Dating After Forty, Part Two – The Blind Date

Plunging back into the dating scene in middle age can be intimidating, but it is by no means impossible. Life is more complicated when you are trying to meld established careers or create a blended family which includes teenagers – but with patience and good will on all sides, miracles can happen.

Before any of these things can even be considered, you need to find that Right Person. If you no longer have the leisure or inclination to frequent the bar scene, you will need to find a new way of meeting people. In the next few parts of this series, we will consider some of those methods.

The most obvious one is to be introduced to someone by a real-life friend or family member. This can work wonderfully well, or it can be an unmitigated disaster, just like anything else. Still, it is a risk worth taking if you think your well-meaning matchmaker has a reasonable amount of insight into your character and that of your prospective date.

My friend ‘J‘ found herself a young widow with two small children after her husband tragically passed away from leukemia in his mid-thirties. It took her a long time before she was ready to start looking around again. Living in the rural midwest, her choices were fairly limited. In her own words:

coffee cup“I met the second love of my life the old fashioned way — I was fixed up on a blind date with ‘T‘. The fact that the fixer-upper was a good friend and also the sister of my date gave me some confidence.

Actually, that night, I was the antithesis of confidence. It was the fall of 2011 and the last time I had dated was during the Reagan administration. The first one. So my friend and her husband had me and her brother meet them at a restaurant for supper. It went well because my friend is one of those people who can keep a conversation going under any circumstances, and we all knew each other… except for me and my date.

He kind of ignored me that night, we seemed to have very little in common, and when we adjourned to my friend’s house to play cards, he wouldn’t even sit across the table from me and be my partner!

I left their house feeling brave that I had tried the date, I had a reasonably good time, I had lived to tell the tale, but I figured that was it. I shook his hand when I left.

Then he called me and asked me out a few days later. Turns out he liked me, but he was even       more nervous than I was, if that is possible. I figured all middle-aged unmarried guys were players and although he had dated more than I had (n=1 for me), he’d also had a long dry spell.

During that first date by ourselves, he got to hear the story about how the late husband died and see the tears and emotion that I still carried after 16 years of widowhood. He didn’t run off. I remember being so nervous about how to tell him that whole story with enough detail, but not TOO much detail so I wouldn’t get all emotional.

Because we live in a rural area, online dating services tend to turn up the same half-dozen matches unless you really want to widen the geographic area in which you date. I was still screwing up my courage to try online dating when I met T, but T had tried it and had gone on a few dates. But in a town of 400, he already knew most of the options.

Since I figured online dating would mean that I would need to move if things got serious, I was waiting until my kids got out of school before trying it. Now, thanks to a very tense blind date two years ago, perhaps I will not need to concoct my online profile?”

I am so very glad that J had the courage to go on that blind date. Her relationship with T has developed beautifully, despite opposition from her teenaged daughter. When her daughter goes to college next fall, they are planning to buy a house together. Stay tuned for our next episode … online dating after forty.

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I'm a writer, editor, blogger and the Queen of Re-Invention. I've been a research scientist, a university instructor and a high school teacher. I was born in Israel, raised partly in the United States, educated in the Netherlands, and am now busy raising three amazing people in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.