03 Jul The Art Of Dating
So you’ve been messaging this guy back and forth online a few weeks now. You feel there’s an attraction, and you really want to meet him in person or at least have a real conversation over the phone. Do you ask if he wants to meet? Do you wait until he asks? Do you offer your cell number, or will he leave his first? Does it matter how it starts up, as long as it starts up?
by Jennifer Braff
Today, what is considered dating can be a bit confusing for us newly single women in our 40’s and older, and interested in putting ourselves out there to date again. Even if you’ve been at it a while, it’s intimidating when looking to meet someone compatible, and even more so if searching for Mr. Right. You may get frustrated when putting yourself out there, and feel after a few disappointing face-to-face meetings or actual dates, you may wonder if it’s worth the effort.
Well don’t give up just yet. If you can understand the new way of dating today, it can be enjoyable, fun, and can it be a lot simpler to find what you’re looking for. Everyone has their own style of dating. There no longer seems to be standard rules to go by, especially with so many people meeting and connecting online today.
I’m a bit old fashioned. I happen to love gentlemen who open your door, pull out your chair, who call ahead – and like to pay for the date. I prefer to be asked out first, and have the man take the lead in the relationship, in a healthy way. But I’m also the kind of woman who likes to make dinner for a man, and who enjoys staying in once in a while, watching a movie at home. That’s just me.
But you could be the woman who likes to take the lead, make the first call, and not wait for the man to initiate everything. And that’s okay too. Every individual and every situation is different. You can compromise a little, be open, and have fun without completely throwing aside what you really desire, in the process. What’s most important is that you don’t forget your true heart’s desire.
I meet men that are attractive and seem interesting, and for many years that was enough for me to date them. Now however, I’m mainly interested in men with many more qualities I know match with who I am and who express they’re looking for the potential for a long-term relationship. I have dated guys anywhere from 30-ish to 60-ish. I don’t limit myself to an age or type, per se; I just have to feel an attraction to the guy initially, before finding out if there’s potential for more. And attraction could be anything from looks, to humor, to a sense of power and confidence. But try and be open. Sometimes you might not feel a strong chemistry at first, but after getting to know someone better, it can grow. Many times it’s the way someone treats you and makes you feel that creates a spark.
My advice for dating is fairly simple: The first time you meet in person is a time to just enjoy the moment. Be yourself, but not the most serious side of yourself. This is where you discover whether or not you have enough chemistry and attraction to meet again. If you find there is, usually during that first meeting, you’ll likely want to continue to get to know the guy better. There might the be guys you think you want to know better, only to find after one or two dates, they aren’t for you. What makes you know a guy is right for you? Finding out he’s not right for you. Sometimes that happens in the first hour of meeting. Other times it takes another date or longer. I once met someone on a blind date a mutual friend set up. He was nice looking and seemed sweet, but after a few hours of conversation, mostly him talking about himself and the numerous women who lied and cheated on him, I knew before the end of this first date, there wouldn’t be a second one. But I was polite and kind and stayed until the end of the evening. Ladies, be thankful for this type of guy. He was being honest and himself, and let me see right away that he wasn’t for me.
Now if you both like each other enough for a second date after the first meeting, congratulations! This is good. This is exciting! And maybe it will progress into something meaningful and wonderful. At this point, take your time. Get to really know this person, and most importantly, let him know you and what you’re looking for, whether it be a long-term, committed relationship, or just a casual hook-up. I’ve read books and articles that say you shouldn’t scare a man away by talking about relationship stuff to soon, but I don’t believe in wasting time. Again, you don’t want to talk about your dream wedding, etc., on a first date, but the sooner you figure out if you’re both looking for the same thing or not, the better.
If this all seems as though it could be advice for a 20 or 30-something year old as well, as a more mature woman, it is. Because that is what dating is all about, no matter what your age. It’s about finding a partner. It’s about being with your match. And it’s about living life, having a good time and enjoying the moments with as someone as special as you are. Just never forget just how special you really are.
About the author: Jennifer Braff has appeared on the NBC hit show, Age of Love, 60 Minutes, The Dr. Phil Show, and was featured on TV Guides “Sexiest Stars of Reality TV.” She posed for Playboy Magazine and has been a swimsuit model for over 20 years.