In her pamphlet “Life Skills for Singles,” Carol Juergensen Sheets opens by reminding us that “there are so many unmet expectations that are inherent in the world of being single…” – an understatement to be sure. Carol, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, will be the first to advise that you keep your expectations reasonable in order to avoid disappointment. Of course we know this from life in general, but it bears careful contemplation when seeking that “special someone” – particularly if you are searching online. Here you’re dealing with other singles looking for Mr. or Ms. Right – most of the time. She tells of a friend who was tricked into sending money to an online connection in another country, out of compassion for what turned out to be a fabricated need. She advises not to seek romantic friendships at online sites anywhere but in the United States.
Carol asserts the value of online dating websites such as Match and also eHarmony, which advises that once you complete its Relationship Questionnaire, you’ve taken the first step in finding love. And that pretty much defines why singles are there in the first place. Do you want to find someone with whom you can have in-depth discussions about politics? Or are you looking for a loving relationship with someone who might not have a burning interest in current events?
The point is, decide what you’re looking for before you begin your search. Carol says that this is the key to avoiding disappointment. And know yourself. Are you the happy-go-lucky type, or are you more serious? Do you love the outdoors, or would you rather spend time in museums and libraries? Are you the one who dominates conversations, or are you mostly a good listener? Would you rather spend a vacation scuba diving, or does attending a seminar at the Smithsonian turn you on? It is critical to be aware of such preferences, and to share them with potential dates. We Boomers have been around long enough to know these things about ourselves and hopefully also to be able to share what circumstances we find unwelcome in a relationship.
Carol cautions women to expect that Boomer men will probably want to pay expenses on the first date, based on traditional values, but that we should step in and insist on being an equal partner as time goes on. She states that this is also a recommended course of action in John Gray’s book, “Venus and Mars on a Date,” available at ABE Books (abebooks.com) for under $5.
It’s best not to make up stories to impress someone, because eventually the truth will come out. By then you will have wasted time, emotional effort and possibly even money.
Carol was single for many years before she found her life partner. She understands the advantages of being able to do what you want when you want, and not having to get a consensus on how to spend your money, where to live and when to mingle with family, among other decisions. But if you would like to have enjoyable company for the long run, then she suggests that maybe what you need to do is focus on having fun instead of insisting on immediately identifying the right person. If you do find an individual with whom you want something more permanent, the intimacy will come. As Carol advises: “You can do it if you maintain the right attitude and put desperation aside.” And keep your expectations realistic.