There are many people out there, both young and old, that feel awkward about dating. More than 55 percent of Americans truly feel and believe they don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. This is true to a certain extent. In addition, over 40 percent also believe that there is no one out there suitable to go out on a date with while over 28 percent claim they don’t know what to do to initiate a date; for others, dating is too stressful.
Many people set other priorities more important than dating while others sadly admit dating in your 50s and over is not that easy. Well, guess what? We’re here to tell you age is just a number and if you really want to meet and date someone new, we can help you with that. Read on to find out 15 clever tips to put you back on the dating scene as a senior!
Dating as a senior
Experience comes with age and this is also valid when it comes to one’s love life. The older you get, the better choices you seem to make in terms of choosing your partner. More than 60 percent of the interviewed senior daters admitted they make better decisions now in regard to their dating life when compared to their younger selves. About 40 percent of seniors claimed their dates are better at present and over 50 percent of daters said that the most interesting part of their current dating life is the fact that they’re no longer making their biological needs a priority like they used to in the past.
Most seniors simply need friends or life partners. In order to meet their potential partners, more than 80 percent of seniors meet their dates through family and friends while only one-quarter of the 55+ daters use online dating sites for seniors.
Whatever method you’re using, you have one BIG advantage: your age can work in your favor, not against you. According to relationship expert Dr. Juliana Morris, “when you own where you are in your life, who you are, and are confident in your values and personality, you are more likely to find someone who is better suited for you.”
Don’t talk yourself out of dating
When you’re well into your 50s, you’ve already mastered the skill of canceling plans. There could be various reasons (real ones) that prevent you from honoring your appointment: maybe one of your children got sick, you forgot you had a previously scheduled meeting etc. However, if there’s nothing serious that stands in the way of you going to that date, push all your fears aside and go for it.
“After a couple of decades of dating experience, it can be easy to assume you will be disappointed,” says dating coach Lily Womble. But if you keep postponing due to anxiety and fear of being disappointed, you’re simply leading the person on, which is not fair for neither of you. Just face your fears and put yourself out there, you never know who life brings into your life.
Don’t bond over your baggage
Bonding over your baggage is not really the best way to start a relationship. Just think about going on a first date with someone and being asked all sorts of intimate questions about your past life experiences, what happened to your marriage or about your online dating experience. If you don’t like this avalanche of questions, you shouldn’t do it to your date either.
Starting your night with stories of how awful your ex-spouse was, does not help you much with your current date. If you really need to discuss such issues, do it later into your relationship, after you’ve both had the chance to get to know each other better.
Don’t be the first one to call back
It may sound like a phrase from a cheesy movie, but it’s pretty important, especially for senior women. If you had a great date and you’re excited for your next one, wait until they call back, even more so if they promised to do so.
You might be tempted to call him first, after all, what could be the harm in taking the first step? Well, for starters, you’ll be disappointed when you realize you’re not his main interest. Men know what and who they want much better than women do, and senior daters are believed to be even more determined. Therefore, if someone is really interested in seeing you again, they won’t forget to call you back.
Sex is not the agenda
People in their fifties or older are mature, experienced and smart enough to know a sexual relationship is no longer a priority. When you date at 55+ you’re not doing it for the sex, you’re doing it because you’re hoping to find a good companion or life partner.
Make sure you put all your cards on the table and discuss your wants and needs with your date. A matured and experienced man or woman will understand and appreciate this kind of relationship and not take you for granted. “If you have some trust for the person, that should be a really great conversation and not an issue at all,” says Deb Laino, DHS, a Delaware-based relationship therapist and certified sex educator.
On the other hand, if your date is not on the same page with you, it’s better to cut it off as soon as possible or not even get into a relationship at all.
Focus on the things you like about your date
The way they smiles, how they behave with you and other people, or the way they dress are some of the things you might find attractive about your date. Focus on the things you like first and try to find out more details about your date before trying to see the negative aspects of their personality or why they are not good for you. You might discover that certain things you disliked when you were younger are no longer that important now or the other way around, some of the things you disregarded in your 20s or 30s are more relevant in your fifties.
Starting with the positives keeps your date more open to reveal their true self but if you begin with the negatives, they may become defensive and hide some of their traits for fear you’ll reject them.
Flirt like an adult
It is a very well-known fact that men like women who flirt. Therefore, adopt an open body language and don’t forget to play with your hair, use appropriate touch and smile genuinely and often. All these gestures give your date the impression that you’re enjoying their company. The biggest flirt trick of all: compliment your date. It might sound silly, but men love to hear compliments and take great pride in feeling like they’ve bettered women’s lives.
Therefore, bring you’re A game and femininity every time you meet your date. This is a feminine asset that men claim to desire the most.
