Dating in midlife


More and more of my friends are beginning to date again after losing their spouses – to death or divorce.

Let’s be honest: By the time you reach your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, you have been around the block, kissed a lot of frogs, and maybe a few princes.

And when it comes to midlife dating and mating, it may sound like a good idea in theory, but jumping in can be a very scary prospect.

Dating-over-50-thumbnail Many of my friends are looking for dates on-line which is a bit scary.

I guess you could meet the Boston strangler wannabee at the market, but meeting him on-line seems a much more likely scenario.

And I take issue with the whole “midlife” pigeon hole.  Who knows what midlife is anyway.  If I live to be 120 – baby, I’m still middle aged.

Whatever your age, here are few tips for the newly singled.

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

Recognize that dating is just one aspect of your life. Imagine for a moment that your life is made up of a portfolio of activities. Much like a financial portfolio, think about how you invest your time now; then reconsider how much time and energy you actually want to invest in each area of your life.

As we age, we are more certain about who we are rather than former stages in life where the focus was on who we wanted to become.

old dates

Take that heartfelt knowledge and look for another sage soul who shares your interests and passions. Look at relationships like a series of puzzle pieces making up the picture of your life—there are many different pieces in your puzzle—take some of the pressure off by reminding yourself that a romantic relationship is just one.

Be thoughtful about re-entry into the dating world.

The biggest challenge associated with getting back out there in the dating world typically has more to do with self-confidence than anything else.

Are you in  “game shape” for the dating experience. What are the things that are present when you feel and look your best?

Need a new style? Take a visit to the make-up counter, hair stylist hor boutique and treat yourself in a way that makes you feel good about how you present yourself.

Are you getting enough sleep? Eating well? Exercising? Before entering the dating world it’s often really helpful to set some goals. In addition to looking better on the outside, you’ll be taking care of yourself on the inside too. Research has shown that those people who understand and pay attention to their physical, emotional, spiritual and cognitive needs feel more energetic and report higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction. Carpe Diem—the dating will follow!

Define a successful date.

not_interested430x300 We’ve all lived long enough to know that having expectations of how people will act towards us and how we “should be” tend to be an excellent predictor of disappointment.

It’s no wonder many dates end on that note or something close to it. The secret to successful dating is to look at the entire experience with a light heart and to imagine that it is part of a grand experiment rather than a means to an end.

Dates are simply potentials for connection. And we all want connection.   You’re doomed if you approach the first date with  hopes like: “This might be the one: he sounds perfect on paper and my friends say we are perfect for one another—I hope I don’t screw this up!” What I do advise is to set your intention around finding the following three things out on your date:

* One thing you have in common (a hobby, past history, etc)
* One goofy thing about one another
* One thing you would like to learn more about him/her

A friend of mine recently tried this and reported back that it changed the whole dating experience for him — from anxiety-producing to enjoyable.

Rather than focusing on how the date “should” be (How should I be? How should she be? Is this going well?) he felt as though he had something to do. This scavenger hunt of information can even be shared with a date. It takes the pressure off.

Source, Barbara Waxman, President of The Odyssey Group, which counsels individuals and businesses on leadership issues.

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