New Dating Ideas for Over 50s - dummies

New Dating Ideas for Over 50s

By Pepper Schwartz

Copyright © 2014 AARP. All rights reserved.

If you were married a long time or lived alone a long time and lived life exactly as it appealed to you, you may have accumulated some strong habits, and entertaining new ideas about how to spend time with someone else may be hard.

Still, plowing some new ground together is a great idea. Here are some activities that are particularly likely to create some good feelings between the two of you.

Take a class together on date night

A great class taught by a gifted teacher is engrossing, entertaining, and enlivening. If you pick out a class that interests you both, you can become history buffs together or take an introduction to art history or geology.

Learning something new together builds a sense of you two as a couple, and research has shown that doing something innovative together is likely to bring couples together more tightly than doing things they know well. But this is only a good idea if you don’t have any of these issues:

  • You’re competitive, and if your date is better at something than you are, it will bother you.

  • You’re not willing to go the distance with the class if it stops appealing to you but your partner still likes it. (You can’t abandon something when you’re doing it as a couple activity! It’s bad form and will hurt your blossoming relationship.)

  • You have a short attention span, and you know you’ll get tired of the class part of the way in (so it would be best if you didn’t start).

Do volunteer work together

Showing your compassionate side is never a bad idea. Also, if you pick an emotionally fulfilling and touching charitable endeavor, the feeling of doing the right thing and being a good person will infuse the relationship.

You need to pick your joint commitment very carefully, however. You both need to feel that this volunteer work is a fulfilling and uplifting enterprise. It can’t feel forced or inauthentic; that would have the opposite effect on the two of you.

But if it’s really and truly something that touches both your hearts, you’ll admire that in each other, and your time spent volunteering will help each of you feel good about doing good in the world and feel proud of each other as a couple.

Get sporty on a date

If your life is organized around active sports, then you’ll probably try and find someone who’s at least somewhat enthusiastic about physical activity. You just want to set it up right.

One of the nice things about doing a sport together is that sports produce, or at least can potentially produce, adrenaline, which can affect the way you see someone and how that person sees you. All sports that produce a thrill induce the secretion of endorphins, the hormones that make you feel good and also feel good about someone else.

You may consider using endorphins to help make your partner’s heart grow fonder “cheating,” but if your partner is athletic, she probably knows the effect of endorphins, even if she hasn’t read this book.

Sports and physical activities are a great way to get the blood coursing through your veins. Some sports, like bungee jumping, are obvious thrills that get you excited (if you aren’t so scared that you’re angry).

But other sports, like hiking or kayaking, are more blissful than hormone-producing (unless you’re white-water kayaking or ocean kayaking, in which case you have gallons of hormones pumping through your system). Bicycling on a pretty day and skiing are wonderful ways of spending time together.

Opt for relaxing, low-key dates

Nothing’s wrong with wanting slow, easy, and intimate times that don’t require travel, physical exertion, or other people. If you’re more of a cerebral type or you just want to share more discussion than vivid experiences, then you want to do things that give you time to just hang out. You can plan plenty of great dates with that premise in mind.

Exploring: The fun of the hunt

Collecting something together is really fun, and it implies a future. It really doesn’t matter what you collect. It can be old teapots, quilts, or antique car posters, or perhaps you enjoy just looking around at garage sales or rural antique stores for something unexpected.

Unwinding together

You also have the option of doing absolutely nothing besides enjoying each other’s company in a nice setting. You can go to the mountains and have a cup of coffee in the restaurant at the top of the hill.

You can go to the beach with a couple of good books or a board game. You can go to a marina and admire the sunset. Or you can simply watch your favorite TV series and veg out with finger food or a pizza.

You don’t have to do much at all if you’re interested in each other, but in the beginning of the relationship, it helps to have some point to the date so that you share something in those first weeks and months, when you don’t really know each other very well.