Men’s relationships in their 50s are very different from the relationships they had in their 20s and 30s. Men in their 50s are attracted to things they weren’t when they were younger. They’ve likely been married before. They know what they do and don’t want. They’ve lived more of life and learned a thing or two in the process.
“Most relationships that men fall into in their youth are a result of an ongoing sexual engagement,” explains Kevin Darne, a relationship expert and coach. “Men in their 20s and 30s aren’t proactively looking for girlfriends or wives.”
But, oftentimes, older men are. While there’s some overlap between the dating habits of younger and older men, men in their 50s are looking for more substance, and tend to approach the dating process differently.
If you’re wondering what men in their 50s are attracted to, here are the traits older men look for in their relationships:
Someone who respects boundaries.
One of biggest differences between men in their 20s and 30s and men in their 50s is what they won’t tolerate. “During our youth if someone is extremely good looking or fantastic in bed we’ll make a valiant attempt to ignore red flags and character flaws,” says Darne.
But older men know more about what does and doesn’t work for them in relationships and what kinds of behaviors are signals that things won’t work out. They’re looking for a woman who respects their time and space, and has a rich life of her own he can be a part of.
Someone who’s honest.
When they’re in their 20s, men might be attracted to someone who’s outgoing or social, or someone who can make them laugh or challenge them intellectually. Older men want all those things too but they’ve also lived and learned a lot and understand the value of someone who’s open and honest with them. Being able to speak your mind, being clear about what you do and don’t want, and being open instead of playing games are all things older men look for in a woman.
Someone confident and independent.
Older men are looking for someone who’s emotionally secure and financially stable. “This may be especially true if the man was in a long-term relationship or marriage with a financially or emotionally dependent woman. After years of dependency, a strong woman with her own resources can be a big turn on,” says Coleman.
Someone with a high sex drive.
Older men, like older women, still want sex. And the good news is, they’re more experienced and know what they’re doing. They’re looking for a women who’s the same way. If you know what you like in bed and aren’t afraid to take charge and let the man know you’re interested too, he’ll be into it.
Someone seeking adventure and new experiences.
This isn’t something young men often seek, but older men love adventurous women. “Once they’ve had the settled down experience, men seek women who are up for anything,” says Toni Coleman, a psychotherapist and relationship coach.
Someone emotionally intelligent and open-minded.
“Older men prioritize a mindset for growth and a love of learning,” says Caroline Millet, a professional matchmaker. “Men specifically want a loving partner—they want someone to be emotionally intimate with, as the work of raising kids and career-building winds down.”
Someone who learned from her previous relationships.
“Many men in their 50s have probably had multiple relationships in the past and have learned from the mistakes they made,” says relationship expert and author Elliott Katz. “They’ll want someone who’s done growing of their own.”
Someone accepting of where he is in his life.
If the older man has children, he’s looking for a woman who will accept that he has to focus attention on them too. If he’s still very involved in his work, he’ll want a woman who respects his passion. To an extent, it’s true that older people are more set in their ways, but that’s really just a way of saying they know what’s important to them and, once you find that out, you aren’t as flexible. A woman who can meet a man where he is, and respects his life and his choices, is very attractive.
Men in their 50s are a different breed. They value practicality over flare, substance over glamor. It seems that dating men is like good wine—it gets better with age.