A lot of mid-life and older adults find themselves on their own and looking for new relationships they can enjoy. It’s a whole new world out there now when it comes to ‘finding love,’ with the bravado of online dating, and more liberal language and ideas that make it more acceptable for women to take the lead. So how do you conduct yourself, what are the risks, and how do you make sure you don’t get hurt in the process? Let’s look at what a dating expert has to say:
By Ken Solin
When I hear people talking about the “hot date” they had recently, I’m naturally curious about what they mean. A hot date for a boomer may have nothing to do with a beautiful or handsome person they met, but rather the warm feeling they felt from meeting someone with whom they felt a strong resonance. But it’s the non-physical connection between a boomer man and woman that’s the kind of ‘hot’ that lasts.
Is your hot date someone whose core values and beliefs mesh closely with yours? Does that man or woman have a similar view of the world? There’s no standardization about what non-physical ‘hot’ means, since people have differing core values and beliefs. But it doesn’t take a lot of dialogue, even on a coffee date, to determine whether or not there’s some resonance between two boomers.
In addition, the sense that someone’s a hot date may also include whether or not that person’s social skills closely match yours. If you’re a man or woman who has strong ties with friends and/or family and you meet someone with the same, that may feel fabulous depending on how critical someone’s social skills or family ties are to you.
When I met my partner, Sarah, she mentioned that she had been mentoring a young woman for over a decade, from the time the young woman was a little girl being raised by her teenage brother. She was just beginning college when I met Sarah, who had exerted a strong influence on the young woman’s decision to continue her education. I had tutored inner-city children for many years and have always believed in the importance of trying to make a difference in the world, albeit on a small basis. I was physically attracted to Sarah, but it was her mentoring story that made her a hot date.
It’s these factors and many others like it that are critical toward determining whether a first date is hot enough to be followed by a second.
While sexual attraction is relevant, of course, it can’t carry a relationship entirely; the notion that someone is your soulmate needs to be based on much more than that. Whether or not you can finish your soulmate’s sentences for them doesn’t mean that you will, but rather that you know just where they’re headed when they’re sharing a moment in their day. That easy smoothness of thought and dialogue is hot.
Meeting someone whose sense of social justice matches yours means far more than political alignment. It means that your human values and considerations for your fellow men and women are attuned. Your hearts are beating in the same caring rhythm.
Even meeting someone who speaks a language you’ve learned can be attractive. I’m in Oaxaca, Mexico, for a few weeks with my partner, and while neither of us speaks Spanish fluently, we both speak it well enough to hold our own in a conversation. Laughing together is sexy, too. And when a couple begins to travel together, it’s wonderful when it’s seamless, and the give-and-take is so easy that it makes the trip enjoyable.
When all the aforementioned hot aspects of a relationship are in place, heat in the bedroom is all but ensured. The sense that you’re making love with your soulmate—whom you trust unconditionally and hold in a special place in your heart—creates the hottest sex. And while you may have felt this sexual heat for someone when you met, you didn’t feel it on a level beyond physical.
A hot date is one in which you feel there might be real possibilities based on a mutual resonance, the type that can sustain a couple through the inevitable ups and downs that occur in every relationship. Rethink your definition of hot and you might experience more hot dates and fewer fizzles.
Whatever your type, it’s cool, but consider taking a break from typecasting. You just might discover a gem. I dated the same woman with different names for years before finally giving up my type, and that’s when I met my partner, who bears no resemblance to any woman I’d dated. And I think she’s stunningly beautiful.
Coincidentally, I wasn’t her historical type either. We only met because we opened our eyes to other possibilities.
Be emotionally prepared. If you’re recently out of a relationship, separated, divorced, or don’t date, period. While men typically think they’re ready to date right after a breakup, they’re not. Stay home and work through the issues. If you’re not emotionally healthy, dating is a waste of time for you and the unfortunate woman you rope into a date. How do you know when you’re ready? When you wake up and your ex doesn’t immediately flood into your brain, when you think about your ex and don’t get a sinking feeling in your belly.
Look the part. When you show up for a date, consider that your appearance reflects your enthusiasm. I recently co-hosted a speed-dating event with Stitch.net, a senior dating site. The ten women who attended were appropriately dressed and in good spirits. While most men were well attired, one showed up in old shorts, a faded T-shirt stretched tightly across his belly, and flip-flops. He disrespected these women without even uttering a word.
Don’t take advantage Of the numbers. While there are far more available boomer women than men on Internet dating sites, that statistical advantage doesn’t entitle a guy to behave like he’s god’s gift to women. No woman wants to be in relationship with a man who doesn’t treat her like she’s special. If your date isn’t the woman of your dreams just thank her for meeting you and say good-bye.
Ken Solin is a Dating Expert for Huff/Post 50, AARP, About.com, and Maria Shriver. He has been writing about boomer sex, dating, and relationships for a decade.