Dating in middle age is as awkward as dating when you are a young teen, only worse.
At least when you are young, you have youth on your side.
When you’ve got a few runs on the board not only are you a little wiser, and more self-aware, you are also a little saggier and self-aware. If you see what we mean.
For those of you a little older but no wiser OR self-aware, let’s spend a second thinking about why you might be single.
For everyone else, knowing who you are means understanding your own ‘baggage’ and being able to spot others from a mile off.
There is nothing wrong with having life experiences, that’s what being alive is all about. There is something wrong, however, with only being able to focus on what is going on in your life. If all you think about is you, you may also want to spend a second thinking about why YOU are single.
There is nothing wrong with being single. It is far better to be alone than be with the wrong person. At least if you are by yourself you know who the moron is in the room and you can be forgiving. When you are joined by a moron, that makes things tougher.
Having said that, if you are keen to date, and you haven’t done it for a while, here are some tips.
Firstly, if you manage to set up a date through a website, or a friend, or a conversation in a gym or café or wherever, do not….DO NOT….spend any point of that first date talking at any length about your previous relationships. If the subject comes up, cover it quickly “ I was married for 15 years, we have two kids, we are friendly” and leave it at that. It is highly likely the person you are sitting across from also has some history, and one day when you have run out of things to talk about you can cover that territory, but for date one AVOID.
At best you will sound like a used car, at worst a sap or hideously bitter. Remember, you are trying to score a second date. This information is not required as a first perusal.
Secondly, take a good look at yourself and check to see that your grooming standards are up with the times. Just because your ex didn’t care if your clothes didn’t match, doesn’t mean a new potential partner won’t. Also, look at your hair and skin.
Are they working for you? Do you need an update on the tresses or lack of tresses? Shaved heads are cool, comb overs are not. Equally, if you dye your hair, get the roots sorted….before you get any other roots sorted. Your skin might need a bit of sand blasting. If you are heading back into the dating game, buy a moisturizer (this is for men and women) and use it.
Also, whilst we are there, check your dental hygiene. Everyone has days when their early morning breath could kill a goat, but if you want to be in the position of some early morning goat killing nookie, make sure your mouth is sexy and inviting the night before.
While we are talking about uncomfortable things, don’t be a douche about money on the first date. This applies equally to the sexes. Women, he or she doesn’t have to buy you everything just to enjoy your sparkling company. Put your hand in your own damn pocket at least once in the evening. You have expenses, so does the person sitting opposite you. Men, if it’s your job to set the tone for the evening, suggest somewhere you know will make you feel financially comfortable all evening in case the person sitting opposite you never puts their hand in their own damn pocket. Neither of you should look at the menu or drinks list and exclaim “WOW, this place is expensive”. It’s a date. Try and be cool. If money is an issue, be smart and choose somewhere cheap and cheerful. You are not a 14 year old out to impress someone with the strength of your pocket money. You are a grown up, try and behave like one.
And speaking of that. We know you want to have sex. In middle age, sex is not new. This does not mean that the first dance is a time when you can shove your tongue in someone’s mouth. Also, no one wants to feel your package minutes after meeting you, unless you are offering cash up front. If you have a great set up top, you do not need them fondled in the first 15 minutes. You are not a virgin, neither is your date ( although if they are, you may want to get a handle as to why early on….just sayin’) and chances are you might get sex out of this date or a subsequent one, but if you just want a hook-up, let that be known at the start. It’s faster, cheaper, and involves less food and chit chat. If you are actually dating with the intention of meeting a partner, calm down. You’ve waited before, you can wait again. By all means, if it’s a wild, explosive connection, bang away madly as quickly as you can whilst still having time to pop an angina tablet and get the free parking stamp on your receipt. But you don’t have to tell anyone tomorrow about the bases you got to, so what’s the rush? Think about what the other person wants first, and for God’s sake, if you do break a drought after some time of middle aged waiting, DO NOT text your kids and tell them. It just freaks them out.
If life has lead you to singledom in your middle years you may be feeling a little vulnerable.
But dating was never easy, you just thought it was. Hindsight is rose coloured stuff. But dating at any age can be fun if you just relax and be yourself, whilst also being a bit cleaner and shinier for at least one night. After that, you can go back to being the slightly worn, but still good, human being that you are. It’s OK. You will be OK.