TIPS ON DATING FOR SENIORS
by Alice Langholt
Youíve been blessed to live for a long time, and your dating life is far from over. Here are some tips on dating for seniors: Dating again can be an exciting and invigorating experience that keeps you young at heart.
Know Your Expectations
Take the time to think about what you want from dating. Are you looking for a long-term relationship, or are you just looking to meet new people and have fun? If you know what you are looking for, it will be easier to find.
Though you may be nervous, your age is more of a benefit than you know. You have more life experience and will know more about what to look out for, both positive and negative. Dating after 50 can be even better than dating in your 20s.
Telling Your Children
Though you may be keen on dating, some people may have a hard time coping with this, especially grown children.
Make sure to tell your children yourself. You donít want to bump into them at the movies or have someone else tell them that you are back on the market. Explain to your children that your feelings are normal, and that you want to live life to its fullest. If they become upset, try your best to be understanding.
Many times, if adult children or even friends are upset about this decision, it is because they worry that you could be emotionally hurt or that they will lose you from their life. Try not to argue as you discuss the situation because you want to affirm how theyíre feeling without compromising your decision.
Though you may be open to dating, people your own age may not be. You should be prepared for the fact that you may end up dating someone younger than you. If you are on a date with someone younger, try not to act condescending or patronizing. Be aware that the age difference will be noticeable, but that it doesnít mean you should write a person off.
Also try not to go too far in the other direction by exclusively going after people younger than you. You might be surprised by dating someone in your age range.
If you decide to date someone younger and you have children, they may be upset, especially if the person you are dating is even younger than they are. A common cultural stereotype is of the young woman chasing an older man for his money, and your children might think that someone younger will take advantage of you. Be respectful of their feelings, understand that they may need some time getting used to this new development and listen to them if you have a sneaking suspicion that their concerns are valid.
Where to Meet People
Think about the kind of person you want to meet and plan activities that correspond. If you want to meet someone who reads, try visiting coffee shops, joining a book club or even going to the libraryís poetry readings. Additionally, if you want someone who is fit, think about looking at the gym, your local pool or a nearby park. Also, if your religion is especially important to you, think about participating in your religious organizationís activities; you may end up finding someone with similar values.
You could also try online dating, which allows you to browse a number of different profiles and meet people with only a few clicks of a mouse. Dating Web sites give you more control over who you meet, and you can search for people based on age, sexual orientation, career, religion and many other interests. Just be sure to post a current image and a profile that reflects your personality.
If you decide to start dating after 50, you donít have to start bungee jumping and dyeing your hair pink. Donít change your personality to fit some image or perception you have about dating. You can be yourself and act your age, whatever acting your age means to you, and still find going out with new people fulfilling and successful.
Where to Go and What to Talk About
You may have been out of the dating world for quite some time and have no idea of where to begin. Remember that dating is rarely easy for anyone, no matter their age. Once you have met someone, choose a public place for your first meeting, and set a timeframe for the date. This way, if you do not end up wanting to pursue this person, you will have a built-in reason for leaving. Choosing a public place is a safety precaution and a casual way to begin things. You want to start slow. Having a date at a strangerís home raises a safety concern, and it also implies an intimacy that you have not yet secured.
If you go into your date prepared with questions, the experience can end up having a positive end. Keep the subject matter of the conversation light. Ask things that you want to know: Career, family and interests are all common first-date topics. Though you may want to talk about how nervous you are about dating again, be careful of this. You want to come off as confident and sure of yourself, not as skittish and insecure.
Talking About the Past
Itís okay to talk about the past with your prospective dates, but you do not want it to be the main topic of conversation. You are opening a new chapter in your life. Because you are older, you may have several past relationships and may even be widowed. This extra baggage may be hard to navigate, but there does come a time where you should try to set it aside, acknowledge it exists and move on in order to get to know your date.
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