When I am in a dating dry spell, my mind wanders. I think about my (and other women’s) criteria for selecting partners, general unfairness in the dating world, and ways to get out of my rut.
Oh serendipity! Just as I’m writing this, I match with a guy on Tinder and he sent me a message. So this post will have a bit of hope in it.
Let’s address the 3 topics mentioned above while enjoying some rice and shrimp bake with feta cheese. Just substitute veggie or fish broth and use fresh herbs if possible.
*Criteria for date/partner selection
A dating dry spell triggers thoughts about whether I am too picky. When I re-entered the dating world in my 60s, I had few criteria. I didn’t really know what I was looking for – in part because I had little dating experience outside of my long marriage and because, following a divorce, it can take awhile to trust your instincts.
After a few short-term relationships, what seems like thousands of dates, and some analysis and self-reflection I fine-tuned my selection criteria.
These criteria encompass brains, age, height, attractiveness, sense of humor, empathy/lack of narcissism, and outlook on life. Here’s how these criteria have morphed over time:
–Brains. I was less picky about academic credentials at the beginning. Now I realize I would like someone who has at least a 2-year degree. I am fully aware of the value of street and people smarts. It’s just that, in general, someone who has been to college tends to align better with my interests, etc.
–Age. At the beginning, I was fine with dating guys 5 to 10 years older than me. Now, I lean toward younger men and consider those who are 10-12 years younger. There are always exceptions but I seem to fit better with a younger man in terms of outlook on life – joie de vivre.
-Height. I’m tall and I prefer taller men. My ex- was shorter than me and so were some of my romantic partners so I gave the height issue a good run. Tall guys just work better for me on a variety of levels (pun intended) so for now I’m swiping right on those 6’+ hotties.
-Attractiveness. Although there are some “types” I like, I can be attracted to guys with a variety of looks – from Matt Damon to George Clooney (right — I can dream.) Over time, I learned that there are certain types I am not attracted to…so I swipe left or don’t reach out to them.
-Sense of humor. It has to be there. This is a deal breaker. Enjoyment of mild sarcasm and an ability to be silly are definite turn-ons. This criterion has not morphed over time.
-Empathy/lack of narcissism. No more narcissists. At the beginning, I was more forgiving of this character flaw but I learned my lesson.
-Outlook on life. This is another non-negotiable criterion. I seek a positive, optimistic, fun-loving and adventurous man. I’m not happy if I date someone with a negative worldview.
*General unfairness in the dating world
-From what my friends and I have witnessed, it’s a lot easier for “older” men to find a partner. Certainly my ex and most of the exes of my divorced single friends are coupled.
Statistically speaking, the ratio of single men to single women gets less favorable as we age. According to the Pew Research Center, the number of unmarried men and women is about equal at age 40. Starting at age 45, there’s a decline in the number of single men. At age 64, there are 62 unmarried men for every 100 unmarried women. Ouch – so the shortage is real.
-Not only are there fewer men as we age but society “trains” men to be more critical of a woman’s natural aging than of a man’s. Yes, there are “cougars” but, in general, you see more May/December couplings with older men/younger women. Side note: I was intrigued by the May/December marriage (he’s 55, she’s 70) of the Florida couple that won part of the recent enormous Powerball jackpot. I’d love to know their story.
*Ways to get out of my rut
–In addition to the survival tips I offered in a previous post on dating dry spells, I am trying speed dating for a second time tonight. I am somewhat burned out on online dating and there’s a lot of appeal to finding out in 6 minutes whether you and the man you are sitting across from have any chemistry or potential chemistry. This will be my second foray into speed dating. Wish me luck!
-In another in-person activity, this coming week I’m going to a happy hour sponsored by one of the dating sites. I’ll be asking the wizard for some lioness courage before I go to that event.
What do you think about or do when you’re in a dating dry spell? What makes you angry? What gives you hope? Send comments!
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Until next week, happy dating or not dating!