17 Relationship Rules You Can Ignore Once You’re 50

The dating game is a complicated one, though it does seem to get less so with time. If you’re in your fifties and testing out the dating pool, you may be pleased to know there are some rules you can ignore that you likely followed when you were younger. Check them out!

Waiting for Him to Make the First Move

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Life can be short—and there’s no time to waste. Take the initiative in expressing your feelings and break free from outdated norms and expectations. As you get older, you’ll find yourself feeling empowered by direct communication. Don’t wait around for someone else to take action!

Playing Hard to Get

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As people mature, they tend to value open and honest communication over games. According to Business Insider, “playing it too cool can mean you attract the wrong kind of people.” In order to skip past any “playing hard to get,” you need to be transparent with your feelings and intentions. The relief and clarity that come with direct interaction are well worth it—you’ll see!

Opposites Attract

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Growing up, you may have been told over and over that opposites attract. As you get older, however, you start to realize the importance of shared values, hobbies, and perspectives. Why waste your time with someone you have nothing in common with? Ignoring this relationship rule allows you to find sustainable and lasting connections, moving beyond the initial thrill to deeper compatibility.

Prioritizing Your Partner’s Needs Over Yours

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When you were younger, you may have found yourself prioritizing what your partner wanted or needed over your own needs and desires. When you reach 50, however, you learn the importance of balancing self-sacrifice with your personal needs. This way, you avoid resentment in a relationship through mutual respect and understanding.

Your Partner Must Complete You

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You’ve lived out a good portion of your life by now—there’s no longer a need to consider yourself half a person who needs completing. Instead, you’re able to foster a relationship between two whole individuals, cultivating independence within the relationship. By ignoring this rule, you build a healthier dynamic through self-sufficiency.

The Man Should Be the Primary Breadwinner

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Gender roles in financial responsibility have evolved through the years. Time says that “guys who are required to earn the lion’s share of the family income are less happy and less healthy than guys who aren’t.” There’s also a growing acceptance of women out-earning their partners and sharing financial responsibilities in a modern relationship. Especially in your 50s, when you likely don’t have plans to start a new family, there’s less pressure on the man.

The Man Must Always Pay on Dates

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Depending on how traditional you are, you may or may not like ignoring this rule. However, there should be a shift from traditional payment expectations when dating at this age. It promotes financial balance and equality. Alternating expenses can help foster a partnership.

There Should Be No Arguments in a Healthy Relationship

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When you’re younger, an argument in a relationship can seem like the end of the world. With life experience, however, comes the knowledge that conflicts in any relationship are inevitable. There’s a certain maturity in addressing disagreements, and resolution skills can strengthen your bond.

The First Year Defines the Relationship

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It might have felt this way once upon a time, but now that you’re in your fifties, you can do away with this relationship rule. You understand that there’s an ongoing importance to mutual understanding and adjustment that goes beyond the first year, and you accept the long-term view of relationship development.

Sharing All Hobbies and Interests

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Earlier in this article, we mentioned that there’s no need to follow the “opposites attract” rule and that it’s good to have some shared hobbies. This is true, but it’s also important to know that you don’t have to share all your hobbies and interests. It’s good to maintain individual hobbies for personal growth, balancing shared and separate interests.

Never Going to Bed Angry

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There’s a common theory among younger generations that going to bed angry is one of the worst things to do in a relationship. According to Verywell Mind, however, there are actually some benefits of going to bed angry, including avoiding impulsive reactions and allowing yourself to feel the anger. As you get older, you realize that a good night’s sleep can give you some perspective.

Grand Gestures Are Required to Keep Romance Alive

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Of course, grand gestures are always appreciated—but when dating in your 50s, you tend to value the smaller things more. You can ignore this rule and instead appreciate daily acts of kindness and support, focusing on consistent love and affection.

Needing to Be Intimate X Times a Week

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When you’re dating people when you’re young, there’s a certain pressure to keep up regular intimacy. As you get older, however, you realize that there are more important things in a relationship. As shared by HuffPost, “Sex should be a way to connect with your partner, not something you feel pressured to do to hit some arbitrary quota.”

Children Are Needed for Fulfillment

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You may have already had children at this point in your life, or perhaps you never wanted to—either way, relationships often come with this pressure. In your fifties, however, you can skip this relationship rule and recognize that there are multiple avenues to life’s fulfillment beyond parenthood, embracing diverse paths to a fulfilling life.

Relationships Require Marriage

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Again, there’s a certain pressure in younger relationships to get married, but as you get older, you can look past this. Accepting a committed relationship that doesn’t require marriage is very mature, and you will recognize that there are different forms of dedication and connection.

Avoiding Discussions on Money or Politics

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As shared by The Guardian, “However unromantic, having conversations about how you manage your cash is important.” While you may have avoided topics like money and politics when you were younger, it’s important to discuss significant things like this in mature relationships. You may even find a deeper understanding through these conversations.

Keeping Your Relationship Private

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Another relationship rule common among younger generations is to keep all relationships private, but this isn’t necessary over 50. Sharing experiences with trusted friends is great for new insights, so find a balance between privacy and open discussion. It’s good to leverage external perspectives for relationship growth.

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