Midlife CoupleCredit: Public Domain; Creative Commons; Wikimedia CommonsCredit: Public Domain; Creative Commons; Wikimedia Commons

Midlife Dating Overview

You've reached a point in your life where you realize that if you want a romantic or sexual relationship with another person, you're going to have to re-enter the dating world. The good news is, even at midlife, there are many other people in the same situation.

Baby boomers beware though, the dating scene has changed drastically since your youth. Personal computers and access to the Internet have greatly reduced the distance between potential partners no matter where they live geographically.

Whether you choose to date in the traditions of earlier decades or try your hand at online dating, remember to put your safety -- both emotional and physical -- first.

Personal ComputerCredit: Open Clip Art Library; Public Domain; Wikimedia CommonsCredit: Open Clip Art Library; Public Domain; Wikimedia Commons

Finding the Courage to Date Again

No matter the reason you've decided you are ready to date again, there are some basic intrapersonal housekeeping issues you are going to want to have in place before you gird yourself with armor and face the world of singles.

It's true;  you don't have to do anything other than throwing on the appropriate clothing for the adult watering hole of your choice. That works for some people. It's not an approach that is inherently right or wrong -- but it may not be the best choice for you, depending on the type of relationship you are seeking.

But if you've had one or more unsuccessful or unsatisfying personal relationships in the past,  you may want to spend some time reflecting on patterns of behavior or thoughts that may have contributed to the demise of those relationships.  Look to see if there are patterns in the type of partners you have chosen in the past; are there commonalities in behaviors and personality types you have chosen previously that you may want to avoid in the future?

The dating world, as you may remember, is much like a roller coaster ride;  emotional and physical ups and downs from time to time.  But you survived that period in your youth; now you have the advantage of life experience on your side.

Safe Sex

Another reality in the 21st century is that unprotected sex can kill. When baby boomers were young, unprotected sex may have resulted in pregnancy or venereal diseases (now called sexually transmitted diseases) such as gonorrhea or syphilis. Unpleasant as those sexual diseases are, at least they could be cured with medication.

Today, AIDS is among the sexually transmitted diseases that can lead to ongoing illness and death. Human papilloma virus (HPV), also sexually transmitted, is known to be the single greatest factor leading to cervical cancer and now thought to be the leading cause of throat and mouth cancers.

Just when people in midlife thought unprotected sex was possible again since pregnancy would not be an issue for post-menopausal women, the possibility of acquiring a potentially fatal disease through unprotected sex should be enough to give anyone pause.

Choosing Your Dating Options

There are as many approaches to dating in midlife as there are single adults.  No one approach is guaranteed to result in a successful pairing. You need to decide what approach or approaches you are most comfortable with and determine the path you will take.

Maybe you would be most comfortable double dating with another couple, just to get your feet wet again, so to speak. You might take your friend up on his offer of introducing you to a co-worker, or your mother in her desire to have you meet the new golf pro at the country club.

It doesn't matter so much how you start, but that you do find the courage to begin.  You may meet a suitable dating partner the first time out, but it's likely to take longer. Don't be in a hurry; impatience lends itself to snap judgments that may later be regretted.

Most of all, have fun.  Don't take yourself -- or potential partners -- too seriously too quickly.