For those of us returning to dating over 50 it can be daunting, especially as the landscape of dating has changed enormously since we first dated in our teens and twenties.
I had the opportunity to catch up with Dr Wendy Walsh, psychotherapist and author of several books on relationships, on her thoughts and tips for dating over 50.
So many people confuse the purpose of online dating. The whole purpose of online dating is to MEET online- not date online! If you do connect with someone online try to meet them as soon as possible. If you agree to talk on the phone, you are not committed to actually meeting that person. Likewise, your first meeting- ideally casually over coffee, should not be thought of as a date- it is a meeting to see if you like each other enough in person to go on a ‘first’ date. If you communicate online for too long prior to meeting you are not getting to know the real person. It is very easy to not be authentic online.
Take time putting together your online dating profile. Concentrate on your values rather than your lifestyle if you really want to meet somebody authentic. Choose a photograph that looks like the real you today. Have casual photos and not studio, photo-shopped images. Be real- the last thing you want is for somebody to be disappointed when you meet in person. Be authentic on all fronts. It is far better for your online profile to attract 3 genuine people who express an interest in the real you, than lots of daters who are playing the field based on a more superficial profile.
Don’t forget that men are biologically wired to do the chasing – don’t ‘chase’ when selecting online profiles. Systems are set up so that you can see who has viewed or expressed an interest in a profile. Think of it as meeting in real life- you are far more alluring when you glance and walk away. Let them come to you!
When meeting someone do not give too much personal information away too soon. Be aware. Don’t share anything with anyone online that you wouldn’t be happy to say to someone you meet in an elevator.
If you are looking for a committed relationship, make sure the person you meet is capable of commitment. Do they have a string of ‘unlucky’ stories, or is being in a long term committed relationship the norm for them?
3 Top Tips for dating over 5
1. Love slowly
As women have gained economic independence and freedom, so too have they gained the pressures of a high supply sex culture. You do not have to take dating to a physical stage too soon. In fact the more people are happy to have sex early on, the supply of men who are ready to commit reduces. Get to know someone before moving to the next stage. Statistics show that 90% of couples who have sex within 30 days of meeting break up within a year. Let the relationship and communication develop first. You have a far higher chance of the relationship progressing in the long term. It is OK to say No!
We all want to put forward the best version of ourselves, in fact when we first enter into relationships we tend to behave in the way we wish we could be all the time. By taking things slowly you both get to see the real person behind the ‘ideal’.
2. Like yourself.
You have to like yourself before you can be real and attract the right person for you. You cannot expect to meet someone who will just make everything right. Love you first. Write a letter to yourself looking at the positive things you have achieved and the things you like about yourself. Those are the things that will attract someone else.
3. Learn from past relationships.
Grow a bit with each relationship. Don’t repeat past mistakes. By the time we reach our 50s we should be good at talking about our feelings and our sexual needs. If you find it hard to talk to a new partner about what you want, don’t be afraid to talk to a therapist. We can all repeat mistakes based on patterns learnt in early life. Stay in the present. Don’t go back to the past.
The 30-Day Love Detox
In my book The 30-Day Love Detox I have some great exercises for people to work through whether dating or in relationships. Break bad relationship habits. It’s also a great book for mothers to read or give their teenage daughters so that parents can help guide them as they start dating and give them the confidence to say no.
About Dr Wendy Walsh
Each week on CNN, she breaks down the psychology of sex, love, gender roles, divorce, parenting and other human behaviours. As host of Investigation Discovery Network’s “Happily Never After,” she guides viewers through the sometimes treacherous side of love. She brought her trademark no-holds-barred style to season four of the Doctors and the show was nominated for a 2012 daytime Emmy award. Dr. Wendy also lectures on evolutionary psychology and human mating strategies at California State University Channel Islands. She holds a B.A. in Journalism, a Masters degree in Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She has appeared on The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, The Ricki Lake Show and The View.