After being happily single and not dating for a decade, getting back to dating and trying out online dating for the first time was quite an experience. I did not face this new life experiment alone. I equipped myself with good friends and books. I have been learning and enjoying dating more as a forty-something. Here are my favorite dating advice that helps me be happy and enjoy the journey!
- If he does not show up, he is not my man! Starting from the first message, to first call, to first date, he has to want to part of it. I met Q the furniture maker and we hit it off during our first date. The first date followed by a second date at the beach. We had fun! After that, when I texted him, he did not respond at all. We lost our connection. I kept thinking about all the good things about him. Then one of my guy friends said to me, “he has gotta to show up!” In order for something to happen, he has to text, call, or meet up! I should be able to tell his engagement and interest based on his actions. If there is not action, don’t ignore it or explain it. (Note: of course be reasonable. If the guy does not get in touch in 24 hours, that might not be a deal break. Use best judgement here.)
- I am not a priority. Very often, when meeting someone new, I hope for the best. When something goes wrong, I try to find explanation for his behavior. The very typical example that everyone has experienced is “Oh, he has not texted or called in a week. He must be busy!” What this behavior is really saying is that I am not a priority in his life. It could that dating for him comes after work, kids, social commitments, etc. He could be indeed very busy with other responsibilities. But if he is not willing to spend time and energy getting to know me on day 1, then there is not likely a future for “us.” (Note: the level of priority here depends on what you are looking for and can be different. Perhaps, you decide that you are okay with meeting up for dinner once a month. If you are okay, then that’s okay!)
- Texting is good but meeting up is a must! Texting has become a critical part of my online dating experience. This has replaced talking as the standard method of first contact for many of us. The initial texts usually give me an idea of what the person is like, normal or not. I texted with J the local mid-school teacher. He seemed like a wonderful person. We met and I did not feel any connection. There was also C the dancer, who did not look at all like his picture. I am now very careful about men in sunglasses or have just headshots. Text personality can be misleading and based on creative imagination. Still gotta meet to get the true personality!
- Have fun! If he likes me, I can feel it! Meeting people is fun and I keep reminding myself of that. First date is not a test. It’s an opportunity for two strangers in this world to meet and get to know each other better. Remember when we were just kids? I remind myself to be curious with an open mind and open heart. If the first few dates are not fun, then it might be hard to have lives together. I look forward to hear about his life stories, his likes and dislikes, his ups and downs. My best frame of mind is cautiously optimistic! If someone likes me, I can totally feel it! I would know!
- Do I want to meet up again after the first date? I plan for a living. It’s very easy and nature for me to think of the next 50 steps from the first date. Don’t get head of myself! Take it one day at a time. I met N in another state and I thought of how I could commute regularly to see him after we first met. That’s too much stress and thinking. Now I just ask myself, would I like to see him again. Not when we would move in together. Not when we would get married. That’s for later. At the beginning, just enjoy getting to know him.
- Don’t be too nice too quickly! There are many books that talk about this topic, such as Why Men Love Bitches. As a woman who is fairly nice, I tend to want to take care of the man I date. Do everything in my power to make it work. When I first started dating, I would treat him like a good friend and plan out everything for us. I remember meeting B the engineer. We had gotten to our 5th date and he finally said, I don’t feel any connection. What I learned is that I need to give him some space to think about us. Let him or take turn in getting to know each other.
- Know what are my top three priorities! Expectation is tough. No one is perfect, including me. When I meet someone online, I filter the profiles based on my top priorities. For example, it’s good to know that “kind” is required and “living in Boston” is optional. Give and take is good!
- Be me and do me! Finally, always be true to myself. I recently met P the consultant and it was so easy. A girlfriend told me, “When I first met my husband, I was surprised at how easy it was, after so many crappy dates! If you meet the right person, you will be able to tell.” That’s what happens when two people are compatible and share the same values. This is also the only way to sustain a long-term relationship. I absolutely love this!
I hope you find some of these useful! If you have other advice that you like, leave me a comment below.