Re-entering the dating pool in your golden years can be a bit tricky, especially after a divorce or breakup.
Here’s why you need to be familiar with certain red flags when dating in your 50s.
First, you’ve probably been off the market for quite a while, so things aren’t the same as they were when you were a lot younger (think dating apps and online dating).
Secondly, finding single individuals in your age bracket who check all the boxes you want in a potential partner can take some serious search. The dating scene can easily feel overwhelming, thanks to the plethora of fake dating profiles on dating apps and online dating sites.
In fact, dating these days might feel like a full-time psychoanalysis job!
The good news is that you can easily tell when something is off with a potential date if you know what to look out for.
As you probably already figured, dating in the modern world is somewhat complicated. That’s why I’ve pieced together 15 red flags when dating in your 50s, so you don’t waste your time and resources on someone who isn’t worth it.
Online Dating Scam Red Flags
Online dating might be out of the question if you prefer the old-school route to finding potential dating partners in face-to-face situations. However, here are some of the biggest red flags if you want to leverage technology.
1. Scanty Information on Dating Profile
While a person’s dating profile isn’t meant to reveal everything about them, it should have basic information to help you know who you are dealing with.
People on a dating site will only hide information about themselves if they are scammers or have ulterior motives.
Keep an eye out for the following:
- They barely filled out their profile
- No photo or only one photo on their profile
- They have only a handful of friends or followers on their social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)
2. Fishy Online Dating Profile
Whether a person’s online dating profile seems to be missing some information or contains details that appear too good to be true, these are both signs you should be wary of.
For example, their profile photo suggests they are a model.
If it’s a photo you’ve seen before (perhaps because it is of a famous person), you’re probably looking at a bogus dating profile.
You can use Google to do a reverse image search. They aren’t who they say they are if their photo is a stock image or associated with someone else.
3. They Want to Move Communication off Dating Site Too Soon
You’ll eventually communicate using other channels if you meet someone online and you’ve been talking with them for a while.
These things happen naturally without coercion.
However, you should consider it a red flag if you feel pressured into communicating off the dating site. Don’t give out your phone number or email address. And avoid scheduling in-person meetings until you feel very comfortable doing so.
4. They Don’t Want to Meet in Person
On the flip side, reluctance to meet in person qualifies as one of the red flags when dating in your 50s.
A preference not to meet in person may include:
- Making excuses each time you bring up the topic of meeting face to face
- Avoiding video calls by all means
There are many reasons someone you’ve been chatting online with for a while wouldn’t want to meet face to face. Some of the common ones are:
- They are hiding something
- They are not who they say they are
- They are not really into you and just pretending to like you
- They are hiding their true identity probably because they want to scam you
Love-Bombing Red Flags
The first few days (and even weeks) of dating can be exciting and filled with a flurry of back-and-forth communication. This is especially true if you hit it off with someone online or offline.
Indeed, it feels great to be the center of our special person’s attention!
That said, you want to be wary of love-bombing (overblown attention and interest) because that’s usually a sign that someone is trying to manipulate you. While the behavior is meant to sweep you off your feet, it is an early warning sign of controlling behavior or personality disorder (such as a narcissist).
Keep an eye out for the following love-bombing red flags when dating in your 50s.
5. Showering You With Too Many Gifts
If you get too many gifts from someone you’re just getting to know, they might be using that to cloud your judgment to prevent you from seeing what they are desperately trying to hide.
Usually, they are hiding a character flaw or personality disorder.
They might lavish you with over-the-top gestures like buying you an expensive vacation or sending you inappropriate gifts (and often won’t take no for an answer).
Listen to your gut if you feel uneasy about getting gifts from someone you don’t know so well.
Don’t fall for this age-old trick, even if they assure you there are no strings attached. Although it may not be obvious at first, the goal is to get you to feel like you owe them something. And when that happens, you’ll find it difficult to turn them down.
6. Excessive Attention Through Tech-Based Love-Bombing
Take it as a red flag if you feel overwhelmed by the number of DMs, texts, or emails from someone you’re dating or just met. They might call you many times within short periods with nothing important to say.
Although maintaining regular communication could point to a potentially great partner, bombarding you with texts and calls is not a good sign.
7. They Claim You Are Soulmates Before Getting to Know You
Here’s another sign that a dating partner is love-bombing you: they try to convince you that you are destined for each other.
They may say things like:
- “We are soulmates.”
- “No one understands me the way you do.”
