Navigating the Dating Scene in the ‘Age of the Selfie’
All the good ones are taken … I’m too old to feel THAT way again … I don’t look as good as I used to … I haven’t accomplished enough at my age … I don’t even know how to flirt anymore …
For older singles hungry for partnership, these common worries can prevent taking the steps that lead to fulfilling relationships, says dating and life coach Deborah Downey. And, of course, the dating scene has changed quite a bit in the past decade alone; younger people meet online and wallpaper their profiles with “selfies.”
“Although the ‘selfie’ is now widely accepted, there are some older singles who are intimidated by what it seems to signify: that we’ve gone from the ‘Age of Aquarius’ to an age of vanity and superficiality,” says Downey, author of “What Are You Worried About!” (http://www.coachdeborahdowney.com/).
“It’s one thing to be self-actualized and self-enriched; it’s another to be self-absorbed.” For older singles looking to date -- and more, there’s plenty to feel optimistic about, says Downey, who found romance later in life after her husband passed away. Despite living with multiple sclerosis for 25 years, she says, she’s happy and fulfilled.
There are more singles than ever age 40 and older that are looking for love. Downey offers tips for the older singles looking for a meaningful and lasting connection.
• Ignore ego-based doubts. It’s easy to idealize memories of dating when you were younger, perhaps in better shape and more energetic. But most likely, your younger self was also scared of not being “good enough” and was probably not as self-actualized as who you are today. Don’t fall for the ego doubts of your youth; embrace your maturity, part of which includes accepting who you are in any situation. If that is difficult, consider this period in your life as an opportunity to improve self-acceptance.
• Know your target and have fun! Dating takes time and effort, so don’t go into it blind. You may want to specify your preferences, such as “non-smoker” or “financially independent” or “health conscious.” Once on your date, remember that you’re supposed to be having fun, nerves notwithstanding. The best way to gauge whether the date is going well is to take note of whether you’re actually enjoying yourself.
• Internet dating is legit. The stigma against meeting dates online has all but lifted. You’ll want to represent yourself fairly and accurately in a profile. Don’t go blank and write an overly simple profile; tell a good, positive story about a small victory during childhood or talk about your bucket list. Forget about clichés like wine tastings or hobbies, avoid poor spelling and make sure your photo is current. Don’t try to be “cool” or clever; just be real. When meeting someone, use common sense: take it slow, be wary of scams, meet in a public place and so on.
• Consider the sensibilities of your date. After a few successful dates, remember that men and women share universal sensibilities. Men and women both like to be complimented, admired and appreciated. Everyone wants to feel important. Specifically, men like it when women suggest doing something together that he will like, such as going fishing or to a sporting event. Women generally appreciate being encouraged to express their feelings, and when men share their own feelings.
“Above all, be comfortable and in touch with your inner self and you’ll be more likely to be ‘lucky in love,’ ” Downey says.
About Deborah Downey
Deborah Downey’s experience spans 25 years of recovery in various 12-step programs around the country. Holding certifications as a professional life coach and as a chemical dependency counselor, Downey has dealt with addiction in its various forms, both as the child of alcoholic parents and as a confidant for others. In her self-help book, “What Are You Worried About!” (http://www.coachdeborahdowney.com/), Downey, who has multiple sclerosis, details a proactive approach to training one’s mind to think positive.