It’s been 25 years since you dated. The last “date” you remember was in high school or college. Maybe you were a child of the 50s or 60s when dating was less “dating” and more dancing, smoking, and listening to Pink Floyd or the Grateful Dead. Or perhaps you were a child of the 70s when you weren’t quite as free but still retained some sweetness in double dates and seeing movies for the 10th time. Wherever you were, we now find ourselves in a rule-less world of online dating where clearly a lot has changed. A mid-50s female relationship-coaching client asked me, “What do I need to know about online dating?” The advice I gave in response may prove helpful to you.
1. Men and women may be online for different reasons
There are lots of reasons to be online dating: to meet new people, to develop long-term relationships, or to have lots of sex. Online dating provides some anonymity and allows people to market themselves in a particular way. It also allows one to hone in on what they want (activesingles.com; greensingles.com). Be clear about why you are online.
Ask these 2 questions before you get in too far:
- Why did you decide to date online?
- What are you looking for from people you meet online?
2. You need to know the difference between dating and a relationship
The implication of “dating” is that you are trying things out and potentially dating multiple people. A relationship implies that only two people are involved and there is a presumption that there may be a future together. As a rule, men date and women relate.
Ask these questions once you have passed date #3.
- Are you more into dating or relationships?
- How many people do you like to date at once?
3. Sex is forefront in the mind of everyone (yes, everyone)
Most people coming out of divorce have had unsatisfying sex lives for quite some time and are looking to rectify the situation. The pleasure and risks of sex are much different today. The openness is fun; the STDs are not. Don’t be afraid to wait, always use a condom, get tested and ask questions.
Ask these questions cautiously and clearly.
- What are your thoughts on having sex with more than one person at a time?
- Is there anything I need to know about your sexual health before we have sex? (Basically, do you have any STDs I should be aware of?) Have you been tested recently?
You need to know what you want. People may ask you the same questions. Be prepared.
Start by asking yourself all the questions above. And, come to the workshop on online dating on May 20th at 7pm at Local Flames. Register by clicking here.
Authored by Erin Oldham, Ph.D.
Erin is a researcher, relationship & divorce coach, and mediator. Erin works with people as they navigate getting into, sustaining and getting out of relationships. She also works with people as they negotiate divorce and the post-divorce world. Erin has a Ph.D. in Psychology and has been researching child wellbeing and the formation of healthy relationships among children and adults for 20 years. She is approachable, pragmatic, empathic and effective. She facilitates intriguing, engaging workshops on these topics as well. Contact her now at email@example.com or 207-200-3970. More information here. localflamesmaine.com