'I Got Married at Age 50...For The First Time!'

bride and groom holding handsbride and groom holding handsBy Anna Schoening

It's a well-told myth: that a woman over a certain age has a better chance of getting struck by lightning than finding a mate. Even movies and TV shows have convinced generations that if they didn't marry in their childbearing years, it would never happen. Wrong! These six women prove it's possible to get married at any age-and that true love really is worth waiting for. Photo by Getty Images

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Linda Passante, New York City, married at 52 in April 2011

How it happened: "I wanted a marriage that was an equal partnership, one in which I could pursue my passions and career as CEO and co-founder of The Halo Group with my husband's support. However, I was attracted to traditional men who had typical expectations of a wife, and I knew any of them would try to change me. I met Jack when I was 46-at a wake! He was sexy, smart, kind and, best of all, comfortable in his own skin, so my success wasn't threatening. He has three kids, and I didn't want to force myself into the family, so we waited a while to get married."

Her advice: "You can't live for others' expectations. Make your single life as exciting as possible: Take risks, have fun, see the world and pamper yourself. If I wanted to buy someone or myself a gift, I did. If you just live your life, it'll happen. And what my grandmother says about love is true: What doesn't happen in years, happens in minutes."

Clarissa Duvall, Louisville, KY, married at 51 in June 1995
How it happened: "I'd been a nun and left after six years because I wanted to get married. I didn't date a lot. So many men weren't marriage material to me. In my 40s I thought, 'I'm going be single for the rest of my life.' But when I was 50, a mutual friend asked if I'd like to meet David. He'd been divorced, had no children and was happy being single. It was refreshing because we weren't pushing into each other into a relationship. He wanted to get to know me and see me for who I am. That's when I began to think he was the one."

Her advice: "Keep dreaming. Never give up because of your age. The only drawback is that I wanted children, but I'm close with my friends' kids. I'm very blessed. And now there are many options for having kids in your 40s. You shouldn't have to settle for anyone."

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Ginny Longo, Jersey Shore, NJ, married at 50 in September 2009
How it happened: "When I was younger, I thought I'd be married by my 20s. As I got older, I started to realize it doesn't happen for everyone that way and marriage isn't going to make you a better person or fix any problems. I met John when I was 38 and he was 28; I'd taken on a second job where he worked. We were friends for a while, so when I fell in love with him, the age difference didn't matter. We ended up dating for a long time. Then, getting married felt right."

Her advice: "Love yourself first; that shines through. You have to be happy with who you are before you can share yourself with someone else-and accept that life happens differently for everyone."

Margaret Watterworth, Albany, NY, married at 60 in May 2013
How it happened: "Everyone told me that I didn't put myself out there. As I got older, I lost my shyness and tried Match.com and J-Date. I kept saying to myself, 'You just never know.' Nine months into Match (and after dates with 10 to 15 other guys), Rod messaged me. I liked him from the moment I met him. He wasn't like the typical guys I met-not phoney or 'hey, look at me.' We're different religions, but our values are the same. And his grown kids were happy to see him happy; they always made me feel welcome. After dating for a year, he moved in to my house. Four months later we got married."

Her advice: "You get discouraged. It's normal. When you get over 50, you say, 'The chance of this happening is slim to none.' But it happens. Try online dating and volunteering. Put yourself into places where you may meet somebody. Ballroom dancing is a wonderful way to meet people. Bars, in my experience, aren't the place to meet someone."

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Tina Tedder, Atlanta, married at 50 in December 2012
How it happened: "I never wanted to be like Sally from The Dick Van Dyke Show, incomplete without a man. I didn't want marriage enough to go out and look for it. But when I was 46, I had complications with pneumonia and didn't know if I was going to make it. Later, a spiritual advisor told me I survived because I 'wanted to experience love.' When I was 49, I had foot surgery. My friend told me to call her brother, who had the same surgery. Ted and I played phone tag for a while before we talked. Then, he came to my house and tried to teach me to play guitar. Later, I started going to his house. I moved in with him six months after we met, and he got down on his knee right after."

Her advice: "At a church group, a woman older than me who'd never married said she was inspired by me and asked me what to do. I think it's all timing. So I just lived my life and left the rest to the universe."

Barbara Zamost, San Francisco, married at 50 in August 2013
How it happened: "My ex and I never married during our 16-year relationship, but we had a daughter. Getting married didn't matter to me as the years went by. Plus, after my dad died, I thought, 'I don't have a dad to walk me down the aisle.' A year-and-a-half after the split, my friend set me up with Alan, a guy she knew from her daughter's school. We planned to hike a mountain for our first date, but it was pouring rain. I opened the door, took one look at him and said, 'I'll get my rain coat.' There was chemistry, but more importantly, a beautiful connection. It took a couple of months for us to get more serious. We got engaged on a hike up that same mountain, and it rained again. As someone who'd never been proposed to, it felt nice! It's tricky when you bring children into a marriage, but his 10-year-old and my 14-year old have a sweet relationship."

Her advice: "We all tend to repeat relationships. If your issues are the same every breakup, address any hurt, anger or trust issues in yourself, and look for patterns. Then, look for something different. People have unfinished business, and it can get in the way of an amazing relationship. You have to be in the right heart space. I felt really good about where I was when I met Alan."

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