Does Getting Older Make You Pickier?

Finding a partner in mid-life can be a challenge

Posted Nov 19, 2014

They say it’s harder to find a partner after you’ve reached a certain age, and it’s true. There are a million reasons, but at the top of most people’s lists is that they simply don’t want to put up with someone else’s bad behavior. Or more simply put, you get to a point in life where you no longer are willing to deal with anyone else’s BS.

One of my middle-aged friends (hey, fifty is the new thirty, right?), who is currently looking for a mate, complains endlessly about the men she is meeting through a matchmaker and online. The matchmaker cost her ten thousand dollars, and the results were no better than her online dates at $29.95 a month. None of the guys have met her criteria. Is her bar too high? Let’s see… he has to have a degree, a job, and not be in debt—and be attractive. Sounds reasonable. But one guy isn’t emotionally available, and another has too much baggage, and another who was really cute never called her back. Is it her, or is it the men she is attracting?

For years, we were all told not to settle, and many people choose to live alone rather than be in a lonely relationship with someone who isn’t right for them.  Once you have decided that you aren’t getting either what you need or what you want, your desire to stay with a person dies like a campfire. And if you have been through a divorce or two or even a couple of bad breakups, it can taint your desire to get involved with another human being.

They say that time heals all wounds, but that just doesn’t hold true if your heart has been broken by someone who betrayed your trust or abused you. Being a little gun shy comes with the territory. You still need to be involved with the world, but you have the final say over if and when you might be ready to open your heart again.

I do believe that we are better in relationships than out of them. They give us the opportunity to grow in different ways and to feel validated, and being in a relationship can make life easier as well as sweeter. But that doesn’t mean that you need to be in a relationship to have a full and meaningful life.

We all need people, but perhaps after some time has passed, the ways in which we need them can change. If you aren’t part of a couple, you may find that partnering in a business or just being part of the community can answer that need. Sometimes family members move far away, but other times they move closer and become a bigger part of the second half of your life. If you are open to different things, you won’t find yourself disappointed or alone.

Life has a lot to offer. Whether you allow yourself to experiment with new things or you choose to complain about how nothing ever changes—or that there aren’t any “good ones” out there—is up to you. It’s perfectly okay to be picky. Just make sure you pick something to get involved in, and don’t let life pass you by.