Treva Brandon Scharf married for the first time when she was 50. Three years later, she's blogging about finding love later in life.
"My dating tips for people over 55 aren't too much different than the ones I have for younger people," says Scharf, whose blog is called The Late Blooming Bride. She recommends that daters be honest, give the date full attention and not set expectations. "The only thing I'd say to those over 55 is, 'Have more fun.'"
*Dating After 50
A survey of 1,000 over-50 singles conducted for OurTime.com, the largest dating community for singles over 50, shows that those in the over-50 dating scene are interested in being sexually active and social.
While 72 percent of over-50 daters say they're open to finding love in the future, nearly half the daters in this group haven't been on a date in over five years.
The survey also revealed the three most difficult aspects of dating after 50: finding someone to date, asking someone on a date and getting to know a person before asking the person out. More than a third of over-50 daters are nervous about the first kiss.
When you're getting started dating, take things easy.
"Make sure you are light and breezy," says dating coach and matchmaker Karenna Alexander, explaining that many older daters have had heartbreak in the past.
"Like a job interview, the first few months of dating are a time to put your best foot forward," she says. "There is time in the future to bare your soul."
Present your best self, too.
"Just because you are over 55 doesn't mean you aren't alive," says Alexander, who encourages older daters to keep up with grooming, including styling your hair, wearing makeup, working out and wearing nice clothing.
Stay upbeat and avoid negativity and complaining.
Dating and relationship expert Megan Weks advocates being yourself on dates.
"You want the person to focus on the essence of what makes you you," she says. Show up "ready to talk about what you love to do and what about it lights you up."
Keep the early meet-ups simple and stick to light conversation.
"On a first date, don't talk about the future, what you want from a relationship or make demands," says Scharf, who suggests going out for coffee or cocktails for your first get-together.
Keep your sense of humor, too, and don't get political, which can be polarizing.
"Talking about the traveling you've done is always good," says Barry Gold, who runs the website Divorced Over 50. "It says a lot about you, and hearing about your date's adventures helps you get to know him or her."
Gold, who's also the author of "Gray Divorce Stories," advises asking your date about his or her grown children, which is an interesting topic that can give you insight into your date's values.
If the subject of divorce comes up, don't shy away from the discussion. Instead, "be prepared with an answer that's honest but avoids too much detail," says Gold, who also recommends not showing anger or bitterness about the divorce, which can be a turnoff.
Avoid discussing divorce details and emotions unless and until a relationship develops.
"Even though it's easy to talk about your family or previous marriage situations with someone who has had similar experiences, it's ideal not to on a first date," says Weks, who also suggests choosing a dating venue where you're comfortable.
Select a place that has good lighting and appropriate amounts of background noise.
"Always be aware of your surroundings and meet your date in a place that's busy enough to be safe" but not so crowded that "you cannot relax or hear your date," she says.
These days, finding a date is often a website or a click away.
"Online dating offers something most over-55s never could have conceived of in their 20s," says Gold, who admits that though it may seem overwhelming at first, older singles are finding success online.
He met, or rather, re-met his match (a woman he went to high school with) on social media. He liked her when they were in school, but she wasn't interested in dating then.
"I say it took me 40 years to wear her down, but it was worth it," Gold says.