Back on the market: The newly single 50-year-old male

Back on the market: The newly single 50-year-old male. This may not be a very politically correct thing to acknowledge, but most marriages these days don’t last for life. In fact, the average long-term relationship lasts somewhere between 8 to 12 years. Oh sure, we can all point to a couple we know (or have heard of) who’ve been married 70 years and are still going strong, but I’m talking about averages here. It is due to these averages that it is not at all unusual to find ourselves single, and back on the market at 50. This little series of blogs will discuss this (now sadly common) experience from the perspective of both men and women, and talk a little about the new dating world we find ourselves in. This week’s blog will focus on the newly single male.

It might surprise some, but Bridget Jones isn’t the only one who can keep a singles diary. With the ever-increasing divorce rate for those of us over 50 (yes, I’ve broken the ½ century mark too), it can feel strange to suddenly find yourself with loads of time on your hands and a sense of freedom in having no one there telling you to do whatever it is they think you should be doing. You’re no longer in your 20s though, and things are quite a bit different now than they were when you got involved in your last long-term relationship. The modern newly single 50-year-old male has (I say hopefully), enough life experience to know that heading off to the pub to get hammered every night isn’t what it once was. Also, while the idea of signing onto Tinder and dating a dozen random women you’ve met online might sound interesting at first, in reality the hassle involved isn’t worth the effort it takes to do it.

So, as a newly single 50-year-old male what can you do with your time? What can you focus your interests on to start off these next 30 years and ensure you don’t just set yourself up for a repeat of the last 30? Assuming you’ve reached a financial settlement with your ex through mediation, rather than fighting it out through the courts (and therefore blowing all of your savings on legal fees), you are hopefully left with enough of an asset-base and cash flow that you’re not completely tethered to the Freeview channels on your TV for lack of funds. Ok, so you may not be rolling in cash, but at least you can enjoy life and the great many life experiences now available to you. Who knows, this might even facilitate the meeting of a very different type of genuine, like-minded newly single 50-year old woman.

Some of the options that immediately spring to mind are:

1) Ditch that old guitar leaning against the wall (the one you’ve been promising to learn to play for the last 20 years!), buy a Ukulele and join a local Ukulele group. These are full of men and women who frankly aren’t all that bothered about becoming professional musicians (and don’t kid yourself, you’re never going to be the new Eric Clapton). Ukulele clubs are loaded with people your age, living within a few miles of your home who are just out having fun.

2) Join a local walking group. For those who enjoy the outdoors without the hassle of kitting up to play football or rugby, these groups are a great place to get some exercise and meet other local singles. Importantly, you can meet singles who are not looking to jump into a relationship, but who don’t necessarily have a big group of friends to draw from. Walking groups usually advertise in the local paper or in your local tourist information office. Just contact the person running the group to find out when the next walk is, show up at the right place and right time, pay your £4.00, and walk away!

3) Do a round of the local museums. In Bishops Stortford for example, we have the Rhodes Museum (which is actually kind of interesting in a small-town way) that often has new and interesting exhibitions to see. Head further afield and you’ve got options like The British Museum in London. This is a particularly great place to visit and bump into single women with a slightly more intellectual bent.

So, without wishing to try and provide you with some sort of bucket list, the upshot of this blog is twofold – Firstly: Let’s face it, you’re not 25 anymore. These days you have a bit more about you and you’ll be looking to interact with people who have a bit more about them. In all likelihood you’ve spent much of the last 5 years moaning that you and your (now) ex-wife never did anything interesting. Well, this is your opportunity to rectify that. If you waste it by jumping straight back into a new relationship with some woman you’ve met online and then recreate the scenario you’ve just left, you’ve only yourself to blame. Secondly, having fun in your new life doesn’t mean spending a fortune or risk looking silly because you’ve stretched a lycra onsie over yourself to ride your bicycle around the town trying to look cool in £200 sunglasses. No, as a newly single 50-year-old male you have an amazing opportunity for a life do-over. You know what didn’t work the last time, so make the most of this opportunity for a better: next 30 years. Next week’s blog will approach this same topic from the perspective of newly single women.