Oh, the negative things we women over 60 tell ourselves and do to ourselves!
I looked back on some of the things I struggled with the two times I dated seriously, first when I was close to 60 and then again when I was in my early 60’s.
As time went on I overcame them (mostly) but, at first, these things kept me from finding true love.
Here are just some of many misguided thoughts and actions that may be holding you back.
5 Self-Sabotaging Things Women Over 60 Do When They’re Looking for True Love
1. Choosing the wrong kind of men for you.
You may be making the same mistakes over and over again in choosing a partner . . . if you haven’t done some work on looking at why you’re attracted to a particular “type” . . . and if you haven’t worked on knowing yourself.
You may be getting involved with men who are all wrong for you (and may be wrong for ANY woman), but they satisfy some kind of need in you, so you keep going back to them.
Before diving headlong into dating, think about what attracts you to these wrong types. It will help you pinpoint the right kind of man for you. Take the time to work on identifying who your ideal partner is.
And then there’s the misguided notion that tells you, at your age, the good ones are all taken. You’ve missed the boat. You’ll never find true love.
So you settle for someone who’s “okay”. He meets some of your must-have criteria, but you’re not gaga over him.
This is understandable. You’re over 60. Fewer years are ahead of you than behind you. You want to find someone sooner than later.
You SO much don’t want to be without a man that you’re willing to put up with too much.
My advice? Get yourself good with being alone. Know that you’ll be fine, if you never find “the one”. I think it’s the best way to go into dating, especially at our age, and older. This mindset will help keep you from settling.
When I met Cosmo, in my second dating go-round after Sam died, I was of this mindset. Yes, I wanted a romance and life partner, but I was very happy with my life as it was. I wasn’t desperate. I wasn’t willing to settle . . . and I didn’t have to.
2. Being afraid or unwilling to try online dating.
Are you like I was – resistant to trying online dating?
After my divorce in 2004, I was single for several years. When I was ready to date, I tried joining various local groups and clubs, hanging out in the grocery store produce section, and various other stereotypical “meeting” places, with no luck.
It took me another few years of that to take a stab at online dating.
I was afraid of it. I was convinced that the dating sites were loaded with predators, scammers and losers, and that I would be putting myself in danger.
But I made the plunge, and within 6 months I met Sam, with whom I had a happy, loving relationship for 3 years.
If you’re serious about finding the right man for a forever relationship, I urge you to put most of your efforts into online dating sites . . . even though you may be resistant . . . even if your friends look at you funny when you tell them you’re going to do it, and some of them will.
Fact is, online dating sites are where you’ll find the biggest group of singles over 60 looking for love. And our age segment is the fastest growing one on these sites.
Doesn’t it make sense to go where you’ll find the most prospects?
Dating to find true love will probably take you a lot of time . . . unless you’re very lucky.
With such a vast pool of single men over 60, the dating sites will give you the best return on your time invested.
You can dip your toes into the pool slowly and quietly by joining just one of the sites, putting up a bare minimum profile, and looking around to see who’s there.
As long as you don’t use your real name as your user name (the one that shows on your profile), you’ll be there anonymously. And you can take down your profile at any time, if you get squeamish.
Once you get the hang of it, and see how many prospects there are online, I think you’ll want to stick it out, and give online dating a try.
3. Having such crippling body image issues that you can’t imagine anyone wanting your aging self.
It’s the rare woman who doesn’t struggle from time to time with self-esteem issues related to the way they look. In our youth-driven society, it would be hard not to.
We’re constantly bombarded by images of youth and told that only young women are beautiful.
This can translate to the internal message “I must look forever young to even be in the running to attract men and find true love”.
Some women – maybe most women – endlessly assess and rate parts of their body.
Some of us are so misguided, we seem to purposefully set ourselves up to fail.
In my experience, women can be terribly self-critical, which can keep us from finding true love and happiness after 60.
We’re especially susceptible if we’re coming from a failed relationship and have never experienced true love.
We don’t know what it feels like. We don’t know that when a man is truly in love, he’s not at all focused on our looks. He loves us for us.
Along with this goes the anxiety some of us feel about being naked with a date, especially if we haven’t been intimate with someone for a long time, which happens to many, many of us.
