Question: 

My husband passed away a little over a year ago and I’m starting to date again for a partner. I don’t know the rules anymore, especially since the last time I dated was over 40 years ago. Is it OK to invite a man to do things with me or would that be perceived as pushy? If not, where do I draw the line? 

Answer: 

I’m sure it’s strange to suddenly find yourself transported back to the world of dating and romance after the security of a decadeslong marriage. There’s no doubt dating rules have changed since the last time you went on a date, not only because it’s 2024, but also because you’re not 20 anymore. 

Hopefully, you have a strong support system of friends who can help sustain you through this strange new life development. They can help reduce the painful uncertainty of building a new romantic relationship. 

While I personally believe it’s perfectly acceptable for you to invite a man on a date, you will likely encounter a range of responses from the men you meet. Some men will retain their old-fashioned view that a woman should be passive and patiently wait for the man to initiate. Other men will stay neutral, assuming if you want to be with them, you’ll let them know. In other words, it will most likely change depending on whom you ask. 

Thankfully, at your age and in this day and age, you have the flexibility and freedom to maneuver in a way you probably didn’t have the last time you dated. My guess is that most people your age aren’t sure what the rules are, so use that to your advantage. In fact, a little humor will go a long way. 

For example, if you meet someone who interests you, it could be a relief to both of you for you to say something like, “I really enjoy spending time around you, but I have no idea what the rules are anymore about dating at our age. Do I ask you out, or do you ask me out?” There is nothing wrong with exposing the weird guessing game everyone is playing. 

Even though finding someone to spend your days with is serious business, you don’t have to take yourself too seriously when trying to meet new people. Recognize that most people your age have had enough experiences with navigating difficult relationships that approaching the uncertainty of dating with authenticity and openness will be a welcome relief. 

I encourage you to stay emotionally honest in your interactions with other men. If you are interested in someone, let him know. If you worry you’re being too pushy, ask him. You have nothing to lose by trying to figure out your relationship with another person. 

Don’t worry about following some arbitrary rules about dating. Instead, worry about being clear and honest about your experience with the individual sitting across from you. 

Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:

Email: geoff@geoffsteurer.com

Website: www.geoffsteurer.com

Twitter: @geoffsteurer

Instagram: @geoffsteurer

Facebook: facebook.com/GeoffSteurerMFT

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.