding ‘the one’
The idea that “the one” is somewhere out there waiting for us is tempting and I myself used to believe it.
This belief has no age limit, and when we fall in love strongly it can reinforce this perception that there’s only one real love we’re destined to have in this life.
The problem with this is that anything else is unsatisfactory, and if you lose that one love then you’re toast.
Instead, it’s most productive to think of the ones.
These are those potential partners you’re compatible with in life, some more than others.
Many factors of how we meet someone and how a relationship goes are out of our control, including events in the other person’s life and experiences.
But by never investing all of our hope and well-being in another person completely, we can remain present and realistic.
In this way, especially at 50, it’s possible to approach your love life with realism and hope as you navigate middle age and finding love once again.
As you work on yourself and explore your own interests, part of the process of finding love at 50 is opening up to strangers and finding your social side.
If you’re more of an introvert this may be easier said than done, but it’s more about quality than quantity.
In addition, there’s no pressure here. The goal is to talk to more strangers and interact in various ways without expectations of romance or intimacy.
It’s just about getting a bit out of your comfort zone and talking to who you can.
This could just be the checkout lady at the grocery store all the way to having a chat with your bank teller about the upcoming holidays or speaking to your friend about an upcoming event in your city that you want to attend.
This, in turn, may be a chance to meet even more people who you might find interesting.
Another smart option is to join groups like the Rotary Club or similar endeavors where you can help contribute to the community and meet like-minded folks who could be in the same boat as you.
Single friends of mine in their 50s have often met a significant other through pursuing community initiatives and meeting those with similar interests through volunteering and other similar things.
Of course, volunteering and having extra time apart from work isn’t always an option, which is where I’d recommend things on the weekend from meetup hiking groups to church, meditation classes or yoga.
If you’re more of the stay-at-home type, try starting a reading club or join discussion groups online.
Just make sure that you’re taking part in things you already enjoy and find meaningful even if they don’t lead to romantic interactions and potential.
The reality of finding love at 50
This touching article by Shelley Emling tells the story of various happy couples who met after 50.
Each story is very different, but they share a common thread of two people who went through many life experiences before meeting each other.
Rather than the end of the road romantically, middle age was a new starting point.
The reality of finding love at 50 is that it can be even more rewarding than finding love at a younger age.
By now you know exactly what you’re looking for, or at least exactly what you’re not looking for.
You also have a better judge of character and know better how to avoid traits of codependency, emotional manipulation, narcissism, and toxic possessiveness.
By the same token, you also have identified your own patterns of unhelpful codependency in yourself and addressed them.
You’re ready for love that goes beyond labels and expresses who you truly are and what you have to give.
You’re freed up for something that’s both genuine and also less socially constricted.
This is your chance to go beyond labels and find the person you always dreamed of.
It’s the chance to build yourself into exactly who you’ve always wanted to be.
The chance to find love at 50 is all about embracing life for all its ups and downs and making the best of the time you have.