Online dating offers a great way to meet new people, particularly if you haven't been in the dating game for a while. Age has many benefits - you know what you want and don't want at least - but there are common mistakes people over 50 make. Are you guilty of any of these?
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See also: Dating in your 50s-plus? What NOT to ask on a first date
See also: Dating after divorce - dos and don'ts
1. You're worried about looking foolish
As a youngster you fell head-over-heels for someone who didn't return your feelings, but you made a pass at them anyway. As we get older, acting foolishly seems worse as we're expected to know better – there's no fool like an old fool, as the saying goes.
While keeping people at arm's length can make you feel safe, it's not going to help you find love.
The problem with waiting for a man or woman to give you a "sign" they like you, is that they may fear looking foolish too. If you enjoy someone's company or want to get to know them better, act on it. You might be glad you were brave enough to make the first move.
2. You stick to a "type"
Maybe you've had a few bad experiences with women who drink, so now you want someone tee-total, or you've only ever dated tall men and won't look at anyone under 6 foot 2. Either way, sticking too rigidly to your "type" can mean that you miss out.
Don't be someone who gets stuck in your ways. Challenge yourself and meet the person who sent you an email that made you laugh, even if they're not a person you would normally date. Even if they don't turn out to be "the one", having an open and playful attitude to dating is going to improve your chances of finding love. Let go of "your type," and you might find you let love in.
3. You treat dates like an interview
In some ways, having a date is like an interview. You ask questions and make judgements about the person based on their answers. Be careful that you don't go into a meeting with a list of requirements you want to check off. Approach dates this way, and you'll miss out on having fun, letting the conversation flow naturally, and discovering if you have chemistry.
Nobody likes to feel that they're being interrogated or judged. You might want to know if the person is financially solvent – but a first date is not the time to ask if they own their own home. These kind of questions can wait until you've had a few dates – presuming that you enjoy each other's company. Keep the conversations light and have fun.
4. You're looking for an ideal
Whether you were lucky enough to spend 20 years of your life with your perfect partner, or had a brief fling with someone you've never forgotten, comparing the people you meet via online dating to your idealized partner can work against you.
When you compare people to your perfect ex, you put them under an incredible amount of pressure, and miss out on seeing what they have to offer. Leave the past behind you – and look to the future.
5. You give up too soon
Anyone who has tried internet dating for a few months will have at least one 'disaster' date story. If you've had a couple of bad experiences, it's easy to feel discouraged – but don't give up. Dating is a numbers game, and you sometimes need to meet lots of people until you find someone special. Give it six months or a year before you decide it isn't for you.
Try to look upon bad dates as a "practice" session which you can learn from next time. At the very least, you will have a funny story to tell friends and your new partner when you find them!