As published in The Florida Villager
“Relationship” is a word that some people run to and others run away from. Dating in your 50’s and 60’s has its challenges and knowing where you stand is one of them. The best way to know is to have a conversation on what each of you is looking for. Trust me on this, it might seem awkward but it could save you a lot of potential heartache in the future.
Let’s start with a major question you need to ask yourself first before you have a sit down with the person you’re dating. Clarity is key.
Am I clear in my mind what I need and want in a relationship? Do I want to date or be in a relationship? Let’s be clear, dating and being in a relationship are 2 different things and it needs to be a point of clarification. Being in a relationship means you are exclusive and building on something while dating is casual with no expectations or responsibilities.
Now that you have your own mind cleared up, lets move on to having that ‘throw everything on the table” conversation. Everyone I know is afraid to ask pointed questions for fear of scaring the other person off and yes, you don’t want to sit across from someone on your first date with a list of questions but at some point, it needs to be addressed. Are we on the same page as far as how we see our futures? If he/she says he/she doesn’t want to get married again and you do, than you are not on the same page and you need to cut bait and move on. Don’t waste time and energy trying to convert him/her to the other side. Your job is not to try and change someone.
Whew…the dreaded conversation is over and it appears at first light that you both see similar futures so now you cross the threshold into a relationship. Here are some tips and questions to ask yourself in this next phase.
- Have I communicated my needs and wants to him/her and do I feel he/she has heard me? Am I being my authentic self? Is he/she? We all want to put our best foot forward when dating but it is so important that you both see each other as you truly are. No false advertising!
- Are we compatible? This crosses all lines. Check compatibility in communication, sexually, socially, religious beliefs, finances and activities.
- Am I listening to my gut? You might not know specifically what is gnawing at you but don’t discredit your gut, it is always on point!
- Am I seeing the relationship as it really is or how I wish it would be? This goes hand in hand with making sure you are hearing exactly what he is saying and not what you want to hear.
- Do we have chemistry and compatibility? If the answer is no, you might want to think of exiting Stage Left.
– Don’t make your list of what you want in a person so long that only 1% of the population will meet your requirements. Despite what people may say, there is such a thing as being too picky.
– Don’t compare this relationship to a previous one. Not fair to either of you.
– Be patient and understand you both are getting to know each other and how you operate
– Don’t lose yourself in the relationship. People in their 50’s and 60’s like independent partners.
– Never stop “dating” each other. Nothing will kill a relationship faster than getting too comfortable too fast
– Once you realize that this is not the relationship for you, get out. There is no perfect time or way to break up, so bite the bullet and pull the trigger. You both will be happier in the long run.
A relationship is meant to flow, make you a better version of yourself and bring you joy. If it isn’t, then it is time to reassess.