Be mindful and manage the conversation
This is particularly valid for women. Take full control of the conversation and discuss issues that you’re comfortable with instead of unwelcome topics that might ruin your mood. Take the opportunity to talk more about yourself and about topics that are relevant to you and your date. He will remember the pleasant and meaningful conversation well after the date is over.
On the other hand, if you give him nothing to remember you for, you might not get a second chance for another date. If you seem like a happy, open-minded and enchanting person as you usually are, it also brings out the best in your partner and you’ll both enjoy a pleasant dinner. One thing to keep in mind: if things don’t work out in the end, there’s always something useful you can learn from every date.
Make sure you don’t dominate the conversation
If you’re not the kind of person to rejoice certain pauses in communication and actually dread them, you might feel the need talk more about yourself just to fill the silent gaps in the conversation. This might make you nervous and blabber nonsense just to make the time pass. Instead, try to ask some questions about your date that they’d feel comfortable answering. Ask them about their careers, hobbies, what they think about the town (if they’ve recently moved to the neighborhood) and recommend several of your favorite local spots for future your dates.
As a general rule of thumb, if you feel like you’re monopolizing the conversation and talking too much about yourself, you probably are! So, tone it down a notch!
Don’t talk about your children’s personal issues
When you’re meeting someone new, one of the worst things you can do is start talking about your children and their personal issues. “The last thing you want to do is be having dinner with somebody and the conversation is all about the kids,” says Laino. “That’s not going to do anything for a spark.”
They might be important to you but remember, you’re practically spilling your guts and giving too much private information to a practical stranger. Not to mention you’d only be embarrassing your children if they ever found out that you’re disclosing personal details about their life. If the topic of your children does come up, keep it light and vague. A first date is an opportunity for you to get to know each other, not your family members.
Don’t put yourself down
It’s simple to minimize your achievements when you’re in the moment, mostly to avoid seeming presumptuous and arrogant. But don’t sell yourself short for anyone! Talking freely and proudly about your titles, awards or things you’ve achieved does not mean you’re bragging.
If you think your date will be less interested in what you do, you’re already setting the priorities in the relationship and you won’t be one of them. This can be quite easy when you’re new to the dating scene or if you really like someone and are worried that they won’t like you back.
Don’t compare your date to your exes
If you’ve recently become single and re-entered the dating pool, comparing your first date with your ex seems inevitable. However, by doing so, you’ll only seem like you haven’t moved on from your last relationship. Every single person in the world has special and unique qualities and traits, so keep in mind that the person you’re currently dating will be very different from your dates in the past.
“It can be tempting to go out with a person who reminds you of someone you’ve already had a relationship with,” says Lane Moore, author of How to Be Alone. But for your happiness and that of your date, consider them unique individuals instead of replacements for the person you left behind.
Offer to contribute
When going out on a date, always be prepared to pay for yourself if it becomes necessary. If you were not the one who organized the outing, you probably shouldn’t expect to cover for the other person. It may be awkward but it’s all part of the dating life and we’ve all been there. If you and your date got along very well, working out who’s going to pay for lunch or dinner will make things a lot easier in the future. Speaking of future dates, check out 15 Amazing First Date Ideas for People Over 40.
Don’t let age get in the way
Unless the person you’re going out on a date with is significantly younger, you shouldn’t worry all that much about being older than they are. One other thing you shouldn’t do if there’s a slight age gap between you two, is getting insecure about yourself. Unless you lied about your age, your date knows the facts from the very beginning and chose to date you no matter what. Just remember age is just a number and it can be easily overthrown by your charming personality and life experience.
Try to steer clear of unfamiliar topics
Some people seem to be able to talk about all the topics in the world and have perfect control of the conversation. If you’re not one of them, don’t worry, not everyone is up to date on every topic.
If your date is talking about the latest Ferrari and you feel a bit lost and struggle to keep up with the conversation, just admit that you don’t know much about the subject but would love to find out more. If they’re speaking about a certain book you’ve never had the chance to read, don’t pretend you read it.
Acting like you know or did the same things they did will only make things worse and make you seem like a fake person. It’s better to stay true to yourself and be honest with others, even if you feel a little foolish at the time. No one likes a know-it all anyway!
Leave politics out of the conversation
It might be trendy and fashionable nowadays to have certain political beliefs, especially with the upcoming presidential election, but sometimes it’s better to keep them to yourself. Therefore, when you’re on a first date, do your best to leave politics out of the conversation.
It’s often weird, and situations can take an upsetting and personal turn, and leave your date with a strange first impression. It’s good to discuss general things, but not when you’re dating someone new and want to keep things light and entertaining.