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Returning to the Dating Scene

Don’t let fear prevent you from finding love again in midlife.
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Adult Dating: Taking the Plunge continued...

Instead, says Rosenfeld, when you are creating your online profile, "Avoid generic likes and dislikes, like walking on the beach," he says. "Don't be strident or negative, but don't hesitate to state strong beliefs. Don't be shy about saying who you are. You may get fewer responses, but you're likely to be more compatible with the people who respond."

Whether you're dating online or not, it can't hurt to also let friends, family members, and acquaintances know that you're available and want to meet people. There is no guarantee that you are going to like your sister-in-law's newly divorced first cousin, of course, but the connection ensures that your date is not a complete unknown.

Once you've made a connection -- either online, through friends, or by striking up a conversation with someone in the grocery store -- and you've arranged to get together, there are some important things to remember.

1. Meet on neutral territory. Arrange to meet at a café or restaurant rather than at your home or his. If you have made a connection online and know nothing about your date, you may want to be extra cautious by letting a friend know where you will be meeting and at what time.

2. Keep it short and sweet. For your first meeting, it is best to arrange a coffee date rather than a dinner or an afternoon at a museum. If you don't seem to be hitting it off, it's easier for both parties when there's a quick escape route! Moreover, to help ease the anxiety of a first-time date, Rosenfeld suggests you "sandwich" the meeting between two other activities you really like.

"Before you meet your date, do something that puts you in a positive frame of mind; then, after the date is over, meet up with a friend," he says. If the date is a disaster, you'll have someone to commiserate with. And if it's great - you'll have someone to celebrate with.

3. Keep the conversation casual. This is not the time to discuss your favorite baby names or your ongoing feud with your ex. There will be plenty of time for such discussions if you continue dating, but a first meeting should be light and breezy. Ask about his interests and how he spends his time, and share the same information about yourself with him.

4. Don't forget to have fun. Don't pressure yourself into deciding if this is the person you want to grow old with -- remember, its just coffee! Try to make the outing entertaining and interesting -- for both of you. Jonathan Rosenfeld suggests that people view dating as an adventure. "Everyone knows that adventures have ups and downs and they expect that," he says. "If you think of dating the same way, you are less likely to be disappointed."

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