Advice For Lesbians At Midlife

Author and expert K. Pearson Brown shares her tips on how to enjoy dating and find your special someone.

By Chelsea Kaplan

. Pearson Brown, a midlife lesbian herself and author of LezTalk, a nationally syndicated monthly column, weighs in on the highs and lows of dating at this stage—and offers her advice on how to win at the game of love.

In your experience, how do lesbians approach dating in midlife?

When a lesbian finds herself single in midlife, I think the first emotion is panic. She is horrified to think she will have
With age, we become more selective.
to go to the bars to meet women. Not only are we tired of the scene, in some cases we’re just tired, and we don’t want to go cruising and drinking in a loud bar past our bedtime. Of course, this isn’t the only way to meet women of your age group, as there are a plethora of places and activities for lesbians to meet like-minded women.

When gay women enter midlife, how do you think their attitudes about love change?

Rather than “settling,” I think we tend to do the opposite; we become more selective. We don’t want another short-term, unsuitable relationship; we’d rather be alone and be picky about our next love relationship. We don’t stop wanting someone to share our lives with, but we’ve matured enough to know that it’s better to wait for Ms. Right than get involved in a doomed and perhaps disastrous relationship with Ms. Right Now.

Do lesbians’ “wish lists” for partners change over time?

Sexual attraction is definitely still important; in fact, it probably still leads the list of things we seek in a mate. However, in midlife we look for a fuller picture, which can lead to healthier, longer-lasting relationships. We want sex appeal as well as compatibility, stability, a strong sense of self, along with all those other typical things like honesty, kindness, intelligence and wit.

What will most lesbians find surprising about dating in midlife?

How easy it is to find a girlfriend! Despite the fact that gays supposedly make up only 10 percent of the population and lesbians are estimated to be an even smaller percentage of that, a single lesbian doesn’t have to stay single for long unless she chooses to. Call me sexist, but I believe by nature and culture, women are more emotional, passionate and intense when it comes to our intimate relationships. Generally, if you put two of us together — even in midlife — we can’t help but have feelings toward each other. Of
The good news is that there are eligible, available women out there.
course, just because it’s intense, it doesn’t mean it’s a good or healthy relationship, and that’s why many lesbian relationships burn out quickly. This is true when you’re a younger lesbian, but just as true when you’re older, believe it or not. That’s why it’s sometimes better to choose to be single until the right one comes along—regardless of your age.

When it comes to other dating-related adventures, a lot of things aren’t all that different than when we were younger. You can still go out and see the same types of lesbians as you did in your 20s and 30s; there are still the barflys, users, headcases and players. Luckily, in midlife, we are usually better able, thanks to experience, to see them for themselves sooner, and we know to avoid those types of women. And there are lots of great women out there, too, of course!

Do attitudes about sex change? How have the “rules” changed?

The attitudes towards rules concerning sex have definitely changed a bit from what they were when we were in our 20s and 30s. Although all of us are susceptible to the occasional one-night fling, especially after a painful breakup or bad experience, we usually don’t jump into bed as quickly now that we’re older and wiser. We’ve had our share of sexual experiences, so now we’re looking for more, and we realize there’s no point to casual sex if we don’t see potential for more in a person.

In your opinion, what are some common mistakes midlife lesbians make when dating?

The most common mistake midlife lesbians make when dating is feeling like they must hurry to find someone… anyone. They don’t realize that just like in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come.” If a midlife lesbian just works on being her happy, independent self, then the ladies will come calling. A content, sure-of-herself lesbian is much more attractive to suitors than a desperate and fearful one.

So what can lesbians do to develop more confidence about dating in midlife?

To get back into the swing of things after a breakup, a newly single midlife lesbian should hang with her buddies for a while. Most likely, a midlife lesbian just out of a relationship has been holed up, nesting with her partner for a couple of years or longer, and she needs to get her dating legs back by re-entering the social scene surrounded by people with whom she feels safe. You don’t ski the double diamonds when you’ve been off the slopes for years. You need to ease back into dating and build your confidence again. That time spent with friends will also be a great time to figure out what you want in your next relationship.

What are the best pieces of advice you can offer to single midlife lesbians?

Unlike in the straight community, where there’s the belief that after age 35 or 40 “all the good ones are taken,” there are many single lesbians in midlife out there who are good catches. I think it takes us longer to settle down, and unfortunately, there is a lot of what I call “recycling” in the lesbian community, where women switch partners every two and half years or so, until they get tired of it, which usually happens sometime in their 30s. The good news is that means there are a lot of eligible, mature women who have been there, done that, and are now ready for a steady, committed relationship. So my advice is to not worry if you’re a midlife lesbian and single. Just head out, and when you’re ready, soon enough, you will meet a terrific woman.

Chelsea Kaplan is deputy editor of and regularly appears as a guest on XM Radio’s “Broad Minded” and WBAL Baltimore’s “The Shari Elliker Show.” Her blog, “I’m Somebody’s Mother?” can be found at
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