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Is There a Different Way to Look at Red Flags?

By Michele Burghardt March 23, 2024 Dating

It’s no secret that women over 60 have extremely high standards as they experience the dating scene. You are smart, independent, and savvy and don’t want to settle for anything less than you already have. You’ve built a beautiful life for yourself. The problem is, you’ve built a beautiful life for one, and it gets lonely.

Unfortunately, when you meet someone new, it’s typical to evaluate him based on your ‘list’. Everyone has one, even if you don’t have it written down. And it’s human nature to naturally look for a reason to say “No” rather than “Yes.” Your brain is working overtime to keep you safe by making it easy for you to swipe left or walk away. Protecting you is the primary job of your subconscious mind.

I know from personal experience how easy it is to break things off with a man when things don’t line up perfectly or match the picture you have in your mind of what the perfect relationship looks like. And unfortunately, you can miss out on some really wonderful men if you do that too quickly or easily.

Knowing your must haves and deal breakers is essential to being able to recognize a man who is a good fit for you. However, if your lists contain more than three or four things each, you are becoming too specific and may narrow your dating pool even further. There’s a shift you can make to date with a more sophisticated approach that helps you slow things down, to give yourself time to get past his date-face and start getting to know the real man.

Here are a few of the things you can do:

Put in Some Effort to Know the Man

Make a special point to find at least three things to like about any man you meet. Look for ways to say “Yes.” Remember what you focus on expands, so focus on his positives.

Consider Real Red Flags

Ask yourself if everything you consider to be a ‘red flag’ really is red. Is it something that you would love to have in your perfect world, or is it truly something that you could never deal with in a life partner?

Try to Neglect Small Flaws

Embrace his minor ‘red flags’ and consider them opportunities to grow as a couple. Rather than move on, evaluate if this is something you could negotiate or create a workaround for. These are the situations that help you learn how each of you loves, argues, deals with conflict, and disagrees. This can help deepen the emotional intimacy you share more than you can imagine.

Stop Worrying About the Lack of Common Interests

If you and a man like to do one or two of the same things, you have a good starting point. It’s more important for you to share personal values and goals than to share interests and hobbies. You can learn a new hobby in time, or not. Having separate interests keeps the conversation fresh and new for years to come.

Become the Person You Want to Meet

Believe it or not, men are evaluating you through their list as well. It’s not fair to expect your date to be ‘more’ than you are. Quality men look for quality women, so be sure you’re living your best life as well.

Disregard Stereotypes

Throw out most of the myths you heard about dating at this stage of life. Men at our age are much less threatened by smart, successful women than they may have been in their 30s or 40s. They still like to feel appreciated for what they do, but they recognize that smart, successful women help make adulting easier and more fun.

Stop Assuming Men Aren’t Sensitive

Men can carry forward as much pain and hurt from the past to present relationships as we do. They simply don’t talk about it as much. I have found men to be much more open about their feelings at this stage of life than ever before. It simply takes them a bit longer to feel safe enough to share them.

If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that recently I moved on too quickly from a special man because he didn’t match my perfect picture of what a relationship should be. As I thought about that experience, after the fact, I realized that I was dating through a fear lens rather than a love lens. And if I didn’t do something to change, it was highly likely to happen again. And I would continue to be alone. That’s when I took action.

If you think it’s time for you to take your own type of action, I invite you to enter to win my free 60-minute coaching session. This is your opportunity to talk with me one-on-one about your unique situation. We’ll talk about what’s working, what’s not, and how to change things so you can level-up your dating style, meet higher-quality men, and start having more fun. Simply click here to enter. I’ll be selecting one winner in the next 10 days, and it could easily be you.

In the meantime, keep your heart open and ready for love. You never know where you will find it.

Let’s Start a Conversation

Do you think you bring as much to the table as you ask of men? If not, what types of things could you delete from your list?

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I must be mising something here. I don’t focus on what MEN bring. Older men are in a wholly different category. For most independent, more progressive, equalitarian women, they wouldn’t even consider a relationship like that.

Maybe I am just more comfortable in my own skin? I prefer friendships.

Michele Burghardt

Hi Janel, thanks so much for your comment. It sounds like you’re having a great time. I wish you all the best! xxoo Michele


Totes disagree. Red flags should never be ignored unless you want to live with that forever. It’s a red flag for you because it bothers you!

