If you are approaching “middle age,” you may feel that you chances of dating successfully are zero to none.
The pressures of society does not help reduce this anxiety. With expectations to get rid of wrinkles, reduce fat and eliminate gray hair, we exist with an undertone that middle age is not something to look forward to; and that our youth is far gone and the expectations of our 30’s has quickly faded.
If you have been single most of this time and looking for the perfect mate, married and divorced or unsuccessful being in and out of relationships, feeling discouraged about dating is a normal reaction.
You might even feel like you have failed. But, you have not failed at all. It’s actually quite the opposite.
I invite you to view middle age dating as more of an opportunity.
An opportunity to embrace everything that you have experienced, mistakes that you have made and lessons that you have learned.
It first begins with simply changing your mindset about dating.
View dating at this age as positive, that growth is happening all the time, and unexpected joys happen when you least expect it. If you can begin by adopting these simple “truths” you will be amazed at what happens next.
I just turned 50 today. In this article, I will share strategies I’ve learned and practiced over the past decade. These specific tools have helped me ground myself, grow and open myself to healthy love.
Here they are:
1. Consider your Choices
Women spend a lot of time before they buy a pair of shoes. There is the “feel”, “the look” and the “right fit.” If you’ve ever bought shoes on impulse you feel the consequences almost immediately. This is also true in relationships.
The wrong match can lead to consequences that are emotional, physical or even spiritual. One characteristic alone does not guarantee the “right fit.”
Take your time, reflect and consider your choices. See who will be the best fit. Just like the wrong dance, the wrong fit will not have the right feel.
2. Trust your Intuition
When you are in a relationship that isn’t the “right” match, there are early signs that point to just that. When they are glaring, they’re called “red flags.” But signs don’t have to be that obvious, they can be more subtle. Pay attention to them.
A sensation that shows up in your body is called a “gut” feeling. It’s a knowing. Listen to it. Trust it. Respect it.
Ask yourself: What made you ignore those signs before? Was it for the sake of love and acceptance, or fear of being alone? What made you attach too quickly?
3. Your Wish List
Make a list of what qualities you are looking for in a partner. Keep it in a place that you can reflect on it from time to time. When we set intentions on how we want our life to be (relationships, career, life purpose, etcetera), we allow space for these things to blossom.
Don’t just take what you can get. Be selective.
Write a second list of your previous partners and their attributes. What attributes did you like and what attributes did you dislike? Getting clear on your needs will help you not settle.
4. Your Identity
Never forget who you are. It is normal to question your identity especially during life transitions (marriage, divorce, job change, empty nest), and during mental and physical health challenges. But, remember you can always find yourself again.
Getting in touch with yourself requires time and effort.
Don’t expect a relationship to fill that void. Never apologize for “who” you are or change for someone just to be loved. Be yourself and attract the right person.
5. Embrace Discomfort
Being alone is not always easy, but being with the wrong partner can be far worse. Ask yourself why you are attracted to someone. Is it because you don’t want to be alone? Do you want someone to rescue you?
You must first acknowledge if fear is keeping you in the same relationship patterns and then deal with your baggage.
Relationships are not a substitute for being there for yourself. When you like being with yourself, the fear dissipates and amazing things happen.
6. Be Present
If you are obsessing about previous relationships or about relationship that haven’t happened yet, you are not living in the moment. You are also losing precious time.
Balance is key.
Don’t expect to give too much in a relationship and expect something in return. It doesn’t work that way. Balance you with your relationship.
It is important to ground yourself daily. It’s up to you to be present for yourself. This can be done by how you care for yourself physically, emotionally spiritually and intellectually. It’s up to you to do it. And only you.
Relationships are never easy at any age but the truth is at middle age your knowledge, experience and trust in yourself can help you navigate a place that you once tackled blindly.