You know a lot about the ways of the world, and you are fully able to take care of yourself. But safety always has to be your first concern when you are venturing back into the dating scene, where an atmosphere of implied trust can put a woman at her most vulnerable.
A little common sense can help ensure that the good times will roll on and on.
1. Never let a stranger pick you up at home.
If you’re going to date a man you’ve known for years who has now become widowed or divorced, no worries. But if you met him online or have known him briefly, and only as a suitor, you should make it a hard and fast rule to meet him at a restaurant or some other public location.
Don’t let his earnest eyes, great smile and personable charm divert you from this rule. Most men have good intentions, but don’t let him know where you live until he has proven his good intentions again and again.
2. Let someone know the details of your date.
A trusted friend, relative or neighbor should have the name of your date as well as his phone number or the dating site where you met him. Let them know where you’re going, how you’re getting there, and when you expect to be home.
Maybe your date won’t show up and you’ll need a ride home after dark, or maybe you won’t want to continue the date, or there could even be a medical emergency. Better safe than sorry.
3. Carry a little stash of cash.
You never know when you might get stuck with a bill, need a taxi or lose your purse or wallet. Keep about $40 somewhere on your body just in case.
4. Safety in numbers.
If it’s a first date, you are bound to be apprehensive, especially if you’ve never met him before. Consider group dating. You will be a lot more at ease if you have a friendly couple you know join you.
Dancing, bowling, golf, a boat cruise, or even a couple of drinks and conversation can be a lot more fun with a larger party, plus you will be much more at ease. And, as a bonus, you can ask your friends for their opinion of your potential boyfriend the next day.
“Whether it’s your first or 51st date, you should
always be in control of the circumstances around you.”
5. Don’t drink too much.
You’re not a teenager anymore, and you know what kind of situations too much alcohol got you into back in the day. Even if everything goes very well and the man is simply wonderful, too many drinks can have all kinds of consequences.
He might form a poor opinion of you as a lady, or you might lose your good judgment and let things go too far. This isn’t always a deal-breaker, but it can turn your romance into his fling. Have a couple of drinks, but stay sober and keep your wits about you on this important date.
6. Keep it light.
Your first date is a time to get a feel for the chemistry and compatibility you might share. It is not a time to reveal very personal details about yourself.
Sure, you might want to share a story or two about your deceased or divorced husband if he asks, but too much talk about him will turn off your date.
There’s time for health issues and family matters later, once you know if he will become a part of your life. Talk about your favorite authors, foods and travels instead.
7. Keep a tight lip.
The first date (or second or third) is also no time to reveal sensitive financial information. Stock holdings, bank accounts, paid off mortgages or home values are strictly off limits.
Never let him see your Social Security or Medicare card, and don’t let him get his hands on your credit or debit card.
Scam artists often “conveniently” forget their credit cards or tell you their ex-wife must have cancelled the cards when they are declined. Don’t let him put you on the hook for any charges that he has run up for a date, and NEVER GIVE HIM MONEY.
It’s not a bad idea to offer to go “Dutch” on the first date to keep him from having any expectations, but if he insists on paying, don’t let him throw the bill back at you later on.
8. Look for red flags.
- Does he only want you to call him at work?
- Are you only allowed to call his home phone at certain times of the day?
- Can you only reach him on his cell phone?
He might be married or living with someone.
- Does he ask a lot of questions about you but offers very little personal information or background about himself?
- Is he a big talker and name-dropper?
- Is he involved in a “can’t miss” investment idea that sounds too good to be true?
The truly skilled scammers will wait until you ask if you can invest. Don’t do it. Do a background check on a man if you have any concerns at all, and check out any companies or investment opportunities he alludes to as well.
9. Set up an “escape” call.
Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and in your purse. Have one of your friends call you at a preset time, like perhaps when you expect to be done with dinner. This way, if you are having a horrible time or just don’t feel comfortable, you can use the call as an excuse to leave.
Tell him your good friend next door isn’t feeling well and needs your help. If all’s well, then let the caller know that, too.
10. Use your instincts.
You know the difference between first-date jitters and a gnawing suspicion that something isn’t right. Don’t use a little discomfort as an excuse to run from a really great guy just because you didn’t expect to feel this kind of attraction.
But if you are getting a creepy vibe or something tells you this guy isn’t what he seems to be, you are probably right. Even if you are just bored with the man who is not at all what you’re looking for, it is a woman’s prerogative to excuse herself and make an early departure.
Once you hit 40, something always aches somewhere, so it wouldn’t be out of line to say you have a headache and take yourself home.
Dating should be a fun and life-expanding experience. But, whether it’s your first or 51st date, you should always be in control of the circumstances around you.
Be alert and in charge, and never get involved in a romance or financial scheme without doing your due diligence and getting advice from trusted friends and relatives who love you.