Downbeat Dance

By Susan Deitz

March 6, 2012 4 min read

DEAR SUSAN: How would you advise a 55-year-old man who has never been in a serious relationship and who wants to get into the dating scene? I live in a New York suburb, am financially secure and own my home. I'm a decent guy with average looks and excellent health. (Over the years, I've fought off depression and anxiety issues, but I've always persevered and been productive.) My feeling is that most desirable women would reject someone in his 50s who hasn't had a serious relationship — even a man who has a lot going for him. At this point, I've stopped trying. But I'd like to know what you think of the situation. — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: My crystal ball sees a good man who sees only a part of the big picture of his life, the negatives. That is probably why you're not doing well in the dating scene. Instead of bemoaning your lack of experience with relationships, be thankful you don't have the complications of a former family. Instead, you've used the time to purchase your own home and to secure your finances. How many people can say that?

Your next move should be to sidestep negativism. A shift in emphasis will open up new worlds, which in turn will lead you to interesting people. You're waking up at just the right time, when you have secured your life and feel ready to enter the relationship arena. There are two ways to open its doors: interest groups and an online dating site geared specifically to your age group — Pointedly for the over-50 group, this site has potential for you, with people of the same generation and (probably) outlook. As you've become more discerning over time, so have the women you will meet. If nothing else, using this site will help you gain experience. You know you have a lot going for you. Make the presentation.

But don't forget your interests and how they can lead to men and women you'd probably never meet any other way. Think of it: easy conversations focused on a common passion, with people as beguiled by it as you. That commonality seems to me a very strong bond.

Both doors are open and welcoming. This could be your time.

DEAR SUSAN: I have a question for you and my fellow bloggers: If a woman isn't sure she's attracted to a guy who asks her out, should she still date him in order to find out for sure? If there isn't a strong initial attraction, should she even try? If after one or two dates there's still nothing, does she tell him she wants to be only friends? When I do that, they get very angry. I don't make them pay for dates or flirt overtly/lead them on, etc. I'm just polite and talkative and laughy on dates. Anyway, I'd appreciate the opinions of the guys who read this. — From the "Single File" blog

DEAR BLOGGER: You aren't sure whether you're sexually attracted to a man? C'mon now, either you are or you aren't. About 99.9 percent of the time, either your innards are stirred the first time you're with him or the viscera remain absolutely calm, except perhaps for a low-grade sensation of friendly liking. Nothing more.

However, there is that 0.1 percent of the time when physical attraction comes later; the lightning bolt can be even more intense for its being delayed. Now, that's not for the faint of heart, because it takes patience, discipline and strength of faith (in yourself and that other) to stick around and give this dawning its own time.

It's a tough call, one of the trickiest in Singleworld. Guys, what's your take on this?

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Answers of Interest

Answers of Interest

By Susan Deitz
For a change, let's replace the March essay with one reader's provocative responses to queries recently posed in "Single File. Keep reading