Dating Tips for Seniors
It can be daunting to feel as if you are “starting over” in love. Or perhaps you’re finally ready to settle down, after a long life of independence. If you’re feeling the pull towards companionship or even romance, you might be ready to re-enter the dating world. The important thing to remember is that it’s never too late to find love! Follow these five tips to create a more enjoyable, fulfilling dating experience in your senior years.
1. Rediscover (the Younger) You
A great first step is building your own confidence by rediscovering the best things about yourself, and remembering what you enjoy most in life. Spending time focusing on yourself is not selfish; it’s actually really important to first know yourself to find a compatible partner.
An excellent exercise is to momentarily put on a “teenager mindset.” Teenagers tend to be more carefree, open to new experiences, ready to laugh and have fun. Try to temporarily shrug off the responsibilities and worries of the years, and focus on activities and hobbies you like for the sheer enjoyment of them. In addition, since teenagers have only lived short lives, they don’t carry around a ton of emotional baggage.
Give this a try by setting aside the memories of the past and focusing on the here-and-now as a fresh start, if only for the duration of a date or an online interaction. Your regular life will be there when you get back; take the chance for a mental vacation and embrace a more carefree way of life to see how you enjoy it!
2. Consider an Outward Refresh, Too
If it’s been a while since you’ve allowed yourself the time or resources to focus on your appearance, there’s no better reason than when reentering the dating field. It doesn’t need to be drastic; all it takes is an honest look at your current style and habits, and possibly making small tweaks. For example, go through your wardrobe and discard or donate anything you haven’t worn in a long time (five or more years). If you’re up for shopping, take a trusted friend whose style you admire for a second opinion; feel free to stay close to your usual color palette or styles you’ve received compliments on in the past.
Next, both men and women could consider getting a fresh hair cut or style; research online or with friends the best local places to go that are also affordable. Bring a photo of a style you like to your appointment and listen to the advice of the stylist (don’t let yourself be pressured into a extreme change if you’re not ready for it, but do keep an open mind!). Avoid the temptation to take a do-it-yourself route with coloring or cuts at home; a small investment in your appearance with a professional can pay off in increased self-confidence.
3. Get back out there!
So how do you get started? The great news is that there are numerous ways to meet new people these days. Look in your newspaper, regional magazine, or online for local social clubs and classes that interest you, like dancing classes, art classes, wine tastings, and cooking classes. Even your public library or local university might offer activities that draw together like-minded individuals. Attend with an open mind and focus on enjoying the activity rather than jus scoping it out for potential dates; the more relaxed you are, the more you will build your own confidence (see tip #1) and, in the process, make new friends. It’s a win/win situation!
Another way to meet new people is online dating (in fact, the above-60 age group is one of the fastest-growing demographics in online dating). Online dating brings along some additional considerations, safety precautions, and social guidelines, so be sure to do your research before getting started (see our guide on the best online dating sites for seniors and tips for creating a great online profile).
4. Plan for Success
Now that you’re ready to go on your date, take a little time to make a great first impression. First, the basics – check your appearance (no lipstick on the teeth, no overkill on cologne, etc.), clean out your car if you’re driving, and, of course, arrive on time. Remember your upbeat, positive mentality when you’re on your date; avoid topics like sad past memories, negative relationship or dating experiences, problems with your children, politics, money, and religion. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time to address more serious topics if and when you go on more dates; for now, keep it light and fun, and focus on the present moment.
As far as activities go for a first date, the options are endless; think outside the box and gain points for creativity! Many cities offer numerous venues for fun first dates, including art galleries, dance classes, wine tastings, even outdoor hike and bike trails. Choose something that you both will enjoy, scout it out ahead of time to ensure you have the needed cash on hand and know where to park, put on that “teenage mentality” and prepare to really enjoy yourself. Check out this list of creative first dates if you need more ideas!
5. Keep perspective
As you re-enter the dating world, it’s very normal to feel nervous (remember, excitement often feels the same as nervousness!), so take a deep breath and try to relax. Avoid instantly comparing your date to other first dates or to your past partner; instead, be in the moment and keep an open mind. Remind yourself that no one says you have to find a long-time partner right away or even get (re)married; the goal of dating is to meet new people and enrich your life with new experiences and relationships. Honesty is still the best policy, so practice respect and politeness, but also prioritize what you are truly looking for in a partner, especially when considering subsequent dates. Not everyone will be a match, so relieve some of the pressure by reminding yourself there are “plenty of fish in the sea,” and try to view every first date as a fresh start.
This is an exciting new chapter of life for you, and today it’s easier than ever to meet companions that share your interests and goals. With a little bit of preparation and an open mind, you’re bound to meet wonderful new friends, experience some fun new adventures, and make the most of your golden years.