So you find yourself starting to date again after going through a divorce, even if you’ve sworn off the opposite sex one more time. You tell yourself all the “This time…I will [fill in the blanks].” But when loneliness kicks in, combined with the need to share one’s life – we opt to try one more time to give romance another try.
1. Have a clear picture of what you want and don’t want in a relationship, and keep that picture in mind. Don’t settle. Sometimes it helps to make a list (not necessarily a three-page list, perhaps bullet points will do). A list helps us become clearer about what we want, need and also what our deal breakers might be. No need to be overly critical – remember that no one is perfect, especially in relationships!
2. Listen for key words like, “I hated my father”, “My ex is impossible”, “No one ever understood me”. Get ready to run if your “future relationship-material” begins to hate everyone they were ever involved with.
3. Have an exit plan. Don’t put all your love in one basket in the beginning when people are yet to reveal themselves…the dark and the light. Take a gander at “what if”, and come up with a plan should your relationship show signs of heading south or becoming dysfunctional beyond your standards.
4. Don’t hold on to a fantasy when the reality is staring you in the face. Those haunting words like “I can change him”, “She will get over her hurt if I love her enough”, “I’m sure with therapy, we can work it out”, “I know he won’t lie to me again”.
5. Remember there are always three sides to a relationship issue…his side, her side, and the TRUTH! It’s good to check in with yourself to discover if you’d rather be right or be happy. Sometimes we just have to slow down and wear the other person’s shoes. What is triggering them to act a certain way? In what ways are we pushing their button? If the other person doesn’t want to look at their part in a relationship issue – chances are staying in the relationship will just continue that theme; before you know it you’re accepting all the blame for the wounds of your partner.
There is nothing more profound of magical about finding our true love. It’s a gamble and sometimes it’s more than worth putting ourselves out there. Once or twice divorced, take inventory to see if you can weather the possibility of making it through another break-up. Get strong; build your confidence and strength to get back on that dating saddle. Who knows, perhaps you will be riding double into the sunset!
I have been living proof that getting a divorce and starting over again is not such a bad thing. It’s different than when we were teens, or in our 20’s or 30’s; and because most of the Baby Boomers are divorced, it can be very challenging for both men and women alike. Men who have been in a marriage for a long time and now are back in the dating market and don’t know how to do it because things have changed so drastically. Women are choosing a career and are single more or less by choice. Sad but true: these days there are no rules, no road map, and little guidance. That’s why there are so many life coaches, matchmakers, and therapists getting into transitional therapy techniques.
Older daters now are setting their own rules in life just as they are setting their own rules on aging, creating the way they want to live their lives, and the way they are spending their money – they are basically setting the rules in the dating culture as well. The Baby Boomers are the re-inventing generation, re-discovering themselves and the way they raise their family, after divorce.
I believe boomers are changing the way they date, and the way they attract a mate. It’s all about getting really clear about what we want to bring into our lives, making a list and then letting go. Like placing an order in a restaurant, once the order is placed you sit and wait for the food to arrive. You don’t change or confuse the order – you place it and let it go…and wait to be served a wonderful meal
If we took the desperation and fear out of dating and life in general as a Baby Boomer, and just went on with our lives – knowing the right person will come once we’re clear about what we want (and don’t want)…magic can, and WILL happen because we’re open to it.