If you’re coming into dating after a divorce or the end of a bad relationship, chances are you weren’t being intimate for a while.
If you’re a widow and had been caring for your loved one throughout a prolonged illness, you may not have been intimate for a while.
Time passes . . . we start thinking about dating . . . we look in the mirror and assess the goods.
We decide that men will only be attracted to a youthful body. We will never truly have that again – even if we do lots of nipping and tucking – so we avoid having a man see us naked.
I know from my own experience and talking with other women over 60 that this is a major issue.
The answer may be obvious. We need to learn to love ourselves, before we can expect someone else to truly love us. We need to get beyond crippling body issues before dating in earnest.
Loving ourselves is important for good overall health and longevity.
Loving ourselves makes us more lovable to others.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, one way for women to improve body image is to:
“Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
When you look in the mirror, try to replace any negative thoughts that are pushing their way through like an unwanted whitehead with an affirming thought about the way you look or feel. Replace a disapproving scowl, with a confident smile.”
In her Psychology Today article, How Do I Improve My Body Image? Mary E. Pritchard Ph.D. suggests taking “the sticky note challenge”. The idea is to post sticky notes with positive phrases about you and your body in various places where you (and others) will see them.
And here are a few things I suggest doing:
- Tell yourself at least once a day that you’re beautiful, sexy and desirable. I mean, say it out loud. Verbalizing is very empowering.
- Stop saying negative things about your body and, when you find yourself thinking them, do your best to nip the thought in the bud.
- Stand naked (yes, naked) in front of a full-length mirror. Notice and say out loud how beautiful your body is.
- Embrace who you are. Literally hug yourself.
4. Thinking you HAVE to have sex on the first date . . . or early on . . . or before you really want to.
When I was dating, a girlfriend of mine told me about a girlfriend of hers who was also single. This friend told my friend that women – especially those over 50 – MUST sleep with a guy on the first date if they want to keep the man interested.
That blew me away! How unfortunate to truly believe that sex is the only way to attract and hold onto a man.
I can tell you from my own dating experience that there are plenty of men who want to wait to have sex as much as many of us do.
They want to be sure you’re the right one, for the long term. They want to be sure you’re free of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They want to be driven initially by common sense, not sexual desire.
Perhaps a sure-fire way to guarantee you’ll have lots of first-and-only dates is to sleep with men on the first date.
Then again, it might be great. Everything could work out and you may hook up with someone who becomes your life partner. But more than likely, it will be a relationship killer.
Take your time. If he isn’t willing to wait – and it’s important to you to wait – he’s probably not right for you.
If sex comes up on the first date (no pun intended), let him know that you want to wait X amount of time – until you both feel it’s right.
And you both MUST get tested first. The over 50 dating crowd is the fastest growing segment of people with STDs.
Trust me. Sex with someone new is better when you wait until true love is in the mix.
5. Expecting men to make the first move.
Whether you have your sights on a man you’ve seen online or in real life, don’t wait around for him to reach out to you. It may never happen.
If you sit and wait, you may be doing just that for a long, long time. Someone has to make the first move.
I can tell you that it’s empowering to take the initiative. I often made the first move, and never got pushback. The men were very receptive.
If you’re a woman, don’t be afraid you’ll come off as too pushy. Very few men over 60 think that way. If they do, maybe they’re not right for you anyway.
One caveat: Making the first move leaves you open to rejection. Try not to take it too hard. If a man says “No thanks” he’s probably decided you’re not right for each other. He’ll actually be saving you time and potential heartbreak. After all, if it isn’t right for one of you, it isn’t right for both of you.
I have a great tip for online dating: Act quickly (like immediately) with the new men of interest you see on the dating sites.
I mean new members whose profiles you’re just seeing for the first time. Once you’ve been on the dating sites for several weeks, regularly scouring the members who are potential dates for you, you’ll become familiar with the “regulars” and you’ll notice when someone new has joined.
These newbie men may either be new to online dating, new to that particular site, or back at dating after a relationship ended.
Newbies are good ones to pay attention to. They’ll probably be more receptive and responsive than those who’ve become jaded and too picky because they’ve been at it too long.
This strategy worked like a charm for me with both Sam and Cosmo, my true love now.
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I wish you great success in the dating game!