Whether you've met a woman through friends or an online dating site (which can be a great way to meet singles in your area) it's only natural to feel nervous on a first- date. Everyone is different, of course, but here are five things women in their 50s-plus want from a man.
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See also: Online dating in your 50s-plus
See also: Dating after divorce - dos and don'ts
1. A man who makes her feel good
No, you don't have to shower a woman with compliments (on a first date this can feel false – or worse, like you're trying to get her into bed). You make a woman feel good by listening to what she says, reacting with genuine interest and asking questions. Be willing to share information about yourself – but don't hog the conversation.
2. A man who makes her smile
A good sense of humour regularly tops the list of what women find attractive in men. You don't have to crack jokes but a playful and light-hearted approach is generally better than talking about serious topics, at least on a first date. Everyone is different, but many women in their fifties and beyond have come out of a marriage and want to have fun. Don't take yourself too seriously and remember to smile - it will help diffuse any first-date nerves on both sides.
Who should pick up the tab can be a sensitive issue. If you proposed the meeting, it's appropriate to pay for the drinks. Having said that, let her pay half if she insists and don't flash the cash. Taking a woman to a posh restaurant on a first date can backfire – she may feel uncomfortable because she's less well-off than you, or may think you're trying to buy her. Expect to pay for the coffees or wine on a first date, and for her to pay or go halves the next time.
4. A man who knows how to let the attraction build
Going too fast is a major turn-off. (You may be lonely and sexually frustrated, but these are not attractive qualities to a woman). Don't be too touchy-feely on a first date – touching her lightly on the arm may be appropriate depending on the signals you're getting in return, but taking a woman's hand, rubbing her shoulders or touching her knee is not appropriate. A peck on the cheek is welcome if the evening has gone well, but don't push your luck. Even if she seems very eager, hold back and keep some mystery. The longer you wait, the more desire you build up and the greater the attraction will be – on both sides.
5. A man who's strong enough to be vulnerable
Yes, yes, yes, women like a man who is strong and powerful. That's what men have always been brought up to believe - but what most men don't realise is that strength combined with a dash of vulnerability is hard to resist.
Looking for love can mean leaving yourself vulnerable (which is why it's so important to only date when you're ready, not the day after your divorce papers come through). Women respond to men who are emotionally available and can show their softer side. It's not something you can fake (most women can see through a sob story at twenty paces), so it has to come from a real place. When you're ready to take a chance on love and she is too, amazing things can happen.