dating in my 40s/50s compared to my early 20s

So I’ve been thinking a lot about how the ‘dating game’ has changed since I was in my late teens/early twenties. Everything seemed really simple then. You liked someone or they liked you and you went out on a date – somewhere really informal. Then you either hit it off or you didn’t. There were no real expectations, at least not for me. If you did hit it off, then you started seeing each other on a regular basis – dating – and you were exclusive.

Couple in an embrace

Usually, it was someone that was already in your circle of friends or a friend of a friend. There wasn’t really that many ways you could meet people really. You could go out to a nightclub but that was about the only option. It’s not like you could go online to meet people. The internet only became accessible to me after 1991, so I was 20 years old then. I think the first computer I had connected to the internet was around 1999. By that time I was already married and had 4 kids! God, dial-up internet with AOL, what a nightmare that was. Waiting for ages for just one page to load!

My whole perception of meeting someone, dating them, getting engaged, then married and having kids. It all seemed within easy reach for me. I didn’t feel like it would be a hard or long road to have all that.

Truly, it actually wasn’t. I ended up marrying my best friends cousin. Within a year of us starting to date, I was pregnant and 3 years later we’d had another baby and got married.

Man and woman holding hands.

Fast forward to today and I have 5 kids, 2 grand-kids and although legally still married, my husband and I are no longer together. We live in the same house but he came out as gay over 5 or 6 years ago. It was all very amicable & we’re still the best of friends. It has meant though that we are both back on the dating scene.

The thought of having to date in my late 40’s, possibly into my early 50’s honestly scares the pants off me! Though at least now there is the internet and plenty of means to meet people around the same age as me online, like

It’s great that there are options for dating online. Personally, due to my situation, I can’t go out and socialise and find someone that way. I do love the idea of meeting someone online though. I know a lot of people don’t think much of the idea but I personally think it is an easier way to meet someone who has the same interests and whatnot. At my age or older, I don’t want to be going out to nightclubs and pubs just in the hope I might meet someone. Not that I am able to do that even if I wanted to!

I think overall it is a lot harder to date now, even for younger people. Sorry, they don’t really date, they ‘hook up’ and most of the time they are not exclusive either. Ugh, no thank you! That is not my idea of how dating should be and certainly not at my age! I’m making myself sound like such an old misery – I’m really not, honestly! I’m really quite young at heart and most times I don’t even think about my age.

I have a couple of friends in their early 50s that I’ve talked to about dating nowadays and just how hard it can be to connect with someone. I did actually recommend that they try over 50s dating sites so that they can meet likeminded people of their own age. It’s incredibly hard to meet someone otherwise unless you happen to be very active and socialise a lot.

It is very daunting though if you are just stepping back into the dating pool in your 40s or 50s, especially after being with someone for many years.

Do you think online dating is a good idea? How would you go about meeting someone now, if you are or were single?

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Sarah loves creating beauty content but also writes about health & lifestyle. She has several chronic illnesses that impact her life in many ways. It's made her a big mental health advocate.