The Scoop: Melani Robinson, a New York-based writer, blogger, and online dating expert, shares her advice for dating during midlife. Although midlife dating comes with its differences, such as navigating physical and personal changes, it can also be incredibly rewarding. A big believer in people advocating for themselves, Melani offers help with setting boundaries and prioritizing your own desires.

Melani Robinson calls herself an “accidental” online dating expert. After the death of her husband, she turned to writing.

While taking writing courses and sharing dating stories on her blog, she found herself as a guest on Katie Couric’s and Steve Harvey’s talk shows and publishing her work in HuffPost and The New York Times’ Modern Love column. 

In 2018, she was even named one of the top 10 online dating experts.

Melani’s fresh voice and “accidental expertise”– included a yearlong blog titled “One Year of Online Dating at 50,” which brought her a wealth of knowledge to share on midlife dating

From her perspective, your dating life doesn’t have to end once you hit a certain age, in fact, it can become more bountiful in midlife.

Whether you’re looking for the one or just for some fun, Melani can help you discover how to dive into the world of midlife dating, clearly communicate your desires and expectations. While discovering new things about yourself and others.

With age and experience often comes clarity and that means, it’s more fun finding the people who truly enrich your life. 

Menopause and More: Changes to Expect While Midlife Dating

Of course with aging, one’s body will change. A huge part of successfully navigating midlife dating involves recognizing the beauty of your body, how it serves you, and how you can meet yourself comfortably where you are today. 

“Perimenopause begins at around 35 years old, so women should checking their hormones at that point,” explained Melani. “Our bodies change, and we might need to start taking hormones, like estrogen.” 

During perimenopause, or the transitional period before menopause, estrogen levels begin to decrease; women may experience irregular menstrual cycles or menopause-like symptoms such as hot flashes. 

dating during menopause
Self-advocacy is important while dating before and throughout menopause.

Once women go 12 full months without a period, they have officially reached menopause. Melani explained that, although menopause is becoming a more widely discussed topic, she still finds herself having to practice self-advocacy.

“I often have to educate my doctors on menopause and the latest scientific data. But it’s getting better,” said Melani.

Self-advocacy is no different when it’s practiced with potential partners. Because menopause often causes vaginal dryness, changes in libido, brain fog, depression, and a host of other symptoms, your sex life may look a little different than before.

Open and honest conversations with one’s sexual partner are the first step in an active, satisfying midlife sex life.  

“Before, women were told to grin and bear it, and just go through menopause like it’s nothing,” said Melani. Whether it looks like requesting more lube or exploring different desires, midlife dating can be empowering. You don’t have to accept anything as is!

Learn More About What You’re Looking For

To date during midlife, it’s important to have clarity on your relationship goals. You have the power to stand up for what you want and set your own boundaries – and don’t be afraid to be firm about expressing your desires with potential partners.

“Know what you’re looking for, and be crystal clear in your profile,” advised Melani. “If you don’t want someone that lives in a different state 100 miles away, you can say that.” 

Goals will look different for everyone depending on their wants and needs. Melani discussed midlife women who are dating younger men as opposed to women who date men closer to their own age. 

“They’re dating younger men for a number of reasons. Some just don’t want to get married. They’re unapologetically sexual, and they want to enjoy themselves, not have to deal with men their own age that think they’re still virile when they’re not,” said Melani.

She continued, “Men also need to address the changes to their aging bodies. You may list ‘intimacy’ as a priority in your dating profile but if your penis isn’t cooperating and you haven’t fixed that issue, you’re being dishonest.” 

confidence and clear intentions
Melani encourages singles to develop their own standards and preferences.

If you want to get it on, you’re allowed to ask for that!

However, preferences don’t have to stop at these dating app basics like location, age, physical characteristics, or alignment on future goals. Melani believes in paying close attention to what your matches like to do for fun, as lifestyle and activities of choice can have a huge impact on your compatibility.  

“Take camping, for example,” said Melani. “I don’t think hiking up a mountain and sleeping in a tent is enjoyable, but there are a lot of people that do. One of those men could check all my boxes, but if those kinds of adventures are what he’s looking for, it will defeat the whole purpose of having someone in your life.”

She continued, “Even if they do those things on their own, somebody is still going to have to compromise, when neither should have to.”

The best way to learn these things about a potential partner? Meet in person.

“I understand that it’s scary to do that sort of thing, especially when one’s new to online dating, but go on a date–don’t text back and forth for weeks. Have a cocktail, or coffee, or anything that gives you 45 minutes to interact, and go from there.” 

The Fun Doesn’t Stop In Your 50s and 60s

The opportunity to have a fun and fulfilling romantic life doesn’t disappear when you’re in your 50s and 60s. In fact, Melani believes this phase of life reveals personal satisfaction as well as a deep knowledge of what you really want.

By the time you’ve reached midlife, you probably know a lot about the type of person you are. 

“Walking into a relationship now after having a not-so-great first marriage and then a really great second marriage, I know what I’m looking for. I know what I want. I’m going into it with decades of experience, and decades of getting to know who I am,” said Melani. 

After a certain age, you’re not looking for that guy from your early 20s who wanted to change everything about you, but you are seeking someone who can add to what you already have going on for yourself. It’s about complementing, not completing. 

melani robinson
Midlife daters don’t have to settle.

“Women in my demographic would enjoy having someone in their lives, but they’re not looking to get a guy that’s a fixer-upper,” said Melani.

“The happiest women in their fifties and sixties are single and the happiest men are married. Women are generally very satisfied and at peace. At this point in their life, they’re looking for a guy that adds to the party, not one they have to tell to trim his nose or ear hair.”

From Melani’s perspective, today’s women are prioritizing their peace in many ways. 

“I would rather be at a fabulous dinner with friends having a great bottle of wine than be sitting across from a complicated guy who doesn’t have his shit together. He could be the hottest 60-something in the world, smart, and funny – but if you’re complicating my life? No, thank you.”

And if things start to get complex, or if the feelings were never there in the first place? Move on. “I say on to the next. Perhaps this comes with age as well, but you understand that this thing you’re not feeling is not likely to grow.”

Embracing Midlife Dating

Midlife dating is all about doing what’s best for you as you currently exist, not wishing for a different, younger version of yourself. Melani makes it clear that midlife is a thing to be celebrated and embraced. 

It doesn’t matter if your body isn’t the same as it once was, or if your sex drive has shifted to low gear – you should get out there and find what you’re looking for. 

During the journey, change is constant. “The person I am today is not the person I was at 40,” said Melani. And we think the growth she describes is a great thing! You can learn more about Melani, view her past blog posts, and read all of her published work on her website.