More and more people over 50 are dating every year. We are still having sex, falling in love, and working out relationships with each other. However, the culture one is born into and experiences as a young child in, can leave a lingering imprint — and my generation still retains some of those old ideas. Especially the straight, cisgender, white men who still retain so much power over what is and isn’t socially acceptable. Many people over 50 finally are more present in their lives, perhaps because they really understand how none of us know how long we will be on this beautiful spinning world. Dating can be a way to revel in the moment; I encourage it to be viewed that way, at least initially. So, if you are a straight man over 50 interested in dating women, here are 7 things for men over 50 age need to know when dating women. And since I am mostly heterosexual and know it more thoroughly than queerness, I will focus on that type of dating here.
1. Don’t Assume The Woman Dating You Only Dates Heterosexual Cisgender Men — Even If That Is What You Are. Don’t Assume She Is Cisgender.
The idea that your date is straight, cisgender, and dates the same is informed by heteronormative and cisgender-normative values. It is what we were raised with.
2. Don’t Perpetuate A Double-Standard Around Age and Gender
No, you don’t “have to date a woman 20 years younger because women my age only want to sit on a cruise ship and talk.” Yes, I really was told that, when approached by a man much older than me.
3. Don’t Perpetuate the Misogynistic Pattern Of “Body Competition” Between Women
As I mentioned in the introduction, women my age were brought up thinking they had to compete for male attention in an appearance contest. Please don’t perpetuate that.
4. Don’t Assume We Are Monogamous
We might not be. And don’t make blanket assumptions about us if we are choosing to follow a loving, caring, ethical polyamorous lifestyle.
Similarly, don’t make negative assumptions about us if we prefer monogamy!
Certainly go ahead and bring up those lifestyle choices. Perhaps not immediately. We may want to discuss shared interests, politics, spirituality, and other topics, before diving into intimacy discussions.
5. Don’t Assume That Our Genitals No Longer Work
I bring this up because that myth STILL comes up. Sadly, even young women have implied such misconceptions to me, which especially hurts to hear.
That prevailing assumption about women over 50 is informed by entrenched youth privilege in this country, as well as misogyny, and internalized misogyny.
The flip side of that is similar to the slut-shaming that sexually active younger women can face.
6. Don’t Assume a Smooth or Specific Trajectory with Our Dating Relationship
We are both in a different phase of life than when we may have dated before. Just because we have been going out every Friday night, don’t assume we lose interest if we are unavailable for a month or two.
7. Don’t Be in a Rush to Give Us a Label, or Specifically Define the Relationship
Many of us just want to enjoy your company, and have no agenda. Again, most women over 50 have a secure sense of themselves.
This list is by no means definitive, or will it resonate with every woman over 50 who is dating. But I hope it is a start.