What year was it when you went on your first date? Was it in the 1960, 70s or 80s? Do you remember what you wore and your father checking to see if it was appropriate? Did you have to take a chaperone and were you picked up with a walk to your door? Did you have a curfew and did you wait at least three days before making contact via the home phone in the kitchen again?
We did these things because they were the rules of dating when we were growing up. They were the norm and what was expected of anyone “courting”. We may have broken them from time to time but they always acted as our basic principals and even if we weren’t abiding by them, we at least knew what we should be doing.
But what about now? More and more over 60s are finding themselves back in the dating game – and that in itself can be daunting enough. But what are the rules in this “anything goes” culture? We meet people online, we speak via text, we have more opportunity to be alone and as older people, we have more maturity to make decisions we didn’t really have at 16 or 17. So how do we handle dating in the 21st century?
Here are the new rules – some are unchanged from our earlier days, but there are some very new ones. Like the rules we had when we were growing up, they can still be broken and bent but as long as we know what they are we can’t go too far astray.
- Make your own timeline of progress based on your own feelings
When we were younger, everything was planned out for us. There was a “socially accepted” timeline of how quickly a relationship should progress and if we wanted to please our parents we generally had to follow it… But not anymore! We’re more mature now and this means we can make our own decisions based on how we feel and what we find acceptable.
- His/Her body is also saggier than it was 20 years ago
Looks should never be a reason to stop yourself from dating again. Many of us become more self conscious about our appearance as we age and the good news is that as long as you aren’t searching for a 20-something toy boy or young woman, the people you meet are likely to be feeling exactly the same!
- You cannot assume exclusivity
This is one rule that can be incredibly difficult for some people, but in this day and age you can no longer assume that everyone is looking for a monogamous relationship. After a few dates if everything is going well it is best to bring up the subject so you can discuss it with a potential partner and know where they stand rather than finding out further down the track.
- Leave the baggage behind
Even though sadly the reason we are back on the dating scene is due to a broken marriage or the loss of a spouse, it is important that if we want to make a fresh start in our search for love or friendship, we leave the baggage behind and offer it for discussion only when it is appropriate. If we have trouble doing this, it might mean we’re back in the game far too soon.
- The waiting game doesn’t exist anymore – modern communication
If you are a man, you’ll know that you waited three days before calling the family home and talking to a girl again. Or, if you’re a woman, you’ll remember the painstakingly long three days that followed a date. These rules are long gone with the advances of modern communication. A quick “thank you” is often sent via text after a date and an invite to another date or event is often given at the end of the first so feel free to be open and communicate honestly.
- Have fun
Most importantly, dating in your 60s means you can finally have fun. You can go on dates that are a little quirky and see the places you’d like to see. Marriage is not always the goal at this age so aim for companionship with someone who has similar interests as you and do the things that make you both happy.
What was your first date like? Are you dating again now? What is some valuable advice you can share to other over 60s embarking on this adventure again?