THE BLOG
10/04/2013 07:02 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Dating Over 50: How I Found Love When I Wasn't Looking For It

With grey divorce on the rise, many couples over 50 are looking to leave their disappointing marriages and reinvent themselves. The older you are when you divorce, the more variables there are to consider. However, even though it's difficult and there are many challenges, you can't stay in a situation that no longer works for you and one that you know will never work again.

I found myself in that position when I divorced after being married for 25 years. I tried to feel positive about my future. You have to keep your life active and open yourself to new social relationships. I had sent out a change of address to all of my friends. I heard from several people, including a man named Fred, who was an old friend of my ex -- and an old friend of mine. At the time, Fred and I had known each other for over 20 years. Our friendship began when my ex-husband had done a business deal with him. Fred was a really smart and fun person to be around and I always liked talking with him.

Eventually, we met for dinner and had a good time catching up. Fred and I really enjoyed the camaraderie that developed and stayed in touch. He was also getting divorced and I was happy to be there for him as a supportive friend, having gone through it myself. We had lots of similar interests and felt very comfortable talking to each other.

Over time, Fred finalized his divorce. We were two old friends available to develop our own relationship. As time went on, we realized that there was more than just a friendship there and romance blossomed. We've been married for over 15 years and we both never expected it. Sometimes, your next relationship or spouse could be an old friend. Here are five reasons why it can work.

1. You Have Similar Interests

When you divorce after 50 and your children are grown, there is much more free time. If you know the person you are dating well, then you also are aware of what they like to do. Chances are that if you're friends already, you have similar interests.

At this stage of your life, you should be able to enjoy your leisure time. Maybe you both have a desire to travel. My husband and I really enjoy our time exploring other countries and cultures. If you are both into tennis or golf, you could enjoy those sports together. Just hanging around the house and choosing a movie to watch on TV is much easier when a couple enjoys the same things. If you have similar tastes in food, paling around in the kitchen and sampling each other's favorite recipes can be fun. When two people have similar interests, there are lots of things to do and time to enjoy them.

2. You Know Each Other's Ex-Spouses

Knowing each other's ex-spouses can be a help in your post-divorce lives. You both may have resentment about your exes and you can give each other support and advice on how to deal with them. When you have a frame of reference about the ex, you can certainly offer more realistic input when a problem comes up.

You will have to go to family events. It's great to have the support of not only an old friend, but a close ally when you see your ex. They also know each other, so you skip the awkward introductions.

3. You Know Each Other's Children

Even though your children are older when you go through a grey divorce, it's always an emotional transition when their parents split. No matter what, they'll be happy to see you enjoy your life again. And a big part of enjoying your life when you divorce after 50 and the kids are out of the house is having companionship.

When your children know and like the person you fall in love with post-divorce, they can even feel more comfortable about you getting remarried. If your kids have children, being familiar with their new grandparent can make the transition more comfortable.

4. You Know Their Faults

When you both start out as friends, you already know many of the positive things about each other as well as many of the negative ones. Nobody is perfect and when you know those imperfections upfront, you are more aware of what it would be like to date them.

Unfortunately, most of the time it takes many dates with someone new before you find out their faults. However, nobody wants to waste time. So not having to go through that part of the relationship, gives you the opportunity to deal with the more important things between you both. If their faults were so bad, you wouldn't have been friends with them to begin with and you certainly wouldn't consider getting romantically involved.

5. You Were Friends First

You both have built trust together during your years as friends. And those years you spent as friends getting to know each other are some of the most valuable in building a foundation for a relationship. When you are friends before you start dating, your relationship can actually be healthier. It's based more on friendship than sex.

Since you were friends first, you both probably travel in the same social circles. It's easier to get together for game nights or a couples dinner out with your mutual friends. They can also become good traveling companions. This part of your lives should be about being on the same page as the person you're with. If you're friends first, you're already there!

For post-divorce dating tips, pick up Lois Tarter's new book "The Divorce Ritual: Get Up, Get Out and Get On With Your Life" by clicking here.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

How To Tell Your Adult Kids You're Dating Again