Senior dating, where do you begin is a good question and one I hear often from my clients looking to get back out there. Dating has changed so much since most of us seniors were even thinking about it, let alone having to start all over again. Personally for me, I was 50 when I got remarried and to be honest, I wasn’t looking to date or get married at the time. Actually, I had just told my friend I was tired of the dating thing and would probably just get a puppy to keep me company.
It can really be hard to even know where to begin, especially if you were married for many years or in a long term relationship. Divorce, passing of a spouse or life-long partner, whatever the reason, it doesn’t get easier. It’s especially hard if you were in an abusive marriage or relationship, or your partner cheated. It takes a lot for you to trust again. It’s not any easier if you were in a loving marriage or relationship and your partner passed away. I’ve heard many widows and widowers say they feel like they would be cheating if they were to get into dating or even remarried. Your friends and family keep telling you to get back out there but they have no idea you don’t even know how or where to begin.
Our culture has a really strange relationship with dating. We love it to seek dates, buy online dating subscriptions and figure out every way in the world to get more dates by improving our appearance and doing inner work… but honestly? We also mistrust it and dread it.
Most people hate to date because they’re actually afraid of getting hurt, of meeting a dangerous person, and of being disappointed.
But what if all that fear was creating a blind spot? Do dates feel weird or uncomfortable? Do you want to avoid losers, time-wasters and creeps?
Why We Hate to Date
Each time we have a ‘bad’ date we feel like saying, “I hate dating, I hate this process… it feels like an unending punishment… I just want to find true love!” But what if those very thoughts were actually helping to create a treadmill that we keep getting on?
Earlier this month, the popular dating app Tinder had an epic, thirty post Twitter meltdown in response to a critical Vanity Fair article decrying today’s millennial “hook-up” culture (and apps like Tinder) as responsible for a kind of dating apocalypse.
Those critical of online and mobile dating technology contend that easily accessible sex has replaced human relating and posed a daunting barrier to finding love. They say that with so many opportunities for easily obtainable hook-ups or sex, men (and women) have little impetus or time to seek out serious relationships. Others say that online dating is just not a place where a serious, soulful relationship can be found.
It’s true that online dating can be a pool fraught with creeps and guys who send crude two word questions, and just about everyone knows a funny (or horrible) online dating story. One of the most popular refrains I hear from app weary clients is, “I’m just so over online dating. There’s no good guys!” But does this mean that it’s impossible to find a partner online?
Imagine a summer romance novel; a delicious story of romance and intrigue wherein our hero or heroine meets a potential partner so daring, dangerous, distant or complicated that their heart-breaking, intense and destructive pairing is the most fascinating and fun read ever.
But imagine if our heroine met a broker with a stable job, a dog and a nice house, and they lived happily ever after instead? BORING!
Even though we live in a culture that pursues balance, prosperity and happiness, there’s a part of all of us that appreciates the dark, passionate, difficult entanglement of drama and intensity.
While passion and deep emotions are a natural part of our human nature and lend to the beauty of our lives, intensity and drama can also be addictive and, in extreme cases, this addiction can destroy relationships and lives.
Everyone likes intensity sometimes, but the relationship intensity-addict seeks out constant sources of excitement, seduction, and the giddy “highs” of sexual or emotional attraction but is never fulfilled or sated by these highs, so they seek them out over and over again in increasingly risky or limiting scenarios. They often see themselves simply as poetic and hopeless romantics until they hit the same walls over and over.
Your feelings about the ultimate objective of dating can determine whether or not dating is stressful or successful for you. (Who wants to run a marathon if what’s at the finish line is scary?)
Here’s what one woman I worked with did to remedy those fears:
Barbara had always dreamed of a loving relationship. She’d been successful in her career and her intelligence and discipline had earned her advanced degrees and made her a highly sought professional.
Romance? Who needs it right? With all the marketing, candy, flowers and a bombardment of romantic comedies on television, it can be a harsh reminder that you are still single, or maybe not.
You may have decided to embrace being single and have chosen it as a lifestyle, there is nothing wrong with that either.
However if you are feeling sad about it you can change that feeling into something more positive and change the way you look at your life. Here are five ways to celebrate your singleness during Valentine’s day. the year’s most romantic holiday.