- “God led us to each other.”
While these statements may be true, you want to tread with caution when dealing with someone who tells you these things before you get to know each other well.
8. They Give Over-The-Top Compliments
Compliments are great, but your dating partner is likely love-bombing you if they constantly sing your praise. This is especially true if they give you over-the-top, insincere compliments.
9. They Push for Commitment Too Quickly
Is your dating partner already talking about moving in together or marriage when you barely know them? Perhaps they suggest other big plans for your future together, even though you’ve only known them for a short time. That’s an indication they are a love bomber.
Whether or not you believe in love at first sight, it is important to understand that relationships need enough time to blossom. It is very unlikely that someone can truly love you for who you are in a couple of weeks or a few short months.
Red Flags When Dating a Divorced Person
Let’s get something clear right off the bat.
There’s nothing wrong with dating a divorcee. In fact, you may have ended your marriage and looking to start a new relationship yourself.
However, you want to avoid dating a divorced person who still carries the baggage from their previous relationship.
Think again if you notice these red flags when dating a divorced man or woman.
10. They Doubt Everything
It is normal for people to feel betrayed after a divorce, but it becomes a problem if the hurt they feel prevents them from trusting others.
Dating a divorcee who always second-guesses you makes it difficult to open up physically and emotionally. Their insecurity builds an impassable wall around their hearts, making trust and intimacy next to impossible.
11. They Can’t Keep Quiet About Their Past Relationship
Consider it a major red flag if a divorcee brings up their ex at the slightest opportunity. It doesn’t matter whether they are badmouthing or singing the ex’s praise; they are still emotionally invested in the relationship and can’t move forward, and that’s why they can’t shut up about it.
12. They Are Overly Negative
Everyone has bad days, so it is understandable if your dating partner is negative sometimes. However, being habitually sarcastic, critical, and pessimistic is never a good sign, whether the habit is directed at you, others, or life in general.
Overly negative behavior can hurt your mental health and cause issues in a relationship.
Red Flags to Know You’re Dating a Narcissist
Dating a narcissist is not worth it, no matter the supposed benefits. And this applies whether you’re dating in your 20s or 50s.
Intimate relationships with someone with a narcissistic personality disorder will leave you drained because the relationship will be toxic. That’s not the type of relationship anyone would want, especially in their golden years.
Here are red flags to help you know when your dating partner is likely a narcissist.
13. They Want You to Themselves Only
People genuinely interested in you and your personal growth will never want you to focus all your time and energy on them alone.
A narcissist will show displeasure when you spend time with friends or family. They might pout or get angry if your attention is not 100% on them.
An overly needy person will guilt-trip you into feeling you owe them something ― dating them will eventually result in a toxic relationship.
14. They Don’t Respect Personal Boundaries
It is a clear red flag if your dating partner behaves like they own you. They don’t respect your boundaries and get upset if you try to enforce boundaries.
For example, they can show up at your place or work unannounced or call you at odd hours.
15. Everything Revolves Around Them
A narcissist is not interested in anything unless it is about them. This behavior is easily noticed during dates, as they usually don’t shut up about themselves and their achievements.
They won’t hesitate to belittle whatever others do, including you, because they are selfish. No matter how hard you try, you can never be an equal partner with a narcissist, so it is best to walk away if you notice this behavior.
General Red Flags When Dating in Your 50s
The following dating red flags will help avoid liars, dodgy, and disrespectful people:
- They only call or text you late at night. This is a sign that they are more interested in having a fling with you rather than establishing a deeper connection
- Most of their jokes have sexual undertones. They are likely sex-starved and looking for a hookup with you
- They are rude to others (such as waiters). If someone disrespects people, especially because of their jobs, they’ll soon extend the behavior to your family and eventually disrespect you
- They tend to spin a tale on just about anything. Avoid someone who lies, especially when it is absolutely unnecessary
- They need your help, and it’s urgent! Usually, they will say nice things about you or profess their love for you and then ask you for money for an emergency. Don’t fall for this trick
You can find genuine love in your golden years, whether you’ve always been single all your life or been in a relationship before. The key to navigating the world of dating, especially in the modern world, is to note the above red flags when dating in your 50s.
As you may have suspected, this is not an exhaustive list. However, age and experience are on your side when dating in your 50s, so listening to your gut can help you weed out the wrong dating partners.
If something doesn’t feel right about someone, it is best to err on the side of caution and walk away instead of letting them into your life and regretting it later.