by Bobbi Palmer
CEO, Date Like a Grownup
Experiencing love in our 50s and beyond is the absolute BEST time. I see proof of it and live it myself every single day. In our 20s we might have been hooking up all over the place, but our choices were generally crappy because we had no idea what would create any kind of real happiness in our lives. Our 30s were all about turning into grownups as we made long term plans, dealt with children and moved up ladders. Into our 40s we juggled all the responsibilities we created in our 30s including, for many of us, cleaning up past missteps.
And then we blink, and we are in our 50s. We finally get to start living some of our dreams instead of just planning them. All our experiences to this point – the joyful, educational and even the painful – have prepared us for creating a delicious life in the years ahead; a life that most definitely includes grownup love.
As a dating and relationship coach for women over 40, and someone who became a first-time bride at age 47, I have both personal and professional experience with the pleasures of love after 50.
Whether you’re single and looking for love, or in a relationship and wondering how to make it even better, here are five reasons why love can be so much lovelier after 50…if you let it be so.
1) It’s Me-Me-Me time. We are not running after little kids anymore, having to prove ourselves in a career or trying to keep up with the Joneses. That means less exhaustion, more time in our schedule and extra room in our finances to splurge a bit more. There is more physical and emotional space for playfulness, love and sex. We haven’t forgotten about everyone else, we just know we are only responsible for our own happiness. It’s time to give ourselves permission to have a whole lotta Me-time.
2) We know fairytale from fact. After decades of fantasies and hopes of Prince or Princess Charming appearing, we can finally give up our unrealistic romantic notions that only lead to disappointment. The fantasy of finding a perfect “10” has passed, and good riddance! We are okay knowing that life can be unfair and people are complex. We kindly allow for others’ frailties and blunders. This more realistic view of the world relieves much added pressure and translates to a far greater ability to love.
3) Our sex hormones meet in the middle. The volatility of the reproductive years has ended and our brain chemistry is rebalancing estrogen and testosterone. Men relax and become more comfortable with their feminine side and women often seek fulfillment in their lives from a sense of mastery. Gail Sheehy, the best selling author (remember Passages?), journalist, and lecturer contends that middle age is a time when our brains become more like the opposite sex. Women can enjoy “postmenopausal zest” and men explore “serene potency.” Our differences fade and we meet on more common ground. It’s the perfect time for men and women to explore and increase our intimacy.
4) Our passion hasn’t petered out – quite the opposite. An AARP study of men and women over 50 found that 70% of 50-64 year olds and 63% of people 65+ report being currently in love. And for those over 65, 46% reported being passionately in love. Our bodies may not be 25 any longer, but our capacity for romantic love is intact and better than ever.
5) We don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. Our parents are aging or have passed on. We’ve experienced our own or our peers’ illnesses and debilities. We are up close and personal with the fragility of life; forever reminding us that we don’t have forever to get it right. That perspective, which can be non-existent in earlier years, allows us to let go of the little stuff roll and focus on what counts and makes us happy. Those are the keys ingredients of making good choices and creating loving, long-lasting relationship.
If you are not already, there is no better time than now to focus on this part of your life. We may be in our 50s, 60s, 70s or beyond, but we’ve still got it going on in the love and romance department. I hope you’re taking advantage of this beautiful sweet spot of love.