• Alison Tennent

From Breadcrumbing to a Micro-Penis. Welcome to dating in your 50s.

Updated: Feb 17

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Image: Gerd Altmann Pixabay, free for commercial use

The topic of dating, relationships and sex is endlessly fascinating and really has been done to death. But of course that won’t stop me..

I split from ex husband in 2015 when I was nearly 48. About ten years earlier he had all but ended our marriage by playing hide the sausage with women who weren't me. It was never the same after I found out, and he didn’t do much to try to repair the damage. Yes, yes, two sides and all that. I'm aware that I’m not always the easiest person to live with and may have a few faults of my own. But I also know I never cheated.

And in the end it was his entitled household laziness that really did the most damage to my feelings for him. And that extended to all chores including the house, yard, shopping, parenting, pretty much everything except for actually physically taking himself to work each day.

Hang on, just let me swerve to avoid that rant.

Turning up for work, to be fair to him, he did very reliably and with almost no sick time in all the years I knew him. Although I also worked after my youngest started Prep, he was the main breadwinner for 20 years, and in fairness that's no small thing.

The point is that by 2015, when he finally left after three years of me "suggesting" it really wasn't fixable and it was time to call it quits, I was on my own for the first time in more than two decades. To begin with, we were sharing care of the kids (who were already 15 and 17) across two households, though that didn’t last long. Within a couple of months they were asking to come back to live with mum and just visit dad. I suspect moving his girlfriend into the newly formed household in week one wasn't the smartest move to ensure household harmony.

But anyway, I digress. Again.

So, for a few months, I lived alone half the time. It was the first time I’d lived anywhere on my own in a very long time and it was sometimes lonely, but often blissful. And it was, finally, peaceful. Never mind that he’d left me with a bar fridge, no TV and no bed, material things have never meant much to me, fortunately.

You can probably infer, it wasn’t a happy ending to what had been a very happy beginning. And I was ready for some downtime from all relationship-related concerns. For the next approximately 18 months I concentrated on finding a better paid job to keep a roof over our three heads, working, working and working some more and found a small place for us to stay.

I landed on a wee Queenslander perched atop an oxygen thieving hill in Sunnybank, Brisbane. I called it Our Keep In The Sky. It came with a sort of ad hoc hastily nailed together theme. One of the bedrooms had a sliding door which regularly fell off, the window in the bathroom didn't close, and neither did the blinds in the kitchen. There was something large and ominously scratchy living in the garage/laundry room below the house, the cat went down there once and came back with PTSD, and at one point we had an infestation of some sort of bug so persistent that my son once wailed "It's like living in medieval times!" But we were surrounded by shopping centres, trains, buses, great neighbours and a quiet street.

It also came with 20,000 acres of sky. And thus, we were content.

Author's image, all rights reserved

I focused on the kids, moving, working and just being kind to myself and letting the grief do what it has to do. During the years leading up to this, and ever since, I have been enormously and forever grateful for the support of my bf Lynn, and a network of other friends who kept the feelings of abandonment, fear and anxiety at bay. I was resolutely and steadfastly single.

And then one day I stumbled into a sort of accidental date. Lynn and I had gone to see The Bay City Rollers at Twin Towns, Tweedheads. It was an absolute blast, a truly smashing evening. Les was still the lead singer and he owned that stage. I had no idea how many of their songs I already knew until that night. For a couple of hours, every person in the audience was Scottish, and I danced in front of the stage like a teenybopper fan girl. I even ran up with the others to slap hands with the singer.

We got more than a little tipsy, and with flushed faces and fluttering hearts made our way to the bar afterwards, where two “gentlemen” started chatting to us. One of them took my phone number and, sounding horribly chipper in comparison to how I was feeling, took me we went for coffee. Now, it didn’t lead to anything, not least because he was more than a little hands-on and tried quite hard to get into my knickers. Don’t get me wrong, I rather like a bit of ardour, but I didn’t feel the same way about him.

But suddenly I remembered, I quite liked being kissed, and I’d forgotten the thrill of romantic pursuit. There might be something to this whole relationship thing, after all.

I was in.

So, with great trepidation I embarked on a brand new adventure, braving dating sites. The first one I tried may have been RSVP, time nibbles at the corners of memory. In the end I tried 3 different sites, RVSP, Fifty Plus Dating and Ok Cupid. Sadly, one thing I learned from my 6 month foray into the field is that all the cliches about men are, in fact, true.

And before you say it, I'm sure the female cliches have substance to them too, but I'm a heterosexual female so I wouldn't know!

I had quite a bit of fun though, I did go on quite a few dates, saw lots of movies, ate some nice meals (and yes I always offered to pay my way, thanks for asking, though for the most part the offer was kindly refused) and enjoyed very much getting all tarted up, buying new clothes, and the little frisson, the excitement of possibility you feel when you're going to meet someone new. My children weren't as keen, if memory serves. I recall my daughter noting in a sour fashion "I can't believe my 50 year old mum has a date and I'm stuck at home".

And I did indeed date a man who turned out to have a micro-penis.

More on that in my next post.

I know you're cursing right now, that's the only reason you clicked on this article isn't it?

Well, sorry to disappoint you, but this is, as they say, a teaser. Something Warren, the original accidental date, probably called me as well. I've got quite a lot to say about dating apps and dating, and in my next post I will. But I did want to give you a little background first, and if I start on the experiences I had while dating now, this post will end up like War and Peace.

You know me, never backwards at coming forwards...

Thank you again for reading, liking, commenting - we writers absolutely love comments, it just makes our day, so if you've anything good - or bad - to say, I invite you to do so :) And please have a look at my YouTube channel and if you're into PodCasts, so far I have one PodCast episode out (and another coming up very soon).

You can still find a few good articles here too, though I've mostly moved on from Medium, taking a lot of my work with me:


I'm particulary fond of this one:


So, until the next time, constant reader, where I promise to share the gory details, take care, stay safe out there.

Fair winds and a following sea.

Image by jplenio from Pixabay, free for commercial use

Copyright Alison Tennent 2020. If you're reading this anywhere except The Garrulous Glaswegian blog site or Medium, it may be plagiarized, please let me know!

Photo of us in tartan is also author's, all rights reserved

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