‘Love After 50’ – An Excerpt

By Francine Russo | May 22nd, 2023

‘Find What’s Lovable about You – and Believe in It’

Cover of the book, “Love After 50: How to Find It, Enjoy It, and Keep It.” By Francine Russo.

Looking for love after 50? Francine Russo was … twice. After her first husband died at the age of 49, she eventually met her second husband, Chris, who died of cancer after a few short years of happiness together. Four years later, Russo began again and has been happily partnered for the last five years. Based on her experiences dating, she has written “Love After 50: How to Find It, Enjoy It, and Keep It.” This excerpt offers a foundational lessons for finding that new, lasting love.

Excerpted from LOVE AFTER 50 by Francine Russo. Copyright © 2021 by Francine Russo. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

‘Find What’s Lovable about You – and Believe in It’

If you’ve always doubted your value and lovability, now’s the time to shore it up. If you’re feeling unsure, remind yourself frequently of the many good things you can bring to a relationship.

List the qualities you’re proud of, for example: I’m well organized, a good parent, a hard worker, an empathic person. I show up for my friends. I have a sense of humor and make people laugh.

Think back on all those who have cared about you: family, friends, colleagues.

Ask your close friends what they find lovable about you. Believe what they say and put it on your list.

This is not for everyone, but if you have a small supportive “friends” group on social media, you might say you’re feeling a little down on yourself and it would help if they’d mention good traits they’ve noticed about you.

“One of my clients did this,” says therapist Jill Whitney. “She got such a flood of good stuff that it made her cry.”

Train yourself to notice negative thoughts about yourself. Replace those thoughts with the positive items on your list. If you do this over and over, you will sooner or later repel the destructive thoughts.

Christine* had been married ten years to a man who regularly called her “stupid.” After she divorced him, she thought about who she wanted to be now. First she gave herself credit for the courage it took to end her marriage. She had two goals for her remade identity. “I had a teenage girl at home, and I wanted to go from a bad example to a good model for her of a strong woman,” she says. “And I was strong. I just lacked confidence.”

The second part of her new identity evolved as she tried to make sense of the investments that came with her divorce settlement. She realized that, far from being stupid, she had a real head for investing. She managed her own portfolio so well, in fact, that she qualified for a training program at a major investment firm. She’s now a successful wealth manager.

*Names noted with an asterisk are pseudonyms to protect the privacy of my interviewees.

In “Love After 50: How to Find It, Enjoy It, and Keep It,” Russo argues that love after 50 is the most satisfying age to pursue a relationship. At this stage, you know what you absolutely have to have in a partner, but also what you can live without; partnering is no longer about building family and fortune – it’s about sharing intimacy as individuals; you’re more emotionally stable and comfortable in your own skin. Not only practical and full of advice from experts, “Love After 50” is candid and full of stories of real people (including the author’s own), with examples of couples who have overcome their pasts to form healthy and nurturing partnerships. In other words, it’s as real as love after 50 can be.

Russo’s practical advice includes:

  • How to recover from the emotional damage of divorce, the grief of widowhood, or a history of unfulfilling relationships.
  • How to build realistic requirements for a partner (even if you’re both now set in your ways).
  • Are your adult kids driving you and your new partner to a therapist? Russo walks you patiently through the conversations that make a blended family possible.
  • How to actually date over 50 and what attitude to bring to the experience.
  • How to evaluate the financial, emotional, and practical results of marrying, living together, or living apart (Russo reassures you—you don’t have to live together, and many couples don’t!)
  • How to overcome the physical challenges of sex over 50 and embrace your erotic selves (if you’ve got bad knees, Russo reassures you it’s nothing a trip to the hardware store can’t fix)

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