Men in their 50s want the same out of love as men in their 20s want: compatibility. However, as we grow and evolve, what we want changes. And single men in their 50s are at a different stage in their life than men in their 20s or 30s.
Let’s look at overall compatibility first and then some scenarios of what different men in their 50s are after when it comes to love and romance.
When it comes to love, all men and women are looking for compatibility on five different levels:
- Physically (what we find physically attractive)
- Sexually (what we enjoy in bed)
These apply no matter your age and are self-explanatory, perhaps apart from the emotional attraction.
Let’s delve deeper.
The emotional wound
On a surface level, you'd think that people who satisfy us emotionally are the ones to whom we are most attracted. And we are. But we are also often attracted to men or women who fit into our past emotional patterns—be they good or bad. For example, women subject to emotional abuse as children often end up with emotionally abusive men. Some men may find themselves dating women who remind them of their ex-wives.
How do we get out of potentially harmful patterns? First, we become aware of our patterns and start paying attention when warning bells go off. We also get clear on a healthy new pattern we'd like to create and work towards that.
Some men in their 50s have healed whatever emotional wounds they may have once had. Others are still living as though an emotionally dysfunctional reality is the only one available. What they are looking for in a mate will significantly vary. And no man will tell you he's looking to date a woman who proves his emotional wounds to be true! You must gauge if he seems emotionally healthy or not.
- He has only dated women who cheated on him.
- He makes you think every relationship he ever had tanked because of the woman.
- He eyes up every woman who walks into the restaurant where you are sitting.
Then you might want to think twice! Narcissists often display these red flags!
We also have other emotional needs. Some people strive for safety in everything they do; others constantly look for exciting experiences. Some people like to achieve things and are incredibly driven. Yet others are constantly measuring up what they'll get out of their investments—both when it comes to time and money. Sandy Gerber calls these our four main Emotional Appeals. These are Safety, Value, Experience, and Achievement.
If you want to date someone, whether he’s in his 50s or his 30s, he will seek to have his emotional needs met. And you must cater to them, just as he must cater to yours. This is what makes for a loving relationship. For example, a man who craves safety will want to know that the next holiday you plan together will be to a familiar spot. Or, at least one where he can find his bearings—the more details you can provide upfront, the better. While if he craves value, he will want to know what he gets out of investing his time and money in going on holiday. He wants it to count.
Most people aren't all that aware of their emotional needs, so I recommend you ask questions. For example, what's important to your date when choosing a restaurant, home, vacation, or gift?
Likewise, make sure he'd be happy to support you in meeting your emotional needs. For example, if you crave new experiences and he doesn't, is he OK with you flying off to Egypt to explore some tombs?
If you are asking, "What does a 50-year-old man want in a relationship?" chances are that what he wants is directly tied to his emotional needs. Those needs vary from man to man.
Lifestyle is more important
Being emotionally compatible ties into our lifestyle. So we tend to create a lifestyle where we meet our emotional needs. And as we grow older, we also tend to become more set in our ways.
A man in his 50s is usually pretty clear about how he wants to live his life. He might be driven by routine or by adventure. He might have kids that tie him down or shy away from someone he considers to be tied down by kids themselves. Often men will be much more decisive at this age. If a woman doesn't fit into his lifestyle, he'll back away, especially if she doesn't respect his dedication to his work or his children.
On the flip side, most men in their 50s have already hit some of their work goals. And therefore, they may have more time for family and friends. But, of course, this doesn't apply to everyone in this age group.
Likewise, while they have children, most men in their 50s have children that are no longer toddlers. Toilet training and late nights are a thing of the past, although the teenage years are about to hit for some parents. While teenagers crave more independence, it doesn't mean that parenting is over. Far from it. Most still have to survive high school.
The point is that most men in their 50s have more time. Therefore, they want to spend that time with someone they care about and who wants to live a similar lifestyle to the one they already have. They are also often looking for someone with similar retirement goals—be that not to retire, move to Mexico, help raise the grandchildren, or travel the world.
He wants to be loved
If looking for a relationship, a man is looking to feel loved. And you need to bear in mind that how your new man craves to be loved might not be the same as your ex. As we grow older, we are generally more aware of our needs. So, a man in his 50s will be checking to see if he feels "warm and fuzzy" when around you. So, how do you make that happen? Apart from engaging in activities you both enjoy (and make a point of discovering what he enjoys), you need to make him feel loved and appreciated.
