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With high divorce rates, ever-increasing work commitments and easy access to a world of partners online, dating is no longer the preserve of the young. No matter what age you are, though, some advice is always welcome. Here are our top ten tips for the over-50s singleton:
1. Get an online profile - So many relationships nowadays begin online that those without an internet dating profile are severely restricting their pool of potential partners. Being able to sort profiles by whatever personality or 'look' you desire is a major plus.
2. Have a select 'date' wardrobe - Keep some special clothes apart from your regular outfits - something that flatters you and shows you've made an effort. You never know when a potential date could arrive.
3. Don't compare to an ex - Many of us who are dating in our fifties and beyond have come out of long-term relationships and it can be easy to compare any new beau to an ex. This is counter-productive, and can make it seem like you are pining for a previous relationship; even if this isn't the case.
4. Don't settle - Even though none of us are getting any younger, this isn't a reason to settle for someone with whom you are not truly compatible. While it may seem that time is ticking rapidly, it is better to wait for the right person than settle for mediocrity.
5. Don't take rejection personally - Not every date you go on is going to be attracted to you (and vice versa). If your date indicates that they don't feel you are 'the one', take it graciously and look forward to better chemistry next time around!
6. Be open to new experiences - Perhaps a potential suitor has asked you to do something slightly unconventional on a first date, something your previous partners would never have dreamed of. Don't be instantly dismissive (unless the suggestion is dangerous or illegal!), you may find a new hobby or interest - even if they aren't your soul mate.
7. Protect yourself, in more ways than one - Be careful with your information online - there are always a few bad apples. A public meeting place is advisable for any first off-line meeting. There are also a lot of nasty diseases lurking so, if you are successful in your dating endeavours, please ensure that protection is used in any intimate situation.
8. Don't come on too strong ... - If you feel an initial spark it may feel natural to tell your date just how enamoured you are with them, or the future you can see together. This can come across as desperation, an unattractive quality. Let your relationship develop somewhat before you tell your partner the depth of your feelings.
9. ... Or too weak - Don't try to play it too 'cool' with your date. While the above scenario will push people away due to desperation, a lack of warmth will also push people away - nobody wants to feel as though they aren't wanted.
10. Enjoy yourself - By far the most important point in this article. The whole reason for dating is to find happiness, be it on that individual date or in a relationship down the line. So take our advice, go into your date prepared and have a great time!
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