Everyone’s Searching for Something

google search 2 for blog

I’m curious about you dear readers. Aside from the comments on specific posts, the only information I get about you is the search terms you use to get to this blog. Don’t worry about privacy – I can’t tell who Googled what. I consider these search terms a window into your lives as they connect to the issues of dating, sex, and life in your 60s.

So, let’s kick back on this holiday weekend and have a splurge of white truffle egg salad while peeking at your quest for knowledge and help.

It is no surprise that the most common search is for information on dating in your 60s. I hear your frustration when you ask “Why is it so difficult to have a new relationship in your 60s?” I wish I had a simple answer to that question. I think we’re all dealing with an imbalance of supply and demand, the particular demographics of where we live, and the difficulties of online partner assessment. Just to name a few issues.

Sex is also of interest. Specific sex-related topics, with my comments, include:

*Rude sex (It happens.)

*Office interracial lunch sex (The sandwich alternative.)

*Is it normal to not be interested in sex in your 60s? (There are lots of reasons for this.)

*Rude sex profile pictures (An almost daily occurrence.)

*Amore sexual networking site (I have no idea who is using my name to run a business.)

*Talking about sex (It’s a problem if you can’t talk about sex with your partner. I hope this person read: http://bit.ly/1Iz2EWp)

*Dating, sex, and friendship (Not sure of the intent here, but don’t sleep with your friend’s significant other.)

*Do single widow 60s (sic) like oral sex? (Women are free to like or not like anything.)

Readers also search for information on intimacy and falling in love:

*36 dating questions

*The 4-minute intimacy experiment

*I have been dating a guy for 7 months and the sex is great. I see him 1 time a week per my request and he is so passionate when we have sex. So why am I afraid of falling more deeply for him?

(I don’t think my blog can assist but you might want to address this issue with a therapist who can help you work through these feelings.)

*Love in one’s 60s

*Falling in love in your 60s (My personal goal.)

Many search for dating tips:

*Fantastic dating profile

*What can I write for my online dating profile? I’m a 60-year-old woman.

*How to end a relationship in your 60s (This is tough at any age.)

*Breaking up in your 60s

*Flirt dating (My pet peeve: flirting that doesn’t lead to dating.)

*What is a dating dry spell? (I wish I didn’t know what this is.)

And then we have the offbeat and off-color:

*Dating site for denture wearers (I guess this might be helpful.)

*Hot male with big d_ _ _ with 300 photos (NSFW and not available on this blog.)

*Let’s just ­­­f­­_ _ _ on your lunch break (You may need that sexual networking site that someone else searched for.)

*Beef niche girls’ sex (This blog does not eat meat.)

Beef niche aside, I hope I helped most of you find what you needed. In fact, this blog addressed almost all of the topics mentioned above at some point.

So, keep on searching for information about dating, love, and sex. Let me know if you find what you are looking for here — and in life.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

It’s Not Waterboarding, Just a Few Friendly Questions

couple talking

Although I don’t advocate CIA-style interrogation of a date, sometimes the right question or two or three can illuminate a potential partner’s suitability.

It’s important to be creative when designing questions for your love interest. One option is to use The 36 Questions, but those are geared to establishing intimacy. Today I’m interested in questions designed to find out if you and Mr. XO are compatible and whether he will make you happy.

My inspiration comes in part from a recent article in Fortune magazine that reported on challenging job interview questions. The out-of-the- box questions collected by the Five O’ Clock Club run the gamut from “How much should you charge to wash all of the windows in Seattle?” to “Describe the color yellow to somebody who’s blind.”

You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? The wheels are turning. To keep us energized as we brainstorm, let’s have some broccoli quinoa salad with buttermilk dressing.

Some basic advice: don’t ask more than 1 or 2 of these questions per date and try to weave them into the conversation so you don’t arouse suspicion. And don’t ask them while strapping your date down and dripping a cup of water onto his face.

Questions to Ask Your Love Interest:

#1:

What did you have for dinner last night?

The correct answer: Baby kale salad with roasted apples and pomegranate seeds, bouillabaisse, home baked French bread, chocolate orange soufflé for dessert.

Relationship/compatibility subtext: You need a man who can hold his own in the kitchen – even if you’re an accomplished home chef. Not only will this make cooking together a viable fun activity or competition for you both (think Throwdown with Bobby Flay), he can comfort you with a home cooked meal when you are down.

