If you’ve been dating over 50 for a while, chances are you’ve got a list of your own dating dealbreakers. Even if you’ve never written them down, you know what they are. A woman named Valerie told me her dating over 50 deal breakers are men who lie about themselves on their online profiles, men who are shorter that she is, and men who lie about their height on their online profiles because they are shorter than she is.
A single friend of mine named Cliff was once looking to date only supermodels who weighed no more than 125 pounds. He seems to have relaxed his standards after spending so many nights alone. Now he’s looking for women “who have their own teeth.”
Dating Over 50
It turns out that there are almost as many dating over 50 dealbreakers as there are daters who are over 50. (And that’s also true for other age groups.) A website called OurTime.com, which is targeted toward singles over the age of 50, has released a survey of its members. They didn’t ask for my opinion—probably because I am not a member of the website, I call myself the Middle-Aged Babe Magnet, and I am now happily married. Nevertheless, the results of their survey show the top three deal breakers for the dating over 50 crowd.
The dealbreakers are….. (drumroll please!)….
Number One: The person is dead. Just kidding. Dead people didn’t even make the Top 10. But the number one dealbreaker is closely related to death—people who are in poor health. 78% of the dating over 50 respondents said they were not willing to go out with someone who was in poor health.
That’s a pretty good call if you ask me. Good health is so fundamentally important to a good relationship that it almost goes without saying. Who would want to start a relationship with someone who isn’t physically well? Plus, there’s the underlying cause of the poor health. If someone isn’t healthy because he or she doesn’t take good care of themselves, that’s a huge red flag. Babe magnets take good care of themselves. So do babes. Do you really want to start a relationship with someone who cares so little about himself that he puts himself at risk? I think not.
Poor Financial Health
The Number Two dating over 50 dealbreaker is financial instability. 76 percent of the www.OurTime.com members cited financial issues as a deal breaker. By the time you have reached middle age, you don’t want to get involved with someone who hasn’t gotten her financial act together. The bohemian poor starving artists that have some appeal at age 25 don’t look so good at age 52, when it’s time to get serious about stashing away money for a long and happy retirement.
One of the reasons I think that poor physical health and financial instability rank #1 and #2 on this survey is that both of these are long-term issues. If you’re unhealthy and your finances are a mess in your over-50 years, it is unlikely things are going to get significantly better anytime soon.
Coming in at Number Three on the survey is lack of physical attraction (with 75 percent of the survey respondents listing this). This is an obvious dealbreaker for single people of all ages. We’re all looking for someone who can spark our flame of passion. But of all the Top 3 deal breakers in this survey, the lack of physical attraction is the one that offers the most potential for short-term improvement.
By the time we hit 50, many of us have gotten complacent with our physical appearances. We might be wearing clothes that were fashionable in a previous decade. (I am talking to you, men.) We might be wearing our hair in the same, familiar style that we fell in love with as young adults. We might be pretending that we have more hair than we actually do. (Key word: comb-over.)
Update Your Look
One of my most common bits of advice for anyone who is dating over 50 is “update your look.” Find a friend who has good taste in today’s clothes and go shopping. Get yourself some new clothes that fit you well. Take a long, honest look in the mirror. If you’re stuck in a hairstyle rut, go to a salon for a new look. If you haven’t been regularly exercising—start. Begin by walking or biking. Join a gym and start getting your body in shape. You’ll look better and feel better, too.
Today’s over 50 singles are more active and more vibrant than middle-aged folks were in the past. The ones who succeed in dating over 50 are those men and women who keep themselves healthy, take care of their finances, and deliberately don’t get stuck in a rut.
There’s one more thing: the best way you can make yourself happier and more physically attractive is to smile more. Try it—starting right now.
Chad Stone is the author of The Babe Magnet Rules of Dating Over 50.