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Take it from Colonel Sanders and His KFC Phenomenon

Colonel Sanders was a hard-luck wanderer up to the age of 65 or so. Then, the universe orchestrated his meteoric rise to world-wide chicken fame. He spent his final years a very wealthy and beloved character.

This is a favorite story among late-starters, or re-starters, or anyone who thinks they missed the boat. It’s true that with time, certain things get more difficult. But it’s also true that certain things get easier.

The point: It’s always worth trying to get what you know you want.

This is as true for starting a relationship as it is for starting a fried chicken empire.

By your 50s, you’ve seen some things. You might be coming out of your first or second marriage – perhaps even your third. No matter where you start, keep this in mind: This is your journey. There are few “wrong” ways to go about it.

Starting Over (or Over Again)

Starting over in your 50’s can be a shock if you’ve been out of the dating game for years. Many things are done differently now. Even the vocabulary is different.

A very religious female friend of mine found herself on her own after a 28-year-long marriage. She hadn’t dated since the 1980’s. She sighed and told me she just wanted to “hook up” with people. My forehead flexed until I realized she thought “hooking up” meant nothing more than nice, fully-clothed coffee and conversation. I’m sure she had disappointed many suitors before I corrected her. That’s not what “hooking up” means today.

Give yourself some time to observe your new surroundings. Listen to what friends are saying about current dating customs. Learn the new vocabulary and expectations. Do this in-person with people you trust. Don’t just leave it to online discussions, which are dominated by braggarts, pranksters, trolls, and people who just don’t know.

The Online Dating Myth

Despite the almost-universal acceptance of online dating, a full 88% of married Americans met their spouse offline.

Some will say the best online dating advice is to just not do online dating at all. There are alternatives to meeting people which don’t involve interacting with strangers on the internet.

One way to increase your reach is to participate in charitable or civic causes and the social events around them. You’re bound to meet other participants who have the spare time and resources to pursue a relationship. Being involved in the same cause gives you a natural reason to approach and talk to others.

The trick is that you need to actually believe in the cause, and not just cynically use it as a dating service.

Be Ready to Explain Things to Your Kids (Again)

If you’re over 50, it’s more than likely you have kids – perhaps some of them grown adults. Reentering the dating scene gives your grown children opportunities to reverse some of the concern and – let’s face it – judgment you probably heaped on them as they started dating. In their minds, it might be payback time for some of the advice (read: nagging) you gave.

They can be helpful in explaining “how things are today.” But keep in mind that yes, they probably are snickering at you behind your back. It might be a good opportunity to set up and maintain some boundaries: Your dating life is your own. You’re still an adult.

Other problems that sometimes emerge among the adult children of people re-entering the dating world include concerns about inheritance and end-of-life planning. Use the same parenting skills you used when your kids were small: assure them you love them, tell them things are alright, then make the best choice for everyone.

Don’t Be Reticent: Ask for Help

One real advantage of the new age of internet when it comes to relationships: there’s help available from professional services. The one-on-one services offered by a site like Cuppls can provide online dating help, healthy relationship tips, and the best dating advice even if you’re still looking for a meaningful relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. After all, Colonel Sanders didn’t do it all on his own, either.


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