Dating after 50: Should I Play Hard to Get?

dating over 50, meet men, find love, playing hard to get, dating coachingAre you dating after 50 and confused about how it all works?

According to a study which appeared in the European Journal of Personality last December, playing hard to get works! Four different experiments were done which revealed if playing hard to get works and when it works best. Turns out women fare better when they play hard to get with men, particularly if they are seeking a long-term, committed relationship. Men on the other hand, don’t do as well and tend to miss out on mating opportunities when they are too inaccessible.

While it’s true, the study focused on college age singles, as a dating coach for women over 50 and under, I think that bodes well for you. If the game is still being played by the younger generation, I guarantee that its going strong in midlife!

Sorry to Say It, But Dating Is a Game

I realize it’s hard to deal with the idea that dating is a game, but that’s the truth. So, if you want to win, learn the rules to play by. But first, let me clear up any misconception that the game is manipulative or evil. Not so at all. It’s part of the mating ritual of human beings and reflects how you simply can’t take the DNA out of dating.

Dating Is Programmed into Our Biology

Yes, how dating works today during modern times still harkens back to ancient mating rituals. It’s not a straightforward process now and most likely never will be.  I recently saw the 1980’s movie Tootsie with Dustin Hoffman. In the film, Dustin plays a hard up actor who dresses like a woman to successfully land a woman’s part in a soap opera.

Hoffman has a memorable conversation with a cast member (love interest), Jessica Lang in which she says to him how refreshing it would be for a man to approach her and be super straightforward with his intentions. She suggested that a man should say something like, “I find you very interesting and attractive and I’d like to sleep with you”. Jessica relayed this story to Hoffman while he was pretending to be a woman.

Then at a party a short time later, he sees Jessica while he’s himself and not in drag. So he takes her for her word, walks up to her and tries the line. The result? She throws her drink in his face! The direct, straightforward approach will never work unless its just about sex and nothing more.

58 Strategies for Playing Hard to Get

While the report named 58 strategies for playing hard to get, the two most popular are:

1) Acting confident. This means acting as if you know you are a great catch and by the way, you are!

2) Talking to others. This means you make yourself more attractive by showing you are desired by multiple potential partners and haven’t yet settled on just one.

Both of these strategies make the prospective partner try harder to win you over which as a woman is what you want. You want to know that a man is serous about you. And this is how a man gets invested in you – by having to win you over!

So, if you decide to “be modern” and take over the male role to pursue, you might ask men out, get their numbers, initiate communication etc. But the data suggest this doesn’t work for long term relationships. Experts agree believe me. But, now there is research that backs up what we’ve been saying along. Stop chasing men!

Stop Chasing Men

When you chase men, you make the game too easy. There is no:

  • Sexual tension is created
  • No curiosity builds to know more
  • No challenge to pique a man’s interest
  • No mystery if you’ll respond positively or not
  • No game = no fun!

It’s like serving yourself up on a silver platter and saying – here I am, take me I’m yours! If you want help understanding men, you can see why this will never work. It’s just too easy and frankly unappealing.

Why Nice Guys Finish Last and Bad Boys Win

Think about this in terms of men. When a man is too nice to you – you don’t want him. His appeal plummets. Why? Because he’s made it too obvious that he likes you and wants you. On the flip side, this is why women love bad boys! They play hard to get. You can’t read them. They are more interesting, more intriguing, more mysterious and more exciting! Why – because you never know what you are going to get!

So, this is why as a single woman dating over 50, you need to play a little hard to get. Don’t pursue him. Follow his lead. If he calls, call him back, but not in two minutes. If he texts, text him back. But don’t make any move first if you want him to pursue you.

I know you can do this. I know you can get out of your head and your own way to emerge as the desirable, charismatic women you already are. If you are dating after 50, try it next time you meet a guy. Let him do all the work of courting you. Once you get into relationship, everything balances out and you can take turns initiating. By then, the game is mostly in the past and you can be more direct and yourself. But, until you’ve had at least 6 dates, hang back to win!

Single for too long, Ronnie wanted to find love. She put her skills from personal development and her spiritual path to work, dating 30 men in 15 months to meet her adorable husband Paul. Discovering the keys to manifesting and midlife dating, she founded It’s Never Too Late to help smart, successful women find love or live an empowered and magical life. Ronnie Ann Ryan, MBA, CCC, is a Certified Coach who has helped 1,000s of midlife women with her Love & Magical Life Coach services. She’s the host of the Breathe Love & Magic podcast and has been featured on NBC, ABC, & Fox News, NPR, BBC, eHarmony,, and Connecticut Magazine among others. Also, Ronnie is the author of 6 books which are available on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Dating after 50: Should I Play Hard to Get?”

  1. I am texting with a guy from out of town. He’s currently in the middle of Harvey. He has initiated a few texts but I texted two in a row. Do I play hard to get even though we are 300 miles apart?

    • Hey Lauri,
      Yes! distance does not matter when it comes to letting the man lead during the start of dating. Not sure if you read my post on why you shouldn’t text him first why texting for weeks or longer is not a good strategy or on the Ballroom Theory of Dating but you might find these posts helpful. Lastly if you are seriously looking for love, look local – those long distance guys often text but how often can you see each other? In fact many out-of-town guys never plan to meet you at all.

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