Sometimes life throws us a few curve balls and we find ourselves in a place we never thought we would be. Maybe it is a divorce that has us reeling, or sadly, the death of a spouse. It’s possible that it just may have been the end of a long relationship, without the bonds of matrimony. However, whatever the reason that we find ourselves single, some of us decide that we are willing to throw ourselves back out into the middle-aged dating ring. Dating after forty is an overwhelming thought. We thought those days were over and we shake our head wondering how we are ever going to do this again.
Let’s face it, there could be several reasons we are putting ourselves back into the dating market. A market that we had long thought had closed, shuttered, and had gone out of business. Maybe we want a true relationship, marriage, or just a little nooky to keep us warm in winter. Whatever the reason, dating in our middle years brings about new challenges. I like to think that we have matured enough at this stage and are confident in who we are and able to handle the ups and downs of dating again.
However you begin the process of dating at a later age, online, through friends, or at happy hour on Friday night. If you are fortunate enough to get through the not-so-worthy and find someone you have a real connection. There are some things you should keep in mind.
My own experience with finding love after forty brought me to really understanding what real love is as well as how different love is when you are no longer in your twenties.
Read more about that here: My own journey to finding love after forty.
1. Forgive the past.
You both have one. Both of you have had years to have dated other people, been married, made mistakes. You may even have suffered loss. Regardless of how you arrived at the present, you have a past. Trust me, I know how awkward and irritating this can be at times.
It is possible to love more than once in your life, so accepting your partner’s previous loves as part of who makes them who they are now is important. Let’s not forget, you have a past as well.
Your partner having loved others has taught them how to love and how to be discerning in choosing a new partner in their life. Likewise, it has taught you as well. You both know what you want and don’t want in a partner. It makes for less game playing which is a welcome relief for most of us.
That means you are now fortunate as you get to see the present as time where love is full and complete. You also get to share what you have learned from the past and be more open and honest. Hopefully your past has taught you both that honesty is real key to a successful relationship.
2. Be honest about your intentions.
I don’t mean tell him or her on a first date that you are looking to get married. Blurting out that line could have the other person run just as fast as if they were back in college. All you may get from this is a trail of smoke leading away from you. However, realizing that now that you are older, changing someone is not possible. You cannot make someone want the same things as you. Been there, done that. Finding someone with shared goals for the future is important and being older we can do this with a more direct approach.
In our younger years we thought we could mold someone into our perfect mate. That was my big mistake. The mistakes of our youth do not have to follow us into the present. Be honest about what you want out of a relationship. Talking openly about what is important like honesty, friendship, and intimacy early on can help you find the path that will be right for the two of you.
No one wants to waste time with someone who’s goals in a relationship don’t line up with our own.
3. Don’t assume devoted time.
Kids, aging parents, busy work schedules mean a life with a lot to do. Twenties and no kids was a time when you could be devoted to one another every minute of everyday. You had nothing but time to spend with each other. Those days are gone and you have to accept that in each other. Romantic dinner dates may be thwarted by having to go see your sixteen year old in her school musical. A weekend getaway is interrupted by his mother being hospitalized.
Sharing real life can make or break your relationship and can also be the stuff red flags are made of. You can see how the other reacts to life in very real time. Make sure you pay attention.
Someone who is miffed and irritated with life’s demands is definitely not someone you may want to continue to see. Being older can give us a very real window of what life would be with someone that we couldn’t see with those we chose when we were younger.
4. Remember it’s never to late to love.
Never forget it is never too late to love. Don’t ever think you are too old to find love again. Always be open to the possibility of loving new people in your life. My Grandfather found love again and married at the age of ninety. He had four wonderful years of love and companionship in his last years. How marvelous is that? Just be open to the possibility and when you are ready, it will present itself.
5. Enjoy the present.
It is very easy when finding a new love to wish things had been different, especially if your previous relationships ended in disaster. Wishing our past had been different is just simply wasting energy and taking time away from the beauty today holds.
We can’t change the past. So now more than ever, you must live in the present. It is likely there are fewer days ahead of you then are behind you, I know, sobering thought. So make every day count. Enjoy the time that you do have knowing you are fulfilled and happy, not living with regret.
How are you joining the dating world? What is your strategy, successes, failures, insights? I want to know.