So, “you’re out there”.
Welcome to the dating scene.
You’re either on a dating site searching for “the one” or you’re frequenting clubs and meet up single events hoping the “wrong one” doesn’t approach you or ask you to dance. You might also be the brave warrior willing to accept the occasional blind date that well-meaning friends and family convince you is a perfect match.
Note to well-meaning friends and family: Just because we’re both single, doesn’t mean we’re soulmates!
And while those of us out there in the dating world can agree that we’re not looking for perfection, we’re all looking for the same thing at any age: love, acceptance and partnership with someone who “gets you”. But trying to find that right partner can be a winding, exhausting journey of dates that typically requires polite small talk while silently trying to assess whether a second date is likely. And if a second date is not going to happen, there can be long moments of awkwardness while stealing glances at the time and/or the nearest exit.
This game of trial and error can be time consuming and nerve racking but for those of us at a certain age there can be additional considerations and challenges.
Let’s start with technology.
Meeting a new partner can happen organically at any moment, but if Mr. Right doesn’t live next door, the internet is a good place to start, (unless you’re chatting with a paid impersonator).
Navigating a dating site for the first time as a baby boomer, however, can be overwhelming, confusing, and maybe even laughable.
Upload photos from camera roll, Facebook, jpg, GIF…whaatt??? Tech support please! I need a millennial!
And then there’s the dilemma of what photo to use:
Do I upload my glamour shot photo from the 80’s, the picture of me with my grandchildren at the zoo, or the photo of me blowing out candles at my last birthday hoping the number of candles on the cake is not too noticeable?
So many decisions.
But once you’ve successfully signed up for your online dating experience the fun can then begin!
Those of us, however, in our older years excited about starting a new chapter in our lives might have more questions to ponder with our prospective romantic partners than singles in their 20’s and 30’s.
What is your history?
Widow/Widower or divorced? If divorced, what is your relationship like with your ex? How many children/grandchildren do you have? Do any of them still live with you? Will my children like you? Can our families blend well?
What is your perspective on the aging process?
How are you making the most of your retirement years? Are you active or sitting around waiting for the pearly gates to beckon you? Are there medical issues associated with your aging and are you managing it well? Are you invested in self-care and a healthy lifestyle? What are your goals for the future?
Why so many questions?
Most of us dating in our older years are generally clearer about what we’re looking for in a romantic relationship. We’ve acquired enough life experience to know what worked and what didn’t work in our past.
Those of us coming from failed marriages hope to choose more carefully this time around.
There is a greater awareness in midlife that falling in love with the “potential” of what a partner can be rather than the “reality” of what someone already is, is just a recipe for disappointment. We can’t change or fix anyone – some of us have learned this the hard way.
One of the privileges of growing older is the wisdom of being able to forecast the probable success of a relationship within a short period of time; sometimes within minutes after meeting someone. In fact, I’ve often thought that instead of meeting a first date in a restaurant, for example, we could consider “drive through” dating. This is how it works: once you’ve decided to take the plunge and meet a stranger you’ve been communicating with online, an arrangement is made to meet in a parking lot and through the crack of your car window the date begins. If you’re pleased with the small talk, you can move on to part 2 of the date which is actually shutting off the car engine and continuing the conversation. Perhaps now you’ve committed to a parking spot. You’re interested and are making progress.
The bonus is that you don’t have to spend time and money meeting in a restaurant if your first impression doesn’t feel right.
Drive through dating is time and cost efficient and the best part is you can drive away at any time.
All jokes aside, renewing our passions in our older years is exciting and invigorating.
Go for it!
Happy dating and best wishes in your search!
M.Ed., Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, Advanced Certified Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master and Author of eBook, Finding Happiness Even Without a Fairy Tale Childhood