Fellas, if you're in your 50s, single and dating (and feeling like you're not getting anywhere), consider this a little friendly feedback from the ladies.
Maybe you've heard it all before, maybe it doesn't apply to you, maybe you've got the dating thing down -- it doesn't matter. When it comes to women and dating, I say you can never know enough.
And women, lest you think you're off the hook, you're not. Even though I'm talking to the guys here, many of these points apply to you too. So listen up.
Dating in midlife isn't always easy, but at least you're all in it together, and you can all make it great.
So men, before you break out into a cold sweat, know that all this is well intended and researched. I've gathered input from three of my most trusted single girlfriends whose ages range from early 40s to late-50s. They're smart, sane, and they're here to help.
And so am I. Since I got married for the first time at 51, I can speak from experience when it comes to dating men in their 50s.
We love you guys and want the best for you, so here goes.
Maybe you're divorced, newly separated, or have been single forever. Maybe you're lonely, horny, you want a girlfriend, need some company, or just need to get laid. Who can blame you? We ALL want love, but some guys blow it by rushing.
"There seems to be some kind of 'trying on of a girlfriend.' On the first date, I've had a guy take my hand and rub my shoulders, without any words of seduction or romance. To me, that's a turn-off."
"Some men don't want to invest the time it takes getting to know you. If you don't sleep with them fast enough, they get frustrated and lose interest."
"Online daters, especially the older ones, are like kids in a candy store, not ever giving anyone a chance because there's always someone else."
Slow down. Don't get too flirty too fast, don't text, and definitely don't sext. Even if you're fresh out of a miserable marriage and new to the singles scene, take a breath.
You can be romantic and take the lead, but exercise patience. Guys that are too fast getting in are probably going to be too fast getting out.
Chivalry and romance aren't dead -- in fact, they're alive and well and much appreciated. So take your time getting to know your date; ask questions, be curious. And when you've accrued a decent amount of courtship hours, then you can bang away.
Ok, so you're livid at your ex, or fuming about the divorce, or bitter you're still on Match.com after all these years. In other words, you're furious. We get your circumstances might suck, but don't let it consume you. Don't let your anger turn into emotional baggage you carry around everywhere you go.
"The biggest turn-off for me is when a divorced man compares you to their ex-wife. You can prepare a lovely Italian meal for a guy, and all of a sudden he brings up the fact his ex made the best lasagna of all time."
"Men in their fifties can be cynical, especially if they were in a bad marriage. They talk about how awful their ex-wives are, and how much money they had to give them."
"Getting involved with a guy who's still reeling from his divorce can sometimes feel like he's having an affair, except that the 'other woman' isn't a woman, it's his anger."
Dump the baggage, dude. Stop talking about your ex, your kids, your money, etc. If you're still that angry and wounded, get help. Some therapy, meditation, or a little alone time wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for you. The point is, hold back from dating until you're healed.
SO WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?
"Nothing is a bigger turn-on to a woman in her 50s than a man that makes her feel like she's the best thing that ever happened to him."
"Be honest with her and don't lead her on. Listening and wanting to know everything about her earns you major points."
"Keep an open mind and heart. Let go of your fear and allow yourself to love again."
Here's the good news: Chicks dig fellas in their 50s.
Despite the occasional dating disasters and mating missteps, there's a lot to love about you guys. You're older and wiser, smarter and sexier than you were in your younger days. Plus, your experience and maturity give you more depth and better perspective in life. I say it's time to use it to your advantage.
We're rooting for you men, so go get 'em (just don't go too fast).
Earlier on Huff/Post50: