One of the most empowering things about over 50’s dating is you have choices when it comes to men. You are the one who gets to decide how you want a man to be part of your life. This is a freedom you didn’t have when you were in your late teens and early 20’s. Back then, you were looking for a man who you could mate and have children with. But today as a single woman over 50, you can date for fun. And men can fit into your life as friends, lovers, boyfriends or husbands. You define your dating relationships.

Yet even with all the options available, you might find dating has become yet another chore to check off your to-do list. Instead of relaxing and getting to know someone new and interesting, you turn the pressure cooker on, quizzing a man about his life; trying to figure out whether or not he meets all the requirements on your boyfriend/husband check list before you finish your cup of coffee.

When you were younger, chances are you didn’t stress the same way you do now about finding someone to share your live with. In school or work, you hung out with men by enjoying their company and spending time getting to know them. If it worked out, great. If it didn’t, you said NEXT and you moved on.

Now as a woman over 50, you feel like the clock is ticking. You aren’t getting any younger and you worry whether or not men will like you as you age (they do!).  So you try and get to the destination of finding out in 15 minutes if he is the one instead of enjoying the journey of attracting, meeting and getting to know a new man.

You end up missing good men who could have been great male friends to hang out with when you’re taking a break from dating. There is nothing like being around male energy – and it doesn’t have to be exclusive to partner energy.

When you fly by every guy checking his qualities and attraction factor off your checklist, it’s possible to overlook potential boyfriends you might have felt chemistry and attraction with as you spent time getting to know them.

I call this way of dating, Dating to Mate. I’d like to suggest another way to experience dating relationships that is far more fun and gives you more opportunities to enjoy yourself with men. It’s called Dating to Date.

Here’s how it works:

Imagine three curtains in front of you. Curtain #3 is the Relationship Curtain where the man and the relationship you want reside. Unfortunately, this is the place where most women start as they head into a meet and greet. Jumping right into the relationship curtain creates a lot of frustration. It’s pretty hard to figure out whether or not someone is perfect for you in such a short amount of time.

A better place to start on a meet and greet is in Curtain #1, the Exploration Curtain. This is dating with the intention of deciding how a man might fit into your life and into your future. You are relaxed and low key as you get to know someone new and interesting. This is a time of being around lots of male energy while dating different types of men. (Just be sure to keep a notebook about each one so you don’t get them mixed up.) It’s fun and you find yourself enjoying the over 50’s dating journey.

Curtain #2 is the Exclusive Curtain. You’ve found someone you really like and the two of you decide to make your relationship exclusive. You enjoy each other’s company as you take the relationship to a deeper level. This is the time for figuring out if he’s the one versus starting at Curtain #3, the Relationship Curtain, on a meet and greet.

If he is, this is the time you move to Curtain #3. The two of you decide the relationship you want whether it’s marriage, living together or living apart. You’re ready to make a commitment to the relationship and each other to take it to a step of permanency. But, if you find he’s not the one, then you go back to Curtain #1 and start having fun again meeting new men.

Can you see how starting in Curtain #3, the Relationship Curtain, on a first date is a set up for never finding the right man? So many of my clients tell me this way of dating changed their lives and made dating far more fun and easy. I know it can work for you too. Give it a try and let me know!

For more from PRiME on dating relationships, read Online Dating  – Who Cares! All the Kids are Doing It.