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Puzzled About Dating After 50?

Our relationship expert answers your questions

Question from Leanne from Austin: What are the rules about dating and sex today? Fifth date? Third date?

PS: Well, there are people who even do first date. But I think third date it starts to up the ante, and by the fifth date there is some pressure for some sexuality. However, if you are conservative about sexuality, try and date someone who is also conservative about sexuality, and wants a deeper commitment first. One of those things that you can pick on is whether you and this person have similar values. And if waiting is important to you, I assure you there are people out there who feel the same.

Question from Randi: What do you think about long-distance relationships?

PS: I think they are hard but not impossible. They take a lot of attention, by e-mail, by phone, sacrificing money because the cost can become difficult. And it's easy to grow apart because you're not sharing day-to-day life. That said, I know people who had HUGE distances between them and survived that and ended up committed and together. So it's not easy, but if it's really important to both of you, and both of you work at it, it can have a good outcome.

Question from Lois: What about trips that are only for singles?

PS: I think day trips for singles are a good idea, or maybe even three days. But a longer trip, if you don't really find someone interesting, would be a problem if you were trapped, say, on a boat or mountaintop. On the other hand, if you went with a buddy, you could have fun even if there was nobody interesting there. So if you have a friend who will make any trip interesting no matter what, then give it a shot.

Question from Barbara: I'm currently dating a gentleman very sweet in every aspect. We both are widowed, and we have gone out, but I'm not ready to invite him into my home. What do you think?

PS: I understand your hesitation. It is very intimate to let someone into your home and it may set up expectations for a fuller relationship that you're not ready for. Still, there is an arch to relationships: They either get more or less intimate. So if you really like this guy, at some point you should open up more of your world to him.

Question from Fran in San Fran: You don't mention a lot about homosexuals dating. Why is that? Gays are people, too!

PS: I totally agree with you. It hasn't been clear that someone was asking the question about a gay relationship. But I think most of the things that apply to heterosexual relationships have resonance with same-sex relationships. Of course there are some differences, and I would be sensitive to those differences.

But just so you know, I was the lead witness against the don't-ask-don't-tell rule in federal court and I testified for gay marriage in Hawaii, and for gay adoption and foster-child placement in Arkansas. So please feel free to ask me questions that involve same-sex relationships, and I will be glad to try to be helpful.

Next: How to get back into the dating game. »

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