Ask Joan: Dating Quickies!

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I had the pleasure of presenting my “How the Heck Do I Date at This Age?” webinar, hosted by Senior Planet and AARP, to 3,300 registered viewers on June 29. It was a lively meeting, with viewers filling the chat with questions and comments. If we’d had this meeting in person, I bet many attendees would already be dating each other!

When people registered, they sent in more than 300 questions for me. I covered as many as I could in an hour. This month’s column is a flurry of brief answers to some of those questions.

Q 1: Can you recommend socializing activities to meet single seniors instead of dating websites?

A: Do the social activities you truly enjoy, so whether or not you meet someone, you’ll have a good time. Go dancing, attend community events, join a singing or hiking group, take a class, volunteer for a cause or organization you care about. Check out to find senior activity groups in your area.

Q 2: How can I make the first move to ask a man for coffee or a drink to get to know him?

A: Just do it: “Would you like to continue this conversation over coffee or a drink?” What’s the worst that can happen — he says no? If you don’t ask, the answer is no. If you do ask, there’s the possibility of a yes.

Q 3: Is it okay to fib about my age if people frequently comment that I look and act younger?

A: Please don’t. If you lie about your age, you’re starting a new relationship with a lie. How will that work out when your date learns the truth? Let’s own our age and experience instead of buying into society’s youth obsession. If you worry that people will think you’re even older than you are because most people lie, include this: “I don’t lie about my age. I’ve earned every decade.”

Q 4: What are the most important functions of the first date?

A: Learn enough about each other to decide whether you want a second date. Even if you don’t want to see this person again, the first date wasn’t a waste. You got to “practice” dating — how to keep a conversation going with a new person, what to reveal, what to hold back.

Q 5: How do we balance our financial differences while dating?

A: Don’t talk finances at all during the initial messaging and in-person dates. Dump anyone who expresses interest in your money. I recommend inexpensive dates and splitting the bill while you’re getting to know each other — coffee, lunches rather than dinners, and outdoor activities, for example. Then if you want to continue dating and one of you has substantially more income than the other, that person can offer to treat on more expensive dates.

Q 6: Does the “sex on the third date” rule apply for our age group?

A: There are no rules. Some folks want to move to sex quickly. Some prefer “friends first.” Others want to be sure the relationship is serious. You get to make — or break — whatever rules you want.

Q 7: How do I weed out older guys who are still trying to play the field when they should be settled?

A: Why assume older guys “should be settled”? Plenty of folks of all genders are not trying to settle down. They may prefer a variety of relationships or want to explore who’s out there without pressure to choose. If you’re looking for an exclusive relationship quickly, you can say so and hold out for that, but there’s nothing wrong with wanting something different.

Q 8: At this age, how long should we wait for compatibility? A minute? A day?

A: Should you keep dating someone if there’s no attraction or interest? No. How quickly should you move on? It depends — is there enough interest to see what develops? If so, give it a few dates. But if there’s nothing there, especially if you’re not compatible in essential values and views, end it politely and quickly: “I don’t see us as a match, but I wish you luck finding what you seek.”

Q 9: What about my friends and coworkers seeing me online looking desperate?

A: If your friends and coworkers are on the same dating sites, which is the only way they’ll see you, they’re there for the same reason you are! They’ll probably be embarrassed to see you, too. They may worry that you’ll “out” them at work or in your friend circle. Mum’s the word, unless they bring it up privately, and then you can share dating stories and laugh about them.

Dating resources:

Want Joan’s tips for online dating? Check out her tips in the 2023 Annual Technology Review, a donor-exclusive benefit. To read the full review and receive other impact-based benefits throughout the year, become a Senior Planet donor today. Click here to give!

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Joan Price has been Senior Planet’s “Sex at Our Age” columnist since 2014. She is the author of four self-help books about senior sex, including her award winners: “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex” and “Sex after Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality after Losing Your Beloved.” Visit Joan’s website and blog for senior sex news, views, tips, and sex toy reviews from a senior perspective. Subscribe to Joan’s free, monthly newsletter.

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