Returning to the dating scene can be terrifying for seniors. What am I supposed to do and when am I supposed to do it? What should I wear? Where should we go? Questions! Questions! Questions!
Common sense should prevail when it comes to proper dating etiquette for senior singles. Here are our Top 10 quick tips to proper dating etiquette for single seniors who are starting to reenter the dating arena.
- Be honest in your search
- Men should pay for the first date
- Always choose a public place for a first date.
- Best behavior is mandatory
- Be ready with some open-ended questions.
- Keep your conversation appropriate.
- Allow the first kiss to happen naturally.
- Only date one person at a time or be upfront about it.
- Take your time.
- Have fun.
Read on for a further explanation.
What is etiquette?
Wikipedia says that etiquette is the set of conventional rules of personal behavior in polite society, usually in the form of an ethical code that delineates the expected and accepted social behaviors that accord with the conventions and norms observed by a society, a social class, or a social group.
Our Top 10 etiquette tips for single seniors
With apologies to Emily Post, here are suggestions. Rules seem to be too rigid and harsh. Rules stifle fun. Common sense fosters fun!
Be honest in your search
After my wife passed and I decided that I should start dating, I turned to online dating. Having married my high school sweetheart, I was really, really inexperienced at dating. She was really the only one I seriously dated in high school. It was terrifying, to say the least. We had moved quite a bit over our almost 40 years of marriage.
I knew of and about people all over the country. I was totally surprised to see people I knew pop up in my searches. They could have won awards in creative writing. Many of the pictures were twenty years out of date as well.
Be comfortable in your own skin. You are what you are. We all have warts. There is nothing to be gained by posting old pictures and phony bios. How would you explain the differences during the first date anyway? That’s not a good way to establish a relationship. I wrote about online dating in an earlier article. You can read it here.
Men should pay for the first date
I am a bit old fashioned but I believe men should always pay for the first date. If finances are a bit tight, choose the venue for your first date accordingly. Conversely, women should be prepared to offer to pay their share or to leave the tip.
Focus on the little things that do not cost anything. If you are spending less on her, ramp up the attention.
In the liberated environment of today, women can and do take the lead. A new line of thinking is that whoever extended the invitation should pay. However, I am a traditionalist. I think it is best to follow tradition no matter who extended the invitation and the man should pay.
Always choose a public place for a first date
Safety has to be the first rule of senior dating, especially if you met online. Never propose or never agree to any venue that will put you in jeopardy. Chose public, well-lighted places. It is best to meet at the chosen venue. Meeting rather than being picked up has the added benefit of being able to leave when you want to leave if things are going badly.
Follow your gut. If things feel uncomfortable, end the date immediately.
Always let a friend know when and where you’re going and when you will be back. It adds another layer of safety.
Best behavior is mandatory
Both parties need to be on their best behavior. So, what does best behavior look like for you? First of all, avoid the big three topics that might not end well: religion, politics, and money. Everything you do should be built on the foundation of respect – for yourself and for your date.
Relying on more traditional manners from Emily Post to start out any relationship will get you started right! One never has to apologize for being a lady or gentleman.
Be ready with some open-ended questions
Long pauses in the conversation can seem like an eternity. Avoid them by having in mind a few open-ended questions in mind to stimulate the conversation.
Consider it your responsibility to keep the conversation going – not by talking but by asking open-ended questions. You know, who, what, why, when, where questions. They stimulate conversation.
Avoid closed end questions. Those are questions that can be answer by yes or no. They kill conversation. Consider what answers you will get with “what are your hobbies”versus “do you like to ski” and you will get the idea.
If you ask your date about themselves and speak little of yourself, your date will think you are a wonderful conversationalist. In fact, they will be right. You will be!
eHarmony has a great article. Check it our here.
Keep your conversations appropriate
Forget about past relationships. Whether past relationships were good or bad, nothing good comes from looking back while you are getting acquainted on a first date, a second date, or even a third date. There will be plenty of time for that later if the relationship develops.
Focus on the one you are with today and look forward. It is extremely bad form to go on and on about an ex. Conversely, going on and on about a departed partner can be just as bad. It is OK to answer questions but do not dwell on the past.
Be cautious with financial information. Of course, full financial disclosure is mandatory at some point if the relationship develops. Finances should be a taboo subject on a first date and a red flag if it comes up during your date.
Allow the first kiss to happen naturally
Remember your first kiss when you were a teenager? It was exciting, exhilarating, and scary all in the same moment. You probably were not very good at it either. But, it all turned out alright, didn’t it?
Unleash your inner teenager. Just don’t rush it. Who initiates that first kiss? Either one of you can.
First date? Second date? Third Date? It doesn’t matter. You’ll know when the time is right. Here’s another place to follow your gut.
Aren’t butterflies fun!? They are not exclusive to teenagers and young adults.
Only date one person at a time
It is not unusual to date many different people at a time. The caveat here is that you always need to be open and tell your date. The decision to go exclusive should be a mutual decision. It is not a decision to be rushed.
Take your time
Although, as seniors, our time may be limited, senior dating is more of a marathon than a sprint. Courting requires time. Your courting behavior creates and fosters a woman’s feelings of attraction. The opposite is true as well.
Remember that your goal is to get acquainted not a life mate. It is the first date after all. Relax. Smile. Have fun. What is the worst thing that can happen? Quite frankly, if you watch out for your personal safety in your planning, the worst thing that can happen is you don’t go out again. The best thing is you go out again. Isn’t that a win-win proposition?
Best senior dating sites
Following are my Top 5 dating sites for seniors.
- Christian Mingle
- Silver Singles
- Elite Singles
You can read my review of them here.
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