Eight Dates To Avoid

We all know that searching for love takes time – most of us have lived that, bought the t-shirt and have the scars to prove it, but we somehow still manage to find the not-quite-so-amazing people out there while searching for our soul-mates.

Admittedly, when you first meet someone, it’s not always apparent that they’re going to be a pain in the posterior – and one of the things you need to work out for yourself is whether their negative qualities are slight enough that you can just put up with them. If your date is showing one or more of the following types of behavior, you probably need to have that long hard think sooner rather than later:

  1. The Paranoid – assuming that every call you take is from another lover. You’ll find yourself having to constantly prove you are innocent.
  2. The Jealous Date – the Paranoid’s slightly easier cousin – they’ll be constantly in touch and jealous of anyone who takes up your time. You may have to reset all your passwords to get some privacy.
  3. The Liar – unable to stop telling stories and changing the details every time they breathe. It’s probably a call for attention, but how can you trust them when they say they love you?
  4. The Flocker – wanting to meet, greet and be accepted by all your friends and family so that they can start pumping them for information. Not necessarily the worst type of dating experience unless they then start using that information to exert control.
  5. The Controller – always wanting to be in charge and making all the decisions. Highly manipulative, you ‘ll end up feeling constantly on guard and uncomfortable.
  6. The Suicide Threat – with an addiction to drama, they will threaten to end themselves, or that they will be destroyed if you leave them. Even if you manage to move on, this date will try and follow you to try and sabotage your chances of happiness elsewhere.
  7. Jekyll/Hyde – the most amazing person in public, but they’ll be picking you apart the moment you’re alone. If they’re not putting you down, they’ll be putting down all the other people you know and making you feel isolated. How can you know what they really feel with all this deceit?
  8. The Clingy Date – capable of plumbing new depths of low esteem and leaping to the worst possible conclusions at a moment’s notice. They want to be with you all the time and be reassured that they are the center of their world.

Just remember that the only person responsible for your happiness and safety is yourself, so don’t be ashamed of taking care of yourself and your options. Dating is meant to be fun, so don’t let yourself be dragged down.



Do We All Need To Learn New Tricks?

Despite what some of the more irate portions of the media would have you believe, we are living in one of the most prosperous and amazing countries in the world. Our standards of living are among the highest anywhere – and by and large we’re able to live lives that are only dreamed of in other parts of the world. One of the standard measurements of quality of life is the average age that we live to – and it should come as no surprise to hear that we are all living, on average, far longer than even a couple of generations ago.

Perhaps it should be no surprise then to realize that people like us are making the most of our extended health and life. If our bodies are unwilling to match the fire of our passions, there are plenty of virility and hormone treatments available these days from the pharmacy to give a bit of a helping hand, but generally most of us are fit and well enough that this is not a problem.

What does seem to be a problem is something that is as much a part of how we’ve grown up as anything else – despite the sexual liberation of the 1960s, many of us still don’t have a great knowledge of appropriate safe sex precautions. This is only compounded by the assumption that condoms, for example, are only used as a contraceptive, rather than as a barrier to sexually transmitted infections.

As many of us pass our reproductive years, there seems to be a worrying trend to assume that all the safe sex precautions we may have taken in the past are no longer needed. For some of us this is a product of how we were raised, a world where you married your high school sweetheart and sex education was something we kind of picked up along the way.

As responsible adults however, seeking our way through this new online dating scene – typically after many years in a long term relationship – it is only sensible to need to educate ourselves about the risks and opportunities out there. It’s even more essential that we don’t shy away from educating those who currently provide nursing care.

The myth that the older person has no interest in a sex life has crashed headlong into the expectations of our younger relatives and now causes all manner of uncertainty – with reports of nursing homes unsure how to cope with sexual activity among their clients. According to recent news reports, these have ranged from the simple requests for double beds to families arranging visits from professional sex workers!

Learning new tricks to keep ourselves safe therefore isn’t just something for discussion with our new dates and our friends, but a conversation that needs to happen on a wider basis so that people understand that sex lives don’t finish with the arrival of silver hair.

Are They Interested?

We can all fall into the trap of over-thinking the whole experience of looking for a partner. It’s hard enough work to pluck up the courage to dip your toe back into the pool, but when you start to worry about whether your potential date is actually interested in you, or is just passing the time, you can wind yourself up into a complete mess. It’s understandable – not everyone is going to click with you, and vice versa, but don’t discount your gut instincts. Between your common sense and the promptings of this list, you might find things a little easier.

