Get Back Into the Dating Scene

Dating again after years with a partner can be as awkward as those school dances where the boys and girls eyed each other from opposite sides of the gym. Tom Blake, host of the Dating After 50 discussion at ThirdAge, has insight into how the dating scene has evolved.

Blake, author of "Middle Aged and Dating Again" (Tooter's Pub, $12.95) says women will be surprised at:

1. Their changed roles. No longer is a woman expected to wait for the man to make the first move. There are so many more single women than men that, in order to compete, women need to be willing to pick up the phone or approach a man in public, and -- yes -- to pick up the tab for a date.

"Women are more confident now and they're not embarrassed to ask men out on dates," says Rafe Hernandez of Long Beach, Calif. "I like that the tables have turned."

2. How hard it is to find available men. In high school, all the kids could meet at the dance in the gym. There's no gathering place like that for middle-aged singles. Women must be creative and break out of their shells in order to find places to meet men.

3. How many men play games. Some men have reverted back to their bad boy high school behavior -- being cool, being less than honest, making false promises. Women need to weed out the jerks to find the gems.

If they do, "Dating and romance in mid-life can be less about appearances and sex and more about caring exploration and shared discovery," says Los Angeles therapist Tara Fass, M.F.T. Men are in for some surprises, too, such as:1. The more enlightened behavior of women. Many men are still old-fashioned and think in traditional ways. As a result, they have trouble accepting that they aren't in charge like they used to be."Dating is less of a meat market now because women are usually more financially independent than when they were younger," says Lara Blustein of Chicago. She says, "You can be pickier about who you go out with since you don't need a man for his money." Skip Arnold of Los Angeles says, "Some women have more important things to be doing than spending time with you, and knowing this can cause longing and dread." 2. The cost of dating. Dinner and a movie aren't a few bucks anymore. The tab for an evening out could be $50-$60. When women offer to share some of the expenses, men may be pleasantly surprised.3. The changes that dating again reveals. Johnny Mathis has given way to Jennifer Lopez. Sexually transmitted diseases can now be a death sentence. Lenore Gerstler of Santa Barbara, Calif. says, "Both men and women are more assertive about discussing the issues surrounding sexual intimacy early in a relationship." And, there's a dating tool called the Internet that can help people reach out around the world to find a mate.
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Source: Relationships & Love

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