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The Midlife Dating Dance: He Stepped on My Toe

[ 4 ] October 31, 2011 |

In case you’re new here, I haven’t been dating lately. I put myself in dating timeout last May following two intense back-to-back relationships that together lasted 16 years of my life. For the past two seasons I’ve only cracked the dating door three inches (three different male suitors for those of you who don’t read code), only to shut and dead bolt it again for more introspection.

dating after 50, midlife dating

You can tell a lot about a person by how they eat, dance, and drive but mostly by what they say.

My Dating Dances

My three brief dating dances were with handsome, successful, and intelligent men all of whom I could have spent more time with casually, but I only felt chemistry with one. Of course he was the bad boy of the bunch who self confessed up front that he had commitment issues. So that dance card went back to the cashier barely used.

 If someone shows you who he is believe him the first time.

The other two gentlemen remain friends and I wish them love, happiness, and at least one last chance. After all there’s someone for every one in this big world of 7 billion. Right?

Breaking out my dating dance shoes seemed promising this last round. Conversation flowed easily for hours on end. My confidence was high. I felt good. I felt hopeful. Then…

Dancer three told me he wanted a partner who could contribute equally on dates, vacations, and in expenses in life. He wanted a giver, not a taker.

I’ve never been a gold digger and have always contributed in my relationships through helping with the business, the household, the children or whatever. Still this giver/taker comment caused me pause.

A Dating Dufus

Though I could pay for my own cover charges, drinks, and pizza, I told him I wasn’t in the best financial position because of the slow freelance writing market and economy in general. He said that was OK, I had potential.

Ouch. Isn’t that like saying she has good personality but isn’t much to look at? To me it was unkind.

On another date, as I was explaining how rebuilding my life after moving back to Kansas City was so much harder than I ever imagined, he interrupted to inject, “Your choices got you here, your choices will get you out.”

So much for empathy. Was that the sound of bone cracking?

After a few other dating missteps and a question about the complexity of my tax returns, I quietly excused myself from the dance floor to get some band-aids for my toes.

No they aren’t broke, thanks for asking. I just have them elevated while I wait for a meeker, more compassionate soul to listen to the music with me, hold me close and sway to the music without bodily harm.

Takeaways & Dating Tips for Those in the Dance:

  • You’re either in or out. Don’t re-enter the dating circuit if you’re half in, half out.
  • Take full responsibility for your part in the dance.
  • Dating isn’t like ordering off a menu. You can’t just tick down your list and have a happy meal. If you’re that picky of an eater, you’d better enjoy your own company, a lot.
  • The first month of dating is the exploratory phase, not to dissect your subject and place him or her under a microscope. (Note to self.)
  • Try not to talk about your exes for as many dates as possible. This is extremely tough for midlifers with baggage, but make it a game with a buzzer noise if possible. It just doesn’t serve getting to know each other by talking about the past.
  • If someone leans in to give you a kiss and you pull away, you’re either not ready or they’re not it.
  • Dating is supposed to be fun. If you’re not looking forward to the date or the dance pick another partner.
  • Dating later in life can be a bit awkward. Be patient, give it time. It will come back to you.


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Category: Men & Dating

Comments (4)

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  1. John says:

    Well said on the pointers about dating expecially the half-in/half-out point. Dancing is good metaphor about relationships. Sometimes toes get stepped on (or energy from one partner) but the dance continues, albeit a little sluggishly. Still…the face to face movement is required and couples can get better at it. Sounds like though what you were talking about wasn’t a toe stepping situation…more like they were stomped on.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comments. At this point in life, I really try not to be oversensitive (stepped vs. stomped) but just very observant in honoring what makes me feel good vs. shitty.

  2. Having been a mid-life dater I will vouch for all of your suggestions, plus one. At this point in our lives, we need to get over the “bad boy” thing. I’ll confess I probably cut loss some amazing dancers just because some “bad boy” showed up only to step on my toes as he waltzed out the door.

    This should be required reading for mid-life daters.

    • Brenda Clevenger says:

      Thank you Miss Demure Restraint. Sounds like we need to exchange notes or publish a blog with Dating Diva. I’m writing a website and blog for a new midwest OFFLINE matchmaking service so any tips we can give the 50+ guys and gals would be good. Thanks for chiming in.

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