The person you are chatting to is likely to be interested in you as a date if:

  • They pay you compliments – because they want you to think kindly about them and that’s more likely if they’re praising you.
  • They keep in touch – if they’re chasing you, they’re interested, even if they try to cover it up by playing it cool.
  • They plan things to do with you – they want to be involved in your life and what you do, so they’ll join in making plans, whether it’s for your next date, or a holiday, or possibly something a bit more long term in nature.
  • They’ll open up to you – a natural part of coming to trust people we like is to share more information about our lives and what is important to us.
  • They’ll be reliable – they don’t want to disappoint you, so they’ll do something when they say they will.
  • They will want to introduce you to their friends and family – this is because they want to share the excitement they feel when they are with you with all those around them.
  • They’ll listen to you – they won’t see giving you their time as a chore, and will be there to support you if you need them.

Above all, the most obvious way to tell if someone really is interested in you is if there are no mixed messages – and this is something that works both ways. If someone is interested in you, and you are interested in them, you will both want to know where you stand – and so there will be no vagueness or uncertainty at all.

The key here is to listen to your common sense and gut instincts. Most people don’t listen to their gut feelings, especially when it comes to areas like dating that affect other people. It is however a potent tool for you to examine your own reactions to what people are doing and how they are behaving. If you are not sure about whether someone is interested, go ahead and ask them directly. Even if they say they are not, at least you will know for certain and can move on appropriately.


Can Men and Women Manage Platonic Friendship?

We all have a range of male and female friendships through our lives, and these will have ranged in significance along the way – indeed they still do. There are just plainly some people that you spend more time with than others, and there are certain people who are more into some activities than others. You might have a couple of friends who enjoy hiking, while there are others who prefer to watch the game with you. Others might prefer an evening at the theatre, or are the ones you know you’ll see at the bar every Friday. The big question though is whether single men and women can ever really just be platonic friends.

Whether you’ve only known each other socially, or used to go out with each other, there’s always that hope that you can go for coffee, see a movie, socialise or go to the gym and share special moments without anything else arising. It’s a lovely idea, but making it happen in practice is a lot more difficult.

The long and the short of it is that men and women can be platonic friends – but there’s a fairly substantial hurdle to overcome. There must never be any romantic, intimate, lustful or sexual feelings experienced on either side, at any time. The advantages if you can manage this are tremendous – you can widen your respective friendship bases, share new experiences and hear different points of view that you might never have encountered within your own comfort zones.

Otherwise, with the rise of romantic feelings, it gets a lot more difficult. Your friend may become jealous of your dates, stop you flirting or meeting anyone new or do their best to take all your time up for themselves. Worse, they won’t be there to support you through the ups and down of your romantic journey. It can be even worse if the positions are reversed and you are having feelings that are not being reciprocated. The stresses that this will put on you both will only get worse the longer you hide it. You may need to cut back on contact, being honest about the reasons if you’re to have any hope of salvaging anything of your friendship.

As a general rule of thumb: if you want to sleep with each other, you aren’t friends any more. If you have a lot of friendships with people of the opposite sex, without romantic elements, then that’s something to be celebrated, just remember though that if you are single and looking for romance that you may need to take steps to make sure that you are really single and available without things getting too complicated.

Breaking The Ice

Getting started with your profile took a little while, but you’ve started looking around and making those initial advances and it’s starting to look rosy. Now though, you have a new problem – how to take it further and get a conversation going that might actually lead to a date. So where should you begin, to break the ice with that first email?

Well, it is possible to over-analyse things, so let’s keep it simple. All you have to do is ask yourself a simple question – what in their profile first caught my attention? There will usually be one or two things that made you pause – it might be their sense of humor, or their hobbies, or possible just where they lived, or even something referenced in their username.

Have a think about it and the focus of what you need to write about will soon become clear. If it’s around hobbies or other interests that you have in common, then you’ve already got the framework you need for a good conversation. Having that shared interest should mean that you’ve got plenty to fall back on and enjoy talking about.

The composition of that first email is of course going to be down to your personal style, but once you’ve opened with a basic introduction perhaps the most effective approach is to comment and compliment on their profile, followed by a couple of questions. The importance of these questions is that it shows that you are interested in finding out more about them, and it helps promote the flow of the conversation by giving them something to talk about in return. After all, most people do like talking about their favorite subjects: themselves!

Once the initial exchange of emails has taken place, you can then get into providing more details about yourselves and showing off the best sides of your personality – hopefully building things up so that you are both happy to meet up for that all important first date.

This really doesn’t have to be complicated at all – and if they aren’t interested, well they’ll either not answer or they’ll tell you outright – so there’s no reason to wind yourself up into a knot over things that may not happen. Don’t forget that most people are far more outgoing and relaxed if they are talking online than they might be if you met them in a more conventional environment, so if you’ve seen someone’s profile and want to take the plunge, take a deep breath and go for it.

