Sit down and talk to most adults who are diving back into the dating world (or even the ones who have been treading water in the seas of dating for months, if not years), and a common question rises to the top: How in the world do I attract the kind of relationship that I want?
While dating past 40 or 50 or 60 is certainly different than dating in your youth, it’s worth remembering that the core principle of a good relationship remains the same: communication. Sure, success in mature dating involves a different set of challenges (and benefits! goodbye, worries about bringing babies into the mix!). You can set yourself up for success and happiness by being brutally honest in your communication with yourself and others from the start. Read on for advice we’ve amassed from the experienced and the experts alike:
Be honest about expectations with yourself first
Maybe you’re moving on from the death of your last relationship -- whether divorce, a break-up, or a physical loss of your loved one. Experts say that the “key to enjoy dating” is “letting go” of previous relationships. Doing some personal legwork before jumping into a new dating relationship shows that you value both yourself and your future partners. So answer sincerely:
What kind of relationship do you want?
Are you ready for that kind of relationship?
Be honest with yourself. If you want a fun fling, you’re not too old! There are plenty of mature singles who want the same. Or do you really want to find a permanent life partner? Be honest about that too! Joining a mature single date site without knowing what you want is going to feel like sending a letter without filling in the address first: You won’t hit the target if you don’t know where it is. The answers to these questions are the building-blocks for successful honest communication as you move forward.
Be prepared to share what you want in a partner
On your dating profile. On your dates. Yes, out loud. Now that you know what you want, be brutally honest in your communications. You’re not doing anyone favors by holding back. Showing that you’re capable of expressing what you want shows that you are confident, in control, and mature in every way (including emotionally!).
This might seem like a no-brainer, but being honest upfront doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It’s more important than ever when dating later in life. Eharmony.com states “capability of expressing oneself” as one of the top five indicators of a mature man (this works for women too!).
People date later in life for many different reasons -- be sure that you’re paired with someone on the same page as you! If you are looking primarily for a fun companion, but your partner wants a live-in, long-term partner, you’re in for trouble! If you want a physically intimate relationship, make sure that your dates expect the same! Dating over 50 involves two people who are not “figuring themselves out.” No, you know what you want. Your partner does too. So talk about it!
Make regular communication a priority
Dating in mid-life and beyond means that you and your partner have both had decades of independent thought, habits, and -- yes -- other relationships! Once you set the stage with your new love interest by stating your intentions, it’s still important to continue communicating expectations, wants, and needs. The beauty of older relationships is that they tend to be less melodramatic, since both parties are mature and self-assured. Many men and women over 50 find that there is less pressure, since there is no romanticized notion of settling down and starting a family together. However, there are still other expectations: How often do you want to see one another? How physically intimate do you want your relationship to be? How much do you envision this person being a part of your personal and social life (or being involved in the lives of your older children, if you have any)? Keep having these important conversations!
The Huffington Post suggests that you avoid placing too many demands on a mature relationship, and we believe this is good advice. Appreciate your partner for who he or she is! You have both proven that you are mature and self-sufficient -- enjoy the benefits of a relationship that is about enjoying who someone is, instead of who they might become! Be clear about what you want from the start and enjoy a happy dating relationship full of honesty, clarity, and mutual respect!