When we first started out at the dating game, we lived in a very different world. There were rules that we followed, often because our parents told us to, and they made the world of dating an interesting one.
We had to introduce our potential suitor to our parents; the home phone in the kitchen was the only phone we had so everyone in the family knew if we made plans; we played games and made sure we were hard-to-get just to pique interest; we acted disinterested and pretended our schedules were a little too full to be appealing; and we rated each other on looks and through lust went after the handsome ones. This is the world of dating we know.
We polled the Starts at 60 community late last year and found that over 50 per cent of you are single. This means that for so many of us, jumping back in the dating game can be scary. Why? Because all of the things we know aren’t necessary or the done thing anymore.
Dating in your 60s can be daunting, so we’ve put together six new rules to think about when you get back in the dating game.
The old: You date to find someone to marry
The new: You date to find love, intimacy or companionship or friendship
When we were younger we had one goal in dating: to find someone to marry and raise a family with. Now, marriage isn’t so important and children aren’t usually in the picture. This means that people our age are looking for all sorts of things –love, intimacy or companionship. Be open to looking for any of these things and at the same time, be prepared to meet others who are looking for these things too.
The old: Dating is a chance to show off and impress
The new: Go for casual so you can get to know each other
When we’re doing this later in life we don’t have to show off, dine at fancy restaurants or go to elaborate and expensive shows. Friendships are built on conversation and shared interests so don’t be afraid to only meet for coffee or a casual lunch. Rather than going for the “wow factor”, go for the opportunity to converse. If you aim for a friendship, the rest will happen naturally.
The old: Aim for attractive
The new: We’ve all gotten older – looks don’t matter
Once upon a time we giggled with our girlfriends and high-fived our mates for finding the good looking birds and blokes. We’re naturally, instinctively attracted to good-looking people but there is one thing to remember in your 60s: everyone begins to look older at some point. We have to remember that those thoughts about the wrinkles, grey hair or slight beer belly aren’t nice, especially because we’ve also grown out of our 20-something looks!
The old: The more games you play the more interesting and desirable you are!
The new: Life is too short for games – just enjoy the company
We played games once upon a time to make us seem more interesting, more fun, more unattainable and more attractive. The truth is that none of us really want to do that anymore. There’s no harm in a bit of fun but keep the emotions out of it and enjoy the company.
The old: One at a time unless you’re up to no good
The new: Build friendships with as many people as you’d like
It was once scandalous to see more than one person at a time but now at our age we say, why not? If you’re just starting out and building a friendship with someone there is no harm in making lots of friends at the same time. See who else is out there and as long as it is all honest and nothing too serious is going on you will all be happy.
The exception to the rule
The old: Talk face to face
The new: Bring back talking face to face
This is the one thing that should go back to the way we had it. Communication was real – we spoke and we laughed together. Not emailed and texted. Try to focus on really communicating with each other, properly. Friendship can only be built on a real relationship and real understanding of each other so give yourselves the best chance of doing that.
So tell us, have you been dating in your 60s? How has it changed since your first round of dating when you were in your 20s? What are the important pieces of advice you can share with the community?