Foods To Get You In The Mood

Wherever you look, around the world, there will be someone, somewhere, suggesting some type of food to help you get in the mood for love. The search for aphrodisiacs is as old as the dating game itself, with the Romans and Ancient Greeks sharing their tips as readily as they wrote of the wars that they won. In South America, a traditional wedding gift in some cultures is one of a meal of ants because of the extra vitamins that are believed to bring extra vigour to the bedroom of the newlyweds. In Afghanistan, instead of Viagra, lambs testicles are a traditional prescription to help with a man’s ardour.

Here in the West, a suggestion of eating a fry-up of testicles is more likely to send your date running for the hills, but food still plays an important part in our dating rituals and everyday life. Not for nothing do people say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, after all. Here are some more commonly available alternatives that are widely tipped to get everyone in the mood for love:

  • Pomegranate – rich in antioxidants, this fruit reinforces the lining of blood vessels, which means that they can better cope when the blood is pumping in greater quantities…
  • Chocolate – this is perhaps the most well-known weapon in the battle of the sexes, and a great favourite of the famous Casanova. It is believed to enhance the production of serotonin in the brain, which makes you feel happier.
  • Oysters – while unappetising to look at, they are full of zinc, which is essential for sexual function. Oysters are also known to trigger the production of testosterone for that extra bit of vim.
  • Honey – used in traditional bridal drinks after the wedding – leading to the term ‘honeymoon’ – honey is believed to aid fertility, as well as being packed to the brim with useful vitamins.
  • Chilli – not just for burning your mouth, it also increases your circulation, gets your heart rate up, stimulates those nerve endings and generally gets the body’s endorphins pumping. A good dose of chilli gets you flushed and ready for more.
  • Caviar – all those eggs are of course representations of fertility and are full of essential minerals and vitamins.

Do any of these work? Well, that’s open to debate, but as meals are an important part of how we socialise, is it so unexpected that good company, the right chemistry, a rush of feeling good from good food and the stimulation it provides will often get us feeling at least a little affectionate?

A Senior Guide to Sexting

Sexting can be fun as a way of flirting when far apart, but it’s no coincidence that you tend to only hear about it in the media when the rich and famous get it all dreadfully wrong. Most of us these days have phones that can both send texts and take photos, so it’s well worth approaching the whole idea of sexting with a degree of caution.

The great danger of sexting is that it’s a great example of one of those things that seem light and funny and an immediate way of telling someone what they are missing. It can seem like something incredibly sexy to do at the time, but it really does tend to backfire with alarming regularity.

The upside is that it can be a very spur of the moment thing to do when feeling lustful. Unfortunately that is also a very good description of the downside of sexting. Lust is such a powerful emotion, no matter what age we are, that it usually does a very good job of making us not think things through, leading to embarrassment.

Relationship coaches all agree that you need to take a realistic view of your relationship, and of what the situation is when you are texting each other. Sexting can be entirely appropriate if you are in a serious relationship, and you are both on the same page emotionally. You need to have that essential trust between you that the words and images that you share between you will be accepted, and that most importantly that they will remain private between you and not shared on with anyone else.

It is absolutely inappropriate and can be positively dangerous to start sexting at an early point in your relationship. You should never send messages like this if you really don’t know the other person very well, or if you intend the message as some kind of joke. You should absolutely not send a sext as part of your initial chat up line. It does seem odd that some people should think that this is somehow a good idea, but being extremely obvious about things really just doesn’t work.

In terms of how best to handle your sexy texts and photos, well as a general rule of thumb, if you are going to, avoid sending anything that has your face in it, and in particular don’t send anything that you wouldn’t want your partner’s friends to see. Try to make things erotic rather than pornographic, and you’ll both have images and memories to savour without leaving yourself exposed if the relationship ends.

Above all else, take care when you are sending the messages that you are sending them to the right person – more than one person has had that awful realisation that they’ve sent pictures to family members by mistake…


Does Education Level Matter?

One of the many things that occasionally astound me is the number of different ways that we can choose to match ourselves up with people. For example, there’s that seemingly inconsequential question of what education level we’ve reached. It seems like such a small element in the profile – so is it really necessary to be on the same level as your potential partner when it comes to this? Just how important in the grand scheme of things is it?

There’s certainly nothing to stop you from going out with whoever you like. The education level of someone is almost certainly not going to stop you from being able to commit to and enjoy a full and happy relationship. What a disparity in levels can do though is make the passage and development of your relationship a little more challenging than you might otherwise expect.

