Steer clear of these topics until you know each other better. Your 25-year-old may want to linger and go down the rabbit hole trying to figure it all out. Take care of yourself by initiating a conversation and sharing your needs and wants. This keeps you open to someone who might not be your type. Keep your body language open, play with your hair, smile, touch his arm.

Many older divorced or widowed men and women are in the same boat. You're probably not desperate enough to stalk your neighbors, or to go looking for friends with benefits in all the wrong places (bars come to mind).

They feel protective of their privacy and peace of mind, but they haven't become eunuchs or hermits. But offered a chance to reconnect with someone from your past — dinner with your high school steady, for example — you might just surprise yourself by winding up in bed.

More than 30 percent don’t even know where to begin and nearly 30 percent say they find it too stressful (think back to those sweaty palms and awkward conversations.) For more than 40 percent of respondents, other priorities are simply more important, and nearly one-quarter say it’s just too difficult to date when you’re 50-plus.

That’s true whether you’re 16 or 56, but more than 40 percent don’t believe there is anyone “out there” to date.

Most people want to find a friend or a life partner, and to meet the dates who may fulfill this desire, many 50-somethings, about 80 percent in fact, do it the old-fashioned way — through friends or family. Dating after 40 or 50 means taking control of your love life, just like you do the rest of your life. Baggage bonding is when an early date shifts into deep conversation about some baggage you have in common. You start comparing your horrific ex-spouses or your crazy awful dates. Men know who and what they want, often better than we do. The last thing you want at 55 is to wake up in the morning with flashbacks to your days as a 20-something, right? His manners, his shirt, his smile, the way he talks about his kids. If he walks away from the date having shared too much or hasn’t learned about you, then there won't be a second date.

It means being kind to yourself and the men you meet. I have compiled a list of Dating Do’s and Don’ts exclusively for women like you. These are for the woman who is done repeating the same mistakes, and is ready to find her grown-up love story. It starts off innocently with a question like “So what happened with your marriage? Nothing positive can possibly come from this, sister. Yes, I know he said he was going to call you, I know you had a great date and want to see him again. That’s especially true of the grownup men that you’re dating. Unless you can talk with your dude about safe sex and the status of your relationship after intimacy, steer clear of the sack. Start off with the positive and try to stay in mode before you decide he’s not right for you. Sixty-something sexologist Joan Price, for one, endorses "gray hookups," but with a couple of strong caveats: The people involved must be emotionally capable of handling their status as noncommitted bed partners, and they must protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.In a national study conducted in 2012, the Center for Sexual Health Promotion found sex partners over 50 twice as likely to use a condom when they regarded a sexual encounter as casual rather than as part of an ongoing relationship.Mature sex partners do not have the best track record when it comes to using condoms, but at least they're likelier to use them when they know very little about a partner's sexual past — or present!Personally, I think it all comes down to a very simple choice at any age: Is enduring loneliness, celibacy and extreme horniness really a better option than exchanging a few "simple gifts" between friends? Pepper Schwartz answers your sex, relationships and dating questions in her blog.Further evidence of Roving Eye Syndrome came from a study of sexuality in the United States commissioned by AARP in 2009: It found that 6 percent to 8 percent of singles age 50 and up were dating more than one person at a time.