Dating Newbies: Top 10 Questions

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“I don’t know anything,” said my separated friend when I mentioned a date I had the previous day. She was not dating yet but looking ahead to that day when her divorce would be final. “Who pays?” she asked. “What about the first kiss? What do you say when you want to end the date?” She sighed, “It all seems so difficult.”

For long-time marrieds going through a divorce or experiencing life after the death of a spouse, dating in 2018 can be a culture shock. Here’s a short guide for dating newbies with answers to the top 10 questions.

Let’s discuss the answers over some of Ellie Krieger’s creamy Parmesan spring vegetable skillet. Have two helpings – this is a long post.

Q: I joined a couple of dating sites and started communicating with a couple of guys. One of them asked me to dinner but I thought a coffee date was what people usually did. What should I do? Also, what about checking out the guy online before I meet him?

A: For your first date, it’s best to plan something that takes no more than an hour.* If you are not enjoying the date, you don’t want to be stuck. My favorite first date is meeting for a happy hour drink, appetizer optional. Wine or a cocktail helps with nerves and a drink is time limited. If you’re having a great time, you can always extend into dinner or a stroll outside. A coffee date can work as well – or even meeting for a walk in a public place.

See my posts on dating security for guidance on checking out an online connection before you meet. Update to previous posts on security: Thanks to the recent Facebook controversies, searching for someone’s phone number in the Facebook search bar is no longer an option.

*I break the no meal rule for men who drive a long distance to meet me. I know I’ll have to stick it out even if there is no attraction. However, I also will leave at any point on a date if the guy is rude, crude, or not a nice dude (apologies for shameless rhyming).

Q: How can I gracefully end a date with a guy I realize I’m not interested in?

A: Think about an ending that works well for your situation. The friend I mentioned earlier has three children at home. She has a built in excuse, “I need to get home to my kids.”

Here are some exit lines I have used:
*I’m dog sitting and need to go walk or feed the dog
*I have people coming for dinner and need to go prep
*Sorry but I need to leave (with no further explanation offered).

You could also arrange for a rescue by a friend or relative. He or she can text you 45 minutes into the date. You can then say, “Something has come up and I’m sorry but I need to leave.” Feel free to embellish on the reason – crisis at home, work, etc. These are what I call harmless white lies.

Q: What about paying? What if I want to leave before the check arrives?

A: When my date asks for the check, I’ll offer to help pay. He may say, “I’ll cover it” or he may take you up on your offer.

Perhaps you want to leave before your date asks for the check. If this is the case, give your reason (see above) and ask, “Can I give you something for the check?”

I have been on dates where I left after one drink but the guy stayed on to have dinner. *If I know in the first 10 seconds that I have no interest in a person, I make sure I don’t order any food and stick to one drink so I can leave after a short time.

Q: What about the first kiss?

A: I’ve covered greetings and endings in this blog. I prefer to hug hello and if I feel inclined will fend off a handshake and turn it into a hug.

There’s a whole spectrum of guy behaviors re: that first kiss. Some kiss you hello, some kiss you at the end of the first date, and some men kiss you in the middle of the first date. If he doesn’t kiss you, he may be shy or unsure of your interest.
On a few occasions I have made the first move to kiss. It’s always nice when the kiss is mutually initiated (the magnet effect)…and well executed. Tip #keep breath mints in your purse and your car.

Q: What if he asks me out on date #2 while we’re still on date #1?

A: I was thrown the first time this happened to me. I wasn’t sure about the guy who asked so I said maybe to his “can we get together again?” Truly a wishy-washy response but sometimes that’s the best you can do. If you want to see Mr. X again, there really isn’t an awkward moment. Just say yes.

Q: How soon after the first date can I expect him to contact me? Should I initiate contact?

A: Timing of communication is another issue with a wide range of behaviors. Sometimes a guy will call or text you within an hour after you leave a date; or you might not hear from Mr. X until the next day. The sooner you hear from him, the more likely he’s into you but a 24 hour delay doesn’t mean he’s not interested. Life is like that.