There really are a number of advantages to having a partner with a similar education level – and you will see these easily among any couples that you know. By far the greatest bonus to your relationship is that you find it easier to talk about, comprehend and debate subjects, ideas and interests that you both understand. Even if you have differing opinions, you are both equipped to be able to discuss those opinions, and even win each other round to alternative stances.

You will also find that from that starting point in your educations you have embraced differing interests, hobbies and experiences such as books and films that you’ve enjoyed and can now share with each other to broaden your collective experience. You will definitely both find it much easier to get on with each other’s friends if they are also at similar levels, making social events much less stressful.

Depending on what level you’ve reached, your shared education level may also indicate a potentially much higher shared income level as well.

If this all sounds a little clinical, then take some heart from the realisation that you’ll likely match up with someone at a similar level anyway due to the process of “like attracting like” – where you gravitate towards people with similar values, intelligence, status and beliefs. This is known in academic circles as positive assortative mating. In basic terms, it means that it is easier to thrive and get along long-term with your partner the more you have in common. You can choose to date whoever you like, but you’ll tend to find yourself discovering lots of areas in common anyway, and don’t be surprised if your educational level is one of them.

The Age Old Question

It might seem to be a bit of a strange question to ask here, but having made the decision to search online for someone special, how important to you is the question of their age? For many people it can be a deal-breaker if someone is significantly older or younger than them. Many of us prefer to date people who are only a few years different from us, either older or younger.

The significance of the question can’t be underestimated, even here on a site that specialises in the more mature dater. Surveys repeatedly list it as one of the most important factors that influences whether or not someone will contact you when they see your profile online. Despite the whole idea  of sugar daddies, cougars or toy boys and the superficial appeal to some, there are some issues that will affect relationships with an age imbalance.

One level can be on the friends level, where each partner has friends networks with significant age gaps. This can make it very difficult to arrange mutually satisfying social events due to disparate expectations of what makes a good time. More often, the difficulties arise from the often subconscious power struggles that appear in a mixed age partnership. The older partner will often try to take charge of decisions, planning and paying for things. This often leads to resentment  by the younger partner. The younger partner will often usually not be as experienced in things of interest to the older partner, or even any interest. This then leads to feelings of rejection by the older partner.

The differences will also be apparent in areas such as general health or sex drive – and most importantly in terms of the expectations both sides bring to the level of commitment and longevity of the relationship. The younger partner may well want to have children, or the older partner more interested in marriage – and either may have very different beliefs around casual dating.

You can still make these relationships work however – if you are prepared to put the effort in. A large part of it is making sure that you communicate early on, and effectively, so that you are both on the same page. This is as true of someone who is sixty dating someone who is fifty as it is of someone who is in their forties dating someone who is in their thirties. You must be equally capable and willing to support each other in the face of criticism from people around you. Communicate and be a team together against the rest of the world, and there’s no reason you can’t make it work.

You’re Never Too Old

How many times over the years have you been chewing the fat with friends, maybe feeling a little insecure about being single, and heard  the sterling advice about not needing to worry because you’ve got plenty of time? When we’re young, it’s easy to be reassured that we should be enjoying ourselves. In fact, to be brutally honest, it’s about the best advice we could be given when in our mid to late teens, just as we’re worrying that life is passing us by and that not having a partner somehow makes us abnormal.

It’s still even good advice for people in their early twenties – some of whom are in a rush to marry and have children. The problem at that point can be that they are so locked into a tunnel vision of what they think they want that they don’t actually appreciate what they have, and don’t let themselves explore and grow into the more rounded individuals that they deserve to be. But should there ever be a time when we start worrying?

The danger of always putting relationships on the back-burner is that we can get too set in our ways. We all carry our armor around with us, and for anyone who can read body language, that can look like big blazing neon signs over our heads telling everyone to “Keep Away!” By the time you get to our age, that sign can be pretty huge and take a lot of effort to disconnect. In a similar way, someone getting to our age who has perhaps just come out of the comfort of a long term relationship may be worrying about whether there’s any chance of rediscovering that buzz and that chance of someone else to settle down with.

If the growing trend for seniors to discover love through online dating has told us anything though, it is that we are not alone, and that it is never too late to start taking the risk of opening up our hearts. Whether we’ve closed them to protect them from further hurt, or because we never allowed ourselves to be open in the first place, there is absolutely no upper limit to when we can discover love through senior dating sites.

If we can challenge ourselves to accept the lessons that life has taught us so far, then it’s not such a stretch to challenge ourselves to dare the lessons that life has not yet brought to us – and there’s no reason why those lessons should not include letting ourselves relax into someone else’s arms.

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