Words from Joel…
Before you move into actively seeking a mate or a date it’s good, as my colleague Christine points out, to ask why would I start dating?
Many men and women I’ve met feel some kind of peer pressure to be a couple. Women, in particular, voice the concern that they will not be invited to social gatherings if they show up single. I have enough anecdotal evidence to convince me this really does happen. Single men, on the other hand, are sought out eagerly to fill empty seats at dinner. I can’t explain it.
Men I know, and some women too, want to feed a hunger for sex. That’s a powerful urge, one not easily satisfied. I get it.
So there are many reasons to seek a partner and I agree with Christine’s analysis posted here earlier in every particular.
But let me offer some ideas why you should NOT be dating.
- You really like a lot of time alone. Reading books, writing, watching TV. It’s much easier if you don’t have think about someone else and the time you SHOULD be spending with them. Not everyone is equally social and some of us just aren’t social at all. We are loners. That’s not the same as lonely.
- You don’t negotiate well. You have your ways of doing and being and really don’t want to change. What you eat, how you eat. What you talk about or don’t. Politics. Religion. If you’re set in concrete in your attitudes and actions you may not be a good candidate for a partnership.
- You don’t have time or energy to work at dating. Finding a romantic partner is like looking for a job. You have to persist, organize and accept rejection. Unless you are truly committed, you will only suffer frustration.
- You aren’t really over a previous relationship. Jumping in too early will not turn out well. It can take years to get over a failed relationship. One measure I like is how often do you miss that previous relationship or get angry about it. If you can’t go more than a week without angst about the past, you probably aren’t ready.
Which is to say there may be good reasons for you NOT to date. My recommendation, only get started if you’re sure you’re ready and willing to invest the time and emotional energy required.
Words from Christine…
So, now that we’re into the month of February. . . how are you feeling about your New Year’s resolutions?
Resolutions are another way of creating important boundaries in your life. You might even consider creating resolutions throughout the year (not just at the beginning). Bottom line – when something becomes a big enough problem and you truly want a change, this is the time to make a resolution.
The tricky part of all resolutions is – how you do you make one that sticks? I’ve found these five points to be quite helpful:
Be convinced it will make your life better.
Break it into very small goals, and clearly state each goal.
Be accountable to yourself and at least one other person.
Be your own cheerleader, and have at least one other cheerleader.
- Be able to adjust your expectations when necessary.
In this post, let’s just talk about point 1:
*Be convinced it will make your life better.*
With any resolution, it’s important to make sure you’re honest with yourself about the underlying reason. For example, let’s say your resolution is to start actively dating (and find a partner). In this case, you’d need to ask yourself – why do I want to start dating?
Let’s suppose your answer to this is – you’re lonely. You want to find a partner so you won’t be lonely anymore… you’ll have someone to go places with and someone to talk to.
Are you convinced that dating (and finding a partner) will make your life better? Will it solve your loneliness? To answer this second question, you might have to dig a little deeper.
- Why are you lonely? How did you end up feeling this way?
- Will dating (and finding a partner) automatically solve your loneliness? Is it as simple as having someone at the movies or at the dinner table? Or is there something deeper going on with you?
There are lots of possible answers to these questions.
- I’ve seen cases where it really was that simple – having a partner took care of the loneliness because the woman (or man) had done work on themselves before they dated.
- Alternatively, I’ve coached men and women who came to me because – they previously had found a partner – and were surprised to find themselves still lonely while in the relationship!
- Some of my clients have learned through coaching they need to make friends with themselves first. This leads them to finding they enjoy their own company, and that by itself reduces loneliness. And there’s a bonus to this one: (1) Once you know and like yourself better, you’re also much better prepared to find the right partner for your personality and needs and (2) befriending yourself can help you feel less needy and desperate about meeting someone, which can in turn lead you to meet other singles who also don’t feel needy or desperate.
- Other clients found they needed to enlarge their circle of friends before doing the hard work and taking the risk of dating. Creating a support system around yourself can help you feel more confident and comfortable about dating. And making new friends will open doors to new things and new people.
Does your resolution this year involve dating? Or something else? How convinced are you that it will make your life better? What are you willing to do to make this resolution a reality? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
We’re veterans in the world of dating and mating in midlife. Our goal is to help you navigate a safe and sensible path through the minefields of singlehood and find a loving partner.
Christine has been a relationship coach for over 8 years. She was single for 20 years and exactly where you are now, wishing you could meet someone special. After a few failures, she created a process that helped her attract the type of men she wanted and this led her to meet and marry the man of her dreams. Now, as a widow, she finds herself continuing to grow through beautiful memories along with periods of grief. As she coaches her clients, she’s beginning to wonder about future dating and what it might look like this time.
Joel was married for 27 years and has two adult children and one grandchild. He stumbled and wandered through the minefields of dating for 12 years accumulating volumes of wisdom from trial and error. He’s writing a book about these experiences which he’s confident will be a bestseller, if ever finishes it.
We’d love to get your questions, observations and experiences in hopes of helping others avoid mistakes and succeed in their quest for love. We’ll offer our thoughts with the caveat that everyone has to find their own path and make their own decisions.