Dating for Boomers With Baggage

But if you’ve been off the market for a couple of decades, be aware that there are sexually transmitted diseases out there today that nobody ever mentioned in your high-school health class. Bottom line: condoms aren’t just for the youngsters.

6. If I date, my kids won’t be able to handle it. Better if I sneak around like a teenager after curfew.

Often TRUE. It’s not that they can’t handle it. But depending on the age and mettle of your kids, you may not want to push a new relationship on them too soon. Get to know a new beau before bringing him home for dinner and a grilling.

Even then, your children may not want to know about your sex life. Pelman’s adult daughter gets right to the point if her mom gets too personal. “She says, ‘Too much information!’” But, Pelman concedes, “She really wants me to be happy. She just doesn’t want to know the details.”

When you do make the introductions, don’t expect your loved ones to launch into a song-and-dance number from The Sound of Music. “Sometimes, it’s not going to happen, and you forcing it isn’t going to make it happen,” says Vogels. “Accept that not everyone gets along. The most you can hope for is that your children will respect that.”

7. There must be things I can do to make or break a date.

TRUE, TRUE, oh so TRUE! It starts with attitude, for sure. Be positive. Don’t focus on your ex-husband or your failing health. No one wants to listen to you bitch about your bunions – at least, not on the first date.

Little touches can be endearing. Smith likes to meet new dates with a bouquet of flowers. “That breaks the ice, and we start talking and chatting,” he says. Where you spend your date also makes a difference. Pelman is happiest in peaceful places where the decibel level won’t limit conversation: wandering around a fishing village, say, or a bird sanctuary. “You have a chance to be able to hear each other instead of in a crowded place.” From bowling to outdoor theatre, any activity will go over well if it’s something you both enjoy.

Just be sure to leave the agenda at home. “See it as having fun, as opposed to ‘Ohmigod, is this going to be the right person?’” says Vogels. “And remember that just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean you can’t take your time.” So the message is go slowly and don’t give up. “You’ve got to keep taking risks and being open to chance,” says Moulden. “The rewards, when you do find somebody, are so great. I think the right one for me is just around the corner!” •

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© Copyright February 2008 CARP magazine