A dating expert has revealed the mistakes that you could be making on a first date - adding that 'brevity is the key to romance.'
Dating expert, Kate Taylor, from the UK, is no stranger to the world of online dating after meeting her husband through an online dating platform.
The love guru, who offers simple, practical advice to over 50s on the search for love on dating website, Ourtime, has looked at new survey data to investigate what mistakes singles are making on a first date that could be costing them their chance at love.
From politics to ailments, Kate has revealed exclusively to FEMAIL what not to do on a date...
Dating expert, Kate Taylor, from the UK, has looked at new survey data to investigate what mistakes singles are making on a first date that could be costing them their chance at love. Pictured, stock image
TALKING ABOUT BREXIT
'It divided the country, don’t let it divide your date,' says Kate. 'Wherever you stood on the referendum, it’s not suitable conversation for a first date.'
She goes on to say that almost 50% of daters say talking about anything political would make them vote 'leave' to the date.
'Why should you stay silent?' she asks. 'Because it’s best to avoid divisive topics until you have a more rounded understanding of each other. With nothing else to dilute it, your table-thumping monologue on immigration will make you seem solely focused on politics.'
'Later on in the relationship, it’ll just be one of a number of topics you feel passionate about. If in doubt, stick to small talk. Books, films, holiday destinations…pretend you’re flirting with a particularly sexy hairdresser.'
GOING OUT FOR DINNER
According to Kate, when you’re choosing what to do on a first date, brevity is the key to romance.
'The ideal first date lasts just 90 minutes; giving you enough time to check the attraction is there and that you can enjoy each other’s company, but also leaving you wanting more,' she explains.
'So dinner is out, and lunch is IN. Dinner is good later in the relationship, when you already know and like each other, and can happily commit to a 3-hour date.'
The dating expert goes on to say how they’re too much for a first date, with 61% of singles saying their perfect date is lunch.
She adds: 'Or try other faster dates like playing boardgames in a coffee shop (6% of our singles love this) or challenge each other to a video game battle.'
WORRYING ABOUT REJECTION
Kate says online dating isn’t just about finding your next long-term relationship.
''It’s also about boosting your social life, trying new activities, meeting new people, and finding out what you’re really looking for,' she adds. 'The best way to do that is to write to all types of different people, and meet up for lots of fun, fleeting, no-pressure first dates.'
'At the beginning, try seeing a “rotation” of people until you decide to become exclusive with one of them.'
'This way, you get to discover how compatible you are — and how interested they are — without being devastated if things fizzle out early on. The rotation dates should be non-sexual (we’ll get to that later).
Kate went on to say how the research revealed 10% of singles enjoy playing the field, no-strings attached, while 16% are optimistic about finding someone right for them.
TALKING ABOUT YOUR BOWELS
According the research, 77% of singles say that toilet troubles top the list of conversations no-nos.
'Sadly, nerves, spicy food and alcohol can sometimes play havoc with your plumbing, so you might find the topic is hanging in the air (so to speak),' she explains.
'But even so, do not discuss it. Maintain an air of mystery. And bring air freshener.
Kate says that almost 50% of daters say talking about anything political would make them vote 'leave' to the date. Pictured, stock image
TALKING ABOUT OPERATIONS OR AILMENTS
While we’re on about what not to say, avoid any mention of health problems. Without any context, talking about illness creates the impression that you’re looking for sympathy, a caring nurse, or at the very least, an aspirin.
If you have a long-term condition that people should know about, it’s fine to mention it casually before you meet. For example, “My legs get stiff sometimes so I’d rather not play golf - how about we catch a movie instead?” But keep the conversation light and brief.
Kate says to forget the three-date rule, because research shows that over-50s daters prefer to save sex until around the 7th date.
'This isn’t due to a lack of body confidence — we know that over-50s singles have plenty of confidence in themselves, and can even talk about sex without embarrassment,' says Kate. 'In fact, research has shown that sexual confidence grows as you get older.'
She adds: 'Waiting to have sex is purely about letting the anticipation build, and saving sex for partners with whom you’ve already built chemistry and compatibility.'
'Use those first six dates to get to know each other. Waiting to have sex also makes any rejection (like ghosting) easier to handle, as you’re much less emotionally invested.'
NOT SETTING HIGH STANDARDS
'Talking of ghosting, if you spot any bad or lazy behaviour in your dates, I’d suggest you cut them loose straight away,' says Kate.
The dating expert goes on to say how dating over 50 isn’t about accepting what you can get.
'This is your time to look for someone worthy,' says adds. 'Most of our singles believe they know themselves inside out by now, and that means they know what they want. Don’t ignore red flags or settle.'
'Feel free to set a few dealbreakers. Boundaries give you confidence, and tell other people that you won’t accept poor treatment. So don’t continue to date people who frequently cancel, or who lie, or who rarely get in touch.'
ASSUMING YOU'RE 'PAST IT'
Kate explains that most of the company's singles said they feel great about themselves, with more confidence than in their younger years.
'They find it easier to talk to new people now, and they have a wealth of life experience to share with a partner,' she explains. 'So never let yourself feel “on the shelf” if you’re single after 50.'
'In fact, it’s often a sign that you didn’t settle for bad treatment, or had the courage to strike out on your own later in life. You have a lot to offer a partner. Believe in yourself and bring that confidence on your date.'
The dating expert also advises not booking a restaurant for a date.
'We found most of our singles said they’d LOVE to go on outdoorsy dates, including a picnic by a lake, go to the beach, visit a theme park, or even (according to an optimistic 7%) skinny dipping,' says Kate. 'Too scared to bare? Other popular ideas were visiting a museum, clay-pigeon shooting, or sailing.'
She goes on to say how the more unusual and exciting your choice of date, the more attractive you’ll find your partner.
'A famous research experiment from the 80s discovered singles were more sexually attracted to people around them after they’d braved an adrenaline-boosting amusement-park ride, or watched a scary film,' Kate adds.
NOT GOING ON ANY
'According to 89% of our singles, the past couple of years has made them more determined than ever to “live their best lives,” says Kate. 'If you’re avoiding dating, please don’t. Lockdown is over, it’s time to open yourself up to something new.'
The dating guru advises setting up an online-dating profile.
'You just need three photos (one headshot, one full-length shot, and a photo of you engaged in an interesting activity, to use as an ice breaker), she says. 'Then write a brief, lighthearted summary of you and who you’re looking for. If you draw a blank, ask a friend to help. Then search for singles in your area, and start chatting. It’s that simple!'