Learn To Navigate Senior Dating

Updated December 5, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Are you getting back into dating after divorce, being widowed, or long-term single life? The dating scene for older adults is growing largely due to internet connections, and that means there are more potential matches out there for you. If you're flirting skills haven't gotten a lot of use lately, here are some tips to help you find your way in navigating the dating world.

Do You Have Questions About Dating And Aging?

Tips On Dating For Seniors

Dating as an older adult doesn’t need to be rushed and it doesn’t mean you have to change your standards. You should still look to spend your time with people you sincerely respect and enjoy the company of. Remember, you always have the option of staying single or spending time with non-romantic friends.

In fact, you'll likely find that many of your dating experiences now are similar when compared to your earlier experiences in the dating scene. You'll likely get jitters. You'll probably feel nervous because you might want to make a good impression. You might feel your pulse race.

Or maybe you won't. Everyone responds differently. But you may find that life experience doesn't change the fact that meeting someone new can be both exciting and scary. 

Here are some additional tips to help when you're finally on that first date.

Be Honest

You may be surprised that this must be said, but many people may try to present as a "better" version of themselves when they're on a date with someone new. The problem with this is that if you hit it off, they're likely to eventually see the real you, and that can cause problems down the road. It can be better to be honest about who you are so that you can match up with a person who is compatible with the real you.

Trust Your Instincts In Dating

Whether you're getting a feeling that something just isn't right in the situation, or you feel struck by magic and get along with this person right from the start, trust those feelings. Your gut often knows what it's doing. Remember that if things feel too good to be true, it's not a bad idea to step back and take a logical look at the situation.

Ask Questions On Dates

Go ahead and ask about all the things that are important to you. It can keep the conversation going, and can help you to determine whether this is a person you'd like to spend more time with. And when a person answers your questions, listen to them. Believe they are telling you the truth, even if the answer is one you don't want to hear.

Try to ask the important questions. That includes asking things about their financial standing, relationship goals, and life goals. This can save you both a lot of time.

Some people date looking for a future spouse. For others, that's not the goal. You should know what type of relationship you are looking for and what type your date is looking for. If your relationship goals don't align, you should accept that this person isn't likely to be the solution to your personal goals.

Be Patient

Many older people who are dating might have a lot of standards they want to be met with a potential partner. They often have the life experience to know what they want and what they do not want. That means they're probably less likely to get into a relationship impulsively. They might instead want to take their time and make sure they're choosing the right person.

Don't Tolerate Disrespect

If someone seems patronizing or disrespectful to you on a first date, thank them and end the date. First dates are usually when people try to make their best impression, so if they're disrespectful this early on, it's not likely that behavior will improve over time.

What are some examples of disrespect? Being condescending about your career or life choices, for one. But any remarks that make you feel guilty or uncertain about yourself are likely signs that this person is disrespecting you.

Look For Someone Similar Yo You

It's true that some differences balance people out or help each person to enhance their strengths or mitigate their weaknesses. But don't worry about that; you're bound to have differences with anyone. Focus instead on finding more of the similarities, so you have fewer difficult differences to contend with in a potential relationship.

Be Positive About Senior Dating

Sure, it may seem like there are fewer potential partners when you reach 55 or 60. But it may be that other people close in age to you are also feeling a lack of confidence about dating. Be optimistic and unafraid of making connections that could turn into dating opportunities. Go ahead and approach someone to talk. It can't hurt, and it might turn into a pleasant conversation even if they're not a potential match.

Practice Your Flirting Skills Online

Internet dating has its pros and cons. One thing it can help with though is getting over the jitters of being "out of practice." Striking up a conversation online can allow you to talk to someone with less risk of embarrassment, especially if you don't know the person yet. Find someone interesting to talk to, and practice asking them first date type questions, so you'll have some conversation ideas when you meet someone for a real first date. Who knows, that online conversation may turn into a real first date.

Make Eye Contact With People

An easy way to start meeting people can be just to make eye contact when you go out. If you meet someone's gaze and they smile, go ahead and say something to them. Be friendly and don't worry about whether it turns into anything more than a passing conversation.

Do You Have Questions About Dating And Aging?

Get Rid of Your Expectations of Senior Dating

Expectations can be dangerous, especially when it comes to dating and predicting the behavior of other people. When you're meeting a new person for a first date, it's best to keep your expectations under control. That is, they should be mostly neutral. Don't expect it to be fantastic. And don't expect that this date will lead to a second.

Of course, that doesn't mean you should be in a bad mood or actively work against the date being fantastic and leading to a second. It means that if you don't assume these things, it will be a wonderful surprise if they happen. And not expecting them can mitigate your disappointment if they don't. If the date is a dud, but you had no expectations for it, then you can chalk it up to getting out of the house and having a new experience.

Standards vs. Expectations

It can also be important to understand that dating expectations are not the same thing as dating standards. You should certainly have a set of standards you are looking for in a potential partner. For many older daters, the actual age number of the other person can be less important than it is for younger daters.

You may start to realize that a person can be 76, healthy, and active, or they can be 62, in poor health, and never leave their house. The lifestyle and activity level of potential partners may become more important than the number.

Where To Meet People

So where do you meet potential dates? The best way could be just to do the things you would do anyway. Go places you love to go. You're more likely to meet people with similar interests and priorities when you meet them at your favorite places and events.

If a healthy lifestyle is important to you, the gym may be a good place for you to look for people to talk to. Be respectful of their workout time though and don't interrupt if they look like they're concentrating on exercise. They're not necessarily there to flirt.

If intellectual stimulation is your thing, bookstores and museums may be good places to go. Or for you, the right place may be sporting events, concerts, or craft fairs.

Dating can be difficult at any age. If you're feeling overwhelmed or need help finding yourself before you find someone else, consider enlisting the help of a professional therapist to keep you optimistic and on the right path.

Online therapy is convenient because it can allow you to check in from anywhere with an internet connection, whether that be home, the office, or elsewhere. It can also be accessible for people who have mobility issues or who simply can’t find the time to take off work and make it to a doctor’s office in person.

And if you’re worried about efficacy, you may find some comfort in knowing that a wide array of clinical studies have been published that prove than online therapy is just as effective, and sometimes even more effective, than in-person therapy. Many people who participate in online therapy have even expressed that they find it easier to open up over online mediums due to the extra level of separation.

Takeaway

The standards for meeting people when you’re older, you may not be surprised to learn, are not all that different from the standards during the rest of your dating life. People are largely looking for mutual honesty and respect. However in recent years, dating among the senior age bracket has become all the more common, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and start a new and exciting romance! You might soon find out that “you’ve still got it.”

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