According to Gary Chapman, there are five different ways humans show love. And as it turns out, the way we need others to show us love is not always how our partner shows it. As we grow older, we usually become more aware of our needs. So, a man in his 50s is, hopefully, clear on how he needs to be loved. Which, according to Chapman, could be through:
- Physical touch
- Words of affirmation, like compliments and saying "I love you"
- Acts of service like cleaning the house or making a meal
- Quality time spent together where both parties are present and participating in an activity or enjoying each other's presence
Boundaries are important
If a man is raising children, has his own home, and is more or less independent, he will likely have a set way of doing things. He may want your input on these things. He might not. Even if he does want your opinion, it will be a gradual thing. And while he might be open about the fact that he still can't cook an egg to save his life and needs help, he might be less open about accepting advice where childrearing is concerned.
Respect boundaries. Ask about boundaries, and be frank about your own. And also which of his boundaries you're down with and which you aren't. Rules are essential to ensure you don't fall into co-dependency too early.
What do older men like in bed? That’s a common question.
The answer is that it varies. The average man in his 50s is still very much interested in sex. And why not? Sex forms part of a healthy lifestyle. However, at this point, his stamina may be less than it was in his youth, so don't worry if his sex drive seems a bit less intense. He might be nervous about that. Likewise, he might be worried if he came out of a long-term relationship where the sex was terrible. But, on the flip side, he might be ecstatic about looking for a new partner who understands his sexual needs and who will appreciate him in the bedroom.
Talking about sex is therefore essential— you want to find someone with whom you are compatible. Remember, ladies; good sex is not only for younger women.
Generally, men are attracted to women who are confident in their sexuality. When people ask men, “What attracts a man to an older woman?”, the answer is often experience—both life experience and experience in the bedroom. Become comfortable with your sexuality—you own it.
Romance is vital
While in their 20s, many men are willing to have mutual fun with a woman whose personality isn’t a match. Younger women and men are often happy with a relationship that is just sex. Men in their 50s often aren't. They're usually more interested in the total package. Let's say that they are more aware that sexual attraction doesn't always make for a happy, committed relationship. They still want to satisfy their sexual needs, but their needs don't control them. At least, they're less likely to.
That’s not to say that all men are looking for a relationship. They aren’t. That’s why it’s so important to talk.
Some romantic delusions are likely gone
When we were young women in our 20s, we were often swept off our feet. Someone made us see stars, and we swooned. However, we realize that surface-level attraction isn't the same as creating a healthy relationship when we get older. Therefore, when we date men in their 50s, they are less prone to declare their love by the third date - and that's a good thing!
Now, let's look at some stereotypes regarding men in their 50s. After all, they are stereotypes for a reason!
The recently divorced
A lot of men in their 50s looking to date are recently divorced. Of course, this means different things for different men, but let's discuss some general "avatars."
Someone recently divorced might feel insecure entering the world of dating again and, as a result, be drawn to women who reassure him that he will be fine. Some will, no doubt, be on a rebound. Others are seeking anyone and anything to fill the gap created by divorce. Others accept their divorce and are confident enough to be curious about dating again. They may look for something casual or something longer term, but the point is that they are comfortable with what they want. A confident (albeit not cocky) and comfortable man is always a good sign because if not, he will, no doubt, unload his insecurities on you. If this happens on the first date, you may find it’s a bit of a turn-off.
The midlife crisis man
Have you met a recently divorced man in his 50s going through a midlife crisis? I bet you have.
The men suffering a painful midlife crisis will be looking for thrills and possibly trying to catch up on everything they didn't do in their 20s. They will also look to satisfy their ego, often with pretty women or fast cars. Unfortunately, the chances they're looking for a serious relationship are next to none.
As we touched on earlier, many men and women in their 50s also have more spare time. This means they might want to do things they never got around to in their 20s (such as having fun dating). However, that's a levelheaded approach— not a fight against their age. People who realize they have the time, and possibly the confidence, to do what they didn’t at 20 are in a very good space indeed.
The man suffering from a healthier midlife crisis (if you can call it that) is someone who has stopped to evaluate where he is in life. He might have realized his current relationship isn't what he truly wanted. He's spent time determining how he wants to spend the next part of his life. He will be looking for someone compatible with how he wants to build a relationship and share life. Of course, some of these men realize they need time to themselves and do casual dating instead.