Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Ask a life coach: I'm newly single at 52 –how do I begin dating?

Life coach Hattie MacAndrews shares her advice for finding new love in midlife

Ask a life coach
An aerial view of a couple holding hands and drinking red wine while sitting at a restaurant table for lunch together.
Share this:

In her new column, life coach Hattie MacAndrews shares her advice on the problems plaguing her clients.

Today she tackles the tricky topic of getting back into dating following the end of a 24-year marriage. Buckle up!

Hattie MacAndrews smiling on a sofa
Hattie MacAndrews shares her words of wisdom

The issue: dating after divorce

'I’m 52 and recently single, after the end of my 24-year marriage. The divorce was amicable, and my kids keep telling me to put myself out there and meet someone, but I don’t know where to start. I know everything is online these days but I’m hopeless with the internet and would rather meet someone the old-fashioned way. I haven’t been single for very long, how do I know when I’m ready to try again?'

Hattie's advice for dating again

Congratulations! What enormous strength and resilience it takes to go through a divorce and come out on the other side feeling anywhere near amicable.

Having been married for just six weeks, a 24-year marriage is nothing short of remarkable to me. Feeling a slight lack of experience with this one, I’m going to start by putting myself in your children’s shoes.

What I can do from this perspective, is assure you that they are coming from a place of encouragement and love, truly wanting the best for you.

Young woman receiving notifications and commenting on social media posts with smart phone. People networking with technology. Social media addiction concept.© Getty
Dating can be daunting

What I can do from the perspective of a life coach, is to remind you that we all have such different perspectives and at the end of the day, your life is your own to live. Doing what’s best for you, might look very different from what’s best for them. This has never been truer than when it comes to the somewhat complex, ever-evolving world of dating – both online and off.

Younger generations know nothing different from setting up a dating profile, prolifically swiping from the comfort of home and trudging to heaps of mediocre dates in the hopes of finding a somewhat suitable partner.

READ: This dating app green flag guarantees you more matches 

What horror it seems to have to go out and make conversation. On the other hand, I would assume you find the concept of finding a partner online soulless, losing the sense of connection and in-person attraction you might hope for.

Decide what you're looking for

Let’s take a moment to examine what it is you’re really looking for next. After a long relationship, are you simply looking for some fun? To be swept off your feet? A new life partner? Someone to potter along and do life with? It’s more than likely that you might not know yet.

A man and woman look engaged in conversation as they have a casual meal in a cafe in the evening. The woman makes eye contact with the man who looks back at her. Window provides space for copy.© Getty
Getting to know someone new is an aventure

If this is the case, why not spend time getting to know yourself again? Figuring out what makes you happy and who you are in the context of being a single woman – not half of a partnership.

Getting to know you

This newfound freedom could be spent exploring yourself and doing things you might not have previously tried. Our society places so much pressure and weight on being in a relationship, we are sometimes guilty of overlooking the joys of being single.

 RELATED: How I found myself again after divorce 

Here’s a reminder for you – in case you have forgotten over the last 24 years. Being single is so far from the doom and gloom that society wants you to believe. It’s actually quite intoxicating.

You have complete, glorious, uninterrupted freedom. You are free to do what you like, when you like. Eat when you want, sleep when you want, stay in or go out. Not that being married means you don’t have freedom, but it does mean you have another person to consult, check in with and often compromise for.

A beautiful black woman with white curly hair  drinks coffee in her kitchen© Getty
Getting to know yourself again is fun

Now, your life is back to being yours to explore. I implore you to use this time to build back your confidence and get to know yourself again. If and when you are ready, the dating pool can do an excellent job of taking the wind from your sails – so it’s best you to come at it feeling strong, confident and secure.

 READ: After my 11-year relationship ended I jumped headfirst into dating - here’s what I learned 

Meeting someone new

Once you have ‘done the work’ as they say, please know there is no right or wrong way to meet someone. There’s nothing wrong with familiarity, and I believe you looking to find someone ‘the old-fashioned way’ is just that – it’s a longing to stay within your comfort zone.

A couple holding hands while sitting down at a table and drinking red wine in a restaurant for lunch together,© Getty
We need to work out what we want from a relationship

Looking at those around me in relationships, I see there’s no formula to meet a partner. Whilst yes, some of those partnerships have been formed online, some have also been formed through mutual friends, old acquaintances, through work or just simply a happy coincidence.

I met my now-husband on a rainy Saturday afternoon in a grotty bar watching the rugby, at a time in my life when I was very much not in the market for a new love interest.

It's a saying as old as time, but when you know you know, and it’s completely applicable to know when you’re ready to date again. It will be a feeling, or a small shift in your mindset.


When that time comes, I implore you to be open-minded in your approach to finding a partner. Remember dating is meant to be fun! It’s not an opportunity for you to drag up every single reason under the sun that someone might not fancy you. Or think of all the ways you’re not good enough. Cling on to how fabulous you are, what wisdom you hold and what qualities make you an excellent mother, friend and partner.

 READ: Why I chose companionship over chemistry in my 50s - and you should too 

Enjoy the process

Use this time to experience and experiment, meet new people and try and enjoy the process – without any unnecessary pressure. If you commit to being open and curious with new people, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and saying yes to things you might not have done so previously – you will meet your match. In the meantime, perhaps in the background you might consider dipping your toe into the world of online dating – just don’t go diving in headfirst.

Find out more about Hattie MacAndrews and visit HELLO!'s Happiness Hub for inspiration on living a more optimistic life.

More Weddings

See more