If you had a good time on the date and liked Mr. X, I think it’s fine to text him a few hours after your encounter or the next morning. I wouldn’t wait too long. All you need to say is “It was great meeting you” OR “I had a good time yesterday. Thanks for the drink.” If it’s your style, include an emoji. I like winks and smiley faces with sunglasses. If you have shared a kiss or three at the end of the date, you could use a smiley face blowing a kiss.

Bonus re: communication:
When you are communicating with a guy, be aware of any change in frequency or tone of communication. A change could be a signal that he is withdrawing. Similarly, if you feel a need to pull back, slow your responses and keep them briefer. Sometimes a slow fade away is preferable to a text, phone call or email to say, “This is over.”

Q: What if the first date went well, but there was no chemistry? Should I go out with him again?

A: Some dating experts say chemistry doesn’t always occur right away but often surfaces after you know someone better. Since I have experienced a delayed chemistry phenomenon, I might go out with a guy a second time for an attraction check. People are often nervous on the first date and they may not be their “best selves.”

Date #2 is often a reality check. I have been attracted to a guy on a first date but when I see him again I wonder “What was I thinking?”

Q: I went out with this guy (insert various number of dates) and it looks like we’re likely to have sex in the near future. I’m nervous about a lot of things – STDs, the way I look without clothes, timing.

A: Here’s the teen-like déjà vu moment when you’ve been in a long marriage or relationship and haven’t thought about STDs in a couple of decades. Be a scout and always be prepared. Buy condoms in case you have a moment and he doesn’t have any (shop on Amazon if you’re wary of running into neighbors at the drug store).

When the topic of sex comes up, have a discussion about using protection and/or getting tested for STDs. Ignore “I got tested two months ago.” Suggest to Mr. X that you both get tested and show each other the results. You need to see that piece of paper!

Ignore: “I give blood so I get tested frequently.” Giving blood does not test for 100% of STDS (chlamydia is not part of the blood donation test, per my gynecologist). Again, you need to see something in writing and the test needs to be done after you have this talk. Use a condom until the results are in or abstain.

I find that women are more concerned about body image than men. Male readers, feel free to disagree about this. Low lighting and candles may ease some self-consciousness and add to the romance.

Oh, and that moment when you’re lighting the candles for your first post separation or post divorce encounter might be the time to say, “It’s been awhile” to your partner. If you’re both newbies, this may be a shared issue. Just stating this fact will make you feel better and explain any nervousness.

Timing of sex: This is another “huge range” issue. A couple might have sex on date #1 or date #15. And, yes, there does seem to be something about expectations and date #3. However, do what feels right for you.

Q: I’m nervous about online dating. Can’t I just meet guys in real life?

A: Yes, of course you can and should try to meet guys in real life. See blog tags meeting men in real life and meeting men in the wild for suggestions on how to meet guys offline. Consider real life tactics and online dating. Neither method is perfect but the more things you do, the greater your chance of success.

Q: Any other general guidance?

A: You’re going to make “mistakes” or what I term “recall cringe moments.” Those are the moments when you think back to what you said or did on an encounter and ask yourself, “How could I have said or done that?” or you think “I was too sarcastic” or — insert any of a number of possibilities.

You’re human and you’re learning to navigate a new world. You will do or say things you’ll regret. That’s okay. Mr. X is making mistakes as well.

The more experiences you have – good or bad – the more you’ll understand what you do and don’t want in a relationship or partner. Along the way, you’ll discover all kinds of things about yourself and claim or reclaim your female power. You go girl.

Send any other questions my way.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO
Nadia

Hello/Goodbye: The Art of Beginning and Ending a First Date

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Have you ever thought about the hello/goodbye aspect of first dates? Second, third, and beyond dates are less problematic. As you work toward coupledom, you hopefully become more at ease with each other…and, at the least, you have a better sense of what feels right in terms of greetings and farewells.

Let’s review this important aspect of dating territory while we have a lovely green goddess crunch sandwich.

