over 50 dating, dating blog, dating expertWhoop! I’m thrilled to have been chosen as one of the 10 Best Dating Divas by Dating Advice, a website featuring articles from dating experts. There is a ‘senior’ category of dating mixed in among Gay/Lesbian, online dating, dating tips for men and tips for women. It came as a surprise to me, a nice one. And, in the upcoming weeks I’ll be writing a guest post for the site.

Writing useful and mainstream advice for the over 50 dating woman and man isn’t as easy as I thought it would be when I started The Diva of Dating blog. Most of what we see in the press is geared to a younger set. The basics of dating remain the same, but we have our own unique needs and, occasionally, challenges. Hook-ups and bar pickups aren’t in my repertoire. I’m guessing you feel the same?

Sex appeal? Yes, we do have sex appeal. What that looks like changes as we age. At 59, I am one of you. We come with slightly worn bodies—a beauty much like the patina on a much-loved piece of furniture. Little dings are commonplace, but we have a luster, mixed with the wisdom of age, that is much more appealing that a new shiny piece of cheaply fabricated material. Give me a classy antique made of solid wood any day.

Let me indulge in a little reverse ageism 

Older men and women are more likely to observe the convention of “good manners”. We understand courtesy and good hospitality in a way that the younger generation may see as outdated and often unnecessary.

We tend to be more emotionally stable and secure in our sense of self.

We are still working, striving to make a meaningful life and pursuing our careers. We are past the angst-filled years. We have pretty much figured out who we are and our place in the world. Hopefully we’ve gone through our midlife crisis, if it is to be, and we are comfortable in our own skins.

Sexually we older women and men rock! Our experiences have informed us about what works and what doesn’t. We are more likely to talk about what we want and what pleases us. All that past activity and wisdom makes us better lovers.

 

Many of us didn’t think we would ever be dating at this age. Maybe, like me, you thought you married for life. Divorce or the death of a partner isn’t something we expect to happen at our age. It can hit us hard. But we rebound. We mourn our losses and move on. We may begin looking for a new long-term relationship, a dinner and movie companion or a close friend. Whatever your goal is, I would like to help you make that come true.

So, please continue to read and share and ask your questions. I am honored by your support.

Walker 

 

oversharing, TMITMI! It’s become part of our spoken and written language. It means ‘too much information’ and is the speaker’s way of saying you’re sharing more than I want to hear.

Maybe it’s explicit, emotionally raw, gossip, highly personal or racist? It could be any range of things—what one person considers to be too much may be  fine for someone else.   Culture encourages us to overshare. We watch personalities on television revealing way too much.

There is a good reason for you to be careful about how much you share, particularly on online dating sites. It’s a tricky balance, figuring out what to say…and what to omit. I applaud anyone who strives for transparency. It’s much preferred to lying about important details. You don’t need to blurt it out immediately,  you can decide what needs to be shared and when to share.

Let’s look at a few examples:

I am HIV-positive/ have herpes and want you to know that up front.  I agree that this knowledge should be shared up front. It saves time by immediately weeding out those who are not interested in getting to know you. It probably saves the awkward second date conversation when the potential for an angry response is likely.

My first wife/husband cheated on me and I’ve not sure I’m ready to date yet.   So why is this person on the dating site?  Sharing this will scare off prospects who see you as ambivalent and potentially bitter or hurt?

I’ve had three husbands but I think there’s room in my life for one more. If you’re easy going and like kids, because I have a lot and two of them are still at home, then we should talk. I’ve been through menopause and I don’t know if it’s hormones or not but some days I’m a bitch to live with… that’s probably why the third husband walked out on me last month.  Don’t you dare write her! She’s got no sense of boundaries and has commitment issues—to put it mildly.

These are all made up but I’ve seen similar statements in online dating profiles.

Do you have something to disclose?

Why do you want to share it?  How will it sound and will it damage your chances for finding a partner. Would it be wrong of you not to tell the truth?

As you write your online profile think about your intended reader and his or her reaction. Think of your profile as an advertisement. Who is your audience? What do you want them to know about you?  How do you want them to feel and react? Are you looking for humor? Weeding out uber-radical Christians? Seeking a sex mate who loves the photo of you with leather whip in hand?

What are you striving for? If you don’t know the answer to that then maybe you should stop and think before sharing your most private details.

Honesty is the Best Policy. Yes, But….

Honesty is important in building a strong relationship based on trust. You should share important facts but you can choose the timing of your revelations. Your online dating profile, the first phone conversation and the first date are all crucial times. They are times when you want to make a good impression. If you start out with angry comments, criticism or sad stories your date may feel overwhelmed and lose interest. For example, the first date is not the time to spill your guts about a nasty divorce or your issues with depression.

I bet some of you think I’m wrong, that it’s better to tell the truth? I’m not advocating lying. I’m suggesting that you take your time in sharing. Make sure your date is ready to hear your story. If he/she  asks direct questions, by all means give an honest answer. But you do not have to volunteer reams of personal stuff within the first twenty minutes of meeting someone. You wouldn’t do that on a job interview or in a business meeting would you?

