The New Dating Game

5831509222_ec29deaaaf_zI have a friend we’ll call Karen who last dated over twenty years ago. She has found herself newly single and finally ready to enter the dating world again. “I don’t want to go through life alone. I did it once. I can do it again.”

The first thing I suggested was that she put herself in a position to meet people. For the longest time she went from her home to a weekly trip to the grocery store and “church on Sunday” and then complained. “Now that I’m ready to date, I can’t seem to find anyone.”

When I pointed out to Karen that she had very few target-rich environments in her regular schedule. Initially she seemed surprised, but agreed to expand her weekly activities. She started getting a weekly massage, signed up for a gardening class, and volunteered at the library.

Not necessarily the most adventurous activities in some books, but for Karen it put her in contact with people who shared her interests. As she became more involved, she became happier even without meeting someone to date. She almost radiated happiness to the point that people wanted to be with her.

The beauty of Karen’s approach was that life became more of what she was looking for. She found that she enjoyed herself, and wasn’t as worried about looking desperate to find a partner. Then Karen told me something I found to be eye-opening. “I stopped being so picky about who I spend time with. It’s just a date.”

Karen had always been attracted to a certain “type” and when she initially couldn’t find anyone who measured up, she wanted to give up. But she said that once she stopped looking for a type, who might have been all wrong for her anyway, she found that she had a lot more experiences. She has attended baseball games, golf tournaments, gone sailing, and tasted more ethnic food than ever before in her life.

“I go out with a different guy almost every week or two.”

I almost started to become jealous of Karen because she jumped into the new dating field like an old hand. But she said that she had to leave all her past experiences and expectations behind. She now has profiles on several social media sites, a dating profile, and rivals pre-teens in her ability to text now. Before this transformation, she didn’t even have a phone with texting capabilities.

Another piece of advice she shared with me is that she pays her half of the cost of a date. “That way, I can order anything I want without feeling guilty or indebted to someone. I make as much money or more than my dates do, so why not?”

Before too long, Karen made a connection in the waiting room of her weekly massage appointment that is starting to look like it may go somewhere. They have a lot of similar interests, but what really got Karen was the fact that he was attracted to her “love of life” and wanted to get to know someone like that better.

Dating in the 21st century is certainly different than it was a few decades ago, but many things are still the same. Don’t change yourself to please someone else, please yourself. When you’re happy, you’ll likely attract someone who has a similar temperament. Take your time, there really is no rush. But take a page out of Karen’s book and be a little less choosy. She said that the more guys she dated, the better she understood what was really important to her in a partner.

Photo Credit :
Date and Dateless
from Guian Bolisay via Flickr