Greetings on my first dates have ranged from handshakes to hugs to the man standing up and pulling out my bar stool to cheek kisses to full-on mouth kisses. On the very first date I had while separated, I walked to meet Mr. H at an outdoor café. He lightly put his arms on my shoulders and planted a real kiss…I was surprised to say the least and since it was my first kiss of post-separation dating, felt strange. But then I was a newbie.

Much, much later I was to meet a first date at a small and charming indoor “mall” filled with antique stores and eclectic shops. We arrived at the same time and met in the parking lot. It was clear that we were attracted to each other. He smiled and said, “shall we get the kiss out of the way?” or something to that effect. I was at a loss for words but nodded yes, and then he kissed me…and kissed me well so that we had a rather long greeting.

“Well, we know we’ve got chemistry,” he said, and we walked into the mall where he managed to steal kisses in the nooks and crannies of stores, an empty event hall, etc.

But an initial greeting kiss tends to not be the norm. More likely, a guy will go in for the handshake. If my reflexes are on target, I’ll try to head him off at the non-pass and give him a friendly light hug instead. I look at a handshake as a greeting better suited for a work setting – or any non-dating situation.

What’s worse in my book is a handshake at the end of the date. Unless I’m repulsed by someone (it has happened) or I’m aware that the guy is not interested, I find a light goodbye hug is a better alternative.

If there’s chemistry, that’s a whole other story. Proviso: Chemistry does not necessarily equal a make-out session. I have encountered my fair share of shy guys. Sometimes I’ll make the first move, which could be a real (not light) hug or a kiss.

I make my choice based on my assessment of the mutual chemistry and how much I want to kiss or hug the guy. In one case, after a lengthy goodbye chat next to my car in a cold parking garage, I said to my date “Well, are you going to kiss me?” He was a bit shaken by my comment (I found out later he had Asperger’s syndrome) and managed to fumble a kiss (note: his technique improved on date #2).

At the other extreme, I have offered to drive a guy to his car in another part of the parking lot just so we could have a teenage make out session. Oy! At these times, I regret my small car’s bucket seats and lack of interior space.

For those dating newbies out there wondering about the greeting aspect of the date, just go with your gut. If you’re uncertain about converting a hello handshake to a light hug, don’t stress. Just accept the handshake. You’ll have more knowledge and another chance to express your feelings at the end of the date.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Giving a Bad First Date a Second Chance

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Happy Thanksgiving week! I’m busy eating leftovers so please enjoy this guest post by Julie Weinberg.

I never give a bad first date a second chance. It’s a rule I established long ago in my eight years of post-divorce dating. It stemmed from a series of bad second dates following bad first dates. I asked myself, why bother? I thought my gut reaction during a first date was pretty accurate so I just went with that.

I recently had an experience, though, that has me wondering if my rule is perhaps too rigid. My shift in position is based on an interaction rather than a date but I think the principle applies. Here’s the scenario.

I arrive at a meetup.com happy hour–wait, stop the story. You’ve never heard of meetup.com?! Finish reading and commenting on this post and then immediately go to meetup.com where you will find a bonanza of like-minded people of all age groups who share your interests and plan events around them. Whatever your hobby or favorite weekend activity (comedy clubs, bird watching, hiking, canasta, you name it), you will find groups of people making plans to do it. Best yet, it is almost always FREE!

Back to my story. While spending three weeks visiting the San Francisco Bay Area on vacation, I go to a meetup.com happy hour at a yacht club. Last interruption. Note: I am not even from the Bay Area but I searched meetup.com and found what I thought would be a really nice way to spend an evening when I had nothing else planned. I swear I am not getting paid by meetup.com to promote their site; I just think it is a fabulous resource for singles looking for fun things to do. On to the story…

I walk into the restaurant and meander over to an organized looking group of about 20 people and confirm it is my meetup group. I plant myself at a table of seven or eight people and sit next to an attractive gentleman. After he exchanges pleasantries with everyone at the table for a few minutes, Mr. Attractive turns his attention to me and we dive into a more private conversation. I like him. He’s quite funny and captivating. I am thinking I would definitely like to go out with him.

During a lull in our conversation, another man at the table makes a comment about his experience on match.com and now everyone joins in the conversation because we all have online dating stories. We talk about profiles and I say, “I am brutally honest in mine” and Mr. Attractive says, “That’s a red flag for me. Someone who says she is ‘brutally honest’ really just means to me she’s a rude bitch.”

The table gets quiet. I burst out laughing because I can’t believe how rude Mr. Attractive is being to me, right there in front of everyone. I excuse myself to go to the bathroom and, in my head, rename Mr. Attractive to Mr. Rude. Another woman also excuses herself, and we bond when she says, “I can’t believe what a jerk that guy was.”  We spend the rest of the evening getting to know each other and, despite Mr. Rude (or really because of him), I now have a girlfriend in the Bay Area.

A week later, while still in the Bay Area, I attend a big singles mixer at an extremely posh hotel. Two hundred plus people are in attendance. About an hour into the event, guess who comes up to me? That’s right. Mr. Attractive/Rude. I couldn’t believe it. Why would a man who announces to the world that he thinks I am a “rude bitch” be so bold as to make a second attempt at getting to know me?

Being a direct and honest midwestern girl, I cut him off and say, “I am not sure what you are thinking here, but after how rude you were to me last week I really don’t want to chitchat with you now.” He is flabbergasted. He has no idea he was rude and he wants to know what he said that made me feel that way. We proceed to spend the next hour dissecting the conversation, me telling him how I took his comment and he explaining what he meant. During this evening’s conversation, he is again engaging, funny, and apologetic. I start liking him again. By the end of the evening, he asks me out.

I was leaving the next day so the date didn’t work out but we agree to stay in touch and see each other the following month when I am back in the Bay Area.

More importantly than a potential date with Mr. Attractive/Rude, this experience got me to think about my “no second date” rule. By limiting a guy to a single coffee date, am I missing out on getting to know a really great guy? Maybe I am being too harsh. I am not sure, but over the course of the next few months I may soften my stance to see what happens. Stay tuned.

*To learn more about Julie, visit her website julieweinbergbooks.com or purchase her book, I Wish There Were Baby Factories.  

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Dating Roundup: Tips and Tricks

 

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It’s time for a dating roundup: tips to make your dating life easier.

Help yourself to some arugula blend salad with pomegranate dressing while I share my latest dating hacks and suggestions.

Set up alternate profiles (without pictures) on all of the sites you are on.

This won’t work for Facebook-based apps such as Tinder or Bumble but you will find it immensely helpful for traditional sites such as Match, OkCupid, and Plenty of Fish. First of all, having an alter ego will allow you the freedom to browse any profiles you are interested in without your “target’s” knowledge. Bonus: you won’t have to pay for premium private browsing.

By the way, “private” isn’t really private on OkCupid. I’m constantly seeing fleeting glimpses of guys who think they are hidden when viewing me. Hidden is not totally hidden and, if you’re online, you will briefly see the voyeur with his screen name.

Your alter ego’s profile should be somewhat similar to your “real profile” but not so similar that one would guess it’s the same person. Change the age by a couple of years, change your height slightly, choose a different eye color (remember you won’t have a photo), and pick a nearby city within your desired geographic area.

The advantage of not creating a drastically different profile is that it will increase your chance of matching with some guys you will like. You will get some of the same matches as your real profile but will also receive some new previously unseen matches. If you’d like to contact these new guys using your real profile, just search for them by user name.

I find it interesting and curious that some men will write to my alter ego even though I don’t have a picture. There’s hope for the male population after all!

Log into your dating sites if it’s cold and rainy

It may be obvious but more guys are online when the weather outside is frightful – even if they’re watching a game while checking their dating apps.

What to say to your Tinder or Bumble match when there is zero information in their profile:  

Suggested message:

Since you didn’t have any info about yourself or your interests in your profile, I hope you won’t mind if I ask you “the elevator speech” question.  I think it’s easier than 10 back and forth texts.  If we were in an elevator and you had 20 seconds to tell me about yourself, what would you say?

How to reply to an 88-year-old man who asks you out:

Thanks for the invitation. You’ve got a great profile but I don’t think we are an age match. Good luck.

