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Dating over 50: Understanding your red lines

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

what are your red lines when dating over 50

Dating over 50 can be a bit of a minefield, especially if you have recently come out of a long term relationship and it has been decades since you last dated.

Having divorced myself in my mid 50s I understand what it’s like to rebuild your life – and even if the decision to divorce was yours- you still have to rebuild your confidence, and the sense of who you are as an individual as opposed to part of a couple.

When it comes to starting a new relationship, be clear about what you want. It might be tempting to ‘settle’, but don’t get pulled into repeating patterns of past relationships which ultimately failed. There are lots of obvious ‘red lines’ such as whether or not they are a smoker, where they live etc, but what about the more subtle ones?

Subtle Red Lines when Dating over 50

What are your core values- does your potential new partner share them?

How much do they really appreciate you?

Do they build you up or put you down?

Are they happy to openly share their friends, family and life with you or are these elements of their lives ‘off limits’?

Do you feel positive having spent time with them or deflated?

Do they compliment you or put you down?

Are they supportive of you pursuing your own interests (and do they have interests of their own)?

Do they accept no as an answer without argument if you say that you do not want to do something they suggest ( with good reason)?

Do they plan things – even small things- to make you feel special without being prompted ?

Will  you have to make major life changes in order for the relationship to work?

Do you find yourself making too many compromises in the relationship?

If finances are an issue for you, are you comfortable with what each of you is expected to contribute to the relationship?

Is their behaviour towards you at all controlling?

Do they try to change you?

Do you have mutual respect?


Stay true to your own values


Be clear about you are willing to accept and stay true to your own values. If the relationship is not right and there are too many ‘red flags’ , don’t be afraid to walk away.  Life is better on your own than with somebody who is not going to enhance it. Enjoy the single life and be open to letting the right person who does share your core values and vision for how you want the future to look into your life in the future.


Relationship decisions can be difficult at any age – I know – I have had to make them myself. Including choosing to walk away very recently from a ‘new’ relationship having recognised that our lives and values were too different for it to work in the long term. I decided that I would be happier on my own. Having a strong sense of who you are, and what you want out of life helps to keep you on the right path in making the choices to have a fulfilling life.

I have recently collaborated on a new online programme- the Midlife MOT, and we have an entire module on relationships which is well worth working through whether you are in an existing relationship, or looking to return to the world of dating.







Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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