Online dating is a great place to practice being truthful, in measured doses. Two people who want to date, or even spend a life together, will have questions for each other. By timing disclosures you can make sure your information will be treated with respect. Once you’ve established a bond it becomes easier to share difficult stories without risking damage to the relationship.

People often regret sharing too much information. Take your time and think carefully about the early conversations. Share interesting stories, ask questions, and be a good listener.  As you build rapport you can begin to open up  and share  personal stories.

How do you feel about sharing personal information on the first date?

photo credit: bark via photopin cc

flirting, midlife datingIf you’re new to the single world flirting may not be easy for you. Some of you have asked me for help with this so I am sharing an earlier article, how to flirt in various situations. My suggestion for those of you are feeling hesitant is to take it slow. Practice light flirty-like conversations with the men in your world–the produce guy at the grocery store, the mail man. Start off with non-threatening situations and move from there.

One of the most flattering things any of us can do is to truly, deeply listen to another person. This is the most natural way to flirt is to start a conversation with a man you’re interested in. Flirting doesn’t have to be as direct or outrageous as it may seem in some of the examples I’ve shared. The key is to act naturally.

~

Flirting is a great way to let a guy know you’re interested in him or to just have a little fun without committing to anything significant. If the chance arises for a more intimate type of flirting, it can be incredibly sexy.

Flirting should be defined by the circumstances and the relationship of the two people–a sexy flirtation is not appropriate for your prospective boss or best friend’s husband.

  • There is the light, subtle flirt you might engage in with the sweet older man, or the cute young guy who opens the door for you- a nice smile, maybe even a touch on his arm. Direct eye contact and a few nice words. Nothing suggestive but flattering. He’ll be thrilled and you can feel good about ‘doing a good deed’.
  • Flirting with someone you know and enjoy but with whom there is not going to be a relationship. I have a friend who’s about 12 years older than I am. I know he thinks I’m sexy. I think he is a bit of a ‘dirty old man’. We play. He is a fan of the full-body hug. It’s borderline inappropriate. I give him my biggest smile and plant a kiss on his cheek. He makes a comment about boobs occasionally. I don’t complain, though I sigh out loud and pretend to be mildly offended. Innocent and fun because we know each other well enough to understand there is no real sexual intention.
  • The “I find you attractive” flirt. You see an interesting guy across the room and you want to communicate your interest. Look at him directly and smile. If he returns the flirting, lipstick, over 50 datingsmile you can intensify your interest a little. Let him know that you know he’s watching. Shift in your seat, brush the hair back off your face, and touch your lips, or lick them. Let your body language talk for you. After a bit look at him again and smile. Then sit back and see what happens. If he’s really interested he might make the next move. If he doesn’t, you could go over and speak to him. Or when you leave, if it feels comfortable, you might slip him a note. Be careful about giving out contact information to strangers. 
  • The serious flirt. You’re sitting next to a guy, hopefully you’re engaged in conversation, and you want to let him know you’re interested.  Date, new friend, total stranger-up to you, just use your intuition.  Listen to what he’s saying, use direct eye contact and lean in when he talks. I’m a toucher, so it’s natural for me to want to lightly touch his hand or his arm.  The goal here is to signal your intention. I find this type of flirtation great fun. If I’m interested I’m going to turn to face him, move a little closer and give him my full attention. If I get up from the table or bar I might brush into him as I walk by or place my hand on his back as if to steady myself. We both know I don’t need steadying. Once, in the midst of a serious flirt, I when to the ladies room and came back sans panties. As I walked by the guy I was chatting with (I knew him intimately) I discreetly showed him the panties. Had I planned this in advance they would have been the laciest ones I owned. I returned to my bar stool and, with delight, watched him squirm for the rest of the evening. (I don’t advise doing this unless you know him well or you’re really wild!)
  • The marital flirt. Married couples should flirt. It can be the prelude to a romantic evening or a way to kick-start a lukewarm sex life. Send him a love note, kiss him on the back of the neck when you walk by. Give him sexy looks from across the room, do things that make you feel good and that indicate your interests. Use it as the beginning of foreplay.

There are times when flirting is not appropriate and I will assume you know who is off-limits. Short synopsis: your daughter’s boyfriend, the boss, the creepy guy who plopped down next to you at the bar, the cop who’s writing your ticket…..

Share one of your tips for flirting. I dare you. Guys, how do you like a woman to flirt with you?

 

photo credit: rolands.lakis via photopin cc

I know I’m not the only older woman with a crush on Leroy Jethro Gibbs. Good looking, intelligent, and a man of action–what’s not to love?

I recently overheard a woman talking about how she wanted to date him. She’s got the hots for Richard Castle too. It’s a funny thing–this attachment to television series and their leading men or women.

I am right there with her on both counts.

