Are You Ready To Look For Love?

Now that we’ve passed through being thankful and grateful, let’s turn our attention to the new year and new love… before you set dating and mating goals for the new year, consider this: Is there a negative trait all your past relationships have in common?

Christine: In my case, all the men I dated in the past made quite a bit of money, had no money in the bank and were also in major debt. I realized because this had been my experience with my father and my ex-husband; I expected all men to be like this, this type of man felt familiar, I believed this was the type of man I deserved.

As I continued my healing the men across the table from me finally made money, had money in the bank and weren’t in debt.

If you continue to meet people with the same traits you don’t want, you might be wise to avoid meeting new people until you heal your own wounds and unpack your emotional baggage from past relationships.

Joel: LOL This is a key question people need to ask when assessing what to do next, especially if they’ve been through unsuccessful relationships. How many times have we seen people engage in serial catastrophes? Once you’ve identified the traits that just won’t work for you, the challenge is to assess a prospective partner as quickly as possible.

I used to put in my online profile things that are obvious deal breakers, like smoking. The sort of financial issues you are describing are much harder to get to. Many people consciously and unconsciously present themselves as something they are not. It’s a challenge to ask penetrating questions when you are just exploring a relationship, but you can say things like “I’m financially secure and need you to be as well.”

If that feels awkward, just think how awkward you will feel to find out your prospective mate is broke and in debt after you’ve been sleeping with him for a while. There’s nothing wrong with gentle candor.

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Age differences make a difference in dating

Not a date but

Not a date but “The Graduate” illustrates age differences and difficulties in a relationship

Joel: When shopping on Match.com I searched for women within five years of my age. I thought we would be interested in the same things and have similar experiences. Maybe the music we love. Once I met a woman, we went out, I liked her and found out she was 10 years younger. I told her I worried about that. She said, “It’s always the older person who says that. I don’t care.”

Yeah, but… when I’m 80 she might feel differently. More importantly, will we have similar life experiences?

I’ve seen May-December couples who are happy so I’m sure it can work. But seems to me, especially since we get more and more locked in and resistant to change as we age, that closer in age is easier. I see many women post in their online profiles that they want a man their age or younger. When I asked women about that, they said it could be sex. “A lot of you old guys aren’t interested,” she said. Others said many men are couch potatoes.

The idea that resonated with me was that many women have been caretakers… children, an aging or sick husband, parents… they just don’t want to take care of anyone anymore. I get that, but it cuts both ways. You could be the one NEEDING care and that young guy would bolt when you tell him you have breast cancer.

Christine: Oh this is such a great subject Joel. Both the men and women I speak to in my practice often say they want to date someone their age or younger for the reasons you mentioned. In the past I used to hear “There are only jerky people using online dating.” And I’d say, “Gosh you don’t seem like a jerky person and you’re using online dating so there must be at least a few others like you. Don’t you think?” This often stopped them in their tracks. I’ve now found myself saying the same thing about the “age/health/activity level” that drive the comments about wanting to date someone younger.

My suggestion is if you’re active, don’t look or act your age and are using online dating it stands to reason there are more like you online. And if you’re not meeting people like you (and are instead meeting just the opposite) then consider what about you is attracting them or being attracted to them. Is it what you’ve written or not written in your profile? Is it the questions you ask or don’t ask during your initial communication with them? Try making some of these changes and see if you start meeting a different type of person online.

Also, don’t just depend on online dating. Get out and participate in activities that fit your lifestyle so you’ll be surrounded by “your kind of people doing you kinds of things.” (See Joel’s posting “Take A Hike“.)

I have dated men 10 years older and 10 years younger and I didn’t find either satisfying. There were always elements that are important to me missing because of the age difference. Even though sex was great with the men who were 10  years younger I got tired of having to explain my jokes that included themes they couldn’t relate to. When I dated men who were 10 years older we usually had very different goals for our futures. When I met and married my deceased husband one of the many things that was appealing to both of us was the two-year difference in our ages.

Take A Hike! Find Love After 50/60/70…

How to meet people over 50 over 60 over 70 for dating and mating

Meeting people on hiking trails is easy and healthy. Go on Tuesday or Wednesday mornings to find age appropriate prospective partners. Walk a couple miles then treat yourself to lunch

Joel: If you want to meet people
Take A Hike
On A Tuesday Morning
Lots of age-appropriate people getting outdoors…
People on the trail tend to be energetic (assuming that’s what you want – it’s hard to meet people in front of your TV)
Easy to strike up a conversation about dogs, hiking sticks…
Ask someone to use your phone to take a picture, get at least five and you will a good one for your online dating profile; also a good conversation starter
Use the form below to send your favorite technique to meet dating prospects.

Just Dating

Christine: When I was dating in my 40’s and early 50’s I was only interested in dating. Sometimes I dated someone for months because they would continue to ask me out. Often we were both dating other people. Sometimes we were only dating each other.

Some of the reasons I consciously knew I wanted to just date were:

  • I was busy running a very demanding business and I didn’t feel I had time to devote to a husband.
  • I liked my alone time in between the time I spent with them.
  • I liked living in my own home.

The unconscious reason I discovered later that I wanted to just date was:

  • I knew I would marry someone like my first husband and I definitely didn’t want to marry someone like that again.
  • I didn’t know how to not marry someone like my first husband.

Joel: This may be a difference of language and definition, but I would not call this “dating,” which implies some aspect of romance. I would call this “going out with friends” which serves a purpose beyond social as you point out. You’re having fun, learning, etc. It’s interesting that you say you “didn’t have time to devote to a husband.” That suggests something less than marriage but more than friendship. I just found I couldn’t experience a woman that I really liked without developing romantic and sexual feelings.

Good luck to those who can make this work.

It’s important that you defined your goals for limited relationships. Did you ever meet men who went away after you explained your point of view?

Recovering from a break-up is like recovering from a death

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Getting over a relationship will take longer than you think

Joel: Recovering from a relationship can take a long time and some people never get over it, lapsing into discouraged apathy or bitterness. I fell in love with a woman, knew her for two years and we parted at her request. It was four and half years before I didn’t think about her and pine for her every day. I did some research and realized I was working through – and HAD to work through – the stages of grief.

All I can say is, you have to let time do its work and it will take longer than you expect, longer than it should and waaaaay longer than your family and friends think it should. Don’t let them criticize you for your grieving process.

Christine: Don’t rush your process or let anyone else rush you. No one but YOU knows how you feel, and you will know when you feel differently. The ending of a relationship can often feel like a death (even when someone doesn’t actually die). A process I’ve personally used to help myself through this grieving process (which was created by Harville Hendrix) is to:

  • First write down all the good things/times/memories you had with the person that you feel grief about because you’re no longer with them. Write a thank you for each memory and finally a good-bye to let each go.
  • Second write down all the “future things” you feel grief about because you’d hoped and now can’t experience them. And say good-bye to them as well.