Michele Burghardt

Hi Debs, thanks for your comment. I love to see all perspectives when I write an article. Have a great week! xxoo Michele

Sandra Pfister

I think that should be addressed to MEN, not women. My experience has been that men have a highly inflated sense of who they are, what they look like and what they have to offer. And, thus, they are looking for Ms. Perfection. You know, looking for an Angelina Jolie when they are clearly NOT Brad Pitt. I am willing and able to be flexible, but many of the men are not – or have unrealistic expectations. I am 76 and very active, I am not looking for a couch potato. My age group are looking for women in their 60s or lower and most of them don’t DO anything at all.


Exactly. Isn’t it great to be enjoying one’s best life? I am 75, active and design my own life. We grew up in a different generation and fortunately, things have changed a bit. I prefer younger men who are more equalitarian in their thinking.

Michele Burghardt

Janel, I think it’s great that you’ve found a demographic that you can still enjoy. This article is written with the intent of giving more grac to the men you date, whatever their age, so you’ll have time to get to know the person rather before write then off as non-applicable. You sound like you’re having fun, so keep doing what you’re doing! xxoo Michele

Holly Schmitz

I’m with you! I’m 77 and very active! I’m fit and trim, attractive and still have a sex drive. Most older men look pregnant and have scruffy beards, little enthusiasm and activity in their life. Although golf seems to be fairly popular with them. I’m a regulary tennis player (with women), dancer, enjoy water sports (electric hydrofoiling, windsurfing in WINDY conditions, body surfing, SUPing, etc. Yet I’m a very girly girl. I know that I’ve got a lot to offer and won’t settle. After four years of this roller coaster dating with some long-term dating, I’m trying to just have fun, continue to put myself out there. Fortunately I now have a single woman friend who is active like me. I’d love to find more girlfriends like her. Holly

Michele Burghardt

Hi Holly, thanks for your comment. I’m so glad you’re having fun and enjoying life. And I love it that you’re a girly girl, that’s when you can really have fun. Wishing you all the best! xxoo Michele

Michele Burghardt

Hi Sandra, thanks for your comment. You are so right. Men do over-value their looks and lifestyle while women under-value their’s. That’s been in our culture for a long time. I’m so happy that you are enjoy life and keeping it real. I wish you the best of luck! Michele

Mary Smith (not my real name)

I maybe way too flexible. I know we have all.lived different lives, so I adjust . I never ask for them to change. But somehow they seem to feel I should change for them. So many that I have met think that a lady in her early 80s is done. Men in their late 70s and early 80s want much younger like someone in their 60s. Even to the extent of having an implant. Just because we are mature, doesn’t mean we don’t want romance, companionship and good adult conversstion.


Hi Mary, thanks for your comment. This is what I know about dating and age. Research shows that the typical age gap between couples is 3.7 years, and only 8% of the couples in western countries have an age gap of over 10 years. This means that great men are still out there. You may need to sift through some non-desirable men to find them, but it sounds like you love life and will find someone who loves you just the way you are. If you think I can help, feel free to register to win a free hour of coaching with me at Best of luck! xxoo Michele


That research, Michele, it must include teenagers and young adults and/or long-time couples who met at that age. Every woman here and even women decades younger than us know that men all want women much much younger.

Michele Burghardt

Hi Debs, that is so weird that this hasn’t been my experience at all. I’m wondering if it’s because I’m in the midwest, maybe that makes a difference. I know my stats were national, but everyone’s experience is different. Best of luck.


I too “moved on” too quickly from a relationship. Sadly, I haven’t dated since. Your honesty, is appreciated and amazing, Michele. Thank you!


Better to move on quickly than find yourself a victim of some sort, in my opinion – based on my letting things slide one too many times in my life!

Michele Burghardt

Hi Mary, I know that’s painful even if in the end it’s the right thing to do. I’m sorry you have let it change your thought on finding love. If you think I can help and haven’t already, feel free to register to win my free hour of coaching. You can enter at Best of luck! xxoo Michele

The Author

Michele Burghardt is an author, speaker, and dating coach for women 50 and over with 20 + years of experience in the self-help area. She believes loving yourself is the first step to finding love. You can learn more about her transformational coaching style and her book at

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