It can be daunting getting back into the dating game when you get older. Where do you meet people? Are you still happy to go to a bar with the expectation that there is someone there for you? Do you try on-line dating or hope to meet someone through friends. Mature dating can be very daunting.
How do you handle the whole dating game when you are older, more mature and perhaps fairly entrenched in how you like to live your life?
You have to be willing to accept that the other person might be as fixed in their ways as you are – and how are you going to compromise – or do you really want to?
During my years as ‘Agony Aunt’, writing the problem page in the (Glasgow) Herald I had many requests for just this sort of advice from people asking about mature dating.
There is no easy answer. Everyone is different and their level of confidence and ability to socialise varies dramatically. If you have been in a relationship or marriage for many years then it’s hard to go back out into the ‘marketplace’.
If you are bruised from a divorce or still grieving after the death of a partner it can be difficult to start over. What I have often found in this situation is that the person trying to get back into dating spends all the time with their new companion discussing their previous relationship – and this can stop a prospective new liaison in its tracks.
You have to be ready, emotionally, for a new adventure. That is essential when you are starting mature dating. If you go on dates with the idea that they are fun and you may become friends with the new person, with the added bonus, perhaps, of it leading to something, then this is healthy.
If you go on dates with your checklist of requirements in place, a fixed idea of exactly who you are looking for – then you’re more likely to be disappointed, and become disillusioned. If you look and sound desperate to get into a new relationship then sadly this often drives the other person away.
Meeting though friends can be one of the most comfortable ways to begin a new relationship. It can originate with casual friendship and you can get to know one another gradually and if there is an attraction there then great. Mature dating can simply follow on naturally.
Websites are seen as the most popular way of meeting prospective partners in today’s world. However it is a case of buyer beware. Many people lie about more than their age and the age of their photograph.
Don’t give out your personal details and, if you agree to meet up, make it in a public place – best to meet for a drink or coffee so that you have a limit of time and if things are going well it’s possible to move on to dinner – or whatever.
Tell a friend where you are going and ask them to phone you after, say, 20 minutes, and if things are not going well you can explain that you have an emergency and leave.
Meeting people with a common interest makes for easier conversation. Supermarkets are places where a casual conversation can be started up. Looking in someone else’s shopping basket may give a clue to whether they are buying for one or more people. Asking how they like the …….. had they cooked it before? Another place can be your local library or bookshop. One friend used to look for spiritual books and regularly saw a woman looking at books in the same section. They got into conversation – and have now been married for 4 years, second time around for both of them, and very happy.
I have found that there is as much pressure after a first date for a mature couple about how far do you take the intimacy as there is for a younger couple. Everyone is different and, as long as it works for both parties, then that’s fine.
One couple who found each other in their mid 60’s after both their partners had died said their romance felt the same as when they were 16. There was no suggestion for them that their love was any less deep, less fun or less exciting. As she said ‘I feel like a teenager again.’
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