#2:

If you had enough money to outsource one household chore, what would you pick?

The correct answer: Whatever chore you hate the most.

Relationship/compatibility subtext: The correct answer will show you whether he has listened to your complaints about your most detested household duty. It is important to find a partner who really listens and takes action to help you.

#3:

You go to the pound to pick out a puppy. The person in charge tells you they have a new pilot program. You may take home a new puppy every week for life or adopt one puppy,

The correct answer: Adopt one puppy.

Relationship/compatibility subtext: You want a one-woman man. 

#4:

You are on your way to work and running late to an important meeting. You encounter an adorable little puppy (O.K., I love puppies) who is obviously lost, confused, thirsty, and hungry. You know your significant other is making a presentation at work today, what do you do?

The correct answer: “I would take this puppy to work with me even if I was fired.”

Relationship/compatibility subtext: Depending on your age and life situation, Mr. XO’s answer provides clues as to whether he can sustain an egalitarian relationship. How would he juggle caring for your and his aging parents when you are both working? How might he handle parenting duties in a two-career household? What would Mr. XO do if you had a sick child, the babysitter had the plague, you were completing a crucial project at work and he had an important deadline to meet? Can this man step up to the plate and sacrifice his career if needed in support of your own?

#5:

You are stranded on an island with one other person who happens to be a woman. Thanks to a small island lake there is plenty of water but food is scarce. One afternoon, you are foraging for food by yourself when you unexpectedly encounter a plantain tree with one lone plantain on it. Do you eat it before you return or bring it back to camp to share?

The correct answer: Bring it back to share and offer the first bites to the woman.

Relationship/compatibility subtext: Mr. XO’s answer provides a clue to his generosity in the bedroom and whether he subscribes to the crucial philosophy of She Comes First.

#6:

Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a spouse or girlfriend. How was it resolved?

The correct answer: Apologize – regardless of the conflict or who is actually at fault.

Relationship/compatibility subtext: The simple act of apology demonstrates skills in conflict resolution and the reality-based truism that the woman is always right.

#7:

Why should I date you?

The correct answer: I have all the qualities you’re seeking according to your OkCupid profile and I think you are brilliant, beautiful, interesting, and everything I am looking for in a woman.

Relationship/compatibility subtext: Use your gut to determine his sincerity. Is the correct answer accompanied by gazing into your eyes? Is he a good kisser? Are you comfortable with Mr. XO and at the same time, do you have butterflies before you see him? The answer to this question must be weighed in the context of his entire package. No. Pun. Intended.

#8:

If you woke up and had 1,000 emails from matches on a dating site and could only answer 100, how would you choose which ones to respond to?

The correct answer: “Even though I could only answer 100, I would answer 5 and see what happens. If I find a good match, I don’t need to keep exploring and searching.”

Relationship/compatibility subtext: See above re: finding a one-woman man

#9:

What are 3 positive things an ex would say about you?

The correct answer: “She would say I was fun to be with, a great listener, and I was a terrific supporter of her and of women’s rights.”

Relationship/compatibility subtext: This is a perfect opportunity for your love interest to reimagine history. Most likely he will think back to a kinder, gentler time in a previous relationship and use his best spin technology to present himself in a good light. Use your woman’s intuition to determine if there’s even a shred of truth in his list of three.

#10:

You are on a road trip in unfamiliar territory and appear to be lost. The GPS is not working. What do you do?

The correct answer: Stop and ask for directions.

Relationship/compatibility subtext: Is Mr. XO a team player? Will he work with you to solve the problems of life or will he drive alone aimlessly while he runs out of gas and you run out of patience?

Can you add to my list of questions? Let me know! Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Dating Rules, Kismet, and Timing

Embed from Getty Images

A recent article in a Washington Post blog on the single life explored the issue of whether men with bad online profiles could in fact turn out to be great guys. The writer, Jessica Guzik, was frustrated by the fact that her dates with men who had appealing profiles were not working out. So she decided to try an experiment. She dated men with unappealing or quirky profiles that would normally prompt her to ignore them.

To her surprise, she met some great men – whose bad profiles did not match the real person. One man in an attempt to be different filled his profile with obscure references; another was more interested in meeting women in the wild and filled out a lackluster profile just to put himself out there. Her conclusion: don’t put so much credence in the profiles; instead “put more faith in the men behind them.”

