How Do You Date After a Long Gap?
Q: After 40 years of marriage my wife has passed away. I am now in the dating scene, and I have to relearn how to romance a woman. I'm not sure I know how any more. What kind of things do I do? Things have changed over the last 40 years! — Gerald, 63
Dr. Susan: Yes, things have changed a lot when it comes to dating. Smart people don't have sex with near-strangers without being aware of the prevalence of STDs. But the basics don't change. You go out to a lot of different places (or go online) and meet a lot of women, you present your best, yet true, self, and you try not to talk a lot about your deceased wife early on. While it's true that some women like the idea of being "romanced," plenty of us don't like the way that sounds. Think more of seeking a partnership with a like-minded person, not of convincing someone to like you by doing things you wouldn't ordinarily do.
Sure, you clean up and dress up a tiny bit for dates, you offer to pay early on while accepting her efforts to even things out, and you show interest in her as a person. And be sure you keep yourself interesting by keeping up with the news, pursuing some hobbies, and being involved in the world. It will get easier once you get back into it for a while.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.