Apparently many people become addicted to television series.  And, with the advent of Netflix and On Demand features it is possible to watch a whole series in one sitting. Potty breaks of course. My friend Polly has been known to watch a couple of seasons in a mere weekend. She laughingly told me that I date in real life, she dates on television.

We get so tied up in the shows that Gibbs or Castle, maybe even that guy from Breaking Bad, become ‘ours’. We feel a connection to these characters. It becomes a sort of idol worship. Or even like we’re dating them!

Wire in the Blood

I’ve never felt like I was dating a TV character. But, I do enjoy looking. I was thinking about this last night as I drifted off to sleep after watching an episode from the second season of Wire In the Blood, a BBC series that ran from 2002 to 2008. The show features a female detective and a criminal psychologist played by Robson Green. There is a tension between the two main characters–he stands so close to her that it feels intimate and there are pauses and subtle comments, fraught with tension. The romantic in me wants to see them declare their love for each other. Even if they’re not a good fit.

How Do You Know When He’s Wrong for You?

Gibbs, the lead character on the TV show, NCIS, is a walking disaster as a single man. He won’t make a good catch for anyone until he handles his issues.

  • He’s never gotten over the death of his first wife. He hasn’t finished grieving and therefore isn’t able to let another woman in his life.
  • The job comes first. It’s the kind of job with unpredictable hours and intensity. When he’s in the middle of a case everything else ceases to exist. A partner would have to work to understand and respect that dedication.
  • He’s obsessed about his work. It’s great to have commitment but there have to be boundaries that separate work and personal life. Gibbs doesn’t have those.
  • There is a wall around this man that feels impenetrable. From the frosty relationship with his father to his inability to discuss personal issues with female love interests–he feels very shut down. And, when things get tough he retreats to his boat building project and a bottle of Makers’ Mark.

We often get caught up in our vision of the ideal man or woman. It keeps us from being realistic about the potential for a relationship. You’ve been there, we all have. On paper or on the (computer) screen he looks good, he has the kind of background, hobbies, love of books or personal interests you want. He seems as if he should be the right match for you. And yet he’s not.

I found this man online a year or two ago. He was an extremely good-looking man, a writer and a professor. Our emails were fun and eventually turned sexy in a very un-sexual way. Our interactions hinted delicately at a potential for deeper engagement with a man who felt sexually enlightened. In other words, he understood the power of words and seemed like a man who enjoyed sex almost as an art form. I made all this up–pulled it out of thin air, spinning a web. I created this delightful image of this man I was going to meet.

We decided to meet for a late breakfast. It was an hour’s drive, for both of us, to a logical mid-way point. The moment I saw him I realized my fantasy was not to come true. I had envisioned this ideal man based on too little information and not enough contact. Granted, he worked hard to create that image.

Without betraying confidences, I’m going to share what I discovered. Joe (all my mistakes are named Joe)  was very good-looking, movie star gorgeous, think George Clooney, and he knew it. He showed up unshaven and in a wrinkled shirt,  looking like he’d just gotten out of bed. After we sat down and got our coffee he told me he’d had a late night and overslept. Read: meeting me wasn’t important enough to him to take time to prepare. 

As he began to talk, and he did most of the talking, he explained that the break-up with current girlfriend was moving slowly. Read: they were still living in the same house. 

The sexy stuff? Yep he reveled in the sexy stuff and boasted of his many lovers. Including (former) students from the  all women’s college where he taught! Read: egotist, narcissist and man with dubious ethics. 

On the phone he had lied about where he lived and the school where he taught. It became clear to me that though we’d chatted and shared pictures, ages, marital stories, etc., that in reality he wasn’t looking for a woman his own age. He didn’t really want a clear-headed capable woman, he preferred younger women he could ‘overwhelm’ with his charm and good looks. He was a player.

Analysis of This First Date Gone Wrong

Could I have avoided this situation? Often a first date goes wrong but it’s OK. I’ve had pleasant times with a ‘mis-match’ and enjoyed the conversation. This was not one of those. It became awkward, particularly after the boasting about his many relationships. I don’t go on a date to hear a man brag about his prowess. And, a decent guy doesn’t feel the need to do that.

Asking more questions up front might have given me a better glimpse of this man. But, he was determined to deceive and probably wouldn’t have been honest. I knew about the relationship he was getting out of, I just didn’t know enough. I could have asked for more details and/or told him that we should wait until he was no longer involved with her at all.

The whole “I’m gorgeous, so you will want to worship  me” thing didn’t enter our conversations. I don’t think there was a way to figure that out easily on the phone.

I am drawn to intellect, add to that a man who can write well and I’m butter in his hands. I know that. Looks add to the mix but aren’t necessarily as important. In this case I let down my guard and went with pure romantic fantasy. It was a waste of my time. But, I learned something about how the desire to find the perfect man can cloud one’s judgement.

I might discover the same issues if I had a date with Leroy Jethro Gibbs, but I’m willing to give it a try….if you’re reading.

Do you sometimes get lost in the romantic fantasy and ignore reality?

 

 

 

 

 

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