Of course this is easier said than done but Ms. Guzik’s article triggered some thoughts of my own about profiles, timing, and dating rules. Will you join me in some of Mark Bittman’s watermelon gazpacho while I explain?

It seems that for every rule you make, the opposite of the rule can also be true. After some disaster first dates that had been preceded by texts and emails but not a phone call, I made a rule that I had to speak on the phone with a man before meeting him. This rule was golden for a while and it helped me avoid creepy guys who were full of themselves and those who had terribly grating voices.

If I had already agreed to a date but subsequently had a “bad” phone call with a guy, I’d cancel the date after the call. I let the man know I didn’t feel a connection during our conversation. This angered some guys – especially if I texted or emailed them with this news. But I believe it is better to nip an obviously going nowhere relationship in the bud rather than to suffer a fool or miss-match in an awkward meeting at a café or bar.

So I had the “always talk on the phone before a date” rule. But then, I encountered some men who were able to carry on such a fun and witty conversation by email or text, that I forgot the rule and agreed to meet. And more often than not, the date was wonderful. So it seems that meeting someone great is often a result of chance, or fate or kismet.

This doesn’t mean that the first date, even if it’s fantastic, will lead to a relationship. A couple of weeks ago I met Mr. D for coffee. This first date was preceded by only a few emails and texts (funny, witty, and creative ones though). We had incredible chemistry, honesty and intimacy almost from the start. It was as if we had our own version of The 36 Questions. But it turns out Mr. D was separated. It was in his profile but somehow in my pre-date excitement I had missed it.

I discovered this key piece of information right before leaving to meet him. I decided to go anyway since separated can mean separated for 8 years with a scheduled court date or separated 2 weeks ago and still moving out of the marital home (I have dated both of these guys).

It became clear at the end of the date that our timing was off (a perpetual problem in the dating life). This was Mr. D’s 3rd marriage (previously widowed and divorced) and he was struggling with the fact that he didn’t want to leave his 3rd wife’s grown children whom he had grown to dearly love. I know it all sounds messy but he was truly a fine guy.

When I told Mr. D I hadn’t realized he was separated and that I was looking for a relationship, he “fired himself.” But not until he kissed me and let’s just say this was a kiss worthy of a big-screen movie – possibly IMAX or even bigger. I can’t seem to stop thinking about him even though we were together for a grand total of 3 hours. Perhaps Mr. D will end up divorced and we’ll serendipitously meet again when the timing is right.

I have also encountered men with a great profile, who gave great phone (insert smile here), but we had zero or minus zero chemistry in person. As an added insult, these men did not resemble the old pictures they had posted.

Another issue is whether a good and long first phone conversation or date predicts anything. I’ve had very long (2 to 3 hours) late night phone conversations before meeting someone and long (up to 5 hours) first dates and then for one reason or another the fledgling relationship combusts. In one case, the guy was an alcoholic and we ended up in a phone fight after the first date. In the other case, following a 5-hour date, Mr. Q decided he wanted to date another woman at the same time he dated me. Apparently he scheduled me as the fall back and I didn’t hear from him for a week. Then, when his other “relationship” didn’t work out, he texted me to see if I wanted to talk. I was disenchanted at that point and had already moved on.

So many dating and relationship situations call for you to decide whether you’re going to trust your heart or your gut. A thought-provoking article in the Chicago Tribune describes the ongoing battles these two organs can have over your love interests. As the article points out, sometimes you just don’t want to listen to your gut tell you a man is not right for you…and the heart wins. See Mr. D above. Other times, it’s easy – and neither organ wants a particular piece of work otherwise known as an incompatible match.

I’m still looking for a rule-breaking, take my breath away encounter that is a win-win from both the heart and gut and appeases the timing gods. Until then, happy dating or not dating to all of us.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Relationship Recipe: Slow Cooker vs. Stir Fry

I’m an experiential learner. This is not something I always knew. I came to this “epiphany” as I realized that I could take in tons of advice but couldn’t really learn from and act on it until I had experienced a particular life lesson on my own. So, lessons about relationships and love had to be – and still are – painfully (sometimes) learned.

The topic today is going slow in a new or potentially new relationship – from the perspective of an experiential learner. Slow refers to sex, personal disclosure, and involvement. Let’s have some spring vegetable stew while we’re chatting.

