Recently, someone commented on my Facebook feed that dating wasn’t going to pay off for her. Why did she say this? According to the commenter, she wasn’t having any dating success because men simply don’t like middle-aged women. And she is a middle-aged woman. So, is there a dating age range for finding true love? Does your age have anything to do with dating success? Unfortunately, there are a lot of societal misconceptions surrounding age, divorce, remarriage, and finding true love.
To me, it seemed highly unlikely that this woman’s problems with dating were because men didn’t like older women. I decided to do a little sleuthing and find out what research has been done on this topic. The AARP, the American Association of Retired People, is an organization dedicated to empowering those age 50 and older. I found a study the AARP had done on people who divorced between 40 and 69 years of age and the dating success and remarriage rates they had.
What did the study have to say about dating success?
The AARP Study, called “The divorce experience: A study of divorce at midlife and beyond,” found that 32% of divorcees remarried, and 9% were living with a partner. The study also found that dating after divorce increased the chances that a divorcee would marry. Apparently, most divorcees date after their divorce, and dating leads to marriage for most of them – 87% of the men dated, compared to 79% of the women. Of those who dated, 54% of men and 39% of women remarried.
Why are the remarriage numbers so low? The study had a few things to say about that. 43% of women don’t want to remarry, while 33% of men don’t. Why don’t women want to remarry? As they say, once bitten twice shy. The female respondents didn’t want to take the risk of getting into another bad or unhealthy marriage. This study didn’t find any evidence to suggest that men didn’t want to date middle-aged women. A woman’s age was simply not a factor in this study at all when it came to dating success and remarriage.
So be careful about telling yourself that your age or appearance is standing in your way of finding love. Studies show that it’s not true. Getting out there to start dating again is the only way you’ll get the chance to meet and marry a new, healthy, loving partner. You won’t meet anyone sitting in your living room watching TV. If what’s blocking you from dating is a distorted perception of the importance of your age or looks, there might be more to the story here than the surface excuses you’re giving for why you can’t find dating success.
Maybe what you’re really afraid of is another lousy marriage.
The study uncovered another significant and severe reason for why women didn’t want to remarry after a divorce. The biggest reason cited for divorce in this study was verbal, physical, or emotional abuse. If you’ve already been there, and are fearful of going through another abusive experience, your fears might surface as a different concern with dating. You may give excuses that you don’t want to deal with rejection or that men only care about looks and age.
Understandably, women who’ve gotten out of an abusive relationship would be fearful of dating. Digging deep and looking into shallow excuses after abuse can bring painful, distressing emotions to the surface. In these instances, sometimes it’s easier to avoid thinking too deeply about the real reservations you have with dating.
In actuality, getting out there to date again while facing your fears is often the road to a happier relationship or second chance. Sure, you might have a few things to learn about making healthier choices about your partners along the way. But being honest with yourself about your fears can help you to figure out where you got off track last time.
What tends to happen to those who remarry?
The other really good news from this study is that those who remarried seemed to be pleased that their next relationship was going well. Most (67%) said their current marriages were on solid ground, and another 20% said they were doing well. So any fears that you might have about getting into another relationship or marriage that doesn’t work for you may be completely unfounded. You can learn from your past relationships so that you make better choices and have a happier outcome than what happened in your first marriage.
Are you afraid of getting into another relationship that might turn out like your last? Is there anything you’re doing to overcome these fears and heal from past trauma? Leave us a comment below.