I had a coffee date last week with a man I met through an online dating site. I thought it went very well–we had an steady flow of conversation that was interesting and easy. We laughed a little and shared stories. I left feeling comfortable with this man, but a little uncertain. Intuitively I knew something wasn’t right.
Within two hours he had written a very nice note thanking me for meeting, but telling me that he was going to continue his search. Continue his search. It sounds suspiciously like a scavenger hunt, but does reflect the way some people tackle dating at a certain point in life. We are both well over 50 and I suspect he was looking for the ideal woman to be his wife or long term partner.
What happened? I really have no idea. It might be that I don’t like cats sleeping on the bed with me or that I hesitated in answering the casual question of whether I’d leave my house with 3 acres for a condo? It could be something as vague as my being a little too heavy or having long hair that shows my grey. Compatibility is not something you can quantify, no matter what the online dating sites tell you. There are a number of ways we “match” but that doesn’t guarantee that a connection can be made.
Most dates tend to fall into one of these several categories:
- He/She Doesn’t Appeal to Me At All -this one is usually apparent very quickly. You might know the minute you lay eyes on him or it can take a few minutes of conversation….or awkward silence. You can’t always put your finger on it exactly, but you know.
- The Be-Still-My-Beating-Heart Date- You find him attractive and enjoy the date immensely. You both have that sense of chemistry and excitement about being with each other. Maybe you never want the date to end and you find yourself talking for hours. The date ends with a nice kiss and you can’t wait for Date #2. This one often works out, but occasionally (in that cruel twist of fate) the second date is totally wrong. The attraction you felt earlier just isn’t there. You suddenly discover that he talks with a mouth full of food, or she never stops whining about everything. These are the most disappointing ones as you’ve let your hopes and dreams take flight. It felt so right….after 3 hours, one date, one afternoon together.
- The Cautious We Seem to Be Having a Nice Time- On this date, things go pretty smoothly. You enjoy each other but may not feel that major adrenaline rush of chemistry. This is actually a pretty good situation to be in. Your expectations are likely to be realistic. You leave the date feeling good and interested in seeing her again. By being somewhat neutral you have a chance to really get to know each other. She may not have been a perfect fit for your wish list but you realize you had a good time and want to explore possibilities.
- He’s Great, But I Really Wanted a Dog Lover Not a Cat Lover So He Isn’t The One- You know how you’ve got this dream list of things you want and you’re sure that only the guy who will love your dog is the ideal mate for you? When you go into a dating situation with a list that’s full of specifics and a bit rigid, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Couldn’t your perfect mate be a man who doesn’t love dogs but will find a way to become comfortable with your pets? At this age we’re set in our ways and used to having certain things, but we have to be willing to compromise a little. It’s about deciding which things you can set aside for the right person.
I think my date last week falls in the 4th category. He has a definite idea of what his next relationship should look like. Maybe he’s visualized his perfect mate and is going through all the women on that particular dating site seeking that perfect fit? What a shame. He may miss the opportunity to get to know a fabulous woman because he’s too focused on this ideal.
It is important to have an idea of what you want in a potential date. If you’re seeking a lifetime partner or marriage and are in a hurry (as the over 50 dating crowd can be at times) then don’t bother with dating people who are just interested in casual dating. As long as you understand that the restrictiveness of your search might eliminate some wonderful dating partners. Remember, it is quite possible to find him or her when you least expect it to happen. Being open to the possibility is the key.
Do you have specific criteria for who you’re willing to date?
cartoon from The New Yorker