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I Found My First Real Boyfriend After 50

I went my whole life without being in a good, committed relationship. Then I met a guy who wasn’t about games — here’s how I changed my mindset.

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In 2019, I attended a friend’s cookout. I was not there to meet anyone. In fact, I was anti-meeting anybody at that point. My mindset was, I’m just here to have fun amongst friends. So when I met the guy who would eventually become my boyfriend, I thought he was fun. He had a good sense of humor and we had good banter. But I wasn’t thinking about us officially connecting. Even when he said, “Let’s exchange information.” The way things go, guys say they want your number, they say they’re going to call and you never hear from them again.

But for about a month we communicated on the phone — calls and texts. After returning from a trip, I asked him to meet me for breakfast. After that we were effectively dating.

At the time, both of us were in our early 50s. He was a widower who had lost his wife less than five years earlier. Everything was so effortless. He was consistent. There was lots of communication. He listened and really wanted to get to know me. We had really good chemistry and became good friends. He really wanted to spend time with me. He was the one who was making all of the first moves, which was so refreshing.

It was clear he was my boyfriend when he called one Friday night and said he had some guy friends in town, but he would rather hang out with me, his girlfriend.

That was all new for me. I was used to hanging out by myself or with my girlfriends on the weekends. I have made some bad decisions [when it comes to dating]. I’ve dated men who talk a good game, but it ends up being the same thing that it was before — not knowing when I’m going to see the person, the person forgetting birthdays, half-ditch efforts to do things, not seeing the person on weekends. It was very frustrating and unfulfilling.

And sometimes we get caught up in the physical aspects of the relationship. That for me, has been something that caused me to go in the wrong direction. Before you know it, two years have gone by and you are caught up in some mess.

I think most people have assumed that by a certain age they will be married, and so I am no exception to that. Even though you know the statistics, I never envisioned that in my 50s I would be single. Never. Never thought that. Ever.

The problem for me was even when I saw the signs that this is not what I need to be doing, I was like, OK. Well, I’m here. Maybe I’m being too hard. I didn’t want to give up. I was trying to make a square fit into a circle. I was just trying so hard to make something work because I wanted to be in a relationship. I was ready to be married. But two years turned into four years, and I looked up and I wasted time in this situation that I knew in the beginning wasn’t going anywhere. I have been guilty of that in several situations with guys.

I had to be deprogrammed from what I was accustomed to with other guys that I had dated and their inconsistent behavior. So yes, this is my first real boyfriend. Now I know what a relationship is supposed to look like — somebody who wants to be with you, spend time with you and it’s not feeling forced. Someone who says he’s going to do something and he actually does it. I’m dating someone now who plans things, plans for my birthday. He calls when he says he’s going to call, not a couple of days later. We’ll read a book together, go window-shopping at the mall, walk through downtown holding hands. It’s drama free.

There’s the fulfillment of having someone who you feel like is a real partner. They want to make you happy. You want to make them happy. You’re not constantly having to feel like you have to push and prod and work so hard. This is a welcome change.

Before I met my boyfriend, I was tired of the type of men I had been attracting and allowing myself to get involved with. I had just kind of said I’m not doing that anymore. I had said I deserve more. I want something better.

I’m now out of that mindset that this is just the way Black men are because that’s who I’ve always dated. There are some good Black men that still exist that are still single, that want to date and be in real relationships. It’s just I’ve made some bad choices. And I know now that if people aren’t worthy of your time, there’s no sense in wasting your time. I deserve someone who is wonderful.

Whatever happens, moving forward, if I find myself not in a relationship again, I have a great roadmap for what I’m looking for. I won’t be going back to those same behaviors from the past where I settled for half-ditch efforts. I won’t turn back now that I have been given this opportunity to actually have a real boyfriend. It’s been great.