How to reply to a 20-year-old man who asks you out:

I don’t date men younger than my children.

What to do when you need new dating ideas:

Look at upcoming or past activities of Meetups even if you’re not a member (unless the group blocks viewing by non-members). You’ll find lots of good ideas from people who spend time coming up with activities. In addition to trying one of the activities on a date, consider joining one of these groups.

What it means when a Tinder or Bumble match’s location changes drastically:

When a match’s distance from you changes from 15 miles to 5500 and then back to 15, it usually means he’s a scammer operating on the other side of the world. He just hasn’t figured out how to alter his location to be consistent. Just Google: how to change your location on your phone (or on Tinder) and you’ll find a number of hacks.

Unless this location-shifting guy is really a big-time international traveler (and he might say he is), chances are he’s not legitimate.

My latest scammer on Tinder said he was in South Korea on business as a marine engineer. See my previous post on dating scams. Engineering is a favorite occupation of catfishers.   And of course, these guys often say they are widowers.

What to say (via text) to a Tinder or Bumble match you haven’t heard from in several days (unlike traditional dating sites, you can’t tell if a Tinder or Bumble match is online):

Hi,

Thought I would say good morning and ask if you’d like to continue corresponding. I’m a straight shooter and I appreciate that in return.  So my bottom line is I enjoyed getting to know you a little bit and I’d be happy to continue with a goal to meet in person.  However, if you think we are not a match, for whatever reason, please let me know and I’ll “unmatch” you on Tinder.  No hard feelings either way!

Personal note regarding this message: I sent this exact message today and I received a response within 10 minutes. Mr. M said he has been swamped at work and would like to continue getting to know me and to meet and see where “it” goes from there. Hope springs eternal!

Do you have any tips, tricks, or insights into the dating life? Let me know!

If you liked this post or past ones, become a subscriber to Dating, Sex, and Life in your 60s. This blog loves subscribers.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

In Search of Single Friends

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In a recent Washington Post solo-ish article, Lisa Bonos describes her decision to decline new friendship offers. Bonos prefers to spend her limited free time and emotional energy on the great friends she already has. Investing in new friendships, she writes, would prevent her from nurturing existing ones.

I get that. And yet I’ve been on the other side of that situation.

There have been a few times since my divorce when I tried to establish new friendships with other single women but my efforts were fruitless. In these cases, the women already had a busy friend life and were friend-booked.

As we explore the friend dilemma of the newly single woman, let’s have some of Jamie Oliver’s vegan shepherd pie.

As a former student and once young mother, I remember the pleasure of sharing hopes, fears, frustrations, and tactics with others going through similar struggles.

Now I’m a member of an equally distinctive life state – divorced after a long marriage. And although I still love my married friends, I seek single comrades in arms to help me navigate and laugh at the murky waters of new singledom with all of its joys, frustrations, and issues.

New singledom issues often include dating. I’d like a cadre of wing women who can join me in proactive flirting opportunities.

How have I increased my single friendships? I started looking for new opportunities to meet potential friends – including Meetup groups, colleagues, neighbors, etc.

Then when I read the Post article about being at friend capacity, I posted on my social media accounts that a new friend app is needed for those who are seeking new connections.”

It turns out that there aren’t any apps yet (heads up, app developers), but there are three “make a friend” websites!

I learned about these sites from my third relationship book of the month, Middle Aged and Kickin’ It!: A Woman’s Definitive Guide to Dating over 40, 50 and Beyond.

In addition to providing many of the tips I gave in my first blog post, the book also lists the following “new friend” sites:

I immediately signed up for sociajane and girlfriendsocial. I had technical problems registering for girlfriendcircles and I’m waiting to hear back from the web master.

All three friend sites are free though socialjane offers a paid subscription version. Similar to dating sites, the friend sites ask you to provide a screen name, a profile with your interests, and a photo.

I can’t wait to complete my profile on the two sites and see what happens. Friend acquiring, just like dating, is best accomplished with a combination of online and “in the wild” tactics.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating!

XXXOOO

Nadia