It’s been over 20 years since you’ve date and you’re ready to go back on the saddle and try the quintessential modern dating tool, “Dating Apps”. Like when you first learn to drive, it’s important to know the “rules of the road”, and have a sense of context . Before you start sliding left and right, there are “8 Rules of the Road” that you should follow:
1. No Baggage Please: Yes, it’s not easy getting pass a breakup or divorce. As Neil Sedaka sang, “Don’t take your love away from me. Don’t you leave my heart in misery. If you go then I’ll be blue’ Cause breaking up is hard to do”. At some point, you will probably want to start dating again. If you do, please make sure that you do not bring any “baggage” from your past relationship(s). Save it for your therapist or friends. It’s kind of like when you travel…maybe it’s better to “check in” that bag, so that the gigantic carry-on baggage you chucked onto the plane doesn’t hurt that poor gentlemen sitting in the aisle seat as you clumsily make your way to your seat! Remember, no baggage allowed when you begin your new dating life!
2. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket: Don’t limit yourself to one dating app. You never know when “Mr. Right” will come along. Of course, select the dating app that is most inline with your goals, interests, and compatibility. Join a couple of other dating apps that you can manage without being stressed. While you may get caught up with all the sliding and matching of dating apps, remember to put yourself out there in the “real world” by engaging in your favorite activities, interests, friends, and other newer dating methods like speed dating.
3. Take Online Dating with a Grain of Salt: One of the greatest benefits of dating apps is that you will be meeting all sorts of people which will increase your chance of a connection. The point of dating apps is to connect you with people whom you’d probably never meet in person. As Camelia Ray, the celebrity matchmaker and online dating expert, has said, “Online dating is a numbers game. It’s about quantity over quality.” Meeting more people to date can be a two-edged sword; you’ll meet some really nice people, but also some bad apples that may not necessarily pass your moral test. So, be ready to wade through the dating pool and also be open to rejection if you’re not swiped. Remember, there is someone for everyone. It just takes time and patience.
4. Take it Offline as Soon As Possible: Remember, the purpose of dating apps is to meet as many people in the most efficient and shortest time. After making a match, do reach out with a nice text and establish a strong rapport online. As ego-boosting and fun as it is to have flirty texts, try to set up an in-person date sooner rather than later. Online dating should not be used to determine if someone is relationship material, but rather is it someone who you enjoy and could potentially want a deeper relationship. According to one study, there is a “tipping point”, between 17 and 23 days after the first message is sent, in which online dating should be taken offline. This study found that the longer the “match” took to meet in person, the more likely they were to feel let down. Besides, wouldn’t you want to know whether your online Prince was for real, or was a dirty old frog (aka “catfishing”)?
5. Have a “Real” Date after Your Coffee Pre-Date: Ask any online dater, the number one activity for the first date is meeting for coffee because it’s safe, short, and inexpensive. Some experts feel that the first date should be a “real” date, ala the traditional longer date. Cocktail Chatter takes a contrarian approach; first have a “Coffee Pre-date” to minimize financial and time costs. If that pre-date is successful, then by all means, plan for a “real” date. Now, “real date” doesn’t mean a fancy dinner, but rather a more thoughtfully planned date of a longer duration. Instead, plan some activity that you mutually like; doing activities especially those that involve physical movement allows you to get to know the other person in a natural, unintimidating way. It also encourages conversation and beats that uncomfortable first date we’ve all witnessed at the restaurant where you see a couple awkwardly try to make conversation, or worse, just seating in utter silence. The most important point is to do something that will allow you to have something in common to talk about.
Here is an interesting chart that shows the favored date activity by age range:
If you want more pointers for date ideas, go to this article
6. Don’t Fast Forward: Texting or talking on the phone for lengthy conversations can sometimes create a false sense of closeness and familiarity. Instead of falling into this trap, get to know your match offline as you would with someone you had met in person. Long lasting relationships come over time and through shared experiences and activities.
7. Set Optimistic but Realistic Expectations: Remember dating apps is a way to meet people. So, don’t go in asking “Is he the one?”. Instead, ask yourself “Is he someone I’d like to see again?”.
8. Have Fun and Slide Away!
****Cocktail Chatterers, do you have any other tips/experiences you’d like to share about the new dating norms?****
Let us know in the comments below
Please note that much of the content of this post came from an excellent article by Julie Ray, “How to Use Dating Apps After 40”.