Swapping dating stories with a guy pal, I said, based on my observations, it seems many midlife men have forgotten how to date and be with a woman. He agreed. He hasn’t been in a relationship in a few years and he’s so used to being single he admits he’s forgotten some dating skills.
This is from a charming, intelligent, accomplished, good-looking man who’s dated a lot since his last long-term relationship 3 years ago. But he said he wasn’t sure what to say when the woman he’s been seeing for a few months said, “I’d like us to spend the weekend together.” He blurted, “What would we do?” He wasn’t sure if they’d run errands together or she was thinking they should go away. He was clueless what they’d do.
I’ve noticed that a lot of midlife men don’t know how to “date” — meaning how to plan anything beyond movies and dinner. Which is fine occasionally, but they don’t seem to know how to plan something more interesting than that — a hike, picnic, concert, comedy club, museum visit, or weekend away. There are even books on ideas for fun, romantic dates, but these guys have either never heard of them or haven’t read them.
Guys also don’t seem to understand that women appreciate being asked out a few days in advance. The more days in advance, the more important the woman feels. And the better a woman feels about the man, the more smoothly the date goes. Not that occasional spontaneity isn’t fun. But if you only get, “What are you doing in an hour?” phone calls, it makes you feel like you are an afterthought.
It seems that long-single men also seem to have forgotten how to take into consideration what the woman would like. Yes, often they will ask what kind of food I’d like or what movies I want to see, but I’ve told most dates that I love to dance and only one has taken me dancing — and he did so begrudgingly. (See “Being in step with the dance of dating.“) If a man only knew how much mileage he’d get out of doing what I like once in a while!
And of course there are things that most of us would think would be no brainers — sincere compliments, occasional flowers, basic gentlemanliness (walking on the curb side of the sidewalk, letting the woman go first, helping with a coat, taking a heavy package) and showing you’ve made some effort to please a woman. I’ve been surprised at how often these things don’t happen, even with educated, accomplished, intelligent, midlife men.
So why don’t men brush up on dating techniques before they get back into the dating world? I wish I knew. Women are better at reading books and articles on the subject, or asking friends. Men, I guess, don’t think they need to know anything more than what they do. However they would have much more success in the dating world if they took time to refresh their memory and buff their skills. The object of their affection would be much more enamored with just a refresher of important behaviors.