29 Mar 2017
From mix tapes and boom box declarations of love, to Facebook likes and Tinder swipes, 21st century dating is a wildly different place than it was in the 1980s.
For some of us, three plus decades have passed since we enjoyed a first kiss or felt the flutter of a blossoming crush. But the good news is the over 50s singles scene is thriving, it just might be a little different from what you remember.
The dating game
In the 80s there was all sorts of ‘dating etiquette’ to follow, such as the three-day rule – where the suitor would avoid contact with his potential love interest until three days after their first date. It’s safe to say that a number of these etiquettes have evolved and these days it is important to be comfortable expressing your feelings and being open with your date. Even though it can be quite easy to pick up your phone and send a quick text message, it is important to still have meaningful conversations face to face. Don’t forget, your soul mate won’t come knocking on your door when you’re sitting at home watching a fairy-tale romance, so be proactive and open to finding love!
Join a dating site
Over the past decade there has been a plethora of online dating sites and forums available for those looking for love. It can be overwhelming in choosing where to start. Make sure you do your research and choose an established trusted site such as eHarmony.
Spend time cultivating a profile that reflects the ‘real’ you. Create a small bio outlining what you enjoy, your interests and passions. Use a flattering (but current!) photo and create a bio (at least a few paragraphs but not an essay) outlining what you enjoy, your interests and passions. However, always be cautious when sharing information online and never share any financial or personal details.
Unless you are meeting someone who has escaped falling into the social media world (a one of a kind), having a blind date is simply impossible. With online dating profiles, blogs and social media accounts, almost everyone has an online presence that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. In fact, you can learn more in ten minutes of trawling social media than you once did in three months of dating. A few decades back you would have to rely on the comment of your friends and just bite the bullet! Although these digital channels are available at arm’s reach, try to avoid that quick google search before your date and allow yourself to indulge in the element of surprise that is not so easy to come by these days.
Don’t neglect your dating life
Free time is scarce and by throwing dating into the mix your diary is fuller now than it was when you were in your 20s! Prioritise your love life and dedicate time to other aspects of your social life and better yet, why not combine it with your hobbies. If you enjoy cycling, propose a romantic ride with your date as being occupied means there will be no wasted time staring away at a screen. If you want to find someone the ‘old-fashioned’ way, start devoting time to close friends and organise local outings for lunch, beach walking or dancing that may give you the chance to make some new friends, some of the best romances bud from a great friendship.
Take a break
If you choose to go down the online dating path, be conscious of how much time you spend in front of the computer or tablet. Hours can pass before you realise the day has slipped away and you’re still in your pyjamas. As enticing as it is to chat online for hours getting to know someone, this can become counterproductive if you never take online relationships into the real world. There’s no better time than the present, wouldn’t you much prefer to meet and spend time with that potential special someone in person? Life is too short to be hanging by the phone or the Facebook notification.
Not every date you go on will be a success. Nothing worthwhile ever came easy, so ride the highs and lows and remember that finding your perfect match will take time. Slow down, enjoy the process and don’t be a slave to time. Build relationships slowly and organically without worrying about time. Ask yourself, ‘Why am I in such a rush?’ Dating doesn't have to be a means to an end, it can be a fun adventure filled with funny stories, surprising friendships and passionate encounters. Dating is a nerve-racking experience at any age or time period, so try to relax, be yourself, and enjoy the experience.