First, I must confess that I should have a PhD in dating as I have been doing it now for 36 years.  One would think I should be a pro and actually, I think I am.  You might also wonder why I haven’t used my skills to land somebody, and the answer is quite complex. 

When I first began dating at 16 I was rather insecure even though I would have considered myself popular.  Back then it was all about the guys who didn’t like me as those seemed to be the only ones I liked.  As I moved through college I dated some nice guys but never considered marriage to any of them.  Dating in my 20’s was so much fun as I finally developed a healthy self image.  I dated a lot because it was so easy to meet guys.

I moved to Atlanta from Alabama and I had the time of my life during this phase.  The tendency to like guys who didn’t like me somehow permeated into this phase as well.  As I moved into my 30’s it was very similar to my 20’s.  Most of my friends were married at this point so I had to broaden my circle of friends to find more single girls to do things with. 

Moving into my 40’s was really tough.  The dates began to diminish and it took much longer to find the next guy after a breakup.  I joined dating sites as most of my friends did and this truly began to change dating.  In fact some might argue that it destroyed dating.  I know there are those who met people on these sites and got married but I believe they are rare.  Most of the guys I came across used dating sites as a way to move through women quickly.  There was one guy that asked me out no less than 3 times at different time periods as he genuinely forgot that we had gone out.  He is a serial first dater always looking for that perfect match that he never seems to find.  I dated a few guys from the sites and even got serious with one.  He was a serial liar.  I even got engaged in my 40’s and broke it off before the planning had gone too far. 

Fast forward to my 50’s.  My confidence has once again returned, not because I look great, but because I don’t care.  I met a guy that I truly do like and probably love.  It is hard to date because he is always traveling.  He is divorced and has a tremendous amount of baggage because of it and has a strained relationship with his children.  I met him 3 years ago and just can’t shake that he is the one.  I date other men when they ask but find that nobody else interests me.  In this phase of my life I have bought and sold 5 homes and seen many friends get married and then divorced.  I am able to provide for myself so dating somebody that adds to my life is the most important thing to me.  I cannot be responsible for taking care of them.  I want a true partner and let me tell you, it is hard.  Those men do not come around often and when they do, you best hang onto them.  I have had liars, cheaters, and extremely cheap guys in my 36 years of dating.  The thing that resonates the most is that if they were a good guy on paper, either they didn’t like me, or I didn’t like them.  That chemistry thing is the most difficult thing to explain.  I used to demand it and now I think that if the guy makes me smile and has all his teeth, I will go out with him.  Make no mistake about it, I probably won’t settle given my track record, but if I did it would be with somebody that I truly enjoyed being around.  I think that this supersedes chemistry, attraction, success and almost anything else you can think of.  I should start a matchmaking service for people over 50 as I don’t really think we get the attention we deserve.  Look for the person that you enjoy being around.  Make sure they are not liars, cheaters, or criminals of course, but having a really good time on a date is a sure sign that they are keepers.  Friends of mine make excuses for the guys they “hook up” with but there are no excuses, they either ask you out or they don’t.  If after 50 they can’t muster up the nerve to ask you on a proper date, move on. 


  • Jo Ann Burkhalter

    Writer and Sales Professional

    Alabama born and raised, educated with a MBA from Auburn University and passionate about all things southern. I have always enjoyed helping people and and especially animals.