Halfway or more through life, you find yourself in need of companionship. You’re divorced, widowed, or newly out, and you’ve decided it’s time to hook up with someone who shares your interests, or someone you can cuddle with, or someone just to hit it with when the mood strikes.
Acknowledging you may want or need that special someone is a first step. Congratulations! You’re on your way to togetherness. Now what?
First, some basics about getting out there.
Rule #1: You do not talk about “dating.” You’re going out, hanging out, or hooking up, which, in 2023, is just getting together.
Rule #2: You DO NOT use the word “dating”! You may as well talk about “courting” or “wooing.” You’re 50+, not 150+.
Rule #3: Dude, you need to relax. Getting nervous about going out is cute when you’re a teenager, but not a good look on a grown man or woman. Also, it can cause a bad complexion.
With these facts and observations under your belt, you’re ready to act on your impulse for intimacy.
1. Know before you go
What are you looking for? We mentioned shared interests, cuddling, and straight-up sex earlier. Be honest with yourself about what’s on your list. What you want may determine where you find it.
2. Be yourself
Whatever you seek in a relationship, be yourself during your search to find it. Don’t conform to what you think someone else is looking for. Let them discover the real you. They may not like it! But there are plenty of profiles for both of you.
3. Be prepared
As you think about getting out there, are you your best self? While there may be no time like the present, your present state of self-esteem will have a lot do with how satisfying “getting out there” will be. How’s your health? Are you feeling fit? Have you read a good book lately? Have you rediscovered the art of in-person conversation after two years of pandemic isolation? Sometimes we look to others to satisfy what’s lacking in ourselves. Attend to your own needs before opening the door to others’, and be your best self before sharing.
4. Where my dates at?
Obviously, a lot of them are online. According to Pew Research, 55 percent of the adult LGBTQ+ population in the U.S. has used an app like Grindr or HER, about twice the number of their straight peers on similar apps, while a remarkable 28 percent report they met their current partner online. Thirty-seven percent are actively “looking” at any given time, and overall, 65 percent of those interactions among LGBTQ+ people were rated as favorable.
There is something for everyone on these sites, so it’s critical in your search for togetherness to be honest about who you are and what you’re looking for. Pretending to be something you’re not on a site like Grindr is a prescription for “dating” despair. Take your best shot (pic, that is), be upfront about your likes and dislikes and what you’re there for, and roll the dice.
Where are the other 63 percent actively “looking”? The usual places they’ve always looked: at work, at school (take a class!), at bars and clubs of all kinds, volunteer opportunities, and with the help of family and friends. Blind dates are an underappreciated and sometimes delightfully awkward ritual. Let your network know: you’re on the market.
5. Take it easy
This goes back to, “Relax, dude.” Maybe you’ve met someone online or in person and think they’re pretty great or at least hot enough for some consensual private time. Take it easy. Take it slow. It’s never attractive to be over-eager, and it could be a deal breaker for someone with more experience unless they’re into that kind of thing. Never or not having dated for a long time is like being a teenager again, and being nervous is a natural reaction to vulnerability. Playing a little hard to get puts you in control and your (sometimes self-defeating) emotions in check.
6. Time will tell
This goes back to “Take it easy.” It’s been a while since you started dating again (or ever), so waiting a day or two or five to react or respond or make the next move isn’t going to kill you. And don’t underestimate the power of anticipation. Like a great vacation, half the fun is the planning and excitement leading up to it. Sure, your next date may go down like the Titanic, but you’ll find a lounge chair to cling to before a lifeboat picks you up and you’re booking your next crossing. You’re getting out there, and that’s what counts.