When you've been through divorce or a mourning period after the loss of a spouse, or you simply devoted a number of years to career and friends, re-entering the dating scene can be intimidating. However, dating after 55 can also be an invigorating experience that leads to a renewed sense of fun and excitement, and possibly to partnership.
One make-or-break difference when it comes to success in dating after 55 is whether you show a willingness to move forward, says author and divorce blogger Lois Tarter in the article "Were You Looking in My Medicine Cabinet?: Dating Don'ts For Women Over 50" for Huffington Post. Common potholes in the dating experience include being too rooted in your ways and too frequently, or too soon, discussing your ex. To get the most enjoyment out of dating and let your personality shine through, determine ahead of time to remain open to new ideas, as well as flexible in your idea of what constitutes Mr. Right. Prepare to talk about lighthearted, positive topics in the beginning.
Internet matchmaking is a whole new game for women in their 50s and beyond. At its best, online dating gives you the opportunity to meet compatible dates you might never have encountered otherwise. However, this method of dating also involves certain risks. According to John M. Grohol, founder and CEO of Psych Central, in "Tips for Safe Online Dating," it's a good idea to stay anonymous -- not disclosing contact or other personal information -- while getting to know a potential date through messages. If and when you agree to meet someone from a dating site in person, do so in a busy, public place. A note on the etiquette of online dating: Be sure your profile picture reflects your current age, not a younger one.
Sexual Safety Precautions
According to Michael Castleman, a journalist focusing on health and sexuality, in the "Psychology Today" post "Dating After 50: Are Condoms Still Necessary?" many older adults eschew sexual protection because they assume they are at lower risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Castleman confirms that the statistical risk is lower, but still present. When you're contemplating physical intimacy, have a frank discussion concerning past partners and methods of protection you would both be comfortable with.
Many older women toss in the towel on dating too early, according to Ken Solin, author of the book "Act Like a Man," in his article "Boomer Women's Dating Faux Pas" for Huffington Post. Whether from fear of commitment or being convinced that all the available men of suitable age will come with too much baggage, you may feel tempted to retreat from the dating scene after one or two lousy outings. Don't rob yourself of the experience. Keep in mind that past emotional attachments are going to be part of the picture with most men over age 55, but that many will also be able to offer relationship experience, maturity and even a focus on having adventures that may have been absent in your dating partners the first go around.