After a long marriage and divorce process (see About) and a good period of healing and recovery, I yearned to be in a relationship again. I also knew that I wasn’t ready to meet my soul mate because I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.

When you go into a marriage with relatively little dating experience, post-marriage dating is truly a whole new universe. Even if you married late and dated a lot before marriage, dating norms have changed. So we’re all starting over but the woman who was almost a child bride (not quite but now you can have maximum sympathy for me), has more to learn about what she wants and doesn’t want.

If I look back on my first relationship (not first date) after divorcing, I know that I was somewhat blinded by pheromones. Mr.A, a relatively recent widower, was also a newbie and excited to connect with someone. We leapt into sex rather soon after meeting, comforted by the fact that we were both post-long term relationship virgins. Ultimately we weren’t suited for each other. In hindsight, we didn’t have enough in common and were not even sexually compatible. And it was very clear that it was too soon after his wife’s death for him to be in a relationship.

But I started to learn a little about what I was looking for and truly enjoyed that excitement that came from flirting with a new man.
So, this wasn’t a slow cooker encounter… but I don’t regret it.

As I continued to date, I found that I wasn’t always discerning enough and leapt into some relationships (stir fry mode) without really evaluating whether they had the potential to go the distance. It was part of my Auntie Mame “just live” philosophy of life. I wanted to make up for lost time. After all, I had already begun the 6th decade of life. If not now, when??

So you see my reasoning. I wanted to experience men, love, sex – everything (within reason). There was no risk of pregnancy and, being careful, no risk of STDs. Unlike some younger (and older) women, I wasn’t after and didn’t have any first date sexual encounters — but neither did things progress at a slow cooker pace.

Recently, I dated a new man, Mr. Z (see The 36 Questions), and realized that we should not in fact have sex or continue our relationship (even though we had already gone on a number of long dates). Our lifestyles were just too different and I could not imagine a life with him. Fortunately, the feeling must have been mutual because things just seemed to slow down and stop.

I saw the value of a slow-cooker relationship with Mr. Z. It would have been emotionally entangling to go full speed ahead with him only to break up relatively quickly. Break-ups take a toll and it’s not always easy to “roll with it” when you are disappointed once again.

By going slow, you allow more opportunity to disclose vulnerabilities and to probe more deeply into what makes the other person tick – developing emotional intimacy as a precursor to physical intimacy. It may not be as easy to nurture that sharing once you have sex. For one thing, there’s more to lose.

So, you see I am learning. Going forward, I plan to make a list of essential attributes in my ideal man and relationship. I can use this list to help me decide whether I want to start or continue dating someone. I could not have created this list 3 years ago.

I hope that Amy Webb, author of
Data, a Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match would approve of my lists. She took evaluation and planning in dating to a new level and had great results.

I found some more food for thought in a recent Match.com article that interviewed men for their perspective on sex and relationships: Guy’s Eye View: Slept Together Too Soon?

Age differences and the marital history of the men interviewed played into their viewpoints. Three men were quoted in the article by author Steve Friedman, including Alec, a 50-year-old never-married man. When asked about sleeping with a woman on the first or second date, his comment supported the slow cooker philosophy:

“In my mind, it doesn’t make a difference—as long as the woman understands that just because she slept with me, it doesn’t mean the rest of the relationship is also moving quickly. But I will say, it does sort of put pressure on the situation when you sleep together so quickly. It makes the getting-to-know-you part tougher.”

The same article quotes a 40-year-old divorced man who believes the timing of the first occurrence of sex with a woman does not indicate anything in particular for the relationship’s future. A 35-year-old never married man thinks men and women are wired differently. It’s o.k. for a man to sleep with others more quickly, he says, but for a woman it “would not bode well for the future.” I see a double standard in play for some men that regardless of how you view it, may be hard for women to escape from.

I’d love to know what you, dear readers, think of all this. Send me your comments and thoughts about slow cooking a relationship versus quickly stir frying it. In the meantime, happy dating.

XXXOOO
Nadia

Resources:
Data, a Love Story: How I Cracked the Online Dating Code to Meet My Match, Amy Webb, Plume
Data: A Love Story – The algorithms, statistics, charts, and lists I used to game online dating and find my match, Amy Webb, Slate
Guy’s Eye View: Slept Together Too Soon? Steve Friedman, Match.com