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A friend in her fifties recently (and unexpectedly) found herself single, and told me she’s terrified of dating. “I haven’t been on a date in decades. I don’t even know where to look to meet available men my age, and even if I did, aren’t they all interested in younger women?”

Sound familiar? With the divorce rate skyrocketing in couples over 50, more women are finding themselves suddenly single in the later years. Just when the nest empties, mothers have to grapple with the reality of navigating the later years alone.

Of course, not all women are lamenting their newly single status. Some are excited to finally enjoy the opportunity to live life on their terms, meeting up with friends who share common interests, and traveling places they’ve always wanted to go but maybe couldn’t get their spouse to agree to join so they never had the opportunity. Some women are even reinventing themselves by training for a new career or starting a business.

As inspiring and brave as these women are, many single women in their 50s share the same fear as my friend: re-entering the dating world. Some have even given up hope in finding a later-in-life partner, choosing to invest in friendships instead of man hunting, adopting cats and dogs to ward off the loneliness.

But dating in your 50s doesn’t have to be frightening. In fact, playing the dating game later in life can offer more advantages than most women realize.

Dating over 50 doesn’t have to be scary. With the demands of raising a family behind you, you’re in a better position to live a passionate, meaningful life than ever. And you may find someone who is equally passionate about sharing life with you.

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